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  1. #1
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    Gryphon built in DAC's

    Hi All;
    Anyone do critical appraisal with their built in DAC's in their Diablos or Zena/Essence preamps? Any comparisons with the external Kalliope of other high end external DAC's?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: Gryphon built in DAC's

    So, I have the Diablo 120 w/optional DAC. It is a glorious DAC, imo. The sound along with the amp, is big, analogue-ish sounding and still very 3D with the sound stage outside of my mains.

    FWIW, i used to judge mobile sq audio systems and was a certified IASCA judge…I know I’m banging my own gong, but critically listening and judging against an established format was something I took seriously since it was a competition scene and came with responsibility. I know what you’re thinking 😂


    I try not to be this way at home, since today’s ‘sessions’ are all about relaxation, stress relief, and taking me back to memory lane and IME, the system has to have the ability to illicit a response from you…. It’s (diablo dac) no tube pre/dac so get that out of your expectations. I dont find the sound to be precise or ultra resolving. I find it occupying so much of the space in the soundstage. I never (yet) compared it to another high end dac in the same setting and not in the vicinity of the Kalliope.

    I just recently acquired a Lumin X1 so I will be able to make a comparison between the two. Never my intent to ever do a comparison as such. You can think of it as a mistake in merry-go-rounding. But I am already expecting the X1 DAC section to perform better. And this way, I can switch back and forth easily between the X1 DAC and Gryphon’s internal offerings.

    What are you contemplating on?
    _______________

    Main Room: TAD ME-1 < Stereo Pair REL Carbon Specials < Diablo 120 w/DAC Module < [Lumin X1 < Torus RM20]

    Loft: Apple HomePod Mini




  3. #3
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    Re: Gryphon built in DAC's

    I'll be interested in your opinion when you compare the Lumin to the internal DAC of your Diablo. I have a Diablo 300 and an original Lumin A1. I opted to not get the internal DAC for my 300, guessing my Lumin would satisfy my digital needs.
    Mark


    Kharma DB9 Signature speakers
    Gryphon Diablo 300 integrated
    REL S2 Subwoofers
    Lumin A1 Network Streamer
    VPI Avenger with Magnetic Drive
    Manley Chinook Phono Pre
    Ortofon Cadenza Black cartridge
    Kimber Select 6063 speaker cables
    Kimber Select 1116 XLR interconnects

  4. #4
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    Re: Gryphon built in DAC's

    Thanks for the reply;
    Ultimately, I question whether the Essence preamp/DAC combo will outperform my Mola Mola Tambaqui going directly into my Essence stereo amp. I feel the DAC performance would go down a bit, while the soundstage and dynamics would be improved by the addition of the preamp.
    RH

  5. #5
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    Re: Gryphon built in DAC's

    That’s a good question. Keeping it in the family has some pros. But also mixing things up has unforeseen and unexpected/positive results too. I do really appreciate the engineering that Gryphon took to implement their internal DACs. They’re not afterthoughts and I think they stand in their own against others in the price range. I guess I would be in a minority with the internal dac since most folks opted for separates. But some folks have said skip the internal (D300) dac and go forward the Chord Dave.

    I like the big-analog sound of the Gryphons. I only used a streamer as my source during critical listening and to be honest, they inject their own tonal characteristics too using the internal DAC. (Went from U1 Mini to U1 and now X1)

    A little secret. The reason why I went with the X1 (or considered similar) was, in hopes, that I would someday grow into the amp you have now, Gryphon Essence (or again, something similar). I would go directly from the X1, skip the pre/dac and go into the amp. But I realize that I wouldn’t be able to use my Tv in 2ch when needed. Compromises everywhere. Sigh.

    When I get my XRLs, I’ll comment back. Trying not to lose it here while I wait though. Back to work I guess.
    _______________

    Main Room: TAD ME-1 < Stereo Pair REL Carbon Specials < Diablo 120 w/DAC Module < [Lumin X1 < Torus RM20]

    Loft: Apple HomePod Mini




  6. #6
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    Re: Gryphon built in DAC's

    Quote Originally Posted by Low325 View Post
    That’s a good question. Keeping it in the family has some pros. But also mixing things up has unforeseen and unexpected/positive results too. I do really appreciate the engineering that Gryphon took to implement their internal DACs. They’re not afterthoughts and I think they stand in their own against others in the price range. I guess I would be in a minority with the internal dac since most folks opted for separates. But some folks have said skip the internal (D300) dac and go forward the Chord Dave.

