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Show Report: Gryphon Audio Ethos CD Player at Sound by Singer, New York
February 13, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Sound by Singer | New York, New York 10001
February 13, 2020
Manhattan music lovers & audiophiles were in for a treat February 13 at Sound By Singer when Philip O’Hanlon from On A Higher Note (Gryphon Audio Designs exclusive N. American importer) presented the beautiful Ethos CD player & digital to analogue converter. The Ethos should really be called a CD turntable; this top loader is such a tactile experience in operation.
O’Hanlon kicked off the event by explaining that the evening’s agenda was to play the same performance on the Pro and then on the Ethos, the latter via a Red Book CD and then upsampling that CD to 32-bit/384kHz PCM to first hear it that way, then to DSD128 for another listen.
Most audiophiles have never heard a CD turntable of this caliber, it can upsample a CD to high resolution PCM or DSD, with a choice of filters afterwards to tailor the sound to the listener’s preference.
- Can a reference CD player compete with a similarly priced Record Player?
- CD versus the corresponding High Resolution file?
Not one to spoil the surprise, come by and decide for yourself.
- Gryphon Ethos CD/DAC
Philip O’Hanlon will be spinning CDs and LPs mainly from his hand curated Demo XXII; between the Irish whiskey, the terrific music and the camaraderie shared by music lovers, there should be plenty of warmth to heat up even the coolest of Manhattan evenings.
While O’Hanlon played numerous pieces of music at the event, the two songs discussed below are good examples of what we heard.
With Chris Stapleton’s “Death Row,” (From a Room: Volume 1, Mercury Nashville), the Pro’s sound was beautifully open and airy, with pleasingly full bass frequencies. Indeed, the Pro’s bass bloom and sweetness came to the fore when it played the vinyl.
Moving to a Red Book CD on the Ethos, the sound was very good. The upsampled 32/384 PCM version was even better, demonstrating more detail and transient snap. Neither of those versions, however, captured the Pro’s bass fullness and midrange bloom. Then came the Ethos’s DSD128 rendition, which was a shocker. That version captured most of the Pro’s bloom and was sonically pleasing and alive while not sounding unnaturally thick. Furthermore, the Ethos’s DSD128 presentation hung together with fantastic linearity.
With “Here Comes the Sun,” from the 2019 Giles Martin and Sam Okell 50th-anniversary remaster of the Beatles’ Abbey Road (Capitol Records), the Pro’s sound was nothing short of gorgeous and intoxicating. Once again, its full bass and midrange development contributed to its absolutely lovely sound.
Turning once again to the digital versions, I found that the Ethos’s Red Book CD version was again no slouch, in this case sounding cleaner than its analog counterpart. It was the same story on this track for the upsampled 32/384 PCM version, which picked up detail and had better soundstaging than with the Red Book CD. Remarkably, though, the Ethos’s upsampled DSD128 version was incredibly clean, warm, and developed in the low frequencies, although the Pro still managed to somewhat better that version’s bloom by a bit. In a blind listening test, mind you, I doubt anyone would know that we were listening to digital. Also, the DSD128 version had even more depth and air than any of the other versions.