Gryphon Commander line preamplifier Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog sources: OMA K3, Acoustic Signature Montana NEO, and J. Sikora Reference turntables, Schröder K3, Acoustic Signature TA-7000, Acoustical Systems Axiom and J. Sikora KV12 tonearms; Lyra Atlas Lambda SL and Etna Lambda SL, Ortofon Anna Diamond and Verismo, Luxman LMC-5 cartridges.
Digital sources: dCS Vivaldi One SACD player DAC; Lynx Hilo A/D-D/A converter; Mac mini (Roon), Audirvana Digital Audio Player; Vinyl Studio software.
Preamplification: darTZeel NHB-18NS, Ypsilon MC-10L, MC-16L, and MC-26L step-up transformers; Ypsilon VPS-100, CH Precision P1 with X1 PSU, SW1X LPU III.
Power amplifiers: darTZeel NHB 468 monoblocks, Music Reference RM200 Mk2.
Loudspeakers: Wilson Audio Specialties Chronosonic XVX.
Cables: Interconnect: TARA Labs Zero Gold, Zero Evolution, Zero and Air Evolution, AudioQuest Dragon, Analysis Plus Silver Apex, Stealth Sakra & Indra. Speaker: Audioquest Dragon, TARA Labs Omega EvolutionSP. AC: AudioQuest Dragon, Dynamic Design Neutron GS Digital power cord.
Accessories: AudioQuest Niagara 7000, CAD GC1 and GC3 Ground Controls; AudioQuest NRG Edison AC wall box & receptacles; RSX Industries Power8 box, ASC Tube Traps; RPG BAD, Skyline & Abffusor panels, Stillpoints Aperture II room panels, Synergistic Research UEF products (various), Symposium Ultra platform; HRS XVR turntable stand, Signature SXR and 2 Stillpoints ESS stands, Thixar and Stillpoints amplifier stands; Audiodharma Cable Cooker; Furutech record demagnetizer; Orb DF-01iA Disc Flattener, Furutech deStat; Loricraft PRC4 Deluxe, Audio Desk Systeme Vinyl Cleaner Pro X, Kirmuss Audio KA-RC-1 and Klaudio KD-CLN-LP200T record-cleaning machines.—Michael Fremer

COMPANY INFO
Gryphon Audio Designs ApS
US distribution: Gryphon Audio N.A.
(201) 690-9006
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
JohnE's picture

A comment and a question.

A gryphon is not the same as a dragon. A dragon (as in St George and the dragon on Game of Thrones) has wings. A gryphon has two legs but no wings.

Have you listened to a high-end passive preamplifier (Townshend Allegri Reference or Music First Reference V2) to compare them with the Gryphon sound quality? I would be interested in your comments.

JohnE's picture

Hmm, having checked Wikipedia I see that the gryphon is wingless only in British heraldary. The difference between a gryphon and a dragon is that the gryphon does not breathe fire.

otaku's picture

I suppose that is a desirable attribute in a preamplifier.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

To quote Bob Cohen, former salesperson at The Cable Company, "You're not a true member of the Hi-End until you've had something blow up on you."

From personal experience: Anyone desiring such an initiation might consider beta testing. It was my ticket to the dragon's breath.

The Tinkerer's picture

I've roasted a few voicecoils before. But have not (yet) let the magic smoke out of an amp or preamp.

georgehifi's picture

If the source has low output impedance (which most are) and enough voltage to clip the power amp.
All that's needed if the source hasn't it's own volume control to go direct to amp with and to surpass this usd $63k!!! preamp's sound.
Is to just use a quality passive pre, which, should be also be more dynamic, more transparent, more extended highs & lows, and have less distortion to boot, just like going direct should be if it has volume control.

Cheers George

Jack L's picture

Hi

More electronics in the signal path, worse will be the music coming out of it at the expense of paying more. In this case, hopefully it won't be a $63,000 distortion generator that bad.

Listening with own ears is beleiving

Jack L

Charles E Flynn's picture

I hope Mr. Fremer's gear is not affected. Schneider knows who got the products and will be contacting them.

Schneider ElectricTM Recalls 1.4 Million Electrical Panels Due to Thermal Burn and Fire Hazards

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2022/Schneider-ElectricTM-Recalls-1-4-Million-Electrical-Panels-Due-to-Thermal-Burn-and-Fire-Hazards

Long-time listener's picture

"All this mass and real estate just to provide some attenuation/ gain/buffering and to swap among its six inputs? Yes."

No.

Stereophile: Can we get some more reviews of moderately-priced bookshelf speakers and integrated amps please? Obviously some of your readers are, like Michael Fremer, members of the 1%. Maybe about one percent of them. The rest of us would like some more useful content.

Michael Fremer's picture

Review exotic autos and somehow readers react more pleasantly.

Anton's picture

Acceleration, braking, lap times….

Imagine an auto review that said a car that measures worse than another performs better than a faster car.

Just saying it lifted veils on speed would be met with more derision that saying a wildly expensive turntable performed like 25 Karat gold.

But, perhaps this is the proper analogy. In cars, beyond performance is taste, so can suspend all this ‘accuracy’ stuff and just run with that!

The Tinkerer's picture

What test numbers or data could be collected to quantify steering feel or feedback? Ride quality? Seat comfort? The way the kinematics of that specific suspension and tire setup address the feel of expansion joints or potholes or other complex road undulations? The amount of mechanical and/or aero stability at highway speeds and above? Shift and clutch feel for the manuals? Etc etc etc.

