Your music is suffering! With today’s multi-core high power CPU in our phones, tablets, and...

Burson Audio Cable+

Average User Rating:
4.33333/5,
  • Your music is suffering!

    With today’s multi-core high power CPU in our phones, tablets, and laptops, the devices able to process high-resolution music is already in your hands.

    However, when connecting these devices to an audio amplifier, the resulting music quality is guaranteed to disappoint, lacking dynamic and soundstage with a blurry vocal and harsh high notes.

    Burson understands the capability of today’s mobile devices, and we know they can become high-end media players once their performance bottlenecks are removed.

    The bottlenecks

    There are two bottlenecks preventing your phones, tablets, and laptops, from sounding hi-end. They are the low voltage output of these devices and the 1940 era audio cable connecting them to the audio amplifier.

    If we undersupply voltage to a light globe. It will light up, but it will be dim, and far from ideal. The same happens when an audio signal from a low power source component is fed to a high power amplifier, there will still be sound but weak, blurry and distorted.

    Specifically, 5 Volt USB powers all mobile devices and laptops. On the other hand, audio components such as your headphone or speaker amplifier are powered by 240 Volt or 110 Volt AC. The output from such low power devices is undersupplying to the high power amplifier, significantly degrading audio performance.

    The conventional audio cable was designed in the 1940s and has not changed since. They were meant to transfer audio signal between high voltage devices. Using such cables to transfer today’s typical low voltage audio signal from mobile devices and laptops results in signal loss and distortion.

    This resulting mismatch is the reason why you have to turn up the volume of your amplifier and yet music playback sounds strained, lacking clarity and impact.

    Hear Everything

    The Burson Cable +, utilises our V5i audio module, the most popular upgrade for audiophiles around the world, it raises the signal level from 5 Volt mobile devices to the standard RCA line level, ensuring a perfect match with any audio amplifiers and active speakers.

    The Burson Cable + instantly turns any portable device into a high-end media player. Its improvement to sound quality is instant, significant and provides improvement across the entire audio spectrum. Soundstage becomes wider and deeper. Bass notes carry weight, texture, and impact while vocal and high notes are crisp and transparent; the way music should be.

    With Cable+, your mobile device and laptop become truly hi-end media players.

Recent User Reviews

  1. bowei006
    4.0/5,
    "Want Fuller Sound? Look no further"
    Pros - More dynamic Sounding,
    Prominent Vocals and instruments,
    Great build and connector options,
    Burson Name
    Cons - Bit of extra noise,
    Was a bit finicky to set up properly,
    Only fits the equipment of some users,
    A bit overcompensated at times and could be too warm for some
    Not sure if voltage matching really did the job
    The Burson Cable+ is a device that acts as an intermediate between your Source DAC output and final amplifier. It is marketed to match the voltages between them so that the two are matched more evenly through using Burson’s custom V5i audio module as a buffer.

    I wish to thank Burson for offering this to me as a review unit.

    You can choose to outfit the Cable+ with multiple combinations of input and output termination standards; RCA or 3.5mm are the choices available. This means that three total options are available depending on your needs. All units come with a micro USB cable and USB wall plug to provide 5V power.

    Build:

    The main body of the Cable+ is a beautiful block of machined aluminum. It is sturdy without any abnormal signs of free play where the cables exit from the unit. The bottom case section also looks to be a near exact fit to the top unit. These are aspects that impressed me due to the precision required to produce.

    Usability:

    The Cable+ looks deceptively simple. It’s two simple AUX connectors with a USB connector right? Despite its simple I/O, using it is restricted to those with separate DAC and Amplification units that also sport the proper connectors. Users with All-in-One setups or without the right prerequisites for using it are going to be left out. It’s a simple idea but I was surprised by how many devices I had to rule out from my collection. I was left with about 2-3 combinations I could use with the Cable+ out of tens of devices.

    Another use aspect that may not stand out at first is power requirements and cable noise from it. While using and moving devices around, I noticed that some of the USB cables I was using as Data/Power were introducing more noise. This happened with some units but not on others with the same cable.

    I also tested switching from using a powered USB3.0 hub to a dedicated USB wall plug to eliminate noise. My findings from this are that using a high quality genuine USB wall plug and a shielded USB cable are key. I was surprised at how many USB cables I owned that didn’t have these simple features. The included white Burson wall plug was good enough but I had slightly better results with a brand name Aukey wall plug.

    As the Cable+ will be near other units(Amp/DAC), I had problems with noise from my plethora of ‘cheap’ USB cables at my computer desktop. I had to keep my devices separate and without overlapping cables to reduce some stray noise I was getting. The noise may not have been completely from the Cable+ but possibly from my other devices, but either way I had to move stuff around.

    Testing:

    The setup I used for testing were a SABRE ES9018S as the DAC from a FiiO X7 fed from its Line-Out into the Cable+ (by 3.5mm). The Cable+ was then connected to a Project-H Amplifier (by RCA). The sound can thus be compared by connecting the DAC to the Amp directly by 3.5mm -> RCA or by using the Cable+ as the in between.

    Sound:

    The sound from the Cable+ is undeniably ‘fuller’ with what seems to be more dynamic range while using it than without. The most notable improvements to be were in the mid-range with both the vocals and instruments. Listening to artists like OneRepublic, Imagine Dragons, and Eminem which all feature prominent and strong male vocals brought out the differences that the Cable+ made. The vocals are more in front and prominent. It sounds rich and brings truth to Burson’s claims of more dynamic sounding music. It’s more natural sounding than an EQ but at the same time, may not be for those that want a colder sound. Its empowering of the mid vocal ranges could leave some dissatisfied and could be taken as over-coloration in some cases.

