Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Microphone input, parallel outputs, lots of power, op-amp rolling, PC bay compatible, small form factor, simple interface, quality components, Alps volume potentiometer, 5-year warranty
Cons: High output impedance, really bright blue front light
Video Review:

0:00 - Start
0:17 - Disclaimers
0:28 - LED indicator
0:55 - Front panel overview
1:58 - Back panel overview
2:41 - PC case rail mount system and usage
3:51 - Case cover removal
4:08 - Internal components of the amplifier
4:28 - Max Current Power Supply
4:56 - User-replaceable op-amps
5:53 - Types of op-amps the Fun uses
7:05 - Part 2 of the review
7:22 - Power output
8:06 - Headphones used for testing
8:28 - Amp-headphone pairings
9:06 - Output impedance and its effect on headphones
9:43 - Sound overview disclaimers
9:58 - Instrument separation
10:34 - Soundstage
11:17 - Tonality
11:39 - Bass
12:23 - Lower-midrange/midrange
12:37 - Upper-midrange
13:40 - Treble
13:52 - Fun versus RME ADI-2 DAC
14:16 - Overall sonic impressions
14:55 - Final recommendations
16:22 - Amp options in this price range
17:05 - Stay tuned for Part 2

0:00 - Burson Audio V6 op-amp options 1:33 - Op-amp installation 2:12 - V6 op-amp features 2:55 - V6 op-amp orientation upon installation 3:08 - Stock op-amp versus V6 Vivid sound 3:33 - Bass 3:56 - Treble and upper-midrange 4:38 - Instrument separation 4:55 - Imaging 5:26 - Sparkos SS3601 alternative op-amp https://sparkoslabs.com/discrete-op-amps/ 5:53 - Burn-in disclaimer 6:11 - Thank yous

Thank you to Burson B for contacting me about getting this demo unit to listen to! I previously have not been too interested in a Burson Audio product before, but I would say the Fun is definitely worth looking into!

EDIT (2020/01/29): Burson will be sending me the V6 Vivid op-amps to test out! Stay tuned for an updated impressions section!


Notable Features:
  • Dual mono Class A amp/pre-amp
  • "Max Current Power Supply"
  • Elna brand low-tolerance MELF (Metal Electrode Leadless Face) resistors
  • Code:
    R (Ω) P (W) V (V) I (mA) SNR (dB)
    8 1.2 3.10 387.30 91
    16 1.9 5.51 344.60 92
    32 2.1 8.20 256.17 95
    100 1 10 100 94
    150 0.66 9.95 66.33 96
    300 0.33 9.95 33.17 94
  • User-changeable 8-pin operational amplifiers
  • Microphone input
  • Parallel RCA and microphone outputs

The only reason for me to give this unit a 4/5 rating instead of a 5/5 one is because of the high output impedance, and the blue LED power indicator is too bright for my preferences. Everything else about this unit is rock solid though, and I would give it a strong recommendation for someone looking to get an affordable, customizable amplifier/pre-amplifier. Giving the user the option to change the Fun's sound with different op-amps is a really awesome concept.

Simple, compact, and flexible. That pretty much describes the design of the Fun.

The exterior is flexible in that it can be used as a desktop amplifier, a pre-amplifier, as well as being able to be installed into a PC bay (being powered by your PC's power supply via Molex connectors instead of the DC input). No other audio enthusiast-designed amplifier that I am aware has this kind of flexibility, and that makes the Fun really unique. Unfortunately my PC does not have external drive bays, so I was unable to test out its use case for that scenario.

Still on the topic of the Fun's exterior design, the large Alps volume knob is a nice inclusion: it has a very small channel imbalance region, and it feels very smooth to operate.

Two things about the exterior design that I am not fond of are the super bright blue LED indicator that basically shot a blue laser beam across my room at night, and the rough matte-black finish that makes cleaning it a bit difficult.



On to the interior of the Fun, it too is well-designed: using quality components, custom-made parts, and a dual-mono amplification stage. These all aid in the overall sound of the Fun.

