Burson Audio Supreme Sound Opamp V5i

Average User Rating:
4.38235/5,
  1. Spider fan
    5.0/5,
    "Imaging, Staging, Clarity and Detail Master"
    Pros - Airy and exciting, big full bass, nice vocals but really shines in imaging, staging, clarity and striking details
    Cons - Some people may find it fatiguing in some devices
    Work in Progress. 
     
     
    This is my mini-review of Burson Audio Supreme Sound V5i op amp.  I use it in two  devices.  First is my Matrix M-stage HPA-1 desktop amp using Tidal HiFi into a  Schiit Bifrost Uber.  The 2nd device I use it in is a portable Dap/amp the Walnut Hi-Fi V2.  My other higher priced opamps I have are the Sparkos SS3602 and the Muses 8820.  I have a handful of other inexpensive more commonly used opamps.
     
     

     
     

     
     
     

     
    I really enjoy the V5i.   It just raises the airiness, clarity and details to another level compared to my other opamps.    I never really got into home speakers but all my life I have been into car stero so Imaging and Staging has always been two of my main focuses in what I consider good sound.  Normally audio stuff never meets my hopes when I first listen.  My original plan was to install it in the Walnut which I had the Muses 8820 in and then let it burn-in the recommended 100 hours.  The V5i made my jaw drop when I stuck it in the walnut.   Width and depth of soundstage, I admit I am not good at making comparisons of but the the improvement in the imaging was kinda of shocking with the placement and air between instruments.   I dont hear that level of staging or imaging with my Sparkos or Muses opamps.   I am not saying the V5i is better than the Sparkos but I certainly enjoy the V5i more than the Muses.  The Sparkos and Muses both seem to me to lean more towards a smoother more organic presentation while the V5i seems a tad more digital with more clarity and with striking apparent detailing.   Actually, I think owning the V5i and Sparkos are a good combination.  My M-Stage, a warm amp, combined with my favorites: HD600s, VE Zen 2.0 Blacks, and Westone 4s which are all neutral to warm makes for a little of a tame presentation.  The V5i really adds some airiness, life and zest to those combinations.  If I decide to use one of my hotter and brighter items like my grados, my mojito earbuds or a few of my iems the Sparkos makes for better synergy.  I just leave the top unscrewed and I can change them out in like 2 minutes.
    peter123 likes this.
  2. newdoughboy
    4.5/5,
    "Beautifully made, and the only alternative when size matters"
    Pros - Small size, Good build quality, audiophile grade sound
    Cons - Pricey when compared to ICs, Doesn't sound as good as it's bigger brother V5
    Burson v5i in Cambridge 651p phono preamp
     
    Amplifier Stage and RIAA Stage
     
    In RIAA Stage,
    The v5i sounded very full in a right-in-your-face way. There is good detail.
     
    V5 lifted a veil, and brought the voice forward. Opens up the soundstage and takes it to a personal concert level.
     
    Simply put, if your system can fit the v5, use it. If not, then v5i for the next best thing. As you can see, I have the circuit board jacked up on it's base, and insulated with a piece of cardboard.
     
    V5 costs double that of v5i. In my opinion, well worth it.
     
    I will try to update later when it is in the Amplifier stage, and compare it to other opamps.

     

     

     

     
     
  3. bzfrank
    5.0/5,
    "Lifting the veil"
    Pros - transparency, details, neutrality, compatibility
    Cons - price, case size may still be too large for some tight packed portable devices
    This review focuses on portable devices, especially the Little Bear B4 Portable Vacuum & Valve tube headphone amplifier. I recently got my hand on a Burson v5i op amp and tried it in the B4. Executive Summary: Recommended!
     

     
     
    My test setup was using an iBasso DX90 as source, later changed it to a Shanling M1 and a Zishan DSD for DSD128 tests. My test songs (FLAC except the DSD) include the Driving Towards The Daylight (Joe  Bonamassa) album, Into the Electric Castle (Ayreon), Star One (Arjen Lucassen), Endless Forms Most Beautiful (Nightwish) and the DSD recording of Beethovens 5th (Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck, Reference Recordings). I used Music Maker TK13s IEMs, Shockwave III IEMs and Phonon SMB-02 monitors headphones. Disclosure: The v5i was provided by Burson audio for review. I certify that this review reflects my true thoughts about the v5i. I have no connections to Burson audio, beside receiving a test sample from them.
     

     
    I previously replaced the B4s stock op amp (TI NE5532) wih an OPA2107 and notice a significant improvement. The OPAs and especially the 2107 come with a likeable, but slightly 'laid back' sound signature.
     
