Interview of Gryphon Audio Design’s Sales Director, Rune Skov, Audio Magazine July 2019 Issue (translated)

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pc Audio Magazine, Korea

Hello, it is such an honor to meet you. What is the reason for visiting Korea this time?

Hello. I am Rune Skov, the Sales Director at Gryphon. Thank you for warm and kind welcoming me in Seoul. This visit is to support Gryphon’s long time partner, Damino, and I would like to Damino’ s efforts to prepare for this KOBA 2019.

I heard that at this KOBA 2019 event, Gryphon’s newest product will be presented for the first time in Asia. What is the product?

This time, Gryphon has brought out the new CD PLAYER/DAC, The Ethos. I will be presenting and demonstrating myself and as this is the first launch event in Asia, I hope to see good responses.

I believe a lot of people are curious about Ethos. Also, Mikado Signature, known as the best Red Book CD player among the source devices of Gryphon, has been discontinued due to discontinued mechanism supply. Please explain how this is different from Mikado’s signature.

It would be a long story to talk about the difference with Mikado Signature. This is the latest CD player (with reminiscent of an analogue player) with a built-in D / A converter, not an ordinary Redbook CD player. The Ethos is the best DAC with dual mono inputs with the latest ESS Saber ES9038Pro 32-bit chip. The transport used for the Ethos is a completely new mechanism by Austrian Stream Unlimited, CD-Pro8, with a fully decoupled full metal body. There are so many differences such as the ability to choose between seven PCM roll-off filters and three DSD roll-off filters (Mikado Signature uses only two digital filters), up-sampling up to 32 bits / 384kHz, PCM to DSD128, Pure Class A design and completely independent output stages etc but I do recommend the audiences to enjoy the transparent, warm sound that has been digitally released analogously. So-called digital turntables.

The concept of the newly introduced Ethos is quite different from the design of the previous Gryphon products. I wonder how Gryphon came up with this triangular design. And I wonder if it will be possible to introduce additional products in this design style in the future.

The unique design of the Ethos is very much different from the previous Gryphon designs without a doubt. For sure this design would be one of the bold and interesting designs by Mr Flemming Rasmussen. Ethos ‘design is to revive memories of the past and Gryphon’s era of the analogue. It has the intention of bringing back memories of vinyl age, such as adjustable feet, levels, and a unique lid that looks like a tonearm of a turntable while reminiscent of the turntable. The analog sensibility, such as high-quality analog devices and binaries for vinyl playback inspired the Gryphon design team. I would also like to say that it is a CD PLAYER / DAC, but a product that is in the turntable line.

Nowadays, companies are moving from CD players to streaming players, and they are now stopping to manufacture CD players. Gryphon, on the other hand, is under the impression that it is showing more emphasis to high-end source devices such as Scorpio S and Ethos. Is there any reason to focus on Redbook CD players like this?

Gryphon has no history of creating a streamer or server, but we’ve tried to show the public the best CD player that’s closest to analog for a long time. Gryphon is also the first company to implement digital upsampling on CD players. While this technology was not invented by Gryphon, Gryphon was the first company to open up its business sampling technology to the public. We strive to create a digital, pure analog CD player with this passion for analog. There are also loyal customers who use Gryphon’s CD player, and many people want a new, high-quality Red Book CD player, which is why they cannot stop developing and innovating. After 30 years of digital history in audio field, a single audio file now can have hundreds or even thousands of CDs inside. The time-consuming and gifted gem-like recordings still require a high-quality CD player. I think we should be able to fulfill these passionate customers’ dreams. We still believe that we can bring more potential from CDs. For Gryphon, the CD never dies.

What is the best sound Gryphon thinks? I would also like to know about Gryphon’s philosophy of creation.

I think it is an interesting question because we do not think of ourselves as having a specific “house sound”. We have one goal, which is to make the product as neutral as possible to stick to the actual recording sound. If we need to explain the ‘best sound’, it should be ‘Sonic Neutrality’.

Gryphon is not only excellent sound, but also has a strong sense of luxury design. How are those attractive designs born?

Founder and designer Flemming Rasmussen was originally educated as an artist and graphic designer. All of the designs have a beautiful, future-oriented and firm Scandinavian industrial design philosophy. This is part of our DNA, and most products are always “Big, Black, and Bold”.  All of the products must stand out and each individual product has to have a certain expression and position in the product portfolio. Most of the ideas were in Rasmussen’s head, but suddenly they were born on napkins or coffee filters through his hands. We make a lot of efforts to realize these special designs. In close cooperation with these R & D teams, Gryphon executives will set up future product plans, and Rasmussen will continue to draw.

Gryphon is always one of the best companies to utilize the black color. Is there a particular reason for the black style?

90% of the Gryphon products are black, but sometimes you will experience some special products in the color of gray or some product with a silver top like Ethos. As Ferrari is widely known as Red, and I have mentioned a bit before, Black is Gryphon’s DNA that is big, black, and bold.

I am curious about new products to be released in the future. I wonder what products are being planned and under development.

The philosophy of Gryphon products is solid. We are always thorough with new product launches. Gryphon’s principle is to release a product and run for more than 10~20 years.(Model changes within 1~2 years or 2 ~ 3 years is not our philosophy. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal all the plan regarding the new products but I can assure you that we have a plan for future products. Please keep an eye on us.

Lastly, would you please say a word to the audiophile who love Gryphon?

I am honored to attend KOBA 2019 and I think it will be the hi-fi audio show to attend again in the future. With the long-term collaboration of Damino, Gryphon has become one of the most recognized brands in the luxury high-end audio market, and we see the Korean market as a very important market. Korean customers have come to appreciate the Gryphon brand for many years, with dedication. We cherish all these supports and interest very much and want to give something back to Gryphon’s loyal customers and audiophiles. This is one of the reasons why we decided to introduce the Ethos first in Korea among other Asian countries. On behalf of Gryphon, I would like to thank all the Gryphon fans for their faith and love for Gryphon.

Translation from original Korean script (best efforts) | Courtesy: On A Higher Note, N. American Distributor for Gryphon Audio Designs | 

Learn more about the Ethos here

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