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The Gryphon Diablo 333 - Astounding Yes!

The Gryphon Diablo 333

 

This is my first blog, I am originally from Thailand so writing English is not an easy task so please excuse me if there are any mistakes.

 

So let's talk about the new Gryphon Diablo 333. When Gryphon informed us that the Diablo 300 was going to be replaced, we weren't too pleased. The Diablo 300 was the best selling Gryphon amplifier that won just about every best buy award from Audiophile reviewers. They also dropped the bomb, that the replacement, Diablo333 was going to cost £7,500 more!  “What the _____?”  were the first three words coming out of my mouth. You can see how my brain was ticking, can't you?  It's going to be tough in the UK for a one box amp that costs a few hundred pounds short of twenty five grand. However. After a few phone calls back and forth, I was assured that the new technology in their Top of the range model, the APEX, will play a major part in sound improvement over the older Diablo model.

 

The Arrival

After waiting for a few months, the Gryphon 333 finally arrived in their versatile, easy to use, wooden crate. Physical size is very similar to the former integrated king, just a little bit deeper in length.  The weight is a little heavier too. Coming in at around 51 KG or just over 8 Stone.  The build quality is very high as expected from one of the best high-end manufacturers in the world.

There are 4 inputs at the rear, 2 of those are for the XLR connectors. The speaker terminals are meaty, which is such a turn on for me! Yes. I am strange like that!  You can also order the Diablo 333 with a phono and a DAC module. Our demo unit hasn't come with either of those, but we are hoping to get them fitted at some point, in the near future. On the front panel, there is now a 4.3” TFT capacitive touch screen, which is the same type that is fitted in their top of the range Commander Preamplifier.  The menu is intuitive and easy to follow. From the main menu you can rename your inputs, set a startup volume level for each individual input; set an AV bypass to work in conjunction with home cinema systems, Display brightness setting and many more. The remote control is pretty much the same as the Commander range which is beautifully made and very functional.

A quick glance down the spec sheet. The amp will output 333 watts into 8 ohms and double that figure into 4 ohms. It is a True Dual Mono configuration with zero negative feedback.

 

Legend by name, Legend by nature

I wasted no time hooking up the 333 with my trusty reference digital source which is the Ideon Absolute Stream and the matching Absolute DAC. The receiving end of the Gryphon is none other than a pair of, relatively hard to drive, TAD R1 TX.  The Cabling is a mixture of the Jorma Statement range and our own Winters Audio cables.

 

Right from the start, the Diablo 333 does sound very different from the older brother 300. The sound is noticeably larger, the musical notes have more density to them.  Miles Davis' All Blue has a bite and vibrant sound to his trumpet. This song has a simple feel about it, yet the Diablo 333’s ability to create musical space around my listening room made the track more compelling to listen to, than I can ever remember. 

 

Switching to one of my favourite Roger Water's tracks, Perfect sense Part 1 - 2 on his "In The Flesh '' live album. The amp's ability to cleanly and transparently layer instruments in a three-dimensional space was superior to anything else I've heard at the asking price. The sound stage went beyond my boundaries; Mr. Waters's voice was as large as if I was in a concert hall and it seemed like every single inch of my listening room was full of sound. 

As I was in the Rock music mood, it's rather natural to cue up a Rock'n Roll Star track from OasisFamiliar To Millions live album. Again, the sense of music being a live and vivid thing in the room was palpable, to have both of the Gallagher brothers in the same room is impossible nowadays but for about 6 mins, I could swear they were in my room and having the best time of their lives.

I spent the next three hours listening to various types of music to see if I could trip up the Gryphon. Surely there must be some shortcomings. Everything has...right?  Maybe...yes.. But only if you love to listen to music in a safe, rolled off kinda way. The Gryphon Diablo 333's dynamic range is awesome, even breathtaking. Play the tracks that demand micro and macro dynamic shading such as Thunder and Lightning Polka by Strauss or Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and the Gryphon comes into its own. The ability to swing from very quiet to very loud in a split second is on par with a big muscle amplifier that costs two or even three times as much.

 

Worth the Wait (and the Hype)

It's a strange time in the audiophile world. In the last few years it seems like there are new models or new brands popping up every week of the month. The Diablo 333 is one of those rare releases that have audiophiles talking and waiting to hear it. For those who already own the 300 version, the common question I got was: Do you think it will be a lot better than what I have? The answer is an astounding yes!  

Regardless of what was being played, the Gryphon Diablo 333 had a depth and presence that was highly atmospheric and engaging. The good news here is it has a lot more of the Gryphon's top of the range effect than I was anticipating. The Commander Pre and the Apex power combination will set you back a cool £155,000! If you look at it that way, the asking price of £24,500 now seems like a bargain. 

 

Thank you for reading.

Enjoy your hobby.

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