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Thread: Visit to Gryphon Audio Designs / Pendragon Review

  1. #101
    Site Founder And Administrator Ron Resnick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackD201 View Post
    Hi Ron

    I hope that work on the retaining wall is going as planned. i can't wait to have see you back on your audio feet again. Keep me posted so I can plan a trip to LA to coincide with the recommissioning of your "Fully Operational Battle Station"

    Jack
    Thank you for your kind words, Jack. I certainly will keep you posted but it is going to be a long project.
    Mono and Stereo - Senior Contributing Reviewer

    turntable: American Sound AS-2000; tonearms: SME 3012R, Schröder LT; cartridges: ZYX UNIverse Premium X-SB2, Air Tight Opus-1; tape: Studer A820 Mk II; phono stage: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 power supplies; line stage: VTL TL-7.5 Series III; amplifier: VTL Siegfried Series II; loudspeaker: Gryphon Pendragon; cables: MasterBuilt Ultra; stands: Herzan + Taiko Tana + Evo LPS for Io, custom for turntable, Stacore Basic+ for amps; power: Benjamin Electric subpanel, JPS in-wall wire, Furutech NCF outlets, Torus AVR60BAL; room: 19' wide X 24' long X 14' tall; acoustic treatment: SoundSense A.T.I. + Lumitex drapes + Vibramat, ASC IsoThermal Tube Traps; tweaks: Shakti Stones, Shun Mooks, self-propelled sound-absorbing cocker-poo

  2. #102
    Ron, I accidentally clicked on this and it was a pleasure to re-read this. Been browsing the latest tas issue with the big Wilson on the cover, and with no comparisons in their reviews, one just doesn't know what those writers are talking about. Could be a $30k speaker or could be $200 computer speaker. Under Harley's leadership tas is an abortion. You should buy them out, salvage who's salvageable and train them in your style, and clean house of the rest!

    Speaker-wise, have you heard the zellaton? An electrostatic with meat on the bones. I think with the types of music you listen to, it may be the Perfect speaker for you.

  3. #103
    Site Founder And Administrator Ron Resnick's Avatar
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    Thank you for your kind -- actually overly kind -- comments, caesar. Michael Fremer, of Stereophile, does comparative reviews and so does Don Saltzman, of The Absolute Sound, among other reviewers.

    To answer your question I heard the big Zellaton Statement system briefly at Munich in 2016.

    In my visit report to Von Schweikert Audio in May of 2016 --
    http://www.monoandstereo.com/2016/05...2-and.html?m=1 -- I wrote this:

    “FAST”-SOUNDING SPEAKERS

    At Munich High End 2016 I heard for the first time Zellaton Statement loudspeakers and Magico M-Project loudspeakers. Previously I had heard Tidal Audio La Assoluta loudspeakers in a friend’s home.

    I hear each of these speakers as being extremely transparent (especially considering they employ dynamic drivers), “fast”-sounding and just a bit “tizzy” or “zingy” or “menthol”-sounding. It is hard to know what word to use to describe the very "fast” sound which such speakers produce. It is not in any way a traditional brightness or edginess (such as was produced by the Wilson Audio metal dome tweeter for many years until Wilson’s recent switch to a soft dome tweeter in the XLF, the Alexia and the Alexx). But it is a characteristic which is noticeable, to me, from the members of this genre of speakers.

    The transparency of which these very fast-sounding, dynamic driver speakers are capable is very impressive but, to my ears, that transparency comes at the cost of a bit of naturalness or "musicality" to the sound. The fact that I am aware of this “fast” sound as a discrete characteristic tells me that it is not the type of sound I personally, subjectively, prefer. If a speaker has some characteristic which makes me notice that characteristic and identify it, then I am not engaged in, and lost in, the music. I have learned that, for whatever reason, this genre of speakers just does not allow me to become emotionally connected to the music.

    To be crystal clear I am not suggesting that Magico or Tidal Audio or Zellaton speakers are doing anything objectively wrong. I am saying only that, to my ears, subjectively I do not care for that hyper-fast sound. People who like that transparent, detailed and very fast sound (and many people do, which is why Magico is so popular and Tidal Audio and Zellaton are so revered), will have no idea what I'm talking about, and they simply are enthralled with the transparency and openness of such speakers. I completely understand and appreciate that (differing) preference. That is what makes this hobby subjective.