Actual vehicle reviewers (that include literal race car drivers that ALSO contribute to tests and reviews, such as Randy Pobst, whom I've met personally) often make informed observations about driver confidence as it relates to various vehicle operations like turn in, mid corner bumps, braking feel, steering feel, etc. These data points are vital and core to their reviews. Otherwise, why actually drive any of these vehicles in the first place, if "the data" tells us everything that can be known.

You can mock the language that reviewers use to attempt to convey what they hear. That's fine.

Anton's picture

You summed up modern Hi Fi perfectly, thank you.

Knob touch, the new paradigm. Without the knobs!

Michael Fremer's picture

Because I review some expensive gear you think you know what's in my bank account? Seriously? I also reviewed a $700 phono preamp. So? I also reviewed the Rotel Michi amplifiers. Not super costly. You realize you are reading a high performance audio magazine, right?

The Tinkerer's picture

Ignore the trolls, Mike. You're doing great work. I love seeing aspirational equipment reviewed!

JohnE's picture

Michael, I am sorry for the way in which this discussion has progressed. When I asked if you had listened to a high-end passive preamp, I was genuinely interested in your opinion. As I understand it, the reason you are impressed by the Gryphon is that it is so quiet. I have never heard the Gryphon but I have heard very quiet passive preamps. I would like to know if you think the Gryphon an improvement on a good passive preamp.

geoffrey vanhouwaert's picture

Hi everyone,

I do feel expensive gear has a place at stereophile and i love reading Jasons reviews but i would also like to see more reviews of affordable gear.

Best regards
Geoff

mcduman's picture

so many words without mentioning the departure of Flemming Rasmussen

Michael Fremer's picture

Hasn’t departed. He was involved in the industrial design.

David Harper's picture

a $63,000 preamp must provide better sound. I mean it must. Because we all know that sound quality is determined by price.Nevermind that a preamp is a low-level electronic device which has no effect on sound quality. And don't forget; you will need a $63,000 wire to connect it to the amp.

noamgeller's picture

The High End industry not only brought this tale to life, it also exceeded it! We all run naked under the sun.

teched58's picture

For many years, Stereophile editors (and indeed many readers) have pushed back on people who've criticized the focus on uber-expensive audio juju. Those critics are slammed as "jealous" -- oh, the sting, someone called me "jealous," how will I ever continue onward? (This is often couple with intimations that said critics are socialists or some such.)

Now, we seem to have reached a tipping point: Readers are no longer criticizing. They are now MAKING FUN OF THIS STUFF.

P.S. I am NOT criticizing Mikey. He's a great writer and I will miss his stuff, most especially his writings about John Lennon and other classic rockers. To the commenter above, Mikey is not a member of the 1%. Trust me; I'm in an adjacent business. You would not believe how sh***y the pay is for doing this stuff.

Michael Fremer's picture

And had no money and couldn't afford any of the gear I read about in the high end audio magazines, I didn't have cynical thoughts or jealousy. I imagined one day I'd have the means to own some of it. And now I do and you know what? It does sound better.

Anton's picture

Did the prices of ‘high end’ preamps exceed the average annual income for your fellow Americans?

I’d wager not.

AnalogueFan's picture

"With its two chassis weighing 151lb, the Gryphon Commander is the heaviest preamplifier I have encountered." —John Atkinson

Jack L's picture

Hi

A Line-pramp selling for 63,000 greenbacks got to be something special about it: 151 lbs dead weight. This I call 'Marketing'. Such hefty price & "heavyweight" warrant excellent musical sound? That will be another story.

Technically & musically, any line preamps with gain are redundant, IMO.
So why nearly every audio guy got one at home ? Thanks to the makers/vendors marketing/sales efforts. This is money making business, not charity. Besides, not many music lovers got skeptical ears like yours truly.

My design/built all-triode phonostage+linestage got a direct-by-pass switch to make the linestage PASSIVE. I NEVER switch back to active mode
for any high level program sources, like CD/DVD players, DAC, tuner & tape deck. On A/B switching to compare active vs passive, the passive mode music sounds sooo much more OPEN, livelike, see-thru transparent, detailed & PUNCHY playing at the same volume.

By "punchy" I mean I can feel the latent energy inside the music fully released without sounding too loud !!!!

Active linestages surely give you a lot of loudness on boosting the gain volume control, but the music lacks the "punchy" transient power feeling in it.

I recall too well Gordon Holt was very well known in his A/B Bypass TEST in comparing amplifiers. I agree to his idea & have done it PASSIVE for many many years now.

Listening with own ears is believing

Jack L

Glotz's picture

All of them are insulting and completely ignorant.

None of you have heard this preamp and have no idea of what you are talking about.

The Tinkerer's picture

A bunch of TV reviewers, reviewing a TV that they have never actually seen. Riveting.

Maybe these dolts should listen in good faith at something high end, properly set, up before immediately declaring it sNaKe OiL. There's no other way to say it, but it's inherently disingenuous to comment about a thing with which one has ZERO experience.

This is a solidly designed piece of pinnacle gear that also measures well.

Jack L's picture

.

The Tinkerer's picture

I have not. But I'm also not a) tendering an opinion on it or b) attempting to sway someone else's informed opinion.

noamgeller's picture

We are making poetry

windansea's picture

The chassis is nice
It adds no spice
Not worth the price
Which should be said twice

noamgeller's picture

Awsome

Jack L's picture

Hi

You beat William Shakerspere who knew nothing about HiFi back then.

