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A quick example of how the Conductor provided a liquid sense of flow was the way it propelled the album, The Fire Within, by Indian/U.K. musician Raghu Dixit. Intending to listen to the first few tracks, before I knew it the album was on the last song. This was a common theme throughout my time with the Conductor. It simply showed no obvious colorations or spotlighting, and was the epitome of fatigue-free listening regardless of digital source.
Using the Conductor’s USB input with my Windows 7/JRiver laptop simply required downloading and installing the Burson driver. The USB input sounded excellent, and was as good as I have heard to date. Playing files of every resolution yielded excellent results, especially on well mastered, higher resolution material like the 192 Khz download of John Coltrane’s Blue Train. The interplay between Coltrane’s horn and his superb band on this historic recording sounded as exciting and the sheer dynamics were startling.
Through the Conductor, the 96 Khz download of Crosby, Stills, & Nash’s 1977 opus, CSN, was ear opening in its vibrancy and clarity. The opening track, "Shadow Captain", had a more prominent bass line than I remember, and the piano lines were more forceful than I recall. But the best part was how distinct, yet seamless, the vocal harmonies were. A real revelation.
Enter the Timekeeper
The Timekeeper power amp is pure Class A/B, with excellent quality casework, connectors, binding posts, and a custom transformer. Like the Conductor, versatility is the name of the Timekeeper's game. It provides 80 wpc into 8 Ohm loads, and features three separate input modes, which tie into the Timekeeper’s secret weapon: it can be bridged into monoblock configuration via RCA or XLR cables (RCA only for stereo). This provides a whopping 240 wpc; enough muscle to power virtually any speaker.
Burson says their goal was to make a powerful Class A/B amp with a small footprint, a high quality power supply, and a resonance free enclosure, all while using use the aforementioned Burson Approach. The Timekeeper is about the size of a phone book, weighs in at about 16 Lbs., and runs warm to the touch. I set up the Timekeeper as a stereo amp with the Conductor acting as DAC and preamp for most of the evaluation period.
The Timekeeper immediately made an impression as an amazingly liquid sounding amplifier, with rock solid, woofer controlling bass, and a superbly transparent midrange. It was easy to notice this moderately priced amp had higher aspirations. The Conductor proved a perfect match as a preamp, sharing the same neutral tonality and soundstage depth as the Timekeeper. This was a definite case of two components working in harmony. I was especially impressed with how well the Timekeeper mated with the Thiel CS2.4’s, producing superbly enjoyable sound.