    This changed completely when I plugged the v5i in the B4. The op amp transformed the B4 and opened up the signature, both in the areas of transparency and sound stage width. Details that previously were lost, appeared like a light was turned on. What I really like is that the v5i didn't make listing tiring, it just removed a veil that I previously didn't realize was there. Especially with the Shockwave, the wider sound stage is glorious. And at the same time it did not negatively impact on the 'tube' characteristics of the B4.
     
    As an op amp upgrade the v5i-D (for Dual) did work in anything I plugged it in. Its seems to be a quite uncritical op amp in regard to gain and voltage supply. It gets slightly warm during operation, but nothing to call home about, which makes it a good candidate for portable devices.
     
    In the Walnut V2 portable player the v5i works equally well. Please check out http://www.head-fi.org/t/828315/walnut-hi-fi-v2-wav-mp3-player-by-wt-screenless-budget-killer-combo-dap-amp/2580#post_13405139 for a detailed view.
     

     
    Sadly in the Zishan DSD I cannot try the v5i as its size (height) does not fit into the PCB sandwich. Its works (and sounds quite good) in a dry run but I cannot close the case, so I omitted the Zishan from my tests. That's also my main criticism, its still too large (for certain portable devices).
     
    Baseline: I can recommend the v5i for amp rolling of your portable device (if its fits in physically). Even a puny little cmoy will likely benefit from it.
  4. ls13coco
    4.5/5,
    "Worthy upgrade for the Little Dot 1+"
    Pros - Details, transparency, cleanliness, soundstage, imaging
    Cons - Nothing I could find, maybe the fact that it isn't a whole new amp upgrade?
    Little Dot 1+ op-amp upgrade with the Burson V5i
    Gear used
    Creative Soundblaster X7 as DAC with 2x Sparkos SS3601 single op-amps, 2x Sparkos SS3602 dual op-amps,  Hifiman HE400i, AKG K712 Pro, Fostex TH-x00 PH, Fidelio X2, Little Dot 1+ with Mullard M8100 tubes and of course the Burson V5i op-amp.
     
    Impressions
    The LD1+ was already using a different op-amp, the dual op-amp that I swapped out of the Creative X7 was being used which already made for a clear upgrade from stock. The X7 op-amp upgrade seemed to give the sound a more neutral signature, while also lowering the noise floor with the LD1+.
    Because of this, I wasn't expecting to have as noticable of an improvement with swapping in the Burson V5i, but I was happily mistaken.
    The differences aren't as large as swapping all for out of my X7, but they were immediate. The LD1+ is not by any means an expensive tube-amp (well, maybe to those who don't use these forums!) However, the sound didn't improve in one area - it was improved all around, while retaining the neutrality I noticed with the X7 op-amp upgrade.
    Details, transparency, cleanliness, soundstage, imaging, and a blacker background were all improvements I could notice on all of my headphones. Some more than others, such as the K712 Pro and HE400i seeing as these are harder to drive headphones I could only assume.
    The Fidelio X2 still had some background fuzz when the volumes were at pub-style band performance levels but this is a reasonably low impedance, easy to drive headphone.
    I'd also like to point out exactly what I mean by "cleanliness" because this was a very appreciated change.
    I like to EQ, some are are against this, I am not. For example: for the X2 or TH-x00 I will EQ in a little bit of mids, and I will EQ some low-end into all of my headphones.
    The LD1+ with the warm, buttery mullard M8100 tubes would become syrupy sounding while running high levels of bass (only as high as what the X7 as my amp would reproduce cleanly).
    Now with the V5i op-amp, the bass was no longer thick and syrupy sounding, so creds for this.
    Overall, this is an upgrade I could easily recommend if you are a owner of the Little Dot 1+ and want to go a little farther with your amp, without shelling out for a whole new tube amp.
    I have not used the V5 to compare, but the V5i having a smaller footprint is a positive in this case as closing the LD1+ with the backplate remains possible.
  5. uncola
    4.5/5,
    "Adds the life back to music"
    Pros - Exciting and dynamic sound
    Cons - had to use 10db gain instead of 20db in my lehmann amp
    I was lent two trial v5i opamps to test out for my honest impressions and here they are:
    I used the v5i in my hattor preamp with speakers and with my lehmann headphone amp in a vinshine audio dac-r2r-ref dac/amp.
    Replacing the Burson V5 opamps with v5i in my opamp didn't yield much perceptible change, they share a sound signature so sounded extremely similar with the fully discrete V5 edging out the V5i in blackness of background.  
     
    Replacing the stock TI opa2134pa opamp with the v5i in my lehmann headphone amp yielded night and day dramatic differences.  The stock 2134pa has a super neutral and clinical sound, not emphasizing any particular aspect of the music and doing a good job of being a very low noise and distortion free baseline, probably making it good for pro audio applications.  When I installed the v5i I immediately noticed a change in sound signature in a different direction.  The v5i presents a more dynamic "fun" type of amplification.  Subjectively it has a W sound signature, being the opposite of boring neutrality yet not emphasizing a single frequency range.  It seems to emphasize treble, mids and bass to bring the music to you for a front row seat near the stage in a small club type experience.  The 2134 was more like listening to studio monitors while the band played on the other side of a glass window.  The change was definitely complementary to my HD800 headphones which while extremely detailed, especially in treble and soundstage, don't have the most impactful bass or mids.  
     