Jack L

teched58's picture

Is everything OK, Jack?

You don't have your usual motto below your signature today, so I was wondering if your ears stopped believing. Or worse, if you have become an objectivist.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Hot lazy summer days can make anyone lazy... (I like yr humour thought).

Well, I am sorta kinda a 'hybrid': objective on theory (being in electrical engineering industries for decades) & subjective on aural perception (tube music addict).

Objectivists use their objective ways (valid or not) to gauge subjectiveness. I use my technical knowhow (objective) + common sense logics (subjective) to gauge what I listen to.

Jack L

Jack L's picture

.

Michael Fremer's picture

Actually read literature before criticizing it.

Michael Fremer's picture

Right. What I thought.

Jack L's picture

Hi

No! Though I can afford to buy one with my easy money from the money markets.

First off, I would not spend any money on any active line preamps, price irrespective. We can't defy physics.

Secondly, why should I audition it knowing too well I will never want to own it. Your situation is unique, you know very well.

Like if one does NOT want to spend a 142 million greenbacks to own a Mercedes 300SLR U Coupe, should that person still want a test drive ??

Listening with own ears is believing

Jack L

Glotz's picture

Despite the old auto analogy used, the chance to experience such a rare car is reason enough. There are many driving-enthusiast reasons why this car costs what it does, outside of rarity. You assume things here, much the same way about your feelings on the Gryphon preamp.

If this was a new Lamborghini, one could more accurately judge the price to performance ratio. A better example on every level.

Such displayed rigidity does not elevate one's experience over time nor does it teach one anything new. To the contrary, it makes one less informed as time passes and technology marches on.

I don't question the greatness of classic triode gear, as I've owned the gear in the past and still love everything it brings to the table. I also don't question what great solid-state gear brings, despite my personal convictions held over the years. I open my ears and THEN I believe.

If you don't try to listen to everything you can, you'll only believe what you put your ears in front of.

Jack L's picture

Hi

OK, YOUR answer is yes.

But MY answer is NO !

Don't you know the $142 million Mercedes is a coupe ?

I have never driven a sport car in my life. So YOU think I should still test drive it at my senior age today ?

If I were young young like driving fast, where I would get the money to foot the bill ?

Day dreaming is harmless until the car dealership guy got pissed off by whatever excuses you decline the deal !

Get real, pal.

Jack L

Glotz's picture

Your response would show you don't take chances on anything.

The reality you speak of is a rigid, closed-minded world that has a tendency to discount and RAGE, as contributing editors here have noted.

Sport cars are fun and so are auditions of equipment you can't afford, no matter the rationalizations you put forth. It opens the ears, the eyes, the body and the mind. Pity.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Not intended to offend, are you too old to forget what I posted in Stereophile forums repeatedly, like I auditioned US$125,000 Audio Note Japan "Kegon" 17W+17W all-trioded power amp in its regional office studio which took me 15-hour non-stop flight to go there.

NO, I don't "take chances" like you, pal. 'Cause I know what I am doing. I know the very expensive tube power amp would sound good from its design topology. FYI, I design/build audios for decades. So I auditioned it there.

Likewise, how many times I mentioned here I make my easy money from the money markets. In fact I just mentioned it in this forum topic a while ago.

So am I taking chances day in day out with my money? To you maybe. Not to me as I know what & how to invest. FYI, the return of my half-a-million dollar investment, part of my mutual funds portflios, earned me 12% return end of last year.

So I got enough easy money to buy the $63,000 line-amp, right? How come I don't even want to audition it? I said clearly earlier here, & I tell you here again as you don't seem to have read it (giving you the benefit of doubt !): Technically & musically, any linestage with gain is redundant as it defies physics.

Enough said. Go bother somebody else who knows audio electronics as much as you do. Thanks but no thanks.

Listening with own ears is believing

Jack L

Glotz's picture

So, the Audio Note for the same money is somehow a good value price in your application, but the Gryphon preamp is not.

Others would appreciate either component.

Everyone has a different design approach to their systems- all are valid, when you agree with them or not.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Last time I babysit you here on your audio, pal.

As georgehifi said it louds & clear: Gryphon is a very expensive switch box !!

The US$125,000 Audio Note Japan 'Kegon' is a POWER amp. We do NEED a power amp or an intergrated amp to work any loudspeakers. It could be a 10,000W class D solid state power amp or a 5W+5W all-tube power amp design/built by yours truly or whatever else. The MUST choice is yours.

BUT line-amplifiers is another story. Given all high-level programmes available handily, e.g. CD/DVD/tape player/DAC etc etc,
with enough high output voltage/low enough impedance to drive any power amps directly. Line-amp's prime function is a swtich box.

This is the reason why georgehifi & your truly, among many others, go for passive linestages - for their musical & technical superiority.

My homebrew passive linestage is just like a "by-pass straight wire" (quoting Gordon Holt again) - zip harmonic & phase distortion.

Yes, "everyone has a different design approach to their systems".
"All are valid" or not, it depends.

So you are bewitched by the $63,000 switch box?? Be my guest !

Bye!

