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Bandwidth. Coming off the rather larger Codex 4-ways, potential shoppers not previously exposed to the abilities of modern ├╝ber monitors will feel a bit tweaked to read that Mojo's native bass reach wasn't far behind - about ten cycles. To illustrate, I tried to sneak in our Zu Submission subwoofer. At 40Hz, far too much upper bass bled through. After all, no 4th-order low pass is a brickwall filter. That sub control wanted to be at 10Hz to add the occasionally useful not distracting thing. Gold Note's fully balanced P-1000 preamp in for review packs a rare purely analog 2.5/5dB@40Hz boost option. 5dB proved clearly excessive. Half that built out certain ambient fare that had significant content across the first octave. If your room is capable of developing the longest bass waves without boom; and if your amp has sufficient headroom to be worked harder there... you'd be surprised just how low two compact paralleled mid/woofers can go when they are of Mojo calibre. Suffice to say that with Maurizio Aterini's little 2.5dB boost trick, these Danes behaved practically full-range in our open 4x6m hifi den by adding just enough of an LF lift to, in stereo, give those very low pedal notes or synth beats more weight. If our room exhibited the typical wall behind the listening seat, I'd not dream of any Mojo S add-ons. Since ours is in effect 14 metres long to support very low bass where recorded, I was merely curious how the Gold Note or Zu options might play out. On certain material, I preferred the Gold Note's 2.5dB boost. Otherwise I defeated it. The subwoofer remained sidelined for the duration.


At the other extreme of the bandwidth, the high treble far exceeded my ear's ability to tap out but expressed none of the dynamic forwardness or heat which I've noted on Mark & Daniel's earlier AMT efforts. Let's remind ourselves of the operating principle of air-motion transformers. They don't push the air but squeeze it out of many folds. This nets a claimed 5-fold increase of propagation velocity over the ubiquitous 1-inch dome tweeter. It's perfectly obvious that to match their speed and dynamic envelope requires unusually capable mid/woofers. Clearly Gryphon's paralleled driver choice excels dynamically in both directions: down into the bassment; and up to where the Mundorf tweeter takes over. This is a dynamically aspirated box that will have your music lunge forward whenever a musician hits the gas as though a twin-turbo engine ran in a lower gear for maximum acceleration. In that sense of dynamic twitchiness, it's a sportier ride.


Panoramic. With their time/phase-optimized filter and baffle, the Mojo S excelled at equal image density across the full width of the soundstage. Where other speakers focus best in the centre then thin out towards the sides, the Gryphon applied the exact same focus and substance across the full breadth of field. Yet unlike the proverbial wall of sound with its undifferentiated depth, this dense soundstage had very precisely mapped distance markers. This made for a clear counterpoint to Magico/Soulution tradeshow demoes where I heard an equally articulate mapping precision but not the Danes' sumptuous tone density. To my ears then, the Gryphon monitors walked a perfectly calibrated balance between the polarities of transparency and embodiment. Another equally valid pairing would be speed and substance. In that sense the Mojo S was a comfort ride. It carried full grocery bags of instrumental and vocal body.


From this precisely tuned balance arose a useful observation. The Mojo S didn't need to be played loud to convince. Any speaker which does is usually guilty of insufficient materialization. Things sound a bit ghostly and thin. Quite by reflex, we turn up the volume until those paler speakers fill out. But like a proper fire breathing dragon, the Mojo S didn't have to shout to make itself felt. And that meant I could listen to it without disturbing my wife. Clocking more listening hours equals more pleasure. That's a count where more is decidedly more. Here the minimalists have it all wrong. If all you see is an expensive compact speaker with three small drivers to shrug so what... you're missing the plot. Forget the delivery vehicle. Close your eyes. See whether the sound bears any semblance to minimalism or smallness. A few hours later, your mind will have caught up. There'll be reasonable rationalisations to save face. Yes, keeping cabinets smaller reduces panel sizes. That increases their resonant frequency to be easier suppressed. It also adds smaller reflective bodies into your acoustic environment. Less box talk equals greater clarity. There's less instinctual identification of the sound originating from two physical boxes. Instead it appears more like the wind: a physical force that may have a direction but no clear origin at all. It's simply present, very direct and tacit.


It's all proven and true stuff. Still, it can feel quite humbling when macho expectations to the contrary are blown to shreds by such monitors. And it is instantly followed by the obvious question why anyone sane would go after anything bigger when playing lower or louder are really nowhere on the menu. Delete that old belief system of the inevitable monkey coffins. It's the 21st century now. Upgrade your brainware. That includes eliminating a separate DAC, preamp and mono amps and their go-between cables. Combine all of that essential functionality in one box that goes between the speakers. Add source, be done. For today that would be the Diablo 120 fronted by the D100 Pro SD card reader from China's Soundaware.


It was expected then that input 7 aka AES/EBU digital could be named to actually say SD Card. Likewise for adjustable PCM/DSD filters, display brightness and that signal lock would confirm with an actual lock symbol. That a touch display behind shiny black Perspex appreciates the occasional Windex spritz to wipe off finger prints goes with the territory. Of course the black metal remote with the orange buttons is really all that's needed once you're done with initial housekeeping chores. Keep your paws off and the Windex bottle could remain in the kitchen. The mains rocker is on the belly nicely out of sight but easily reached just the same. It's all perfectly self-explanatory and as it should be. Gryphon are old hands at this. That's why I was dumbfounded by reader Patrick's email, about "I will receive my Gryphon Diablo 250 amp next week and am skeptical about the DAC to choose for listening on my PC... I do not have too much financial means to devote to this so could you give me some suggestions to get an expressive but warm sound?" Why would he trust Gryphon with their analogue but then play self-appointed skeptic over their digital?


It's a common mistake. It seriously underestimates just how much can be accomplished when playmates are predetermined, not open-ended. Standalone DACs don't know what transport and preamp or integrated they will have to work with. Their designers must account for the entire playing field of variables. The Diablo 120's DAC meanwhile knows exactly which bed it will sleep in. Its designers had to tolerate no guesswork. Rather, their D/A module dovetails ideally with the preamp/amp's electrical and sonic values for guaranteed results. Should Patrick hold on to the misguided if perfectly ordinary belief that he'd do better straying from the brand? Seeing how he wanted a warm expressive sound, I'd seriously doubt it. Because that's precisely what I got coming off my .aif/flac-loaded SD card.