"A Crafty Combination of Fidelity and Comfort"
A few years ago, Burson Audio decided to create a small and refined power amplifier. Looking around at those amplifiers then available, the design team soon discovered that compact power amplifiers were often 'Class D,' or variations of 'Class D', such as 'Class T' or 'Class Z.'
These designs were inconsistent with Burson's ideals on two fronts. The first was the company's refusal to use IC-based audio building blocks. The second, according to Burson, was that 'Class D' and 'Class T' chips were created for the car audio industry, and subsequently for the mobile phone industry, where power efficiency, size and budget are the driving design parameters, rendering audio performance secondary.
Therefore, instead of going with the flow, Burson Audio went against it and set a seemingly impossible challenge. It decided to create a 'Class D'-sized power amplifier with true-blue Burson ideals. That means a fully IC-free 'Class AB' power amplifier with a custom-built transformer and a linear power supply. Through the Timekeeper, Burson challenges the established beliefs of size versus performance.
Transparent and powerful, and with unique bridging functions, the Timekeeper will remain pertinent and up-to-date even as the rest of your audio system changes with time.
"It's a crafty combination of fidelity and comfort," reports Srajan Ebaen in his May 2013 review for 6moons.com. "With the Timekeeper, Burson have stamped their popular very meaty transistor sound on the amplifier category and done so in a tidy package which bridged manifests far more power than seems possible."
Stereo Mode Operation
Consistent with Burson's 'less is more' philosophy, the Timekeeper employs a new symmetrical bipolar transistor voltage gain stage. It is powered by a customized 300-watt transformer delivering 80-watts-per-channel RMS. With its 40,000uF of power reserve, the Timekeeper is capable of achieving 300-watts of peak power, which ensures absolute control with the finest micro details audible at all times.
Bridge Mode Operation
In addition to working as a stereo power amp, the Timekeeper also works in monoblock configuration, delivering up to 240-watts RMS.
In this mode, when a standard line level signal comes into the Timekeeper, a FET input stage splits the signal into two halves. (+ and -). One of the Timekeeper channels then amplifies just the + signal while the other channel amplifies just the - signal. After amplification the two halves are recombined at the output. In this mode, the Timekeeper doubles in voltage swing. It not only improves macro-dynamics, but also micro-dynamics through its extra power reserve. In this mode, the Timekeeper will have even the most demanding speakers under its absolute control.
Furthermore, the Timekeeper accepts both RCA and XLR input signals when operating in Bridge Mode. This ensures that any source component and not just those with XLR output can take advantage of this configuration.
Space is always premium, and audiophiles do not want to fill their living space with equipment unless its necessary. Therefore, Burson Audio kept the Timekeeper footprint to an absolute minimum.
Its beauty should be worthy of any listening space, including the desktop of even the most refined audiophile. For this, Burson has redesigned every aspects of its design, every dimension of its case, every joint, every connection, and every mounting technique. As a result, the Timekeeper is even more beautiful on the inside than the outside.
Measuring only 10.4" x 9.8" x 3.1", the brushed aluminum Timekeeper will sit elegantly on any rack or desktop. Every cubic millimeter inside the Timekeeper is utilized with care. Its intricate layout-minimized signal path and internal space utilized for signal isolation all act to enhance performance and lower the noise floor. Despite its intrinsic beauty, it does not draw attention but instead lets you focus on what really matters.
The brushed aluminum enclosure not only looks elegant, but it is also a vital part of the Timekeeper. The Timekeeper enclosure is a unified heatsink. However, at 80-watts-per-channel channel stereo and 240-watts mono, the Timekeeper can generate a lot of heat. To optimize heat dissipation, Burson we had to re-engineer every aspect of the case to enhance its efficiency. It also features, for the first time, Burson's purpose-designed fin panel. In the process, the desingers eliminated over 30 screws, nuts, and metal brackets from the old case design, all of which limited the Timekeepers ability to shed heat. The design of this case took nine long months and many revisions.
In normal usage at indoor/room temperature, the unified aluminum enclosure and tailored heat-fins sufficiently ensures the stability of the power hungry Timekeeper. Additionally, a microprocessor-controlled temperature sensor is continuously monitoring the core temperature of the Timekeeper and a cooling fan sits idle. It will stay idle in 95% of usage, but when needed, it will be activated to ensure stability even in the most demanding situations.
"With the Timekeeper, Burson have stamped their popular very meaty transistor sound on the amplifier category and done so in a tidy package which bridged manifests far more power than seems possible (though it's been paid for by delivering barely more into 4 ohms than 8). It's a crafty combination of fidelity and comfort."
- Srajan Ebaen, 6moons.com, May 2013
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