Aries Cerat Talos phono reference system

No limits?

We often ask ourselves at high-end audio where are the limits or borderlines between wise engineering and over done designs. If some thing is huge by appearance you might instantly think, that it was intentional oversized to impress the buyer or to fill up technical specifications and keep happy the minds of spec driven technophiles.

It's interesting, that I never felt this with Talos. The whole aura and appearance of this phono preamplifier is different. I guess, that it just extend the attitude of company and people behind them. Stavros from Aries Cerat never convey the same feelings. No crazy ego trips, but simple, yet sophisticated approach to the audio design.

By looking at Talos guts, one might get frighten. Yes, this is huge machine, with giant oversized parts. It feels like Mecca for any future-retro enthusiast in almost Fringe kind of way (yes I love the show). By using at least for me, never outdated tube technology with knowledge and contemporary technical strikes where needed.

Luxury or audio stars

Aries Cerat is interesting venture. I'm really impressed with people investing loads of funds into audio gear without trying to prove anything special rather than pursuing the musical bliss. It brings a kind of different perspective into high-end and I believe, that in a way this is a corner stone for ultra high-end audio. Yes, prices are not cheap. Sadly. Without large corporation background and massive productions, there is simply no way to put all the hours of research in money.But you have to put the sticker at some point. I wish, high-end would be a more cost no object place, but reality is as it is. There is always some technology derived from this kind of approach, that ultimately benefits audiophiles with down to earth budgets. And what is perhaps more important, it gives the insight into what is possible up there - somewhere in the audio stars universe. My friend often say, that if you have to pay high prices for audio gear, at least you have to feel and see your money spend in physical presence of selected audio gear (looks and guts). There is no lack in Talos :).

Sound universe

So how the Talos universe transcript into music. Let me first talk about tubes. Yes, this is tubes and tubes. It's hot, it's analogue and it's great. With freely adjusting the loading on the back site you'll won't have hard time matching your MC cartridge. Synergy is another story and quest you'll have to go on by yourself. So far I can confirm very good results with Miyajima Labs and Denon DL-103 cartridges. Miyajima brings out the best of music and Talos is like a giant invisible musical transformer in the hands of the master.

I'm yet to try another ultra combination with ZYX Omega X cartridge.

So far

Argument reality. Who cares. I'm having hard time connection with digital reproduction lately and vinyl is my way to go until something really impressive came along. Even "the best" or high priced solutions are a far cry in my opinion. Yes, there is a whole revolution going on with digital high-res audio files. Heard them! They're great, spacious, dynamic, transparent etc. Do they bring out the best of music for me. Sadly no. You might, or might not know, that I'm the side traveller of digitalis from early start. Even a geek to some extend, yet it's so hard to connect with the media.

To refine an ultra high-end digital audio system it takes at least if not more time and sophistication, then with analogue turntable set-up. In recent frustrations I had my own late night elaboration about this. Those two (digital and analogue) are really not so far away, when it come to refinement. Perhaps you'll get even more lucky with turntable, good cartridge and great phono pre-amplifier.

Talos showed a unique inside into the music, that so far I didn't experience. O.K. to be honest. Tom Evans phono is different approach and in sublimely even very close to Talos when it comes to music. It's almost intriguing how close or at least how well good designed components can sound alike or at least share the common grounds in the basics of what I call high-end reproduction.

High-end telescope

Talos is like Huble telescope. It opens the new perspective and shades, that we seems to miss so far. I hate to come to tube and solid state campus. But... Very few of solid state gear come close to ultra executed tube components. There is something, that just simply clicks with music and tubes and I'm not talking about warmness, bumped up mid's etc. Music, liveness, emotions, being there is the key.

Talos is a music machine for connoisseurs and a distinctive creation.

Stay tuned for more insights in due time.


• XLR and floating RCA balanced inputs.
• XLR and floating RCA outputs.
• External cartridge loading system for unlimited loading combinations.
• >85 Vrms unclipped output from transformer coupled triode stage.
• 67 db gain.
• Fully balanced proprietary nuvistor-parallel feed transformer input stage.
• Constant impedance transformer coupled LRC RIAA EQ.
• High Current Tube rectified power supply.
• Battery filament supply.
• Tube Selection. : 8 - 6h52b Nu-Vistors , 4 - E280F SuperTubes , 4 - 6d22s High Current Diodes.

Text and photos: Matej Isak
Mono & Stereo, July 2011
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