LUMINARE - version 2016
with remote control and prepared for DAC setup
AWARD - best headphone amplifier 2016 more then 1000,- USD
"The best is theenemy of the good ... "
AUDEZE present here goods on the show CANJAM 2015 in Cosa Mesa with AudioValve`s LUMINARE ...
of course you could also use at
Audeze on the CANJAM another established headphone amplifier - but you didn't,
you had consciously chosen to Luminare. Why Audeze had probably done it -
everyone knows the answer .....
I do not
really know why I have driven
this project forward not many years
ago. I think I was
busy with a lot of other
developments as well as
trivial things like earning
money for example.
Perhaps mine is simply unaware
that their headphones and
amplifiers are experiencing a large
beginning of 2014 resulted in
discussion with colleagues that I
would have some products in
my program that seemed
almost ideally suited to put
with the requirements of the headphone
No sooner said than
First, the IMPEDANCER
befell a technical revision, it was
expanding the range of applications for the
RKV Mark 2 significantly,
especially as a female teflon connector for headphones
STAX was inter
alternates. The bias voltage
was obtained from the voltage
signal, so no external power
supply is in advance required.
VERTO was born and VERTO laid the
foundation for all further considerations
in this topic, culminating
now in the product with the name
excuse at this point only for
me actually that I started
so fundamentally important development
in the headphones sector so late
(I slept through)
and had thus deprived the
public a potentially groundbreaking
product. Many of you have their money
invested now possibly poorly
because there was nothing else on the
market - that really am
But now back to
It seemed to me as
the basis for such a project, the
OTL circuit of the RKV
downright awesome. First, they
had already claimed stable
over decades in the market and on
the other they had characteristics that
should prove to be just the
Luminare be extremely efficient and
more full development. There
would be for example the
superior damping factor, low
internal resistance, high bandwidth, and not
least the low harmonic distortion he
always particularly distinguished
Now it was
in principle "only" about output transformers so be interconnected
in the OTL principle, which
can be obtained if possible upright
with transformer all these
benefits. The advantage to
couple a outpt transformer to an OTL
circuit is that the repercussions
and influences on the circuit itself
( either headphones or
transformers ) are considerably lower.
And this brings a projection on presence in
the music, the listener will
appreciate very quickly.
on this project was for me then
just "routine". A new
circuit board develop,
expand the circuit according to the
light of all electro - physical
principles and my over 45
years of experience in this
And ladies and
gentlemen, I am more than satisfied with my
work, I hope youaretherealso - Helmut Becker
The initial workon amplifiersforelectrostatic headphones,rangingin AudioValveback
to theyear1984.For thisperiodBeckerdevelopedastereosignalmodulatedconstant current sourcerealizedwithtubesof the type6CK4,HeadhponeforJecklinfloat(s.diagram).The principleworked very wellandwas sold at theDIYsceneandalsosubmittedfor a patent.Beckerhadat that time, however,hisentirecreative force for thedevelopment of medicallaboratory equipment forhematology,to determine theclottingtimes ofbloodplasmassuch asQuick, PTT, AT-III,etc.dedicatecameacross Europeinevery hospitaltouse(bloodcoagulationball -method).For this reason,the passionfor audioelectronicsunfortunately had toagain and againstand backand"ESV"never went into production.Butdocumentsfrom this earlyhistoryprove thatBeckerwith completelyunorthodoxcreative solutionstoprogressive ideasfor convertingaudiotubeconcepts-also worked forelectrostaticHeadphones -andsince everythingto be able totakepark inclaimwithoutauniversitymeasuring instruments.So it'snot thatBeckerhas dealtonly
recentlywith the topicheadphone amplifier,butfor over 30years.
power consumption: 80 VA nominal - 120 VA full load
power switch ON / OFF
auto gain switch for STAX
2 x switchable inputs 1+2
input 1: set XLR jacks with parallel RCA
input 2: RCA only 2 pair jacks as signal IN / OUT loop
1 x RCA PRE - OUT, 20 :1
2 x NEUTRIK Combo jacks 6,3mm + XLR
1 NEUTRIK 4 pin headphone jack
1 x STAX Teflon female connector
1 x ALPS Potentiometer
1 x 3 mode switch, LI - OTL - STAX
and more ...
Insummary, this means:
Note:ThusisL U M I N A R E the ONE AND ONLY headphoneamplifieronthe market thatis ableto driveall standardheadphoneloads, starting from3ohmup to145.000ohms.
