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Gryphon Atilla Owner's Manual

Made by: Gryphon
Type: Owner's Manual
Category: Amplifier
Pages: 18
Size: 0.38 MB


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Owner´s Manual


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Table of Contents:

Introduction....................... 3

The Gryphon.......................


Atilla................................ 4
The Man..............................


Made in Denmark............... 


Musical Objectives...............


The Gryphon Master Tape
Collection............................ 5
Design Principles................ 


Exterior Design................... 


Manufacture and Assembly.


Using Your Gryphon......... 


AC Voltage.......................... 


Burn-in and Warm-up.......... 


Placement........................... 9
Menu Activated 


Balanced Connections.........


Choice of Cables................ 


Care and Maintenance....... 




Safety Instructions..............           16


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Welcome to the global family of
proud owners of fine audio com-
ponents from Gryphon Audio
Designs of Denmark. Your new
Gryphon unit has been painstak-
ingly designed to re-create the
sound of live music taking place
in its original recorded space.
Every Gryphon product is
designed to cater to the needs of
the most discerning music
enthusiast with sumptuous
styling and superb user-friendli-
ness which elevate it above the
mundane world of conven-
tional audio components.

As audiophiles, the 
members of the Gryphon
design team are constantly
reminded to keep their priorities
straight. We are not involved in
“hi-fi” for its own sake, but strict-
ly as a means to an end, in the
service of our life-long love of the
live music experience in all its
sonic and emotional glory.

Our higher goal is to bring to the
listener a “You-Are-There” sen-
sation. In taking up this chal-
lenge, the Gryphon designers go
back to basics to analyze the
essential nature of the live music
experience. For us, an aware-
ness of soundstaging, ambience
and concert hall dimensions are
necessary components.

Dynamics and an unambiguous
sense of instrument location
even in the loudest passages
are also high priorities. To
achieve these objectives,
Gryphon products offer excep-
tional speed and agility along
with seamless coherence in the
time domain.

Since 1985, Gryphon Audio
Designs has quietly gone about
the business of creating fine
home audio components. We
know that you will appreciate
and enjoy the benefits of our

accumulated experience
and share our abiding
passion for music.

The Gryphon

In Greek mythology: A fabled
creature, half-lion and half-
eagle, combining the power of
the “King of Beasts” with the
grace of the “King of Birds”. The
guardian of the source of gold
and protector of the Dionysian
cup of infinite wealth.
In the real world: An acclaimed
Danish audio engineering com-
pany employing cutting edge
technology and common sense
in the pursuit of the purest musi-
cal experience. We feel that the
gryphon is an appropriate sym-
bol for our high sonic goals.



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The Man

Gryphon Audio Designs is the
brainchild of Flemming E.
Rasmussen and the fulfillment of
a lifelong dream to allow the
purest essence of the live music
experience to be recreated in the
home environment.

Rasmussen holds a degree in
painting and graphic arts from
the Aarhus Art Academy,
Denmark. During his studies,
Rasmussen developed close
relationships with the local music
community and designed many
LP covers and concert posters.
After graduation, he taught pho-
tography and painting and
designed textiles, before found-
ing 2R Marketing, which quickly
became Denmark’s leading High
End audio import company. 

Gryphon Audio Designs was
founded in 1985 as an offshoot
of 2R Marketing, The first prod-
uct, the now legendary Gryphon
Head Amp, grew from a one-off
spare time project developed
only for the designers’ own home
systems. Although the Gryphon
project was initially strictly a
hobby, not an actively pursued
commercial venture, demand
generated by reviews and word-
of-mouth led to the formal estab-
lishment of Gryphon Audio
Designs as a separate corporate

Following the immediate suc-
cess of the Gryphon brand, all
import business was phased out
in 1993, so that Rasmussen
could dedicate his efforts entire-
ly to Gryphon.