    TLDR summary:  major upgrade for any headphone amp!  close enough to the V5 that I'd just get v5i if they fit better
     
    Here's a pic of a v5 and v5i in my preamp to demonstrate their size difference
     

    equipment used to compare:  Vinshine Audio Dac-r2r-ref dac and lehmann type headphone amp  https://www.vinshineaudio.com/product-page/dac-r2r-ref
    Hattor Small Active Balanced Preamplifier http://hattor.com/
    snellemin likes this.
  6. raoultrifan
    4.0/5,
    "A worthy upgrade for most opamp rollers out there"
    Pros - Soundstage, clarity, pleasant tonality, quality, design, metallic shielded case
    Cons - Size, compatibility, max. voltage
    Hello,
     
    Thanks to Charles from BURSON I've done some tests with my ASUS Essence One MUSES BURSON MKii DAC by upgrading existing opamps with V5i received recently from BURSON (thank you BURSON for providing me the chance to make this test).
    - WASAPI was used instead of ASIO (don't trust ASIO for this test)
     
    Music used for the tests:
    - ATB
    - Kenny G.
    - Best of Chesky
    - Head-Fi And HDtracks
    - Ultimate Demo Disk
     
    Headphones used for the tests:
    - AKG K701
    - AKG K550
    - Beyerdynamic DT880/600ohms
    - Grado SR60i with L-cushion
    - Apple/Beats Solo2
     
    Results:
    - When using 2 x V5i in Low Pass Filter and 2 x V5i in Voltage Amplification Stage (from headphone amplifier) difference was noticed from the very first second:
    1.   first impression was like volume is louder than before (which is not, measured three times with my scope and with RMS-multimeter)
    2.   stage is larger and layering is better
    3.   bass seems a bit more "rounded", with better definition, a good improvement for "bass shy" headphones (ATB bass and imaging can really shine with V5i opamps!)
    4.   Kenny G.'s saxophone stands out a bit more with V5i and layering is way better, same I can say about staging/imaging
     
    The V5i dual op-amps could be also used in output buffers too with great success; I couldn't find a real difference to talk about here, although it's been a small difference in sound tonality that can't explain it very well (nice pleasant warm sound).
     
    There was no overheating for V5i, actually when used in the output buffers and in the gain stage V5i were barely warm to touch. When used in low-pass filter stage the V5i were about the same temperature as by MUSES01 from the I/V stage are (a bit over 45C with case open).
     
    I've also attached some pictures to reflect that using V5i opamps in LPF, VAS and also in output buffers is not inducing any oscillations or odd harmonics (tough I don't have access to Audio Precision equipment, I've used a decent scope to test this). Screenshots where taken while using my PicoScope 2204A connected to MacBook Pro laptop with default probe connected to Essence One headphones output, -3dB test signals and volume button to about 10 o'clock.
     
    No oscillations up to 10 MHz bandwidth while 1 KHz signal applied
    20 Hz applied, 24 KHz bandwidth, no strange harmonics occurs
      
    1 KHz applied, 24 KHz bandwidth, no strange harmonics occurs
    20 KHz applied, 24 KHz bandwidth, no strange harmonics occurs
      
    Those V5i solid-state opamps are looking so beautiful!

     
    PROS:
    - Soundstage
    - Sound neutrality
    - Brings more details upfront
    - The outside metallic case acts like a EMI/RFI shield (for the SS V5 opamps you needed to purchase additional copper foils and ground it separately, but that's not the case for the V5i opamps)
     
    NEUTRALS:
    - Size is a bit bigger than a regular DIP8 opamp and may not fit everywhere.
    - It would be great for BURSON to create these opamps for devices having +/-18V on the rails. Right now V5i are designed with +/-16V in mind, but a native V5i able to be powered from +/-18 would be great if we could all have it in the future (like the older SS V4 that can be powered up to +/-20V).
     
    CONS:
    - May not be compatible with all devices out there, some people reported on Head-Fi some hiss/noise issues when used in voltage amplification stage. This happened to me with Matrix HPA-3B when using gain of +5dB, though when using +10dB or +20dB the V5i were shining and singing with great soundstage and lot of details. So, dropping one star because of that.
     
    Regards and happy modding, 
    Raul.
  7. gr8soundz
    4.5/5,
    "A Sound Supreme (for it's size)"
    Pros - Impressive sound, smaller and less expensive than other custom opamps
    Cons - May be addictive!

