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Burson HA-160D or Conductor?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone,

 

I bought audeze LCD-2 headphones about a year back, and I've been running them on a interal soundcard since then (Asus Xonar Essence ST) which of course is far from optimal. I've since then been looking at various amps, dacs and dac/amp combos, and decided that the burson brand seems to be the one for me, I mainly listen to Metal and rock music, they together constitute about 90% of my listening.

 

However, I can't seem to make sense out of which one of these models would be best for me, and quite what the difference is, so if anyone could help me out, with consideration to my headphones, music choice and cost/quality ratio, to say which one is best, I'd be very grateful.

 

If this is the wrong subforum for this kind of thread, please move it to the appropriate section. 

post #2 of 14

Welcome to head-fi!

160D is a very capable headamp, it has become a burson classic. It will be able to drive dynamic headphones with ease, and some planars as well. It will do a good job with the Audeze LCD2 (it was a popular pairing)

 

If you want to take things to the next level: The conductor, its an improved 160D. 

post #3 of 14

I own both, including LCD-2

As much I love 160D, Conductor is on another level, everything is better.

Better layering, instrument separation, tighter sound, smoother, more dynamic and better detail retrieval with Conductor.

If you on a tight budget go with 160D, if you can stretch a bit more, I seriously recommend you the Conductor as an single ended end game one box solution.

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

I noticed that the HA-160D sells for about 650 USD used nowadays on this forum, and the Conductor sells for roughly 1000 more, is the difference really that big to warrant an investment that much larger? 1000 USD is roughly what I get in two months excluding other expenses.

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by whirlingblack View Post

I noticed that the HA-160D sells for about 650 USD used nowadays on this forum, and the Conductor sells for roughly 1000 more, is the difference really that big to warrant an investment that much larger? 1000 USD is roughly what I get in two months excluding other expenses.

Have you considered the Soloist?, as far as I know is the same Amp section as the Conductor, granted it doesn't have a DAC, but you can definitively  get a nice DAC for less than the Soloist Conductor $ difference.

post #6 of 14

I'm asking myself the same question.  Is the Conductor that much better for an extra $1K vs HA-160D?  The Conductor has a totally different design with better hardware and finish.  The upgrade is a huge cost to Burson.  Thus, the increased in price. 

 

Going the modular route by having a separate DAC and amp can cost less, or even equal to $1K, it depends.  A good DAC and set of cables can cost you up to $1K.  Not to mention these components need to synch well together vs. an all in one solution Conductor.

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mt4Camus View Post

I'm asking myself the same question.  Is the Conductor that much better for an extra $1K vs HA-160D?  The Conductor has a totally different design with better hardware and finish.  The upgrade is a huge cost to Burson.  Thus, the increased in price. 

 

Going the modular route by having a separate DAC and amp can cost less, or even equal to $1K, it depends.  A good DAC and set of cables can cost you up to $1K.  Not to mention these components need to synch well together vs. an all in one solution Conductor.

 

Recently upgraded from my 160D to a Soloist.  My opinion of the 2 amps is that the 160D has more low end while the Soloist offers more detail, dynamics, and mid range.  Overall I'm happy with the upgrade, but if I had to to it again I could have lived happily with the 160D and saved the money.  I was quite used to the 160D's sound but upgraditis got the better of me and I wanted to see what all the talk was about.

 

I guess depending on what headphones you're driving, your budget, and your sound preference I could recommend either of the amps. 

post #8 of 14

I've been a music enthusiast for a while.  But I'm new with the headphone world.  Just bought a pair HD-650 after comparing it to the Audeze LCD2 r2.  Agreed... it's comes down to personal preference and budget.

 

The 160D seems like a better investment for the money.  My one concern is the 160D's DAC.  If only Burson could provide an option to upgrade the 160D's DAC to SABRE32, that be a great!  I've learned from my previous audiophile upgraditis that you need to spend certain amount to get quality gear, but after that the diminishing returns factor kicks in.

 

I will call up a few dealers to see if I can demo a 160D, now it's at a discount.  If it does not work out, I could trade up for the Conductor.

 

post #9 of 14
It seems like Burson has released two different Conductor SL's
http://bursonaudio.com/products.html
May be worth checking those out before going with the 160D
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by barid View Post

 

Recently upgraded from my 160D to a Soloist.  My opinion of the 2 amps is that the 160D has more low end while the Soloist offers more detail, dynamics, and mid range.  Overall I'm happy with the upgrade, but if I had to to it again I could have lived happily with the 160D and saved the money.  I was quite used to the 160D's sound but upgraditis got the better of me and I wanted to see what all the talk was about.

 

I guess depending on what headphones you're driving, your budget, and your sound preference I could recommend either of the amps. 

Hmm...

 

This is interesting, I am happy with the weight and the midrange of the 160D, not really sure that the LCD2s would need any more midrange...

 

...That being said, having not heard the Soloist or the Conductor, who am I to say anything haha...

 

...Must really try and avoid upgraditus...

post #11 of 14

The Conductor SL9018 and SL1793 are very nice!  For the 160 series, the HA-160DS was similar.  Notice the PCM1793 DAC was updated.  This could indicate that it's not an outdated DAC after all.  I would like to hear more inputs from people who have auditioned these units and perhaps compare them to the 160DS, 160D, and Conductor respectively.  The price jumped!  The SL1793 is starting at $1250.

 

As much as I like the headphone amp only version, I lean towards wanting a pre-amp capability, just for flexibility.  If I'm honest with myself, the headphone amp only version should fit my needs at this moment.

post #12 of 14

Go WooAudio...

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mt4Camus View Post

The Conductor SL9018 and SL1793 are very nice!  For the 160 series, the HA-160DS was similar.  Notice the PCM1793 DAC was updated.  This could indicate that it's not an outdated DAC after all.  I would like to hear more inputs from people who have auditioned these units and perhaps compare them to the 160DS, 160D, and Conductor respectively.  The price jumped!  The SL1793 is starting at $1250.

 

That's what i noticed. 

 

They applied a new design on both, amp and dac section. I expect a good difference between them and the old 160Ds. 

We have to wait for comparisons. 

post #14 of 14
Just today demo listened the Conductor at Moon-Audio with my Hd650s...background note..I like less brash treble due to fatiguing (thus the 650s). Drew let me demo the Black Dragon cable as well and I must say, I was left almost speechless. I am eclectic in my music (Krall to Zeppelin to Cannibal Corpse). To my ears, the combo I tried worked almost flawlessly. The exception I may speak to is the overly clear nature with rhythm, bass, lead passages that contain kick drum...I prefer a more "smeared" sound when happening upon these sections of death/grindcore...this is not the fault of the Conductor, just my tastes. All other genres had me closing my eyes and transported to another world. Now to decide for me which Burson is making its way to my desk..I have a DAC and Drew confirmed the Soloist has the exact same sound sig for 850 less.....plus I could snap up the black dragons for around 300....just my 2 cents...
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