Audio Valve Conductor Pre Amplifier

Audio Valve

$17,500.00 USD 

AUDIO VALVE CONDUCTOR - a full symmetrical reference tube preamplifier Masterpiece!

Experience of two decades forms the constructive background of the CONDUCTOR. A whole range of innovations and features of the valve and processor age can be found in CONDUCTOR and manifest in a symbiosis of traditional and modern technology unique musical qualities while setting new highlights.

CONDUCTOR is not for John Q. Public; CONDUCTOR is for all those, who, believing in a change of their equipment in search for even better music reproduction, found - CONDUCTOR.

CONDUCTOR becomes the zeitgeist of the elite, who always had high demands – even in music. CONDUCTOR combines the elements of consequent signal processing in a completely new fully symmetrical circuitry design und never loses sight of a sophisticated outfit.

As for all AudioValve products, the chief himself has had a hand in CONSTRUCTOR’S PCBs. The complex designs of the circuit boards took nearly 12 months and followed strictly the design optimization for signal and live conductor paths. The complex double-sided circuit boards come per unit close to 30 dm2. In this way highly constant DC voltage as well as signals arrive straight at the valves via a few centimeters of circuit conductors and contribute to a homogeneous and balanced music reproduction.

The casing design is also revolutionary new. A blue lit three-dimensional clear acrylic plate with logo and lettering allows a view on the master board with the valves und creates a fascinating and unique atmosphere in a darkened room, without emitting a single sound.

Surely – this kind of design has its price, but we found the best just being good enough for you, which sets us once again apart from the competition, and sends a signal of what you can expect from the market. Don’t be satisfied with less.

The amplifier is separated in three components: signal component, power supply and micro-controller. Signal and power supply components come in separate casings while the controller is part of the amplifier display and handles all tasks in terms of control. Left and right channels are strictly designed as dual mono, within the power supply as well as the signal component.

The power supply features for the anode potential alone nearly 10,000µF/400VDC (!!!) and for the heater component 100,000µF see to the necessary DC voltage on a 30x30cm circuit board.

An oversized toroidal transformer with static and magnetic shielding supplies a total of 8 conductor paths, four for the production of the anode potential and four for the heat production. On the side of the power supply everything is done to be completely safe from any kind of power failures. In keeping the paths to the valves as short as possible the voltage stabilizers are located right next to amplifier paths.

They are accompanied by polypropylene condensers as “RF - blockers”. These voltages reach 8 highly constant low-resistance voltage regulators, which take the last bit of ripple out of the heater as well as the anode potential and supply an amazingly clean supply voltage, no matter how the mains power supply may be.

As with AudioValve’s Eklipse also with CONDUCTOR the volume is only controlled behind the first amplifier stage. Thus the first stage can fully develop its “tubal” tonal dynamic freedom and supply the output drivers via the volume control.

In this way the signals keep their unlimited authenticity, the signal to noise ratio in the CONDUCTOR concept is by far better compared with traditional volume control.

Digital volume control was for quality reasons not considered. An analog potentiometer with six sections is used, four of which control the signals and the remaining are used for potentiometer servo control, which not only store the volumes of each channel, but also update when switching to a different channel. A graphic bar on the color display informs about the potentiometer angle of rotation and/or volume setting. An awesome design – typical AudioValve.

As with AudioValve’s Eklipse also with CONDUCTOR the volume is only controlled behind the first amplifier stage. Thus the first stage can fully develop its “tubal” tonal dynamic freedom and supply the output drivers via the volume control.

In this way the signals keep their unlimited authenticity, the signal to noise ratio in the CONDUCTOR concept is by far better compared with traditional volume control.

 Digital volume control was for quality reasons not considered. An analog potentiometer with six sections is used, four of which control the signals and the remaining are used for potentiometer servo control, which not only store the volumes of each channel, but also update when switching to a different channel. A graphic bar on the color display informs about the potentiometer angle of rotation and/or volume setting. An awesome design – typical AudioValve.