Made In Denmark

Every product from Gryphon
Audio Designs is designed and
built in Denmark. This is much
more than just a geographical
fact. It is also a seal of approval,
a stamp of quality. Living in a
region with no natural resources
(no oil, coal, precious metals,
etc.), the Danes have learned to
rely on their quick wits and
skilled hands. Innovative tech-
nology, beautiful craftsmanship,
pride in one’s craft and a keen
eye for attractive design are
some of the long-standing
Danish traditions which are dis-
tilled to their finest essence in
every unit that bears the
Gryphon name.



While scientific method and
sophisticated technology play an
important role in our electronics
design work, at Gryphon we
never lose sight of the fact that
the keen ears of an experienced
listener are the most crucial “cal-
ibration tools.” Therefore, every

The Gryphon Head Amp 1985


Flemming E. Rasmussen 


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Gryphon product exists for one
simple purpose: to bring the user
closer in the never-ending quest
for a more natural and convinc-
ing musical illusion.

Every Gryphon design has been
built to cruise effortlessly through
even the most demanding musi-
cal passages, regardless of vol-
ume level, with a musical pres-
entation defined by supreme
articulation and immediacy, sub-
tle dynamic shading and razor-
sharp focus. Refinement and
delicacy are combined with
power and authority for a natu-
ral, involving listening experi-

The Gryphon
Master Tape

In the Gryphon listening rooms,
we are fortunate to possess a
unique library of more than
1,000 original master tapes of
recordings made during the
Golden Age of studio engineer-
ing from 1956-1976.

Unlike conventional commercial
releases, our master tapes cap-
ture the dynamic contrasts and
subtle inner harmonic structure
of the musical event, forcing us

to work to a higher standard in
our efforts to maintain the
integrity of the original musical

Design Principles

With state of the art technical
equipment and some of the
finest minds in the audio engi-
neering field at our disposal, the
Gryphon brand name continues
to define the highest audiophile
standards of subjective and
technical performance. 
The dual mono configuration
radically eliminates any possibil-
ity of crosstalk or other interfer-
ence between channels and pro-
vides infinite channel separation
which contributes to the ability to
create space, focus, depth and

Because the electrical power
coming out of your wall fluctu-
ates wildly in terms of voltage
and distortion, Gryphon incorpo-
rates heavily regulated multi-
stage power supplies that act as
effective mains conditioning fil-
ters. Displays and control cir-
cuits are fed by a separate
power supply to isolate any digi-
tal noise artifacts and effectively
prevent them from contaminat-
ing the signal path.

While the printed circuit boards
in more conventional audio prod-


Gryphon is located in beautiful tranquil


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ucts utilize conductor tracks a
mere 35 um thick, Gryphon
employs at least 70 um traces of
the highest purity. 

Beginning with our very first
product, “The Head Amp” all
Gryphon products have featured
extremely wide frequency band-
width, because the ability to
reproduce ultra-sonic frequen-
cies with no difficulty ensures lin-
ear phase across the audible fre-
quency range. 

The implementation of circuits
with wideband frequency
response is a painstaking
endeavor in which the actual lay-
out and ground pattern of the PC
boards are crucial to the
achievement of superior sonic
performance with no loss of
inherent stability.

Wideband frequency response
ensures the high slew rate
essential to the realistic handling
of the ultra-fast transients which
routinely occur in live music and
is crucial in recreating the natu-
ral decay of musical instruments.
Wide bandwidth also improves
phase characteristics, for more
correct soundstaging and imag-

All Gryphon designs are realized
with an absolute minimum of
negative feedback, which when

present in large amounts can
actually increase TIM distortion.
All Gryphon preamplifiers are
designed with zero negative
feedback. Gryphon power ampli-
fiers apply negative feedback
judiciously for improved linearity
and bandwidth.

Gryphon research into the detri-
mental effects of magnetically
induced distorted (MID) has led
to the elimination of magnetiz-
able materials wherever possi-
ble. To eliminate the effects of
stray magnetic fields, non-mag-
netic materials are employed
throughout, with the unavoidable
exception of the transformer
shield box.

