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Gryphon Diablo 300

To Jeff Fritz,

I very much like the sound of well-constructed class-A amplifiers. Reading your reviews of the Coda 15.0 and, more recently, the Gryphon Audio Designs Mephisto, I understand that you also like class-A amplification.

I have a large listening room and 8-ohm-rated speakers with a sensitivity of 85dB, so I would like to purchase a class-A amplifier with a continuous power rating of at least 100Wpc into 8 ohms. Unfortunately, such class-A amplifiers tend to be very expensive; the only exception I have found is the Coda 15.0 that you reviewed (it is now upgraded to 15.5 if I understand correctly).

If I purchase the Coda, how much will I give up in performance compared to the significantly more expensive Gryphon Mephisto or a Pass Labs class-A amplifier like the XA160.5 or XA160.8?

Thank you for your insightful and interesting reviews and columns on SoundStage! Ultra!

Best regards,
Kari Lampinen

I was just speaking with one of my reviewer colleagues, Randall Smith, about the Coda 15.0 the other day. He was telling me that the high point in his personal audiophile experience was when he had the Coda 15.0 connected to his Rockport Technologies Mira loudspeakers. The sonic authority that that combination provided, along with the golden-glow type of sound that only class-A amplification seems to be able to provide, was simply stunning.

Although I do not think there is any question that the Gryphon Mephisto is in a class of its own, I also think the Coda amplifiers are absolute steals when you consider the hardware that goes into them and the knowhow that was expended in designing them. You're paying a very fair price for the Codas and getting an heirloom-quality amplifier in return. So I would say that if the Coda looks like the right brand for you, then go for it. It's a very good buy on an even better amplifier. . . . Jeff Fritz