    The only amendment I would make to this excerpt today is that, after hearing the Magico M3 at Rhapsody in Manhattan and the Magico S5 Mark 2 in Myles Astor's listening room -- in both cases the speakers were driven by tube amplifiers I totally like -- I did not hear this hyper-fast attribute. I consider this to be primarily a result of what I perceive to be Magico's shift away from this hyper-fast sound in later iterations of its speakers, and secondarily to the tube amplification in Bob's and Myles' systems.

    Caesar, I love the transparency of electrostatic loudspeakers, but, rightly or wrongly, I do not equate exactly the transparency of electrostatics with the hyper-fast, and also transparent, sound of the Zellaton.

    In Jonathan Valin's visit to Audioarts -- http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...ioarts-in-nyc/ -- he wrote:

    Here is what the Zellaton Reference did better than any other cone speaker I’d auditioned up to that point: Reproduced LPs and digital media with simply unparalleled speed, openness, and resolution. Everything from entire vocal and instrumental lines in large ensembles to the tiny timbral and textural details that characterize (and humanize) the performances of soloists was reproduced with such clarity and naturalness (and with such a complete absence of the usual metal, plastic, paper, ceramic, diamond, or carbon-fiber cone/membrane sonic signature) it was as if the recordings themselves had been remade—remixed and remastered by the world’s greatest mastering engineer. Moreover, the Zellaton References did this magic trick without ever sounding “analytical.” Indeed, their tone color was well nigh perfectly neutral from top to bottom, and their “disappearing act” nearly complete. Not without reason did Gideon Schwartz call them “Quad 57s with meat on their bones.”

    Perhaps Jonathan's "simply unparalleled speed, openness, and resolution" is my "'fast'-sounding and just a bit 'tizzy' or 'zingy' or 'menthol'-sounding"? Differences in preference are one of the things which makes this hobby subjective and endlessly fascinating.

    But isn't it interesting that this difference in preference appears to be consistent? For example, I prefer the slightly darker, warmer "house" sound of Rockport Technologies speakers and Jonathan prefers the less dark and cooler "house" sound of Magico speakers.

    I want to note that after Mono and Stereo published my visit report on Von Schweikert Audio, including the discussion about "hyper-fast" sound excerpted above, Gideon of Audioarts in Manhattan, which carries Zellaton, wrote to me to suggest that I have not properly heard the Zellaton speakers, and that I have misjudged their sound, and he very graciously invited me to listen to his system in Manhattan. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to take Gideon up on his kind offer. Of course I remain open-minded that Gideon is correct that I have misjudged the Zellaton sound from my brief listen in Munich.
    Mono and Stereo - Senior Contributing Reviewer

    turntable: American Sound AS-2000; tonearms: SME 3012R, Schröder LT; cartridges: ZYX UNIverse Premium X-SB2, Air Tight Opus-1; tape: Studer A820 Mk II; phono stage: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 power supplies; line stage: VTL TL-7.5 Series III; amplifier: VTL Siegfried Series II; loudspeaker: Gryphon Pendragon; cables: MasterBuilt Ultra; stands: Herzan + Taiko Tana + Evo LPS for Io, custom for turntable, Stacore Basic+ for amps; power: Benjamin Electric subpanel, JPS in-wall wire, Furutech NCF outlets, Torus AVR60BAL; room: 19' wide X 24' long X 14' tall; acoustic treatment: SoundSense A.T.I. + Lumitex drapes + Vibramat, ASC IsoThermal Tube Traps; tweaks: Shakti Stones, Shun Mooks, self-propelled sound-absorbing cocker-poo

  4. #104
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Resnick View Post
    Thank you for your kind -- actually overly kind -- comments, caesar. Michael Fremer, of Stereophile, does comparative reviews and so does Don Saltzman, of The Absolute Sound, among other reviewers.

    To answer your question I heard the big Zellaton Statement system briefly at Munich in 2016.

    In my visit report to Von Schweikert Audio in May of 2016 --
    http://www.monoandstereo.com/2016/05...2-and.html?m=1 -- I wrote this:

    “FAST”-SOUNDING SPEAKERS

    At Munich High End 2016 I heard for the first time Zellaton Statement loudspeakers and Magico M-Project loudspeakers. Previously I had heard Tidal Audio La Assoluta loudspeakers in a friend’s home.

