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Burson Conductor - DAC/amp successor to the HA-160D - Page 97  

post #1441 of 1991
I've been trying to talk with Burson for couple days now and no one answers my mails. Anyone knows if they are on holiday or something like that?
post #1442 of 1991

They're not always super fast in responding, but they do usually get back to me when I've reached out. My advice is to keep trying. Last time I contacted them was earlier this week. 

post #1443 of 1991

Have been spending some time with the Conductor over the weekend and it's definitely a great DAC. The best one I've heard yet. I have been using it to feed a variety of headphone amps (Cary Nighthawk, Violectric V200 and of course, the built-in one) and I am getting a flawless, clean signal with each one that lets the amp/headphone parts shine. Especially the darker V200, it really boosted it to the next level with the HD800. The USB implementation is light years ahead of the Dac-It's, I think I need to consider a USB to coax converter for that thing.

 

I am not quite as enthusiastic about the headphone amp part. To be fair, HD800 is a real prick of a headphone to amp properly, but it's definitely too bright on the Conductor and can be ruled out. The Mad Dogs work well on it, but no better than my Lyr (can't test that with the DAC until next weekend) or the Nighthawk (they are the opposite of the HD800, extremely amp friendly...I still need to try the Conductor DAC/V200 pairing, but I tend not to use the Dogs with the V200 because of the closed in feeling). I do regret I don't have a Hifiman or Audeze onhand to test with it, as the strong bass and brightness I can see working well with them. I might have to dial up the Cable Company and see if I can do something about that before my trial is up, heh heh.

 

If Burson had made solely a USB DAC in the $800-$1000 range, I would definitely consider it. For my needs at the moment, I'm too on the fence about the amp part (not helped by my desire to start experimenting with tubes and/or electrostats more). Glad I got to try it out though, definitely a solid piece.

post #1444 of 1991
Thanks for the write-up, I'm also not a huge fan of the HD-800 with the Burson Conductor, Audeze LCD-2 is a much better match for me. HD-800 is just a bit boring sounding to me from the Conductor.
post #1445 of 1991

good, i'm really happy with the hd800 and lcd3 from the violectric v800 v200 combo, awaiting the burson conductor in the next few days, hoping for a complementary sound, to brighten and open the soundstage of the hd800 and lcd3, give them a little speed bump maybe?

 

i see the opinions on the hd800 / conductor pairing are quite mixed here, i don't mind some brightness, more than welcome, hope to get good prat, soundstage and detail retrieval too :tongue_smile:

post #1446 of 1991

If you're used to the V200 sound with the HD800, it will definitely be brighter and maybe faster. I don't think it's as revealing though, the V200 just layers the sounds so well, it helps the excellent decay on the HD800 extract more detail, even in songs I know really well. I hear organ parts, riffs underneath the vocals better, stuff like that. I get what people mean when they say it's the closest you can get to a tube-like solid state. It's like an oxymoron...V200 is darker and slower but more detailed, Burson is faster and brighter but not as detailed. That's my personal experience with the pairings.

post #1447 of 1991
I certainly wouldn't say the HD-800's are a bad pairing for the Conductor, just a little lifeless, at least for the style of music I listen to mostly (rock, pop). I do reach for them when playing Jazz however, and I would imagine they would excel at classical also with the Conductor, though I do not listen to classical music.
post #1448 of 1991
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldfishX View Post

Have been spending some time with the Conductor over the weekend and it's definitely a great DAC. The best one I've heard yet. I have been using it to feed a variety of headphone amps (Cary Nighthawk, Violectric V200 and of course, the built-in one) and I am getting a flawless, clean signal with each one that lets the amp/headphone parts shine. Especially the darker V200, it really boosted it to the next level with the HD800. The USB implementation is light years ahead of the Dac-It's, I think I need to consider a USB to coax converter for that thing.

I am not quite as enthusiastic about the headphone amp part. To be fair, HD800 is a real prick of a headphone to amp properly, but it's definitely too bright on the Conductor and can be ruled out. The Mad Dogs work well on it, but no better than my Lyr (can't test that with the DAC until next weekend) or the Nighthawk (they are the opposite of the HD800, extremely amp friendly...I still need to try the Conductor DAC/V200 pairing, but I tend not to use the Dogs with the V200 because of the closed in feeling). I do regret I don't have a Hifiman or Audeze onhand to test with it, as the strong bass and brightness I can see working well with them. I might have to dial up the Cable Company and see if I can do something about that before my trial is up, heh heh.