The mechanical design of the
cabinet and assembly methods
are all carefully calculated to
ensure minimal resonance,
either through the use of
mechanically grounded high
mass or decoupling. Vibration-
sensitive components, capaci-
tors in particular, are thus guar-
anteed a non-resonant environ-

The heavy, thick chassis offers a
vibration-proof environment for
the sensitive electronics inside
and provides crucial shielding
from a polluted world of low and
high-frequency radio waves,
power-line radiation and other


Typical Gryphon module


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electrical interference.
Meticulous attention to such
issues makes a significant con-
tribution to the relaxing, open
and transparent Gryphon sound.

Unique, non-invasive protection
circuitry offers reliable, fuss-free
protection without compromising
signal purity and signal path sim-
plicity, with no conventional
relays in the signal path to
degrade or compress sound. 

The ground path has been care-
fully laid out in order to achieve
superior sonic performance with
no loss of stability. Component
layout has been designed to
ensure the shortest conceivable
signal path.

Exhaustive investigation under-
lies the selection of every com-
ponent part and many original,
proprietary components are cus-
tom-built exclusively for
Gryphon. Because what is left
out is just as important as what
goes in, an absolute minimum of
internal wiring is included.

By lavishing attention on each
aspect of the circuit and fully
understanding the purpose and
behavior of every single part of
the whole, our designers can
optimize performance in each
section, before moving on to the
next step. This ensures simplici-

ty, a short signal path and a unity
of purpose with a single, well-
defined objective: musical purity.

In the interest of ultimate fidelity,
tone controls, balance controls
and other unnecessary compo-
nents have been banished from
the signal path.

Exterior Design

From the very beginning, every
Gryphon product has offered
stunning audio performance,
sumptuous styling and superb
user-friendliness, catering to the
needs of the discerning audio-
phile who demands musicality,
convenience and aesthetics, all
without compromise.

In every Gryphon product, form
follows function in a unique syn-
thesis of aesthetics and practi-
cality. Gryphon stands for
sophisticated technology with a
high standard of industrial finish
that also incorporates the best of
The peerless finish, build quality,
ergonomics and pride of owner-
ship that contribute to the totality
of the Gryphon concept can only
be fully understood and appreci-
ated up close and in person. 

Rasmussen’s background in fine
arts and industrial design gives
every Gryphon product a distinc-
tive, luxuriant finish which arises


Gryphon Audio Designs in the outskirts of
the small town of Ry.


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organically out of the audio cir-
cuit design and the user inter-
face for a truly unique integration
of form and function.

Manufacture and

At our laboratories and manufac-
turing facilities in Denmark, we
maintain full control over every
aspect of development and pro-
duction, and the members of our
conscientious staff diligently fol-
low each Gryphon model from
initial concept to early prototype,
through to final quality control.

Printed circuit boards are
assembled by a supplier of pre-
cision military and medical
equipment with strict standards
of quality control and pre-inspec-
tion of components. Chassis
parts are manufactured by a
specialist chosen solely for the
outstanding quality of workman-
ship. In every aspect of every
Gryphon product, the same
stringent standards of excel-
lence apply.

Following a 48-hour burn-in,
each product is tested again,
before being subjected to
Gryphon’s custom-developed
transport simulator which simu-
lates the inevitable shaking that 

a product will encounter in tran-
sit. The product is placed on top
of a very large loudspeaker
which plays a special CD with
low frequencies which simulate
the vibrations of an airplane.
Each unit “travels” the equivalent
of 40 round trips from Denmark
to Australia before leaving the

AC Voltage

Your Gryphon unit is especially
made for the AC voltage of the
country to which it has been
shipped. If the voltage has been
changed, the warranty is void
and the product may be unsafe
or malfunction.

Correct AC polarity contributes
greatly to optimum performance.
If you are not using a three-pin,
non-reversible power plug,
please experiment with the ori-
entation of the plug for optimum

Burn-In and

Your Gryphon unit has been
thoroughly tested and burned in
before shipping. Performance
will continue to improve during
the first 40 – 50 hours of normal
use. After this period optimum
performance will be reached



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approximately 45 minutes after
turn-on. With the exception of
Class A power amplifiers, we
recommend leaving your
Gryphon components powered
up at all times.


