:::   full - symetrical reference preamplifier masterpiece   :::
:::   Premier degré de référence librement pouvant être programmé entièrement symétrique  :::

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 programme that is easy to understand and intriguing 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.


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.

Michael Wright, The StereoTimes (01/2010) Most Wanted Component 2009:

"...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..."


The Audio Valve Conductor win the award of the best performance of the year 2010 for AUDIO ART magazine in Taiwan.





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Audio Valve Conductor Preamplifier
Taking the baton and running the show,
read review here !

The AudioValve team is proud to present – just before the end of 2007 – a further superlative product, the CONDUCTOR.

Besides ASSISTENT 50, CONDUCTOR is the second product rolled out by AudioValve within a year. The quality of this new and unique product reflects the confidence of our customers and importers alike, without whose innovative contributions this product could not have been realized. Our special thanks go to all of you.

Experience of two decades forms the constructive background of 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.

L'équipe d'AudioValve peut vous annoncer un produit supplémentaire des superlatifs au nom de CONDUCTOR avec fierté - peu de temps avant fin de 2007.

A côté de l'ASSISTENT 50, CONDUCTOR est le deuxième produit, AudioValve à apporte au livraison pendant un an. La confiance fixée dans nous toute notre clientèle et nos importateurs encore sans lequel le fait de participer innovateur ce produit ne serait jamais eu lieu, bien se reflète dans la qualité de ce nouveau produit extraordinaire. A tous notre particulier vous revient de droit à ce lieu remercie.

Des expériences de plus de deux décennies caractérisent le fond constructif de CONDUCTOR. Ainsi se trouvent dans CONDUCTOR une multitude des innovations et Features dès l`époque tubes et processeurs. Ils manifestent les qualités musicales extraordinaires dans une symbiose de la technique traditionnelle et moderne et ils mettent les complètement nouveaux accents.

CONDUCTOR n'est pas pour tout le monde, CONDUCTOR est pour tous qui sont dans la foi en changement de leurs équipement à la recherche du compte rendu musical encore meilleur. Ces gens sont exploitables ici - avec CONDUCTOR.

CONDUCTOR devient avec cela aussi le symbole de l'esprit du siècle d'une élite, ce lequel se trouvait depuis toujours pour les exigences soulevées, aussi les musicaux.


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.

CONDUCTOR unit les éléments du traitement de signal conséquent dans un nouveau design de mise en circuit entièrement symétrique et avec cela ne perd le regard d'Outfit exigeant pour aucune date.

Comme dans tous les produits d'AudioValve, le chef lui-même a aussi mis à CONDUCTOR la main à toutes les cartes imprimées. Presque 12 mois duraient les organisations coûteuses des cartes-mères. Avec cela ils s'adaptaient strictement après l'optimisation de design des pistes conductrices éminents le signal et éminents la tension. Les cartes imprimées bilatérales appliquées atteignent en tout par installation une surface d'approximativement 30 qdm. Plus de quelques cm de pistes conductrice, les tensions continues si très constantes ainsi que les signaux directement aux tubes parviennent et contribuent de cette manière considérablement à un compte rendu musical homogène et pesé.





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.

Tout à fait nouvellement est aussi l'organisation des boîtiers, du front et les éléments de commande. Un plaque d`acrylique claire et bleu illuminé, tridimensionnel, avec le logo et l`inscription lasé indique la vue sur le Masterboard avec les tubes et produit une atmosphère exceptionnelle fascinante dans les espaces obscurcis, déjà avant qu'il ait donné un unique son.

Sûrement - de tels développements ont son prix, mais pour vous le meilleur était assez justement bon à nous. Cela nous distingue une fois plus distinctement de la compétition et met simultanément un signe quant à celui-ci que vous pouvez attendre du marché. Avec moins vous ne devez pas être contents.

L'amplificateur se divise d'abord en trois parties, la partie de signal, la partie de secteur et Micro la partie de contrôleur de gestion. La partie de contrôleur de gestion, partie de signal et partie de secteur possèdent à un châssis séparé pendant que le contrôleur de gestion est l'élément du display dans l'amplificateur et surmonte toutes les tâches techniques de conduite. Le canal gauche et le canal droit sont réalisés strictement comme la construction de double mono, dans la partie de secteur ainsi que dans la partie de signal.



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.


