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Audiovalve Luminare Electrostatic + Dynamic Combined HiFi Headphone Amplifier Standard Edition (Ships in 4 Weeks)

Audiovalve Luminare Electrostatic + Dynamic Combined HiFi Headphone Amplifier Standard Edition (Ships in 4 Weeks)


  • R 38,350.00

[ "The best is the enemy of the good ... "

The story of LUMINARE.

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 hipe for years.

Anyway, the 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 market apart.

No sooner said than done.

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 LUMINARE.

I can 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 sorry.

But now back to Luminare.

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 the RKV.

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.

Everything else 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 topic.

And ladies and gentlemen, I am more than satisfied with my work,
I hope you are there also -  Helmut Becker

The initial work on amplifiers for electrostatic headphones, rangingin AudioValve back to the year 1984. For this period Beckerdeveloped a stereo signal modulated constant current sourcerealized with tubes of the type 6CK4, Headhpone for Jecklin float (s.diagram). The principle worked very well and was sold at the DIYscene and also submitted for a patent. Becker had at that time, however, his entire creative force for the development of medicallaboratory equipment for hematology, to determine the clottingtimes of blood plasmas such as Quick, PTT, AT-III, etc. dedicatecame across Europe in every hospital to use (blood coagulation ball - method). For this reason, the passion for audio electronicsunfortunately had to again and again stand back and "ESV" never went into production. But documents from this early history prove that Becker with completely unorthodox creative solutions toprogressive ideas for converting audio tube concepts - also worked for electro static Headphones - and since everything to be able totake park in claim without a university measuring instruments. So it's not that Becker has dealt only recently with the topic headphone amplifier, but for over 30 years.





power consumption: 60 VA nominal -  100 VA full load
power switch ON / OFF
headphone protector
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 ...


In summary, this means:

Note: Thus is L U  M I N A R E  theONE AND ONLY  headphone amplifier onthe market that is able to drive all standardheadphone loads, starting from 3 ohm up to145.000 ohms.

preliminary user manual link [EN]

deutsche Bedienungsanleitung [DE]

We ask anyone who would like to add something to the user manual of homemade experience withLuminare to a corresponding text note to Mr. Becker.

A 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.

Slew Rate

Output Power

Frequency Response

Output Resistance, damping factor

Distortion factor

linear Distortions

nonlinear Distortions

Phase Shift (measurement)


Rear side connector panel


follow its forum threads for more information and discussion about that 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"

"Den 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 ein Luminare eine Klasse, die komplett über einem V281 liegt." [ O. Maas)

The Violectric V281 I could listen to me compared with the Luminare. He is a successful amp, which is in my opinion sound than its predecessor V200, however, does not come up in the overall assessment of a Luminare. He does not have the clarity of the sound does not put out its three-dimensional space and also does not reach him in terms of tone and natural representation. In my view, a Luminare served a class that is completely a V281. [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.

No matter if high or low impedance, high or low efficiency, whether dynamic or magnetostat - none of theconnected headphones I have ever experienced so how about the RKV 3, it will open doors to new worlds.

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 mondes.

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: 4,5 watt power output / ch.  )

1 Khz   - 0,1 watt - 0,06 %
1 Khz   -    1 watt - 0,15 %
1 Khz   - 4,5 watt - 1 %

10 Khz - 0,1 watt - 0,06 %
10 Khz - 1 watt - 0,15 %

bandwide: 15 - 100.000 Hz
damping: 15

min.: load 3 ohm  ( 3 watt / 0,33 watt - 0,15% )

OTL mode: test load 220 Ohm.
( max: 3,5 watt power output / ch.  )

1 Khz   - 0,1 watt - 0,015 %
1 Khz   -    1 watt - 0,08 %
1 Khz   - 3,3 watt - 1 %

10 Khz - 0,1 watt - 0,08 %
10 Khz - 0,5 watt - 0,1 %

bandwide: 12 - 150.000 Hz
damping: 600
gain: 32 dB

max. load 2000 ohms

tested example:
1200 Ohm load: 5.5 Watt max:

New Audeze "Prototype-Z"

STAX mode: ( auto gain control )

bandwide: 15 - 150.000 Hz
bias: 300 + 580 VDC
Vpp: max: 1700 VAC
gain: 34,5 dB + 15,5 dB = 50dB


gain overview :

Mode:  Low-Imp         signal on the black headphone jacks + 16.5dB /  and STAX connector 32dB + 6dB  ( galvanic coupled sym. balanced complementary output STAX connector signal )  + 38 db
OTL                  + 32dB ( amps gain only, step - up transformer less ) - STAX connector no supported
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




This LED indicates when the bias voltage built upfor the Stax headphones and stable.

If you turn on the amplifier, reducing the volumeand wait until this red LED goes off. As long as thisred LED seems light up, all outputs of the amplifieris short-circuited and thus protect the headphoneswhen the amp load or un - load the internal caps.This is always the case when the amplifier ON andOFF switches.

The transformer was installed outside of the amplifier. This has the advantage on that the heat of the power transformer remains from the device and, second, that no stray magnetic fields cross the output transformer or the circuit board and modulate them. In addition, thetransformer was covered with a layer of transformer sheet and thusabsorbs stray magnetic fields. Then the transformer with a 2-componentpotting shed was in a metal cup.


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