Gryphon Antileon Signature Stereo + Pandora


Well-Known Member
Jan 8, 2014

I have a set of Gryphon Antileon Signature + Gryphon Pandora at my place for review at the moment. Just want to check a couple of things :

1) What are the street prices for these 2 pieces ?

2) Compared to a colosseum stereo, how big a difference ?

Joe Ling
Congrats. As a big fan (and owner) of Gryphon for a number of years now, i look forward to your impressions.

1. i cannot speak to the street prices of these...but happy to check. i will PM you if i find anything.
2. I have only compared Antileon regular to Colosseum. Overall, the Antileon was the first to make 'magic' the tubes do (for me)...and yet have the most insanely propulsive and powerful/controlled/disciplined bass i have ever encountered. The upper mids/treble were rich with detail but dark...not cloudy at all, just like you took the orchestra...and asked the piccolo players and move their chairs 5 rows back behind other players who play more bass or mid-heavy instruments.

You should find that there is an intensity of sweetness in the mids which can be addictive...really addictive because it has little grain and is exceedingly clear, no fuzz or loss of detail at any volume i care to play.

The Colosseum came along and clearly descends from the same lineage (ie, voice)...but it is more grainless by a good margin, and maintains the bass power...but its upper mid/treble range has suddenly asked the piccolo players to come back 5 rows again. So the balance seems 'right' to me...and yet it is grainless, pure, extended and effortless all the way to soaring highs.

HOWEVER, could I argue that maybe [just maybe] the intense tonal sweetness in the mids is diminished a hair? Like from 100% to 98%? I think i could make that was certainly my observation when moving the Antileon out of my system and putting the Colosseum in. (i am told the Mephisto puts that right back in...and also has other advances across the board.)

The only other thing i would say is that i NEVER would have felt the need to go to Colosseum, except that my 14-yr old Gryphon had a finicky little resistor problem that took 5 tries to find, and when they eventually found it, someone made an offer i could not resist...and a Colosseum 2nd hand came up at almost identically the same i went for it. I have no regrets, but i was perfectly happy with the Antileon sound.

hope that helps...
Hi LL21,

Thanks for the quick response.

I am seriously considering the above combo but would like some opinion as you have given above so that I won't get any buyer remorse eventually thinking about the higher model.

Joe Ling
That is a sensational system! The good news is...if you keep the Antileon, you already know you're able to go balanced to balanced from ARC to Gryphon which is nice. I could not possibly comment on this sensational system (nor your ears)...but what I CAN say is that I honestly was perfectly happy with the Gryphon Antileon...and I only went looking for an upgrade when I got an offer for the Antileon which took me by surprise, and I happened to come across a second hand Colosseum.

There are some who have found the Colosseum a nice upgrade from the Antileon SE (and by all accounts the Mephisto a nice upgrade on the Colosseum). Personally, at this level of performance, I would be much more focused on whether you like the system balance with your Antileon vs the ARC Ref250s...if the answer is yes, I would go for it.

As you can see from earlier post, the tonal balance of the Colosseum and Antileon is slightly different...once you are happy with your system balance, you have in my opinion one of the world's great amps that stands the test of time. The DM100, Antileon and Antileon SE are all evolutions of the same great amp. I know many people who have kept their Gryphon equipment for YEARS...and I fully intend to be one of them!
please let us know how you go with your review, particularly which pre-amp you prefer with the antileon.
the pandora is obviously made to match, but the arc may or may not be as good a match due to out/input impedance differences.
would be good to know your findings.

I am still struggling a bit on turntables. The VPI took me 2 years to set up as I was getting inner groove distortion with the soundsmith cartridge. Turned out that somehow, the stylus that came with the cart made a difference. After years of frustration, I popped on a different stylus on a whim to the strain gauge cart & all of a sudden, no more distortion. In between the years of frustration, I bought a Bergmann linear tracking TT. Worked well for a few months until I moved my rack & then also on certain records, it too exhibited some distortion on the inner grooves.

In the end, I could not get any meaningful comparison between the 2.

However, all is not lost. I am now getting decent music from the VPI (should be great music but the upgraded Strain gauge pre I bought recently had a broken balanced output which I needed - back to the workshop for repairs) using the basic strain gauge model I bought years earlier. Sounds decently good & no distortion.

As for the Bergmann, decided to trade it in for its bigger brother & a different cartridge. Still waiting for it to turn up. Getting the dealer, who resides in a neigbouring country, to come when it is done to setup nice & proper one more time without the distortion. Then I can compare.

Joe Ling
I think the VPI Classic 3 is an awesome turntable- the arm I'm not so sure about. Hopefully , the HRX doesn't have the same issues. I've had a SOTA Millennia with ET2 and SME iV arm, Well Tempered Amadeus (the most underrated, best bang for your buck turntable in the world, IMHO), and Oracle Delphi mk11 with ET2 arm. The azimuth is a bear to set up on the VPI for me. (Harder than the ET2 for me). Since the ET is an air bearing linear tracking arm , thought I'd get your opinion on the Bergmann. Please let me know your thoughts when you get it set up, and listen for a while, as well as comparisons to the first Bergmann you tried. BTW, visually the Bergmann is an absolute work of art!

Looks like you have much more experience than me. Thank you for your insights.

As you have probably realised, I am a novice when it comes to TT. By the time, I came into the hobby, CD is already the standard. So, took me quite a while to fiddle & still I am rather clumsy at this. Soundsmith do sell useful accessories to help with the setup like azimuth for the VPI. The whole reason I went with a VPI in the first place was because I saw it paired with the strain gauge cartridge.

User replaceable styli means it could last longer than conventional carts which were typically good for only 2000hrs. The idea of spending so much & then after 2000hrs they are no good anymore is a little off putting.

Anyway, my new table is under construction since end of last year. Hopefully something will happen in March.

Joe Ling

I made these comments in another forum.

ARC - unmistakenably tube - with balls. Not soft or mushy. A little bloom, gives the vocal some air & sweetness (my bias - vocals - listen to a lot of female vocals)

Cary - very tube - even though the 211 FE is a push pull design, much more euphoric than ARC. Bass can be a little uncontrolled. Cardas cable does not match well - no more high.

Gryphon - Not tube (obvious) but still surprising ... nice to listen to. Not sure how to describe. I have positive bias towards tubes & always thought SS is second class citizen. Not so in this case.

Joe Ling
So between the GRYPHON, and THE ARC, which one do you like the most? By the way when you refer to the CARY as more euphonic, do you mean more rolled off, softer sweeter highs, etc. By the way, was it (THE CARY) able to drive your speakers at louder levels with out clipping?
Forgot to ask what you think of the CARY SL 05 PRE AMP. I have an ARC REF 40 ANNIVERSARY (like you do). Is the CARY comparable. Again thanks for your input.
Great system Joe!

I have also had some Gryphon gear and, to my ears, it has been the best SS design I have owned. I can´t say the same of AR since I have just owned a tubed preamp many years ago, but my understanding is that they also produce great sound.

I agree on Lloyd´s lines here, Gryphon makes you forget if you are listening to a tubed or an SS design, it has the warmth and roundness of tubes plus the control and dynamics of good SS amps out there. (just heard the Diablo with Dynaudio speakers and really liked them last night).

Ok, had a couple of friends over last weekend to critique the system. Result of that was a rethink on room acoustics panels arrangement. Got rid of some traps & absorbers. Replacement the original footers with a set of Herbie's footers. Bass is more wholesome & all round quite nice on the ARC set now. So journey of discovery continues...

MRJAZZ - for all round program, I prefer the ARC. When I get too much of the ARC, I switch to the Cary for a different presentation. So, very hard to choose one over the other. Maybe I'm just not that particular :eek:.

Cary does sound more of the tube goodness. I cannot really say it is rolled off though. Just more of tube goodness. Bass is not as tight as the ARC set. The 211FE is capable of driving my ProAc to very loud than I would dare sort of levels. No issue there.

If I really can only have 1 set, it will be the ARC though. One thing that put me off the Cary a little is that the motorised volume control is an Alps blue velvet. This is kind of far down the volume pot pecking order it's not funny.

flez007 - I am hanging on to the demo Gryphon for as long as I can while an opportunity might come up to audition a pair of Constellation Audio Centaur monos.

Joe Ling

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