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To Jeff Fritz,

I've some past experience with Rockport speakers and I'm interested in their new Avior. I'm thinking about two possible systems to front the Avior: the first is the new Vitus RCD-100/RI-100 combo; the second is the Gryphon Mikado or Scorpio/Diablo pairing. Both of these pairings are the entry-level amplification from these two great Danes -- both integrated amps run in class A/B as opposed to their bread-and-butter class-A designs.

I recall reading some comment in a forum that Rockport (as a brand) responds best to class-A amplification. But don't most loudspeakers respond to class A favorably? Unfortunately, the next step up the product lines for both Vitus and Gryphon results in a major price jump -- perhaps not in line with the speaker pricing. By that I mean that if I were to move into their higher-end gear, I'd be inclined to do the same with Rockport's speaker offerings.

Given your experience with all three brands, do you have any thoughts or recommendations before I start making tracks to audition these pieces? In general terms, to which of those systems might you lean given the Rockport speakers?

Thanks for your thoughts.


Before I comment on the electronics, let me just say that I think the Rockport Technologies Avior looks incredibly promising. It is, in fact, the first offering from the company with completely in-house-designed and -manufactured Rockport drivers. I recently spoke with Andy Payor at Rockport and he stated that these drivers were quite special and that the Avior is really singing with them. I think you are in for a real treat with those speakers.

As for electronics, your shortlist includes my two favorite brands of amplification. I think the world of both Gryphon and Vitus. Both companies produce products at the very pinnacle of the industry: sound, build quality, reliability, aesthetics . . . it's all there. However, I do think these two brands have their own distinct attributes that make them not quite interchangeable. The Rockport speakers are designed with a number of electronics feeding them up in the factory in Maine, but I do know for a fact that Andy Payor prefers Gryphon over all other brands and that, therefore, there is a certain synergy with the two companies' products. Gryphon electronics somehow seem to walk the fine line between highly resolving and warm/analog/spacious simultaneously. The power reserves are mammoth and the user interface sublime.

But you certainly can’t discount Vitus either. I lived with the Vitus SS-101 and the first-generation Rockport Altairs for over a year. The Vitus gear is some of the most neutral equipment ever made, but it doesn’t ever veer into a "typical" solid-state sound either. It is ultra quiet, yet naturally organic at the same time. And its power reserves are equally mammoth due to the peerless power supplies the company uses.

Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with either brand. Pay no attention that these are their entry-level products -- the brands' house sounds come through regardless. There are subtle differences between them, as I said, but they both will mate perfectly with the Rockport speakers. Whichever you choose, your system will be a keeper. Congrats. . . . Jeff Fritz