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Burson Conductor SL and Audeze LCD-3 REVIEW

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Preview of my Burson Conductor SL and LCD-3 review, coming soon.

 

This review will be extensive, in depth and as thorough as possible, including both the Burson Conductor SL with both the 9018 and 1793 Dac Chips as well as the LCD-3 Headphone from Audeze.  I don't want to bore you with specification and details in the beginning of this review, you can read the details afterward.  That is just how I roll.  #likeaboss

 

 

 

 

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The End Credits:  The Audeze LCD-3

 

Every once in a while, the audio deities bestow upon us a very special product.  Praise worthy of the highest order, shining bright upon the summit of Mt. Audiophile.  No question or doubts in my mind that no other manufacturer of Hi-Fi products has been able to take over the Audiojunky community so effectively, efficiently and as quickly as Audeze has.  Seemingly overnight, the LCD-2 won the hearts and ears of the majority of those who listened to it.  Two years ago, decades in Audiophile years, the LCD-3 was released. To the shock and dismay of most of the other headphones out there, they had swiftly taken over the pack as The Alpha.  The Audeze LCD-3 experience is nothing short of incredible.  From top to bottom, no other headphone in existence that I've ever listened to has been able to sucker punch me with that much class and style.  T.K.O.  Done.  I give up.  Audeze wins.  The tonality this headphone produces is literally second to none and undeniably became my favorite presentation type of all time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End Credits:  Burson Conductor SL - 1793 Chip


The original Burson HA-160 has always been my favorite amplifier...well, ever really.  Perfect amount of warmth, beauty and style in a small package.  Lacking the power to drive the greedy Planar Magnetic's 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 1793 is a blatant upgrade over the HA-160s dac chip.  It respects the original HA-160's 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 stlying.  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.  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End Credits:  Burson Conductor SL - 9018 Chip

 

 

 Stupidly, I didn't believe my peers who told me there was a night and day difference between these chips.  Having booted up the 1793 first when I received the Conductor SL, I of course enjoyed the hell out of it with my Denons and the K-712, but found it not to work well with the already gently colored and highly musical LCD-3.  Upon installation of this 9018 chip, I was simply awestruck by the pureness in the stereo image.  It is dead neutral and highly dynamic, noticeably more clear to me than the 1793 but also less colored and less lush on the bass.   The low end on this 9018 is polar opposite of it's brother the 1793, providing eye popping clarity on the low end that sounds much more tonally balanced and solid.  The bass is fast and this chip effortlessly allows the utmost clarity of the LCD-3 shine through, full texture, full clarity, full impact.  Nothing short of shocking in terms of clarity and texturing.  Amazing.  This chip is certainly the one to use if you have a more balanced and more neutral or dry sounding headphone.  Now, despite that recommendation, the LCD-3 is really the wild card for me, as it's low end is already gently warm and the set in general is highly musical to begin with.  Those stock qualities mixed with the pure 9018 chip provide a blisteringly clear and dynamic presentation via the LCD-3.  Unreal.  The synergy between this 9018 chip and the LCD-3 is stellar.

 


Edited by 24Bit - 10/12/13 at 5:26pm
post #2 of 2

Hey 24bit, after reading your inspiring words concerning the synergy between the LCD3 and the Conductor SL 9018, I felt compelled to try out my "bedroom" LCD3's on my "work" Conductor SL 9018. Thanks to you I was expecting some kind of amazing sound to come out of them, possibly better than my bedroom system. Unfortunately that was not the case, far from it in fact.

 

The LCD3's sounded just OK, nothing spectacular. Now I can understand why some folks don't like the LCD3 sound, they haven't heard them on a good system. Actually my "work" TH600's sounded much better on the Conductor SL. Funny because the LCD3's blew away the TH600's on my bedroom system. The LCD3's present an amazing holographic layered effect at home but not at work.

 

It could be because I'm running FLAC to the Conductor SL over USB, or the 9018 is not the device we thought it was. Truth is, my bedroom system is not all that great because it needs to fit on my tiny headboard shelves. It's just a JVC tabletop CD player > Apogee miniDAC > Burson Soloist > LCD3.

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