Review: Gryphon Callisto 2200 Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

First of all let me say that I like integrated amps. Always have. Not that I haven’t had separates from Linn, Krell, Rowland, and Audio Research, it’s just that I like the simplicity of the breed. And, after I got married, the WF came into play. Fewer connectors, fewer boxes, you know the routine. Integrated amps have always run second best to the separates when competing for honor of having true high end performance. That impression just changed for me with the introduction of the Gryphon 2200 integrated amplifier.

The journey started with one of my customer’s (thanks Brooks) suggested that I look at the Gryphon line after I had commented that I was looking for something to replace my current integrated. Never heard of Gryphon, but I was about to become very familiar with it. Problem was that there were very few dealers in the United States that I could contact, so I wrote Gryphon. A week later, I get a call from Anthony at Aberdeen Components. Anthony starts his praise pitch in his strongest Brooklyn accent. Two weeks later I have a Callisto 2200 sitting on my door step that Anthony sent me for evaluation. Guess he believes the proof is in the component.

The Krell comes out and the Gryphon goes in. Power up. First impressions? You got to be kidding me. They want $9, 000 for this thing? The sounds like Cau Cau. Bass is mushy, midrange is anything but clear, no high end sparkle. Second day, same thing. Now I’m seriously thinking of boxing this baby up and sending a “Thank You but No Thank You” note back to Anthony. I pop Anthony an e-mail, and he responds with “Play the hell out of it for a week” He said he broke his unit in using his garage, playing it at about 75% for a full month. Tells me that he reversed the phase on one of the Talon speakers to minimize the low frequency noise from disturbing the neighbors. Now I know that components need break in but I really have serious doubts that a year of break in could improve what I am presently experiencing.

At about day five is when the magic started to happen. Every day got better and by day fourteen. I had decided to buy the Gryphon. So what changed my mind. This was the first integrated amp that I could easily say outperformed many of the top end separate components that I had ever auditioned or owned. I am not going to go into the boring rendition of how the soundstage became enormous and the delicacy of the sound, and the power or the unit. Just suffice to say that each day that I listen, the words “My God” are used frequently.

I think a large contributing factor to the performance of this instrument of beauty is the fact that Gryphon uses the best components on the inside that are available.
Here is the pitch from Gryphon if you care.

True Dual Mono configuration
Infrared remote control
Flash memory upgrades via PC
Zero negative feedback
Microprocessor-controlled passive volume potentiometer
Dual Mono Holmgren toroidal transformer
Extensive mechanical decoupling
Minimal internal wiring
Ultra-short signal path
Non-magnetic, non-resonant aluminum cover
Military spec. double-sided printed circuit boards
PCB-mounted sockets eliminate wiring and shorten signal path
Gold-plated Swiss Neutric XLR sockets for one balanced source
Exclusive custom Gryphon gold-plated phono sockets with Teflon insulation for 4 inputs
Fixed-level AV throughput for uncompromising integration with surround preamplifier
Vacuum Fluorescent Display with 2 lines and 50 characters
Adjustable display lighting (High, Medium, Low, Off)
Optional MM/MC phonostage module
Non-invasive protection system
EU CE approval
Designed and built in Denmark

So to end this up:
The Gryphon Callisto 2200 is a stunningly musical and world class integrated amplifier.

So my recommendation? If you want the very best call Anthony and talk really nice.

Best Regards,
Michael Wolff

Associated gear
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