What is also unique about the Fun's design is the addition of a microphone input, and output section. Although this is targeted to a small set of users, such as gamers, it can be useful for those who are looking for an amplifier with this feature.

The only issue I have with the Fun's design is the 6-ohm output impedance. This is quite high for low-impedance headphones and in-ear earphones, and the damping ratio does play a role in this case (see sound impressions below). However, the higher output impedance helps to protect short-circuiting when the headphones are unplugged while a signal is being played, so there are some safety precautions set in place given the Fun's high output power.

Amplfiers are still somewhat of a mystery to me, to be perfectly honest. I mostly find sound differences between setups coming from the headphones, the DAC, the power supply, and not so much the amplifier (save for tube amps). I use the RME ADI-2 DAC as my primary DAC and amplifier, but in this case, I did hear a difference between the ADI-2 DAC and the Fun. The differences are more pronounced with my AKG K701 versus with the Focal Clear.

All of these impressions are with the default op-amps installed in the Fun. A hex wrench, and other op-amps were not included in this demo package.

Whether it is the actual amplifier design, or the discrete power supply built into the Fun, I find the Fun to have a very black background. Imaging is superb as a result of this, and is the easiest thing to distinguish between the Fun and the ADI-2 DAC. Instruments are well-separated from one another and this adds a sense of layering that I have not heard before with the K701.

Related to imaging, the sense of soundstage is presented in a more three-dimensional manner, making the K701 even more enjoyable to listen to. Usually, the K701 has a two-dimensional/flat-sounding presentation of with sounds mostly panning left and right, but on the Fun, instruments were presented in front of me as well; a nice change of pace to hear.

Again, I am not sure if these two aspects of the sound are attributed to the amplifier section of the Fun, or the well-designed power supply. Both of these qualities are what I hear when a better power supply is implemented into an audio chain, as well as going from single-ended outputs to balanced outputs (perhaps the dual-mono design aids in this as well).

As for the overall frequency response, the stock op-amps seems to make the Fun have a slightly emphasized mid-bass, upper-midrange, and a kind of grainy treble. These attributes give the Fun a slight coloration of sound, which may or may not be good depending on the headphones you use. For the Focal Clear, the emphasized upper-midrange is a bit much for me (becoming more fatiguing to listen to), but it is okay with the K701. The slightly emphasized mid-bass is great for both headphones on the other hand, and it makes the music listening experience more fun. I still find the stock op-amps' sound to be a bit rough, but I assume this will change once op-amp rolling is taken into consideration. Volume-matching the outputs of the Fun and ADI-2 DAC, the emphasized upper-midrange is apparent to me in comparison to the more neutral-sounding ADI-2 DAC.

Despite this, the Fun drive both the K701 and the Clear with ease thanks to its high output power capabilities. Additionally, the Fun's headphone output is clear of any background noise: I am able to use the Ultimate Ears Reference Remastered perfectly fine without any volume potentiometer channel imbalance issues, nor background hiss.

On that note however, the high output impedance of the Fun does affect headphones with a low impedance (minus planar magnetic headphones), as well as in-ear earphones with multiple drivers. For this purpose, I do not recommend the Fun if you plan to use it with such headphones. Listening to the UE RR on the Fun, it is evident that the bass is less controlled than when using an amplifier with a lower output impedance: the bass and lower-midrange frequencies almost sound slurred and less textured.


V6 Vivid Op-Amp Update (2020-07-14):

Burson kindly sent me a pair of the V6 Vivid op-amps for me to try out...actually I accidentally requested the Dual op-amp version at first instead of the Single op-amp version, so it took a little longer to get my impressions sorted out.


^ The Dual V6 Vivid looks almost identical to this, except it says Dual on it, and the print is on a different side of the op-amp

After letting the V6 Vivid burn-in with pink noise for some 250 hours, I did a lot of back and forth listening between it and the stock NJM 5534D op-amp. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much of a sound difference since I was under the impression that op-amps are just one component of the whole circuit and that the rest of the circuit was probably optimized. I was wrong about that, haha.

