Gryphon Audio Pendragon

Carlos269

New Member
Mar 21, 2012
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Regarding the B&G RD-75 ribbon drivers, I agree with Han_N that they like power and actually need quite a lot of power to come alive.

While the Genesis 1.2, Prime, & Dragon and Gryphon Pendragon use an array of tweeter drivers to take the high frequency response the rest of the way, beyond 10 to 18 kHz depending of design, the Wisdom Audio Adrenaline Rush and Infinite Rush models use a modified version of the B&G driver to reproduce the entire upper octaves out to 30 Khz without the use of additional tweeters.

“The Wisdom Audio SMART Planar Line Source designed by Tom Bohlender uses more filament trace runs that are narrower than the conventional RD50 or RD75 from Bohlender Graebener. Most important is it's patent pending circuit design dedicating certain runs for ultra-high frequency use. This SMART driver produces uncanny smoothness, greater detail, less distortion, but most of all--greatly improved high frequency response well above the range of 30KHz. All of this is achieved while preserving line source phenomena and negating the use of highly inadequate controversial techniques (added tweeter, or multiple tweeters, etc.). This allows for a single driver to produce over 80% of the spectrum, completely eliminating driver mating problems of phase alignment, speed matching, crossover abnormalities at highly exacting frequencies, and increased distortion. Although the Wisdom Audio SMARTdesign planar line source drivers are significantly better performers. Manufacturing them was an intensive and exhausting process. All Wisdom Audio products use the SMART planar line source drivers and they are exclusive to Wisdom products.”

My experience with the B&G ribbon drivers on my Wisdom Audio Adrenaline Rush is that they not only require an extreme amount of power to come alive but benefit from the active equalization tilt-up. It is daring, to put 1200 watts per channel of amplification on the ribbon towers but once you have heard them open up there is no going back. My Lamm 1.1 monoblocks don’t even begin to wake them up, my Spectral 360 monoblocks sound great on the ribbon towers but trip their protective circuit protection just about when things get interesting, my 500 watt per channel Belles MB-500 gives them a little more to work with but what surprised me is that I was actually able to clip the 1,000 watt per channel Maker Audio Signature Reference 3A monoblocks during the loudest passages when the music demands that you turn it up and jam. I have finally removed all power limitations from the ribbon towers by powering them with a set of Cello Audio Duet 350 amplifiers in bridged mode, capable of 1,200 watts per channel. It was/is with trepidation that I first used that much power on the ribbons, as replacement “SMART” 75” version of the modified B&G RD-75 ribbon drivers are unoptanium, but once you hear them open up you don’t go back. I quickly referred back to my owners manual, where it states that the ribbon towers on the Wisdom Audio Adrenaline Rush are rated for a maximum of 1,250 watts. So I’m listening on the edge but enjoying the bliss.

By the way, all these four (4) column systems obviously also require extreme power to drive their woofer/subwoofer columns to their full potential. I use four rare Rowland Research WL-500 monoblocks, which Jeff originally designed for Roger West at West Labs to drive the largest Soundlabs electrostats. I now use two WL-500 monoblocks per subwoofer column, after my mighty Krell KRS-400 and NRG Control A-400 monoblocks ran out of steam, at total in excess of over 1,000 watts per side on the subwoofer columns for a total system power availability of close to 2,500 watts per side, 5,000 watts total power for the system, from dedicated 240volt and 120volt systems from the electrical main transformer.

As you can see, these systems require massive amounts of power and unless you use several sets of Tube Research Labs Platinum Golden Triode 800 monoblocks, VTL Wotans or Siegfrieds, or Audio Research 750’s, I don’t see how you get there with only tubes and without employing high power solid-state amplification.

The bottom line is that I concur that the big 75” ribbon drivers need real power to come alive and sing, as does the rest these big four column systems as a whole, if you want that airy top-end with sparkle and a prodigious bottom foundation.

I hope that my experience with these drivers, albeit in modified form and in a different implementation, helps.
 
Last edited:
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cjfrbw

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
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Pleasanton, CA
I'd be afraid to put more than 100 watts peak on them for fear they would wind up sparklers. That is nominally 109-110 db at least for the BG 75 alone without woofers.

