Bearing Type: Uni-pivot
Effective Length - 305mm (12")
Pivot To Spindle - 291.63 mm
Overhang - 13.73mm
Offset Angle - 17.84 degrees
Price - Direct Sales only
Website - http://durand-tonearms.com/
DISCLAIMER: I am a personal friend of the owner/designer Joel Durand.
The goal was to design and build his best tonearm without cost consideration. Similar to the Talea, the development of the Telos was a collaborative effort. From the website: "The development of the project started with a thorough re-examination of the fundamentals of tonearm design, in order to determine what were the most essential elements of its construction. Research was guided by the use of computer simulation tools, FEA, physical experiments, and highly trained listening. Found Music’s Scott Sheaffer was actively involved in several crucial aspects of the development, to complement our work with his vast knowledge of metal properties, electrical transmission, as well as with his fearless imagination and uncanny ears."
I participated in many listening sessions during the Telos development and can attest that multiple materials were tested for each component.
14' (W) x 17' (L) x 8' (H). Front wall has convex curvature treated with fabric. Back wall treated with same fabric with additional acoustic treatment. Right wall with built in cabinets for CD storage and multiple shelves filled with records. Reinforced flooring but definitely acoustically suboptimal. The left wall is treated with diffusers.
MUSIC USED FOR AUDITIONING AND CRITICAL LISTENING:
Many LPs in my 2,500+ collection, notably:
Duke Ellington & Ray Brown "This One's For Blanton" (Pablo, 1972)
Ella Fitzgerald & Duke Ellington "At Cote d'Azur" (Mosaic Reissue)
Great Jazz Trio "Direct From LA" (EastWind/Nautlis, 1978)
Greg Kihn Band "Kihnspiracy" (Beserkley, 1983)
Head & The Heart (SubPop, 2011)
Shelby Lynne "Just A Little Lovin' (Lost Highway 2008)
Gerry Mulligan/Ben Webster "Mulligan Meets Ben Webster" (ORG 45 rpm/180 reissue)
Nirvana "Nevermind" (180 gm reissue)
Opeth "Damnation" (Koch Records, 1983)
Art Pepper "Gettin' Together" (Contemporary S7573, 1960)
Oscar Peterson & Freddie Hubbard "Face To Face" (Pablo, 1982)
Cat Power "The Greatest" (Matador, 2006)
Turntable - Galibier Stelvio
Tonearms - Triplanar VIIu, Durand Talea
Cartridges - Benz LPS, Dynavector XV1-s/Miyajima Premium BE Mono
Phono Preamps: Experience Music Kahn
Line Stage - BAT VK50SE
Amplifier - Einstein Light In Dark with Amperex Bugle Boy 6922 tubes
Speaker - Daedalus Ulysses with upgraded crossover
Equipment Rack - SRA Scuttle
Record Cleaning Machine - Loricraft PRC-4 using Audio Intelligent Fluids
Additionally, I have auditioned the arm with the Wave Kinetics NVS and Nantais modified Lenco 75 turntables utilizing the Ortofon A90 cartridge.
PACKAGING/EASE OF USE:
The Telo box raises the packaging bar a notch higher than the Talea. The bespoke wooden is box is buttery smooth. All necessary tools and a detailed instruction manual are included. The Telos is a visually stunning component. Needless to say, fit and finish are exemplary.
Befitting the unique design, set-up is not typical, but relatively easy. The majority of the assembly is done with the arm laying next to the base. Take care to avoid stretching the thin wires of the tonearm cable. Once the metal base is installed on an arm board, a wooden, semi-lunar cable junction box is attached to the rear of the base, fixing the tonearm cable. A pivot to spindle tool is provided for exact adjustment. Next, (with the stylus guard on!) you attach the cartridge to the mounting plate and then you attach the plate/cartridge to the arm. Then arm wand is ready to install. Again, be mindful of the delicatetonearm wires!
As with the Talea, if you are used to adjusting offset angle and overhang with two mounting screws, it will take a little practice to get the hang of using a single site of attachment. A MintLP arc protractor and high quality loupe are provided and invaluable in obtaining a spot on set-up. Multiple counterweights are provided for VTF. The VTA tower is adjusted via a clamping mechanism which requires two hands to use. Therefore, the arm wand must be removed prior to adjusting VTA. There is an ingenious azimuth adjustment. A thin metal rod is attached to the medial surface of the arm wand. You attach weights to the rod so the rod gently rests on a supporting rod. The sound can be tailored by adjusting the weight on the azimuth rod. An anti-skating device is attached to the rod.
The Telos is extremely quiet in the groove. However, small ticks & pops are subjectively more noticeable. The Telos doesn't hide anything in the groove! So you better clean those records!
From my previous Talea review:
"IMO, this is one of the places that reproduced music falls well short of the real thing...The Talea stands out in the ability to recreate the physical presence of live music as demonstrated on the live track "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" with Duke Ellington backing Ella Fitzgerald on the "Live At Cote d'Azur" LP. Tony Williams' kick drum becomes visceral on the Great Jazz Trio recording; you can feel the pressure wave."
After introducing the Telos into my system, I can close my eyes and honestly suspend disbelief. The intensity of "It Don't Mean A Thing" builds until the dynamic release at the conclusion. On "A Night In Tunisia", Tony Williams' drum kit goes beyond a visceral presence to become a living, breathing instrument with all of the auditory clues live percussion.
The Telos' ability to realistically localize musicians and instruments in their space is unsurpassed in my experience. Nothing sounds artificial unless it was recorded that way (i.e. my pet peeve of piano players or drummers with 14' wingspans.) Superb layering of instrumental depth is only limited by the quality and size of your listening space.
Upper Frequency Response:
As good as my previous reference was; the Telos leaves it in the dust. Cymbals and brushes are realistically rendered whether it is Ed Thigpen on the 45 rpm Verve reissue of Oscar Peterson's "We Get Requests" or Dave Grohl wailing away on "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
The Telos is the king of mid-range neutrality. Cat Power slithers around the microphone; making it even easier for this listener to pretend (fantasize?) she's in the room. The realism of the acoustic instruments on "The Head &The Heart" is at times startling. The sense of multiple singers sharing the listener's space is without peer. The illusion of listening to Gerry Mulligan and Ben Webster duet on Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge" literally gave me goose bumps.
Low Frequency Response:
Outstanding! Bass is full, rich and natural sounding. As good as the Talea is, it takes only a few seconds to recognize the superiority of the Telos. Bass is never bloated and in fact, the low frequency articulation is improved even compared to the Talea. One of my favorite records is "Face To Face" with Oscar Peterson and Freddie Hubbard. It is a rare, sub-optimally recorded Pablo LP. The first track is a stellar interpretation of Miles Davis' "All Blues". Previously NHOP's bass was poorly defined and lost in the mix. The Telos rescues the bass track from the mix and transforms the track. If you want to test your home's foundation, try spinning Ray Brown's "Soular Energy"!
Quite frankly, words are inadequate; the Telos must be heard to be believed. To paraphrase Bobby Jones' famous assessment of the young Jack Nicklaus, 'The Telos plays a game with which I am unfamiliar'. Forget your preconceptions of what a tonearm can or should do.
The Telos is expensive, but so is a Formula 1 race car. Like an F1 car, the Telos is stripped of everything extraneous in the pursuit of maximal performance. If you are assembling a state of the art vinyl system, add the Telos to your very short audition list.