Boulder 2060 vs Gryphon Mephisto

kswanson27

Active Member
Nov 22, 2018
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#1
Thinking of bringing a Mephisto in for demo to compare with my boulder 2060. Looking for a little more warmth but NO loss of control. I'm pretty happy with the Boulder now but want to try a little different sound. Any thoughts?
 

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Vienna

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Oct 14, 2018
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#2
You can’t go wrong with the Mephisto
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#3
Hi KSwanson27,

I have heard the 2060 which is a tremendous amp. I nearly got it over 10 years ago...and went with the Gryphon Antileon at the time. Very different voicing but both had an iron grip of control and tremendous unflappable bass power. I think the Boulder had a slightly cooler touch but certainly musical in the right system...and the Antileon was quite dark actually and my personal preference at the time was to live with this element...despite finding illuminated treble was something that later generations of the Gryphon family really started to do well. First the Colosseum and now the Mephisto.

Where I think the Mephisto has moved a step ahead of the Colosseum is in detail retrieval across the full spectrum (i am not a detail freak at all, but i appreciate having it providing i have not sacrificed the beauty of tone which all Gryphons deliver to my ear). The Mephisto also provides somehow even a firmer, broader soundstage where its evident unflappable power seems to extend further. For example, with the soundstage, the Mephisto presents a stability of performance that does not 'waver/flicker' when lots of strings start cramming in...or cymbals start crashing...in other amps, this can sometimes cause a momentary instability of soundstage and/or of realism because of the instantaneous peak. But this does not happen with the Mephisto...and as a result when i listen to rock bands, orchestral...even a few select small ensembles which have momentary peaks...the performance sails right through and as opposed to a moment of stridency...you just get another note, simple, effortless, more music. And it is quite fun to experience.

Having heard the Antileon and the 2060, then the Colosseum and the Antileon and now the Mephisto and the Colosseum...i think the Mephisto is quite far above the 'much older' 2060 i heard over 10 years ago. That said, i believe that Boulder keeps doing 'silent upgrades' on its products so there probably is also quite an improvement to a recent 2060 than the one i heard. I am not sure which 2060 generation you are thinking of...today's 2000 series amp is now the 2160 which i have not heard...but certainly understand to be a major improvement off the back of the 3000 which is apparently mind-blowingly good.

Please let us all know how it works for you...will be most interested to read what you think. Despite being a proud owner of the Gryphon Mephisto...i have 0 ego about this stuff. Feel free to be straight..as long as you are happy, that is really all that matters.
 
Likes: paolo

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#4
One other point I think is very fair to make given that you already own the 2060. Is it worth the upgrade? I can say your amp is remarkably good...remarkably. I am very very happy and considered myself blessed to own and listen to the Mephisto every day. But I could easily say the 2060 is a world-class amp that could give years and years of happy listening.

Equally, if you love the 2060...i am told the 2160 hits the exact point in your opening post which you are looking for. Worth a try?
 
Likes: paolo

kswanson27

Active Member
Nov 22, 2018
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#5
Thank you for the detailed and thoughtful replies. My 2060, which I bought second hand, is 8-10 years old so if there were upgrades along the way I probably don't have many. I like the amp a lot and it drives and controls my Magicos just fine but as I said in my original post I'm looking for just a touch more warmth/fluidity but with no loss of detail and control. I'll have the Mephisto side by side with the 2060 for about a week right after the first of the year and I'll report back in detail. I need to hear something really good from the Mephisto because the upgrade is a substantial investment. Any idea how the Mephisto will interface with my Pass labs XP-30?
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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#6
Hi KSwanson,

Great to hear...very exciting. I totally agree on that value point...I am the same. I upgrade very very rarely, and only if the deal is exceptionally good. In your case, the 2060 even 8-10 years ago (about the same time i would have heard it) is exceptionally good. However, I do suspect you might find the organic/warmth of the Mephisto takes you in quite a nice direction. I also think you might find the natural decay to be quite special...but it has been a while for me...more based on listening notes than side by side memory.

