xDSD Gryphon: birth of a ‘head-fi’ legend
Nov 23, 2021 at 9:19 AM Post #451 of 751

gLer

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You have to compare apples with apples. Gryphon is a portable DAC/amp. Use case is portability. Simply can't compare that to non-portable devices. I can buy a far superior desktop DAC and amp to the ones in my $2000 DAP, but I can't listen to them in my bedroom or on a walk or on holiday. Use case is all important, and portability adds a big premium if you want quality sound on the go.
 
Nov 23, 2021 at 9:38 AM Post #452 of 751

emilsoft

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You have to compare apples with apples. Gryphon is a portable DAC/amp. Use case is portability. Simply can't compare that to non-portable devices. I can buy a far superior desktop DAC and amp to the ones in my $2000 DAP, but I can't listen to them in my bedroom or on a walk or on holiday. Use case is all important, and portability adds a big premium if you want quality sound on the go.

Yes apples to apples sure - let's take portable examples like Fiio M11 Plus at similar pricing, with good DAC and solid implementation with good thx amps that can move some air, excellent clocking. I've had it, used it and it was comparable to an RME ADI 2 and chord qutest sound quality, if not quite stretching all the way there. That for me is competitive pricing.. it gives lot of utility too alongise sound quality: two way ldac Bluetooth, usb DAC, coax out, balanced headout and lineout, also apple airplay! it's also an android dap with a large screen and reasonable processor, Google play etc for streaming apps. Most of all, it's pushing technology and providing top tier sound that is on level of desktop solutions.

It's a dap but you don't have to use it like a dap, use it a usb DAC if you wish like the ifi and it definitely beats the old xdsd on sound quality - by a fair mile or so
 
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Nov 23, 2021 at 9:47 AM Post #454 of 751

gLer

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Yes apples to apples sure - let's take portable examples like Fiio M11 Plus at similar pricing, with good DAC and solid implementation with good thx amps that can move some air, excellent clocking. I've had it, used it and it was comparable to an RME ADI 2 and chord qutest sound quality, if not quite stretching all the way there. That for me is competitive pricing.. it gives lot of utility too alongise sound quality: two way ldac Bluetooth, usb DAC, coax out, balanced headout and lineout, also apple airplay! it's also an android dap with a large screen and reasonable processor, Google play etc for streaming apps. Most of all, it's pushing technology and providing top tier sound that is on level of desktop solutions.

It's a dap but you don't have to use it like a dap, use it a usb DAC if you wish like the ifi and it definitely beats the old xdsd on sound quality - by a fair mile or so
How does the M11 Pro compare to the Gryphon?
 
Nov 23, 2021 at 10:50 AM Post #455 of 751

corgifall

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Please do and let us know if its worth the hype?
It sounds like I'll get a chance to check one out eventually. I have a go blu coming in for review so I'll be getting that review out first.

Yes apples to apples sure - let's take portable examples like Fiio M11 Plus at similar pricing, with good DAC and solid implementation with good thx amps that can move some air, excellent clocking. I've had it, used it and it was comparable to an RME ADI 2 and chord qutest sound quality, if not quite stretching all the way there. That for me is competitive pricing.. it gives lot of utility too alongise sound quality: two way ldac Bluetooth, usb DAC, coax out, balanced headout and lineout, also apple airplay! it's also an android dap with a large screen and reasonable processor, Google play etc for streaming apps. Most of all, it's pushing technology and providing top tier sound that is on level of desktop solutions.

It's a dap but you don't have to use it like a dap, use it a usb DAC if you wish like the ifi and it definitely beats the old xdsd on sound quality - by a fair mile or so
I agree. Portables are a fantastic way to get both a desktop and mobile setup, especially for new audiophiles or those unsure of having a dedicated big DAC/amp. I started on a Oppo HA2 as my everything DAC/amp for a long time before slowly separating my desktop from portable setups. I use iFi's hip dac and Lotoo PAW S1 on my laptop or iPhone when I'm not latched to my desk. I have a feeling something like the Gryphon is gonna be a fairly good all rounder.
 