La partie de secteur possède seul pour la tension d'anodes approximativement 10.000 uF / 400 VDC (!!!) Dans la partie de chauffage, 100.000 uf s'occupent de la tension continue nécessaire sur un 30 * 30 cm carte imprimée.

Un transformateur de noyau d'anneau immense avec la protection statique et magnétique pourvoit au total 8 chemins de tension, quatre pour l'extraction des tensions d'anodes et quatre pour la production des tensions de chauffage.

Ainsi, du côté de secteur tout le possible est fait pour rester complètement épargné des dérangements  de quelle manière aussi toujours. Pour tenir les chemins aux tubes autant courts que possible, les détenteurs constants de tension s'assoient reste directement à côté des trains d'amplificateur.

Les condensateurs polypropylènes s'y joignent comme "HF Bloqueurs". Ces tensions parviennent alors à 8 régulateurs de tension ohm bas très constants qui prennent au chauffage ainsi qu'à la tension d'anodes le dernier reste d`onsulation et livrent une tension d'approvisionnement fantastiquement propre, également comme votre tension de secteur peut aussi être.

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.

Comme à AudioValves Eklipse, le volume est aussi réglé à CONDUCTOR seulement à la suite de la première marche d'amplificateur. Ainsi, la première marche peut développer pleinement ses espaces libres de dynamique tonale "tubeaux" et prendre les pilotes initiaux sur le poti volume. Les signaux gardent de cette manière son authenticité illimitée. Les distances d'ivresse s'améliorent considérablement dans le concept de CONDUCTOR en comparaison du réglage de volume traditionnel.

Un réglage de volume numérique n'entrait pas en ligne de compte des raisons qualitatives. Donc un potentiomètre analogue avec six sections était utilisé. Quatre de six sections servent au réglage des signaux, le reste est pour la conduite du Potiometer Servo, qui ne seulement sauvegarde le volume des canaux séparés mais le postdirige aussi quand on commuter à un autre canal. Une poutre graphique sur le display de couleur donne le renseignement sur le angle de rotation potentiomètre, ou le volume. Un développement super- typiquement 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.

Tous ce sont des conditions du son parfait bien que naturellement la plus grande signification du compte rendu de musique revienne à la branche d'amplificateur. Le caractère problématique particulier dès amplificateurs entièrement symétriques est que sont demandés pour le canal droit et aussi pour le canal gauche à deux trains d'amplificateur pour le traitement des vagues de signal positives et négatives. Seul de ce fait une dépense de mise en circuit énorme résulte pour l'amplificateur de tubes. Mais aussi à la technique pour le traitement de signal, il y a beaucoup de choses raconter et sûrement nouveau.

Si à grands frais que nous concevions la partie de secteur et la partie numérique, si à grands frais se présentte aussi la partie de signal. 8 tubes s'occupent en tout de la génération + / - des phases du canal droit et gauche. Deux du type 6N1P prennent en charge la différenciation des signaux d'entrée pour plus / moins des phases de chaque canal, deux supplémentaire du type 6N6P la dépense ohm bas des signaux aux coussinets initiaux. Les trains d'amplificateur ne possèdent personne "Global feedback loops" et mettent à la disposition les signaux juste de phase à deux sorties pouvant être commutées. Les éléments choisis développés d'après des critères sévères dans la partie de secteur et aussi dans la partie d'amplificateur arrondissent le résultat musical de Conductor. AudioValve a fait développer en plus exprès des condensateurs polypropylène qui portent tous ensemble le logo d`AudioValve - comme la preuve de l'authenticité de nos produits et souligner autour d'avec cela la qualité particulière de CONDUCTOR.

Pendant plus de 12 mois, des techniciens se sont occupés du développement et de la construction de cet amplificateur. Encore et encore, ils se sont accordés dans des essais auditifs la mise en circuit pour pouvoir présenter finalement une pièce de maître géniale au nom de CONDUCTOR - pour vous.

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.

AudioValve s'est aussi séparé des displays conventionnel d`une  seule  ligne ou de  deux  lignes et a donné à l'utilisateur un display graphique clair (conduit par Microcontroller) qui révèle le statut d'appareils actuel avec un regard.

Ils ne doivent pas "zapper" ici par les lignes de menu longues avant que vous pouvez lire ou régler l'information souhaitée - à CONDUCTOR le display vous transmet toutes les informations importantes à un unique regard.

