It’s always a joy to receive a product for the review from Gryphon Audio Designs. Gryphon Audio belongs among the few brands with the influential history when it comes to the phono preamplifiers. It’s also one of the most recognized and respected high-end audio brands. Not merely for their iconic and instantly recognizable aesthetics but also for their impressive product portfolio. 

Most audiophiles and music lovers know about the vast array of high-end audio products coming from a Denmark. Yet, not everybody might know that the very first Gryphon Audio product was “The Head Amp”, that led not only to the development of phono preamplifiers but has launched Flemming Rasmussen and the Gryphon Audio brand into the high-end audio stratosphere.

The dual box amp became a highly sought-after collectors' item and many Gryphon’s fans either own/wants one or they’re in a constant chase in finding one. I wrote many reviews and articles about the Gryphon Audio components over the years and among the last ones, was their Legato Legacy flagship phono stage. Legato Legacy was distinguished with the Mono and Stereo Upper Echelon Product Award for its performance and nonetheless relatively moderate price compared to the competition’s flagships.The all-new Gryphon Audio Sonett phono preamplifier embraces a lot of Legato Legacy technology, but I wouldn’t call it the exactly a baby version. It’s more of a potent close sibling without the balanced connectors and the need to modify your phono cable’s connectors with the special plugs like it‘s mandatory with Legato Legacy phono stage. 


The Gryphon Audio Sonett (MM/MC) phono preamplifier was formed from ground up as the ideal companion for the former and present line of Gryphon integrated amplifiers and those audiophiles --music lovers, highly appreciating the vinyl record playback. Gryphon team have received many appeals to create more affordable standalone phono stage, worthy of the brand’s identify, but without sonic compromises. And the Sonett is the result of cleverly down trickling of the Legato Legacy’s highly impressive inner heart technology.

The Gryphon Sonett phono preamp features a fully discrete, DC coupled design, that implements selective polypropylene capacitors for the most accurate RIAA correction.

Front panel is an iconically Gryphon alike; of zen purity, elegantly minimalistic. Merely the red lighted logo and landmark heat sinks will entice the attention. On the rear there is a pair of RCA input and output connectors, a ground connector and dip switches, that offer multiple options for selection for the desired MC loading (10, 20, 80.6, 100, 200 or 402 Ω). Numerous loadings can be combined in parallel for even more options. “For instance, 80.6 Ω can be activated together with 100 Ω to achieve a load of 45 Ω.”

Sonett MC loading coding via left /right switches on Sonett back panel.

It is possible to set the Sonett MC load to a user defined impedance (MC LOAD) below 402Ω. The follow the below procedure to calculate optional PCB resistor values:

Load resistor, position R_OPT_L and R_OPT_R can be found on the Sonett main Printed Circuit Board, right next to the MC load switch SW1 and SW2.

Sonett CustomMC load

This is done internally. Be careful. To avoid electrical shock, switch off mains before opening the Sonett.

JP101 and JP301: Leave in open position (No jumpers mounted) or jumpers fitted in outer positions (100 ohm). (the function of these jumpers is not used in the Sonett).

Selecting MC or MM mode:

MC mode: JP100, JP102, JP104, JP300, JP302, and JP304 all fitted towards the front of your Sonett preamplifier.

MM mode: JP100, JP102, JP104, JP300, JP302, and JP304 all fitted towards the rear of your Sonett preamplifier

Left/right back panel switch no. 6 needs to be on and all other back panel switches no. 1-5 must be off!

"In a concerted effort to bring the performance of the reference level Gryphon Legato Legacy phonostage to more affordable price points, Gryphon initially offered the Sonett in a modular form for optional installation in the Gryphon Diablo 300 and Diablo 120 integrated amplifiers."

"However, vinyl connoisseurs with other system configurations generated immediate demand for a stand-alone version with independent dual mono power supply that would make the fruits of Gryphon’s explorations into the latest circuit topologies, low-noise component breakthroughs and power supply innovations accessible to all."

"Gryphon Sonett employs only the finest components, including Wima polypropylene capacitors and polymer coupling capacitors, Schottky barrier diodes with low Von voltage. Separate Talema toroidal power transformers for each channel ensure minimal magnetic radiation. Low-noise linear series regulators deliver a total of 22,400µF per channel."

"The transformers are mounted behind the front panel as far away as possible from the phonostage circuit to effectively isolate it from transformer radiation. The internal power wiring from the rear IEC socket to the power switch is mounted in a shielded channel to minimize risk of 50/60 Hz interference."

"The Gryphon Sonett Phonostage and will provide a significant upgrade for any system assembled to extract the very best from black vinyl grooves to enlighten the lives of dedicated music lovers for years to come."