    Thanks to Charles at Burson Audio for the opportunity to try their latest V5i SS (Supreme Sound) opamps with my Asus Xonar Essence ST PCI sound card. I received the opamps in exchange for my honest opinion and review. I am not affiliated with Burson Audio and my opinions are not necessarily theirs. My experience and conclusions may differ from those of other users.
     
     
    DAMN RIGHT, I'M AN AUDIOPHILE......
    Too often, when I read reviews, some writers aren’t quite sure if they ‘qualify’ as an audiophile. As if there’s some unwritten path toward making the claim and that, before expressing their opinions, they must (for unknown reasons) firmly state whether they are or aren’t one.
     
    To me, being an audiophile simply means I’ve cared about audio quality long enough to have regularly done something about it. It doesn’t mean I have to be an audio engineer or understand (or be able to perfectly explain) everything about sound. Rather, I have more than an overnight insight into my own audible tastes and realize that others may not exactly enjoy what is flavorful to me. Also, how much you can spend and what’s in your collection isn’t the point (at least it shouldn’t be).
     
     
    MY AUDIOPHILE JOURNEY (the short version):
    Many years ago I started with an Aiwa ‘Super-Bass’ walkman. It was the only one I could afford with both a 3-band equalizer and Dolby (B) noise reduction. I always insisted on original cassettes or dubs made to metal type (CrO2) Maxell or TDK tapes.
     
    Next up were finally CDs, followed by MiniDiscs and (sadly) MP3s. I spent countless hours ripping CDs to variable bit rates in EAC just to fit more files on DAPs with miniscule storage. Moved on to WAVs but now use mostly FLAC after weeks of re-ripping my entire CD collection.
     
    Most recent is my current two (plus) year stint on Head-fi after quietly dabbling in HTPCs. 
     
    AUDIO PREFERENCES:
    I started out listening to hip-hop, classic R&B, and accapella music but mostly listen to jazz and soul nowadays. I gravitate toward pianos, guitars, horn sections, and dynamic vocals. I prefer detailed, full-bodied, non-fatiguing sound and no longer consider myself a basshead (at least not since my Public Enemy years).
     
    THE WHY AND HOW:
    Before Charles at Burson contacted me, I was already in the process of moving my Essence ST to a newer computer. The card being PCI limited new motherboard choices and I’d refused to buy an STX II just for the pcie connector. So I settled on my older i3 machine and eventually installed an audiophile Linux distro to pair with my Vali. Should be fun explaining to people I’m running Snakeoil-OS (inside a snail; see pic below) with an Essence card and a Schiit amp.
     
    No audiophile is ever fully content. Somewhere out there is a guy with an Orpheus II and MSB dac wondering what he’ll change next. Why swap opamps is like asking a racer why he wants his car to go another second a lap faster. Tweaks come with the territory. If you can get more out of equipment you already own why not? It’s certainly cheaper than a full upgrade.
     

    V5i Dual opamps; $39 each or two for $69. More info here: https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/supreme-sound-opamp-v5i/
     
    The Bursons arrived nicely packaged inside plastic snap cases, each opamp secure within firm foam cut-outs. A nice touch after receiving some poorly packaged (bubble wrapped in an envelope) opamps from another manufacturer where the pins were bent.
     

     
    I began with a fresh install of the ST on my test bench to use for the entirety of this review. The volume was set to a comfortable level and remained there for after the swap. I listened mostly though my Oppo PM-3 direct to the card’s rear 6.3mm headphone out. The PM-3 are very neutral headphones and their closed, more isolated nature makes them great for these types of comparisons. It’s difficult to get a firm baseline due to how long it takes to properly swap opamps but I listened to the fully stock card for about an hour before the switch.

    HARDWARE USED:
    test bench with dual-core AMD FM2 cpu with 8GB of RAM
    Oppo PM-3
    Sennheiser HD 598
    Beyerdynamic T1 2nd Gen.
     
    SOFTWARE USED:
    Windows 10 64-bit
    Foobar 2000 v1.3.10
    Fidelizer 7.4
     
    DRIVERS and SETTINGS:
    v1.80 low latency UNi Xonar drivers from maxedtech.com
    Foobar output set to ASIO, no EQ and DSP off
    Asus Essence ST headphone output set to High Gain in the Xonar Audio Center
     
    TEST TRACKS:
    Seal - 7  (16/44 FLAC; a good recent Trevor Horn production)
    Stevie Wonder - Innervisions (Hi-Res 24/88 FLAC; an all-time classic)
    iFi Burn in Signal
     
     
    THE CARD AND THE SWAP:
    The Essence ST’s outputs use all three of it’s swappable, dual opamps. You can choose to replace only the two JRCs and/or the one TI for a mixture of customizations. I opted to swap all three and hear the maximum influence of the V5i-D on the card’s output.
     

