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New Burson Soloist SL Headphone Amp! - Page 12

post #166 of 197

Impressions for Burson Soloist SL / Audez'e LCD-3:

 

Aesthetics: Firstly, the Burson Soloist SL is absolutely beautiful, it looks fantastic on my desk. The brushed aluminum is absolutely stunning, and its small enough to fit onto a small desk, like mine. Rather, not a small desk, but one with too many things on it.

 

The LCD-3 is not too shabby in this department either, the wood is beautiful, and the leather is a very nice added touch. The LCD-3 feels like its price tag, $1945.

 

Comfort: This will only apply to the LCD-3(at least, I hope)

The LCD-3 is by no means comfortable. The clamp, and the weight, make this thing absolutely unbearable. The weight isn't even that bad, its the clamp, and the part that the front of the pads, where its smaller, you can feel the actual metal/wood part of the headphone. It pushes up against the side of your face and frankly, it hurts. Also, the LCD-3 has given me numerous headaches over the last 2 weeks.

 

Durability: I can't really comment, as I only have the combo for 2 weeks, but from what I can see, these couldn't break for a long time.

 

Volume pot and buttons on SL: The buttons are very easy to press, but not too easy. Its a very satisfying touch. The volume pot, is among the smoothest I have used, and I love it. Also, I love how there are two inputs on the SL, so than two DACs can be used at the same time.

 

Sound, the most important part of this, right?

 

I am going to name a few songs, and write my impressions on it, with the LCD-3 and SL. So here it goes!

 

The first song is, Neutral Milk Hotel- In The Aeroplane Over The Sea-

 

Mmm, the acoustic guitar sounds absolutely beautiful in this song. Smooth, detailed, and is the forefront of this song, a good thing. Liquid smooth. The trumpet sounds amazing, full and rich. The voice, Jeff Mangum, is full bodied, and isn't harsh, like on some headphones. Its hard to hear all the instruments in this song, as the LCD-3 sounds like a closed headphone, in the soundstage department. For a $1945 headphone, it should have a bigger soundstage.

 

The Smiths- Frankly, Mr. Shankly-

 

The timpani's at the start of this song, absolutely fantastic. Deep, and detailed. Perfect. The guitar, super smooth. No wonder everybody talks about the mids on the LCD-3. Man. The bass is thumping, not too much, perfect volume to hear it, but not over take the song. The soundstage, does not help the LCD-3 on this song. With some parts of the song, with a good amount of instruments in the mix, the soundstage doesn't help. I have heard a lot of comments on the soundstage of this headphone, most are not impressed by it. The voice, is smooth and the forefront of the song, the electric guitar sounds a bit distant in the song, almost making the voice too loud. The bass, is very, very deep, and sounds extremely real.

 

Pink Floyd- Time-

 

 I have to say, this song makes me notice a good part of the soundstage, its height. The different parts of percussion at the start of the song, are coming at different angles, very nice. The voice is beautiful, all the detail is there. The female voices in the background, are there, but not there, which is what I think Pink Floyd intended it to be. The guitar, wow, it sounds realistic, and is super-textured. The imaging on this headphone is fantastic, it lets you focus on different parts of the music better. Female voices on this combo, is fantastic. Their very light, and display the woman's voices in this song beautifully. The bass drum is very deep, as I've said before. I have heard many people rave about the bass on the LCD-3 so this is what they are talking about.

 

I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed with this song. It was quite splendid. Everything came together in this song, and this seems to be what type of music this combo excels with, rock.

 

The National- Pink Rabbits-

 

The bass sounds extremely deep, amazingly real. The voice is very different than my other headphones. It sounds correct though, not as deep as it does on my HD650, but this sounds better to my ears. The piano is fantastic, I have found that about the LCD-3/SL, its very light and detailed. The soundstage on the LCD-3 is lackluster, its hard to hear everything as clear as I would like it.