    I hear each of these speakers as being extremely transparent (especially considering they employ dynamic drivers), “fast”-sounding and just a bit “tizzy” or “zingy” or “menthol”-sounding. It is hard to know what word to use to describe the very "fast” sound which such speakers produce. It is not in any way a traditional brightness or edginess (such as was produced by the Wilson Audio metal dome tweeter for many years until Wilson’s recent switch to a soft dome tweeter in the XLF, the Alexia and the Alexx). But it is a characteristic which is noticeable, to me, from the members of this genre of speakers.

    The transparency of which these very fast-sounding, dynamic driver speakers are capable is very impressive but, to my ears, that transparency comes at the cost of a bit of naturalness or "musicality" to the sound. The fact that I am aware of this “fast” sound as a discrete characteristic tells me that it is not the type of sound I personally, subjectively, prefer. If a speaker has some characteristic which makes me notice that characteristic and identify it, then I am not engaged in, and lost in, the music. I have learned that, for whatever reason, this genre of speakers just does not allow me to become emotionally connected to the music.

    To be crystal clear I am not suggesting that Magico or Tidal Audio or Zellaton speakers are doing anything objectively wrong. I am saying only that, to my ears, subjectively I do not care for that hyper-fast sound. People who like that transparent, detailed and very fast sound (and many people do, which is why Magico is so popular and Tidal Audio and Zellaton are so revered), will have no idea what I'm talking about, and they simply are enthralled with the transparency and openness of such speakers. I completely understand and appreciate that (differing) preference. That is what makes this hobby subjective.

    The only amendment I would make to this excerpt today is that, after hearing the Magico M3 at Rhapsody in Manhattan and the Magico S5 Mark 2 in Myles Astor's listening room -- in both cases the speakers were driven by tube amplifiers I totally like -- I did not hear this hyper-fast attribute. I consider this to be primarily a result of what I perceive to be Magico's shift away from this hyper-fast sound in later iterations of its speakers, and secondarily to the tube amplification in Bob's and Myles' systems.

    Caesar, I love the transparency of electrostatic loudspeakers, but, rightly or wrongly, I do not equate exactly the transparency of electrostatics with the hyper-fast, and also transparent, sound of the Zellaton.

    In Jonathan Valin's visit to Audioarts -- http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...ioarts-in-nyc/ -- he wrote:

    Here is what the Zellaton Reference did better than any other cone speaker I’d auditioned up to that point: Reproduced LPs and digital media with simply unparalleled speed, openness, and resolution. Everything from entire vocal and instrumental lines in large ensembles to the tiny timbral and textural details that characterize (and humanize) the performances of soloists was reproduced with such clarity and naturalness (and with such a complete absence of the usual metal, plastic, paper, ceramic, diamond, or carbon-fiber cone/membrane sonic signature) it was as if the recordings themselves had been remade—remixed and remastered by the world’s greatest mastering engineer. Moreover, the Zellaton References did this magic trick without ever sounding “analytical.” Indeed, their tone color was well nigh perfectly neutral from top to bottom, and their “disappearing act” nearly complete. Not without reason did Gideon Schwartz call them “Quad 57s with meat on their bones.”

    Perhaps Jonathan's "simply unparalleled speed, openness, and resolution" is my "'fast'-sounding and just a bit 'tizzy' or 'zingy' or 'menthol'-sounding"? Differences in preference are one of the things which makes this hobby subjective and endlessly fascinating.

    But isn't it interesting that this difference in preference appears to be consistent? For example, I prefer the slightly darker, warmer "house" sound of Rockport Technologies speakers and Jonathan prefers the less dark and cooler "house" sound of Magico speakers.

    I want to note that after Mono and Stereo published my visit report on Von Schweikert Audio, including the discussion about "hyper-fast" sound excerpted above, Gideon of Audioarts in Manhattan, which carries Zellaton, wrote to me to suggest that I have not properly heard the Zellaton speakers, and that I have misjudged their sound, and he very graciously invited me to listen to his system in Manhattan. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to take Gideon up on his kind offer. Of course I remain open-minded that Gideon is correct that I have misjudged the Zellaton sound from my brief listen in Munich.
    Ron,

    Thanks for the well thought out and excellent reply. I do hope you get visit Gideon’s lair in NYC. I wouldn’t be surprised if you like the Zellaton speakers in a good room better than you did in Munich.

    And, of course, a half bagel or a single bite into a Pastrami sandwich always makes the trip to NYC worthwhile.

    We all would love to read your impressions - to keep this outstanding thread going!