     
    The Bursons are quite a bit taller and wider than stock opamps. I didn’t measure them but specs show dimensions of 11x11x7.3mm (although I’ve seen actual measurements closer to 13mm wide; the metal caps appear to be pressed/punched from a die so that may explain any variances). Removing the card’s dual JRC 2114D opamps, they popped out of the ST more easily than I expected. The two V5i-D op-amps fit firmly and snuggly in their place with a millimeter to spare on most sides. Next, I replaced the lone TI LM4562NA. This time, however, the V5i-D was about a millimeter too wide to clear the surrounding J400 capacitors. With a gentle, outward flexing (not bending) of the capacitors, the last one fit tightly in place. Thankfully, the fully seated Bursons were no taller than even the largest caps rising up from the card’s pcb board. This allowed me to reinstall the (desired) EM shield without worry as there was enough clearance to ensure the metal caps don’t come in contact with it (don’t want anything to short out and possibly cause damage).
     

     
    After the swap I played a test track to ensure everything worked. I had to reduce the volume roughly 1dB (according to Foobar’s meter which I’d been using) back to a comfortable level so the output may have been a bit louder with the V5i. I also had to increase ASIO latency by 10-20ms to get rid of some intermittent crackling/popping noises. The V5i can handle (and likely uses) more juice than stock opamps but I didn’t modify the card’s power section in any way. Although not required, Burson’s site does have instructions on how to this after burn-in for more stable power at extremes.
     
     
    HOW DOES IT SOUND:
    Impressive. I could immediately hear how much wider the soundstage had become and how much cleaner the bass was. The PM-3 isn’t known for having a wide soundstage which made the change that much more apparent. Vocals and midrange sounded much the same except for a bit more extension on brighter instruments. Placement was also easier to discern due to the increased width. I had no issue with bass output prior to the swap but, on occasion with the stock opamps, bass heavy tracks could sound a bit overblown. I’ve gotten to know the ST’s mostly clear, neutral sound signature well and had come to expect those rare impacts. However, with the V5i installed, each low-end kick (no matter how deep) was audibly clearer. I had also read multiple impressions about the V5i saying they reduced bass compared to other opamps. Perhaps I was pre-biased into expecting this trend but I don’t agree. If well controlled and well extended bass means less compared to edgy, occasionally excessive bass then I’ll take the former. However, I doubt any of that will appease bassheads.
     
    I then proceeded to burn-in the new opamps for roughly 100 hours. By my ears, the changes were still as pronounced. With so many hours in between, it is difficult to say if any further improvements surfaced although the card’s output remained stable. However, I can't imagine going back to stock opamps after using the V5i. The extra soundstage and additional clarity are truly addictive.
     
     
    ADDITIONAL PAIRINGS:
    With the HD 598 changes were much the same. The wider soundstage was still noticeable but had less impact on an already wide, open back like the 598. However, being a bass light headphone, there was less overall impact on the low end than before.
     
    Next I tried my T1.2 on extra high gain out of the ST. With all three Bursons installed, the sound output was still superbly clear, wide, and stable. Not the most likely pairing but the Essence ST remained more than capable of driving the T1.2 with lots of volume to spare. Obviously a bit thin sounding but not fatiguing; a better combo than I expected.
     
     
    THE BAD:
    The only downside of this endeavor is having too many devices capable of using the V5i. With multiple cards and amps that are compatible, I don’t have nearly enough Bursons. Don’t know how I’ll be able to rip them from my ST nor decide which devices they’ll remain in. Had I not purchased those other opamps just days before Charles contacted me, I’d have enough funds to actually buy more of these little guys. Burson Audio have created what equates to little silver nuggets of audiophile crack that I now need more of! I’ve found myself rechecking the internals of every audio device I own to see how many and where I can fit them. (Maybe this is how they get us hooked by offering them for review?). For now I’ll have to wait, but will definitely get more of these.
     
     
    VERSUS:
    For a quick comparison, I also have a couple of Sparkos Labs SS3602 opamps. They are roughly twice the price and doubly wide as each Burson. A little taller too (either the emi shield stays off or spacers might work). To me (again, it is hard to directly compare these guys due to the time and variables involved in swapping), the Sparkos’ soundstage is a bit wider than the V5i, the level of bass isn’t as reduced, and the output level may be a touch stronger. However, the SS3062 isn’t as clean sounding as the V5i. Direct from a card’s headphone jack, those differences are more a matter of preference (especially depending on the headphones) but, going into an external amp, the cleaner output may have a greater impact (depending on the amp). Also, for smaller devices, the V5i may be the only choice (although they won't fit inside everything).
     
    Burson Audio also makes the original V5 which is among the tallest opamps I know of. The V5 are closer in price to the Sparkos but now, after becoming addicted to the smaller ‘i’ version, I’m more afraid than ever for my wallet should I get to try them.
     