    What I am unsure of now is if this is due to an additional audio module (the V5i) in the Cable+ functioning as a pre-amp or the voltage matching which is the premiere functionality of the device. Either way, it improved my enjoyment of music and that is all that matters to some users.

    I liked the way my music sounded with the Cable+ and would highly recommend it to users that have split units for the DAC and Amplifier with I/O that fits the Cable+. However, it was a bit finicky to get ‘right’ for me and doesn’t fit everyone. Only a few of my units supported it properly. I also noticed slight increased amounts of noise at higher volumes while using the Cable+ than without it.

    If you’ve got the right equipment for it and want some fuller sounding music at an affordable price. I would recommend the Cable+ in those cases. Just be warned, it’s a bit finicky and could take about 30 minutes to setup, test, and repeat until you get the optimal placement and routing without extra noise.

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  2. seamon
    5.0/5,
    "The Facilitator"
    Pros - Sounds great with poor sources
    Introduction
    Burson has always been known in the audio world for their revolutionary op-amps and robust solid-state amps. My first experience with Burson dates back to the time when I was just started out in the audiophile world. I had a modest soundcard back then and after some op-amp rolling, I settled on their V5 series. In my opinion, they are some of the best performing op-amps in the world. When they announced the Cable+, it piqued my interest and now finally I am able to review one.
    20170607_213350.jpg
    The Burson Cable+ is an active wire which serves as a pre-amp utilizing one of their esteemed V5i op-amp. I have had a very good experience with this particular op-amp in the past. The Cable+ is meant to be used with low quality sources to make them better.

    Equipment
    For critical reviewing, an iBasso DX200 was used as the DAC, Cavalli Liquid Carbon was used as the amp and a pair of LCD 3 headphones were used.

    PC->well shielded USB 3.1 cable->iBasso DX200->Burson Cable+/Moon Audio Silver Dragon->Cavalli Liquid Carbon->Moon Audio Silver Dragon->Audeze LCD 3F

    For additional testing, my PC and a HTC One M9 cell phone were used as sources.

    PC/HTC One M9->Burson Cable+/ Moon Audio Silver Dragon ->Cavalli Liquid Carbon->Moon Audio Silver Dragon->Audeze LCD 3F

    Volume Matching between Cable+ and Moon Audio Silver Dragon was done using a cellphone microphone.
    20170607_213249.jpg

    A Note about Noise
    I noticed quite a bit of noise induced when I first tried the Cable+ powered out of a USB port using the stock micro USB cable. However, after switching to a clean wall source using a much better micro USB cable, the background was completely black.
    20170607_213517.jpg

    Sound Impressions
    Without much further ado, let’s talk about what the Burson Cable+ does.

    The sub-bass quantity rumbling is increased by a small amount. The mid-bass is better controlled and the impact is tightened. What this does is change the bass texture a bit. This allows the listener to better separate the sub-bass from the mid-bass. In a way, you can say that the bass separation is made better. However, in higher end sources, this takes away the evenness of the bass. In lower end sources, since there wasn’t much texture to begin with, this allows the listener to have a much better experience with the bass texture.

    The mids are by far the most affected by the Cable+. The note placement of the mids are changed entirely. The mids are now placed much closer than before. The mids are now what is commonly referred to as “In your face”. Vocals are now just thrown at you. What this creates is better retrieval of details and micro-details. Since the mids are closer to you than any time before, you can now make out subtle nuances with any source. With higher end sources, it was already possible to distinguish the subtle nuances in sound so you just get the feeling of everything being closer to you. However, with lower end sources, you will almost universally hear details and micro-details better even at lower volumes.

    Next up is the soundstage. The cable+, to compensate for bringing the notes closer to you decreases the soundstage by a small amount. What it also does is create a wall at the end of the soundstage. Lingering notes no longer decay but stop abruptly. With higher end equipment, this is a clear disadvantage. However, with lower end sources you get a more well-defined soundstage and the loss in soundstage is not that noticeable.

    Tonally, the Cable+ makes the sound quite a bit warmer.
    20170607_212858.jpg

    Conclusion
    The Cable+ is great tool for making lower end sources bearable for the general audiophile. While travelling, you might not always have the means to bring along heavy high end desktop sources with you. In this scenario, the Cable+ is a great tool that can help you make music out of your phone or laptop bearable.

    The Facilitator delivers. It might make a few compromises along the way but it always delivers.
  3. Armaegis
    2.0/5,
    "very limited use case"
    Pros - potential improvement for devices with limited or compromised output capabilities
    Cons - for the most part does not offer improvement over sources with good output stages
    I have a more comprehensive review posted here:
    http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=150423

    But in summary, the Cable+ is an active buffer held back by needing a good power source (better than the one supplied). Without one, you're not doing the sound any favours. With one, it's a bit of a tossup whether you'll find improvement or not, and at that point the setup is complex enough you might as well consider adding an active preamp to your chain.

    The build quality itself is nice. Cable length is sufficient for most uses, although the supplied power cord needs to be longer.

    In the world of audiophile cables, the pricing is not ridiculous and you do get the active element which has potential benefit with sources which have weak output stages. For the general schmuck though, I'd give this pass and spend funds on upgrading the rest of my equipment first.

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