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The pinnacle of tone arm art/science -TELOS by Durand

The first one was already dispatched to Cassph. The 2nd one will be installed at AE1 soon. And the 3rd one is also sold to an analog fanatic who will install both the Talea 2 and Telos on the almighty NVS by Wave Kinetics.

Analog has never been so ever exciting at AE. And for those who had experienced the Talea 2 on Da Vinci Unison/AAS Gabriel was all impressed by the delicacy of tonality and dynamic/transient capability of it set up expertly by 直師父. He is now officially our ANALOG SCIENCE 總顧問. He has spent the past few months studying the technology of Durand and successfully grasped the mastery of installation and fine-tuning. He has installed numerous Da Vinci arm across HK/China and will be the designated installer for all future forthcoming Da Vinci Virtu arm.

What will the Telos be able to achieved in the domain of tone arm? We shall fine out soon enough. For the time being, an review was posted here in the US:


  • To all lucky and proud owners of Durand Telos:

    Please connect (if money permits) a THOR ground wire from the Troy to the tonearm base of the Telos. If your jaw does not drop on the floor, please contact JLam that I will take your THOR at what you paid for.
  • Early Impressions of the Durand Telos

    The Telos has all the trappings of a "trophy" tonearm (i.e you want to own it even without ever listening to it). It is expensive. It is in short supply. And it is exquisitely made. The tonearm is made of very exotic wood and parts seems to have tight tolerances. The box that houses the tonearm must have itself cost thousands of dollars to make. There is even a key chain in the box.

    So is it any good? Before I share my observations, I want to confess that I find it very difficult to assess a tonearm. I have "heard" many tonearms but most of the time (not surprisingly) they are not with my own turntable or my cartridge. I am hence very puzzled when a reviewer says a certain tonearm is the best, and I always presume the reviewer meant the best "in his system" set-up? My belief is that while a CD player that sounds great in one system will likely also sound great in another set-up, this may not be true in vinyl as matching is so (and particularly) important.

    But what I can say is that the Telos blew away my previous tonearm which is the Graham Phantom II in my system. The Phantom II is no slouch, and since we mentioned the TAS magazine often in this forum, the Phantom II is Harry Pearson's favorite arm. But the Telos is better in every way. It is distinctive in all hifi dimensions -- pitch stability is outstanding, soundstage is expansive, and resolution, oh, the resolution, is at another level altogether from anything I have heard before.

    But what is most distinctive about the Telos is the sheer grandness of the music it conveys, especially with symphonies and concertos. Some people confuse grandness with dynamics. I have listened to many systems which provide great dynamics but when you step back you still feel you are listening to music in a small room with the orchestra packed inside the room. The Telos is more and much more. It gives you flashes of that feel of being in a concert hall. This is not a warm sounding arm per se, yet there is also so much more body and flesh to the music (which is why many of us prefer vinyl to digital in the first place).

    Is this the best tonearm in the world? As I said, I don't know, and I am sure the arm will continue to improve as we refine the set-up. But it blew me away, so much so that if today I am to invest 200-300k in a vinyl system, I might consider putting the bulk of the investment in this arm and put it on a low-priced turntable! So I have a daring suggestion for PT and Jlam -- don't install your Telos in the NVS, but install it in a much lower priced turntable. I suspect we will then be truly shocked by what the Telos can do.

    PS My vinyl system is Transrotor turntable, Koetsu Jade Diamond cartridge and Trinity phono
  • To Cassph,

    You are one of the very lucky owner of Telos arm in the world. Trust me, go and get a Ikeda 9TT cartrdige. If you are lover of symphonic scores, I can imagine your jaws will drop on the floor with the 9TT on your almighty Telos.

  • We have been thinking about the right cartridge for the Durand Telos for a long time. The technical characteristics must be: medium weight, medium compliance, and preferable with output not smaller than 0.3mV. The Ortofon A90 matches this criteria and that is why it sings so well with Talea 2 on the NVS turntable now loading onto the Zanden 1200 mark 3 phono.

    But the TELOS is state of the art. We want something even more special and more exclusive. It seems only the latest flagship from Lyra - ATLAS - meets all of the requirements.
  • The choice of a top flight cartridge for the TELOS is a prelude to the welcome of Joel Durand's official visit to meet all AE clients in Hong Kong from Jun 28 - Jun 30.
  • I and 植師父 ARE COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY by Durand's TELOS arm! ABSOLUTELY OUT OF THIS WORLD. On a recording which I had recently experienced by MASTER TAPE in Malaysia, I can finally understand why some Telos users commented the Telos arm is akin to the playback quality of master tape.

    How can a tonearm improves the overall resolution by such exponential scale? I have no idea as the arm is a mechanical device assisting the cartridge to track. It seems as though the Zanden 1200 MK3 (Full balance version) has escalated into the stratopheric ultra high rez phono after this arm was installed last night. And the Lyra ATLAS is brand new, not even run-in at all.

    植師父 always criticizes. And the way he gives compliments are usually very reserved. But in front of the Telos arm, he has repeatedly said "好X堅" for many times unconsciously. It never happens before. On other arms, his normal way of compliment is "VERY OK. Quite ok. Let it run in more, will be better etc...."

    I got to ask Joel Durand this weekend. He will be in town meeting AE clients.

  • I finally met Professor Joel Durand today. He is impressive as a classical music composer. What is more impressive is his perfectionism in setting the TELOS arm right. Because of his tremendous knowledge in music, there are fundamental basis within the music domain to gauge what is right/wrong. At certain interval where I felt the sound was already out of this world, he stopped playing. Then, he re-calibrated again however how iota is the change. That one hour seeing him setting the TELOS arm was already quite an experience to me.