     
    CONCLUSION:
    Overall, with the Burson V5i, the Essence ST maintains it's neutrality yet sounds even clearer, wider, and has more extension on both ends of the audible spectrum. The ST is a very capable card stock but, with the V5i installed, I once again felt I could listen for hours without the need for an amp. In the end, the V5i are among the smaller (easier to fit) and more affordable custom opamps available yet they perform impressively.
     
     

    The Asus ST (with V5i) in it's newest home.....
    peter123, snellemin and neog007 like this.
  8. gwompki
    3.5/5,
    "THE Opamp for electric guitar!"
    Pros - The gold standard for rock music, extremely sturdy construction.
    Cons - Price, occasionally a tad too warm.
    Background
    The V5i was sent to me by Charles at Burson Audio.  I was contacted due to my participation on the Little Bear B4 thread located here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/626237/portable-tube-amp-from-china.
    I was asked if I would be willing to write a review and provide my honest feedback which is what I intend to do here.  I have told Charles that I am reviewing this item with the understanding that it is still Burson Audio's property and can be returned at any time.  I'm extremely thankful to Burson for letting me participate in this process.  I honestly would have considered the V5i out of my price range  despite how badly I wanted to try it.
     
    A quick bit of background on me.  I'm a lifelong music fanatic and have been seriously collecting records since I was about 16 (20 years ago), but have only started paying attention to the equipment I listen to music on in the past two years. I would consider myself a very budget conscious audiophile who likes building and modifying both amplifiers and headphones.  I do not have any real measuring equipment, so all impressions are based solely on my listening experience.
     
    Also please note this is my first official review so go easy on me so I'm sure there will be some amateur mistakes.
     
    Product
    This is by far the best and most protective packaging I have ever seen for an opamp (OK not really an opamp in the strictest sense of the word, but you know what I mean).
     

     

     

     
    Test Setup
    For this particular review I performed all of my listening tests on the very budget friendly Little Bear B4 amp in tandem with the VE Zen 2.0 ear buds.  I decided to base my review on a comparison of the V5i to that of the MUSES02.  Since these two are both in relatively the same ballpark price wise (approximately 40 USD) I felt this a better and more useful comparison than comparing to standard opamps such as the NE5532 or LM4562.  I did some A/B testing with those as well and the differences were so stark compared to the V5i that I'm not sure they are worth mentioning in this review.  The V5i bested them in every conceivable way.

     

     
     

     
    In order to perform this comparison as fairly as possible, I listened to a track with one opamp and then the same track immediately after with the other. I realize this is not the most accurate or scientific way to perform this type of listening test due to the one minute gap between listening to each opamp.  However,  it was the best I had to work with since I don't own two of the same amp.
     
    Impressions
    My musical tastes tend to lean towards the punk and metal end of the spectrum but I made sure to include classical, jazz, folk, country, indie and just straight up rock in my listening tests.

    When it comes to almost any type of rock music, I have found the V5i to outshine the MUSES02 in most every regard.  In my rock based test tracks, the presence of all of the instruments increased tremendously.  The mids were brought front and center.  The low end became slightly more pronounced but not in any sort of unpleasant way.  The soundstage seemed to be accurate or perhaps  slightly narrower.    On Neurosis' "Times of Grace," the V5i really brought out Steve Albini's masterful recording of drums. Listening to Earth's "The Bees Made Honey in the Lions Skull" was a real treat.  The sense of desolation became very real as the whole soundscape opened up and yet the instruments lost nothing.  These same tracks with the MUSES02 were less impactful, distant and relatively cold.  I think this is largely due to how well the V5i reproduces the sound of an electric guitar.  Simply gorgeous.
     
    That said, with acoustic and classical tracks I feel like the Burson is perhaps not quite as refined.  Sure the MUSES02 seems a little colder but with the addition of a sense of airiness and wider sound stage.  The dynamics of the Revenant soundtrack with both the MUSES02 and the Burson are extremely impressive but the MUSES02 comes out on top.
     
    With jazz I would say it's almost a toss up.  I tested with some "Bitches Brew" era Miles, Coltrane "Live at the Village Vanguard" and Kamasi Washington's "Epic".  The Miles and Kamasi records were stellar with the V5i while the Coltrane record was best with the MUSES02.
     
    Conclusion
    In summary, the V5i is a great pick.  It's a solid performer and is built like a tank.  It is so easy to take this thing in and out of an opamp socket without fear of bending one of the legs like on a standard opamp.  It is a very solid upgrade over any of the cheaper opamps that typically come in less expensive headphone amps.  It is a tougher call against the MUSES2,  but the chance of getting a fake Burson are slim to none where as counterfeit Muses are fairly common unfortunately. 
     