Listening with own ears is believing

Jack L

Glotz's picture

and your language is rude and haughty. Mr. Holt never acted that way.

georgehifi's picture

Re: Jack L "PASSIVE. I NEVER switch back to active mode for any high level program sources, like CD/DVD players, DAC, tuner & tape deck. On A/B switching to compare active vs passive, the passive mode music sounds sooo much more OPEN, livelike, see-thru transparent, detailed & PUNCHY playing at the same volume. By "punchy" I mean I can feel the latent energy inside the music fully released without sounding too loud !!!!"

You got that right Jack. Don't know what these glitz queens hear, they're too busy staring at their $$$$$$$ glitzy preamp purchase to listen.
Cheers George

Jack L's picture

Hi

Money talks.

Not many rich & affordable got good ears like yours. They can only rely on the price tags - higher SHOULD provide better sound.

Too often those expensive audios are acquired as show pieces to enhance the owner's premises - vanity fair !!

To those rich & willing, spending $$$$$$$$$ is believing

Jack L

georgehifi's picture

"Have You Heard This Preamplifier?"

Really Michael!!! You shouldn't be able to hear the perfect preamp!!!!!!!!

Cheers George

Glotz's picture

compared to the Gryphon would be laughably colored and veiled and clouded and bandwidth limited, etc. etc etc.

Compare the two, then talk your trash. Otherwise, it's just rigidity speaking.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Who are "We" whom you said have compared a passive linestage vs Gryphon ?

Just out of curiosity.

Jack L

Glotz's picture

and no comparisons have been made betwixt the two components, nor will they be.

Assertions will be made, however incorrectly.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Be nice to MF. It is his job to review whatever audios assigned to him/interested to him personally.

Unlike Gordon Holt, the then owner/publisher of Stereophile magazine, who did not worry offending patrons by doing the reveiw impartially instead of sales pitching.

Not many such audio papers could do that.

Jack L

ok's picture

is mostly oriented towards asian markets nowadays. Hot money comes back, local jobs flourish, rich people get fooled.. what's not to like? It's a fun read too; nasty comments even more so, as long as *we* are not their primary target.

David Harper's picture

If I had enough money to buy this preamp I, to, would imagine that it sounds better. Just like Mike.

johnnythunder1's picture

commenters. Unappreciative. Negative. Cynical. Nothing constructive to say. Have something to complain about the equipment, the reviewers. Ignorance about the role of magazines and what they do to stay in business to entertain a bunch of equipment lovers - not music lovers (music is never mentioned by the commenters but measurements and prices are.) Equipment lovers who think they know it all and can't stand the opinions of others. Can't take anything positive away from anything - the writing, the analysis and the reviewing process. Just projecting all their unconscious BS on others. Your collective MO translates as "HOW DARE SOMEONE LIKE SOMETHING I CAN'T AFFORD OR THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM MINE." Your jealousy and pettiness is just so transparent. It just doesn't stop and has become truly malicious and ugly. I hope the new editors ignore the sh-t out of you all and continue to review aspirational esoteric equipment that you will never afford. Read Consumer Reports. Start your own "Bargain Blog."

windansea's picture

I thought it was a well-written and interesting review!
And I tend to believe Mr Fremer's opinion that he did in fact hear slightly superior transparency versus his reference dartZeel pre. Of course absent a blind ABX the reader is left unable to have the utmost confidence. And echoing George's point, a quality passive pre (autoformers or LDR) should be more transparent than any active, so that would have been an interesting comparison.

That said, at this exceptional price point (far higher the top of the line for Audio Research or Conrad Johnson or Shindo), I look not so much for mere transparency as for some extra vitality, what some tube preamps can do. (call it musicality or tone boosting or whatever) Think Shindo or certain niche preamps with NOS tubes that add something delightful. Not exactly hi-fidelity, but I don't mind euphonic distortion. Aural catnip.

That additional musical enjoyment is absent from Mr Fremer's review of the Gryphon Commander.

noamgeller's picture

I will do my best to write logicly. No sarcasm or offense intended.

The ever rising prices for Audio products is somewhat staggering.
Few Luxus audio Brands are pushing retail prices threw the roof, knowing that they have to play the game for to stay in the game. Bigger, more expensive more exclusive is better right?
I cannot blame them, it´s a tough world... Mucnich Highend is a perfect example of it. The more exclusive you are the more attention you get.
So, is it the Consumer to blame? or the provider? maybe the guy (press) who is running in between to deliver us with information?
Thank you Michael for all that you do!

Many many of us can see clearly through this ever expending bubble. Can you blame us for wanting to pop it?

You see, most of the Audiophile folks I personally know are high up on the food chain. Engineers, Elektro-engineers, Product Designers and so on... smart people in short.
So we called the king naked
We threw some tommatoes on him
and now we wright Poems...
Every person and his own way to deal with inflation.

teched58's picture

Oooh, johnnythunder (the first unhinged comment above, not the second, more reasonable one) called us jealous. Ooooh, how will I ever go on with such an onerous insult hanging over my head? Am I a communist, too? BTW, I do have to give you credit for even posting this comment, because I thought you OD'd 30 years ago. (Others say it was leukemia and some even speculate you met with foul play. Presumably because of comments like this.)

Anyway, I WILL EXPLAIN TO YOU WHY WE ARE FED UP WITH $$$$ REVIEWS. It's NOT because we are jealous. It's because these reviews HAVE NO UTILITY for us. We will not be buying $63,000 switch boxes. Reviews like this take up staff mindshare that could be used to help guide us to stuff we will actually buy.

