Vinnie Rossi L2i Signature Edition Integrated Amplifier-DAC Review

February 4, 2021 § Leave a comment

Finding a suitable point of comparison for the L2i Signature Edition was difficult, given its uniqueness. No one will be cross-shopping the far-more-boutique Vinnie Rossi against my reference integrated amp-DAC, Hegel’s H590, with its whopping 301Wpc (8 ohms) output and its Scandinavian minimalism. The same goes for other high-priced integrateds I’ve recently reviewed, such as Simaudio’s Moon 700i V2 and Constellation Audio’s Inspiration Integrated 1.0. As good as those amps are, they’re not, well, special.

Gryphon Audio Designs’ Diablo 300 ($15,990), by contrast, is special. Like the Vinnie Rossi, this massive integrated can be ordered with an optional DAC ($5990) or phono ($2250) stage—but unlike the L2i-SE, not with both. The powerful Diablo boasts 300/600/900Wpc into 8/4/2 ohms, and is nominally class-AB but biased into class-A for the first 10W. It’s been several years since I’ve had the Gryphon in my listening room, but it made a strong impression on me. Its obvious power advantage means that it can be paired with any speakers in any room. It was a current monster, with staggering control of the bass, and its sound through its optional digital inputs was similar to the L2i-SE’s. But the Diablo’s appearance, best described as gothic noir, is the opposite of classy or elegant—it looks like an amp that demands respect, speaking more to the owner’s fight-or-flight response than does the Vinnie Rossi’s greater décor-friendliness.

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