Pros: Stereo Imaging, Warmth, Dynamics
Cons: Price, lack of headphone outputs
preview spot for my Conductor SL review on the 1793 chip
Burson Conductor SL - 1793 Chip
The original Burson HA-160 has been my absolute favorite amplifier...well, ever really. Perfect amount of warmth, beauty and style in a small package. Lacking the power to drive the greedy Planar Magnetics out there like the LCD-3 and similar, the HA-160 house signature faded out in the first incarnation of the Conductor, which was an amplifier that sounded more pure, less warm and offering a ton more wattage output over it's little brother the HA-160. The 1793 is a blatant upgrade over the HA-160s dac chip. It respects the original HA-160s amazing warmth and flavor and provides a hefty increase in overall clarity. Warm headphone lovers should opt for this chip over the 9018 if that is what you prefer. Expect a colored experience with plenty of that original HA-160 flavor and stlye. Headphones like the Denon D-5000, the MrSpeakers Mad Dog 3.2, JVC-DX700 and any other slightly colored and warm, bassy headphone would be very at home with this version of the Conductor SL. Nothing short of stellar with a relaxed upper region, an almost tube like euphoric feeling in the airiness and with a gentle coloration to the sonic experience, the 1793 will make musical headphones sound that much more musical, or even add musicality to a more neutral or dry sounding headphone like the LCD-2, Hifiman HE-500 and the AKG K-712. The low end on this headphone works very well with basshead headphones like the Denon D-5000 and even adding a much needed warmth to my Denon D-7000, in turn providing a broad and silky smooth, lighter less precise bass experience with most headphones I've tested with.