Why do you think people are going to the objectivist forum that shall not be named? It's not even because we are objectivists. (Indeed, nearly all SP readers have some subjectivist component.) It's because we want to read about affordable gear like that from Topping and Schiit. (Yes, I know they've reviewed a few Toppings and some affordable Elacs and Klipschs. But these are relatively few and far between; paradoxically they're like finding a nugget of gold amid the Hot Rock-priced audio blingware.)

Now excuse we while I go call Fidel and my other commie compadres to tell them that you've found me out and told the world about my jeeeeealllousy.

Jack L's picture

......of others" qtd johnnythunder 1.

Hi

First all, here is an open venue open to yeasayers & naysayers.

Your above comment only shows that "Your jealousy & pettiness is just so transparent" as being a yeasayer who can't stand naysayers upfront & frank opinion.

I do not see any naysayers in this forum topic ever quoted they "know it all". Only you accused them being so, apparently due to your own inferior complex or the like.

Even though I know how to design/build a linestage with "straight-line bypass" feature (quoting Gordon Holt) with zip harmonic/phase distortion etc etc, I never ever quote myself being "know-all". So please do not put your words in those naysayers' mouths, Mr. Thunder ! Much appreciated.

Listening with own ears is believing

Jack L

Glotz's picture

NT

thefritz's picture

Topping Pre90 as a much better choice, every single measurement confirms this.
So Gryphon is rather expensive and not Audacious Audio, with the Topping preamp clocking in at ~1% of the Gryphon's price tag.

hiendmmoe's picture

It’s funny how every time I read these comment sections regarding ultra Hiend components being reviewed the whiners come out and hijack the comment sections. Get a life, find some happiness because we don’t give a …. what you think!

David Harper's picture

It's the other way around. It's you high-enders who need to get a life.
Nobody with any brains thinks a 63K preamp makes any sense. Read that sentence over and over and over again. Do you get it now?

The Tinkerer's picture

So, you're cross shopping both the Gryphon and another (cheaper-but-equal) preamp and arrived at this conclusion?

What about a McLaren with $13k in painted-in racing stripes and $20k in carbon fiber options "makes sense"? But car mags fly off the shelves and they don't have people like you getting angry with "why don't you review the new Dacia Sendero!"

If you're cross shopping this Gryphon with another vastly cheaper preamp and arrived at the informed conclusion that it's not worth it, that's totally fine. If you're just guessing about how it performs and cannot afford the Gryphon, you're adding to the SNR in a negative way. It's that simple.

Imagine showing up to a wine tasting behaving like this....

hiendmmoe's picture

I spend more listening than talking; “I think that’s what sets you and I apart”!

hiendmmoe's picture

Just want to say I enjoy reading about your reviews on ultra Hiend equipment. Even though I can’t afford to buy it ( at least not retail ) I still feel it’s worth my time to educate myself on what the leading edge has to offer. Please post more reviews regarding cost no object components.
Maybe you could start separate magazines. One dedicated to low to mid hifi and the other to hiend to ultra hiend?

otaku's picture

Yes, please continue to review the Good Stuff. I have an older high-end SACD player that bought used. I never could have afforded it new, but I love it.

The Tinkerer's picture

Agreed!!!! I love reading about true benchmark, High End equipment!

Sound and Vision used to be under the same umbrella if they aren't still. They review PLENTY of inexpensive stuff.

It feels like half the commenters here are subscribed to the wrong periodical.

MZKM's picture

What engineer for this company thought that for a $63k preamp that clipping at 2V balanced would be ok? Sure, at 4V it is still respectable performance, but it’s just head scratching. Some amps even need more than 4V to achieve max wattage, as they use low gain input buffers (or none at all) in order to maximize performance.

georgehifi's picture

"Topping Pre90 as a much better choice, every single measurement confirms this."

Yes but the yeasayers will tell you there's some sort of voodoo/magic been done inside the Gryphon that can't be measure or seen.

Cheers George

JHL's picture

...but I strongly suspect you do not, that not one person in this unfortunate thread of comments has so much as hinted at that, George, meaning that your insulting drive-by remark, like a number of similar comments from the usual suspects, have inverted the argument. In order to smear people you don't know on the subject of a product you have no experience with following the work of the experienced, qualified reviewer you just slandered, you, like so many fellow so-called objectivists resorted to that same transparently-false canard.

The objectivist canard begins with the unfounded, unbacked, and flatly ignorant conclusion that a suite of measurements of just X, Y, and Z perfectly and completely speak for the real sound of a device. You leave that assumption unchallenged and so that you can gate-keep and take scalps and generally behave poorly in public while you demonstrate that ignorance and gross incivility.

It is the objectivist's purported argument, and not the reviewer and not the civil commenter's argument, that relies on magic and voodoo, whatever you mean by that, in a priori erecting the notion that you know how a device sounds. It's your assertion that lacks a proper foundation. And it's your assumption that you know what clearly you do not that manifests as the problem, not the listeners and not the thoughtful reader who simply understands that yes, we don't know what it sounds or smells or tastes or looks like until we personally take it in.

In fact, it's this argument you make - addressing the broader topic now - that becomes a logical conundrum, a non sequitur, and a facade, when it tacitly expects to demand the proof of a negative; the existence of a phenomenon - that of sound, which is why we do audio after all - when you, as the corollary of your obvious error that we can measure sound, demand of others that they endure all the many objectivist abuses and for them, produce evidence of a phenomenon that by your own tacit admission, does not exist.