    I like the big-analog sound of the Gryphons. I only used a streamer as my source during critical listening and to be honest, they inject their own tonal characteristics too using the internal DAC. (Went from U1 Mini to U1 and now X1)

    A little secret. The reason why I went with the X1 (or considered similar) was, in hopes, that I would someday grow into the amp you have now, Gryphon Essence (or again, something similar). I would go directly from the X1, skip the pre/dac and go into the amp. But I realize that I wouldn’t be able to use my Tv in 2ch when needed. Compromises everywhere. Sigh.

    When I get my XRLs, I’ll comment back. Trying not to lose it here while I wait though. Back to work I guess.
    You will enjoy the Essence. The most remarkable feature is it's front to back imaging...very impressive! I was very interested in the Lumin X1, but needed an optical input. I will enjoy hearing your comparison!

  7. #7
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    Re: Gryphon built in DAC's

    Thanks…saving up my pennies, or given my luck, it’ll be a one of those careless purchases. Made one too many of those in the past…several them in audio ha!

    Anyway just a quick update. Still not conclusive comparison since I think the X1 is still burning in.

    I’m playing against two options:

    X1 streamer to diablo dac via USB - after 168 hours
    Really good SQ. Very balanced but after hearing the X1 analog output, I can hear less details and its not as open on the top. But I can hear more midbass with a richer midrange. For what its worth, when I fed my U1 (high quality streamer only) into the Diablo dac, I thought this was a fantastic match - gave me goosebumps.

    X1 streamer/Dac to diablo via balanced XLR - after 48 hours explicitly analog output
    More detail and more resolving, naturally you’d expect more of everything (queue in the saying, right?) …but seems to have less bass? The voices and instruments seem to ‘float’ more in space and they seem to have more density front to the rear of each element.
    The less bass part has me scratching my head…this is the first time in a long time..I went to go adjust the settings on my RELs. I also listened without my subs on and it just didn’t sound ‘right’ - kind of sounded empty. Also the midrange isn’t there like the with the Diablo dac. Perhaps, the X1 still needs burn in time?

    I’m hoping to say in 30+ more days as the X1 breaks in that, it is stupendous! *crossing my fingers*. (I have my U1 up for sale too…gulp! )

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky64 View Post
    You will enjoy the Essence. The most remarkable feature is it's front to back imaging...very impressive! I was very interested in the Lumin X1, but needed an optical input. I will enjoy hearing your comparison!
    _______________

    Main Room: TAD ME-1 < Stereo Pair REL Carbon Specials < Diablo 120 w/DAC Module < [Lumin X1 < Torus RM20]

    Loft: Apple HomePod Mini




  8. #8
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    Re: Gryphon built in DAC's

    Hi Mark,
    How are you going from your Lumin to Diablo? XLR to XLR, or bypassing the Diablo pre and going into input 3 (AV bypass)?

    Quote Originally Posted by MDP View Post
    I'll be interested in your opinion when you compare the Lumin to the internal DAC of your Diablo. I have a Diablo 300 and an original Lumin A1. I opted to not get the internal DAC for my 300, guessing my Lumin would satisfy my digital needs.
    _______________

    Main Room: TAD ME-1 < Stereo Pair REL Carbon Specials < Diablo 120 w/DAC Module < [Lumin X1 < Torus RM20]

    Loft: Apple HomePod Mini




  9. #9
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    Re: Gryphon built in DAC's

    Quote Originally Posted by Low325 View Post
    Hi Mark,
    How are you going from your Lumin to Diablo? XLR to XLR, or bypassing the Diablo pre and going into input 3 (AV bypass)?
    I'm going XLR to XLR. Sounds fantastic! I've heard the different Lumin streamers and still like my A1, I've always enjoyed the sound of the Wolfson DAC Chips.
    Mark


    Kharma DB9 Signature speakers
    Gryphon Diablo 300 integrated
    REL S2 Subwoofers
    Lumin A1 Network Streamer
    VPI Avenger with Magnetic Drive
    Manley Chinook Phono Pre
    Ortofon Cadenza Black cartridge
    Kimber Select 6063 speaker cables
    Kimber Select 1116 XLR interconnects

  10. #10
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    Re: Gryphon built in DAC's

    Quote Originally Posted by MDP View Post
    I'm going XLR to XLR. Sounds fantastic! I've heard the different Lumin streamers and still like my A1, I've always enjoyed the sound of the Wolfson DAC Chips.
    I believe you. When done right they’re just as sublime. Enjoy it!

    I’ve decided to allow the app to do volume control and now that both devices are playing a little nicer with each other, the Lumin is now sounding more like what I’m used to. I’m no longer experiencing lean low frequency response and tonality but now rich midrange with a more open top end.

