Gryphon Kalliope - First impressions
Oct 15, 2014 at 5:16 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3


Headphoneus Supremus
Dec 29, 2012
My partner and I drove a marathon 1000 kms to Sydney to spend a day listening to the new Gryphon Kalliope.
Listening was conducted in peace with the upper showroom deserted for the whole day so we had the place to ourselves to play.
We also had a chance to listen to the Gryphon reference 2 channel system.
We took our ALO Studio Six, Chord QBD 76 HDSD, NOS valves and both LCD-X's and 3's.
Everything was cabled using Nordost Heimdall 2.
I will start off by saying we were very tired having driven through a world class storm and not having had a great nights sleep. Talk about commitment!
Surprising initially it was a close run affair as we adjusted to the Kalliope's sonic signature. The sound was very refined, polite even, I found myself turning up the volume, which is not a good sign. However we were using the USB inputs on both DAC's and I found that the Gryphon had a remarkably smooth analog like sound. It uses the Sabre 9018 chip with a separate USB controller and amplifier stage just for the USB. I think this was adding to the sense of ease with which the music flowed.
We listened for approx 5 hours, we both noticed toward the end of the session we were becoming more and more drawn to the sound of the Kalliope. As I write this I keep thinking of the emotion in the last operatic pieces we played.
The surprise was how much the experienced 2 channel purists that joined us later in the day enjoyed the headphone listening experience. Hopefully some Head Fi converts.
The question is would we buy one, that's a hard one especially when it was close - then you have to factor in that Chord will be releasing an update to their DAC line very soon. I am not satisfied that we heard the best, we were not as relaxed as we would have been in doing the comparison in the comfort of our home. Our fatigue would not have helped either as I find my hearing begins to shut down in that state.
Some photos to enjoy



Oct 15, 2014 at 7:43 AM Post #2 of 3
Positive on the commitment !
I just once drove about 4hrs to a session to hear THE Sonus Faber (Fenice) powered by Krell KRA monos and honestly it was a bit dissappointing in this particular combination.
Back to Gryphon ... there is a review (08/2014) here :
And they mention the price ... about 26.6k $US
If there is chance to hear it somewhere in the NYC area, I might go and bring my little e20DAC.
That's about 3k and the most I would spent on any one piece of equipment - unless I hit the lottery jackpot.
Thanks for your impressions.

Nov 3, 2022 at 8:50 PM Post #3 of 3
I took delivery of a Gryphon Kalliope about a couple weeks ago. We're upgrading our system to handle hi rez formats with retrieval on demand. The Kalliope is the only DAC to have bested our venerable Dodson 217 Mark II D (with extensive upgrades by Silversmith Audio) and even then it was close. The Dodson had beaten a couple of heavy hitters (names withheld out of deference) prior to finally being bested by the Kalliope.

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