In any event, regarding the XP30, i would have thought that being XLR (correct?), that is a good way to connect...but in terms of interactions, i cannot say. I CAN say that the CJ GAT 2 (RCA-XLR) is exceptional. I cannot imagine trading anything in. The voicing is spectacular for me.
 

kswanson27

Active Member
Nov 22, 2018
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#7
How important is the CJ in that organic/warmth you're hearing? Ideally I'd like to run directly off the Berkeley DAC for a few reasons but the Mephisto would have to supply all of that rather subtle fluid/warmth I'm looking for. The Boulder doesn't quite do it but it's close. BTW, before anyone chimes in and says something like the Boulder sounds like it's name--cold and hard or the like--I'm hearing none of that.
 

asiufy

Industry Expert/VIP Donor
Jul 8, 2011
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#8
kswanson,

Which other amps have you had there for comparison? I mean, you might not objectively hear the "cold hard" sound of the Boulder, but once you place another warmer/rounder amp in there, you just might.
That's a common occurrence in audio. Folks don't realize what's in there until something else comes along and makes it clear to them. It might all be perfectly fine as it is. Until it isn't :)
That's why, if you're happy with the Boulder, don't go looking around, as you might not be happy with it much longer... :)
If I may make a suggestion... Perhaps easier than swapping the amp might be to add a nice warm preamp to the mix, that would add the harmonic richness that the Boulder (IMHO etc) lacks. The CJ perhaps, Zanden, or even an Audio Research REF 6/10. I believe another WBFer just replaced his Pass preamp for a REF10, on Magicos, with very satisfactory results.
 

kswanson27

Active Member
Nov 22, 2018
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#9
Simply put I don't like tubes. Years ago, in the early eighties, we owned a little company called Precision Fidelity that manufactured a really good inexpensive tube preamp. Later on we built a hybrid preamp. During that time I tried all sorts of tube and SS amps and preamps. I made up my mind then that even though we were selling a tube preamp I preferred SS and that was before SS really evolved to where it is now.
 

kswanson27

Active Member
Nov 22, 2018
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#10
Any chance you could put me in touch with the WBFer that made that change? As much as I don't like tubes it's best to try and keep an open mind.
 

Elberoth

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Dec 16, 2012
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#11
If I may make a suggestion... Perhaps easier than swapping the amp might be to add a nice warm preamp to the mix, that would add the harmonic richness that the Boulder (IMHO etc) lacks. The CJ perhaps, Zanden, or even an Audio Research REF 6/10. I believe another WBFer just replaced his Pass preamp for a REF10, on Magicos, with very satisfactory results.
+1

You may also want to try the Robert Koda preamp, which is solid state.

Another option is to try a different DAC. I have never heard the Ref 3 DAC, but I had the BADA DAC 2 in my system. This DAC was definately on the fast/transparent/cold side of neutral. It is my understanding that both the Ref 3 and DAC 2 have somehow similar voicing.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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#12
How important is the CJ in that organic/warmth you're hearing? Ideally I'd like to run directly off the Berkeley DAC for a few reasons but the Mephisto would have to supply all of that rather subtle fluid/warmth I'm looking for. The Boulder doesn't quite do it but it's close. BTW, before anyone chimes in and says something like the Boulder sounds like it's name--cold and hard or the like--I'm hearing none of that.
I have heard the original Antileon with a few different preamps, and i really did enjoy the sound and it never felt cold. The Mephisto would probably take your Berkeley signal and pass it through as organically as it came in...yes, some signature, but not a lot in comparison with the Antileon or its latest version as I am told.

I did not hear hard/cold with the 2060...and i am a fan of [some] tubes. Again, i considered very seriously buying it. I do love the sound of the Mephisto...my favorite amp that I have heard. But the key for you will be the cost of that upgrade from an already exceptional amp. Given that i have had 3 trade-ins...that has made my life a lot easier. Some really great deals from exceptionally good dealers.
 

asiufy

Industry Expert/VIP Donor
Jul 8, 2011
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#13
Hi,
I believe his nick is @JimmyS.

Elberoth has a point about the DAC, but I would still try the preamp first.
 