Nov 23, 2021 at 11:30 AM Post #456 of 751

cadgers

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VanNuys WM1A case fits the Gryphon well. Still hope we get something tailor made down the line.

PXeDVVf.jpeg

Z5U9LLr.jpeg
 
Nov 23, 2021 at 11:45 AM Post #457 of 751

emilsoft

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How does the M11 Pro compare to the Gryphon?

I'm keen to find this out myself as it will give a good baseline. I rate the Fiio M11 Plus one tier above the Pro (i had both) but still kind of similar. I can say the ifi idsd nano black and old xdsd which i had didn't get there in terms of technicalities, even with iusb 3.0: hearing the M11 Plus is an eye opener as it gives a laser like focus on each element of music, it fleshes out the mids and its like an opened window to the music - incredibly accurate, clean and fairly musical but a little too studio focus like for me. WIth iusb, the old xdsd offers a nice musicality with warm and vivid mids, and a nice rhythm/prat to it even more so than the Fiio, but it also exhibits a slight gray background and hash to the sound and slightly dirty sound (in comparison to the uber clean m11 plus), that I found kind of common with the ifi products (both nano and xdsd) - i dont know if this is due to the dac or something else... of course the gryphon might be way better than this, i don't know but I can base my view on the old xdsd.
 
Nov 23, 2021 at 2:05 PM Post #461 of 751

McCol

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Has anybody managed to compare to the Ibasso DX300 or similar priced DAPs.

Kind of expecting the DAPs in this range to sound better but curious as to how much the gap would be
 
Nov 23, 2021 at 4:29 PM Post #462 of 751

Voxata

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After a few hours and lots of testing I've got some solid impressions to share. Compared to many reviewers I like to keep things short and simple. This missile is going to be of the shootout variety. Gear includes Fiio BTR5, Ifi iDSD BL, Sony WM1A and of course the xDSD Gryphon. Headphones are the Campfire Solaris OG, K712 (Balance modded) & HD660S. I've owned some pricey TOTL headphones however the K712 has been my main go-to due to it's enjoyable and competent performance. I have no financial incentive to pull any punches. I also have no connection to any vendors. With that said I really appreciated the service Bloom audio provided in my purchase of the xDSD Gryphon.

Let's start with fit and finish. The display is gorgeous. The status lights are not overwhelming and the finish is very premium. Much preferred over the fingerprint magnets that are the original xDSD and xCAN. I love the 4.4mm&SE in/out on the back. Optical in and the sheer plethora of things this device can do. From an aesthetic standpoint this is top shelf. The PCB layout is a thing of beauty as well. The engineering of this device seems incredible. The end result has some mixed feelings with me however.


IMG_20211123_133157.jpg



The Gryphon's signature is more neutral leaning with a hint of warmth. It's fast yet not sibilant. I think it's a rather nice balance however I will start with the obvious "Birth of a Head-Fi legend" as being an overstatement. It's a great device with great sound. It's a jump over the xDSD&xCAN but if you are going to reach for that star it needs to be a complete knockout in every department. My listening impressions were with the unit powered up before connecting to USB (both BL and Gryphon) and only connecting the data transfer cable.

IMG_20211123_133433.jpg


Let's start strong and that is with full sized headphones. The Gryphon drove my 660S and K712 beautifully from the 4.4 port. SQ was ABOVE the iDSD BL and BTR5, only tailing the WM1A (Which is firmware modded) which has a nicely tuned sound signature. I was actually impressed the Gryphon outperformed the iDSD BL as it made the BL sound a little hazed in comparison. The Gryphon retains the engagement factor too. It doesn't have the output power which wasn't needed in the case of my headphones so no loss there. This thing is like an iDSD BL with better clarity and a hint less warmth. I was seriously impressed and the bluetooth performance excels too. I was able to discern between USB/BT though. I wasn't surprised the WM1A pulled ahead in sound quality. In detail they were equals but the WM1A has such a nice tuning from Sony. I can see some people preferring the Gryphon though, so YMMV. SQ for full sized headphones finished as so WM1A (down to preference) > xDSD Gryphon > iDSD BL > BTR5 (This was flat and uninspiring). This is an impressive performance by the Gryphon. There is a caveat to iDSD BL vs Gryphon though. The iDSD BL is more euphoric and forgiving. It's just flat out enjoyable. If you are one who wants to constantly be toe-tapping the BL may suit you better. I game as well so the Gryphon has some attraction there for it's speed and neutrality.