As it turns out, the V6 Vivid vastly improved the sound quality to my ears; many of the issues I had with the stock configuration of the Fun were resolved.

For the bass, the lows sounded like they had more extension as opposed to having a slight emphasis on the mid-bass. This was one of the biggest differences I heard between the RME ADI-2 DAC and the stock Fun and it made listening to electronic music more enjoyable.

The somewhat shouty and harsh upper-midrange I was hearing from the stock Fun was also alleviated with the installation of the V6 Vivid op-amps: music was overall less fatiguing to listen to, especially when using the Focal Clear.

Although I thought the treble was grainy-sounding with the stock op-amps, the Fun still retained a good sense of texture. With the V6 Vivid op-amps installed, the treble seemed smoothed out, which I find to work out fantastically for general music listening, but the overall sense of detail seemed less.

Instrument Separation
Another difference I heard between the V6 Vivid and stock op-amps was the ability to separate instruments within the headspace. As mentioned above, the stock op-amps have a very incredible sense of instrument separation, to the point where I can easily pick out instruments from one another in a mix.

Listening to the V6 Vivid op-amps, that sense of instrument separation was still better than the RME ADI-2 DAC by itself, but it wasn't to the same degree as the stock op-amps.

That being said, I did like how the V6 Vivid op-amps presented the sounds more in front compared to the stock op-amps. This kind of imaging reminds me of how one would hear bookshelf speakers on a desk setup, so this kind of presentation is what I prefer to hear when listening to music, and I find it to be more engaging.

Given the fact that the Fun can be used in many different scenarios, I think this is a terrific amplifier for what you pay for, even with the stock op-amps. The fact that you even swap out op-amps makes this amp fun in of itself. I might purchase a Fun just to try out different op-amps!
Last edited:
I don't have that kind of equipment on hand unfortunately, so I can only do what I measured above. A 3-ohm output impedance is still within spec of the Fun (rated at 6 ohms), so I wouldn't rule it out, and its effect is audible to me.
I updated the review to include my impressions of the Fun with the V6 Vivid op-amps installed. Good stuff!


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Outstanding musicality, rich harmonics, flat response from 20Hz-20kHz
Cons: None
Fun_Marketing.png 03_P1410494.jpg Fun_Back.png

Outstanding Headphone Amp

A Review On: Burson Fun
Review by Mike Brunner (Lead Guitarist for Rivul)
Review Topics:
About Me
About the product/expectations
Provided for review by manufacturer
Normal Retail Price: $299
Pros: Outstanding musicality, rich harmonics, flat response from 20Hz-20kHz
Cons: None!

About Me
To get started, let me tell you a little about myself.
I’m a gigging musician (lead guitar/backup vocals), an audio forensic analyst, a novice sound engineer, and an avid music lover with a wide taste in music. Being an audio forensic analyst is a plus I find when reviewing audio products simple because I know what bad audio sounds like and usually know how to correct it. My experience allows me to be familiar with the limitations of my own ears and the equipment I’m using.
For the consumers, my perspective for all my IEM reviews will be based on these things. I won’t sugar coat things or make things sound better than they are. I’m just like you and I want good value for the money I pay for any product.

To the manufacturers, I’ll always give you an option to respond to any concerns such as quality that I have during my review. I’ll contact you directly and will do so before my review is published. I want to provide an honest and tangible review for your prospective customers without being unfair to you as a manufacturer.
I’ll always be fair and my review will be based on my perspective and my experience.
Now on to the important stuff.

About the product/expectations
I was provided a review sample for my unbiased review. Having tried the Burson Play, and really enjoying it, I was expecting the Burson Fun to be on par.

The Burson Fun design is very professional looking. The metal enclosure and sturdy input/output jacks feel like they will last for years. I have no complaints about the build quality at all. The only thing that I would say is that for my setup, I would like to have seen perhaps a digital input. Having reviewed the Burson Play though which is the same price, I really felt that the Burson Fun missed the mark slightly. I didn't quite understand why Burson would offer the amp only section of the Burson Play, without the USB DAC.