Le service de l'appareil deviendra le jeu d'enfant et les signes d'équipement vous enthousiasmez.




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.

Au-dessus des correspondances sur le derrière de la partie de secteur, les tensions sont faites passer à l'aide de câbles à l'amplificateur. Les tensions très propres et criblé  déjà parviennent dans l'amplificateur encore une fois à 8 high accurate régulateurs voltage qui stabilisent la tension dans une manière, comme on les trouve autrement seulement à des batteries.


Naturally, you can operate CONDUCTOR on the unit or via remote control. The remote control is milled from solid material and is available in aluminum, black or silver.

Ce qu'AudioValve est une entreprise de familles, n'est rien de nouveau sûr. Cependant le fait est nouvellement que cela passe à côté de la chef et de la femme chef aussi Junior dans le commerce.


Surely you knew that AudioValve is a family operation. But what is new is that now besides the man and the woman in charge also the junior is in business.

The “HiFi bug” has got him. A bit distressing that Alexander, that is his name, would rather bolt together with us the mountains of equipment – instead he will become the “accountant” for our company, so finally someone is taking charge of the figures :-). He is not too happy about this.


Le «bacille HiFi» l'a attrapé pleinement. Regrettablement, cependant, est qu'Alexandre - s'énonce son nom - beaucoup plus volontiers avec nous à tous visserait les masses qui doivent être livrées. Au lieu de cela il apprend la profession du comptable à notre entreprise pour qu'enfin donc quelqu'un s'occupe des chiffres.;-). Il n'est pas enthousiasmé de cela.


Enough puff pieces, time for you to listen. AudioValve invites you to a special pleasure.

Listen to CONDUCTOR and the position of your speakers gets lost in a room full of sound, your living room seems of gigantic scale and fills the complete room – a dream.

Maintenant, cependant assez d'hymnes de louange, cela devient le temps pour vous entendre. AudioValve vous invite à un plaisir de la manière tout à fait particulière. Entendez CONDUCTOR et la position de vos haut-parleurs se perd dans un espace de la pleine sonorité, votre salle de séjour semble accepter de la masse gigantesque et remplit tout l'espace - un rêve.



Technical Specifications

-         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)
-         optical edition: black/gold or chrome or silver/chrome

   Micro Controller Display
-         AVS: "automatic volume setting" for each indivual 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


indications techniques :

- produit dans un châssis double, approvisionnement de performance à part
- Mono design de circuit double, aussi dans l'alimentation en énergie
- vraiment symétrique dans in/out pour la phase de signal négatif/positive dans les deux
- aucun noeud de recul
- Impedance entrée: 47 kohm
- Impedance sortie 300 ohm
- Largeur de bande: 5 hz - 200 khz
- Bénéfice: 14 dB
- Entrées: 2x6 XLR et 2x6 RCA connexions
- Sorties: 2x2 XLR et RCA connexions
- Sorties de bande: 2x2 XLR et 2x2 RCA
- Tubes: 2 pièces x 6N6P et 6 pièces x 6N1P
- Commande à la main et télécommande
- Fonctions silencieux et Stand-by
- Contrôle de volume d'entrepôt pour chaque entrée avec 6 potentiomètres analogues
- Micro processeur – contrôle avec 2,1 pouces de display de couleur graphique
- Consommation d'énergie :150 VA
- Grandeur l'amplificateur :480 * 140 + 380 mm
- Grandeur la partie de secteur :480 + 80 + 380 mm
- Poids : en tout 25 kg
- édition optique : noir / gold ou chrom ou l'argent / chrome

Aperçu la télécommande
- Réchauffe phase avec le diagramme de poutre analogue
- Commutateur d'opération
- diagramme de poutre de volume analogue
- mode sélectionnées de sources
- mode sélectionnées de sortie
- mode silencieux
- et supplémentaire


Handmade Refined Supercar

Germany`s AudioValve CONDUCTOR

Written by Liu Mingcheng

Audio Art Magazine

Reference Pre-amplifier

It adopts the design of two boxes of power splitters, and the dual-mono design beginning from the power supply, with full-balance amplification but without global feedback. Input impedance: 47kΩ; output impedance: 300kΩ; frequency response: 5Hz – 200kHz; gain: 14dB; input terminal: two sets of XLR and two sets of RCA; the used valve: 6N6P×2 and 6N1P×6. Dimension: 480×140×380mm (main unit) and 480×80×380mm (power supply), weight: 25kg. Import general agency: Dean-Lin (03-2127378).