****THIS PART IS EXCLUSIVE TO 4.4BAL****
Things took a strong spiral downwards when the Solaris OG came out though. The hiss scale goes as follows xDSD Gryphon >> WM1A >(slight) iDSD BL > BTR5 -- this is without IEmatch. Enabling IEmatch on the first setting with iDSD BL made it just about silent but SQ took a little hit. Second setting added more veil. The Gryphon's IEmatch 3.5mm impacts the BAL output and 4.4MM setting is like extreme on the BL. 3.5 IEM didn't sound quite right so I figure this was not meant to be used for the BAL port. Still, IEmatch extreme & 4.4 squashes the dynamic ability and really killed the sound for me. I did some demoing without IEmatch and it was just too noisy on the Gryphon and too low in the pot for the BL. The BAL output from the rear is pretty quiet though, but the SQ wasn't much of a step up. In all testing with the Solaris the Gryphon finished back of the pack. I think Ifi is using IEmatch as a crutch to have the device managable and this to pulls Gryphon from the stars. Keep in mind though, the Solaris is incredibly sensitive so your less than sensitive IEM may work fine without the IEmatch and if so this device would be a knockout for you. In terms of sound quality with Solaris OG things ended up as so: WM1A > iDSD BL > BTR5 > Gryphon. The BTR5 does much better with IEMs as far as SQ goes, still a little veil though.

So, we've got some great and...well not so much. Unfortunately I don't know if the Gryphon will really have a place in my stable because my hopes was for it to be a device that could do everything - as it is advertised right? I LOVE that it outperforms the BL for my full sized cans and it's a great upgrade for my laptop setup in that regard. This performance alone made me think it's a keeper. It's really that good! As soon as that high noise floor reared it's ugly head (This floor was still present after switching to BT) on the Solaris OG I was set back to reality. The sound wasn't bad, I could live with it - but it was inferior to the BTR5 with incredibly sensitive IEMs with IEmatch engaged. Another positive is that it didn't get hot when charging/listening at the same time. So there is that..

****EDIT**** Hiss is significantly better from the SE output with IEMATCH off, slightly less than WM1A on 4.4. DO NOT USE BAL for sensitive IEM is my suggestion. From 3.5mm the unit sounds better ******
I'd rank the 3.5mm performance xDSD Gryphon>WM1A>iDSD BL>Fiio BTR5 - I like the 4.4 on the WM1A much better than 3.5 which is why the Gryphon pulls ahead in this scenario. All things considered, WM1A holds the top spot.

*BONUS* As a DAC at 0DB into my 2ch system the Gryphon was quite pleasing and detailed. I thought this may be a weaker point of the Gryphon going into this but I was proven wrong. It's quite capable as a DAC.
 
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Nov 23, 2021 at 6:14 PM Post #464 of 751

Voxata

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I do not have a 4.4 passthrough cable currently but can make one later tonight. However, given the fact the line outs on the gryphon are silent I'm guessing the amp section has noise. I'm also guessing the result will be worse as the WM1A has hiss (albeit much less). I'm sure it'd all be fine with full sized cans though and sound awesome combining the two. Still, it already sounds good with full sized cans.
 
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Nov 23, 2021 at 7:27 PM Post #465 of 751

wwyjoe

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After a few hours and lots of testing I've got some solid impressions to share. Compared to many reviewers I like to keep thing short and simple. This missile is going to be of the shootout variety. Gear includes Fiio BTR5, Ifi iDSD BL, Sony WM1A and of course the xDSD Gryphon. Headphones are the Campfire Solaris OG, K712 (Balance modded) & HD660S. I have no financial incentive to pull any punches. I also have no connection to any vendors. With that said I really appreciated the service Bloom audio provided in my purchase of the xDSD Gryphon.