 

On different headphones(Paradox, HD650 --> SL):

 

The SL greatly improves these headphones, compared to the Objective 2 solid state amp. The Burson on the HD650, makes the soundstage much bigger(a caveat of mine with the HD650 and O2 pairing) leading to a much more involving experience. With the sound sweeping every which way, but the soundstage is not that big though. The Beyerdynamic DT880 destroys the HD650 in this region. The SL also makes the HD650 a whole lot faster. It can now make a lot of more songs enjoyable on the HD650, as its not held back by faults caused by the amp/DAC combo being inferior to many other amp/DAC combos.

 

Onto the Paradox, these were improved less so(the creator actually tuned these with the O2/ODAC, so it was kind of made for the O2/ODAC, for reference, the Paradox is a modded T50RP). The soundstage was the biggest thing for me that was improved, not too much, but it counted for something. Not much to report here, given the info a couple sentences back.

 

Conclusion: Honestly, I was not impressed with the LCD-3 as I was expecting to be. The soundstage and the comfort really killed it for me. It sounds like a closed headphone, honestly. To compare to my DT880, the DT880 has a much bigger soundstage($350 to $1945). The LCD-3 excelled with rock though, and I enjoyed the sound with rock very much.

 

The SL was fantastic on the other hand, its beautiful and made my headphones sound much better. I will not comment on my DT880s as I got them a couple days and have to get accustomed to the sound. Otherwise, it improved all areas of my headphones, and I really enjoyed it. 

post #167 of 197
Im sure the regular soloist is better with LCD-3, LCD-3 are pickier about amps than the dt 880s which is why they sounded so good. As well as hd 650
post #168 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfetan44 View Post

Did anyone detect a bit of sibilance? Because thats whats happening with me, everything else is very good, but the hint of sibilance is killing me.

 

Noticed you dropped comments about sibilance out of your later review. Any resolve on the issue or did it continue?

 

I'm considering replacing my M-stage with this for low impedance headphones. I really did enjoy the soloist I had for some time, however the volume pot was a killer for lower impedance headphones. 

post #169 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by elwappo99 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfetan44 View Post

Did anyone detect a bit of sibilance? Because thats whats happening with me, everything else is very good, but the hint of sibilance is killing me.

 

Noticed you dropped comments about sibilance out of your later review. Any resolve on the issue or did it continue?

 

I'm considering replacing my M-stage with this for low impedance headphones. I really did enjoy the soloist I had for some time, however the volume pot was a killer for lower impedance headphones. 

I started noticing it less and less and than it wasn't there.

post #170 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by elwappo99 View Post

 

Noticed you dropped comments about sibilance out of your later review. Any resolve on the issue or did it continue?

 

I'm considering replacing my M-stage with this for low impedance headphones. I really did enjoy the soloist I had for some time, however the volume pot was a killer for lower impedance headphones. 

 

If you liked the full sized one, the Non stepped Soloist will suit you well. You get 90% of the same sound

post #171 of 197

Hello everyone,

 

This is the first time I am posting in this thread. I had the Soloist SL at home and compared it with a broader range of hardware. These are my impressions:

 

Burson Soloist SL Review.

 

Headphones: Audeze LCD 3, Hifiman HE-500 (Canare  copper cable), Sennheiser HD800

Amps: SPL Auditor, LD MKIII with 6N30P-DR and Siemens EK90 tubes

DACs: Audiolab M-DAC (USB, Optimal Filter), Naim DAC

Cables: Charleston Cable Company UP-OCC RCA-cables, Audience Au24

 

Here are pictures of the gear used (and some more :) ):

 

 

 

The Burson Soloist SL is a new 2 W / channel (at 8 ohm) headphone amplifer and the little brother of the Burson Soloist featuring double the power. For the SL, Burson used a high quality Alps potentiometer in contrast to the elaborate stepped attenuator of the Soloist.