In the past we always conducted the audition at the place of the audio dealers or the agents, but this time the audition arrangement is quite special in that it’s held at the home of a audio fan and the subject is not a very large machine but a two-piece pre-amplifier. Why we take so much effort to try a pre-amplifier only? Is there any problem to bring it to our place? Actually, there is no. But the question is that this new flagship AudioValve Conductor is truly of hot sale, so such products are always sold out just upon the arrival. It will take quite a long time to wait for the dealers to have some spare machine for display and audition. To convey the information about this machine to the readers as soon as possible, I have no other choice but to appreciate it in the user’s house.

Wait, how does the dealer sell it if no machine for display? That's exact the interesting point. Almost all customers bought it without audition, just due to their confidence in the AudioValve brand. Another question is: what’s matter with this AudioValve company? Can it manufacture the machines at a faster pace, so the dealers are able to have some goods in stock? If you have studied its website, you must have the idea that this company is a “family handicraft” which is under the management of a couple for several years and recently their son has also been involved as an accountant. Think about this: how fast can a company with three people deliver goods to the whole world?

Charm of Blue-Ray Words

The first sight of the Conductor’s appearance makes you hard to believe it is manufactured by AudioValve. The glass panel in the center certainly attracts the focus of attention, because the frosted words AudioValve in the middle, as lighted by the beneath blue LED, turns to be blue words floating in the windows, embodying a quite innovative idea. What surprises me more is that on the right panel there is a color LED with quite high resolution.

Does AudioValve use advanced technologies like digital volume controls and digital logic operations? No.

The operation of Conductor is still an extremely "analog" task, because its volume control still relies on the left wheel, and the signal source switching and output switching are also achieved by lever-type switches. Well, is this beautiful screen merely a gimmick? I have thought so. Later during the audition I accidentally pressed the power switch of its remote control, and as the Conductor was rebooting, I found on the screen the heating status of the valve, with graphical representation showing the temperature increase. When the chart reached the peak, the equipment stepped into the normal operation state. This type of display is also different from those of all traditional valve equipments, from which we can see AudioValve is not a conservative manufacturer that uses only traditional technologies.

Co-existence of Technology and Tradition

Having the courage to embrace new technology, why it still manufactures all the audio-signal-related circuits of Conductor in so traditional way? For instance its volume control adopts the six-section variable resistor for attenuation, which is even installed directly behind the panel and through a long internal wire connected with the circuit board. Why not to use a connecting rod to shorten the signal path? AudioValve gives the following explanation: variable resistor is still the best volume attenuation method that is, in their opinion, of the best sound quality.


    Able to present the width of a large stage and the first-class sense of the scene.

    Relaxing and charming, without the slightest pressing feeling even for the grand-scene music played in a large system.

    Having the unique warm, stereo and thick features of valve equipments.

         Neutral and non-rendered sounds.


    There is still room for improvement in details and enhancement on the aspects like signal sources and wiring.

    It’s better to work with the speakers with high resolution and open sounds.

    It’s safe to work with large systems, without shrinking the sound.

Referenced software

Each album of The Chieftains has wonderful recording effect, often leading fever recommendation lists. This "Tears of Stone" is a result from their cooperation with quite a strong team of artists, with guest performers ranging from Joni Michelle, Bonnie Raitt, The Corrs, Diana Krall to Zhu Zheqin. It can also be seen from such a combination that The Chieftains has transcended the traditional Irish music, and integrated different music genres such as folk, rock, jazz and even world music. More valuable is that though each song is recorded in different conditions, it's still of great acoustic effect. (BMG 09026-63442-2, Sony Music)

Illustration: Twenty Factors of Audio Equipments

01 Tone quality

02 Timbre

03 High frequency, sweetness of

04 Medium frequency, thickness of

03 Low frequency, solid degree of

06 Sound stage

07 Weight and Density of the sound

08 Transparency

09 Layering

10 Orientation of sound

11 Vitality of music

12 Imaging and dimension

13 Resolution

14 Speed and transient response

15 Strength contrast and dynamic contrast

16 Instrument sounds and human voices: proportion

17 Instrument sounds and human voices: texture and air sense

18 Reproduction of details

19 Sense of space

20 Overall equalization

The above is a kind of subjective moving index of the reviewer for a single equipment, and the indicated results will vary due to the coupled equipments, spatial conditions and the mental state of the reviewer. It will be biased to use this to compare two equipments.

