October 10, 2013 - When a manufacturer baptises a new audio component in honour of a Greek goddess whose name literally means “beautiful voice” and follows that up with a five-figure price tag on it, this represents a definite promise and considerable commitment.
Fortunately, the many members of the audiophile community who have followed the Danish brand’s progress since 1985 know that Gryphon founder and CEO Flemming E. Rasmussen is not given to idle boasts or hyperbole. Premiered in late prototype form at the Munich High End Show, the Gryphon Audio Designs Kaliope D/A converter has already generated a great deal of “buzz” worldwide.
A Moving Target
To keep the Kalliope on the cutting edge for a long time to come, its digital circuit boards employ modular layout for easy access to future upgrades. Firmware updates will be available via USB.
Flemming E. Rasmussen elaborates, “We designed the Kalliope to be a moving target in the rapid evolution of ultra high-resolution digital audio. For once, hardware seems to be out in front of software, as the Kalliope offers playback of PCM up to 32-bit/384 kHz and DSD up to 6.144 MHz. This is an exciting time to be in audio and we can hardly wait for more well recorded, interesting music to appear in these ultra hirez formats. I think music lovers will be startled when they finally experience the untapped potential of Gryphon amplifiers and loudspeakers.”
While the Gryphon Kalliope represents the brand’s first foray into the field of stand-alone digital-to-analogue processing,Gryphon Audio Designs have stood for major innovations throughout the digital era with an acclaimed series of CD players that, perhaps more than most, deserve to be described as integrated transport/DAC’s.
In 1998, Gryphon introduced the world to the sonic benefits of 88.2 kHz asynchronous sample rate conversion in the CDP-1 CD player, the world’s first implementation of this advanced technology. Gryphon Adagio, launched in 2001, and Gryphon Mikado, released in 2003, upgraded to 24-bit/96 kHz asynchronous sample rate conversion, preserving linearity for vastly reduced distortion and noise.
Digital the Gryphon Way
Kalliope deploys eight ESS Sabre ES9018 DAC chips in a dual-differential, dual-mono topology capable of full 32-bit processing. The heavily regulated, fully discrete, Class A analogue output stage employs zero negative feedback and offers both balanced XLR and single-ended phono outputs.
Gryphon Kalliope effectively removes one of the weak points in more conventional DAC designs: dependence on USB bus power, i.e., 5V fed to the USB receiver from the source computer via the USB cable's power line which “bleeds” noise and interference into the two data lines with significant audible impact. The 12.5 Farad SuperCap dedicated power supply of the Kalliope USB module acts as a virtual battery, delivering low-noise, stable, regulated power, eliminating the computer as a power source altogether.
Pure power at this crucial early stage makes a major contribution to the natural, effortless ease that defines the sound of the Gryphon Kalliope.
With consummate build quality, engineering, mechanical integrity and functional elegance, Gryphon Kalliope is a musical instrument designed solely to preserve the integrity and purity of the original musical event.
Like every Gryphon product, Gryphon Kalliope is designed by Gryphon founder and CEO Flemming E. Rasmussen and manufactured in Denmark.
・ Dedicated ESS SABRE ES9018 32-bit D/A converter for each channel
・ Each ES9018 incorporates eight individual D/A converters in Dual Differential coupling for optimal performance
・ USB input compatible with following audio formats via PC/MAC: PCM: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 352.8 and 384 kHz, up to 32 bits, DSD via USB (DoP): 2.822, 3.072, 5.644 and 6.144 MHz
・ BNC and XLR inputs compatible with PCM: 22.05, 24, 32, 44.1, 48, 64, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192 kHz, up to 24 bits
・ User-selectable PCM and DSD digital roll-off filters
・ User-selectable asynchronous PCM sample rate conversion
・ Temperature-compensated, ultra-low jitter crystal oscillators with better than 5 parts per million accuracy
・ 12.5 Farad SuperCap power supply for USB module for a true, independent battery source.
・ Balanced 110 Ohm XLR AES/EBU input
・ Three single-ended 75 Ohm BNC S/PDIF inputs.
・ Balanced 110 Ohm XLR AES/EBU output for de-jittered signal from selected input
・ Galvanic isolation of BNC and XLR inputs for minimal jitter
・ 75 Ohm BNC connector for optional external word clock
・ Modular digital audio sections for possible future upgrades
・ True Class A, fully discrete analogue circuitry with zero negative feedback
・ First-order PCM analogue filters and second-order DSD analogue filters with silvered Mica capacitors
・ Analogue output stages with discrete, ultra-low noise +/- 25VDC regulated voltage supplies for best THD and noise suppression
・ Discrete, ultra-low noise power supply for analogue section of ES9018 DAC
・ Comprehensive noise regulation of all digital circuits
・ Custom-built 65 VA toroidal transformer for each analogue channel
・ 34,000 microFarad power capacitor banks for each analogue channel
・ True Dual Mono configuration
・ Balanced XLR analogue outputs and single-ended phono outputs
・ Ultra-short signal path with minimal internal wiring
・ Four-layer 70 mm thick copper trace PCB’s
・ Personalised naming of each input
・ Vacuum Fluorescent Display with variable illumination
・ No drivers required for LINUX or MAC OSX
・ Driver available for Windows XP/Vista/7/8
・ Automatic standby mode with user-selectable interval
・ Standby power consumption less than 0.5W in accordance with EU regulations
・ 12V link in/out
・ Infrared remote control
・ EU CE approval
・ Designed and built in Denmark
Price 19.800 euro plus local taxes
Shipping starting mid October
About The Gryphon
Since its inception in 1985, Gryphon Audio Designs of Denmark has earned a worldwide reputation for state of the art performance, intuitive ergonomics and stunning aesthetic design. The Gryphon is among the select few High End brands to offer complete system solutions incorporating digital sources, amplification and loudspeakers. www.gryphon-audio.com