Burson Audio Cable+ Pro

General Information

Audio market is extremely diverse nowadays. Manufactures, big and small, offering best in class solutions at various price segments to satisfy the ear of an audiophile. The diversity of audio products grows just as the market of portable audio sources like phones, tablets, portable hi-res audio players, DACs. We use them for music listening and every so often plug them into our home stereo systems or car audio, we plug our sources at our friends’ homes to boast our music collection and so on. Many of such portable devices have good DAC chips but unfortunately not so good output stage due to size and components constraints such as op-amps built to a lower price point resulting in less than ideal output impedance when you try and use them with mature stereo systems. The resulting intercomponent impedance imbalance can have varying degrees of influence on the sound you hear.

Impedance matching is critical in pro-audio as well. Battery vs linear vs switching power supply designs, tube vs solid-state designs, discrete vs IC designs. Each has very different output impedance. This variety results in widespread impedance mismatch and it often exists between the source component and the preamp or integrated amplifier.

Burson Audio Cable+ Pro active interconnection cable with fully discrete V5 Audio Module makes the output impedance of a source equal to the input impedance of the amplifier to which it is ultimately connected.

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Latest reviews

Slim1970

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Improved dynamics
Improved musical presence and tone
Heighten Volume
Improved imaging
A more engaging sound
Musical details are unleashed
Cons: Absolutely needs to be powered to work
Not very mobile
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Bhav from Burson Audio. I'm not affiliated with Burson Audio in any way. It was provided only to get an honest review.

I’m fairly new to the world of headphones and this is my first official review of any component. The version of the Burson Cable I be reviewing is the Cable+ Pro R2R (RCA to RCA). I’m using the Chord Hugo 2 as my DAC feeding my iFi Pro iCan headphone amp. The headphones I’m using for this review is the Hifiman HE1000 V2’s due to their ultra-transparency and detail retrieval. My hopes in using this combo is to discern any change in my audio chain that I haven’t heard before. My normal interconnect cable is the Kimber Kable GQ-Mini AG. I also have my laptop going into the iFi Audio Micro USB 3.0 which eliminates any noise. My music source is TIDAL.


Packaging…..

The Cable+ Pro comes in a basic plastic locking case. It’s sealed and very secure. On the cover you get where the cable is made and type of cable you’re getting. You also get where to register your cable for warranty coverage and the length of the warranty.

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On the inside you get the Cable+ Pro, a USB-A to Micro USB-B, and a charger. It’s everything you need to get the cable working. This is not how the cable comes packaged. I had removed the contents in order to review it and placed them back in so that everyone can get an idea of what's included.

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About the Cable…..

Burson has designed this cable to eliminate impedance mismatching. To make it as simple as possible that is taking the output impedance of any source and making it equal to the input impedance of any amplifier. It sounds simple but Burson has put a lot of engineering into this cable. Here’s a look at the internals from Burson’s site:

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The Cable+ Pro acts as an audio buffer in your music chain and I couldn’t detect any signal or sound delay while using the cable. The Cable+ Pro is an active cable meaning you need to power the cable in order to reap its stated benefits. Quoting Burson those benefits are:

Once the Cable+ is in place, sonic details once lost, will be fully reproduced to create a complete experience. Play familiar – very familiar – material, and you will hear the finest details fully resolved, while the fundamentals take on a new level of life and solidity. That “harsh digital sound” replaced by a wider and more three-dimensional soundstage.

After some listening I can hear a difference.

Sound…..

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I have to be honest, I didn’t know what to expect with the Cable+ Pro. What I was hearing was more detail and a more open, clearer, detailed sound than I ever heard out of my system. Listening with my HE1K V2’s with the Cable+ Pro in my system I’ve never heard them sound so open, airy, and transparent. The bass was detailed, layered, and had a little more impact. The background was completely silent and my HE1K V2’s sounded more 3D like. It was amazing to hear. These improvements in my system alone makes the Cable+ Pro a worthy addition.

Another thing I wanted to note was the increase in perceived gain. Having an active cable in my system really push the sound forward. When I went back to using my Kimber Kable GQ-Mini AG the difference the Cable+ Pro was making in my system became even more obvious. The Kimber Kable GQ-Mini AG sounded a little thin. I was missing the weighty sound the Cable+ Pro added. The fullness, the added body, and the rich picture the Cable+ Pro was painting seem to go away when I switched back to my Kimber Kable GQ-Mini AG. I didn't wan to believe my Kimber Kable GQ-Mini AG could be outdone or bested but I had to give the Cable+ Pro credit. It really did perform outstanding in my system.

Conclusion…..