 All these are conditions for perfect sound, even though the amplifier is the most important component for music reproduction. The special problem with fully symmetric amplifiers is the fact that for the right as well as for the left channel two amplifier paths each are required for processing of positive and negative signal waves. This fact alone requires for valve amplifiers an enormous circuit complexity. But there are also a lot of stories around signal processing, some of them quite new.

As complex as we designed the power supply, as complex is the signal component. Altogether 8 valves provide the generation of the +/- phases of the right and left channels. Two of the 6N1P type see to the differentiation of the input signals for the plus/minus phases of each channel, two more of the 6N6P type see to the low-resistance output of the signals to the output connectors. The amplifier paths have no “global feedback loop” and deliver the signals phase-correct to two reversible outputs. Selected, according to strict criteria developed components as well in the power supply as in the signal component, round off the musical result of CONDUCTOR. AudioValve went through the pain of having own condensers developed, all of which carry the AudioValve logo – as proof for the authenticity of our products and underscoring the special quality of CONDUCTOR.

More than 12 months the technicians were busy with design and construction of this amplifier. Again and again the circuitry was fine-tuned during sound tests to finally present a brilliant masterpiece, the CONDUCTOR – for you.

AudioValve also said goodbye to traditional single or dual row displays and offers a well-arranged graphic display – controlled by a micro controller – showing the equipment status at one glance.

You don’t have to click through long-winding menus before being able to read or set the desired information – no, for the CONDUCTOR the display transmits all important information at a single glance. Operating the unit is child’s play and the features will inspire you.

Via the connectors on the rear of the power supply the voltage is passed on via cables to the amplifier. The already “clean and sifted voltage” arrives in the amplifier again at 8 “high accurate voltage regulators”, stabilizing the voltage in a way, otherwise only known from batteries.

• dual chassis with separate power supply
• dual mono circuit design, including power supply
• real symmetric input/output for negative/positive signal phase for both channels
• no feedback loop
• input impedance 47kOhm
• output impedance 300 Ohm
• bandwidth 5Hz – 200kHz
• gain 14dB
• input connectors: 2 x 6 XLR and 2 x 6 RCA terminals
• output connectors: 2 x 2 XLR and 2 x 2 RCA terminals
• valves: 2 x 6N6P and 6 x 6N1P
• manual operation and remote control
• mute and standby functions
• memory volume control for each input with 6-section analog potentiometer
• microprocessor-controlled with 2.1” color graphic display
• power consumption: 150VA
• dimensions amplifier: 480 x 140 x 380 mm
• dimensions power supply: 480 x 80 x 380 mm
• weight: 25 kg (combined)

Micro Controller Display
• AVS: "automatic volume setting" for each individual input channel
• warm-up phase with analog bar graph
• counter operation hours
• analog volume bar graph
• selected source mode
• selected output mode
• standby mode
• mute mode
and more ...

Short review by Mr. D. 06/2017:
Introduction
Having owned a wide range of hi-end preamplifiers over many years, I recently purchased the very latest version (2017) of Audio-valve Conductor preamplifier to alternate with my Tidal Preos. I have not made this decision because I am unhappy with the Tidal, but I wanted to add a high quality valve preamplifier into the mix of my system, to replace my Audio Research Reference 5 SE, which was very good, but there were a few compatibility issues.
The focus of this review, however, is not to offer a head to head comparative evaluation of different preamplifiers, but rather to share my initial impressions of the Conductor (at 50 hours burn in) within the context of my system.

Design and Construction
The Conductor is different in concept, appearance and execution from other preamplifiers I have owned. It is beautifully constructed from sheet steel and polycarbonate to minimise EMI and RFI, with a large see through central front window that provides a clear view of the high quality components on its superbly engineered circuit boards. It has a very well thought out boot up software program that is easy to understand and intriging to observe in action. IMHO the more uniform lines of the 2017 version of Conductor are more aesthetically pleasing than before.
The controls of Conductor are silky smooth, yet robustly engineered, conveying reassuring confidence that they will last a very long time. It is endowed with distinctive personality, individuality and class, which I find refreshingly appealing. The head unit is linked to a substantial external linear power supply with its anode potential alone being nearly 10,000µF/400VDC and 100,000µF for the heater section.