Five-element Diagram for the Audio Equipment

Metal: open, lively, bright

Wood: warm, modest, amiable

Water: tender, neutral, mild

Fire: swift, passionate, striking

Earth: thick, full, solid

1. The most distinctive feature of Conductor must be the 2.1-inch LCD control panel. Its left lever is responsible for the switch of signal sources, the right lever for output switching or mute operation, and the bottom panel for standby or shutdown switching. The scale of volume will be indicated on the topmost part too. On boot up the display will show the heating status of the filament of the valve. 2 Two gold-plated volume knobs are exclusively added for the special edition in Taiwan. On the back remains a traditional variable resistor, which is regarded by AudioValve the best way to improve sound quality. But you can use remote control and it can memorize the positions of each set of volume control. 3. The AudioValve trademark of the "window" on boot up will generate bright blue light, which seems to be floating in the glass. It is a pity that such special visual effect cannot be revealed from the photos here. 4. On the top left backplane there is written "Special Edition for Taiwan R.O.C". This proves that the edition is specially augmented for Taiwan market. All the metal parts are gold-plated. Why there are two low-cost wires like computer cables on the right? They are used to connect the power supply case. Since the control circuit and amplifier use separate power supply, two cables are needed. 5. Only these components can be seen through the roof window. You can see although AudioValve is in heavy use of hand-made manufacturing, the circuit board layout is very beautiful, and assembly quality and cleanliness are very good. This reflects the essential skills that the high-class valve equipment is supposed to satisfy. AudioValve even customized its own dedicated capacitor for Conductor, so it can be said to be the most luxurious model since the foundation of AudioValve. 6. Baldur 300 now also uses a golden plate in its front, which further underlines the nobleness of the high-power valve equipment.

It is even a little bit more spacious than the house of Liu Ming Cheng, the consultant of our magazine. Genesis loudspeakers still can produce large and solid sounds. The charming of such a large system is what the most audio fans can hardly have a taste of.

The reason for the use of six-set control is: the equalization and amplification need four sets of volume controls, and the additional two sets are used in the server circuits, allowing Conductor to remember the volume of the input of each signal source, and to reach its position automatically after switching. How is the wiring? After the input of signals, Conductor first uses buffer to amplify them, and then apply volume attenuation, so the signal is strong enough to overcome the attenuation even if it traverses along a range of the wire.

Replacing FM Acoustics

The speaker used by this AV fan is Genesis I.1 and the signal sources are MBL 1611/1621 turnplate and digital analog converters. The power amplifier, certainly an AudioValve product, is the Baldur 300 I reported several years ago. I have evaluated some audio equipments before in this audition room, and at that time we also used this pair of speakers which impressed me deeply. The owner must love very much the sound characteristics of valves, because when I made the visit last time, what he used is a 300B valve equipment too. However, this time I saw again in the audition room other idle equipments, which even include the pre-amp and power-amp of FM Acoustics! Although the owner has famous Switzerland equipments, after hearing the news that AudioValve pre-amp and power-amp are introduced to the market, he decided to obtain them too. However, his major audio system has been based on AudioValve equipments, and the pre-amp and power-amp of FM Acoustics are used only when he is at the whim of the equipments. Does it mean the sound of AudioValve pre-amp and power-amp outperform those of FM Acoustics? No, I believe FM Acoustics definitely has its own charm, or it would not enjoy such a high position in the industry. However, it indicates at least that for this set of system AudioValve sound is more attractive and delightful than that of FM Acoustics.

Magnificent and Relaxing Momentum

What is my first impression on Conductor? It is a feeling of magnificence and relaxation. In the past I always thought the feeling of magnificence and relaxation can only be achieved by high-class crystal equipments. Particularly it will be very obvious that the equipment with the 4-set giant speakers cannot produce magnificent and relaxing sound. It’s quite amazing that Conductor can give me a sense of broad space and huge sound that is not bloated. How hard is it to achieve magnificence and relaxation? I can say that after appreciating audio equipments for so many years, I have never heard of any system capable of using inexpensive equipments to produce a characteristic of magnificence and relaxation. Many audio fans probably have no chance to hear in their lifetime so magnificent and relaxing sound I heard here, which is a realm only achievable by large speakers coupled with really expensive equipments, as well as careful adjustment.