Sonett Highlights

  • Zero negative feedback
  • True Dual Mono Class A topology
  • Moving Coil and Moving Magnet cartridge compatible
  • MC load impedance can be set externally with left/right rear panel switches Internal switching between MC and MM
  • Polypropylene capacitors used in RIAA correction stages
  • Discreet components in analogue stages DC-coupled topology from input to output
  • Low noise +/- 21VDC regulated voltage supplies for excellent analogue THD and noise suppressionUltra-short signal path with minimal internal wiring
  • Two-layer printed circuit board with 70 µm copper traces on both sides
  • PCB-mounted sockets eliminate wiring and shorten signal path
  • Gold-plated phono input and output sockets with Teflon insulation
  • Designed and built in Denmark


Gryphon Audio components are appreciated for their capacity to maintain the music flow intact and are capable to deliver a splendid power, without giving up on the essence of the music and without varying the initial vitality. Sonett follows the recognized Gryphon Audio’s DNA. I’ve had a pleasure to have Sonett around for a lengthened time and evaluate it with bunches of my favorite records. Some impressions are noted below...

There are some extra benefit-importance and a time capsule like dimensional scope closely connected with the ERC releases. Listening brings up the time-travel spirit, that evades the digital momentum and media dependencies. Herbert Downes and Jacqueline Du Pré’s Music for Viola and Cello (LP, Parlophone CSD 1499/Electric Recording Company ERC 028) is like every ERC release reproduced with complete analog chain from the start point to the point. Even the album cover and printing is re-created on the apparatus from the age. Yes, Electric Recording Company’s limited edition release are not cheap by any means, but they’re sort of equilibrium to the astronomical prices of their original first pressing releases. Anyhow, most importantly ERC highly sought after black discs are the musical gems.

My appreciation for Pete Hutchison’s earnest efforts at The Electric Recording Company goes beyond mere acknowledging. These releases among other positive and stand out attributes serves the timber, tone a color remarkably. This “holy trinity” embraces the music’s essence and ERC Elgar Cello Concerto / Sea Pictures Jacqueline du Pré / Barbirolli / Baker (Stereo LP - Catalogue Number. ERC044), as well as Brahms Violin Concerto Played by Leonid Kogan / Kyril Kondrashin (ERC027), are perfect examples of this. Like with top gourmet food or finest bottle (glass) of wine you immediately identify when everything is on the appropriate level. This is precisely how the ERC records affect me. In order to encourage myself to move out of the precognitive mindset I’ve played these records to a few of my guests, without letting them know what they’ll observe. The result!?

And on three of these occasions, Gryphon Audio Sonett was executing the task of phono preamplifier. The impact!? Like with excellent food when all the ingredients are of respectable class and when a cook is of a Chef position, you naturally know when all is all right. A lot of us high-Enders shares the analogous sentiment for these sense extravaganza and there is a genuine mileage tied with the way we’re experiencing and appreciating these finer life’s absolutes.

What is a gourmet food and wine tasting for these haute cuisine connoisseurs converts to live music and studio time and yours sincerely strive hard to expose himself to them as regularly as possible! Same works for top tier ultra high-end gear. These devices are out there and designed to extend beyond providing simple pleasures for multiple egos. When applied in a well set up system, they can expose the supplementary-higher-order capacity of music’s message, that is a way too often unnoticed by many evaluators? And cut to the chase... Sonett is of such ingredients and masterful voicing. When something touches you profoundly you don’t chase and clinically scrutinize the impact. The sublimed impact takes place earliest. The hypothesis follows. And this was the exact Gryphon Audio Sonett phono’s impact on yours truly…

Donald Fagen - Morph The Cat (AREP 49975) might be labeled as audiophile record, but who cares right:). I invariably have and will enjoy Fagen’s wit lyrics, captivating rhythms, and unmistakable chord progressions. Mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray at AcousTech Hoffman and Gray cut from the 15-inches-per-second, half-inch analog tape. “The reason it was done at 15,” Hoffman said, “was to preserve the tremendous bass response.” And heck yes! The bass impact on this record is of submarine depths!

Morph The Cat’s tremendous bass impact is a confronting challenge, that not every phono stage passes smoothly, even with quite heftier price sticker. It’s not simple to unravel in the proper form the definite separation of the overlapping bass guitar and kick drum. Too quickly these two sounds like a distortion. There are many factors required to be set right (proper cartridge tracking ability, cartridge compliance—proper tonearm mass, phono cables transparent nature) even before the sound reaches the phono stage.

