Wow that is very shoddy packing for a quality company like Burson.
I received the Conductor SL9018 as part of the loaner program with the LCD 3's (Amazing headphones by the way) they sent both DAC's to try out, the ESS9018 came installed and the TI PCM1723 was just thrown in the box on top with the RCA & USB Cables, not in an antistatic bag just sitting there on the packing foam which has ZERO antistatic functionality. I was really surprised at the lack of care put into this package, there were absolutely no instructions or documentation, product brochures or whatever with the box just a pair of LCD3's and the Conductor SL. I do realize this is a loaner program to try out the gear but a little info of some sort would have been appropriate I think.
I ended up messaging my contact person about the loose board "Some Assembly Required?" I asked and he told me they include both DAC's to try out. He told me they must have forgotten to put the TI DAC module in an antistatic bag, I've worked in electronic repair for years and even the most mundane parts come packaged in antistatic. It must not be a big deal.
I should have taken a picture of the DAC loose in the box...
Also I had to contact them about installing this board, I was not worried about my ability to change it, I just wasn't going to take a product apart that did not belong to me.
Anyway they pointed me to a blog entry made by the guys at Headmania on how to change the DAC and the case removal instructions are for a different unit.
With all due respect, a sheet of paper with a few pictures and some instructions would not be that much to include as it is a user changeable item. One should not have to chase this information down, most users would have figured it out since it's a really simple install but that is really not the point.
I was over at a fellow headphone enthusiasts house that evening for a little "show & tell" when we changed the DAC boards. There was some gluey substance on the edges of the chassis that the cover screws onto and we had to pry the sides of the cover away to get it off.
Upon looking inside we were surprised with the quality of the board inside and the back panel. I do realize that no one sees the insides of the unit, but if you are expecting end users to install their own upgrades one should provide a more "finished" interior.
The back panel was just roughed up with a coarse sandpaper to take the sharp edges off of it, this might be just nitpicking but that was the first thing my friend pointed out once the cover came off.
The board also has a serious bend in it up where the power transformers are, there is probably something under the board to prevent it from sagging down and shorting against the chassis bottom, but at least cut the standoff to the right height as to not stress the board in the other direction.
Then we noticed that a lot of the boards via's (circular trace holes the electronic component's solder onto) are not fully soldered all the way through. This can lead to connections letting go if they are happen to have a poor solder joint on the other side.
Don't get me wrong, the sound quality and functionality of the product is top shelf, and most users would never even have the cover off.
I was shocked at seeing how they ship out the USB modules, things can get crushed in the mail and even by couriers, but proper packaging is really not a difficult thing to prevent this in the future. I would expect those USB modules to go back to Burson prepaid through FedEx on their account.
This has been my first experience with a Burson product and I just thought I would share, is it possible that I am just too picky or do I have too high an expectation?