  5. #105
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! Elberoth's Avatar
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    I have listened to Zellaton speakers 4-5 times at show conditions. My impressions mirror yours.
    Adam

    Speakers: Magico M3
    Amp: MSB M202 / D'Agostino Momentum Stereo
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  6. #106
    An excellent post, Ron, as always! I enjoy reading these especially because they are devoid of any sugar-coating like many magazine reviews have. And, it helps greatly to know the reviewer's preferences so that the reader can understand the product by offsetting his/her preferences accordingly.



    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Resnick View Post
    Thank you for your kind -- actually overly kind -- comments, caesar. Michael Fremer, of Stereophile, does comparative reviews and so does Don Saltzman, of The Absolute Sound, among other reviewers.

    To answer your question I heard the big Zellaton Statement system briefly at Munich in 2016.

    In my visit report to Von Schweikert Audio in May of 2016 --
    http://www.monoandstereo.com/2016/05...2-and.html?m=1 -- I wrote this:

    “FAST”-SOUNDING SPEAKERS

    At Munich High End 2016 I heard for the first time Zellaton Statement loudspeakers and Magico M-Project loudspeakers. Previously I had heard Tidal Audio La Assoluta loudspeakers in a friend’s home.

    I hear each of these speakers as being extremely transparent (especially considering they employ dynamic drivers), “fast”-sounding and just a bit “tizzy” or “zingy” or “menthol”-sounding. It is hard to know what word to use to describe the very "fast” sound which such speakers produce. It is not in any way a traditional brightness or edginess (such as was produced by the Wilson Audio metal dome tweeter for many years until Wilson’s recent switch to a soft dome tweeter in the XLF, the Alexia and the Alexx). But it is a characteristic which is noticeable, to me, from the members of this genre of speakers.

    The transparency of which these very fast-sounding, dynamic driver speakers are capable is very impressive but, to my ears, that transparency comes at the cost of a bit of naturalness or "musicality" to the sound. The fact that I am aware of this “fast” sound as a discrete characteristic tells me that it is not the type of sound I personally, subjectively, prefer. If a speaker has some characteristic which makes me notice that characteristic and identify it, then I am not engaged in, and lost in, the music. I have learned that, for whatever reason, this genre of speakers just does not allow me to become emotionally connected to the music.

    To be crystal clear I am not suggesting that Magico or Tidal Audio or Zellaton speakers are doing anything objectively wrong. I am saying only that, to my ears, subjectively I do not care for that hyper-fast sound. People who like that transparent, detailed and very fast sound (and many people do, which is why Magico is so popular and Tidal Audio and Zellaton are so revered), will have no idea what I'm talking about, and they simply are enthralled with the transparency and openness of such speakers. I completely understand and appreciate that (differing) preference. That is what makes this hobby subjective.

    The only amendment I would make to this excerpt today is that, after hearing the Magico M3 at Rhapsody in Manhattan and the Magico S5 Mark 2 in Myles Astor's listening room -- in both cases the speakers were driven by tube amplifiers I totally like -- I did not hear this hyper-fast attribute. I consider this to be primarily a result of what I perceive to be Magico's shift away from this hyper-fast sound in later iterations of its speakers, and secondarily to the tube amplification in Bob's and Myles' systems.

    Caesar, I love the transparency of electrostatic loudspeakers, but, rightly or wrongly, I do not equate exactly the transparency of electrostatics with the hyper-fast, and also transparent, sound of the Zellaton.

    In Jonathan Valin's visit to Audioarts -- http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...ioarts-in-nyc/ -- he wrote:

    Here is what the Zellaton Reference did better than any other cone speaker I’d auditioned up to that point: Reproduced LPs and digital media with simply unparalleled speed, openness, and resolution. Everything from entire vocal and instrumental lines in large ensembles to the tiny timbral and textural details that characterize (and humanize) the performances of soloists was reproduced with such clarity and naturalness (and with such a complete absence of the usual metal, plastic, paper, ceramic, diamond, or carbon-fiber cone/membrane sonic signature) it was as if the recordings themselves had been remade—remixed and remastered by the world’s greatest mastering engineer. Moreover, the Zellaton References did this magic trick without ever sounding “analytical.” Indeed, their tone color was well nigh perfectly neutral from top to bottom, and their “disappearing act” nearly complete. Not without reason did Gideon Schwartz call them “Quad 57s with meat on their bones.”

