(not currently in production -- 2016)
“The Durand Talea is one of the most satisfying analog experiences I’ve ever had.”
Jeff Dorgay, TONEAudio Magazine
The Talea receives the TONEAudio Magazine Publisher’s Choice Award for 2012!
You can read the review here
As a professional musician, my reference in audio reproduction has always been the live music event. I'd rather go to a good concert than sit at home in front of a blank wall--even if the wall is decorated with the pretty lights of expensive audio equipment. I have been to hundreds of concerts, in many of the best (and the worst…) halls of Europe and the US; unfortunately there are just as many concerts I have not attended, or will never attend.
Having moved away from some of the greatest cultural centers in Europe and the US, I started to miss the opportunity to hear live the world-class ensembles one can only find in those places on a regular basis. So the only way to recover some of that magic was to bring them home, in the best possible conditions. As I progressed in putting together my audio system, I soon felt the need to direct the creative energies I had devoted for so many years to musical composition into this new area, in a way that would combine my early training in sciences with what I had learned about music in the last three decades. This is how the Talea™ was born. In order to realize this project, I spent countless hours reading about tonearm design, machining prototypes and trying to fully understand the manufacturing process; and I listened to a lot of music--the best part of it all!
In the process of developing the Talea™, whenever there was a choice to make in the design or selection of materials, I followed the path that brought me closer to the real sound, that delivered the level of realism I knew so well from the concert hall, and was aiming for when I started the project. I am confident that the Talea™ is one of the very finest instruments on the market. I trust that you will agree, once you have had the chance to hear and play it.
A mixture of wood and metals
First of foremost, the tonearm is a precision mechanical device and it should, as far as it is possible, not impart any coloration to the fragile signal from the grooves of the LP. But far from simply being an inert vehicle enabling the transmission of the electrical signal coming from the cartridge, the tonearm is probably the closest component to a musical instrument in the audio reproduction chain: like a violin bow, it is subjected to the mechanical vibrations from the musical source (the stylus moving in the groove), and it should before all not damage them and let them interfere with the electric signal coming from the cartridge. Each of the tonearm's constituents carries a crucial responsibility in the transmission of these vibrations, so every element, down to the smallest screw plays an essential role in the resulting sound. Those who claim that mechanical devices don’t have a sound don’t understand the nature of sound. Everything has a sound. Every piece of matter enters in vibration when it’s moving and that is what gives it its distinctive sound.
This is why, once the basic design had been established, I spent considerable amounts of time selecting the variety of materials that make up the Talea™: it is in the combination of carefully selected exotic hard wood and the different metals used in the assembly that lies one of the secrets of the Talea’s remarkably transparent and dynamic sound. Achieving this delicate balance is a very difficult process, one that involves paying the closest attention to the location and properties of every element of the assembly, and finally putting together each unit by hand and tuning it individually.
The result is a tonearm that delivers exceptional dynamic range and tonal realism throughout its bandwidth.
A unique device for azimuth setting
Just like a musical -- or a laboratory -- instrument that needs to be perfectly in tune before it is played, a tonearm should have a number of adjustments readily available to maximize its tuning. Beside the finely graduated adjustment capabilities for the Vertical Tracking Angle/Stylus Rake Angle and Vertical Tracking Force, the Talea™ offers a unique mechanism for azimuth setting. The Talea™ is the first tonearm to offer the ability to adjust the azimuth on the fly (our Kairos™ is now the second one). Never before has it been possible to fine-adjust this essential parameter while listening to music. Anyone who has spent time getting the most out of a high-end tonearm knows how critical it is to find the proper setting for the azimuth... and also knows how painstakingly complicated it is with most modern tonearms. With the Talea™, all you need to do is turn a small knob on the side of the azimuth tower; and it can be done while playing a record.
More on azimuth in the Support page.
The result of over 2000 hours of research and development, the 1st and 2nd generation Taleas™ were conceived, designed and realized by Joël-François Durand, mostly in the machine shop of the University of Washington Mechanical Engineering department, with resources and help from several departments of the University of Washington (Seattle, USA) including Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, the School of Music, the School of Art, the Business School and the School of Law, as well as the UW Center for Commercialization.
The audiophile magazine from Taiwan, Audio Art has published online the introduction to an in-depth review of the Talea. You can find the first three parts here:
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3
The listening review is available in the printed version of the magazine (issue #280).
Durand Tonearms is also featured in the issue #287 (8/2012) of Audio Art, as well as in issue #381 (8/2012) of Hi-Fi and Hi-Vi Monthly, and in issue #208 (8/2012) of Prime AV.
The Talea™ is sold through our network of dealers and distributors. Click here for more information.