The Burson SL has a good build with a size perfect for desktop use. The looks make it an appealing unit to have. It gives an impression of sturdiness and value with its 2 mm folded aluminium casing. It is nice to have two gain settings. Since I am not using IEMs, high gain is my favoured mode of operation. There is a second input, which may come in handy as well.

 

 

 

HD 800

 

This is a very nice combo, on the brighter side of signatures. It sounds very detailed and extremely transparent. Good dynamics and an open spacious presentation. The bass hits hard, the mids are clean and neutral. Treble is extended and shines nicely. Imaging and focus are amazing.

The Burson Soloist SL sounds agile. It is a power house and no cautious presenter. Full throttle, no gentle hug. Combining it with the Audiolab M-DAC is hence a little borderline in terms of fatiguing experience, especially with the filter used. However, I love the very engaging and open presentation. A different cable could also be an option if you like a rounder type of sound. The Audience Au24 can be recommended in this case.  Combining it with the Naim DAC rendered the signature gentler and absolutely without criticism for long listening sessions. However, the Naim DAC needs proper mains filtering, e.g. an Isotek Titan power filtering unit before it could show its full strengths. And then, suddenly the imaging just topped everything. Even in a complex orchestra, instrument pin-pointing was easy and really a fun place to “look” around. When using the Audience Au 24, it emphasizes the gentle, clean and precise signature of the Naim DAC. This was one of the best headphone sounds I have heard so far, which makes it a highly recommendable setup.

 

Hifiman HE-500

 

This combination comes second in my chronology and this is how I would rank it. To be fair, it is a brilliant combination as well. The agile character of the Burson and the slightly bright one of the Audiolab are compensated by the magneto-planar goodness and refined sound of the Hifiman HE-500. The refined treble of the HE-500 is absolutely fatigue free, which is what the Hifiman HE-500 is famous for. Here is more bass bias than with the Sennheiser. The imaging is very good also. In comparison to the HD800, the stage is not as deep and you lose some ambience, imaging and openness. The Charleston and the Audience cables are fine here. It depends a little on taste whether you favour a crisper and more dynamic (Charleston) or refined and detailed presentation (Audience).

However, it is a great combination and everyone considering buying a Hifiman HE-500 should have an eye on the Soloist SL. But be careful, you may get listening addiction. =)

 

Audeze LCD 3

 

Now, I was a little disappointed from this one. After a great expectation, I have to conclude that this is not my preferred signature. The stage was just a bit too small, everything felt like cramped in. The mids and treble felt slightly distorted, I hope the phones were still in good condition. I heard the LCD 3 before with a custom cable and my memories were quite positive. However, here they sounded slightly veiled.

PRaT was good, they came across quite energetic. Bass goes deep as well.

The sound cleared up when breaking the seal of the pads, even more when moving the drivers slightly away from the ears.

 

 

SPL Auditor, HD800

 

M-DAC: Optimal Transient or Optimal Transient XD filters, Optimal Transient XD: more focus, not as gentle

 

Due to its slightly grainy character, I prefer the Optimized Transient filters mentioned when using it with the Auditor / HD800 combination, specifically with the brighter Charleston cable.

 

The Soloist SL sounds more transparent, which goes along with better focus. Hence, the Burson images also sharper. Complex orchestras are more resolved and detailed. On the other hand the Burson SL sounds more forward and immediate, the Auditor warmer, more relaxed and darker. The Burson treble is sparklier, the Auditor one more refined and relaxed. This makes the Auditor sound easier on the ears and reduces the chance of fatigue. On an absolute scale however, the Auditor is not a relaxed sounding amp but the Burson is so “direct” that the Auditor seems relaxed in comparison.

A quite important difference is that the Burson sounds wetter. By this, the Burson adds plasticity to voices and instruments where the Auditor sounds flatter. For example bass drum strikes gain a better sense of the vibration of the membrane, high hat hits have a longer decay. The Burson bass is a bit better defined and goes slightly deeper. Interestingly, the Auditor stage is higher and wider. The Burson renders a better sense of the depth of stage.