We askanyone whowould like to addsomething to theuser manualofhomemadeexperience withLuminaretoa correspondingtext noteto Mr.Becker.
good friend of mine (Ralf Ohmberger - Germany) has explained the
theoretical concepts to the RKV basics in various treatises. People what
have fun has got to the theory, this may like to study for better
understanding its theme.
OTWIN MAAS - Moderator OPEN-END-MUSIC, Germany
.... das mir nicht anderes übrig bleibt als zu sagen:
"Dies ist der beste Kopfhörer - Verstärker mit dem ich jemals zu tun hatte"
Violectric V281 konnte ich mir im Vergleich mit dem Luminare anhören.
Er ist ein gelungener KHV, der aus meiner Sicht klanglich über dem
Vorgänger V200 steht, jedoch in der Gesamtbewertung nicht an einen
Luminare heranreicht. Er hat nicht dessen Klarheit im Klang, stellt
nicht dessen dreidimensionalen Raum hin und erreicht ihn auch nicht in
Sachen Klangfarbe bzw. natürlicher Darstellung. Aus meiner Sicht bedient
eine Klasse, die komplett über einem V281 liegt." [ O. Maas)
TheViolectricV281I couldlistento mecomparedwith theLuminare.Heis a successfulamp, which isin my opinionsoundthan its predecessorV200,however,does not come upinthe overall assessmentofaLuminare.He does not havetheclarity of the sounddoes not putoutitsthree-dimensional spaceandalsodoes not reachhimin terms oftoneandnaturalrepresentation.In my view,aLuminareserveda class thatiscompletelyaV281.[O.Maas)
Egal ob mit hoher oder mit niedriger Impedanz,
mit hohem oder geringem Wirkungsgrad, egal ob dynamisch oder Magnetostat -
keinen der angeschlossenen Kopfhörer habe ich bisher so erlebt, wie über den
RKV 3, da öffnen sich tore zu neue welten.
impedance,high orlow efficiency, whetherdynamic ormagnetostat-none of
headphonesIhave ever experiencedsohowabout
Aucune importance si le casque connecté
présente une haute ou une basse impédance, une sensibilité élevée ou faible,
qu'il soit électrodynamique ou isodynamique. Quel que soit le casque utilisé, je n'ai
jamais connu un tel résultat que celui obtenu avec le RKV 3. Il ouvrira les portes sur de nouveaux
review by Dr. Martin
Mertens, EAR - IN, 2/3 - 2015 ( RKV 2 + 3, basic concept for LUMINARE )
LOW IMPEDANCE mode: - test load 32 Ohm:
( max: 8 watt power output / ch. )
Mode: Low-Imp signal on the black headphonejacks + 16.5dB
/ and STAX connector 32dB + 6dB ( galvanic coupled sym. balanced complementary output STAX connector signal ) + 38 db
Mode: OTL + 32dB ( amps gain only, step - up transformer less ) - STAX connector no supported
Mode: STAX only + 50dB ( 32dB +2,5 dB auto gain increase +15.5dB galvanic coupled balanced step up tranformer ) all other jacks not supported
Description of some technical details ...
The output impedance at Luminare with negative feedback (physical concept: closed loop) is defined as follows.
The control is based on the principle of negative feedback of the open
loop gain ( 133 dB ) of the amplifier. However, since there is
a closed loop. Dynamically because the amplifier tries to keep active voltage at the output losses in upright because he
continuously compares its actual value (feedback) to the desired value (signal) and continuously readjusts addition,
through the entire range.
Example: The OTL mode provides Luminare 1V without load resistance and 0.998 V at 60 ohm load resistor.
From these data you calculated easily approximated the output impedance of the amplifier for this load resistance 0,12 ohm.
The fact of wanting to determine the output impedance by incorporating the tubes, is simply nonsense.
It's not the tube determines the output impedance, only the overall OTL
concept. of the circuit is the basic for the definition of the
output impedance of this circuit concept - this applies equally to RKV 2 + 3 and Luminare.
The output transformer is not
part its gain loop. Who is interested in the incoming circuit design, can read my patent in 1982. Click here
Explanationof the automatic gaincircuitinStaxmode.
Luminairehas aelecronischensensor that detectswhethertheStaxfashionadyn.headphoneispluggedornot.Using thiselectronictheusercan choose whetherhe wantsto increase thegain in theStaxmodeornot.WhentheStaxfashionadynamic headphoneisplugged into theheadphone jacks,theVerstärkungerhöungisoverridden.Thisisonly effective iftheStaxfashionnodyn.Headphonesequaltimeconnectedwith theStaxheadphones.A greenLED on the frontlefton the boardsignals this condition,LED onmeansincreased gain.