I suppose each product has it's fit, especially if you already have a top notch desktop DAC and are just looking for a top notch desktop headphone amp.

The good stuff! This is what all of us audio geeks/audiophiles want to hear about. So when I first started this I decided to give myself a baseline using my pro audio gear. I first listened to my desktop DAW interface (Sapphire 2i4) and Midas M32. Both are designed to give pristine audio with no coloration at all. My monitors of choice this time were my 64Audio A18t, Fiio FH5, InEarz Euphoria. The 64Audio pairing is for technical listening with musicality, the Fiio FH5 for everyday use, whereas the InEarz is for ease of listening.

After setting up the baseline through listening to each interface for about an hour the break down was the Burson Fun is a very clean Amp. There was little to no noticeable difference to my ears. After listening to the Burson Fun the transition back to my pro audio sources were nearly transparent. There was a just a slight musical warmth from the Burson Fun that I detected and I found myself missing after a short play back on my normal desktop gear.

Across the entire audio spectrum the Burson Fen seemed very flat. I actually hooked both the headphone out and the RCA outputs to my DAW to analyze the frequency response. In the lowest frequencies, the Burson Play showed a slight dip below 20Hz, and a slight dip above 20KHz. This simply put, in the audio range, the Burson Play showed a perfectly flat frequency response. Whatever you put in you get out. Near perfection for $299? Wow! Long term usage of the Burson Fun, left me wanting to return to this setup for that just slight warmth/musicality for my listening.

Each of us wants value for our money. The value of the Burson products that I've tried are well above their price point and the Burson Fun is no exception. This is an outstanding value for a professional quality desktop headphone amp. Great job Burson!


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Great sounding op amp at a reasonable cost that enhances the listening experience.
Cons: None, that I can see, it does consume a bit more power, and distorts at extremely loud listening volumes.
Burson Audio Supreme Sound Opamp V5i

Before writing this review I would like to thank Carlos of Burson Audio for sending me the Burson 5vi to test and review. He has has kindly offered me a free trial of the Burson V5i op-amp in return for my honest feedback.

The V5i can be used to substitute for many op-amps of different models. A nice
bonus provided by Burson Audio, an Australian company, is the lifetime warranty for the V5i.

About Me:

I am a musician and artist who became interested in the High Fi audio scene about 10 years ago. I own and play several instruments and am interested in mixing. I tend to favor heavy metal, death metal, and hard rock, but I also listen to Jazz, Bluegrass, Trance, BlueGrass, and Folk music.

I own a few TOTL CIEMS one of them being the JH Roxanne. I own a few TOTL DAPs like the Astell & Kern AK380 Copper +Copper amp and Lotoo Paw Gold Diana Edition as well as more budget friendly items such as the
Zishan Z1, Walnut Stack, KZ ZS7, and CCA C16.

I have done some op-amp rolling in the past with cmoy type amps, and
believe op-amps make a change in sound. My main experience
is with the Lehman black cube, Objective 2 amp, Little Dot I-IV,
and the Matrix M Stage Amps.

Testing equipment:

DAP: Zishan Z1, Walnut V2S/Walnut F1 (Walnut Stack
IEMs: KZ ZS7, CCA C16, JH Roxanne CIEM
OP-amps: Burr-Brown OPA227, Signetics NE5532, (Zishan Z1 stock),NE5532 (Walnut
V2S stock)


The op-amps come in a fully protected, sealed and professional looking box. The op-amps are extremely well
built like little tanks.




Fortunately, the Zishan Z1 and Walnut 2VS installation is straight forward, plug and play, as I'd have to dig up my old Weller soldering gun, and my desoldering iron.



Burn In:

I am a firm believer in burn in, I burned both op amps in for 100 hours each.
I noticed the first big change after approximately 50 hours of burn in with a
further refinement after 100 hours.

Sound Impressions:

Of course, any review of this kind is subjective as a reviewer's taste in
music varies. Thus, it is very subjective.