    And even Professor Durand complimented the technical skill sets and the analog sense of our reverent analog consultant - 直師父 - who spent 4 hours on Thursday night to set up/fine tune the TELOS arm. We discussed and fine tune each incremental steps until we were hungry at 9pm and still did not want to leave until he was satisfied. One just have to spend long enough time to understand one's skill set before one can have any fair judgment on he/she. Listening to them exchanging views on adjusting the VTA with respect to the height of the violinist relative to the pianist on certain recording was simply an act of "高手過招".

    Later on in the afternoon, Big Grass of Audiotechnique also arrived with Mr. Ball and Mr. Patrick Lee to audition the TELOS/NVS/ZANDEN analog system. Professor Durand engaged them right at the beginning. Big Grass is also an well known analog fanatic. He was commenting that the advance of computer music is slowly killing the beautiful analog world where the younger generation simply has no chance to experience. It is indeed great to learn there is still a great vanguard of the old school using groundbreaking ideas and the required technology to reach the soul of music.

    The interesting comparison between the original record weight provided by the NVS direct drive turntable by WAVE KINETICS and the exquisite DALBY LIGNUM record weight was extremely interesting. Again and again, the DALBY silenced everyone in AWE. Today is no exception. They were also fascinated by the ultra silence of the direct drive NVS turntable.

    It is undoubtedly Professor Durand is a living legend. It was a great day today in spite of the imminent arrival of tropical typhoon.
  • The Durand Telos sits on Transrotor flagship
  • Professor Durand started re-calibrating the Telos arm as long as he arrived at Cassph's home this morning.
  • Prof Durand is a perfectionist. He went back and forth many times to make sure the set up is sound right to his ears based on his favorite piano recordings.
  • Who can live without Dalby record weight if he/she is serious about analog? Even Prof Durand is repeatedly impressed by the sonic improvement brought over by this exquisitely made analog accessory.
  • Very few can get an endorsement from Mr.Zanden on his system "based on his recordings collected for a few decades". I repeat the criteria is based on his collection of recordings where he tested thousands time all over the world in many different kind of system.

    But I have never heard him saying EVER before that "Your system is better than mine." And it happened today after 3 straight hours of intensively listening on all kind of music. Some of them are extremely demanding. Mr.DV, Cassph, Marvel, and Yusuf were all present today with Prof Durand and Ming Su. The act of using the THOR ground-wire by Tripoint on the active crossover was simply classy and definitive.

    I was extremely touched when Mr.Zanden spinning Eric Clapton's record back in the 79 when he was singing "You are wonderful Tonight."

    Today is a day to be remembered.
  • Although I am not an owner of the tonearm produced by Durand, I had the honour to join the dinner with Joel and his business partner Ming...prior to the dinner, we had a long session auditioning the Telos tonearm carrying the Lyra Atlas cartridge on the NVS turntable. I was pleasantly accompanied by Mr Zanden whose comments on the system had been reflected in PT's report below. Also presence was Cassph who is using the Telos spinning on the Transrotor.

    Mr Zanden acted as the disc jockey for the session and he changed from one LP to another which are all testing LPs of his collection! Each piece has its own objective and measuring criteria set up by Mr Zanden. It was also within a single listening session that I heard the praises by Mr. Zanden, again mentioned by PT below.

    My own thought was, well, it is another uncharted zone reached in the AE showcase which is not uncommon every time when I visit the showroom...however, the jump this time is NOT small, I really mean the jump is not a one step, not two steps, it is several steps from last time when PT was using Telea II and A90 cartridge. I have absolutely no idea how A90 is compared to Atlas but certainly I do not belong to the camp that whichever is more expensive would be better than the other one. To my ears, Lyra has better resolution on both ends but has a slim of coloration on the 'roundness' of the sound. A90 tends to have lesser coloration on this front but resolution and dynamics are not as powerful.

    Both Telea II and Telos are about grandeur on the soundstage resolution, but Telos carries more weight and tonality compared to Telea II making the sound more organic and lively. In the setup, PT used the upgraded Zanden Phono which has a higher output gain of 7db compared to the previous version. I also have mine upgraded but it is left in the warehouse of AE for 'opening sound' with the Hartvig turntable....What surprised me in this session was Zanden can really produce marvelous dynamic surge which I have never thought of hearing from Zanden, Telos+Lyra+NVS really do justice to Zanden that the latter is indeed a very top notch phono, my previous impression on it being a bit laid back, less dynamic and too humble was wrong! My apologies to Master Yamada! What I heard from this combo is not just the pinnacle of tonearm, I am afraid it is the pinnacle of vinyl playback in my life thus far. The music has no barrier and compression in engaging with the audience as though it has free access to my mind and heart! Frankly I was electrified several times during that audition section. I am sure Cassph would readily agree with me that the setup of the Telos requires genuine expert like Mr Durand and Master Chik witnessing on the overall performance produced by them in AE's showroom. I bet Master Chik can now sleep in peace after several nights' hardwork prior to the arrival of Mr. Durand.

    The dinner with Joel was both educational and mind opening. As always, I enjoyed gathering like this where I can directly interacting with the designer to obtain more in-depth understanding of the arts and science behind the scene. This certainly elevate my appreciation of the product. My thanks to AE in the arrangement!

  • Well, well well.... I told you guys long ago that the THOR ground wire is pathbreaking but you guys keep buying power cables. Come on, PT is using a total of 3 Troys with at least two THOR ground wires. You are not going to acheive what he does without these seemingly inconsequential expensive accessories....
  • I was surprised by the sound quality, most quiet background, the dynamic as great as compare to live music and all details unique, and i like the most is on the bass reproduce this time.

    Dalby record weight sound like come from other planet! it was crazy. Now i understand why u guys grab it ASAP.
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