The sleek lines, low profile and stylish blend of metalwork and high-gloss acrylic in the exterior design of the Gryphon Ethos CD player can only begin to hint at the sophisticated technology concealed within as Gryphon Audio Designs again takes up the challenge of creating the definitive combination of CD transport and digital-to-analog converter.
In the once crowded, but now nearly vacant field of CD player design, the Gryphon story began with the company's very first digital source component at the close of the previous millennium. In 1998, The Gryphon CDP-1 CD player introduced the world to the sonic improvements offered by 88.2 kHz asynchronous sample rate conversion, the world's first implementation of this advanced technology, now ubiquitous in digital audio. The Gryphon Adagio, the successor to the CDP-1, was launched in 2001, taking digital musicality to the next level with asynchronous 24bit/96kHz sample rate conversion. After further refinement of this technology in the Gryphon Mikado in 2003, the implementation of 32bit/192kHz upsampling in the acclaimed Gryphon Mikado Signature represented another giant leap forward, once again breaking new ground and laying out a path for others to follow. The first Gryphon separate digital-to-analog converter, Kalliope, has been universally praised in the world audio press.
Gryphon Ethos is designed unapologetically with a single-minded dedication to the compact disc because this focused approach enables Gryphon Audio Designs to devote all company's resources and expertise to release the full, unfettered musical potential of CD playback. When you choose the Gryphon Ethos, you know that its CD performance is not a mere afterthought. It is the player's very reason for existing. Gryphon's team designed the Ethos integrated CD player to be a moving target in the rapid evolution of digital audio. In addition to handling standard 16bit/44.1kHz Redbook CD, the Ethos offers convenient playback and can be connected to external sources up to 32bit/384kHz PCM and up to DSD512.
Taking the cornerstone philosophies of dual mono and fully symmetrical balanced operation still further, Gryphon Ethos is fully balanced throughout the digital DAC domain as well, implementing eight DAC's in full dual differential mode. This configuration drastically lowers the digital noise floor and contributes to the expansive soundstage and sharply focused stereo image of the Gryphon Ethos. In the interest of extracting the purest, most unadulterated sound possible, timing issues (jitter) are effectively addressed with two independent, specially designed, temperature-compensated crystal oscillators accurate to better than five parts per million.
Gryphon upsampling allows the use of a simpler, lower-order analog output filter, for dramatically increased resolution, detail, spaciousness, focus, transient accuracy, and harmonic integrity. Properly implemented upsampling eliminates the need for conventional, steep-slope analog filtering altogether. In the Gryphon Ethos, this filter is replaced by a single, silvered Mica capacitor acting as a simple, first-order analog output filter, preserving the integrity of the audio signal for a pristine presentation staged against an utterly silent, black backdrop.
The heavily regulated, fully discrete, fully balanced Class A analog output stage employs zero negative feedback and offers both balanced XLR and single-ended phono outputs. The analog section is supplied with +23 Volts and careful attention has been paid to power supplies with separate transformers and comprehensive regulation. Thanks to its distinctive modular design, Gryphon Ethos is built to keep pace with digital technology as it evolves. Convenient modification of digital or analog circuits by your local authorized Gryphon service center as upgrades become available will ensure that your Gryphon Ethos remains on the cutting edge of CD playback. Like every Gryphon product, the Gryphon Ethos is designed and manufactured in Denmark and retails for $39900. Info and photos by Gryphon.