    Overall the V5i has an extremely satisfying sound that just wants to reach out and hug you (or perhaps slap you depending on how aggressive your music is).
     

    vapman and golov17 like this.
  9. Lickumms
    4.5/5,
    "Fantastic Clarity In A Little Package "
    Pros - Size, Clarity, Separation, Price
    Cons - Size, Not for people looking for a warm sound
    A quick disclaimer:
     
    I received a review sample of the Burson Audio Supreme Sound Opamp V5i in exchange for my opinion on it. No other compensation was offered or implied. This is also my first review so hopefully I am able to properly articulate my thoughts for the V5i.
    At the time of this review the 1x V5i Dual is selling for $39 + shipping. https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/supreme-sound-opamp-v5i/
    Big thanks to Burson for sending me this review sample!
    This will kind of be a comparison of the OPA1612 to the Burson V5i.
     
    Packaging:
     
    I ordered a single V5i Dual from Burson. It took about 3 weeks to get to me and arrived in a small bubble mailer from China, which is on par with most items that I order from China. Which is fine. The opamp its self was inside a small plastic case filled with foam. So there are no worries of it being damaged during shipping and the case will come in handy for keeping track of the opamp(s) you replace. All-in-all, a good first impression.
     

     
     
     
    Set up:
     
    Foobar>xDuoo XD-05>Alpha Primes
     
    Pleas ignore Mr. Blooby. My brother got him for me while he was in England.

     
     
    For my testing I ended up using my xDuoo XD-05 and my MrSpeakers Alpha Primes. I choose the XD-05 because it had the easiest opamp to replace. All you need is a T4 Torx Screwdriver. I used this one in case you were wondering: https://www.amazon.com/Wiha-96704-Screwdriver-Precision-Handle/dp/B000T9XPTK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1479086410&sr=8-3&keywords=torx+t4+screwdriver  but any T4 will get the job done.
     
    I decided to use the Alpha Primes for the sound portion of the testing because they are probably the most accurate headphones I own.
     
    Installation/ Design:
     
    As far a design goes the V5i is a well built little opamp. It is larger than the stock opamp that came in the XD-05.
     

     
     
    Its size should posse no real problem if it is used in a non-portable device.  
     
    The installation of the V5i in the XD-05 did pose a minor problems. The V5i has slightly more girth than the stock OPA1612 that came in the XD-05. So to properly install the V5i I had to bend a few of the capacitors near the opamp socket out of the way(see the pictures).
     

     
     
    So long as you are careful and do not bend them too far you will be able to get the V5i in with no problems.
     
     
    Sound:
     
    Now we come to the main purpose of this review. The sound. I will try my best to explain the sound signature for the amp with my, relatively new, audio vocabulary. I will break it down by Highs, Sound stage, imaging,  Lows and instrument separation. So bear with me and if anything doesn’t make sense I apologize in advance.
     
    -Highs:
     
    For testing the highs I decided to mainly use the song Cowboy Bebop - Spokey Donkey(Alternative Take).
    I found the highs on the V5i to be incredibly clean, crisp and bright. Though during the more intense portions of the Harmonica solo the opamp could come off as a tiny bit sibilant to those with a sensitivity to sibilance. It never quite made to sibilance for me but it was very close. Overall I found the highs to be vastly improved in both quality and crispness compared to the stock OPA.   
     
    -Lows:
     
    For testing the lows I ended up mostly using the song Run the Jewels, El-P – Run the Jewels.
    The low end reach and reproduction on the V5i is incredible. The bass never bleed into the mids and never lost any of it cleanness. The sub bass was always powerful, tight and never sloppy. Compared to the laidback sound for the OPA the V5i truly gave an incredible accuracy to the bass.
     
    -Instrument Separation:
     
    For testing the separation I found Beck - Missing to be the best.
    The V5i did incredible. Everything had its place and nothing overlapped. I was able to pick out every instrument. The OPA gave, what I would call, a slightly more musical sound with its warmth and slight blending of the instruments.  
     
    -Soundstage and Imaging:
     
    For testing the soundstage I ended up listening to classical music and the Ni No Kuni Sound track.
    This is where I found the V5i to fall a little short. While it was still able to give a decent sound stage it was never able to really give the feeling of listening to a live orchestra. Things felt a little cramp, pushed forward or towards you. Nothing overlapped but still felt small. It did, however, do very well at imaging. I was able to track sounds with great accuracy as they moved across my head and from the drivers to my ears. The OPA did provide a slightly larger soundstage but was a tiny bit worse at imaging compared to the V5i.  
     
    Final thoughts:
     
    -Will it work in all devices?
     
    No, it is a little too large to work in smaller portable devices and any device that has a lack of space around the opamp socket.
     
    -Is it better than the OPA?
     
    In technicality?
     
    Yes.
     
