With an all too predictable regularity, High End brands occasionally announce a proud return to their “roots,” apparently blissfully unaware that such an assertion is tantamount to a confession that they had in fact lost their way and for a time abandoned those precious roots.
Indeed, many of these former High End giants have found themselves reduced to desperate attempts at pandering to the lowest common denominator with surround sound products or accessories for portable players intended for the playback of heavily compressed, no-fi music downloads via ear plug headphones.
After a quarter of a century, Gryphon Audio Designs feels no inclination to “get back to our roots,” for the simple reason that we have never lost sight of them and never strayed from them. From day one, we have defined and identified ourselves as purveyors of state of the art equipment for high performance stereo music reproduction.
This is still our mission. This remains our sole raison d’être.
In the words of Haute Fidelité magazine, France, July, 2010, “From the first phonostage built by Flemming Rasmussen, the engineers never deviate from these fundamental precepts in the service of our greater listening pleasure.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
While the design and construction of high performance home audio components that cost more than a luxury automobile is an art unto itself, Gryphon has a proud legacy of taking up the equally great challenge of making the expertise and experience accumulated in the creation of our ultimate statement components available in somewhat more accessible products.
The Gryphon Athena preamplifier is a new, soon to be classic example of Gryphon’s mastery of this art, as we take the valuable lessons learned in the development of the state of the art Mirage and Pandora preamplifiers and apply them to a single-chassis unit to rival the very best from other brands.
Having established a full understanding of the purpose and behaviour of each individual part of the whole through parts and technologies developed and refined for these uncompromising research platforms, our designers have allowed that abundance of acquired knowledge to trickle down to the Athena preamplifier for optimised performance, simplicity and unity of purpose with a single, well defined objective: musical purity.
While most preamplifiers are laden with toys, tricks and gimmicks that squander money and detract from the absolute sound quality available from the device, unnecessary circuitry, wiring and switches have been banished from the signal path of the Gryphon Athena In the interest of ultimate fidelity.
Component quality, layout and build quality are all to the very highest standard, including the microprocessor-controlled 50-step relay volume control based on Welwyn Metal Foil ultra-precision resistors, ultra low capacitance relays with hermetically sealed gold-plated contacts.
Extensive set-up and control functions are accessible via the front panel or the attractively minimalistic remote control.
The ultra-wide frequency bandwidth of the Gryphon Athena ensures perfect phase characteristics which are essential to correct soundstage reproduction.
Among its many musical virtues, the speed and agility of the Gryphon Athena must be singled out along with its seamless coherence in the time domain. These virtues are immediately perceived as exceptional authority and musical realism, as Athena renders individual voices and instruments with consummate ease and control within the overall emotional context of the total musical event.
Input Impedance: 20 kOhm, balanced
Input Impedance: 10 kOhm, single-ended
Output impedance: 20 Ohm
Gain: +17.5 dB
THD + N: 0.006% @ 1 kHz and 10 Hz – 30 kHz bandwidth
Bandwidth (-3dB): 0.2 Hz – 2 MHz
Power Supply Capacity: 2 x 28,000 microFarad
Power consumption: <1W (standby), 32W (idle)
Dimensions (WxHxD): 48 x13 x 40 cm
Weight: 9 kg