Boulder 866 vs Gryphon Diablo 300 (pros and cons)

Boulder 866 vs Gryphon Diablo 300 (pros and cons)

You have no idea how excited I am to write this Boulder 866 and Gryphon Diablo 300 article today! I have looked at the Gryphon Diablo 300 a few times now and while I think that it is fantastic, my ears just do not see where the around the 20 grand price mark is justified when in comparison with other higher-end amps. However, my friend who owns a store recently got in a Boulder 866 and I was very excited to get around there and have a look at this thing and see how it measured up against the Diablo 300!

 

The Price

Ok, so let’s kick this Boulder 866 and Gryphon Diablo 300 comparison thing off! I think at this point, I have probably talked about the Gryphon Diablo 300 four or five times, and each time I feel like a broken record as I talk about how expensive it is. However, we are talking about high-quality and high-end electronics here and the simple fact of the matter is that these are not for your average Joe. They are for that “audiophile” market, people who know all the ins and outs of each component that is in an amp and that is why these things cost the price that they do.

 

Boulder 866:

Over the last couple of years, I have looked at many higher-end amplifiers and I have to say that the Boulder 866 is one that is not completely out of line in regards to its asking price. Do not get me wrong, this thing is still incredibly expensive, but to be fair, you are looking at around the 12 thousand dollars mark to buy this thing brand-new and in comparison, to what the Gryphon Diablo 300 is going for, that makes this thing a freaking steal in my humble opinion. With what you are actually getting here, I think this is one of the better value high-end amplifiers right now. As is the case with most other very expensive amplifiers, finding one of these on eBay is probably not going to happen.

 

Gryphon Diablo 300:

The Gryphon Diablo 300 is going to cost you a great deal of money. I will not sugarcoat this for you, you are looking at the 20 grand ballpark if you want to bring this thing home with you. Gryphon has one of the most sterling reputations when it comes to high-end amps and this is one of the greatest things that their clever engineers have ever created. It is truly a work of art, but like all fine pieces of art, you have to pay up if you want it. For me, 20 grand for an amp is just not going to happen, to be honest with you, even if I were rich, I am not sure I could justify this! I have looked a few times on eBay for one of these and all that happens when you search is other Gryphon products pop up.

 

The Verdict: With such a massive price difference between these two it almost puts them into two completely different spectrums, doesn’t it? Well, for me personally I know that some people will say that the Gryphon Diablo 300 is worth the money, and to be honest, I am not disputing if it is or if it is not. However, this is my own humble opinion and there is no way that I can not say that the Boulder 866 is the winner here as you are saving not just hundreds, but thousands of dollars!

 

The Design

We come to the section of our Boulder 866 and Gryphon Diablo 300 battle that I am most excited about. I have been looking at videos and articles about the Boulder 866 for a while now and it has such an interesting and cool look! However, the Gryphon Diablo 300 is a real sexy beast of an amp too so as I write this intro, I am still not 100 percent sure which way I am going to go on this thing!

 

Boulder 866: I will fully admit that it was the design of the Boulder 866 that made me so excited to talk about it. Be sure to have a look at this The Review of the Boulder 866 Integrated Amplifier video and you will be able to see why I and so many other people love the design of this amp. It truly is a work of art and the overall shape and design of it reminds me of something that you would see on a spaceship like The Milano from the awesome Guardians of the Galaxy movies. It is much lighter than the Gryphon Diablo 300 as this weighs just over 50 pounds. Its dimensions are, 16.7″ x 17″ x 7.25″ which also make it a little more compact too. I love the angular design of this thing and having a front panel that is angled is a really cool design choice.

Let’s stop messing around and get to what the main feature of this is and that is the LCD touch display. How awesome is this? I had so much fun playing around with this and think that it is a real standout feature and something I am surprised more other amps have not tried to do.

Now, you can get a version with or without the DAC, but the one my friend had did have the DAC built in, this is important as it means that on the back of the Boulder 866 as well as those three analog inputs, you do also get digital inputs and access to Wi-Fi as well. To be honest, the extra price of adding this makes it still over 5 grand cheaper than the Diablo 300. Anyway, the back of the amp is very well designed. All of the inputs are well spaced out and they have kept the digital and analog ports separate which is a design that the more I think about the more I like. There is no included remote control with this, instead, you use the touchscreen or the app which you can download on your phone or tablet.

 

Gryphon Diablo 300: The Gryphon Diablo 300.  is such a cool looking amplifier that I just do not see how anyone could not love the design of this thing! It comes in at 83 pounds so it is pretty heavy and it also takes up a fair bit of space in your home entertainment center as well as the dimensions of it are, 18.9” x 9.2” x 18.1”. I think what really catches your eye about this is the overall design and how it looks like some kind of toy that The Batman would have designed! That by the way is meant as a massive compliment! In the middle of the amplifier is this very stylish looking LCD that really does capture your eye. Above this, we have the very cool looking Gryphon logo and on either side of that LCD, we have various touch sensitive buttons which I really do like. The only thing about the design of this that I am not a massive fan of is the vent on the front. I get why it is there, but it is just a bit too large. The Gryphon Diablo 120 has a similar design, but as it is not as large, it has a smaller vent and I think as a result looks more stylish.