    I’m also using XLR. At some point I will try RCA to input 3 to bypass completely the Diablo preamp but that’s not an immediate need right now. Unity-ish gain/volume will suffice for now as it sounds good to my ears. Im telling yah, Leedh volume processing is awesome. Even at low volume.
    _______________

    Main Room: TAD ME-1 < Stereo Pair REL Carbon Specials < Diablo 120 w/DAC Module < [Lumin X1 < Torus RM20]

    Loft: Apple HomePod Mini




  11. #11
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    Re: Gryphon built in DAC's

    Currently feeding the DAC module in my Diablo 300 from a Wolf Audio Alpha 3SX via USB. Roon is employed to to access my 13TB of music from a NAS. Previously i used an Ayre QX5/20 and I am finding I appreciate the Gryphon module in many subtle ways. I think the elimination of a power cord and a pair of balanced interconnects has been helpful also. There is a clarity and ease that may be displaying a synergy within the Gryphon system. No regrets in in deciding to part with the Ayre.
    amp - Gryphon Diablo 300
    digital - Wolf Audio Alpha 3SX, Diablo DAC module
    phono pre - DSA Phono 2
    turntables/tonearms - Origin Live Sovereign Mk3, OL Enterprise Mk4, OL Illustrious Mk3c / VPI Classic 1
    cartridges - Miyajima Madake, Ortofon Windfeld Ti, Ortofon 2M Mono
    speakers - Spendor D9, Townshend Seismic Podiums
    cables, rack, cleaner - Audience AU24SX, Adona, Degritter

  12. #12
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    Re: Gryphon built in DAC's

    I agree as well. The Diablo dac really stands against the others in the range and even higher. Already I can hear what makes the X1 so popular amongst audiophiles - it IS a stellar unit. But with the Diablo dac, fed with a quality source, is an outstanding SQ performer. +1 on keeping a simple setup. I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase up if I were to stay in the Gryphon family and go with one another internal DAC module. Hats off to the Gryphon team!
    _______________

    Main Room: TAD ME-1 < Stereo Pair REL Carbon Specials < Diablo 120 w/DAC Module < [Lumin X1 < Torus RM20]

    Loft: Apple HomePod Mini




  13. #13
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    Re: Gryphon built in DAC's

    Sooooo been switching back and forth between the X1 Analog stage and the Diablo DAC. The latter seems to have more “oomph” or just a deeper bass presence. It also sounds like its has quite some depth to it, but very very balanced with the Lumin streamer/sound.

    The X1 has a nicer top end and more forward presentation, a little more livelier or just more sparkle. The bass sounds more taut…just pulled more to the tighter end of the spectrum with the leading impact more apparent.

    This sucks, cause now you’re actually winning some but losing some! Another observation, the Gryphon seem to be sensitive to input voltage. I would probably pick using the a Lumin streamer into the diablo dac, over using the Lumin X1 analog stage with the output to Low. But when it is increased to Normal, you get this open/resolving but still big soundstage. It presents more than just a loudness boost to my ears.

    I want to really try the dedicated AV input now just so I totally eliminate the diablo preamp for a more direct input. Have some Shunyata venom rca’s headed my way to try this.

    Either way, talk about optimizing the streaming to a DAC…
    _______________

    Main Room: TAD ME-1 < Stereo Pair REL Carbon Specials < Diablo 120 w/DAC Module < [Lumin X1 < Torus RM20]

    Loft: Apple HomePod Mini




  14. #14
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    Re: Gryphon built in DAC's

    Understand your curiosity and I am looking forward to your future observations. I will say the Gryphon DAC module required many many hours of use before it fully developed its potential in my system.
    amp - Gryphon Diablo 300
    digital - Wolf Audio Alpha 3SX, Diablo DAC module
    phono pre - DSA Phono 2
    turntables/tonearms - Origin Live Sovereign Mk3, OL Enterprise Mk4, OL Illustrious Mk3c / VPI Classic 1
    cartridges - Miyajima Madake, Ortofon Windfeld Ti, Ortofon 2M Mono
    speakers - Spendor D9, Townshend Seismic Podiums
    cables, rack, cleaner - Audience AU24SX, Adona, Degritter

  15. #15
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    Re: Gryphon built in DAC's

    Thanks. It’s really is standing on its own. I actually have almost a solid 3 months 24x7 playing music run in time with my Diablo. I’ve been running it in since day 1 and have been really impressed. Credit where it’s due, it’s not just amplifiers they’ve mastered.

    Throughout the next 30 days I will keep updating this thread.
    _______________

    Main Room: TAD ME-1 < Stereo Pair REL Carbon Specials < Diablo 120 w/DAC Module < [Lumin X1 < Torus RM20]

    Loft: Apple HomePod Mini




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