Let's start with fit and finish. The display is gorgeous. The status lights are not overwhelming and the finish is very premium. Much preferred over the fingerprint magnets that are the original xDSD and xCAN. I love the 4.4mm&SE in/out on the back. Optical in and the sheer plethora of things this device can do. From an aesthetic standpoint this is top shelf. The PCB layout is a thing of beauty as well. The engineering of this device is incredible. The end result has some mixed feelings with me however.


IMG_20211123_133157.jpg


The Gryphon's signature is more neutral leaning with a hint of warmth. It's fast yet not sibilant. I think it's a rather nice balance however I will start with the obvious "Birth of a Head-Fi legend" as being an overstatement. It's a great device with great sound. It's a jump over the xDSD&xCAN but if you are going to reach for that star it needs to be a complete knockout. My listening impressions were with the unit powered up before connecting to USB (both BL and Gryphon) and only connecting the data transfer cable.

IMG_20211123_133433.jpg

Let's start strong and that is with full sized headphones. The Gryphon drove my 660S and K712 beautifully from the 4.4 port. SQ was ABOVE the iDSD BL and BTR5, only tailing the WM1A (Which is firmware modded) which has a nicely tuned sound signature. I was actually impressed the Gryphon outperformed the iDSD BL as it made the BL sound a little hazed in comparison. The Gryphon retains the engagement factor too. It doesn't have the output power which wasn't needed in the case of my headphones so no loss there. This thing is like an iDSD BL with better clarity and a hint less warmth. I was seriously impressed and the bluetooth performance excels too. I had a hard time discerning between USB/BT. I wasn't surprised the WM1A pulled ahead in sound quality - detail they were equals but the WM1A has such a nice tuning from Sony. I can see some people preferring the Gryphon though, so YMMV. SQ for full sized headphones finished as so WM1A (down to preference) > xDSD Gryphon > iDSD BL > BTR5 (This was flat and uninspiring). This is an impressive performance by the Gryphon.

Things took a strong spiral downwards when the Solaris OG came out though. The hiss scale goes as follows xDSD Gryphon >> WM1A >(slight) iDSD BL > BTR5 -- this is without IEmatch. Enabling IEmatch on the first setting with iDSD BL made it just about silent but SQ took a little hit. Second setting added more veil. The Gryphon's IEmatch 3.5mm impacts the BAL output and 4.4MM setting is like extreme on the BL. 3.5 IEM didn't sound quite right so I figure this was not meant to be used for the BAL port. Still, IEmatch extreme & 4.4 squashes the dynamic ability and really killed the sound for me. I did some demoing without IEmatch and it was just too noisy on the Gryphon and too low in the pot for the BL. The BAL output from the rear is pretty quiet though, but the SQ wasn't much of a step up. In all testing with the Solaris the Gryphon finished back of the pack. I think Ifi is using IEmatch as a crutch to have the device managable and this to pulls Gryphon from the stars. Keep in mind though, the Solaris is incredibly sensitive so your less than sensitive IEM may work fine without the IEmatch and if so this device would be a knockout for you. In terms of sound quality with Solaris OG things ended up as so: WM1A > iDSD BL > BTR5 > Gryphon. The BTR5 does much better with IEMs as far as SQ goes, still a little veil though.

So, we've got some great and...well not so much. Unfortunately I don't know if the Gryphon will really have a place in my stable because my hopes was for it to be a device that could do everything - as it is advertised right? I LOVE that it outperforms the BL for my full sized cans and it's a great upgrade for my laptop setup in that regard. This performance alone made me think it's a keeper. It's really that good! As soon as that high noise floor reared it's ugly head (This floor was still present after switching to BT) on the Solaris OG I was set back to reality. The sound wasn't bad, I could live with it - but it was inferior to the BTR5 with incredibly sensitive IEMs with IEmatch engaged. Another positive is that it didn't get hot when charging/listening at the same time. So there is that..
I opined the same on ieMatch. I felt that enabling ieMatch for 4.4 reduced the dynamic range too...
 

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