If Burson had made solely a USB DAC in the $800-$1000 range, I would definitely consider it. For my needs at the moment, I'm too on the fence about the amp part (not helped by my desire to start experimenting with tubes and/or electrostats more). Glad I got to try it out though, definitely a solid piece.

Most seem to think that the DAC is the weak link. Beyer T1's (if you like that kind of thing), Hifiman HE-500, LCD-2 and 3 are all reported to have fantastic synergy with the Soloist.

The more headphones I ran from my Conductor, the more inclined I was to think that it's an amp better suited to efficient, low-impedance cans like the Fostex TH-600/TH900. So far as orthos are concerned you could probably get similar or better performance out of cheaper headphone amps or speaker amps. Senns and Beyers would probably sound better with tubes. I found that the Conductor really brought the Fostex to life though.

Its main strength is its versatility. It'll drive just about anything to a good level and excel with certain headphones. The Conductor is a great device for people with an extensive headphone collection who don't want to buy multiple amps and DACs.
post #1449 of 1991

you got a pm :tongue_smile: but this post kind of answers it

post #1450 of 1991
Well said Tony, I think that about sums up the Burson Conductor. It's best strength really is it's versatility.
post #1451 of 1991

Well, also remember, my DAC exposure is limited. Pretty much just the Dac-It (works great via coax, USB is ass), the one in my Marantz SACD player (which is kinda meh) and the Conductor (and a CEntrance one, but I wasn't too impressed with it...it was the $800 amp/DAC unit). Of those 4, the Conductor is the clear winner there.

 

I still need to try the T1's, but again, I can see it working extremely well for treble-deficient headphones like orthos. Not sure how similar the Mad Dog is to the other Fostexes, but that pairing is definitely good. I just happen to prefer the Lyr with NOS tubes and I already own it.

 

And I wouldn't say the V200/HD800 is the most lively pairing either, it just dims the brightness enough to let the details shine through. It's like being in a small, dark, smokey room with music playing. That's probably the best way to describe that pairing.

post #1452 of 1991
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldfishX View Post

And I wouldn't say the V200/HD800 is the most lively pairing either, it just dims the brightness enough to let the details shine through. It's like being in a small, dark, smokey room with music playing. That's probably the best way to describe that pairing.

with the conductor dac as source?

post #1453 of 1991
The Conductor definately takes most of its knocks for the DAC section, but I still don't think there's much that compares to it for all-in-one boxes. If you were willing to split it up I definately think a soloist and a seperate DAC could be better.
post #1454 of 1991

Sometime when one is used to mainstream sound, it takes a little while to get used to a sound signature towards reference. A lot of the entry level stuff is warm sounding, with a bottom tilted response. The Conductor/Soloist is very close to neutral, and that may require a bit of time to absorb.

 

That said, my opinion is the HD800 have a problem with brightness. Same with the T1s, for example, but these are a shipwreck in general (just my humble opinion of course). To get them to sound pleasing some tweaks are needed. Fortunately the HD800s take aftermarket cables and you can also try the Anax mods. That is how I enjoyed them on the Conductor and they were no longer too bright, just a little bit on the odd ocassion. I wouldn't blame a neutral amplifier for what is a headphones trait.

 

I no longer own either the Conductor or the HD800s so this as non-biased as it can be.


Edited by negura - 2/2/14 at 5:05pm
post #1455 of 1991
Quote:
Originally Posted by negura View Post
 

Sometime when one is used to mainstream sound, it takes a little while to get used to a sound signature towards reference. A lot of the entry level stuff is warm sounding, with a bottom tilted response. The Conductor/Soloist is very close to neutral, and that may need a bit of time to absorb.

 

If anything, the Conductor amp has more bottom than the Nighthawk. Nighthawk is almost totally dead neutral, it actually sounds like ass when a poor source is used (I almost gave up on it because of this), but sings when a good source is used. As far as bottom end, the Conductor and V200 are about equal, it's just more noticeable on the V200 because the soundstage is smaller. None of my stuff is what I would call "tipped up", if anything, I question the neutrality of the HD800 for being too treble-heavy.

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