Ifyou turn ontheamplifier,reducingthe volumeand wait untilthis
redLEDgoes off.As long as thisred LEDseems light up, alloutputs of theamplifieris
short-circuitedand thus protect theheadphones when the amp load or un - load the internal caps.This is alwaysthecase whenthe amplifierON
and OFF switches.
Thetransformerwas installedoutsideof the amplifier.This hasthe advantage onthat
the heatof the power transformerremainsfrom the device and, second, thatnostray magneticfieldscross theoutput transformerorthe circuit board andmodulate them.In addition, thetransformer wascoveredwith a layer
oftransformersheetand thusabsorbsstray magnetic fields.Then thetransformerwith
a 2-componentpottingshedwasin ametal cup.
( describtion coming soon .... )
On each boardisthe model nameof the productandthe name of thetubesisset.So if youare not surewhichtubeyou need,pleaselook at thecircuit boardandwatchwhat
is writtenthere(PCL805-orECL85(6F5P) In mid-2015has
been changed fromPCL805onECL85that
void ifthe top glassof the
the warranty period. Alsovoid the warranty, if
offertubes are usedforthe so-called"tuberolling". To buynew tubes, please
contact your dealer, he has recommendedtubes on
stock. IncidentallyTube Rollingis simplystupidin the modelsRKV, LuminareandSolaris. You canconvince yourselfbyknocking on thetubes,
they willnot hear anyknocking soundsin the headphones.
Technical explanations for RKV2 and LUMINARE that show whythis conceptprovidessuch goodresults
The picture below showsyouthemax.Output voltagebeforestart soft
clippinginOTLmodeat 220Ohmloadper channel-at
43 Vrmsareon each channel8,3 watts
playyourhigh endstreaming audiofilesfromyourmobile phone( App: USB player pro ) with this setup and listentoanytypeofheadphones-asSTAXwithup to 24 bitsand384khz
AudioValve`s DAC ...
Audio Valve will
offer in the future for some products a highend DAC as expansion module.
First, the our headphones amplifier series RKV 2 + 3, as well as
Solaris and Luminare will be. Our
DAC is an absolute audio highend Product with exellente parameters
and product characteristics, the
orieniert at currently trendy technology. User this technology knowing
the musical possibilities of this module appreciate when they see, was to what components and techniques resorted.
But the DAC alone still makes no really good signal - source. Only
in a balanced environment, consisting of a super power supply with
selected components of the DAC, the stuck in his ways bring full
retribution for. Why did not save here and DAC embedded in a power
supply that provides all these requirements under all conditions.
market to various vendors for DAC`s is full us we did not really easy
for us in the choice for a demanding, yet affordable DAC - tried a wide
variety - but think that we offer DAC module in it will convince every
respect absolutely and is perfectly aligned to our amplifier range.
We would particularlylike to take thisopportunity to thank Mr.ManfredPenning-circuitdesignerfor more than40years-underandereremforRESTEK,BMCAudioand so on,allknown Germanestablished productsthat
areknown worldwide.MrPenninghaswith its commitmentand itsaudioexpertiseconsiderablyhelped topave the wayfor thesuccess of ourDAC.
The datefor delivery of theLUMINARE-DACdevicesinseries, we havetakenonMarch /April 2016in the eye.
AudioValve - LUMINARE -Thumbnails preview
AudioValve USB - DAC
- XMOS 500 MIPS processor
- Sampling frequencies: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz,
192kHz, 352.8kHz and384kHz - rf metal case shielding -
16-, and 24- bit resolution -
DSD Audio over PCM frames. DSD64 (2.8224MHz and 3.0720MHz) and DSD128
- Galvanic isolation (outputs,
two oscillators) -
NDK low jitter
oscillators 45.158MHz and
49.152MHz - No switch mode power
supplies in the PCB board -
Master clock outputs: 45.1584/49.1520MHz and 22.5792/24.5760MHz
(I2S 22.5792/24.5760MHz are reclocked by edge from 45.1584/49.1520MHz) -
Both the USB part and the generators with the reclock are fed by two
different external power supplies. - 2 external separate power supply highest accurate state Drivers: - No drivers needed for
Linux with UAC2 compliant kernel - No drivers needed for MAC OS
version 10.6.4 and above - ASIO/KS/WASAPI/Direct Sound drivers are
necessary for Windows XP to 8 (32 and 64 bit).
