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Gryphon Diablo 300

Editor,

My name is Frank Dickens. I am the manufacturer of Silent Source Audio Cables and importer for Viva Audio, Da Vinci Audio Labs, Technical Brain, and Vitus Audio, and adealer for TAD, Berkeley, Koetsu, Walker Audio, Sim2, JVC Pro, and DNP Screens.

I ran across some postings from your website ["Absolute Nonsense," Ultra Audio, June 1, 2010] concerning Technical Brain amplifiers and preamplifiers. The postings were, to say the least, harsh in nature and contained a lot of pure conjecture and absolutely inaccurate statements put forward as fact.

If you do not mind, I would like to set the record straight. First of all, Technical Brain products are definitely not unobtainable. I would be happy to sell you or anyone else whatever they would like. At the current time, due to my desire to keep retail pricing sane and, also, due to the handmade nature of the products and the attendant low volume of production, all sales are direct. Pricing includes installation anywhere in the continental USA. Factory-authorized service is available here in Dallas, Texas.

Technical Brain received some early attention due to the spectacular performance of its amps and preamp. This attention involved two pairs of Japanese-market amplifiers brought to the USA by a gentleman in New York who knew absolutely nothing about high-end audio. These amps had power supplies built for the Japanese domestic market. There were some components in the power supplies that were woefully underrated for the US power grid and with 350 amps of inrush current at turn-on, failure was inevitable. Unfortunately, these failures were made very public, but characterized as reliability issues, instead of what they really were -- misuse of products designed for the power grid of another country. They involved only these two pairs of Japanese-market amps.

I became aware of Technical Brain through Andrew Jones of TAD Audio Labs. Both the legendary Model One and Reference One loudspeakers were voiced using Technical Brain. I obtained the two pairs of Japanese-market amps from New York, checked them out, and discovered the power supply issue. My staff engineered a revision ($30.00 in parts). These two pairs of amps are now bulletproof as are all new production units destined for the USA market.

I contacted Naoto Kurosawa of Technical Brain and worked out North American distribution. A new power supply was designed for the American market and a few other small changes were made to suit American customer tastes. Press coverage has been good and there are a number of reviews forthcoming which will rightly tout Technical Brain as the groundbreaking products they are.

You can contact Joe Cohen (The Lotus Group), Alon Wolf (Magico), Andrew Jones (TAD), Russell Kauffman (Morel), Lloyd Walker (Walker Audio), Ted Denny (Synergistic Research), David Robinson (Positive Feedback) and Robert Harley and Jonathan Valin (The Abso!ute Sound). These gentlemen have all had hands-on experience with Technical Brain in the last few months. I will certainly stand on their opinions.

A forum such as yours is certainly useful to the audio community in a positive way by making information available to help educate audiophiles on products available to them. However, in instances such as the one with Technical Brain, you can also do great harm to a small company such as Technical Brain and a small importer such as Silent Source.

Technical Brain is highly respected in Japan. They are the only company to ever receive the coveted Grand Prix award for every product they have introduced. I have attached the notes for the latest award. We are lucky that these products are available to the US audio community.

Pissing contests between bloggers, reviewers, and other reviewers serve no one and can harm products which do not deserve to be harmed. I would submit that much more care should be used by all for the greater good.

I will be happy to supply product for responsible review at any time.

Regards,
Frank Dickens
Managing Director
Silent Source Audio Cables
Technical Brain USA

Thank you for the note. You are absolutely correct that early, negative reports, particularly about issues such as reliability, availability, and so on, can hurt young companies. Ensuring that those issues do not happen in the first place is certainly in the best interest of the companies themselves. But the magazines have a responsibility to other entities also: first, consumers; but also the industry as a whole. Your letter serves to support that point, which I made in my article: "Those that promote dangerous, unreliable, or unsupported products do a disservice to established manufacturers that have worked hard to make rock-solid lineups, and to consumers who spend their hard-earned dollars. They ultimately damage the credibility of the magazines that promote them, and cast a shadow over high-end audio as a whole."

Covering Technical Brain products, which very well could be outstanding, should have been put on hold until all the "issues" noted could be worked out. The fallout you describe simply validates my whole argument. As I said back in June, "I wish Kurosawa the best of luck, but I have no interest in hearing his products, or writing about them, until I can say with certainty that they are a safe bet for the consumer." If that had been the standard of the other magazine, there would be no reason for your letter -- and frustration -- today.

If what you say is true, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, then the products might be ready for formal review. I'd still prefer a much longer track record -- think Ayre Acoustics, Gryphon, Simaudio, Boulder, ARC, and so on -- but a company has to start somewhere. I wish you the best of luck in establishing the Technical Brain brand in the US, and perhaps hearing these promising products in the future if they are in fact reliable, available, and wonderful sounding. . . . Jeff Fritz