    In listening enjoyment?
     
    Maybe, depends what you like. If you like cleaness and accuracy? Yes. If you like laid back and warm? No.
     
    -Do I think it is worth it?
     
    Yes, unless you prefer a warmer sound. It is a great, technically accurate, opamp for the low price of $39. It will be a great improvement to just about any device you own.
     
     
    I would like to thank Burson again for giving me the opportunity to do a review of the V5i and thank you, the reader, for… well... reading my ramblings.
     
    -Best,
    Lickumms
  10. ph0n6
    4.5/5,
    "Size and performance!"
    Pros - Relatively small, really good sounds.
    Cons - Still bigger than monolith IC, Not eaxctly buffer friendly (check the final notes, especially for fellow iBasso P5 users :) )

    1) Disclaimer:

    A big thanks to Charles and Burson for offering me a review sample of the V5i dual op-amps in exchange for my honest opinion on them. No other compensation was offered or implied. I'm not affiliated with Burson.

    2) Sounds:

    There are many reviews out there that list out the packaging, size, functionality of the opamp so if you want to know of such thing, kindly check out their reviews and the few pictures I posted below. (it fits perfectly on my iBasso P5).

     
     
    I wasn't able to do ABX blind testing so the review is highly subjected to humans errors. Takes my impressions with a grain of salt.
     

    Evaluation chain: Audirvana plus -> JDS Odac rev.b w/ Hifime USB Isolator -> iBasso P5 w/ PS(dummy grounds, stacked BUF634). The opamp was burned in for about 150hrs before reviewing.

     

    Test album: Rebecca Pidgeon: The Raven

                       Art Blakely, Dr. John, David "Fathead" Newman: Bluesiana Triangle

                       Eva Cassidy: Lives at Blue Alley

                       Keith Richards: Main Offender

                       Jordi Savall: La Folia

                       Orff: Carmina Burana
                       Carol Kidd: Carol Kidd

                       Jesse Cook: Gravity
                       Jerome Harris Quintet: Rendezvous: The Jerome Harris Quintet Plays Jazz

     

    Comparision:

    Vs the OPA627AP:

    Overall the V5i to me is an improvement over the 627AP even though they carry different sound signature (forwading, energetic vs laid-back, soft sounding). The most noticable improvement is in Layering , airiness, detail and transient response. In complex album like La Folia, all the improvement really shines: cascabels, guitar, triple harp, percussion, even the hum of the musician can be heard distinctively while on the 627 some of them maybe masked in the interweave of instruments. Also the V5i seems to lift off the notorious veil of the 627, which could be good or bad depends on one's taste. For example in the Rendezvous album, the 627 could make the trombone sounds more rounded and less offensive (the trombone here is quite hard to listen to because of how shouty it is, though it is a good test for colouration); but on some already quite lush one like Carol Kidd the veiled vocal could make the sounds a bit too smooth (at least for my taste).

    Vs the SS3602:

    Unsurprisingly, given the larger size (and price) of the SS3602, I would say the SS3602 take this rounds (I would say the V5 is more appropriate comparision, but I don't have one so....). Anyway the sound signature of both opamp is quite similar, so the main difference is in their technicality. The main improvement of the SS3602 is dynamics, soundstage, detail and layering. In huge soundstage album like Carmina Burana, with the SS3602, I can really feels the depth and height of the hall, the layering of the voice in massed Chorus and instrument of the Orchestra with the huge dynamic range of the whole ensemble. The V5i, while being quite decent, just couldn't convey the expansiveness of this album due to its somewhat limited depth and height (it does have good width though). On the other hand, on albums that are not recorded in huge stage like The Raven, Main Offender the results are pretty close. The non-overtly tuned vocal of Rebecca; the tight drum kicks, growls of guitar and crispy cymbals of Keith Richards album are all well done by both.
     

    3) Summary:

    In conclusion, I'm quite impressed at what Burson have achieved with the V5i. It sits perfectly at the mid-range: bigger than monolithic opamps, smaller than most discrete one, more expensive than most IC opamp (other than the MUSES series which I unfortunately haven't have the chance to test) but cheaper than most TOTL discreet (39$ vs 79$), and sounds really good as an in-between. Highly recommended.
     

     

    4) Some notes for fellows iBasso P5 users:

    I read others reviews and see that no one have compability problems with the V5i, but my experience with it isn't all rosy. The V5i is quite picky with the buffers. Of all the combinations I tried only the following works: normal BUF634, Stacked 2x normal BUF634 with Bypass adapter on top, High-Bandwidth BUF634. Any other combinations either introduces highpitch noise (oscillating opamp?) or White noise (voltage drop?). I have no trouble with other opamps, and the V5i sounds quite normal with the correct buffer so I don't think anything is defective.
    raoultrifan and B9Scrambler like this.