    Perhaps Jonathan's "simply unparalleled speed, openness, and resolution" is my "'fast'-sounding and just a bit 'tizzy' or 'zingy' or 'menthol'-sounding"? Differences in preference are one of the things which makes this hobby subjective and endlessly fascinating.

    But isn't it interesting that this difference in preference appears to be consistent? For example, I prefer the slightly darker, warmer "house" sound of Rockport Technologies speakers and Jonathan prefers the less dark and cooler "house" sound of Magico speakers.

    I want to note that after Mono and Stereo published my visit report on Von Schweikert Audio, including the discussion about "hyper-fast" sound excerpted above, Gideon of Audioarts in Manhattan, which carries Zellaton, wrote to me to suggest that I have not properly heard the Zellaton speakers, and that I have misjudged their sound, and he very graciously invited me to listen to his system in Manhattan. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to take Gideon up on his kind offer. Of course I remain open-minded that Gideon is correct that I have misjudged the Zellaton sound from my brief listen in Munich.

  7. #107
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    Hi Ron,
    Having had the chance to hear several differing Zellaton setups at RMAF (not Munich yet however) and at Audioarts, I would highly recommend dropping in to the Manhattan studio. It is a great listening room space and the Zellaton Statements that I heard there recently were sounding incredible. No doubt proper room and setup are key to hearing any speakers, Zellaton included. I understand that Myles will also be checking out the Zellaton's soon as well.
    Chris

  8. #108
    Site Founder And Administrator Ron Resnick's Avatar
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    Thank you, kkfan. And thanks to all for the suggestions to visit Gideon.
    Mono and Stereo - Senior Contributing Reviewer

    turntable: American Sound AS-2000; tonearms: SME 3012R, Schröder LT; cartridges: ZYX UNIverse Premium X-SB2, Air Tight Opus-1; tape: Studer A820 Mk II; phono stage: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 power supplies; line stage: VTL TL-7.5 Series III; amplifier: VTL Siegfried Series II; loudspeaker: Gryphon Pendragon; cables: MasterBuilt Ultra; stands: Herzan + Taiko Tana + Evo LPS for Io, custom for turntable, Stacore Basic+ for amps; power: Benjamin Electric subpanel, JPS in-wall wire, Furutech NCF outlets, Torus AVR60BAL; room: 19' wide X 24' long X 14' tall; acoustic treatment: SoundSense A.T.I. + Lumitex drapes + Vibramat, ASC IsoThermal Tube Traps; tweaks: Shakti Stones, Shun Mooks, self-propelled sound-absorbing cocker-poo

  9. #109
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    Hi Ron,
    Having had the chance to hear several differing Zellaton setups at RMAF (not Munich yet however) and at Audioarts, I would highly recommend dropping in to the Manhattan studio. It is a great listening room space and the Zellaton Statements that I heard there recently were sounding incredible. No doubt proper room and setup are key to hearing any speakers, Zellaton included. I understand that Myles will also be checking out the Zellaton's soon as well.
    Chris

  10. #110
    Quote Originally Posted by LL21 View Post
    Bravo. A stupendously good read...detailed where you can chew on the review (i will definitely re-read this a few times), pointed in a respectful manner, complimentary in a measured manner...and forthright and honest in making speaker to speaker comparisons while always acknowledging the personal preferences. A model review for me.

    Back to the speaker, congrats on making a thorough exploration of some of the world's finest speakers, which have taken you across continents to do. I am an enormous fan of Gryphon both publicly and privately. I must ask two questions:

    1. Scale. In terms of sheer out and out scale, did you find that the Gryphon Pendragon seemed capable of matching that remarkable might and effortless wave of the Genesis 1.1s? Or the Arrakis which while smaller, still intuitively seemed to me to do scale in a way that i had never heard from the Focal Grande or XLF/X2 (not in shoot out but certainly have grown accustomed to the big Wilson is multiple rooms over the years)

    2. Nuance of 'sweetness'. Sometimes, right or wrong, certain speaker can delivere a solo violin with such an intense, sweetness of tone that when it soars you really get a great semblance of listening to a soloist live. I dont know why some speakers can do it and others just have never delivered it when i have heard them...and it may even be an artifact. But i gravitate towards speakers that do this. The SF Guarneri, and some of the old Apogees can do this, so can the 2 big boys above (and more)...did you get this with the mighty Pendragon?

    Great Review and great speakers but i think i woods take the Arrakis...

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