As we flip this bad boy around to see what it has going on as far as connections go, I am happy to say that Gryphon has made sure that your analog needs are well and truly taken care of. There is a generous selection of ports and they are all nicely spaced out as well as labeled so that you know exactly what is connected to what port. Above your ports, you have a large door and this is for connecting one of the available to be purchased separately modules such as the awesome DAC. The Gryphon Diablo 300 also comes with a very premium kind of remote that has a very solid and chunky kind of feel to it which I love. It also makes sure that controlling the amp could not be any easier as well.

 

The Verdict: As these are two very different looking products, it makes this a hard one to pick a winner for. These really could not be any more different in their design and that makes this boil down to a personal preference kind of thing. While I usually prefer my audio equipment to be black, I have to say that on this occasion, silver is taking the win. I just love that little screen the Boulder 866 has, as I said, it makes it look like something that would be on a spaceship!

 

The Sound

As we come to the final round of this Boulder 866 and Gryphon Diablo 300 contest, we come to the most important round and that is looking at which one is going to make your record collection sound the best. These both are fantastic when it comes to making your music sound incredible, but the big question will ultimately be if the Gryphon Diablo 300 is worth all that extra money over the Boulder 866!

 

Boulder 866: I knew that I was going to like the sound the Boulder 866 offered right away as my friend had told me he played around with it and was very impressed and usually I only get an “it is ok” or “it is pretty good” out of him about stuff like this so him being excited got me excited. Now, I referenced Guardians of the Galaxy before and that is very fitting as one of the records we played with this was Vol. 1-Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix which is such a fun album and it sounded fantastic. Everything song we played sounded nice and clear and there was a real balance to the sound that just hit that sweet spot of what I like when I am listening to an album. You can certainly hear the quality that this amp has and it is very easy for me to see why people rave so highly about this thing. I also brought along my Eric Clapton, Live in San Diego which is such a great live album and I was floored by how good it sounded. I have heard Wonderful Tonight ( a real favorite of my wife’s) many times and it really did give me goosebumps!

I of course had to play around with the digital features that the Boulder 866 offered and while we did not play around with any CDs, I did use my phone to stream directly to this and had a blast doing so. While I will always be a vinyl guy at heart, I did fire up a few of my favorites such as All That Remains by Fozzy and For the Love of Metal by Dee Snider, and had a lot of fun doing so. I think that being able to do this is a nice bonus and having more options to listen to both your analog and digital music library is never a bad thing.

 

Gryphon Diablo 300: The Gryphon Diablo 300 is by many people regarded as one of the Rolls Royce’s of amps and I think that reputation is actually quite well deserved to be honest with you. Check out this Gryphon Audio Diablo 300 REVIEW Conclusion Amazing HiFi Integrated Amplifier DAC video which does include the DAC so keep that in mind, but you do get a great sense of why this thing has the reputation that it does. I have to say that right out of the box the Gryphon Diablo 300 is truly epic when it comes to bringing your record collection to life.

An absolute classic album from Bon Jovi is New Jersey what an album this is and I probably have listened to it a thousand times! It truly is an 80s classic and one that never gets old. Anyway, Lay Your Hands Me (the best opening track of any Bon Jovi album) sent shivers down my spine with how authentic that it felt. I swear, this must have been how it sounded when the guys recorded this in the studio! The balance of the sound is just next level with this and I can see why some people will experience this and then never be able to go back.

Another album that my friend actually suggested putting on as he knew I loved it was The History of Rock by Kid Rock. This is actually a very rare record and American Bad Ass is still my favorite of all his songs. Anyway, with the sound cranked up, you could truly appreciate just how powerful this thing is. It is not just the power, it is the clarity of this thing, no matter the volume you have it that really made me take notice of thing and in that regard, I can see why this has the price tag that it does and also the reception online that we have. I could easily see why some people would say that some folks say this is the greatest amplifier that has ever been made.

 

The Verdict: Does the Gryphon Diablo 300 sound amazing? Yes, it does, is it one of the best amplifiers around? I again would have to at the very least say that it is in the conversation. However, this is a personal article and for me, I think that there is no way that I could say that the Gryphon Diablo 300 is worth all the extra money that it costs over the Boulder 866. As a matter of fact, not even taking price into the consideration I have to say that the difference in the sound these two produces is not all that vast at all, as a matter of fact, I would bet some people would not even be able to tell the difference. So with that being said, I think I have to say that I am controversially giving this round to the Boulder 866.

 

Which Is The Better Amplifier?

Do you know what was funny about putting this Boulder 866 and Gryphon Diablo 300 together? At the start of the article, I was not sure which way I was going to go. However, the more I got into it and the more I looked at what the Boulder 866 and the Gryphon Diablo 300 offered, I started to lean more and more towards the Boulder 866. Look, I can see why the Gryphon Diablo 300 is held in as high regard as it is. However, I just do not see how I could justify spending all that extra money when the Boulder 866 sounds just as good and I like the design better. So yes, my official verdict is that the winner of this epic battle is the Boulder 866!

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