As mentioned already, Gryphon champion large power supplies. The Antileon EVO is the company's smallest power amplifier yet rocks an astonishing 670'000µF capacitance (this is between 5-10 times larger than many amplifiers rated for higher output power) via four larger-than-coke-can capacitors, 40 high-quality bipolar output devices and two custom-designed transformers of 1.5KVA capacity each. The transformers are mechanically isolated, shielded and have been dipped into epoxy resin, then mounted to a suspension system to further dampen any possible vibrations. Separate windings and an independent bank of proprietary capacitors supply the driver stages. Internal wiring is Gryphon's own classy Guideline Reference.


In unison, all those items represent truly heroic overkill power supply engineering. This coalesces with Rasmussen's belief (as head of a design team which incorporates some of Denmark's brightest) that an amplifier's power supply is both its heart and lifeblood. Many designers share that sentiment, of course, but only a few follow through to these practical extremes.


Much of the rave about the EVO derives from its newly-designed J-FET input stage. That's said to be extremely clean and fast, allowing for improved dynamic expression, transient attack and micro detail compared to the previous generation. The amp's input impedance is a reasonable 20kΩ (some care may be needed with some admittedly rare very high output impedance valve preamplifiers) while gain is a hot 31dB. This last I thought a potential problem for my high-gain Supratek Reference DHT valve preamplifier but so quiet is the EVO's circuitry, so well designed —as is my preamp's relative to its direct-heated triodes—that next to zero noise came through the 92dB efficient Wilson Alexias. However, high gain from both preamp and amplifier did mean that the volume control rode the 9.30-10 o'clock mark. Any further movement upwards made playback too loud. A low/high gain switch would be a welcome future inclusion barring any deleterious sonic consequences. As per Gryphon's philosophy, the EVO is a wide bandwidth design with a span from 0Hz to 350kHz (-3dB).


The EVO's rear panel sports balanced XLR inputs only, two IEC power inlet sockets (it's a true dual mono design) and awesome speaker binding posts. Those are in-house designs I really fancy because they are large, provide a large opening and a solid grip on spades whilst also accepting banana plugs, feature rubber rings for non-slip tightening and, finally, are beautifully built. Large rear handles help when lifting should you wish to tackle this 84kg beast… yikes! Out and centred on the gorgeously black-acrylic fascia juts proud a semi-triangular inverted aluminium panel. This houses a row of LED-lit buttons to activate power, mute, bias (low, medium and high) and a system check/diagnostic circuit. Whether metallic or acrylic, build quality and overall finish are of the highest standards whilst the subtly etched Gryphon company identifier (a stylized griffin, i.e. mythological lion and eagle cross) on the large circular top panel makes for a classy touch.


In a conversation with the man himself, Flemming Rasmussen provided further design insights. First I asked about their power amps which all share Class-A circuits. Why so exclusively?
Even the very first Gryphon was an extreme Class-A design. To our ears there's something simply so right about Class-A performance even if weight, heat and price are downsides. When done right, most people know and agree that Class-A is a great topology. That also explains why so many manufactures unrightfully claim Class-A performance when it isn't factual. It still adds value to their product.