Gryphon Zena vs Pandora Preamp (update from our Whatsbestforum post)

We posted our listening notes on our first audition of the Zena at whatsbestforum.com earlier in July here.  With the launch of Zena at RMAF last week, here’s the availability update:

Zena will ship Nov after Thanksgiving in the U.S & Canadian market.  First production run is sold out from Gryphon to distributors worldwide.  We have just a couple left at this writing.  Reserve yours here or reach out to one of our dealers near you here.

If you have visited our room last week at RMAF and have your listening notes to post, please share.  If you have auditioned or is the owner of one of the Pandora preamps, please jump into the conversation.

Here’s the post from July at whatsbestforum:

Music used for comparison purposes:

The Portuguese duet was used to show a nice natural vocal timbre, while the Leonard Cohen displayed his wonderful husky voice with a wonderful Hammond B3 accompaniment. While the Depeche Mode track grew steadily more complex after each chorus and is a terrific demo track for showing how tight, articulate & well defined a system might play. This track grows increasingly more complex as the song progresses and a great system should be able to keep all the instruments identifiable as individual entities.

ZENA
The new guy has a larger, easier to read display.
Zena can accommodate either a DAC or phono stage.
Zena takes the same PS2 internal phono stage as the Diablos.
Zena takes the same DAC as the Diablo 300, just with shorter stand-off pins.
One box preamp, needs one less rack space than the two box Pandora
For those who want to use both a DAC and a phono stage. Then we recommend getting the internal DAC and the stand alone Sonett phono stage.

PANDORA
Pandora still has state of the art performance even against considerably more expensive competitors.
Pandora will accommodate one pair of Legato phono stage boards internally.
Pandora’s power supply will also drive a stand alone Legato phono stage. No need to buy the additional power supply.
Legato = Gryphon’s state of the art, no compromise phono stage

Conclusion from my first ZENA audition

It was easily apparent that Gryphon have a winner on their hands with the Zena, it was my first time hearing the new preamp and I came away mightily impressed. Zena delivers about 80-90% of the Pandora’s performance for a little over 50% of the cost. Not at all surprised to hear that the first production run is fully sold out.

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