Care must be taken to position
the Atilla only on a stable surface
which can reliably support the
weight of the amplifier. The
amplifier's heat sinks have been
carefully designed and placed to
optimize heat dissipation for
ideal cool operating conditions.
In order for the heatsinks to
operate effectively, there must
be ample air circulation around
the Atilla at all times.

Do not place the Atilla on or near
any source of heat. Do not place
any object directly on top of the
Atilla. Do not place the Atilla in
an enclosed space such as a
cabinet, unless ample ventilation
is provided.


The Gryphon Atilla incorporates
several functions which are
accessed via a Menu system.

To access the Menu, press
Menu. MENU will appear in the
display and the Atilla will mute its
output. CONTINUE will blink in
the display. To enter the Menu,
press Monitor. If you do not wish
to access the menu-controlled
functions, press an Input button
so that EXIT blinks in the display,
then press Monitor to return to
normal playback and to the nor-
mal display.

When you enter the Menu,
NAME INPUT will appear in the
display. Press Menu again to
move through the menu-con-
trolled functions in the following

Name Input - Change Max Level
- Change Start Level -
Brightness Control - Restore
Settings - Dedicate input 3 to AV
- Continue/Exit

At the end, you can either con-
tinue from the beginning of the
list or exit the Menu. To return to
the top of the list, press Monitor
and NAME INPUT will appear in
the display. To exit the Menu,
press an Input button so that
EXIT blinks in the display, then
press Monitor to return to normal
playback and to the normal dis-
play. Any settings which you
have changed are automatically
stored in memory.


The master On/Off switch on
the Atilla is placed on the
underside of the unit near the


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Naming Inputs

You can assign a specific name
to each input, either a pre-pro-
grammed standard name or a
custom name of your choice of
up to 8 characters. When NAME
INPUT appears in the display,
press Monitor. SELECT INPUT:
1 will appear in the display. To
choose a different input for nam-
ing, press an Input button to
move up or down through the
five inputs. When the number of
the input which you wish to
name is displayed, press
Monitor. CUSTOM will blink in
the display. If you wish to create
a custom name for the input,
press Monitor and skip to section
1.a. below. If you wish to select a
name from the standard list,
press an Input button so that
STANDARD blinks, then press
Monitor and skip to section 1.b.
below. Please note: If a name
has previously been assigned to
the input, that name will be delet-
ed if you press Monitor while
STANDARD is blinking.

1.a. If you have chosen custom
naming, CUSTOM will appear in
the first line of the display. The
selected input number will
appear in the second line, fol-
lowed by a colon (:) and a cursor
marking the first position in the
8-character name which you can

create. If a custom name has
already been assigned to this
input, it will be displayed. To
select a character (letter, num-
ber, symbol, empty space or
punctuation mark) for the first
position, continuously press one
of the Volume buttons until the
desired character is displayed.
Press Input Up to move to the
next position, then use the
Volume buttons to select the
desired character. Repeat for
each character in the name. If
you make a mistake or change
your mind, use the Input Down
button to move back and change
a previously selected character.
When the name is complete,
press Monitor. The name is now
stored in memory and will be dis-
played each time you select that
input. NAME INPUT will appear
in the display. You can go back
to step 1 above to name another
input or press Menu to select the
next menu-controlled function.

1.b. If you have chosen standard
NAME will appear in the first line
of the display. The selected input
number and the first name in the
standard list (CD) will appear in
the second line. To select the
name which you wish to assign
to the input, press the volume
buttons to move up or down
through the standard name list in
the following order:



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When the name which you wish
to assign to the input is dis-
played, press Monitor. The name
is now stored in memory and will
be displayed each time you
select that input. NAME INPUT
will appear in the display. You
can go back to step 1 above to
name another input or press
Menu to select another menu-
controlled function.

Setting Maximum

You can select and store in
memory a maximum volume
level (between 01 and 50) which
cannot be exceeded, manually
or by remote, until you re-set this
function. This effectively protects
your audio system from expen-
sive accidents. When CHANGE
MAX LEVEL appears in the dis-
play, press Monitor. MAX
LEVEL: and the currently
assigned maximum volume set-
ting will appear in the display. To
change this setting, press
Volume Up or Down until the
desired maximum volume level
is displayed. Press Monitor. The
selected maximum volume set-
ting is now stored in memory.


appear in the display. Press

Menu to select the next menu-
controlled function.