One thing I dislike about the Z1 is that the highs lack detail, there is a
grain to the sound. There is a lack of clarity and extension. With the Burson
the grain is gone. The highs gain clarity, sparkle, and increased extension.
There is much more micro detail. They gain air and refinement.


Both male and female voices sound more natural and realistic. There is an
increase in detail. The midrange details sound less congested, has a more
natural timbre, and a warmer tonality.


The bass has more impact, the bass is much more detailed and has more texture. It is more defined and tighter with much greater detail.


The stage gains width and depth, and there is an increase in clarity, layering,
and dynamics. The sound is more musical, but with greater detail and a better sense of space.


Clarity, transparency, speed, and instrument separation
are the main sonic characters of the Op-Amp. There is no coloration of sound.


The op amp provided a couple hours less battery life due to increased
power consumption. The op amp distorts are very loud volumes more quickly
than the stock op amps.


The Burson 5vi is a worthy upgrade to budget and mid level DAPs, the increase
in bass performance and clarity is worth the price of admission alone. I was
also pleasantly surprised by the increase in the high end, and just the overall
dynamics and separation of the sound. The 5vi excels in all sound areas over
stock and is a very nice upgrade.


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Well designed amplifier for op-amp rolling. Good balance between high output power and low output noise. Very Low output impedance (based on my measurement).
Cons: Location of the on-off switch at the back panel of the amplifier. No gain switch to switch to lower gain for IEMs. My unit came with a poor 12V power supply.
Big thanks to Burson for providing me with the review sample of Burson FUN!
Class A headphone amp with symmetrical circuitry is not rare, but Burson advertised that they implemented four sets of Max Current Power Supply (MCPS) that is claimed to be superior to traditional transformers for delivering instant, clean, and maximum electric current to the Fun. I expect the combination to produce class A low THD with fast and realistic dynamic. Besides that op-amp rolling is a welcome feature to bring the sonic signature closer to our personal preference.

01 P1380177.jpg

Product Webpage:

Product Manual:


Discussion Thread:

Op-Amp Rolling:

02 P1410513.jpg

  • Well designed amplifier for op-amp rolling with gain fixed at 5. The circuit was stable with 'cranky' op-amp such as LM6171 with very low DC offset on the headphone output. Op-Amp supply voltage is 30 VDC or +/- 15 VDC.
  • Good balance between high output power and low output noise. Powerful enough to drive my Hifiman HE-6 and low noise enough to be used with my sensitive IEMs. Suitable for a wide range of headphones and IEMs.
  • Low output impedance (based on my measurement).
  • Unique 5.25" form factor to fit desktop pc 5.25" drive bay.

  • Location of the on-off switch at the back panel of the amplifier. A front panel power switch is preferable.
  • No gain switch to switch to lower gain for IEMs.
  • My unit came with a poor 12V power supply, but it could be just my case. Rated at 6A but couldn't supply more than 650 mA of stable power (read more on 'Power Supply' section below).

Suggestions for Improvement:
  • Front panel power switch.
  • Selectable low (0 dB) and high gain (5 dB).
  • 3.5 mm headphone output socket for convenient.
  • Screw-less top panel for easy access to the op-amps.
  • Better quality 12V power adapter to improve startup with certain op-amps.
  • Sound quality is ok with the stock NE5534 op-amp, but not great as a US$ 299 amp. Recommended for Burson to use 'better' op-amp than NJR NE5534 as the default op-amp.
  • Better pricing and more bundle options for the package price with Burson Op-amps.

03 P1410494.jpg
04 P1410499.jpg

  • Recommended for those who are looking for a good amplifier system/platform for op-amp rolling. At US$ 299 Burson FUN with the default NJR 5534 op-amp is not the best value or best sounding headphone amplifier for the money. But when paired with better op-amp the sound quality and value may go up significantly. Op-amp rolling is highly recommended for Burson FUN.
  • Generally more suitable to drive headphones. With almost 2-watt power output at 32ohms and no option to lower the gain setting (gain fix at 5), those specs are generally more suitable for headphones. Although Burson FUN is relatively low noise and I didn't have high noise issue with most IEMs that I tried with it, but considering the features of this amp it is generally more suitable to drive headphones than earphones.

