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Gryphon’s New CD Player Is a State-of-the Art Reminder of How Great Compact Disks Can Sound

It's a five-figure shrine to the compact disc.

Gryphon Audio Designs new CD player Ethos Courtesy of Gryphon Audio Designs

Gryphon Audio Designs is known for state-of-the-art electronics and loudspeakers that express the clean Danish aesthetic of founder Flemming Rasmussen and his goal of “sonic neutrality” (presenting sound without embellished frequencies, especially in the bass or treble regions) at every point in the music reproduction chain. With that aim, Gryphon’s new Ethos CD player was conceived to be the best in the world.

Constructed with the precision of a laboratory instrument, the roughly $39,000 Ethos amply demonstrates that physical media—specifically the compact disc—is still at the top of the pyramid in digital reproduction when spun and processed on a player that is the definitive combination of CD transport and digital-to-analog converter. It has been crafted with a single-minded commitment to the compact disc: Adding to that, the Ethos not only handles standard 16-bit/44.1 kHz “Redbook” CD but also playback when connected to external sources up to 32-bit/384 kHz PCM and up to DSD512. Here, we talk through the standout features of the player.

Gryphon Audio Designs new CD player Ethos

Courtesy of Gryphon Audio Designs

Lid: Lifting the unique clamshell cover recalls the ritual of raising the tonearm from a treasured vinyl record.
Transport: A completely new mechanism by Austrian Stream Unlimited features a fully decoupled, all-metal transport body. No plastic or stamped chassis here.
Isolation Footers: Independently adjustable, Atlas Spikes absorb airborne vibrations from deep bass that create micro-resonances in the player chassis and can muddy the purity of the sound.
Control (Freak) Panel: The glass touchscreen offers more than basic functions. OCD listeners can tailor the sound to the nth degree via roll-off filters that allow greater fine-tuning of the frequency band.
Chassis: A triangular form assures the most stable platform and alludes to the CD player being the digital equivalent of an analog turntable.

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