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Dear Jeff,

I always enjoy reading your comments and points of view. I just watched your YouTube video on Gryphon Audio Designs’ Apex amplifier—it was very interesting.

I have the Gryphon Mephisto [amplifier] and Pandora [preamplifier]. Do you think the Commander [preamplifier] will provide a substantial improvement over the Pandora? Perhaps, eventually, I could see myself going down the Apex amplifier road, too. Any input on this will be most appreciated.

Best regards,
United States

Well, John, you are in an enviable position. Your Gryphon Mephisto class-A power amplifier (which I assume is the Mephisto Stereo) and Pandora preamplifier are amazing performers. In fact, these products are surely in the conversation when discussing the best available if cost is no object.

And then along comes the Apex Stereo and Mono amplifiers, and Commander preamplifier. These new Gryphon flagships, from what I can gather (I’ve not heard them—yet) and from the information I’ve received from Gryphon personnel, are not just incremental improvements on the existing next-best Gryphons. Many companies state in their marketing materials that this or that product was conceived without cost or practicality as considerations, but I actually believe it in this case. Not only do you have the very latest thinking on amplification from a very mature design team at Gryphon, but you also have improved parts—like a new type of bipolar transistor. I am speculating, but my gut tells me the new Gryphons are beyond amazing.

So what does this all mean for your specific upgrade question? I guess I’d say this: if you have the means, and it’s not keeping your kid from going to college or anything else of the sort, well then, you only live once. Go get ’em both and let me know how your system sounds once you’ve got them installed.

Jeff Fritz