Zena DAC Module

By assembling high performance Gryphon digital-to-analogue conversion and high-end preamplification on a single chassis, the Gryphon Zena brings a rare level of comfort, convenience and ease of use to High End audio.

Installing an exceptional digital to analogue converter inside an equally ambitious preamplifier significantly shortens the signal path, eliminating exterior interconnects and multiple plugs and soldering points to maintain the integrity and purity of the audio signal.

The Zena preamplifier’s optional internal DAC module draws heavily on the innovative engineering that inspired the highly acclaimed Gryphon Kalliope digital-to-analogue converter. Critics around the world praise the breakthrough design and performance of the Kalliope:

“The Kalliope is at the cutting edge of digital performance. This one is becoming a permanent reference at Tone.” – Tone Audio, USA, www.tonepublications.com/magazine/

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“Amazing realism and utterly analogue fluidity. A total success!” – Haute Fidelité, France

“It is hard for me to imagine a more musically accurate DAC in the marketplace today.” – Enjoythemusic.com, USA

“By far the best standalone digital to analogue converter ever auditioned by yours truly” – Fedelta del Suono, Italy, no. 221

Now, in classic Gryphon style, technologies and components developed for our cost-no-object, state of the art reference models trickle down in our product range. And when it rains at Gryphon, it really trickles down hard.

Ready for current and future digital audio formats, the ESS Sabre ES9018 DAC chip stands at the heart of the Zena DAC module, partnered with heavily regulated, fully discrete, ultra-low noise +/- 22VDC voltage supplies to ensure optimal noise suppression and minimal analogue THD.

The Zena DAC module draws no power from any USB source component, generating instead its own pure power for maximum isolation from the PC. This effectively removes one of the weak points in conventional DAC designs: dependence on USB bus power, i.e., 5V fed to the USB receiver from the source computer via the USB cable’s power line which “bleeds” noise and interference into the two data lines with significant audible impact.

The 12.5 Farad (!) SuperCap dedicated power supply acts as a stable, isolated, ideal virtual battery, eliminating the computer as a power source altogether for an ultra-low noise floor and unrestricted dynamics.

Pure power at this crucial early stage makes a major contribution to the natural, effortless ease that defines the sound of digital by Gryphon.

The Gryphon Zena DAC module adds five high quality digital inputs to the preamplifier’s standard complement of five analogue inputs: one gold-plated Neutric XLR socket for a balanced 110Ω AES source, a single TOSLink optical input, dual gold-plated 75Ω BNC sockets with Teflon insulation for two S/PDIF components and a single USB input.

With the DAC module on-board, the Zena displays the selected digital source, sampling frequency, PCM or DSD audio format, SuperCap power supply status (charging or fully charged) and active digital filter setting. For PCM sources, fast or slow roll-off digital filter settings are available. For DSD sources, choose between 50, 60, 70 kHz (-3dB) bandpass filters.

The Zena DAC module is fully isolated in an independent aluminium housing with grounded panels and is impervious to HF radiation, eliminating any risk of interference with the preamplifier stages.

The DAC module for the Gryphon Zena preamplifier can be factory installed or fitted at a later date.

foobar2000 Player Setup

JRiver Player Setup

Zena DAC Tip and Tricks

Zena DAC USB Windows driver installation

Zena_setup_Win.exe

Download technical specifications
  • True Dual Mono Class A Analogue configuration
  • Zero negative feedback
  • Sabre ES9018 High-End D/A converter
  • User-selectable PCM and DSD digital roll-off filters
  • USB input compatible with following audio formats via PC/MAC/Linux: PCM: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 352.8 and 384 kHz, up to 32 bits, DSD via USB: DSD64 (2.822MHz), DSD128 (3.072MHz), DSD256* (5.644MHz) and DSD512* (6.144MHz). At the moment, DSD256 and DSD512 only on Windows systems.
  • XLR and BNC inputs compatible with PCM: 22.05, 24, 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192 kHz, up to 32 bits
  • TOSLINK input compatible with PCM: 22.05, 24, 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96 kHz, up to 32 bits
  • Temperature-compensated, ultra-low jitter crystal oscillator with better than 5 parts per million accuracy
  • Super-Capacitor (12.5 Farad!) power supply for USB module – acts like a true battery supply
  • First-order PCM analogue filters and second-order DSD analogue filters with silvered Mica and Polypropylene capacitors
  • Analogue output stages with discrete, ultra-low noise +/- 22VDC regulated voltage supplies for best analogue THD and noise suppression
  • Multiple Local Voltage regulators for best digital noise suppression
  • Discrete, separate left/right channel ultra-low noise power supply for analogue section of ES9018 DAC
  • Ultra-short signal path
  • Minimal internal wiring
  • Two four-layer printed circuit boards up to 70my copper
  • PCB-mounted sockets eliminate wiring and shorten signal path
  • Gold-plated Neutric XLR socket for one balanced 110 ohm AES source
  • Gold-plated 75 ohm BNC sockets with Teflon insulation for 2 S/PDIF sources
  • One TOSLINK optical fibre input
  • Designed and built in Denmark
  • Specifications can be changed by Gryphon Audio Designs without further notice.