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Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
27" iMac (3.4GHz quad-core IntelCore i7, 16GB 1.333MHz RAM, 2TB hard disc, 256GB SSD drive, ADM Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory); PureMusic 1.87; Amarra 2.3; Audirvana Plus 1.3.1; April Music Eximus DP1; Esoteric/APL Hifi UX1/NWO-M; Audiophilleo 2
Preamp/Integrated: ModWright LS-100 with Psvane CV-181T tubes, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X
: First Watt SIT2, ModWright KWA 100SE
Speakers: Aries Cerat Gladius
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Audio Event, Entreq & Ocellia & Vue USB cables, Stereo
Tombo Trøn BNC/BNC coax
Stands: 2 x ASI HeartSong 3-tier, 2 x ASI HeartSong amp stand
Powerline conditioning: 1 x GigaWatt PF2, 1 x Furutech RTP-6
Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: 5m x 11.5m W x D, 2.6m ceiling with exposed wooden cross beams every 60cm, plaster over brick walls, suspended wood floor with Tatami-type throw rugs. The listening space opens into the second storey via a staircase and the kitchen/dining room are behind the main listening chair. The latter is thus positioned in the middle of this open floor plan without the usual nearby back wall.
Review Component Retail: $3.200

25 April 2012 11:42
. "Let me start by introducing myself. I am Kok Chieat Wong, KC for short. I represent Telos Audio Design from Taiwan. I am their PR man and translator. Our company started off about 6 years ago specializing in audio cables, sound tuning accessories and acoustic treatments. We also OEM hifi accessories for other brands. We have a strong following in South East Asia. Our distributors in Singapore and Hong Kong record strong sales.

"Of course we are doing well in Taiwan but now we also have distributors in Canada, Spain, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and more are joining our team. Recently we exhibited at CES 2012. We found feedback to be very positive. So now we'd like to reach out to more people. We take great pride in producing world-class products and wish to send you something for review."

How would you feel after being so solicited? Like that kid in the candy store? Or more like a reluctant robber in a jewelry shop? I confess to requiring an attitude adjustment following KC's website link. Massive metal barrels in gleaming gold adorned their audio cables. 780gr mini dumbbells of pure copper with rich 24K gold plating served as cable lifters. Jewelry-grade RCA and XLR plugs jumped off the page begging me to pimp out my preamp. I couldn't shake an onset of blatant bling affluenza. Negative bias is no way to begin a review assignment. Even so I very much admire newer companies with an earnest approach who throw everything they've got behind a given product category. Wasn't there something in the catalogue that wouldn't rattle the proletarian inner cynic? I'd already turned down a parallel inquiry from Telos' US distributor a few weeks prior.

Sit! Good dog. Now I spotted a passive power distributor I'd somehow overlooked the first time. With this type of device I've long since learnt that raw mass can be well justified. Whilst the perfectionist finish and sculptural aspects still struck me as slightly obscene—I drive a 14-year old Subaru Forester if you must know—I felt otherwise quite unencumbered by attitude towards the TD-04R.

Learning of the $3.200 sticker had me hold on to my hat again. Or was it my head? Then that moment passed. Now I was all set. Go Telos. KC who works out of Sydney/Australia seemed delighted. He made all the necessary arrangements.

Two Japanese Oyaide R1 duplex outlets with glass-filled Nylon bodies and a base metal of hand-polished beryllium copper that gets plated twice with 0.5µ Platinum then 0.3µ Palladium live deep beneath the surface of massive champagne-anodized aluminum. That starts life as 100mm thick billet before being machined into the final round shape of 200mm diameter, 95mm height and 5.3kg mass. The power inlet is a Furutech FI-09. All socketry is subjected to 72 hours of burn-in on Telos' very own full-bandwidth custom unit. Screws, spikes and spike protectors are aerospace-grade Titanium. The former are fastened with a digital Kanon N50EX precision torque driver.

Internal wiring is the firm's flagship Platinum Reference, making it "extremely high-purity cryo-treated PCOCC single crystal copper". The ground wire is a chromium/molybdenum alloy however (chromoly or high-carbon steel) which also runs a few noise-reduction coils. The only item seemingly incongruent with such overkill luxury is the pedestrian nomenclutterature of TD-04R. Shouldn't sex appeal include the model name? There Walker Audio's Velocitor has the decidedly brighter idea.

"Molybdenum Chromium is something I obtained in my early years of meddling with audio. It was designed as a material used in cables for the Soviet military. The supplier told us that cables made from this material were used in Soviet air fighters and have very high conductivity. After I had acquired the material, I sent it to the lab to have it analysed and satisfy my curiosity. Molybdenum and Chromium were indeed the two chief ingredients of this alloy. Its conductivity does not deteriorate over time and I can only speculate that this alloy was created for use in military aviation. Before setting up my Telos company, I used SK Audio to promote handmade cables using this material. I felt that this type of cable had exceptionally wide bandwidth and a generous amount of detail. Hence when I started designing our power distributor, I used cables made from MoCr to fine-tune the sound I wanted. After numerous testing I finally used it just on the ground leg. Furthermore I found that by winding it as a coil, the background became quieter than when the cable was used straight and music emerged with greater dynamic range."