"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 Essence Preamplifier
This preamplifier has all the usual Gryphon hallmarks. It's fully dual mono, discrete component construction and pure class A. Signal path length is minimised, superfluous features such as tone controls, balance controls, headphone connections, mono switching, polarity inversion and more have been banished. Many individual circuit components are bespoke, made to the company's specific design requirements (first developed for the flagship models) and every element of the circuit design is painstakingly crafted and honed with listening tests until it meets Gryphon's exacting performance standards.
The Essence preamplifier can also be fitted with the optional PS2-S MM/MC phono module or the Zena DAC module to create a superb quality integrated solution to your system needs. Indeed, adding one of these modules to the preamplifier rather than purchasing a stand-alone phono stage or DAC significantly improves the overall value for money proposition for your high-end aspirations.
Design and build quality are exemplary too, as you would expect, as is the user experience with the microprocessor controlled system functionality (with isolated separate power supplies) enabling logical and effortless operation.
" – local shunt regulators for optimal noise suppression – " Gryphon quietly drop this little one-liner in their list of features for the Essence preamp, but in our experience, local shunt regulation is a game changer for sound quality. Most audio equipment will use series regulated voltage regulators to feed chips and gain stages – they are cheaper, easier to implement and use less power (that's assuming there isn't just one supply feeding everything). But go to the effort of local regulation at every stage, and then make that series regulation too, and you've got a 'positive double whammy' of sonic improvement.
Zero negative feedback
True Dual Mono configuration
Fully discrete, DC-coupled Class A circuit topology
Microprocessor-controlled 43-step fully balanced relay volume attenuator for best sonic performance based on a minimalist contingent of ultra-precision resistors
High-speed, discrete, single-ended Class A input buffer for best possible sonic performance
Optional PCM/DSD DAC module with one USB, 2 x SPDIF, 1 AES and 1 optical input. PCM up to Fs = 384 kHZ, DSD up to DSD512
Optional MM/MC Gryphon PS2 phonostage module based on legendary Gryphon Legato phonostage
Input level matching to prevent abrupt volume changes
Green Bias link output for automatic Green Bias control with any Gryphon power amplifier
Gold-plated Neutrik XLR sockets for two balanced sources and 1 output
Gold-plated phono sockets with Teflon insulation for 3 inputs and 2 outputs
+18 dB gain, max.
Output impedance: 15 Ohm XLR, 22.5 Ohm RCA
Frequency bandwidth (-3 dB): 0.1 Hz – 1 MHz
Power supply capacity: 2 x 26,000 μF
Input impedance, balanced (20 Hz – 20 kHz): 50 kOhm
Input Impedance, single-ended (20 Hz – 20 kHz): 25 kOhm
Dimensions: 47 x 16.5 x 38.5 cm (WxHxD)
Weight:13.4 kg net.
Matching & Setup
With plenty of balanced and single-ended inputs and outputs, the Essence preamp should meet most system hookup needs. This is quite a large unit for a preamp and it will benefit from good quality grounding support on its own shelf in a good rack system. Equally we suggest good mains power components too. But with this preamp we are talking about very high levels of transparency, so it will certainly be a window into the quality of the rest of your system, particularly your source components.
If you are on an upgrade path and considering the Essence pre as your next step, then we suggest you do so with consideration about your power amplification also. This is because the selectable biassing on Gryphon power amplifiers can be automatically controlled from the Essence pre using it's Green Bias Link. The natural partner for the Essence pre is either the Essence stereo or monoblock power amplifiers, meaning the best synergy of design and performance plus the ability of the system to match the output bias to the volume setting of the preamp.
But if you're not looking to change your power amp right now then of course the Essence pre will drive any power amp without a problem. As an upgrade from a less capable pre, you should be looking to optimise the great dynamic range and transparency of the Essence so you power amplification and speakers really need to be able to capitalise on that performance with plenty of control, transparency and headroom.