Setting Start-Up Level

You can select and store in
memory a default volume level
(between 00 and 20) which will
automatically be set by the
amplifier each time you turn it
LEVEL appears in the display,
press Monitor. START LEVEL:
and the current default start level
will appear in the display. To
change this setting, press
Volume Up or Down until the
desired start level is displayed.
Press Monitor. The selected start
level is now stored in memory
and will be set each time you
turn on the amplifier. CHANGE
START LEVEL will appear in the
display. Press Menu to select the
next menu-controlled function.

Setting Display

You can select and store in
memory the desired level of
brightness in the front-panel dis-
TROL appears in the display,
press Monitor. BRIGHTNESS
will appear in the first line of the
display. 100% 75% 50% 25%
OFF will appear in the second
line. The 100% indicator will
blink. Press an Input button



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repeatedly until the desired level
of brightness blinks. The display
will immediately change to the
selected brightness, unless you
have selected OFF. If OFF is
selected, the display will turn off
after you exit the Menu. Press
Monitor. The selected brightness
level is now stored in memory.
appear in the display. Press
Menu to select the next menu-
controlled function.

NOTE: When the display is
turned completely off, pressing
any button on the front panel or
on the remote will cause the dis-
play to turn on briefly so that you
can see the current volume level
and selected input. Press a sec-
ond time to activate the desired

Restoring Default

You can delete all of your custom
Menu settings and return to the
factory pre-set default settings.
Doing so deletes all input
names, sets Maximum Level at
50, sets Start Level at 00, sets
Brightness at 100% and sets
Input 3 as a normal audio input.
appears in the display, press
Monitor. RESTORE? appears in
the first line of the display. NO
and YES appear in the second

line. NO will blink. If you do NOT
wish to delete your custom set-
tings, press Monitor, while NO is
blinking, then press Menu to
select the next menu-controlled
function. If you do wish to delete
all your custom settings, press
Input Up until YES blinks, then
press Monitor. You have now
deleted all your custom settings.
The factory pre-set default set-
tings are now in effect.
appear in the display. Press
Menu to select the next menu-
controlled function.

Assigning Input 3 as
a Dedicated AV

You can use the power amplifier
section of the Atilla and your nor-
mal stereo loudspeakers with a
separate surround processor by
connecting the left and right front
channels from your surround
processor to Input 3 of the Atilla
and using the Menu to configure
this input so that the signal
bypasses all preamplifier stages
in the Atilla. This allows you to
enjoy the full performance of the
Atilla for stereo and surround lis-
tening without placing any sur-
round components in the stereo
signal path.



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CAUTION: When Input 3 is set
up as a dedicated AV connec-
tion, the Atilla’s volume control is
automatically set at a fixed level.
The signal from the surround
processor goes to the Atilla
power amplifier section  and
MUST be calibrated and attenu-
ated by the surround processor.

appears in the display, press
Menu to select the next menu-
controlled function, if you do
NOT wish to connect the left and
right front channels from a sur-
round processor to Input 3 of the
Atilla. If you do wish to make a
dedicated AV connection, press
UATION will blink in the display
for 5 seconds, after which you
will be asked to confirm that you
wish to configure Input 3 as a
dedicated AV connection which
bypasses the Atilla volume con-
trol. ARE YOU SURE? will
appear in the first line of the dis-
play. NO and YES will appear in
the second line. NO will blink.

If you do NOT wish to make a
dedicated AV connection, press
Monitor while NO is blinking,
then press Menu to select the
next menu-controlled function. If
you do wish to make this con-
nection, press Input Up so that
YES blinks in the display. Press
Monitor. Input 3 is now config-

ured as a dedicated connection
which bypasses the Atilla vol-
ume control and should ONLY
be used with a source which has
its own volume control, such as
a surround processor. NEVER
connect a normal line-level
source such as a tuner, CD play-
er, etc. directly to this input, while
it is configured in this manner.
You can always restore Input 3
to normal operation via the

When you have configured Input
appear in the display. Press
Menu to select the next menu-
controlled function.

