IFI xDSD Gryphon HD DAC and Balanced Headphone Amp
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A hi-fi system in your pocket: Premium HD DAC + Powerful Balanced Headamp
The xDSD Gryphon by iFi Audio is for the serious music lover and headphone user who desires its unique combination of facilities, performance, and portability.
It combines the functionality and technology of not only the renowned xDSD but also the xCAN, enhanced and re-engineered across the board to create the most comprehensively equipped portable DAC/headphone amp on the planet.
xDSD Gryphon features separate Bluetooth, DAC, and amp stages; each is optimized for maximum performance.
Clever configuration enables the sheer variety of input devices that can be connected to Gryphon while maintaining its compact form. At the rear, two USB-C ports are provided: one input for digital audio, handled asynchronously, and the other for charging. USB-C and Lightning OTG cables are included for use with modern smartphones, tablets, and computers, along with a conventional USB-A cable that fits most wall chargers.
Next to these lies the S/PDIF digital input, which allows both optical and electrical (3.5mm) onnections.
3.5mm and 4.4mm Pentaconn analogue sockets can also be found at the rear, for single-ended and balanced connections respectively. They double as both inputs and outputs — inputs when xDSD Gryphon is being used as an analogue headphone amplifier, and outputs to enable its use as a DAC/preamp in a home audio system, with fixed and variable output options to connect to an amp and speakers.
At the front, a pair of headphone outputs are provided — a 3.5mm output that benefits from iFi’s S-Balanced circuitry for single-ended headphones, and a 4.4mm Pentaonn fully-balanced output that takes advantage of Gryphon’s balanced amp design.
Using the latest QCC 5100 series Bluetooth 5.1 chip as the starting point, for wireless connectivity, the xDSD Gryphon is at the bleeding-edge when it comes to the latest formats:
- aptX Adaptive and aptX HD
- LDAC and HWA/LHDC
- regular aptX and aptX Low Latency
- SBC (plain vanilla Bluetooth)
Not only this, but the above runs through the iFi digital platform, where each section is distinct. That’s QC5100 for reception > Global Master Clock for jitter > Burr-Brown for DAC conversion. This took more effort to design, but it paid off — iFi’s wireless implementation finally gives wired a run for its money.
xDSD Gryphon remembers up to seven paired Bluetooth sources in its memory, making it easy to switch from one source device to another.
USB & S/PDIF. Wired to the nines.
In terms of wired connectivity, the xDSD Gryphon handles all the formats using a hybrid Burr-Brown DAC chipset. All the latest formats are here.
- PCM (768/705.6/384/352.8/192/176.4/96/88.2/48/44.1 kHz)
- DSD (512/256/128/64)
- DXD (768/705.6/384/352.8kHz)
- MQA (Decoder)
- PCM (192/176.4/96/88.2/48/44.1 kHz)
Balance of Power.
The xDSD Gryphon uses our PureWave amplification circuitry. It has 1,000mW at 32 Ohms. With a whopping max 6.7v output, bring on your high impedance headphones… the Gryphon will not break a sweat driving them.
This is plenty to drive all manner of headphones. The 4.4mm Pentaconn is the best for balanced playback. The 3.5mm S-Balanced will bring the most out of your single-ended headphones. And your premium high-sensitivity IEMs have not been forgotten either – at the bottom of the unit, toggle on the optional iEMatch to cut out the hiss.
Volume in (Cyber)Sync.
From a sound quality perspective, iFi has long championed analogue volume controls over digital adjustment. But digital can offer finer tuning and convenience.
With xDSD Gryphon’s volume knob, iFi has combined the best of analogue and digital to create superior sound and a better user experience.
CyberSync delivers a software-driven volume control that operates in the analogue domain. With most DACs, the volume control on the source device acts independently of the volume control on the DAC, which can be frustrating and adversely affect sound quality — it’s often necessary to max out the source device’s digital volume and adjust only the DACs volume control to not lose resolution.
CyberSync provides perfect volume synchronisation between the source and the DAC. It detects which operating system (OS) the DAC is connected to – iOS, Android, Windows, macOS or Linux – and instructs the source’s OS to bypass its software volume control.
Whether volume is adjusted using the xDSD Gryphon’s rotary control or on the source device, CyberSync ensures the change is performed purely by the Gryphon’s superior analogue control chip, while also displaying the adjustment on the source device’s screen.
Volume curves differ between operating systems and apps, but CyberSync ensures perfect synchronisation between the source device and the DAC every time.
Tailored to your ears.
Use the button on the front of Gryphon to tailor the sound to your liking with iFi’s renowned audio tweaks that operate entirely in the analogue domain rather than messing with digital signal processing.
- XSpace is designed to compensate for the ‘in-head localisation’ effect that can occur when using headphones to listen to music that was mixed using a pair of speakers, effectively widening the headphone soundstage to deliver a more spacious and speaker-like experience.
- XBass II reinstates the missing bass from certain bass-light headphones, or adds oomph to recordings that you wish had more slam. Use the switch on the back of Diablo to select ‘Bass’ and/or ‘Presence’ modes to focus on low bass, mid bass, or both.
- iEMatch is our proprietary tech which reduces the annoying hiss from high-sensitivity headphones without reducing dynamic range. Switch it on from the bottom of Gryphon, and enjoy with either the balanced 4.4mm or single-ended 3.5mm output.
There are also three bespoke digital filters for use with digital sources. From the on-screen menu, choose between Bit-Perfect, Standard, and GTO (Gibbs Transient Optimised) to fine-tune your listening.
OLED. Seen, but not heard.
The OLED display and iFi’s CyberDrive operating system combine to usher in a whole new world of user enjoyment – information including input, format, sample rate, volume level, and battery life can be found at the top of Gryphon.
Just as importantly, SilentLine technology means the display does not add noise into the system. It can even be turned off if preferred.
xDSD Gryphon is sufficiently compact to stow away in your bag. It features contours for a grippable surface, and is made from a robust alloy. The enclosure carries a matte gunmetal finish for a stealthy look that resists fingerprints compared to the original xDSD.
Features & Specifications
What’s in the Box
Lightning to USB-C OTG Cable
USB-C to USB-C OTG Cable
USB-A to USB-C Cable
Wireless: Bluetooth 5.1 (aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, aptX LL, LDAC, HWA, AAC and SBC Codec)
Balanced 6.7V max. (variable)
S-Bal (SE) 3.5V max. (variable)