For $199, the Cable+ Pro does offer the discerning audio enthusiast a system tweak for the better. Once you here what the Cable+ Pro can do I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I'm giving the Cable+ Pro a 5 out of 5. Great job Burson!
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timb5881

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Can improve sound between mismatched devices, improves micro detail and dynamics
Cons: Maybe the price, but I feel it is fairly priced.
First let me point out, I have no vested financial investment in Burson in any way. These are my personal views and opinions on this cable.. The cable is on loan to me by Bhavneet of Burson Audio.

Pros: build quality, improves system matching, adds little to no coloration to the sound.

Cons: to some it may be the price, but I feel they are fairly priced.

Build: These are very well made cables. Not a skimpy hair thin cable like most portable gear cables are. The RCA end are solid, and fit nice, no wobble, and not so tight that you have to force them in. The 1/8" jack is also solid, and in no way feels weak or loose. In the middle, the Burson cable has it's proprietary junction that houses V5 audio module. The module is fit tight and secure, and has an outlet to plug in the USB power supply. It has a very elegant blue LED lamp to indicate it is powered on. All in all, a very nice quality build.

Use: The cable itself is simple, plug the /8" jack into the source, and the 2 RCA cables in the amp (headphone, preamp, receiver etc). Other than plugging the USB power supply into a wall socket on one end, and the other into the Burson cable module.

Sound: I was not expecting any huge difference in sound at first, but I was wrong. The first initial listening session was when it came in, new out of the box. Nice clear sound with no glitches of any kind. The first setup I tried it in was with my Korg DS-DAC100m to my Koss ESP-950 headphones. If any fault is to be found, it would be with this setup. The Korg plays files from my computer, and is capable of almost all formats, 44-192 16 or 24 bit, and DSD 2.8 and 5.6. The Koss headphones are electrostatic, and will reveal a ton of detail, and can really shine on good recordings. When connected with a standard cable, I have always thought that this was the best headphone setup I have. I listened to Pink Floyd DSD of Dark Side of the Moon, copied from my SACD disc onto the computer. What the Burson Cable Plus added was, nothing bad! In other words, it was adding no distortion or frequency coloration when compared to a nice pair of silver 1/8" to 1/8" plugs. What it did add was a nice micro detail and micro dynamics to the listening experience. The Macro dynamics were excellent through both cables, with a slight edge going to the Burson cables. Mismatched impedance can cause some loss of detail and dynamics, and the Burson helps restore them between components. When I used the Burson on my modified Creek OB-11 amp, along with Monoprice M1060 planar headphones a big improvement over my 1/8" to RCA standard cable, I was beginning to believe that the M1060 was a bad match to the Creek, I was wrong. Now if I used my Sony SACD player straight into the Creek, I felt the M1060's had a very rich and big sound, but so much with a portable source. Even my vintage Adcom GD-600 multi bit DAC sounded big into the Creek and planars.
So now, with the Burson Cable Plus in the mixture, I can enjoy bigger headphones like Koss and M1060's from a portable source. With IEM phones into my Fiio M3 II, I really enjoyed the rich sound from the Fiio. The Fiio can drive the M1060's but they sound lackluster that way, not enough juice for the dynamic swings that the Fiio can do. When using my Xduoo X10, I like how they sound with IEM phones, and again not so good at driving the M1060's to their full potential. The Burson is as close to a cable with gain as there is. I should note that the Burson does slightly amplify the signal, so I had to be careful to match volumes to get a fair judgment.

Recommendation: A very worth while gain for portable devices that need to go into headphone amps or preamps. If your amp and device do not get along, sound anemic , or lack details and dynamics, the Burson Cable Plus may well be your best solution. With the 30 day money back guarantee and 2 year warranty, the only way you will loose is to not try and see if they can improve the sound of your system

Next: I like these so much that I am going to save up enough to get the RCA to RCA cables, and the 1/8" to 1/8" cables.

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SomeTechNoob

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Stellar Build, Great Sound
Cons: Expensive, Cheap Packaging, Few Accessories
First things first. I was contacted by Burson here on Head-Fi out of the blue to review their Cable+ Pro. Therefore, this cable was sent to me for free by Burson Audio, with the following request:
"All we ask in return is your honest feedback and few photos with rest of the community. "

That's a steep request if you ask me. Like my first review, the Schiit Fulla 2, I'll tell you if something sounds good to my ears or not, if it's built well or not, or if there's anything you need to know about it. I'll be straightforward, honest, and try to push aside any inherent bias. Now without further ado, let's get started with my second review on Head-Fi.