That is a profoundly unscientific and un-objective position to take, but it is the root of the objectivist cant and dogma. It is the core of the deeply ignorant assumption, an assumption that ends in wild and wildly uncivil assertions like yours and these, that others can't experience, mayn't try, are frauds, and here in the anonymous comments section of a free online publication, must perform for you.

Your kind expect the world to perform for you to fulfill your biases, and when they naturally don't, you abuse them while in effect you demean the pursuit of recreating the sound of music for the elevated purpose and state of mind that pursuit brings.

That's a terrible argument and it's a terrible thing that unexamined behavior does to the audio high end. It's comments threads like this that have me biting my tongue until I can't stay quiet any longer. It's displays like these that have any rational, civil reader hoping the editors just close the comments entirely. And displays of this hostile ignorance and rush to abuse that has me fearing for the pastime.

The statement that "the Topping Pre90 as a much better choice, every single measurement confirms this" [sic] is in fact a direct and bald-faced admission of that ignorance. It is untrue but it and others like it is motivated by an active pursuit of that ignorance aimed at just this problem we have in these exchanges. I didn't want to point that out before but I will now, way down in the basement of this stupid thread.

This preamplifier is, as the Editor himself documented and reported, one of the finest he's measured in his very long and quite capable career with this journal. The notion that it's bested, in any conceivable, meaningful way, by a cheap speedline import aimed solely at cheap numbers marketed toward easily-led consumers of such peripheral things, transparently preposterous.

Fine audio is worth protecting. Man up, grow up, and do better. Self-satisfied objectivists haven't found the slightest fraction of the magic elixir of technical truth you give all indications you think you have, one hundreds of years of journalistic excellence somehow missed in their promotion of "voodoo and magic". All you've outed is the obvious fantastic weakness of that miserable, ignorant, and uncivil assertion.

Go buy something else, listen to something else, read and critique something your own speed, and at least act like a reasonable consumer you seem to want to be seen to be. It's not working among your betters.

David Harper's picture

The above post may be the most misinformed and illogical thing I have ever read in my life. It would take far more time and effort than I wish to devote to this thread to point out the numerous delusions, misconceptions and fallacies in this post.

JHL's picture

...is informed by decades of multidisciplinary research and hands-on experience. It has such an impeccable logic to it that apparently you'd find it uncomfortable to engage it on merits. Any of it.

But I'm happy to also bank the amusing slander of 'delusion' as your reputation's best shot.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Which was "that post" you are talking about ?

I got the impression you are barking up the wrong tree until now, pal.

Georgehifi & yours truly were talking about the technical & sonic issue of a linestage with gain & without gain (passive) vs prices. This is the manufacturer-vendors issue.

Not finger-pointing at whoever did the review of whatever audios here. It is the job of the reviewer to do the review of component, good or bad irrespective. So why keep on bitching us for insulting your great heroic "the best audio reporters in the business' with "one hundreds (?) of years of journalistic excellence" ????????

My decades of analogue music enjoyment (1,000+ LPs) & my decades of audio amps design/built hands-on experience (including truly "straight-line bypass" passive linestages) back up what I have stated here in this forum topic.

Enough said.

Listening to music with own ears, not sales pitches, is believing.

Jack L

PS: Your heroic audio reporter is reportedly leaving for the other strong compeition audio journal. Why don't you join him there???

Jack L's picture

Hi.

Yes, just like priceless historic paintings framed up in the museums.

Yet fine consumers are "worth protecting" too, right ? $63,000 is a lot of money for ordinary audio Joe Blows. Indeed such money can buy bread & better to feed many many starving people in poor countries.

So you have problem with "worth protecting" fine consumers by accusing them biasing! So what, this is $63,000 bias against profiteering makers/vendors.

What is musicality of this $63,000 switch box with gain to do with
its finest measurement ever documented & reported by the Editor ?

So you ASSUME best measurement would warrant best sounding ??
Sorry I don't from my aural experience.

Yea, George biased against & YOU bias fowards the same expensive merchandise. "Fine audio" or fine consumers should "worth protecting
more ??

Listening is believing

Jack L

JHL's picture

...a bias favoring expensive components for the sake of price, Jack. Never have. See the comment you replied to; I favor fine audio. Since I've always made it clear that sound is the goal, fine audio is defined by its tremendous sound.

From there I naturally favor fine audio's legitimate reporters, while I dismiss the irrationality and gross technical shortcomings of low-level attacks, especially those that guilt by price or abuse true knowledge.

Not much exemplifies that last category better than tossed-off comments in free threads hosted by the best audio reporters in the business. And the worst of *those* comments rob a stranger of their intent, project another motivation against them, and declare victory.

Jack L's picture

.

Glotz's picture

For exposing the illogical ignorance and fallacies purported by the usual suspects who never stick to a single argument nor admit when their argument has no validity or strays so vastly from their assertions.

It is disingenuous to use expensive component examples for to justify their own arguments and then decrying another example of expensive equipment simply because it doesn't fit their own dogmatic biases.

Worse yet they pretend they are trying to protect other consumers from buying expensive equipment. This is despite the fact anyone purchasing this type of gear would already have amassed much knowledge of this hobby and the product before purchasing.

georgehifi's picture

http://s3.amazonaws.com/pix.iemoji.com/images/emoji/apple/ios-12/256/thu... To the above David Harper post

And to the post above that one.
Submitted by JHL "The statement that "the Topping Pre90 as a much better choice, every single measurement confirms this" [sic]"

And it wasn't even me that posted this, that's how much is absorbed by this reader.

