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Gryphon Diablo 300

To Jeff Fritz,

I thoroughly enjoy your writing and the way you keep it real and honest.

I am in search of my dream amplification to power my Vivid B1 speakers. I used to be a tube guy but have migrated to solid state. Currently I'm using a DarTZeel NHB-108 or Herron M1As, each of which has its own remarkable virtues despite the price-tag difference. I have read with interest your review of the Coda 15.0. Do you think it could straddle the difference and come out ahead? And have you heard Coda's matching 07x preamp?

Thanks,
S.P.
France

It appears that the Herrons now sell for $6850 per pair in the United States, while the current price of the DarTZeel NHB-108 seems to be approaching $30,000 from what I can see online (I'm not sure what they're priced at where you live). That is quite a discrepancy in price, though, and we should all know by now that price does not always equate with sound quality.

Still, from what I remember of the DarTZeel and with my limited experience with Herron, both of these brands have a lot to offer. I know audiophiles who have found homes in both brands' camps and are quite happy with the results. If you are still searching, though, then it means there is something that you still seek that you feel you are not getting with those aforementioned products.

The Coda 15.0 would, I believe, improve upon the DarTZeel and Herrons in terms of bass power and slam. Do you feel that is what you are missing? The Coda amplifiers have massive power supplies and can deliver tons of current -- speakers that have prodigious bass capabilities oftentimes require that. The Codas have a knack for grabbing hold of and controlling bass drivers, and that leads to a very visceral yet controlled sound in the low frequencies. The Vivid B1s are capable of physical bass pop and surprising depth (though the B1s cannot play as deep or loud as the larger Giyas, obviously); therefore, I believe they would benefit from Coda amplification in that regard. As for the rest of the sound spectrum, the 15.0 is certainly no slouch in any area. I've not heard the 07x preamp. So I say go for it, and see if you don’t think the Coda is a perfect match for your Vivid speakers. . . . Jeff Fritz