Galibier Stelvio II, Durand Kairos with Lyra Kleos (HEAVEN)


First I want to thank Thom Mackris owner of Galibier designs for his excellent support.

I bought a Stelvio II from him back in November 2017 after numerous phone conversations to familiarize myself and him with my musical reproduction goals. 

It was built and arrived last week with the Durand Kairos tone arm that I acquired after considering numerous other options. I'm so glad I went this route. I had the Lyra Kleos so this was part of the reasoning. They match beautifully.

Buying a Stelvio includes a setup support visit from Thom himself. This by itself is well worth the price of admission.

He arrived Monday for a two day support visit and we wasted no time going over the setup.

I had already assembled the turntable and had my Abis 1.2 with Benz cartridge playing as the secondary arm.
My tuning sounded good to me but after working with Thom I realized I was only on the putting green, a good five yards from the hole.

Move forward to the support and expertise of Mr. Mackris and I am now in the hole and WHAT A DIFFERENCE that makes.

I bought my first turntable around 1976 (a Technics) and evolved through the years to where I am now. Never stopped listening to vinyl and holding up to my records from way back. ( Not all of them due to loss or some actually got stolen but thats a different story).

What I have now is the best by far.
Renditions are detailed, full, airy and most of all fun and enjoyable to listen to.

He got the Durand Kairos - Lyra Kleos combo sounding at its best.

By Tuesday we had the Benz Abis also fine tuned and

I'm listening to some Miles Davis as I write this and can't stop tapping my foot and swinging to the beat.

I highly recommend Thom Mackris service. He will help you set up any brand system so you don't necessarily need to buy one of his awesome turntables to benefit from his expertise.

Just wanted to share my experience with the community and (DISCLAIMER) I am not being compensated in any way except with the satisfaction of an enjoyable music system making it the best I've had in 40 years of evolution.

Cheers,

Luis D. Paret
Keller, TX
eldonparet
Thanks for the detailed report on your new Galibier turntable system. Go ahead and post your system photos so we can see how everything looks?

Curious about how you're handling vibration control with the new rig. What sort of platform/stand are you using with the Galibier?  Are you thinking about any isolation platforms (Herzan, Vibraplane, etc.)? 

It's nice to hear about Galibier, especially since press reviews are quite scarce (as far as I can tell) and yet they look very solid and appealing.
When I buy any expensive audio product, I consider first, and maybe foremost, the person from whom I am buying, both the character and the skill of the guy who runs the company.  That's what you're paying for in the end.  In this case, you made a great choice all around.  Tom gets the highest marks in all categories.
Also congrats on a great setup. Do take the time to get to know the Kairos yourself (despite the great job I'm sure that Thom did in set up). The first time you clumsily knock the arm you'll potentially throw it off its pivot so knowing how to set that (by feel) is important, plus of course mastering the VTA, pivot bar and azimuth is all key -- and they're all really easy adjustments to make.

Finally be careful never to over-tighten the cartridge bolts as the CF material of the arm deforms easily

I'm a big fan of getting the table on some form of active isolation (my EAR DiscMaster sits on a Herzan)

Appreciate all the comments.

It sits on a Adona Signature Series granite shelf.

Good point on the Kairos sitting correctly on the pivot point. Thom worked with me to cover the correct way of mounting it and ensuring it is set properly.

Pictures later.

Thank you,

Luis D. Paret 
Keller, TX
I’m over in Flower Mound and would have paid top dollar (or at least brought a bottle of bourbon) to join that party. 
Nrenter just say when.

Even without the bourbon. 

Luis D. Paret 
Keller, TX
Nice report Luis, and welcome to the Galibier community.  I have a Galibier Gavia with Triplanar VII/Benz LP and have been very pleased with it going on 13 years now.  The Stelvio II should keep you happy for a long time.  

Thom Mackris is indeed genuinely committed to making a quality table that should last for the owner’s lifetime and beyond.  And just as important, he likes to educate new owners on how to set up the table for the highest possible sound quality, so if you change a component down the road you can get the optimal setup on your own.

Dear Luis,

First of all many congratulations on taking possession of one magnificent “beast” of a turntable. I’m sure it will quell the desire to upgrade for years to come. :)

 

As an aside, I note the manufacturer of the Kairos states that they now offer the option of using your own external phono cable via a DIN connector at the base of the assembly. Reason given is, quote, “to minimise transmission of vibration to the phono cable”. (I interpret this as reducing external vibration to the more sensitive internal wiring of the tonearm.)

This is an interesting departure from the concept of the one-piece cable loom. (Clearly it’s an opportunity to sell in-house phono cable also.

FYI I don’t subscribe to single piece looms as I find them problematic in several ways.)

Did you choose the Durand product or go with your own cable?

 

Another positive aspect of the DIN connector (other than the ones declared by the manufacturer) is that it prevents accidents such as those that occasionally plague e.g. the Tri-planar, where the 1 year old grandchild toddles around into the crawl space behind the turntable and proceeds to yank the tonearm’s “chain”. :D

Later, the poor owner turns up wondering what’s gone wrong with his system and eventually realises the arm pivot is “snagged”. ;)

Not many audiophile have a propensity for pulling on tonearm cables so in the grand scheme of things I’d say it was fairly safe either way. ;)

 

As you may have gathered, I do endorse the use of the DIN connector as a one piece phono cable is not THAT easy to clamp securely and guarantee the outcome. Dressing of the cable to minimise vibration is something I’ve played around with over the years as it does influence the final sound (and one can easily hear the difference “blind”, even doing comparatively simple things).

 

It would be interesting to know more about Durand’s reasoning & approach to the subject…but don’t let that stop you enjoying yourself. :)

Kind regards,

Bill

Why did Joel go with a detachable cable on a straight DIN for the Kairos over the captive I the Talea?

Possible reasons
a) price (arm w/o cable is less), esp. if you already own a suitable cable
b) let user choose cable that works best for them, I bought my Kairos with the Durand supplied cable but subsequently changed it to a AQ WEL which to my mind sounds better
c) resonance and dressing, maybe, the Kairos has a grub screw to lock the DIN in place, just remember to undo it before trying to swap the cable 🙈
d) safety - installing a unipivot with a captive cable risks straining the connections, much easier if the cable is detached but in the downside it means the arm remains linked to the base unlike in the Talea where the two can be seperated so it’s six of one ...
Thom made me a cable for the Kairos as part of the package.

I agree with the above reasoning for Joel using this approach. Mostly cost saving and customer flexibility.

I’m on day 4 and the Lyra Kairos combo keep impressing me.

New life on old records is an understatement. 

Cheers,

Luis D. Paret 
Keller, TX

hi Luis,

congrats on a great setup there.

i have compared the Kairos to my Telos Sapphire and it holds it's own, I've recommended it many times. no one is ever disappointed. it's a great tone arm. and I've heard the Galibier many times with other Durand tonearms (including in Joel Durand's own system) and it's a winner.

not surprised by your feedback.

enjoy!

Hi Luis,

Thanks for your kind words.  I just posted a photo of your system (until you get a chance to post better ones).  I also described our "two books and 7 business cards" technique for repeatable VTA settings for tonearms with a "set screw on a post" architecture.

It's all over here if anyone is interested ...
https://galibierdesign.com/2-books-7-business-cards/

More on detachable arm cables when I get a chance ... packing up for a trip to Seattle now ...

Thom @ Galibier
Thank you Mike and Thom.

Mike your barn is unreal. 👍🏼

I’ll post pictures when I take a break from spinning records. 

It may be a while. 😎

Luis D. Paret