Cheers George

Auditor's picture

Michael Fremer is moving to The Absolute Sound. Lucky guy! He won't have to put up anymore with the craziness and rudeness that goes on under the comments section of Stereophile.

georgehifi's picture

He'll suit it, no measurements done over there, just poetic licence reviewing.

Readers that can analyse JA's measurements, can usually draw compassion lines to what some better listening reviews say.

Cheers George

noamgeller's picture

https://www.tonepublications.com/industry-news/a-box-of-nothing-from-mcintosh/

Need I say more?

The joke is on us consumers

Auditor's picture

Well, that just destroyed my opinion of McIntosh.

However, let's not tar the whole industry with the same brush. A lot of companies are run by folks who are first and foremost passionate about music and who aren't in it to squeeze as much money out of consumers as they possibly can.

It's up to us, the consumers, to do our homework and exercise our judgement.

Jack L's picture

BINGO !!!

Judge its sound & function instead of price !!!!

Jack L

Glotz's picture

You wouldn't buy it, clearly.

For someone that has spent thousands on a full Mac rig, $200 is nothing. An LED system with Mac branding and the level of Mac casework required is certainly reasonable- for a McIntosh customer.

Briandrumzilla's picture

According to Mcintosh website. Eagerly waiting for the review and measurements.

Glotz's picture

for McIntosh products!

If it didn't fit the customer base, it wouldn't sell.

Auditor's picture

Glotz, you obviously haven't read the Tone post. According to the article, the box costs $1500, not $200. Of course, at $200 it could make sense, I guess; esthetically speaking, that is. They also talk about McIntosh wooden boards that are being sold at an unconscionable price. It's actually the boards that bother me more than the light box. In any case, whatever one thinks of this, it's good policy to read the article before commenting.

Glotz's picture

Yeah my bad. I skimmed the article. I re-read it after the last poster corrected me. Oh look, a poster that admits a mistake!

$1500 is terrible!! Grrrrrr. Lol.. not really.

Lastly, Jeff D sounds like an absolute ranting child the way he went off on the product. Pure embarrassment for a professional writer.

If you have pride of ownership and $40,000 in Mac gear, $1500 isn't going to break the bank to have additional Mac pride.

You shouldn't let it bother you... It's not even available anymore!

There are tons of watches, pens, shoes, stereos, cars and a million other expensive products out there that we can't afford. For Boomers with expendable income, this is their hobby and enjoyment. Can't put a price on happiness, bro.

And the sell out of this product proves it.

GregWeaver's picture

Michael.... IGNORE ALL THIS STATIC. As you well know, this is just so many sphincters whining, with ZERO knowledge or understanding. Almost ALL of these Nay Sayers are just spewing nonsense... I will reiterate two points I’ve made in print for decades now, and that I suspect we both agree upon.

One - Until you've ACTUALLY heard something, you have no possible way to know or understand what it sounds like, and therefore, you can have NO OPINION on its sound!

Two - Price alone is NOT a clear indicator of performance. I’ve heard some HORRENDOUS sounding very expensive products. But, by that same token, the finest performance available today is not cheap.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Cool it! Why you've gone so peronal as if Mike were your kissing cousin

This is a public forum open to comments, positive or negative.
FYI, this is the job of the reviewers to review & report subject to response of their readers. The review-response system works this way since day one. Nothing personal about who reviewed what !!

Now you claim the naysayers here got "ZERO knowledge & understanding blah blah blah.. How do YOU know ???? Substantiate yr such accussation, please.

FYI in case you missed it: As one of the naysayers for this linestage topic, I design/built truly straight-line-bypass passive linestages many years back for pure music lovers. I am using one myself.

My question to YOU: do you know anything about design/building a line-preamp ?? If you don't, you got SUB-ZERO knowledgw & understanding about it. Better keep it to yourself instead telling the whole world how sooo "smart" you are !!!

Listening music is believing

Jack L

GregWeaver's picture

Jack L.
Yet again you show how easily you are confused and lose focus.

My comments had absolutely nothing to do with the design, or the sound, of anything, including the Gryphon Commander or any line stage, for that matter.

Rather, my comments were aimed at those who railed at the prospect that such an expensive price was somehow either unjustified, or couldn’t possible offer better performance than a less costly product WITHOUT having as much as heard it. I notice that you TOTALLY IGNORED both of my tenets – first, that if you haven’t heard something, you cannot have a valid opinion of how it sounds. Second, while price alone is not a direct indicator of performance, the best performance available today is not cheap!

Clearly you were so incensed by thinking you were part of the Nay Sayers I was mentioning that you chose to leap before you looked.

As to “substantiating” my position, if you don’t recognize my name, you clearly haven’t been in or around this industry very long. Michael is an old and respected colleague. You might want to do some research before you ask such silly questions.

I’ve been involved in this industry for over fifty years, and have been consulting (as a designer), writing about, reviewing, covering shows and events, contributing to authoritative books, and interviewing industry leaders for over thirty-five years. I’ve written for and edited a number of publications including the audio analyst©, Positive Feedback (in print and online), SoundStage!, The Stereo Times, Enjoy the Music, TONEAudio, and The Absolute Sound – where Michael started his audio writing career in the Sept/Oct 1986 issue, Vol. 11/Issue 42.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Sorry, your very substantial resume does not save your day, pal.
Instead it only shows us the background of your sheer arrogance in accusing the naysayers in this forum topic as "ZERO knowledge & understanding".