Authentic and Rich Sound

At first I played my recent favorite album, “Tears of Stone” of The Chieftains. Its first song, a chorus on the background, has already been very charming, which precisely conveys the gentle stir of the group members and apparently it’s recorded differently from the foreground poem recitation, leading to a very clear expression of the front and rear levels. The second song, an electric guitar blues by Bonnie Raitt, with the company of bass, is also full of charm. The glissando of the pipe casing on his left-hand fingers brings out a strong feeling of metal friction, and the deep, low and plump bass sound is also extremely good. It was my first time to listen to the album in such a large system, and the impression of the huge and plump sound was “temporarily saved” in my mind for several days before I can get rid of it.

With the replacement of the album "Dialogues with Double Bass", at the early beginning a cello and a double bass are staged on both sides, also having the huge audio effect. Even the finger movements, string wiping and the breathing of musicians during the performance are clear to hear. I originally had the concern about the imperfectness of a huge system in reproducing the sound of simple instruments, but at the end I found the set of system still performed quite well. Further play the New Moon Daughter of Cassandra Wilson. The drum at the beginning of its second track is not very low and deep, but it has a huge and flexible form, demonstrating that the sound of Conductor will not drag feet, and has very good transient response and impulsive force.

Co-existence of Truth and Beauty in the Sound

How about playing symphony? Try the selection of Pentatone. In the waltz segment of Tchaikovsky no. 6 as conducted by Seiji Ozawa, .when the string music flows out like a waterfall, beneath there is the demanding pizzicato performance of double bass. With the smooth and sleek playing of the string music, we feel the real proportion. The not particularly exaggerated pizzicato of the double bass is also of great flexibility and is not submerged in the playing of the bass string section. And then when the album is replaced with Leopold Stokowski's "Rhapsody", the orchestral unison at the beginning has a great sense of tone and luster, which also proves that Conductor can very vividly render the original recording. The more I listened to recordings, the more precious I found the natural and non-exaggerated qualities of Conductor. It can not only present the features of recordings in a real and direct way, but also is able to faithfully convey the intrinsic flavor of the music. Its performance capabilities of combining truth with beauty really makes itself live up to the honorable status of a flagship model.

Finally we played the new album "Quiet Nights" of Diana Krall. Since it sounds very plump and grand even in ordinary systems, will it be too huge to keep unbroken in such a system? Fortunately, what I heard was still the performance by a big orchestra, with the sound being very healthy and of a great spacious sense, while the layer and hierarchy of human voices and other instruments are kept with a good sense of separation, without any bloated effect. Many people do not agree with the huge sound, but I always remember what a president of a German manufacturer said to me: the least commendable equipments are those which make the sound shrunk when they are put in the audio system, just "like making people become a Mickey Mouse-like". Please rest assured, Conductor definitely neither produces the "Mickey Mouse effect", nor transforms all into the Hulk.

Be Rich and Patient

Preamplifiers of million-dollar price may be a fantasy a decade ago, but in nowadays audio equipment market, it is not really difficult to find pre-amp of this price level. Is the capability of AudioValve Conductor comparable to these fantastic equipments? I think it has no problem in performance, and in the preciseness of tone and sound quality it is also of a very high achievement. In particular, the characteristic of plump and warm medium frequencies possessed by the valve machine allows it to satisfy the requirement of pleasing sound at the same time achieve high performance, and avoid the issue of producing any annoying sounds. During the telephone conversation with the owner, he also believed that this set of equipment overthrows his traditional impression on valve machines and makes him discover such a valve machine can also achieve such high performance. Hereby he decided to keep it as the major system.

Conductor deserves to be called the flagship pre-amplifier of AudioValve. It has a special design, and implements many advanced technologies that will not adopted by a number of small factories, and produces comfortable and unrestraint sound which can work with huge systems. It's like a handmade super sports car of AudioValve, the possession of which needs a bit more patience in addition to money and vision, because under its strategy of handmade manufacturing in original factories, the number of persons in the world who are lucky to own Conductor is for sure not too many!