Meant to go with the Burson Timekeeper power amplifier, the Burson conductor is a superb preamplifier with amazing sound and build quality.
Audition the Burson Conductor today! email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Burson's whole shtick is that they use discreet components instead of IC opamps in their audio circuitry. Why? read on...
Just say No to IC Opamps
Restricted by the fabrication process and technological limitations, an IC Opamp is an inferior substitute for a proper discrete design. An IC Opamp is entirely constructed on a single silicon wafer, which is smaller than a grain of rice. Limited by its size and heat dispersion, it is impossible to incorporate top quality audio parts into an IC opamp.
All components on the silicone disk are formed by droplet of chemical (very much like inkjet printer printing on paper). This fabrication process can not create parts like the 1% tolerant metal film resistor, or the super stable silver mica capacitor. Since they are all connected (hence integrated) they can not be individually tested and matched.
In an IC opamp, the conductor layer that connects all the parts is formed by a layer of aluminium vapour that is thinner than the water vapor left on a foggy window. This poor conductor is the silent killer to musical texture.
The close proximity of components also poses a problem for audio signals, where that delicate signal that music lovers pursue, will be masked by EMI noise.
In the end, the consumer is getting an IC opamp that is built with a second grade parts that are unable to yield the best sonic results, connected via a thin layer of aluminium foil. Is that what you paid all of your hard earned money for? Not with a Burson
The Burson Conductor preamp output has been extracted from the voltage gain stage before the current gain section, to create a preamp that reflects the full potential of Burson's FET output stage, and their less is more philosophy. Coupled with the VOS, both performance and versatility are uncompromising.
On the digital front, the Conductor features a 24bit/192khz Tenor TE8802 USB receiver working in Asynchronous Transfer Mode. It also accepts coaxial and Toslink inputs supporting 32bit/192khz audio files. On the analogue front, it accepts analogue input via RCA and outputs in 6.35mm headphone jack, line-level output (DAC) and variable output (preamp). With such versatility, the new conductor works perfectly with any audio system.
At the heart of the Conductor's DAC is the ESS SABRE32 Reference DAC chip. With patented 32-bit Hyper-stream DAC architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator technology, the SABRE32 is one of the best and most expensive DAC chips in the world and is truly reference class .
While Burson Audio is not the first, nor the only, company to use the impressive SABRE32, they ARE unique in refusing to use IC based building blocks anywhere in their circuitry. Instead, they aimed to unleash the full potential of this chip through the development of tailor designed discreet circuitry.
Most manufactures use standardized building blocks when designing an analogue circuit for their DAC chip. These building blocks include IC opamps, IC regulators, standard power supply boards and off the shelf transformers. The very meaning and purpose of such IC building blocks is to simplify the design process. The downside of such an approach is that inevitably many components within each building block are irrelevant to the application. Hence the final circuitry is not optimised for audio performance.
The DAC Output Stage
To realize the full potential of the SABRE32 DAC chip, Burson designed a new FET (Field Effect Transistor) output stage to support its unique sonic characteristics. With only 20 carefully selected and matched components on the signal path, this output stage amplifies every analytical output of the SABRE32 without coloration or loss. Two new low noise power supplies were also developed in combination with a customized transformer. Together they ensure the digital and analogue stages are powered separately with the cleanest power possible.
It took over 12 months to perfect this new DAC, but when it was ready, the final audition was gratifying.
The Headphone Amplifier is no Afterthought
The Conductor also features Burson Audio's well regarded Soloist headphone amplifier. Burson had to deploy another 35-watt customized transformer to ensure that the Soloist circuitry is independent and optimized at all times. This is to make sure that its performance is exactly the same as the standalone Soloist.
The Soloist from Burson Audio is a headphone amp with a huge difference over most headphone amplifiers on the market. The great majority of these amps use standard IC opamps in their designs, because they are very cheap and easy to use. However, opamp-based designs are inferior to discrete designs, because they aren't tailored for a particular audio circuitry. They also contain many low quality and unnecessary components that can degrade audio signals.
"The Soloist takes substantial steps forward relative to the already very good Burson Audio HA-160, offering better and more refined sound, greater power, superior versatility, and exceptional build-quality, all at the more-than-fair price," reports Chris Martens in his August 16, 2012 review for Playback.
The input stage of the Soloist is a symmetrical current feedback circuit with only 21 components in its signal path (compared to a typical IC opamp containing over 50 components). The signal path is short and with little blockage, and Burson carefully matches the 21 components. This approach allows the Soloist to achieve amazing sound.
The High Resolution Volume Control (sorry no remote)
At the time when an audio signal is passing through the volume control, it is still at its weakest. At this stage, the audio signal is very vulnerable to noise pollution and interference. A major source of such distortion is the commonly used remote volume control adopted by many manufacturers.
Burson has designed a 24-step attenuatorspecifically for its products. Unlike commonly available step attenuators, Burson's involves just one
The Burson step attenuator is built with premium quality components combined with its solid machined aluminum knob. It ensures a smooth and well controlled mechanical movement, giving the user a smooth control over the entire spectrum.
Audition the Conductor in Your Own System Risk Free
All of this amounts to nothing if the Conductor does not match your preferences or other sonic gear. We get that. That is why we at Tweek Geek encourage you to try the Burson Conductor in your own system through our in-home audition program. Call 888-998-9334 or email sales@TweekGeek.com to get started.