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Gryphon Diablo 300

To Jeff Fritz,

I have been itching to rebuild a system from scratch and the story about your new system build inspired me. A lot of the things you said on this and on current hi-fi trends resonated with me. I wanted to ask you, now that you have spent more time with your system, if you are still as enthusiastic? If I’m correct, you are running the Auralic Vega G2 as a streaming DAC-preamp into the Boulder 2060 driving the Vimberg Tonda speakers?

I really like the simplicity of this. I’d like to build a system that’s like this bottle of wine that you open, and it’s directly enjoyable and pleasant and not this fussy-elusive wine that has to have the right temperature, the right glasses, and you have to concentrate to find the notes. I think wine and hi-fi have a lot in common in the sense that there is a lot of snobbery and mine-is-bigger-than-yours kind of thing.

Anyway, I am living in the South of France and don’t have many options to listen to systems: shops don’t carry this or that and the audio shows aren’t necessarily the best for this. And if you ask ten people, you’re gonna get ten different opinions. Similarly to you, I had a crush on Vimberg and wanted to have your opinion since you can’t review your own speakers.

I would be looking at the Vimberg Mino since I have a smaller budget and room and had several questions, if you would be so kind.

Did you have a chance to compare the speaker with and without the diamond tweeter? Which model do you actually have? What do you think the diamond tweeter brings over the standard one (since it is a pricey upgrade)? You essentially have a powerhouse amplifier driving your Vimbergs, but did you experience driving them with less-powerful amps? How hard do you think the Minos are to drive since they’re 4 ohms? Are they fussy to place or no more or less than average? Do you find them to be versatile with different kinds of music? How would you characterize their sound? Which cables are you using and find satisfactory?

My build idea would be similar to yours: Auralic Vega G2 (or similar concept) DAC-preamplifier, Constellation Inspiration Mono 1.0 amplifiers, Vimberg Mino speakers. What do you think about the synergy of these elements? I would probably be running Roon from a MacBook Pro to mostly stream.

Alternatively, would you have any other system recommendations with a similar spirit? I want a pleasant, simple, versatile, resolving, and good bang-for-my-buck system where I can listen to music instead of listening to cables or components.

Thanks for taking the time to read and for your kind input.

Kind regards,

My current system consists of the Vimberg Tonda speakers, a Boulder 2060 stereo power amplifier, a Hegel Music Systems HD30 digital-to-analog converter with integral volume control, and an Apple MacBook Pro laptop running Roon and streaming Qobuz. Wire is Siltech Explorer and the rack that supports the Apple and Hegel is an SGR Audio Model III Symphony. Simplicity is very important to me, sound quality is paramount, and I value superior engineering supported by measurements and immaculate build quality.

As such, I can easily see the system you describe being an amazing one. Very rarely would I give a “go for it” right out of the gate from a reader’s letter, but in this case I can’t imagine this setup not being fantastic. There is no question that the Constellation mono amplifiers would drive the Vimbergs with ease, and the Auralic would provide a super-quiet, transparent source signal. If you add good cabling from any of a multitude of brands and a solid rack, you’re in business.

As to the sound quality of the Vimberg Tonda, I’m exactly a year into ownership so it is probably time for an update on that front. Although sometimes you start to get itchy around the year mark to look at something else, I can say with sincerity that I appreciate the Vimberg speakers I own more now than when I originally bought them. The pair of them sound lightning fast, play deep in the bass and with visceral impact, are transparent and neutral to the source signal, and image with great precision and focus. The Tonda is truly a world beater as far as I am concerned. What I know of the smaller Mino model is that it is essentially the same speaker only with smaller drivers. I would assume you could achieve about the same sound quality as with the Tonda, as long as the space is not too large you have enough power -- the Constellation monos would ensure the latter.

As far as my decision to purchase my Tondas with the ceramic tweeters instead of the diamond versions, it came down to a couple of things: first, cost; second, looking at measurements of the Accuton ceramic tweeter I could see that it is capable of solid extension into the very high frequencies and is quite linear. I’ve been happy with that choice, as the HF performance of my Tondas strikes a perfect balance between extension and air, and listenability. I’ve not been tempted to have my pair upgraded. Lastly, placement is no more or less fussy than other speakers I’ve had through my system this past year.

Good luck with your system build, and do write back once you get further along in your buying process. . . . Jeff Fritz