STN's Burson Audio Cable+ Pro Review

Unboxing. I'll admit, I was a bit underwhelmed with the packaging when I got the package. Which was packed in a padded envelope straight from Hong Kong, I might add. Nothing against Hong Kong, I've been there myself.

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Shrink wrap off. The plastic box is nice, but it also feels like a container that I could pick up at Daiso(for the uninitiated, basically a better dollar store).
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A quick aside - there are 2 versions of the Cable+ Pro. A2R and R2R. Don't be too confused like I was at first. R2R here does not have anything to do with a NFB R2R-11. A2R/R2R simply denotes the connector terminations. A2R is a TRS 3.5mm to dual RCA. R2R is dual RCA to dual RCA. That's it as far as I can tell.

Opening up, we see the goods. Cable+ Pro, microUSB cable, and a USB AC adapter.
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Specs of the AC Adapter if you're interested. Pretty basic 5V1A brick. Not familiar with this particular brand. Micro USB is of the older Samsung type and feels a bit on the cheaper side. Maybe I'm too used to my Monoprice ones. Nevertheless, I'm testing the cable with both the included USB cable and power supply.
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The cable itself.

Let's take a look at the connectors. The RCAs came in the package unscrewed. That's just inviting me to inspect the solder and build quality. And everything looks solid enough for my standards.
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Here's a comparison to the cable I was using before. It's from Monoprice's Premium line. Burson's selection of connectors are much nicer than the serviceable ones from Monorpice.
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Comparing the 3.5mm ends here. Burson wins again here for sure. It better have, considering the price difference. Both cables have absolutely enormous housings. Thankfully that didn't cause any issues for me.
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Let's take a look at the star of the show. This aluminum black box. It's supposed to solve impedance mismatching problems. It also boosts the voltage/loudness in my experience. It's one-way as you can see on the casing. The input on the microUSB is on the side.
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Here's the bottom. Some reminders that this is a directional cable and to wire up both ends before plugging in the connector.
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Alright, let's finally hook it up. I did the majority of testing with my Fulla 2 and Magni 2.
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It looks rather nice if you ask me. The black box is far enough down the cable to easily hide somewhere, but the cable's short enough to be manageable.
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Here's the stack. I'll note that the 3.5mm connector on the Fulla 2 fits FULLY into the port despite the size of the connector housing, which is great to see.
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After setting everything up for real and wiring it up, it appears there's a small but bright blue LED in the middle of the "+". I like light indicators, but I ended up covering up this one with tape since it disturbed me at night. The cable doesn't work without power either, so keep that in mind.
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Also, the microUSB cable makes this cable a lot less sleek and elegant. Perhaps find a new location for it?

Actual Usage.

Everything's setup. I put on my HD-6XX and plug it into the Fulla 2/Magni 2 combo, expecting nothing to change.

I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't a revolutionary new audio experience as Burson Audio might have you believe, but I like whatever they've done. The most notable change was in the bass region. I always thought the HD 6XX had a passable amount of bass, but it sounded quite different when using the Cable+ Pro. The subbass rumble I thought couldn't be produced by the HD 6XX came out on many songs. The bass digs a lot deeper and rumbles. Whether this is due to the impedance matching as advertised or simply a coloring of the sound, I have no idea. But it's made my HD 6XX a lot more fun to listen to, and I'll give it credit for that.

M1060Cs were a similar albeit less significant story. This set of planars already has decent bass response, and having the Burson Audio Cable+ Pro turned up the subbass just a notch.

I'll also note that there's no noticeable delay on the Cable+ Pro when compared to a regular cable, so if you also use your DAC/AMP while gaming like me, you should be good to go.

Conclusion.

4/5 stars on a cable? STN, you're a Burson shill.

But honestly, there isn't much to dislike about this product. The cable itself is solid no matter where you inspect it. Sure, packaging's a bit on the cheaper side and the price is pretty painful at $200. Actual negatives regarding the product though? I can't really find any besides the fact that the microUSB sticks out the side. And if that's all I have to complain about, I can't bring myself to reduce the rating any further. It's built extremely well and makes my sound more preferable over my other normal cables.

Now, am I telling you to ditch your DAC/AMP and purchase a $200 cable? Of course not. Prioritize your headphones, then your amp, then your dac. When it comes to cables, anything that isn't too cheaply made is fine with me. This cable's active component makes it an exception in my list. If you already have solid setup of headphones and source(s) and are looking for something to tweak, then take a look at the Cable+ Pro.

Got thoughts? Leave a comment, as usual. As for me, this cable will stay plugged in. I'll be back to read over this again for grammar and spelling mistakes, but until then, thanks for reading!

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