"Anyone Up For A Fight?"
The Danes were conquerors.
And that trait has flowed all the way down to Gryphon products. Pit them against anything out there and frankly, they usually win.
About the Diablo 120
So this is Gryphon's entry level integrated amp. But as always with Gryphon, this means the product benefits hugely from the 'flow-down' philosophy that is a hallmark of the brand. The Diablo 120 features the usual Gryphon traits such as dual-mono circuitry, ultra-short signal paths, heavily gold-plated printed circuit boards and minimal internal wiring – but the continual development process means for example that wire-wound emitter resistors used in earlier models have been upgraded to non-inductive types for the Diablo 120.
The Diablo 120 circuit employs zero global negative feedback and a unique microprocessor controlled passive attenuator volume for excellent transparency. A large, graphical vacuum fluorescent display is employed instead of a more conventional LED character display to provide space for more information and a larger, more easily legible font. But importantly, these display and control circuits are powered independently via a separate, isolated transformer in order to eliminate any risk of noise contamination.
And finally, the Diablo 120 can also be configured with the specially designed Gryphon DAC PCM/DSD module based on the innovative, award-winning Gryphon Kalliope DAC. Or alternatively, it can be fitted with an excellent Gryphon MM/MC phono stage for the vinyl enthusiast.
Gryphon never scrimp on the fundamentals – even in their smallest designs. The Diablo 120 is fitted with a custom made 1,300 VA transformer that has discrete secondary windings for left and right channels. Each channel is fed by its own 60,000 µF capacitor bank resulting in large amounts of current reserves that enables doubling of output power into 4Ω loads. These numbers translate into the ability to drive all types of speakers effortlessly.
Optional phonostage MM/MC module
Optional DAC PCM/DSD module with one USB, 1 BNC S/PDIF, 1 AES/EBU and 1 optical input
Digital formats. USB: PCM: 44.1kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 9 6kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz, 352.8 kHz and 384 kHz up to 32-bit.
USB: DSD (DoP); DSD64 (2.822 MHz, 3.072 MHz), DSD128 (5.644 MHz, 6.144 MHz).
USB Native DSD: DSD256* (11.2896 MHz) and DSD512* (22.5792 MHz) (currently, DSD256 and DSD512 only on Windows OS)
BNC S/PDIF and AES/EBU digital inputs: up to 192 kHz/32-bit
TOSLink: up to 96 kHz/24-bit
One optional module can be installed at time of purchase or later, either phonostage or DAC
2 x 120 W @ 8Ω, 2 x 240 W @ 4Ω, 2 x 440 W @ 2Ω
Output impedance: 0.030Ω
Bandwidth (-3 dB): 0.1 Hz to 250 kHz
Power Supply Capacity: 2 x 60,000 µF
Gain: +38 dB
Input Impedance, balanced (20-20,000 Hz): 40 kΩ
Input Impedance, single-ended (20-20,000 Hz): 8 kΩ
Dimensions (WxHxD cm): 48x17.5x42
Weight 26.2 kg
Matching & Setup
The Diablo 120 is a 'small' big amp. On the other hand, perhaps a 'big' small amp? To us, what's amazing about the 120 is it's ability to be both. With relatively modest dimensions it will fit into a rack shelf, but you should ensure that rack is a good design of course – Gryphon incorporate proper mechanical grounding principles throughout all their designs so it is well worth continuing that philosophy through to your rack system.
Power and output impedance figures shows that this amp has no problem delivering current into difficult loads, even for tricky speakers like 2Ω ribbons. The only caveat would be that difficult loads plus a very large room might warrant some caution if you want rock-music volumes. But where this amp really works so well is in mid-sized systems in mid-sized rooms, with high quality source components and transparent speakers. Then all those lovely Gryphon 'trickle down' improvements reveal themselves with beautiful rich tonality, transparency and an infectious sense of propulsion with all types of music.
But there is another reason why the Diablo 120 is a gem – when it's used in the context of an end-to-end gryphon system. Sure, amps like the massive Gryphon Apex have a textural and harmonic tonality that the Diablo 120 can't match, but the Apex is an order of magnitude more expensive. But the Diablo 120, paired with say the Gryphon EOS 2 speakers and Gryphon accessories, hits that other hi-fi holy grail – a easy to set up, intuitive to use, beautiful to behold, perfectly matched single-brand system that really sings. Check out what HiFi Plus have to say about the Diablo 120 in that context – it's a very compelling debate! See the HiFi Plus Review here (note the review refers to the now superseded Gryphon Mojo S speakers).