USB Audio 2.0 Stereo Driver( 226) for Windows can be
downloaded in april ...
In order to operatetheDAC
is requiredon your mobilephone
oryour computer.On your
computer,you must install ahigh-end
audio player, such as
JRiver[ http://www.jriver.com/ ] and
supports theconnection between theDACto
the computer and / or a mobile phones.Adroid
mobilephones do not needthis
satisfiesa goodaudio playersuch
has a smartsensor, if you are
usingInput 2,is automatically set
thecomputer's USB port.If
this USB port voltageis absent,is
Input 1operates autonomouslyandindependently of theuse of theDAC
When it comes to the best DAC / Headphone amplifier in the world goes, the air is thin. Then one might fall a dozen devices. Starting this year, you can expand the list - since AudioValve the Luminare with USB - DAC board presented.
The in the EAR IN magazine 2-3 / 2015 presented AudioValve
RKV Mk III belongs the handful headphone amplifier which for me
absolute world top class belong. The Luminare represents the latest
evolution of the headphone
amplifier from the Kassel factory AudioValve. And I fall right
now with the door into the house - in the presented stage with built-in
USB DAC will cost the unit 4.200 Euro retail.
So consider carefully whether you are reading this test further, or whether they do listen to the Luminare once
The ALLINONE - allrounder
The amplifier circuit is based on the developer Helmut Becker preferred tube circuit which even in RKV Mk III has been used and the different modes of operation allowed. It is immensely powerful for a headphone amplifier. Depending
on the mode makes the Luminare 4 to 5 watts per channel. On the front
there are connections for virtually everything it on headphones gives.
This starts with two combination
jacks that either a 6.3mm stereo plug or a 3-pin XLR connector to
record. Here, up to two headphones asymmetrically with the conventional
plugs or alternatively a symmetrical Headphones are connected via two
XLR connectors. Also, for the symmetrical connecting headphones more
commonly used 4-pole jack connector can be found on the front. Moreover,
Helmut Becker finally come to meet the many Stax fans.
headphones were on RKV 2 operate only using the attachment Verto,
which provided the bias voltage and the high signal voltages for
operating electrostatic headphones are necessary. When Luminare you have
this option built the same so that the front and a Stax-6-pin socket
for Stax - Standard and -Pro Headset "graces". Overall, one can at
Luminare so well run as any reasonably standard headphones.
On the back there are two entrances, implemented between which on
the front can be switched on. Input 1 can be asymmetrically is via RCA
or balanced XLR via. The second pair of RCA jacks next input 1 is a
signal output of the pre-amplified and volume-controlled signal outputs -
the Luminare can therefore be used as preamplifier
(as DAC and). Input 2 simply provides two parallel RCA jack pairs, so you can loop through the input signal easily. Optionally
the Luminare like our tester can be equipped with a DAC board. This is
obviously not a solution of the bar, but a specially developed for use
in Luminare board, on a converter is a suitably programmed XMOS chip,
the digital PCM data 24-bit / 384 kHz and DSD processes up DSD128. Input
2 automatically switches from analog to USB at once into the USB port
to a digital signal bears. The
second analog connection is therefore retained.
the three modes of Luminare amplifier circuit is OTL Mode to clear
preference for normal headphones. This mode is for headphones with an
impedance of 50 ohms - applies here: the more, the better. And what of
Luminare kindled here music is breathtaking bend. Common criteria can
hardly cite. That tonality, dynamics, Timing, resolution and whatever
else used to assess is, simply are perfect, should be self-evident.
Here it's more the elusive aspects that can easily experience a
music, a go under the skin, making goosebumps let you laugh or cry, and
we describe HiFi writers struggle with that. And this elusive, complex
and yet so simple music brings the Luminare so clear, of course, and sovereign over how I really rarely seen.
This holds true as well for the Stax port in conjunction with the corresponding headphones of Luminare in tonal resulting
in regions where the Stax own amplifier can only dream. In Transmit
mode, the also for the operation of low impedance Headphones to shut
suited to 3 ohms, a little goes by the magic of lost OTL operation,
however, we move here still on a level achieved by few other headphone
amplifier makes the DAC any time the impression that he exploits the
talents of the amplifier, which in this combination
is simply top notch testimony to the digital section.