Gryphon Zena/Essence DAC
Amazing realism and utterly analogue fluidity. A total success!” – Haute Fidelité, France
“It is hard for me to imagine a more musically accurate DAC in the marketplace today.” – Enjoythemusic.com, USA
“By far the best standalone digital to analogue converter ever auditioned by yours truly” – Fedelta del Suono, Italy, no. 221
Now, in classic Gryphon style, technologies and components developed for our cost-no-object, state of the art reference models trickle down in our product range. And when it rains at Gryphon, it really trickles down hard.
Ready for current and future digital audio formats, the ESS Sabre ES9018 DAC chip stands at the heart of the Zena DAC module, partnered with heavily regulated, fully discrete, ultra-low noise +/- 22VDC voltage supplies to ensure optimal noise suppression and minimal analogue THD.
The Zena DAC module draws no power from any USB source component, generating instead its own pure power for maximum isolation from the PC. This effectively removes one of the weak points in conventional DAC designs: dependence on USB bus power, i.e., 5V fed to the USB receiver from the source computer via the USB cable’s power line which “bleeds” noise and interference into the two data lines with significant audible impact.
The 12.5 Farad (!) SuperCap dedicated power supply acts as a stable, isolated, ideal virtual battery, eliminating the computer as a power source altogether for an ultra-low noise floor and unrestricted dynamics.
Pure power at this crucial early stage makes a major contribution to the natural, effortless ease that defines the sound of digital by Gryphon.
The Gryphon Zena DAC module adds five high quality digital inputs to the preamplifier’s standard complement of five analogue inputs: one gold-plated Neutric XLR socket for a balanced 110Ω AES source, a single TOSLink optical input, dual gold-plated 75Ω BNC sockets with Teflon insulation for two S/PDIF components and a single USB input.
With the DAC module on-board, the Zena displays the selected digital source, sampling frequency, PCM or DSD audio format, SuperCap power supply status (charging or fully charged) and active digital filter setting. For PCM sources, fast or slow roll-off digital filter settings are available. For DSD sources, choose between 50, 60, 70 kHz (-3dB) bandpass filters.
The Zena DAC module is fully isolated in an independent aluminium housing with grounded panels and is impervious to HF radiation, eliminating any risk of interference with the preamplifier stages.