Gryphon Sonett has managed to deliver a straightforward and elusive sense of rhythm and pace. Most importantly clear distinction between bass tones and kick drum strikes. Morph The Cat offers one of the kind holographic (for studio recording) presentation and Sonett didn’t fail to illustrate the needed acoustical cues, that defines album’s highly involving ability. In fact, Sonett has presented a mesmerizing sonic impact, that was pointed out more than once in my listening notes.

Analogue Productions (AAPP 824-45) Nat “King” Cole - Love Is The Thing (45 RPM Vinyl) cannot leave you untouched on the well-balanced analog based front end. And... There is an extra gratuity, when phono preamplifier performs its role at an appropriate standard.

Twelve timeless ballads, spreading over the album are not merely major references for the vocal but also provide better than a usual quality of the hypnotically mesmerizing string arrangements orchestrated by Gordon Jenkins. In the present era, it’s by each forthcoming year harder to digest the tendencies of a popular music. Love Is the Thing is absolutely the opposite, a powerful antidote. Songs like “When I Fall In Love” and “Stardust” are as enchanting as they were back in time. Love Is The Thing was originally released in 1957. Chad Kassem of Acoustics Sounds has really pushed everything to the max using the original 3-track session tapes from Capitol’s vaults and all-analog systems including custom headstacks, 3-track preview heads, console, and monitoring chain installed at AcousTech, especially for these releases. Two of the mastering engineers icons (Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman) could quickly decipher the efficacy of the master tapes and the proceeding is a stunning 45 RPM, 200-gram vinyl pressed at QRP (Quality Record Pressings).

Even with top tier, fully analogy deluxe presses, you can only obtain as much from “ordinary” phono stage. Yet... Gryphon Audio Sonett has further demonstrated how, when things are executed accurately, you can indulge in a grander portion of heavenly musical spheres. Nat’s vocal was displayed in fullest capacity, granting the objective grasp of three-dimensionality. The same goes for the strings. There was nothing in the way of the music’s movement that is fundamental in establishing the tactile palpable sonic experience and music formation. The Sonett added value was simply above its pedigree. 


Even after three fruitful decades, the Gryphon Audio is still striving hard to bring up-to-date electronics with one definite target; serving the music for what it is. Nothing in high-end audio comes close to the delicate nature of the vinyl record reproduction. Even the tiniest mistake of using the wrong electronic part or misconduct of technology can contribute to the unwanted altering of the most fragile audio signal running through the analog veins.

No, Sonett is not Legato Legacy. It was not created to pretend to be one. You won’t require to go fully complex with Swiss LEMO connectors adoption and there is no balanced inputs and outs. But... Everyone will appreciate a true Dual Mono Class A topology, DC-coupled topology from input to output, Ultra-short signal path with minimal internal wiring and more. The very essence is there and performance wise the Sonett it’s not as far away from Legato Legacy as one might assume. Yes, the Gryphon Audio flagship phono preamplifier can and will deliver one of the kind sonic universe. The Sonett will take you intimately close, but a bit differently. With most of my cartridges, the MC’s 64 dB were locking well, but you’ll want to double check if you’re the proprietor of the unusually low output MC cartridge.

In this day and age, we’re dealing with much more than just a pricing structure, aesthetics, and sound quality. In recent years, not merely customers from Asia, but by each year, individuals from all over the globe are looking more selectively into the high-end audio products with a strong brand value. Thirty-plus years in our niche industry translates into far longer market presence interval compared to other industrial fields and Flemming Rasmussen has set down such an empowered ground stone that already and will resonate for years to come.

Each Gryphon Audio products have such a recognizable outlook, arrives with sonically rich-potent inner heart and is a part of one the of the most vibrant histories in the high-end audio industry. Such package provides added value that potential purchasers, music lovers, and audiophiles are searching for.

I’ve addressed in my sum up for the Legato Legacy, how it’s absolutely a good deal compared to what price stickers some of the phonos out there are bearing. Sonett comes with an even more affordable cost and passes a mighty portion of the Legato Legacy performance! Considering, the auditory impact, value, brand heritage and nonetheless iconic aesthetics the Gryphon Audio Sonett deserves an acknowledgment. Yes, for most of the people it’s still a relatively hefty sum of hard earn money, but considering overall value and unmistakable Gryphon Audio DNA, I’m happily giving out Mono and Stereo 2018 Highly Recommend Product Award.

Matej Isak


€ 7.200,00


MC: 64 dB
MM: 42 dB 
MC: 10, 20, 80.6, 100, 200, 402 Ω or parallel combinations
MM: 47 kΩ/200pF
Signal/Noise Ratio
MC (Input 2.5 mV, 1 kHz): >72 dB
MM (Input 250 mV, 1 kHz): >84 dB


Gryphon Audio Designs
Industrivej 9
8680 Ry

Tel: +45 8689 1200