Sound
The Conductor is spookily quiet with a very black background. It is dynamic with an organic texture that is very musically satisfying. It is punchy and explosive, yet delicate with accurate timbre in accordance with the demands of all genres of music. It conveys how good or bad a recording really is without rendering any piece of music unlistenable.  
 
As I listen to a lot of jazz and opera with female vocals, I place musicality and emotion very high on my list of sonic priorities.  However, I also love a high level of detail retrieval and resolution, but not at a cost of losing the heart and soul of music.
The Conductor is incredibly transparent, without the slightest hint of glare or edge. It delivers its magic consistently with lots of emotion and sensuous involvement. Sound stage depth, breadth and the ability to place instruments in their correct position within the stage…. with top to bottom dynamics and engaging tonality are among the best I’ve heard.
When consideration is given to the Conductor's exceptional value for money, evolutionary upgradability and longevity (the basic design concept of Conductor has undergone progressive development and refinement throughout the past 10 years), it will be very difficult to find a preamplifier that performs with such holistic brilliance at anywhere near its price.  It’s really that good across the board.

In conclusion...
The Conductor just sounds real, natural and effortless with spectacular refinement, coherence and cohesion... nothing seems exaggerated or diminished. Bravo to Mr Helmut Becker and his Team…Your latest version of Conductor is an amazing achievement.
---

StereoTimes Most Wanted Component 2009

Michael Wright, The StereoTimes (01/2010):
"...hot on the heels of last year’s biggest surprise, the Audio Valve Eklipse, comes their new flagship preamplifier, the Conductor. To state it simply, the Conductor performs on another level from most preamplifiers that I have heard in my system. It's a vacuum tube preamplifier that is detailed, fast, dynamic, and possesses bass power with extension and impact. The Conductor elevated the performance of every component I hooked up to it. Eklipse owners beware: The Conductor is not just a better version of the Eklipse, but instead, is a totally different animal that provides a higher level of the music enjoyment experience..."

Michael Wright, The StereoTimes (06/2010) concluded:
"...the Conductor was extremely well behaved during its time residing in my system. There were no pops, hums, nothing micro-phonic, no tube noise, and no transient thumps when I turned it or anything else in my listening room on or off....The Conductor made listening to music pure joy in my system. It has an uncanny ability to musically retrieve all of the information that's loaded inside of your music media and make you feel that you're at the recorded event. Because of those areas of performance I value that tube preamps provide, I felt that the Conductor outperformed my Klyne in most aspects of music that I tend to judge music by, though the Klyne wasn't far off. Those virtues that tubes bring to the table caused me to feel I would give the edge to the Conductor. I also had access to an Audio Valve Eclipse, with NOS RCA “Clear Tops”, during the time I spent reviewing the Conductor. The Conductor is in a different class from the Eklipse, and it should at $7-8K more in cost. They are two entirely different preamps that have different topologies, different power supplies, different parts, and use different tubes. In my opinion, there are no tubes on the planet that you can put into the Eklipse that will allow it to perform as well as the Conductor. There is a reason why the Conductor costs more than the Eklipse and if you have the opportunity to compare the two, you'll hear the sonic increases that I'm talking about. The Conductor compares favorably with the likes of preamps from Audio Research, Atma-Sphere and Convergent Audio based on what I have heard of these other fine preamps in other systems. I never felt the urge to try and change the tubes in the Conductor because I felt it was already sounding good with the factory tubes. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Conductor and was sad to see if go after it allowed me to enjoy and rediscover some of my musical treasures. The Audio Valve Conductor certainly gets my highest recommendation..."

CLICK HERE to read the entire review.

 

Our Partners