Both work with the Sennheiser HD800.  Really, you could be totally happy with either. However, in my ears, the Soloist SL does produce a more dynamic and higher quality sound. Although, I do not perceive it to be fatiguing, the Soloist SL can have a higher possibility of being fatiguing where the Auditor is darker and gentler.

 

 

Little Dot MKIII, HD800

 

Tubes used: 6N30P-DR (1983), Siemens EK90 (1978)

 

Now, this may seem a bit too much of a push. However, if you invest $250 and some time into tubes, you may find that the HD800 sounds really good on the LD MKIII. You may achieve a similar signature to the Burson SL with really good dynamics, sparkle and stage in front of a black background. You can tune the LD such that it sounds more dynamic than the Auditor and very similar to the Burson. This is in its own right surprising. So, if you like tube rolling, why not? However, the Burson has definitely the last word in terms of detail / focus and sounds more transparent. So, there you go.

 

Although you could happily live with the Auditor or the LD MKIII (using sets of special tubes), the Soloist SL is the preferred choice after all! Just make sure your setup doesn’t become fatiguing.

 

Rating: Highly recommended product!

 

 

PS: One last word: Two not so good matches: I would not recommend the HD800 in combination with the HA-160 (too bright) or the HE-500LE with the Soloist SL (too dark).

post #172 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chik0240 View Post

thanks guys, but I've just read from a audeze support forum that the LCD-2/3 need about 1W at 50Ohm to prevent clipping at some large orchestral music which might peak from 90db to about 120db on occasion, and by calculation the SL only delive ~0.64W at 50Ohm, anyone who've tested the SL with the LCDs notice any problem with it?

I just emailed burson asking how much power the SL outputs at 50 ohms and they replied (very quickly too) that it outputs a good bit over 1 watt into each channel at 50 ohms. My guess is closer to 1.5 watts or so. So it should drive the lcd 2 and he-500 to their full potential, with more power only adding small improvements. The quality of the amp would make a bigger dfference and so would the cleanliness of the power, both of which burson seems to pride themselves on.

Also I just ordered the SL myself over the violerctric v100 which is close enough to the same price. Since burson confirmed the SL puts out enough power, almost as much as the v100, it really just came down to sound signature. Since I listen to mostly metal, rock, bass heavy electronic and ambient electronic, I needed the faster paced and more detailed amp sound.

I also will be ordering lcd 2's very soon as an upgrade over my denon d5000's. Thankfully I won't have to sell the now extinct denons smily_headphones1.gif

Anyways I hope this helps.

Also first post! biggrin.gif
Edited by saxelrod92 - 9/16/13 at 5:45am
post #173 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acapella11 View Post

Hello everyone,

This is the first time I am posting in this thread. I had the Soloist SL at home and compared it with a broader range of hardware. These are my impressions:

Burson Soloist SL Review.

Headphones: Audeze LCD 3, Hifiman HE-500 (Canare  copper cable), Sennheiser HD800
Amps: SPL Auditor, LD MKIII with 6N30P-DR and Siemens EK90 tubes
DACs: Audiolab M-DAC (USB, Optimal Filter), Naim DAC
Cables: Charleston Cable Company UP-OCC RCA-cables, Audience Au24

Here are pictures of the gear used (and some more smily_headphones1.gif ):







The Burson Soloist SL is a new 2 W / channel (at 8 ohm) headphone amplifer and the little brother of the Burson Soloist featuring double the power. For the SL, Burson used a high quality Alps potentiometer in contrast to the elaborate stepped attenuator of the Soloist.
The Burson SL has a good build with a size perfect for desktop use. The looks make it an appealing unit to have. It gives an impression of sturdiness and value with its 2 mm folded aluminium casing. It is nice to have two gain settings. Since I am not using IEMs, high gain is my favoured mode of operation. There is a second input, which may come in handy as well.