Exiting the Menu
appear in the display, you can
either exit the Menu or return to
the beginning of the list of menu-
controlled functions.

To go to the top of the list, press
Monitor while CONTINUE is

To exit the Menu, press an Input
button so that  EXIT blinks, then
press Monitor to return to normal
playback and to the normal dis-



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All Gryphon products uses the
AES standard for balanced con-
1. Ground
2. Positive
3. Negative
We recommend the use of dedi-
cated balanced cables. Avoid the
use of adaptors as they degrade

Atilla Volumen 

A unique new volumencontrol
was developed for the Atilla and
this new priinciple will in future
be found in all Gryphons top of
the line products. It is not a digi-
tal devise but a discrete solution
based on fixed resistors  in a
ultra short signal path involving a
very smal number of relays
selected for perfect function and
sonic “invisible” qualities. This
technology can sometimes -
dependign on the material played
- make a very smal clicking noise
when used. This is not a sign that
anything is wrong and is normal.

Choice of Cables

Because your Atilla integrated
amplifier is a high-resolution
Gryphon audio device, it will
immediately reveal the charac-
teristics and possible limitations
of the other components in your
system, as well as those of the
interconnects and loudspeaker
cables used to connect your sys-
Wiring should never be utilized
as "equalizers" to correct errors
elsewhere in the system.
Instead, any error should be cor-
rected at the source, so that
interconnects and loudspeaker
cables can be selected solely on
the basis of sonic neutrality. For
this reason, we employ
Gryphon's own range of inter-
connects and cables in every
stage of the design of every
Gryphon product.


Gryphon products are handcraft-
ed by individuals who take great
pride in the high level of fit and
finish which we achieve. To
maintain your Gryphon compo-
nents in pristine condition,
please follow these simple

Metal surfaces may be cleaned



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with a damp cloth. Some product
made for treatment of vinyl inte-
riors in cars may be useful. Test
the product on a non-visible sur-
face, before using any fluids.

Acrylic surfaces should only be
wiped with a very soft, dry cloth.
Small scratches may be
removed with fiberglass polish.
Fingerprints may be removed
with a damp cloth. Do NOT use
spirits or paper tissue.


The Gryphon Atilla is warranted
against failures arising through
faulty workmanship and materi-
als for a period of 3 year from
date of purchase. The warranty
is not transferable.

This warranty is only valid in the

country where the product was

All claims under this warranty
must be made to the distributor
in the buyer`s country by return-
ing the unit securely packed in
the original box with all acces-
sories, postage/freight prepaid
and insured. The unit will be
repaired or replaced at no
charge for parts and labor.


This warranty remains valid only
if the serial number of the unit
has not been defaced or
removed and if repairs are per-
formed only by authorized
Gryphon dealers or distributors.

The warranty does not cover
damage due to misuse, accident
or neglect. This warranty is not
valid if the operation voltage of
the product has been changed. 

The distributor or manufacturer,
Gryphon Audio Designs,
Denmark, retains the exclusive
right to make such judgement on
the basis of inspection.

The retailer, distributor or manu-
facturer of the Gryphon shall not
be liable for consequential dam-
age arising from the use, misuse
or failure of this product, includ-
ing injuries to persons or proper-

To qualify, the enclosed warranty
registration card must be filled
out and returned to the manufac-
turer within 10 days of purchase.


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live AC

Do not expose the unit to drip-
ping water or moist.


Do not place your Atilla on top
of any heat producing products,
such as power amplifiers or
DACs. If you place the Atilla
inside any Hi-FI furniture or cab-
inets, there must be a clearance
of a minimum of 10cm (4 inch-
es) above the product and a
minimum of 5cm (2 inches)
along the sides. To allow a flow
of cooling air the back of the
cabinet must be open. If these
guidelines are not observed,
overheating may result. 

Mains Switch:

To place your Atilla into standby
mode use the main switch. The
switch is located in the bottom
on the right side just beneath
the acrylic front panel.



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Date of purchase: