Along with our Newest Prestige line power amps ,came the need for a high performance preamp to suit the quality of our new tube amplifiers,while keeping the cost and size to manageable levels. Our newest preamplifier was developed for some years now, but never had the chance to be consumer ready. Finally, the Incito preamplifier is ready to be launched.
We took a great Einstein’s quote, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler” ,and absorbed it in our current audio design mentality. Simple circuits always work and most important, sound much better. However, simple solutions come with many shortcomings. Especially in audio ,this comes in the form of questionable measuring performance.
This is not the case with the Incito preamplifier. The heart of the Incito preamplifier is a zero feedback power gain stage, which is consisted of a transformer-coupled super-triode, using the ultra high trans-conductance E280F which was only made by Siemens. This superb tube is loaded with a highest quality step down transformer. Measuring data speak for themselves for this highest quality combination. Voltage swings of over 320V are easy task for the power stage, and is stepped down to 80Vpp, while keeping transistor-like noise figures. Our step-down transformer provides very low output resistance and more than adequate current to drive any load down to 250 ohms!
The power supply is built around the 5AR4 rectifier, with separate double pi filtering for each channel,using oversized chokes ,and high speed capacitors, along with an ultra low noise adjustable bias supply.
A high quality discrete ralay-latched-resistor attenuator is used, accompanied with supreme quality signal relays. True balanced outputs are standard , and all inputs are custom configurable.
More info: Aries-Cerat
KALLIOPE (a.k.a. Calliope, meaning “beautiful voice”) is the eldest of the Muses, goddesses of music, song and dance in Greek mythology. Kalliope is the goddess of epic poetry and eloquence.
In any audio system, there are certain points along the signal path that are more crucial than others. These are the intersections where the signal is converted from one form of energy into another. Such transformations occur when the needle of a phono cartridge traverses the micro-grooves of a vinyl record, converting kinetic energy into an electrical signal. At the opposite end of the signal path, loudspeakers must transform electrical input into acoustic output.
But perhaps the most critical transformation of all is the conversion of the output of digital sources into an analogue signal, ideally without loss or distortion of any kind. Despite the lofty claims of many manufacturers, what is lost or changed at this point can never be recovered or restored.
In acknowledgment of the on-going refinement of digital audio sources and the rapid evolution of high-resolution digital audio formats, Gryphon Audio Designs now presents the Gryphon Kalliope digital to analogue converter to stand as the gateway that conveys the musical signal from one domain to the next in utterly pristine condition.
Three Reasons Why Bits Are Not Just Bits
The well-worn phrase “Bits is bits” encapsulates the widespread misconception that any reasonably constructed digital system will result in “Pure, Perfect Sound Forever,” in the lamentable promotional slogan coined by the inventors of the compact disc.
1.) Digital audio is not a simple one-dimensional row of numbers, where all that is required is to keep the correct numbers in the correct order. In fact, it is a data stream of numbers flowing through time. And the right number at the wrong time is (almost) as bad as the wrong number.
Gryphon Kalliope ensures effective correction/prevention of timing errors (jitter) using sophisticated circuit topology and exclusive, custom-built components.
2.) Following digital to analogue conversion, an analogue filter is required to remove high frequency noise. The deleterious side effects of a typical steep-slope “brickwall” filter include temporal smearing, energy loss, compromised resolution and reduced transparency.
Gryphon Kalliope employs advanced technologies and an innovative, minimalist single-component filter with no adverse audible impact.
3.) Advocates of the “bits is bits” attitude tend to ignore the fact at the end of all digital signal processing there is an analogue stage. The circuit design, component selection, power supply and layout of this stage are all just as critical now in the digital era as they ever were in the analogue age.
Gryphon Kalliope draws on decades of experience in the design and construction of some of the finest analogue audio systems the world has ever known.
Kalliope is far from Gryphon’s first foray into the digital arena. Throughout the digital era, Gryphon Audio Designs have stood for major innovations, paving the way for others to follow. 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.
In 2008, the celebrated Gryphon Mikado Signature CD player took our cornerstone philosophies of dual mono and fully symmetrical balanced operation where no one had gone before - into the digital domain, employing two stereo DAC’s per channel in full dual differential mode running 32-bit/192 kHz. This configuration drastically lowers the digital noise floor and contributes to the expansive soundstage and sharply focused stereo image of digital audio by Gryphon.
Now, with selectable 32-bit/210 kHz asynchronous sample rate conversion and a dedicated ESS SABRE ES9018 32-bit D/A converter per channel, incorporating eight individual D/A converters in Dual Differential coupling, the Gryphon Kalliope DAC builds on the brand’s unique heritage and continues to lead the way.
Stability and Control
Gryphon Kalliope reaps the full benefits of Gryphon’s uncompromising design philosophy, including strict dual mono configuration, minimal internal wiring, fully isolated separate power supplies for analogue, digital and control/display circuitry and exclusive, custom components such as precision crystal oscillators and toroidal transformers.
To ensure unlimited, pure power to all stages, transformer windings for digital and analogue sections are physically separated and the four-layer printed circuit board employs a 70 mm copper trace to ensure optimal grounding and power distribution as well as signal transfer.
For maximum control and stability, each analogue channel in Gryphon Kalliope employs a dedicated custom-built 65 VA toroidal transformer and 34,000 microFarad power capacitor banks. Built from the finest discrete components, Kalliope eschews capacitor banks based on a few large capacitors, in favour of parallel-coupled clusters of smaller, high-performance caps (a total of 28), for lower equivalent series resistance.
Kalliope’s substantial, heavily regulated high-current power supplies would not be out of place in a typical integrated amplifier.
Direct Stream Digital
In addition to PCM sources all the way up to 32 bits and 384 kHz sampling frequency, Gryphon Kalliope is among the select few digital to analogue converters that is fully compatible with the DSD (Direct Stream Digital) audio format.
Unlike the mainstream PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) standard employed for CD, WAV files, etc., DSD employs Pulse Density Modulation and a sample rate of up to 6.144 MHz.
DSD was the core of the now largely dormant Super Audio CD format, but lives on in the form of an ever expanding library of downloadable audio files widely regarded as the highest resolution presently available to the consumer.
Note: DSD files on an SACD cannot be accessed for playback via an external DAC due to copyright protection issues.
For convenience and intuitive ease of use, Gryphon Kalliope’s functions can be accessed via remote control or soft-touch buttons on the front panel: On/Standby, Mute On/Off, Input Selection, Digital Filter selection, Sample Rate Conversion On/Off, Phase +/-. The remote also includes adjustment of display brightness (100%, 75%, 50%, 25%, Off).
For PCM playback, a fast or slow linear phase non-dispersive digital filter can be selected. For DSD playback via USB, a 50, 60, or 70 Hz Infinite Impulse Response (IIR) digital roll-off filter can be selected.
Kalliope is fitted with a phase inverter, because some source components, power amplifiers and even recordings may inadvertently invert the phase of the signal. Kalliope allows the owner to correct this error while seated at the main listening position.
The Kalliope front panel menu provides control of additional features, including naming of sources, default display brightness, word clock synchronization for use with an external word clock, output attenuation of 0 dB (Off) or -6 dB to match levels to other sources and a user-selectable Auto Standby mode that can be set to force powerdown after 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 2 hours or 4 hours. A Reset function immediate restores all default settings.
The easily legible Vacuum Fluorescent Display provides confirmation of current settings.
In addition to carefully executed, galvanically isolated digital inputs (three 75 Ohm BNC and one 110 Ohm XLR) to minimise jitter and noise, Gryphon Kalliope is also fitted with a 110 Ohm XLR digital output which makes the de-jittered signal from the selected input available to other equipment.
Gryphon Kalliope eliminates phono plug S/PDIF connections, because the BNC connector is the only way to ensure a true 75 Ohm impedance for optimal data transfer.
For increasingly popular computer music sources, Gryphon Kalliope incorporates a state of the art, bit-perfect, asynchronous and galvanically isolated USB input, capable of full 32-bit/384 kHz data transmission. Because Kalliope is a native Class Two USB device, simple installation of appropriate drivers is necessary for PC users. Drivers are pre-installed on Macs.
Music playback via conventional synchronous USB is a one-way connection that uses the computer’s bus frame rate as its clock source, resulting in highly unstable timing. Adaptive USB is marginally better, as it allows the receiver chip to adapt to the drifting signal by constantly adjusting its own frequency. However, both methods introduce substantial levels of jitter.
With asynchronous USB transfer mode (unrelated to asynchronous sample rate conversion), the Gryphon Kalliope master clock is not synchronized to a clock in the computer. Instead, the Kalliope’s high-precision internal clock controls the data stream from the computer to a buffer near the DAC, eliminating a major source of timing errors.
Input signals sync to one of two clocks depending on the signal’s sample frequency, a 22.5792 MHz clock for multiples of 44.1 kHz and a 24.5760 MHz clock for multiples of 48 kHz. Operating at true multiples of the signal’s original sampling frequency ensures far more accurate timing.
While Gryphon Kalliope is fitted with a 75 Ohm BNC connector for optional synchronisation via an external word clock signal, the Kalliope’s internal, independent, specially designed, temperature-compensated crystal oscillators with accuracy better than 5 parts per million address crucial timing issues so effectively that its superb clock-extraction circuitry removes all traces of clock jitter and other clocking artefacts.
Asynchronous Sample Rate Conversion
Gryphon Kalliope offers the owner the option of upsampling PCM sources with a native resolution of up to 32-bit/192 kHz to 32-bit/210 kHz. Clock rate conversion up to 40 MHz in the DAC minimises jitter and eliminates the need for steep-slope analogue filtering, shifting aliasing noise upward in frequency for zero impact in the audible range, for an effectively transparent filter function.
Gryphon Kalliope employs state of the art algorithms to execute these complex mathematical calculations with extreme speed and precision.
While sample rate conversion cannot restore lost information nor generate new information, properly executed sample rate conversion in the Gryphon Kalliope does create optimal working conditions for digital and analogue circuits, allowing them to more accurately reproduce all the information that is available.
The sample rate conversion process allows the implementation of a non-invasive, gentler, simpler, high quality analogue filter consisting of a single silvered Mica capacitor with high slew rate and tight tolerances. Separate filters are used for PCM and DSD.
As a direct result of the removal of high-frequency aliasing distortion, the integrity of the audio signal is uncompromisingly maintained with a noise floor well below that of the recording itself.
Dual Differential DAC Topology
As noted earlier, Gryphon pioneered the use of multiple DAC’s configured in a Dual Differential topology with separate regulated power supplies. In addition to true balanced operation, this solution yields perfect channel separation, greatly improved out-of-band noise suppression and significantly enhanced dynamic range.
The clearly audible result is music that emerges naturally and effortlessly from a silent, black background.
After comprehensive listening sessions to seek out the best available digital-to-analogue conversion technology without regard to cost or other extraneous considerations, Gryphon equipped the Kalliope with the most sophisticated digital to analogue conversion available today.
The final analogue stages are based on carefully selected fully discrete components of the highest quality.
Gryphon Kalliope is built to extract the very best from present and future digital audio sources from the humble CD to wideband, high-resolution DSD and PCM files.
Cutting Edge Digital Prowess
With a vigilant eye on the rapid evolution of the state of digital technology, Gryphon Kalliope is built to be future-proof with modular digital audio sections that allow practical upgrading, as the opportunity arises.
The consummate build quality, engineering, mechanical integrity and functional elegance of the Gryphon Kalliope can only hint at the musical glories that await from this musical instrument designed solely to preserve the integrity and purity of the original musical event.
To experience what mere words cannot communicate, you are cordially invited to visit your nearest authorised Gryphon Audio Designs showroom for a demonstration of the cutting edge digital prowess of the Gryphon Kalliope.
Copyright © 2013 Gryphon Audio Designs
AHB2 - High-resolution amplifierIt’s time for you to experience the full potential of high-resolution audio playback.The AHB2 stereo power amplifier introduces groundbreaking advances in power amplifier design and performance. Its entirely new patented technology eliminates most sources of distortion while extending the dynamic range well beyond that of most high-end amplifiers. High-resolution audio recordings are now available in a variety of digital formats, but none of these formats can be experienced to their full potential using a typical power amplifier. Only the AHB2 power amplifier is designed to deliver the details, texture, and dynamic range of the finest best high-resolution recordings.
There’s a huge problem with HD music today. Recent advances in high-resolution digital formats have well outpaced most existing amplifier technologies. It is now possible to produce and distribute recordings that have dynamic ranges that exceed 120 to 125 dB. However, it is hard to find a power amplifier that can deliver more than 100 to 105 dB of dynamic range. Most of the advantages of the high-resolution formats are lost in even high-end setups. Benchmark saw clearly that the differences between a 16-bit recording and a 24-bit recording cannot be fully appreciated through a power amplifier that can only achieve 16 to 18-bit performance.
That’s why we created the AHB2, a perfect match to the new high-resolution digital formats.
Benchmark's AHB2 power amplifier delivers musical details without introducing the masking effects of amplifier noise. The dynamic range of the AHB2 approaches 130 dB, making it 10 to 30 dB quieter than the typical audiophile power amplifier. You will discover previously overlooked nuances, dynamics, and detail in your favorite recordings and experience the full potential of the latest high-resolution 24-bit PCM and 1-bit DSD audio formats.
The frequency response of the AHB2 extends beyond 200 kHz, to deliver the ultrasonic detail and fast transients captured by high-resolution recordings. At the other end of the audio spectrum, the low-frequency response extends below 0.1 Hz. The AHB2 has a high damping factor that augments its extended low-end to deliver solid, well-controlled bass. It’s a stunning experience to finally hear full bandwidth high-resolution playback. The AHB2 allows you to escape the distortion limitations of classic amplifier topologies and enter the world of high-resolution audio playback.
Class AB amplifiers generate crossover distortion every time the output stage crosses 0 volts. This crossover distortion can be especially problematic at low playback levels. Class A output stages eliminate this crossover distortion at the expense of high power consumption, poor damping, and a limited dynamic range. THX recently patented two new technologies that address crossover distortion, and Benchmark incorporated these innovations into the AHB2 design. These new innovations virtually eliminate crossover distortion while offering opportunities to improve efficiency, damping, and dynamic range. The licensed technology solves the crossover problem by combining a plurality of output stages such that one stage drives the output while another stage enters a crossover region. Distortion performance exceeds that of class A amplifiers, while the efficiency exceeds that of traditional class AB amplifiers.
The A.H.B. StoryThe AHB2 power amplifier is named in honor of Benchmark's founder, Allen H. Burdick. Allen had a life-long passion for audio, and became one of the leading innovators in the pro-audio industry.
Allen's business ventures began in 1983 as "Benchmark Sound Company" where he operated from his garage in Dallas, Texas. He surrounded himself with a staff that shared his passion for achieving new audio performance "benchmarks". Benchmark's first product was a large mixing console for television and radio broadcast applications. In 1985, Allen changed the business name to Benchmark Media Systems, Inc., and relocated to a facility in his hometown of Syracuse, New York. By this time Benchmark was manufacturing the DA101 audio distribution amplifier for television studios. Allen's DA101 was a 35 W power amplifier card with astonishing specifications. It had a 150 kHz bandwidth, and a dynamic range of over 120 dB. The DA101 was designed to distribute line-level audio through extensive distribution networks. Television networks often require many cascaded distribution amplifiers, and this places extraordinary demands on the performance of each individual amplifier. Allen's DA101 revolutionized audio distribution in the era of analog TV.
Allen retired in 2006, but Benchmark continued to develop new products under the direction of John Siau. Allen's DA101 was never marketed as a power amplifier, but it became Benchmark's amplifier of choice for critical listening tests during the development of Benchmark's digital products. The recent development of the DAC2 converter family highlighted the need for a power amplifier that could match the performance of the converter, and Benchmark began the "PA2" amplifier project.
In many ways, Allen's DA101 helped define the performance goals of the PA2 project. Early prototypes were evaluated against the DA101. Benchmark's performance goals were achieved through the use of two new patented topologies from THX, the application of good engineering, and a high level of cooperation between the engineering groups at both companies. The result is an amplifier that Allen would have been proud to call a "Benchmark".
Sadly, Allen passed away September 27, 2013. Just minutes before his death, we changed the product name to AHB2 in his honor.
More info: Benchmark
Zodiac Platinum DSD DAC provides the widest DSD support, including the unique 256X mode and a sample rate of 768 kHz via a custom-built USB chip. he extreme DSD256 greatly extends the accuracy and transparency of the audio reproduction as well as the overall system performance. The custom-designed Antelope USB chip compliments high fidelity by reducing clock jitter and pushing the envelope of the USB streaming with sample rates four times higher than those offered by similar devices.
Whereas many top of the line DACs offer PCM upsamplers, the Platinum is the first device to offer a DSD upsampler. This distinctive feature allows the upsampling of DSD64 to DSD256, pushing DSD noise into higher frequencies, vastly improving the quality of the D/A conversion. The Platinum bypasses internal digital filters built into the DAC chip by implementing a custom upsampler with carefully designed high-precision filters in the FPGA.
Signature Antelope clocking
In the heart of the new Platinum lie the renowned 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking and the ultra-low jitter oven-controlled crystal oscillator, which are Antelope’s signature for unprecedented sound quality appreciated by the best recording, mastering and post production studios around the world. In addition, the Platinum is equipped with a 10 MHz input for the legendary Antelope 10M Rubidium atomic clock, providing the most accurate and stable clocking reference and therefore an uncompromised digital to analog conversion.
