Commander

How Gryphon Built the Perfect Preamplifier

Since our company’s founding nearly 40 years ago, the philosophy of Gryphon Audio Designs of Denmark has remained constant: the relentless pursuit of sonic perfection without commercial compromises in design, construction or cost. All Gryphon products have been conceived in this same perfectionist spirit: uncompromising engineering in the service of music. Impeccable build quality complemented by our original, highly refined “Nordic Noir” aesthetic sensibility and absolute simplicity of use.

The culmination of Gryphon’s four decades of philosophies, design goals and engineering expertise are fully realized in Commander: the most advanced preamplifier ever made.

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Our starting point for Commander was Gryphon’s extraordinary Pandora, widely regarded
as one of the world’s finest preamplifiers. Commander shares Pandora’s Dual-Mono
layout with separate chassis for signal and power supply circuitry. Pandora’s single-
ended Class A input buffer is retained, as it offers the compelling advantage of passing
the signal through the smallest possible number of electrical components–two transistors
and a single resistor–yielding sound that is exceptionally transparent, fast, natural and
open. Neither preamplifier employs any global negative feedback

Naturally, Commander embodies major advances in many sonically-critical areas,
including a high-precision, extremely low noise voltage reference in connection with the
analogue series regulators which supply the amplifier stages. The Commander’s voltage
reference has approximately 50 times lower noise than the already-excellent reference
used in Pandora! A pair of fully discrete, linear power supplies feed each channel’s
analog circuit while a third is dedicated to the digital control circuitry, thus maintaining
absolute mechanical separation and electrical isolation between digital and analog
sections.

The distinctive finish of the Gryphon Commander and its companion Apex power amplifier symbolizes the authority and vitality of their music reproduction, which set new standards in such crucial aspects as timing, bass control, dynamic expansion and transparency. Commander’s power supply includes four custom-made toroidal transformers—two per stereo channel—engineered for minimal noise. Two of these (one per channel) power the dual-mono preamplifier circuits while the second pair are reserved for upcoming Gryphon source components, thereby ensuring a future-proof upgrade path.

Extensive use of aluminum chassis components lays a solid foundation for performance, yielding a highly stable, non-resonant enclosure that minimizes both mechanical and electrical degradation and providing optimal working conditions for Commander’s sensitive amplifier circuits. Unique to Commander, a constrained-layer-damped bottom plate—a “Sandwich” of three individual layers of Kerrock®, bitumen and steel—reduce resonances to an absolute minimum. All amplifier and analogue power supply circuit boards float above these bottom plates on specially-designed isolators, providing a pristine, virtually vibration-free environment for Commander’s sensitive circuitry. A quartet of Gryphon Atlas Spikes under each chassis move resonance control even closer to theoretical perfection.

Needless to say, every part of Commander is the finest available: from the Charcroft Audio ultra-precision resistors used in our volume control to the premium, oversized Mundorf MCap® ZN foil capacitors specified for local power supply decoupling to the four custom-made 36VA toroidal transformers, no expense has been spared ensuring performance and build quality that defines the state-of-the-art.

Presented in an extra-thick, 4mm glass window, Commander’s 4.3” TFT capacitive touch display has been designed to ensure an utterly intuitive user interface. Volume can be controlled from either the front-panel display or the included Gryphon IR remote control. Customized system set-up is facilitated by extensive Commander menu control of such functions as start-up level, left/right channel balance, maximum volume level, source level matching, input naming, display brightness (including Auto Dim On/Off), dedicated AV-throughput for integration with Home Theater systems, output level and Green Bias adjustment for use with Gryphon power amplifiers. In a unique design flourish, Commander’s display changes with the listener’s distance from the system; in this way, Volume and other settings remain uniformly readable regardless of the listening position.

With the Commander, you’re in control! Take command of the world’s finest audio system: only from Gryphon.

Download technical specifications

Features and Specifications Commander Preamplifier and PSU

• Exterior design by Flemming E. Rasmussen
• Electronics design by Tom Møller

• True Dual Mono configuration
• Zero negative global feedback
• Microprocessor-controlled 85-step relay, volume attenuator featuring Charcroft Z-Foil Audio ultra-precision resistors and ultra-low capacitance relays for best sonic performance.
• Super fast discrete Class A input buffer developed for best possible sonic performance.
• Fully discrete balanced dual differential class A Line Stage circuitry followed by a very fast symmetrical current amplifying Class A stage
• DC servo coupling
• Premium massive Mundorf MCap® ZN capacitors used for local power supply decoupling.
MCap® ZN’s loss factor is ten-times lower than of metallized Polypropylene-film capacitors. Additionally, the mass inertia of the tin foil prevents oscillations in the benefit of transparency and spatial recreation.
• 4-layer printed circuit boards with pure copper traces up to 70my thickness
• Minimal internal wiring
• Four separate custom made 36VA toroidal transformers, two for each channel
• Massive power supply capacitor bank for each channel
• Separate linear power supply for both digital and individual left/right channel analog circuits
• Fully regulated extremely low noise power supply for all voltage amplifying stages
• Local shunt regulators which ensure low noise over a large frequency bandwidth
• Commander Power Supply chassis with additional DC voltage outputs for future external Gryphon sources.
• Gold-plated Neutrik XLR sockets for four balanced (Source) inputs and two (Main) outputs
• Gold-plated Gryphon RCA phono sockets with Teflon insulation for 2 (Source) inputs, one Tape output and one Single-Ended Preamp (Main) output
• Fixed-level AV throughput bypasses volume circuit for ultimate integration with surround systems
• Adjustable channel balance, source level matching, start-up volume and maximum volume level
• 12VDC link In/Out for remote power On/Off control
• Green Bias control for Gryphon Power Amplifiers
• Large 4.3” TFT capacitive touch information screen for intuitive control, presented in 4mm glass
• Firmware upgrades easily via USB stick through rear panel
• Separate mechanical chassis for Power Supply and Amplifier circuits
• Decoupled Kerrock™, bitumen and steel sandwich “Contstrained Layer” chassis bottom isolates and damps sensitive amplifier and power supply Printed Circuit Boards. Prevents smearing of the fine audio details.
• Standby current consumption ≤ 0.5W
• Designed and built in Denmark

Specifications:

• Input Impedance, balanced: 18KΩ
• Input Impedance, single ended: 12KΩ
• Output impedance: 7Ω
• Bandwidth (-3dB): 0.1Hz to 1.5MHz
• Gain: +18dB
• THD + N: 0.003% @ 1kHz and BW 10Hz – 30KHz, balanced output
• Total Power Supply Capacity: 2 x 90,000uF
• Power consumption: ≤ 0.5W (standby), 90W (idle)
• Dimensions Preamp unit, WxHxD: 48×23,6×45,5 cm, net unit weight. 30,5kg
• Dimensions PSU unit, WxHxD: 48×23,6×44 cm, net unit weight. 38,2kg

MENU-controlled functions:
• Volume
• Change Max Level
• Change Start Level
• Balance, Left/Right. (6dB in 1dB steps)
• Output level: “Normal” or “-6dB”
• Display Intensity: (100%-75%-50%-25%, Auto Dim and Auto OFF)
• Green Bias setup
• Infra-Red source (Front or Rear Panel)
• Input Level Match
• Input Naming
• Dedicate Input 4 (XLR) or input 5 (RCA) to Volume-Bypass AV-input
• Restore Settings
• MENU Exit