I'll see how the 5 watts 300b does next week on BG 75 in my pursuit of maximum folly.
 

gshelley

Member Sponsor
Jan 10, 2011
48
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Austin, TX
Hi all, yes, I finally decided to jump on this forum, I had been reading the ongoing conversation, and think I may be able to contribute and help with some directions and advice. First of all, I am the owner of the Pendragons which PKN (my son) spoke about some time ago, and have been using them for quite some time now to my full satisfaction. I will elaborate in detail as soon as I have the time, but can already confirm to Jones 99 that your set up is quite close to mine, so indeed I believe we have come to the same conclusion. I am using the Pendragons in a new room, after I have moved house a year ago. different room, different sound, I had them tuned close to perfection in the first room, so I know what they are capable off, however in the new room it takes me much longer to achieve the results I'm looking for. Nevertheless, I'm getting there, and in a way, I like the process of tuning the room. As my son has mentioned earlier, initial set up has been done exactly the way you did that, using the similar equipment. It really helps, and is very important indeed. These speakers are not that light, so you don't want to endlessly move around to find the last few mm. Mine are standing on a concrete floor, (concrete covered with ceramic tiles) so moving goes actually quite easy, due to the hardness of the feet underneath the speakers. I'll come back later, and attach some pictures.
Till then, Cheers, and enjoy the music.
Hello,
What a wonderful system. I see you moved from Gryphon amp(s) to CH Precision. Can I ask why the change and what differences are you hearing between the two?
 

Carlos269

New Member
Mar 21, 2012
10
6
3
I'd be afraid to put more than 100 watts peak on them for fear they would wind up sparklers. That is nominally 109-110 db at least for the BG 75 alone without woofers.

I'll see how the 5 watts 300b does next week on BG 75 in my pursuit of maximum folly.
“Many kinds of live music can generate musical peaks of 115dB SPL at the listener's ears. If a speaker is rated at 85dB SPL 1W/1M, then it will require 1024 Watts to reproduce a peak of 115dB SPL! In bridged mode, the Duet 350 will handle even this tough demand with ease. How much power speakers actually require to produce a given sound pressure level is difficult to calculate because the impedance curves of different designs vary so much and because other important factors are involved.”
 

cjfrbw

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,402
172
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Pleasanton, CA
I have learned that guys who like big power just like big power and there is certainly a market for them. I don't play chicken on the freeway with monster trucks, either. Certainly, massive power amps have 'enough' power so you could not accuse them of a power deficiency, whatever advantage that confers. They also won't clip and are less likely to produce sapping spuriae, and will cut through passive crossovers like butter.

I am a bit luddite on the power arguments, and find that with most recordings high quality modest powers are my druthers. I don't think there are many audiophiles who listen routinely to the studio mastered stuff, usually compressed, (as opposed to live music) at volumes exceeding about 102 to 103 db transients overall.

I still remember when I got my Apogee Stages home for the first time, I tried test tones with a 50 watt amp and watched in dismay as the mylar midranges went up in flames. The shop was gracious in replacing them, and said that the newer kapton ribbons wouldn't do that and they didn't, but HMMMM can't forget it.
 
Sep 6, 2019
21
27
13
62
Surabaya, Indonesia.
Hello,
What a wonderful system. I see you moved from Gryphon amp(s) to CH Precision. Can I ask why the change and what differences are you hearing between the two?
Hmm, yes, I was expecting the question, In fact, in my previous set up (all Gryphon) I had found that when using the C1 directly feeding the Memphisto (bypassing the Pandora) I had a higher transparency, which made me want to change the Pandora pre with the CH Precision L1/X1. However at that time my dealer made me a good proposal, going for a complete CH Precision package, so trade in the Memphisto for an M1. Honestly, from day 1 after I had it up and playing, I was never really convinced that I had made the proper decision. In fact, if somebody asks me now, would you trade in a Memphisto for a M1, my answer will be: Don't.
So, not being 100% satisfied with what I had decided before, I had open ears when the info came in about the M1 upgrade to M1.1 Not long after I bit the bullet, and decided to go for mono blocks, so ordered one additional M1.1, and one upgrade package to upgrade the existing M1 to M1.1 To make a long story short, from the day I had the system running again, I can say that the differences (especially transparency and dynamics) were profound. Unexpected I would say... Scary good. So good that not all will like it. So "good" to me doesn't necessarily mean "good" to others, but believe me, you need to have heard the CH Precision line up from source to power, just to have had the experience....
So, would I trade in a Memphisto stereo for two M1.1 mono's: Definitely. Now I hear someone saying, what about two Memphisto mono's vs two M1.1 mono's: Can't answer that, most likely dynamics will be more in the same class. Transparency/detail though I believe the M1.1 has the edge.
 
Sep 6, 2019
21
27
13
62
Surabaya, Indonesia.
I'd be afraid to put more than 100 watts peak on them for fear they would wind up sparklers. That is nominally 109-110 db at least for the BG 75 alone without woofers.

