Equipment Review

Gryphon Diablo 300: The King is Dead. Long live the King.

By Jack Lawson · 28th Oct 2016

Listening to music. It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it. In the past few years years I have trekked through Denmark, France, Italy, and Germany to visit Gryphon, Unison, Zingali, Burmester and others. I take products home. In this way I learn how the design and manufacturing are worth the price and how they perform after the initial impressions.

The Diablo 300 is a magnificent integrated amplifier with two balanced, three RCA and optional phono and digital sources. It replaces a model that ran for ten years and remains way ahead of the rest! Actually, the D300 is a power amplifier with a fully-fledged state-of-the art pre-amp. Sonically, it is by a long way superior to anything that has come before including the mark one Diablo, now over ten years old and STILL … ahead of the game. These make prices on the used market about £5,000 into a real bargain, but the thrill of a new Diablo at any price is a transformation of cash into ecstasy. I’ll try to tell you why.

As we have grown to expect from Gryphon, the fit and finish are second to none.

For six months our second demo Gryphon Diablo 300 integrated amp (one with phono stage; one with digital inputs is in the showroom) has been in my own music room. The Music Room ethos is that we sell what we would happily buy… because we would enjoy it ourselves. (Douglas is now in the same bad habit).

What happens sometimes, too often, is the strong urge not to return the product quickly and so it was with the Gryphon Diablo 300. As a piece of sculpture it has the signature of its company founder, by temperament and training an artist. Sonically it far exceeds the outgoing Diablo in every way and yet the ten year old mark one itself still beats all of its rivals. Making this claim to customers has resulted in challenges and to date everyone agrees: the Diablo 300 redefines the high fidelity amplifier. Anticipating its arrival, Gryphon have also pushed the bar for its current pre-amplifiers and power amplifiers.

Whatever your source, the Diablo 300 (shown here with the optional DAC module) has got you covered.

We compared it to a Vitus 025 integrated amplifier as it hails from Denmark, attracts much acclaim (but costs about 50% more than Gryphon). Both were conditioned from new for 25 hours; both were placed on the same type of isolation shelf; same interconnects; and left on standby for 48 hours. The Vitus sounded very nice but the Gryphon made us smile. It found so many more artistic details, sounded unlimited in power, projected a 3-D soundstage and redefined natural sound. The Vitus, truly an excellent product, was of the electronic domain. The Gryphon is a musical instrument. As a mark two with ten years learning, the designers have achieved what sounds like perfection… but we may know better in another ten years… or by spending ten times its asking price of £12,995 on a top flight pre-amp and 2 x monos.

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