Jeff Fritz: Is point-to-point wiring better than circuit boards in all electronic applications?
Gilbert Yeung: It depends on what a designer wants the result to be and what the product is. The general rule of thumb is: With low-noise, high-gain, low-level signals, use a PCB. With low gain and a higher level of signal, use point to point.
JF: What is your favorite Blue Circle amp?
GY: I haven't designed that one yet.
JF: Have you ever just given up on a design that wasn't meeting your expectations?
GY: Yes. There were two occasions where I gave up on designs. Both designs were suggested and pushed by salesmen. Since then we have gotten rid of all salesmen and haven't given up on a design since.
JF: If you could change one misconception that most audiophiles share, what would it be?
Jeff Fritz: Coda has been producing amplifiers and preamplifiers for . . .
Doug Dale: We started as Continuum in 1985 and made a small run of MC cartridge head amplifiers. Then we hibernated for a couple of years and began Coda with a limited line of preamps and amps. We operated comfortably from 1989 until 2003. We relocated at that time, forced by the purchase of the industrial park in which the original facility was located. We relocated again in 2007 and have worked to improve our product flow and continued to improve the designs.
JF: Class-A amplifiers sound so good because?
DD: A perfect design should be totally neutral, but nothing is perfect. If a spectral analysis is done of a class-A circuit the distortion that is produced has harmonics that are more related to the original signal than those that are present in a non-class-A design. This is a characteristic that is shared with tube amplifiers and may be the reason that class-A amps are often referred to as tube-like. When they do clip or distort they do so in a less "offensive" manner than a typical class-AB amp.
JF: Are Coda amplifiers of today better than the Thresholds of yesteryear?
DD: We certainly think so. Electronically our designs are quite different, being non-Stasis. The Threshold amps were quite good at the time, however. As a group we all preferred class-A circuits to the Stasis topology. In regard to objective measurements, there is no comparison. The class-A circuits implemented by Coda are dramatically better.
Jeff Fritz: You’ve said Gryphon is firmly committed to the CD, not music servers. Any further thoughts?
Flemming Rasmussen: Our success with the Mikado and Scorpio CD players has confirmed for us that there are many audiophiles that have large CD collections that they wish to play back on a dedicated player. It has been my perception that -- at least in the beginning -- the interest in music-server technology was based on convenience and the ability to rip CDs and did not offer any sound-improving qualities. It is nice to note that hi-rez recordings are becoming available for download and that changes the picture. It is a can/shall question: Shall we go into this because we can? I don’t think so. When we anticipate a shift of preferences with our core Gryphon clients, then we shall, and we do have the D/A technology to do it.
However, we believe that there will be a market for CD players at the top level for quite some time to come.
Jeff Fritz: What do you hear with 24/96 that you don’t hear on 16/44.1?
David Chesky: More air, extension, low-level detail.
JF: What do you say to those audiophiles that feel vinyl still sounds better than high-resolution music from HDtracks?
DC: Digital has gotten a bum rap. It is not the digital but the execution. We do not have the jitter and error correction that laser players have. Try an HD file off a hard drive and hear for yourself.
JF: Do you hear a difference between 24/96 and 24/192?
DC: As you go farther up the differences diminish.
JF: Is 24/192 all we need to achieve the sonic potential of source material? Is 24/96 enough?
Jeff Fritz: Ayre Acoustics stands for . . .
Charles Hansen: Designs so advanced that they are still state-of-the-art ten years after their introduction.
JF: Why is Boulder, Colorado, cool?
CH: It has a special vibe with the combination of a world-class university and an unbelievable number of Olympic-caliber athletes from dozens of sports. The result is a very rich, deep pool of talent in almost any field you can name.
JF: What is the best audio product to never be a commercial success?
CH: Hmm . . . there are lots of good candidates. Maybe the Versa Dynamics turntables (both the 1.0 and the 2.0), or the KLH 9 electrostatic speakers, or the Wingate power amp, which was the first solid-state amp with zero feedback.
JF: The problem with audiophiles is . . .
CH: There aren't enough of us -- go forth and multiply! Or at least turn a few of your friends on to what we do.
JF: The audio press would be better if . . .