“Introducing the Talos Reference phono system. It is the result of many years of research and development in phono preamplification design.

After a huge amount of researching and designing, building and testing various designs including discrete solid state, tube hybrid and opamp phono stages, we finally settled on an all tube, three stage, all transformer coupled uniquely designed phono stage, one that brings something new to the analog world. Our goal was to design and built the ultimate phono preamplifier, a unique cost no object implementation.”

Stavros Danos

A phono preamplifier generally consisted of three sub systems

The input stage
The input stage which is responsible for the main amplification of the delicate signals originating at the phono cartridge. This task is extremely difficult. The signal level is only a few microvolts rms, comparable to the noise level picked up by the majority of interconnect cables, and even thermal noise of some active devices. So, the input stage must amplify the signal to the last micro detail coming from the vinyl groove, while rejecting the noise coming from external sources such as the cables and the turntable electromechanical system. The selection of the active device used for the input stage is as critical as the design of the topology used.

Operational amplifiers were rejected for this cost no object design. Although their performance as benchmarks were impressive, all opamp designs failed to deliver the detail, flow and sonic bliss associated with a top analog system. Many discrete jfet implementations, balanced or single ended had solid measurable performance yet none of them was quite there, and fell short of our expectations to fit into an absolute top tier system. More to that, their high input capacitance presents several problems to the cartridge loading.

Our input stage is a proprietary topology using the E280F super tubes. The input stage is a true differential design.The signals from the cartridge is carefully amplified as a perfect symmetrical signal, either RCA (floating) or XLR input is used. Any noise picked up anywhere in the signal chain,from the cart pins up to the phono preamplifier inputs are rejected. The two tube banks parallel-feed (parafeed) two mumetal transformers for complete noise rejection.

The input stage can be accompanied by an optional custom, balanced-to balanced step-up transformer, built to the exact customer’s needs and tailor-fit to each cartridge used. The detail retrieval from our input stage is phenomenal, exceptional in it’s performance.

The RIAA equalization circuits
Almost all phono preamplifiers use CR (capacitor-resistor) filters, usually in feedback loops for opamp designs, or between gain stages in some more expensive tube and discrete jfet circuits.

Talos preamplifier uses the best possible RIAA equalization technique. A constant impendence transformer-coupled LRC RIAA equalization subsystem is used. A small transformer loaded tube SET amplifier drives the RIAA transformer system,and the RIAA equalization curve is achieved within 0.2 db in the audible range. And the ultra low constant impedance of the LCR circuit is
virtually sonically transparent.

The output stage
This is a transformer-coupled triode stage, using the E280F supertube. A step-down transformer provides low output impedance, galvanic isolation and more than enough power (voltage and current) gain to drive any device on the market.

The Power Supply

The power supply consists of 4 very high current tube rectifiers with quad choke filtering. All tube heaters are passively filtered by a six stage filter. The small SET amplifier driving the LCR RIAA and the small SET output amplifier are both powered by their separate PSUs.

The external power supply is connected to the main chassis via a heavy duty umbilical chord. This ensures complete magnetic separation between the power transformer and the eight signal transformers.

The Talos Series Phono system is our best and final effort in designing and building the ultimate phono preamplifier system. Accompanied with a top analog turntable and cartridge system, we believe that they are the best audio sources available today.

Gain: 62db, 80db with optional 18db SUT
Custom step up ratios/impedances available
Noise: -88db unweighted
Max Voltage out: 15Vpp
Max input overload: Can be used with Very high output MM carts without overload
Cartridge Loading options: Limit-less number of resistor values
Loading modules can be ordered in any resistor value
Total Weight: 77kg
Dimensions: 480 mm W x 350 mm D x 160 mm H