I'll see how the 5 watts 300b does next week on BG 75 in my pursuit of maximum folly.

I wouldn't worry too much. Much will depend on the amp as well. Peak power vs RMS is a main difference here. I'm using a calibrated sound pressure meter, and never go over 100Dba at the listening position. Don't like to damage my ears...yet, the peak power level as indicated on the Power Amp display easily moves between 500-1000 Watt per channel, but when playing real loud with dynamic music, it goes way higher than that. Even then I have not measured more that 105 DBA at the listening position. Note that I'm using the Pendragons since January last year... ;) I think that peak power output (transients) is simply much higher when using certain amplification. High peak power coming from the M1.1 during milliseconds doesn't do harm to the ribbons (already proven over time). However working with test tones for 10 seconds durations is a complete different story of course. I find the M1.1 to be extremely dynamic, which is something I like, but other people may be not. Also, how do you measure the peak power? Using analog metering or digital/electronic readings. I'm sure that peak power is often much higher than what people are aware of, of course, again, depending on the dynamic range of the amp as well.
 

gshelley

Member Sponsor
Jan 10, 2011
48
6
8
Austin, TX
Hmm, yes, I was expecting the question, In fact, in my previous set up (all Gryphon) I had found that when using the C1 directly feeding the Memphisto (bypassing the Pandora) I had a higher transparency, which made me want to change the Pandora pre with the CH Precision L1/X1. However at that time my dealer made me a good proposal, going for a complete CH Precision package, so trade in the Memphisto for an M1. Honestly, from day 1 after I had it up and playing, I was never really convinced that I had made the proper decision. In fact, if somebody asks me now, would you trade in a Memphisto for a M1, my answer will be: Don't.
So, not being 100% satisfied with what I had decided before, I had open ears when the info came in about the M1 upgrade to M1.1 Not long after I bit the bullet, and decided to go for mono blocks, so ordered one additional M1.1, and one upgrade package to upgrade the existing M1 to M1.1 To make a long story short, from the day I had the system running again, I can say that the differences (especially transparency and dynamics) were profound. Unexpected I would say... Scary good. So good that not all will like it. So "good" to me doesn't necessarily mean "good" to others, but believe me, you need to have heard the CH Precision line up from source to power, just to have had the experience....
So, would I trade in a Memphisto stereo for two M1.1 mono's: Definitely. Now I hear someone saying, what about two Memphisto mono's vs two M1.1 mono's: Can't answer that, most likely dynamics will be more in the same class. Transparency/detail though I believe the M1.1 has the edge.
Great input. Thank you for taking the time.
Agree CH is great gear and have a local friend with FULL Ch P system (L1, P1 both dual mono with X1’s, M1.1 monos) and it’s a very resolving and transparent setup. Have not heard Gryphon yet.
 
Sep 6, 2019
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27
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Surabaya, Indonesia.
Thank you so much for joining us on the forum, and for posting!

It is interesting that you and Grant drive, and that Dato’ Danon Han drove, the Pendragons with solid-state amplifiers. Do you know if anybody is using tube amplifiers on them other than me?

The dimensions of your room are fantastic! How far back from the front wall is your listening chair?

PS: Copying an element of MikeL’s listening room, I made the front third of the floor area wood planks (over concrete slab) to make it easier to move around the speaker towers and the amplifiers.
Ron, please find herewith a few more pictures of the room in it's current state. Note that the room is also used for other purpose, and not only for listening IMG_1236.jpg
View from between the speakers towards the listening position. There is still a 1 mtr space between the rear wall and the 4-seater couch, to allow access to the doors behind the curtains. (access to the garden/swimming pool).

IMG_1237.jpg .
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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London
Are you still in Indonesia? Is the moisture ok for these type of speakers? The room view is awesome
 
Sep 6, 2019
21
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13
62
Surabaya, Indonesia.
Are you still in Indonesia? Is the moisture ok for these type of speakers? The room view is awesome
Yes, I'm almost 30 years in Indonesia now, love the good weather here ;)
(I mean, being a Dutch guy...used to "Dutch weather, it's like being in paradise all the time). Humidity is high during the wet season (November -> February) but quite low during the dry season. Anyway, as indoor usually the Air Conditioner takes care of the humidity, it will never really become an issue.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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Han, those are quite the humungous corner bass traps you are using.
 
