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Gryphon Essence Zena DAC module

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Gryphon Essence Zena DAC module

Up for sale is rare Gryphon Essence/Zena DAC module. 




Retail $6800


- True Dual Mono Class A Analog configuration

- Zero negative feedback

- Sabre ES9018 High-End D/A converter

- User-selectable PCM and DSD digital roll-off filters



Fit both Essence and Zena preamplifiers. Both preamplifiers have power supplies for this module. So, the DAC module doesn't take any resources away from preamp.


As far as I see, it was never offered on the marketplace. Nobody ever wanted to part with it :) Diminishing returns, they say, but I decided to go for much more expensive DAC.


Condition like new. Comes in the original box with foaming for safe travels.

Installation is very easy. Everyone could do this.



The Essence/Zena DAC Module uses an ESS Sabre ES9018 DAC chip. Not the latest version from ESS, but I’ve always found that it’s not what you use but how you use it that counts most in the audio world. And here Gryphon seems to have got it just right.


It’s capable of 384kHz/32 bit and DSD up to 512.


The Essence/Zena DAC module is fully isolated in an independent housing with grounded panels and is impervious to HF radiation, eliminating any risk of interference with the preamplifier stages.





The Gryphon Essence/Zena DAC module adds five high-quality digital inputs to the preamplifier’s standard complement of five analog inputs: 

- XLR socket for 110Ω AES/EBU,

- TOSLink optical input,

- dual 75Ω BNC sockets with Teflon insulation for two S/PDIF components,

- USB input.


With the DAC module on-board, preamplifier displays

- the selected digital source, 

- sampling frequency, 

- PCM or DSD audio format, 

- SuperCap power supply status (charging or fully charged)

- active digital filter setting. 


For PCM sources, fast or slow roll-off digital filter settings are available. For DSD sources, choose between 50, 60, 70 kHz (-3dB) bandpass filters.





Ready for current and future digital audio formats, the ESS Sabre ES9018 DAC chip stands at the heart of the Zena DAC module, partnered with heavily regulated, fully discrete, ultra-low noise +/- 22VDC voltage supplies to ensure optimal noise suppression and minimal analogue THD.


Installing an exceptional digital to analog converter inside an equally ambitious preamplifier significantly shortens the signal path, eliminating exterior interconnects and multiple plugs and soldering points to maintain the integrity and purity of the audio signal.


This Essence/Zena internal DAC module draws heavily on the innovative engineering that was inspired by the highly acclaimed Gryphon Kalliope digital-to-analogue converter.





The Essence/Zena DAC module draws no power from any USB source component, generating instead its own pure power for maximum isolation from the PC. This effectively removes one of the weak points in conventional DAC designs: dependence on USB bus power, i.e., 5V fed to the USB receiver from the source computer via the USB cable’s power line which “bleeds” noise and interference into the two data lines with significant audible impact.


The 12.5 Farad (!) SuperCap dedicated power supply acts as a stable, isolated, ideal virtual battery, eliminating the computer as a power source altogether for an ultra-low noise floor and unrestricted dynamics.


Pure power at this crucial early stage makes a major contribution to the natural, effortless ease that defines the sound of digital by Gryphon.


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