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Gryphon Diablo 300

To Jeff Fritz,

Just the other day you responded to a letter from Ilona from Switzerland about upgrading from Dynaudio Confidence C2 speakers to Magico S3 speakers. If possible I’d like to expand on that question simply because I am also planning to upgrade from my Confidence C2 loudspeakers in the spring, but want to upgrade a little higher than the S3.

I recently started the audition process, having spent one-and-a-half hours this past Saturday playing my music (LPs and CDs), listening to the Rockport Technology Avior speakers (Boulder electronics, Feickert Woodpecker turntable, Ortofon Cadenza Bronze cartridge). The other brands I plan to audition include the Magico S5 Mk.II (I recently heard the new S7 at a Colorado Audio Society meeting and thought they sounded absolutely tremendous), the Kharma Elegance dB9-S (heard them at RMAF last year and was very impressed with their musicality), the new Wilson Audio Specialties Yvette (yes, I know Wilson is not your favorite brand and I think I understand why), and have decided to include the Vivid Audio B1 Decade (largely based on Doug Schneider’s extremely positive review). These all seem to be in the same relative price range.

My first takeaway after listening to the Aviors is that they might be a little bass heavy in my room (but then again my reference point is the Dynaudios, which I’ve owned for seven years and they tend to emphasize the mids, which I have become very accustomed to). That the sound from the Aviors was so much fuller than what I hear from the C2s leads me to know that I am on the right track. The Aviors’ soundstage was far broader and deeper than what I am used to, but I am wondering if I can get that and even more resolution and clarity with another brand.

I do plan to carefully listen and make my buying decision based on what sounds best to both me and my wife, but I have tremendous respect for your practiced and critical listening ear, so consequently, I’d love to get your thoughts about how these speakers might compare with one another and possibly how one or two might fare when paired with what I own -- I guess what I’m really asking is if you think there’s a clear winner. And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask if there is a brand I’ve neglected to include in my search that should also be considered.

In terms of electronics, the new speakers will be paired with the new Ayre KX-5 Twenty preamp and VX-5 Twenty amplifier, combined with assorted other mid-level sources (EAT C-Major turntable, Ortofon Cadenza Bronze cartridge, Parasound phono and CD player). My room is fairly small (approx. 13.5’ x 14’) but does yield a pretty good sound when the speakers are well positioned.

Again, your view on these alternatives will be greatly appreciated,

Karl
United States

My biggest concern with most of the speakers you’ve chosen is that several of them might overload your room in the bass. All of the speakers you mention are capable of very-low-frequency response, some right down to 20Hz. Although you may get proper integration in your room, you might also get a boomy mess of a sound that is hard to live with. I’ve been there and done that. About 15 years ago I had a room approximately the size of the one you have. Despite my best efforts, I could never reliably predict how a speaker would sound in the bass in that room. For instance, EgglestonWorks Rosas and Wilson Audio WITTs completely overloaded the room, yielding an unlistenable sound. Some even larger speakers I had in there sounded terrific, however. Like I said, hard to predict.

As for the brands and the specific models, of course I like most of them. I think the Avior is a terrific buy and offers tremendous full-range sound and build quality to die for. If you’re set on a Rockport, you should also listen to the Atria to see if that is a better fit for your room. The Kharmas are fresh on my mind after my recent very positive review; however, the dB9-S has the most pronounced bass of the bunch, so that might be especially problematic in your room. The Vivids would likely be a pretty good match for your space, as they are on the smallish side compared with the other candidates you mention. The Magicos might also work well due to their sealed design and, in my experience, the very linear way that they load a room in the low frequencies. I have no experience with the Wilsons, though I have heard others say the Yvette sounds good.

Overall, I like the speakers on your list and could see you liking them, too. Of course, you will have to listen to each to really know. It has been my experience that once you do that, one of the models will appeal to you more than the others and it will make the buying decision relatively easy. Window-shopping online rarely offers clarity on a purchase of this magnitude. Good luck with your decision and please do let me know how it works out. . . . Jeff Fritz