AJR

Member
Feb 12, 2018
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#14
I have heard the original Antileon with a few different preamps, and i really did enjoy the sound and it never felt cold. The Mephisto would probably take your Berkeley signal and pass it through as organically as it came in...yes, some signature, but not a lot in comparison with the Antileon or its latest version as I am told.

I did not hear hard/cold with the 2060...and i am a fan of [some] tubes. Again, i considered very seriously buying it. I do love the sound of the Mephisto...my favorite amp that I have heard. But the key for you will be the cost of that upgrade from an already exceptional amp. Given that i have had 3 trade-ins...that has made my life a lot easier. Some really great deals from exceptionally good dealers.
I have not listened to Boulder nor the Mephisto, but can I suggest you try the Antileon EVO? Not sure what your price point is and of course the Mephisto will beat the AE, but it might be worthwhile to try it out. I absolutely love mine. I would love a Mephisto but I ruled it out partly because of its size (it will not fit on my rack) and partly because of price. Looking forward to how you get on
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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#15
I have not listened to Boulder nor the Mephisto, but can I suggest you try the Antileon EVO? Not sure what your price point is and of course the Mephisto will beat the AE, but it might be worthwhile to try it out. I absolutely love mine. I would love a Mephisto but I ruled it out partly because of its size (it will not fit on my rack) and partly because of price. Looking forward to how you get on
For KSwanson27, that might be a very interesting option. I have never heard it, but certainly read plenty of great things about it. Given KSwanson27s desire for organic qualities, that could well be a good ticket. The question is how the detail retrieval compares with the 2060 which is pretty sensational in that regard. I imagine Antileon Evo is great it as well.
 

chuck

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Dec 20, 2011
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#16
I owned a 2060 for several years until getting a Boulder 3060. I compared my 2060 to a lot of amps, tube and SS, and could not disagree with Alex more. So bring in all the amps you can to compare, play the most difficult, complex music. The quietness and control of the 2060 IMO really can't be matched, except for the 3060 of course.

I have used an Audio Research Reference Anniversary pre-amp for many years so maybe, as suggested, a different pre-amp.
 

kswanson27

Active Member
Nov 22, 2018
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#17
I owned a 2060 for several years until getting a Boulder 3060. I compared my 2060 to a lot of amps, tube and SS, and could not disagree with Alex more. So bring in all the amps you can to compare, play the most difficult, complex music. The quietness and control of the 2060 IMO really can't be matched, except for the 3060 of course.

I have used an Audio Research Reference Anniversary pre-amp for many years so maybe, as suggested, a different pre-amp.
What kind of tube life do you get from the ARC preamp? I've thought about trying an ARC Ref 10 with the 2060.
 
May 30, 2010
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#18
What kind of tube life do you get from the ARC preamp? I've thought about trying an ARC Ref 10 with the 2060.
Tipically 4000 hours for the 6h30 (small tubes ) and 2000 hours for the two 6550 used in the power supply. The ARC REF series preamplifiers have an emmbeded hour counter that can be checked with the remote. The 2060 has 400 kohm balanced input impedance it should be a perfect match with the REF10.
 

chuck

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Dec 20, 2011
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#19
I have to pull the pre out about every 18 months or so to change tubes -- disconnect everything and reconnect it. I play it a lot, several hours every day.
 
Likes: paolo
Jul 2, 2015
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#20
Thank you for the detailed and thoughtful replies. My 2060, which I bought second hand, is 8-10 years old so if there were upgrades along the way I probably don't have many. I like the amp a lot and it drives and controls my Magicos just fine but as I said in my original post I'm looking for just a touch more warmth/fluidity but with no loss of detail and control. I'll have the Mephisto side by side with the 2060 for about a week right after the first of the year and I'll report back in detail. I need to hear something really good from the Mephisto because the upgrade is a substantial investment. Any idea how the Mephisto will interface with my Pass labs XP-30?
Have you considered a different preamp?
With a 2060 In my system there's no lack of fluidity, or texture. I would go further and describe those as Boulder attributes!
The character flaws you seek to remedy might be coming from your preamp. Have you tried the 2060 with other preamps, maybe valve ones?
Pass i don't associate with warmth....beware throwing out the baby with the bathwater:)
 

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