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To Jeff Fritz,

My name is Jason Li. I’m a reader of your articles and I have a question that I hope you can answer. I’m about to purchase a set of Gryphon Mephisto Solo amplifiers. I’m hesitant regarding the choice of preamplifier. I have heard the Ayre KX-R Twenty preamplifier in a different setting and really liked what I heard. However, I have always preferred to buy amplifier and preamplifier from the same manufacturer for obvious reasons. But there is not a lot of info about the Gryphon Pandora preamplifier, and Gryphon is known more for their power amplifiers, not their preamplifiers, so I’m very tempted to go with the KX-R Twenty. But since this is a considerable monetary investment, I would like to have as much information as possible. I remember reading a review of the Gryphon Mephisto by you, and you had a KX-R preamplifier if I’m not mistaken. Could you please tell me a bit more about your impressions of the Gryphon and Ayre combination? Have you perhaps heard the Pandora/Mephisto combo?

I’m grateful for whatever information you can give me. Thank you.

With kind regards,
Jason Li
South Korea

I did pair the Gryphon Mephisto stereo amplifier with the Ayre KX-R preamplifier. In fact, this was the primary way in which I auditioned the Gryphon, and you’ve obviously read my very positive impressions. I have no doubt that the combination of Gryphon Mephisto Solo monos and Ayre KX-R Twenty would be outstanding, likely eclipsing what I heard with the stereo Gryphon and original Ayre KX-R. If you choose to go this route I’m sure you'll be thrilled.

Still, I am of the school of thought that great manufacturers -- and make no mistake, Gryphon is one -- optimize their amplifiers and preamplifiers to perform best when used together. I have heard of several audiophiles around the world who have Mephistos and Pandoras and seem to love their systems. There is a predictability to the sound when the preamp and power amp are produced by the same company.

Of course, the expected answer is to “go hear them for yourself,” but I realize this could be difficult if Gryphon is not sold near you. For example, Gryphon is not sold in the United States, where I live. I am not sure of your situation in South Korea. If you cannot listen, I would advise you to buy the Gryphon set and be done with it. Good luck and let me know how it works out. . . . Jeff Fritz