Distinctive pedigree and highly evolved technology
Zodiac Platinum has inherited the stepped relay volume control and the dual stage headphone drivers with impedance control from its very successful and highly appreciated predecessor Zodiac Gold. The Platinum also comes with an elegant remote control and has the option for external audiophile grade power supply Voltikus. In addition to the PC and Mac control panels available in the Zodiac Line, the Platinum also offers the comfort of the remote control from a mobile application, available for Android and iOS.
- Antelope 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking (AFC) technology
- 10MHz input for Antelope’s Rubidium atomic clock
- Widest DSD support, including the unique 256X mode
- Ultra-low jitter oven-controlled crystal oscillator
- Up to 768 kHz sample rate via custom USB chip
- Switchable 64-bit 8x linear phase upsampler
- Quad DAC architecture for superb dynamic range
- Stepped relay volume control accurate to 0.05 dB
- External audiophile-grade power supply option
- Dual stage headphone drivers with impedance control
- Aluminum unibody IR remote
- Control application for PC, Mac and mobile devices
- Automatic internet-based device upgradability
More info: Antelope Audio
Using trickle down technology from Hypex Ncore and Merrill Audio’s VERITAS Monoblocks, the new THOR Monoblock Power Amplifiers will be introduced at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, room 582. With plenty of power at 400 watts into 4ohms, the sleek Monoblocks, priced at $4,000 a pair, come in Piano Black Gloss in a billet Aluminum Chassis with top class engineering and components like its elder VERITAS. Using the finest components from Cardas, Furutech and Triode Wire Labs, the THOR Monoblocks are excellent for the discerning Audiophile who wants a stereo amp, bi-amp, tri-amp their audio system and to use it for home Theatre. The 9” x 9” x 2.5” Monoblocks are engineering for top performance at a very attractive price point. Paid orders before November 1st will get a 10% pre-production discount. Shipments begin after December 1st. See www.MerrillAudio.net for more information.
Lipinski Sound will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the unveiling of a new self-powered and upgradable loudspeaker system.
The revised L-707A series of monitors are the latest development in a series of loudspeakers starting with their legendary L-707.
Lipinskis modular speaker system will be shown with their newly developed L-700A Dual Power Amplifier and L-700B Power Amplifier so each section of this modular speaker system will be powered by its own individual class-A amplifier (meaning that their well-regarded Signature speaker system will now be driven by four amplifiers per channel) This is Lipinski's newest Class AAB, all-discrete, dual-power amplifier based on low-feedback patented circuitry Lipinski Square OpAmps this is unique in that, at no point does the audio signal pass through an integrated circuit, condenser, coil, or transformer.
The low-order, low-feedback, Class A electronic crossover, High/Low gently calibrated EQ 60-160Hz EQ allows for the most common floor/ceiling resonance cancellation. Every effort has been made to ensure the highest fidelity possible, including special care to isolate the amplifiers sensitive electronics from performance degrading cabinet resonance.
Also on display is the smaller more affordable but equally stunning Self-Powered True Reference monitor L-70 which is based on the same principles as it's larger relative.
The design team at Lipinski Sound considers reliability to be just as important as performance.
Lipinski sound implements military 'stress' technology to all their electronic products. Before equipment goes on the field it is frozen to -25°C and heated up to +55°C this process is repeated in a 4x cycle, to avoid malfunction in operation. This process was experimented with for many years, and the final process and exact temperatures range was only concluded very recently.
At the AES conference, more products based on Lipinski Sounds proprietary class A op-amps will also be on display. We invite you to take a look at the well known L609 MicPre developed from Lipinski Sounds own award-winning Signature series L-408 & L-409; the L619 Parametric EQ - based on Sontec sound and ballistics; the L629 Compressor inspired by vintage Fairchild principles and ballistics, but with dramatically reduced noise and distortion; and their high-quality L600 Power Supply high current replacement power supply designed as an upgrade for the API 500VPR. (Capable of powering up to three API 500VPR frames)
For those that are not yet familiar with Lipinski Sound products, they have established their reputation by building first-class analog audio gear over the past decade. Lipinskis loudspeakers are used as reference monitors in the finest recording and mastering facilities in the world, and trusted by some of the most prestigious international university music programs and academies.
For additional information, visit Lipinski Sound at booth #2562. www.lipinskisound.com
Contact Lipinski Sound by mail: email@example.com or call them
+1 202 469 6777 ext. 710 or +31 630 487 338