HD 800

This is a very nice combo, on the brighter side of signatures. It sounds very detailed and extremely transparent. Good dynamics and an open spacious presentation. The bass hits hard, the mids are clean and neutral. Treble is extended and shines nicely. Imaging and focus are amazing.
The Burson Soloist SL sounds agile. It is a power house and no cautious presenter. Full throttle, no gentle hug. Combining it with the Audiolab M-DAC is hence a little borderline in terms of fatiguing experience, especially with the filter used. However, I love the very engaging and open presentation. A different cable could also be an option if you like a rounder type of sound. The Audience Au24 can be recommended in this case.  Combining it with the Naim DAC rendered the signature gentler and absolutely without criticism for long listening sessions. However, the Naim DAC needs proper mains filtering, e.g. an Isotek Titan power filtering unit before it could show its full strengths. And then, suddenly the imaging just topped everything. Even in a complex orchestra, instrument pin-pointing was easy and really a fun place to “look” around. When using the Audience Au 24, it emphasizes the gentle, clean and precise signature of the Naim DAC. This was one of the best headphone sounds I have heard so far, which makes it a highly recommendable setup.

Hifiman HE-500

This combination comes second in my chronology and this is how I would rank it. To be fair, it is a brilliant combination as well. The agile character of the Burson and the slightly bright one of the Audiolab are compensated by the magneto-planar goodness and refined sound of the Hifiman HE-500. The refined treble of the HE-500 is absolutely fatigue free, which is what the Hifiman HE-500 is famous for. Here is more bass bias than with the Sennheiser. The imaging is very good also. In comparison to the HD800, the stage is not as deep and you lose some ambience, imaging and openness. The Charleston and the Audience cables are fine here. It depends a little on taste whether you favour a crisper and more dynamic (Charleston) or refined and detailed presentation (Audience).
However, it is a great combination and everyone considering buying a Hifiman HE-500 should have an eye on the Soloist SL. But be careful, you may get listening addiction. =)

Audeze LCD 3

Now, I was a little disappointed from this one. After a great expectation, I have to conclude that this is not my preferred signature. The stage was just a bit too small, everything felt like cramped in. The mids and treble felt slightly distorted, I hope the phones were still in good condition. I heard the LCD 3 before with a custom cable and my memories were quite positive. However, here they sounded slightly veiled.
PRaT was good, they came across quite energetic. Bass goes deep as well.
The sound cleared up when breaking the seal of the pads, even more when moving the drivers slightly away from the ears.

 
SPL Auditor, HD800

M-DAC: Optimal Transient or Optimal Transient XD filters, Optimal Transient XD: more focus, not as gentle

Due to its slightly grainy character, I prefer the Optimized Transient filters mentioned when using it with the Auditor / HD800 combination, specifically with the brighter Charleston cable.

The Soloist SL sounds more transparent, which goes along with better focus. Hence, the Burson images also sharper. Complex orchestras are more resolved and detailed. On the other hand the Burson SL sounds more forward and immediate, the Auditor warmer, more relaxed and darker. The Burson treble is sparklier, the Auditor one more refined and relaxed. This makes the Auditor sound easier on the ears and reduces the chance of fatigue. On an absolute scale however, the Auditor is not a relaxed sounding amp but the Burson is so “direct” that the Auditor seems relaxed in comparison.
A quite important difference is that the Burson sounds wetter. By this, the Burson adds plasticity to voices and instruments where the Auditor sounds flatter. For example bass drum strikes gain a better sense of the vibration of the membrane, high hat hits have a longer decay. The Burson bass is a bit better defined and goes slightly deeper. Interestingly, the Auditor stage is higher and wider. The Burson renders a better sense of the depth of stage.
Both work with the Sennheiser HD800.  Really, you could be totally happy with either. However, in my ears, the Soloist SL does produce a more dynamic and higher quality sound. Although, I do not perceive it to be fatiguing, the Soloist SL can have a higher possibility of being fatiguing where the Auditor is darker and gentler.


Little Dot MKIII, HD800

Tubes used: 6N30P-DR (1983), Siemens EK90 (1978)

Now, this may seem a bit too much of a push. However, if you invest $250 and some time into tubes, you may find that the HD800 sounds really good on the LD MKIII. You may achieve a similar signature to the Burson SL with really good dynamics, sparkle and stage in front of a black background. You can tune the LD such that it sounds more dynamic than the Auditor and very similar to the Burson. This is in its own right surprising. So, if you like tube rolling, why not? However, the Burson has definitely the last word in terms of detail / focus and sounds more transparent. So, there you go.

Although you could happily live with the Auditor or the LD MKIII (using sets of special tubes), the Soloist SL is the preferred choice after all! Just make sure your setup doesn’t become fatiguing.

Rating: Highly recommended product!


PS: One last word: Two not so good matches: I would not recommend the HD800 in combination with the HA-160 (too bright) or the HE-500LE with the Soloist SL (too dark).

Great write-up. I decided to keep hold of my Burson Conductor because of the synergy it has with the HE-500. Looks like the Soloist SL is a good option too.
post #174 of 197

Impressions for Burson Soloist SL / Audez'e LCD-3

 

It is long overdue and my apologies to the fantastic people at Burson and Audeze, and thank them first and foremost for coming up with the scheme to provide top of the line products for demo to people and places unknown !!   Hope to pass on some impression by the end of this week.

 

In short it was a delightful experience to hear the top products in the business, musically engaging, top-notched craftsmanship, reasonably priced for its quality (YMMV).

 

Short report coming.  Thanks guys.

post #175 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by saxelrod92 View Post


I just emailed burson asking how much power the SL outputs at 50 ohms and they replied (very quickly too) that it outputs a good bit over 1 watt into each channel at 50 ohms. My guess is closer to 1.5 watts or so. So it should drive the lcd 2 and he-500 to their full potential, with more power only adding small improvements. The quality of the amp would make a bigger dfference and so would the cleanliness of the power, both of which burson seems to pride themselves on.

Also I just ordered the SL myself over the violerctric v100 which is close enough to the same price. Since burson confirmed the SL puts out enough power, almost as much as the v100, it really just came down to sound signature. Since I listen to mostly metal, rock, bass heavy electronic and ambient electronic, I needed the faster paced and more detailed amp sound.

I also will be ordering lcd 2's very soon as an upgrade over my denon d5000's. Thankfully I won't have to sell the now extinct denons smily_headphones1.gif

Anyways I hope this helps.

Also first post! biggrin.gif


Burson told me the SL output is 2.8W at 8 ohms. That's about a half watt at 50 ohms. I'm reading a lot of disappointment with the LCD3's on the SL and I'm not surprised, because a half watt is not enough for those guys, you really need a full soloist IMHO. I own both the Soloist and the SL and the SL just doesn't do my LCD3's justice. But the SL sure sounds nice with my TH600's.

post #176 of 197

With the SL on low gain, volume all the way up and source muted I hear some static on a TH900. Normal behavior or is something somewhere injecting more noise than would be expected?

 

Yeah I know the TH900 is super sensitive and the volume is much much higher than I'd ever use, just want to make sure I don't have something adding noise.

post #177 of 197

^^^^^^^^^ All of you , thank you for the impressions 

I thought I'll order it on my Birthday this June but my Brother is visiting Australia in 2 months if stuff works out I'll have a Burson soon :D

post #178 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTechAgent View Post

^^^^^^^^^ All of you , thank you for the impressions 

I thought I'll order it on my Birthday this June but my Brother is visiting Australia in 2 months if stuff works out I'll have a Burson soon :D


You won't regret it! Loving this little beauty more and more every time I use it.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
post #179 of 197

How good is the SL with HD700 and T1? I heard it works great with T1, anyone tried it with HD700?

post #180 of 197

Hello

Did this combination work for you. I am thinking of getting the Soloist SL and the Audeze LCD 3.

 

Thanks
Joe

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