I never yet commented your 2 tenets as I put my "focus" first at your insulting our fellow readers. Showing your ego of being "50 years in "this industry", right ?

With yr claim of decades experience in reviewing, how come you still have not learned the principle of reviewing & reporting - impartial & impersonal. Mike obviously understands his role of being an impartial & impersonal reviewer as so far in this topic, he has not shown any burst of temper like you clearly showed us all !!!

Soung like you got up out the wrong side of the bed, you need a coffee to cool it down !

Jack L

PS: I am going to get on your two tenets later, particulary the 2nd one. Don't worry !

GregWeaver's picture

"Instead it only shows us the background of your sheer arrogance in accusing the naysayers in this forum topic as "ZERO knowledge & understanding".

You just don't get it... Like all posers, you are focused on the wrong things... Instead of trying to ignore my points, the reality is that all the Nay Sayers HAVE NEVER HEARD THE PRODUCT UNDER CONDISERATION. Thier opinion, which is both uninformed and ignorant, is the issue here. Yet you have no comprehension of the reality of the situation...

You, and your hyper flawed misunderstanding of, and arguments ignoring, the issues under discussion (no REALLY!) show your inability to understand the art and essence of debate. And in fact, you've really dropped your pants to show your unsupportable position. It is just such misunderstanding and arrogance that has conspired to keep me from even trying to reason with the trolls and agitators out there - posers just like you!

Please feel free to waste someone else's time with your evasion and unsupportable stances... No, REALLY. You're not even aware of how clueless you are... Enjoy your time huffing and puffing...I'm sure you enjoy that. ;-)

Glotz's picture

I could not agree more. This is a forum for certain people to pretend they are the only ones that matter to audio reproduction.

Moreover, they do it in a cowardly fashion by adding insults and assumptions about everyone and everything, while never questioning their own flimsy positions. 'Cooling it' really applies to him only.

Thanks Greg, been reading your work with TAS for years.

Jack L's picture

Hi

How are you so sure ALL naysayers NEVER heard the $63,000 switch box? Have you done such a survey or just blined guessing ?

My question to YOU: have you ever audition it ??????

If YES, you should have put forth your aural impression of this expensive switch box to compare with Mike F's review instead of whining !!!! Do something positve to us readers here rather venting your spreen here !

If NO, "you have really dropped your pants to show" us all yr shady
hypocrisy. Shame !!!

One might be knowledgeable like the Almighty, but still one has no right to condemn whoever else "ZERO knowledge & understanding".

This is PEROSNAL attack, IMO, being unCIVIL & should be deleted from this civil venue.

Jack L

GregWeaver's picture

Hello Glotz, and thanks for your clear expression of what is going on here with this insecure and uniformed poser...

I had meant to respond to, and applaud, your earlier post...

"These comments are out of line
Submitted by Glotz on June 20, 2022 - 11:58am
All of them are insulting and completely ignorant.

None of you have heard this preamp and have no idea of what you are talking about."

And honestly, I thought your above post was the first to get the whole point here. Dislike, deny, and doubt any product all you want. But if you haven't heard it, you have no ability, or right, to express an opinion on how that unheard product sounds. While I've no issues with statements such as, "Well, given my experience I don't believe it could...," or "I just don't see how it might be...," beyond that, until you've heard it, just keep yer trap shut.

Thanks for your support over the years, stay grounded, and safe! ;-)

noamgeller's picture

Hallo GregWeaver
I appreciate your stand and your opinion.
But, I will position myself carefully at the naysayers group.
I do know that certain products are trying to push the limits of what is possible and so on and I will repeat what I formally wrote:
The ever rising prices for Audio products is somewhat staggering.
Few Luxus audio Brands are pushing retail prices threw the roof, knowing that they have to play the game for to stay in the game. Bigger, more expensive more exclusive is better right?
I cannot blame them, it´s a tough world... Munich Highend is a perfect example of it. The more exclusive you are the more attention you get.
So, is it the Consumer to blame? or the provider? maybe the guy (press) who is running in between to deliver us with information?

Many many of us can see clearly through this ever expending bubble. Can you blame us for wanting to pop it?

I know it’s your place to deliver the news and the goods… yet. Haven’t we gone a step too far. Especially in these times of war, is there really a place for such luxury when some of do not have a home to return to?
Cars, and other luxury products are sharing the same fate or so it seems.
I do write with a tear in one eye… yet I do not consider myself a whiner.

Jack L's picture

Hi

BINGO ! Well said calm & cool !

Yet many here don't have a clue. They just WHINE about whoever don't
pay same flattery compliment to their favourite reviewers by accusing them having "ZERO knowledge & understanding".

SHAME !!!!

Jack L

Jack L's picture

Hi

I wish Gordon Holt is still around here !

Jack L

GregWeaver's picture

This will be my last post on this ridiculous thread.

Jack L. - you clearly cannot, or choose not to, comprehend what you read.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Indeed! Your personal attack to us readers here have made this forum topic "ridiculous" !

Quiting won't save your pants here, pal.

Before you quit, I hereby request you again to answer my very up-to-the-topic question which you try to ignore:-

You have ever auditioned this $63,000 line-amp ??

I am all ears!

Jack L

noamgeller's picture

I had genuin intrest in your response. I was not planning with "waste of time" and "ridiculouse". A shame really.

georgehifi's picture
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