Sep 6, 2019
21
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62
Surabaya, Indonesia.
Han, those are quite the humungous corner bass traps you are using.
These actually originate from my previous house/room, my previous room was much smaller, bass control more needed. In this room I'm not sure how much they are needed really. They have been in the room since I moved in, simply because otherwise I would have to dispose off them. They are that big, simply because they were meant to control bass frequency. A small calculation will reveal that only big volume will really trap some bass frequency. Indeed, they dwarf the Pendragons. Anyway, in the current room the Pendragons appear to be rather "small" don't they ;)
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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E. England
Small, as in looking thru a telescope the wrong way 'round Lol.
 

cjfrbw

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Apr 20, 2010
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Pleasanton, CA
Well, I tried a 2A3 amplifier on the BG 75 (Wisdom variant?). Not what I expected, it sounds magnificent, even compared to the flaming golden sword of the Wavac. Active crossovers @ 300 Hz and 7 Khz.

The amp builder only claims 2 watts for his 2A3, but I would swear it was 3. What a mind blower, this should not even work. I've been wilding into the wee hours and will listen more tomorrow. The raw ribbon without a passive crossover must come in at least 92db of efficiency, with it's added ability to project as a line source into the room. I sit about 9 feet from each of the ribbons.
 
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christoph

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Dec 12, 2015
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Principality of Liechtenstein
Well, I tried a 2A3 amplifier on the BG 75 (Wisdom variant?). Not what I expected, it sounds magnificent, even compared to the flaming golden sword of the Wavac. Active crossovers @ 300 Hz and 7 Khz.

The amp builder only claims 2 watts for his 2A3, but I would swear it was 3. What a mind blower, this should not even work. I've been wilding into the wee hours and will listen more tomorrow. The raw ribbon without a passive crossover must come in at least 92db of efficiency, with it's added ability to project as a line source into the room. I sit about 9 feet from each of the ribbons.
You must be deluded Carl.
You need at least 600 Million watts for that ribbon to come to life ;):p
 

cjfrbw

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Apr 20, 2010
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Pleasanton, CA
You must be deluded Carl.
You need at least 600 Million watts for that ribbon to come to life ;):p
A good delusion is a terrible thing to waste. Stunning transients and internal detail. It's the filamentous, gorgeous sound you would expect more from horns and flea amps rather than ribbons.

I will listen some more today, but last night was fascinating. Vinyl might stress it around the bend at last, but I'll see. My original thought would be that the experiment would last a few fun minutes of silly but futile noodling rather than a whole fascinated listening session.

I was listening at my customary level to all kinds of music in digital, even classical. It does require an additional gain stage with the Manley Neo 300b set at about 2 o'clock., so it's a 300b driving the little 2A3 amp.
 
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cjfrbw

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Apr 20, 2010
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Pleasanton, CA
I think I can wrap up my little experiment.

Once dialed in, little el cheapo Chinese 2a3/300b amp sounds excellent driving the BG75s. I could detect no glaring deficiencies from jazz to rock to vocals to orchestral, with plenty of DHT triode magic, all at significant volume levels. A legitimate 8 watt 300b would be more than sufficient for my listening space without compromise (19x13.5 ft, high ceiling, extra dogleg at side, maybe 3200 to 3600 cubic ft total with dogleg). I sit about 9 ft from speakers in triangle, with ribbons about 4 or 5 feet from wall. Crossover is 300 Hz to 7 Khz @ 24db/octave handled by midrange amp to BG75.

The flaming golden sword of the Wavac has wallop and impact. However, the flea power amp has delicacy, detail, whip like transients, and internal detailing. Different strokes.

For some reason, I didn’t miss the extra couple hundred watts.

The ribbons have been getting louder and louder aka more efficient with each session, I keep having to turn them down from session to session relative to the other frequency bands. They must have more break in than I imagined, and greater efficiency than the nominal specs indicate.

I think the BG75 are starting to plateau in efficiency, but I find it impossible to believe the raw ribbons (without passive crossover) do not have an effective efficiency at this point of at least 92-94 db in my space. Otherwise, there would be no way a 2A3 at 3 watts or so could work in that frequency band without fuzzing out or breaking up.

I personally did not think this would work at all, yet here I am listening to Roxy Music quite loud on vinyl with a flipping 2A3 tube amp on the big ribbons. I doesn't make any sense, but there it is.

I was going to sell my flea power amps, but I think I'll keep this little amp and put it in once in a while as a change of pace. I think it cost me $250 without tubes many years ago. Unfortunately, I had three great sounding 300b amps a few years ago that I sold for giveaway prices because I couldn't see how I could use them anymore in my system.
 
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