High End 2023 - Munich, Germany
- Written by Doug Schneider Doug Schneider
- Parent Category: Shows-Events Shows-Events
- Created: 20 May 2023 20 May 2023
High End 2023 Product Coverage: Gryphon Audio Designs Diablo 333 Integrated Amplifier
Denmark’s Gryphon Audio Designs is well known for massive class-A-biased power amplifiers that generate a lot of heat, take up a lot of space, and probably injure a lot of backs as buyers try to maneuver them into place. Examples include Gryphon’s flagship Apex stereo and monoblock power amplifiers. The stereo version of the Apex won a SoundStage! Network Product of the Year award in 2022.
While those big Apex amps are truly admirable, I’m willing to wager that Gryphon sells a lot more of its class-AB-biased Diablo series of integrated amplifiers, which, until this show, consisted of the Diablo 120 and Diablo 300. These are still pretty big, but not back-breaking-big like the Apex, not nearly as hot when running, and way cheaper in price—all of which make them more practical for many listeners.
Enter the new Diablo 333, which replaces the Diablo 300. Sales director Rune Skov told me it’s “a class-AB integrated amplifier that sounds like a Gryphon class-A design.” Priced at €21,800 without the optional, newly developed DS-3 DAC or PS-3 phono-stage modules (€6100 and €4800, respectively), the Diablo 333 is built to the nines and a powerhouse of an integrated amp—just like the Diablo 300 that it supersedes. But the Diablo 333 is more powerful and has more features. Rated output, per the model designation, is 333Wpc into 8 ohms, so about 10 percent higher than the Diablo 300, which was rated at 300Wpc. Gryphon also claims 666Wpc into 4 ohms or 1100Wpc into 2 ohms, which are indicators that this integrated should be able to drive pretty much any pair of loudspeakers on the planet—even those with very low impedance dips.
Other features include true dual-mono construction, meaning as much physical separation between the right and left channels as possible; no global negative feedback; a “microprocessor-controlled 43-step true balanced relay volume attenuator” that puts “only 1–2 resistors in series with the signal at all levels”; a subwoofer output (which the Diablo 300 also had in fairness to it); and an attractive and functional 4.3″ front-panel touchscreen (which, it needs to be pointed out, the Diablo 300 didn’t have). Like all of Gryphon’s products, the Diablo 333 is built in Denmark.
Last year, Gryphon had a static display, meaning no music was playing. I expected the same thing this year, but in the back area of the display room, a Diablo 333 was powering a pair of the company’s EOS 2 loudspeakers, which sell for around €26,000 per pair. Since the EOS 2 is a two-way floorstander that’s quite compact, I wasn’t expecting the fulsome sound I heard. The room was packed, and I couldn’t find a seat, so I was off to one side, which was obviously a suboptimal spot. Still, what I heard convinced me that it would be wise to learn more about this speaker—and the Diablo 333, of course—in the future.
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