05 P1410504.jpg

Design and Build Quality
Burson FUN is designed to operate either as a stand-alone headphone amp or internal setup in desktop PC 5.25" drive bay. FUN has unique form factor to fit desktop PC 5.25" drive bay and it has a microphone input extension to extend the mic input from the motherboard to the front panel of the Burson FUN. According to Burson, it is designed for both music and gaming, I think that's where the 'FUN' name come from.

06 20190706_013913.jpg 07 20190706_091807.jpg 08 20190706_091535.jpg

The amplification stage is dual mono Class-A circuitry. From what I observe Burson FUN seems to use op-amps for voltage amplification (gain fix at 5) with discrete transistors for output current buffer. Burson said that the FUN amplification circuit is similar to its bigger brother Burson Conductor V2.

09a P1380197.jpg
09b P1380198.jpg

I was excited when I plugged in LM6171 (know as 'cranky' op-amp with bipolar input transistors), and measured the DC offset on the headphone output, and it was only 1.61 mV on the left channel, and 1.04 mV on the right channel. That value is low and safe enough for even a very sensitive IEM. After checking that the headphone output is safe, I tried my super sensitive IEM, the 1964 V3 IEM with the LM6171, and it was ok. A bit noisier than other op-amps that I tested, but the transient was very fast. Very detailed with fast and impactful dynamic. An op-amp that I would recommend to try with the Burson FUN when you want to hear more detail and dynamic on your headphones.

09c 20190816_231614.jpg

Overall, from what I experienced with it, the amp circuit is very well designed, stable and suitable for all op-amps that I've tried with it. It has excellent power supply circuit and output discrete transistors buffer to bring out the most from an audio op-amp.

Power Supply
Burson FUN comes with a powerful power adapter, 12VDC 6Amp. The connector is the common 5.5mm x 2.5mm DC connector. Using a common DC connector is a very welcome feature for easy replacement with other 12V power supply.

10 P1380184.jpg

I suspect my unit came with 'half defective' power supply. It works but not as specified. I notice this on the first time when I use Burson V5i op-amp. The amp occasionally fails to power up. When I switch it ON, sometimes the relay inside the amp keeps toggling between ON and OFF state for quite a long time. Sometimes it then manages to reach the ON state, but sometimes it fails to turn ON and the power relay keeps toggling ON and OFF. When that condition happens I saw the red LED on the power adapter also blinking ON and OFF following the relay.

Then I measured the maximum current output of the stock power adapter using an adjustable constant current load, it is starting to become unstable, toggling ON and OFF, when the current is over 650 mA. And it just switched OFF when the load current close to 700 mA or higher. That is way too low than the specified 6A output. This what makes me think that my unit power adapter doesn't work as specified.

11 2019-08-25_230030.png 12 2019-08-25_230308.png

When I use another 12V power adapter, I tried 12V-5A and 12V-2A power adapter, I didn't have that problem with the 5A, but similar symptom observed when using the 2A adapter. The 2A adapter fails to turn ON the Burson FUN. I tried 2 units of 12V-2A power adapters, both were not suitable for Burson FUN. I also tried 2 different brands of 12V-5A and both have no problem with Burson FUN. So as specified on the backside of the amplifier, we better stick with a 12V-5A power adapter for Burson FUN.

I measured the power supply current draw of Burson FUN. On my multimeter (Brymen BM829s), a short high current spike around was 8A detected when switching ON the amp, but after that, it is stable at only around 0.6 Amp, regardless of the load on the headphone output. Even when driving my Hifiman HE6 at a very loud level the average current consumption doesn't exceed 615 mA. I measured the switching ON current spike using the Crest capture mode feature on my Brymen BM829s (1ms Min-Max detection). It requires high current for a very short period when switching ON the amp, that's the reason why the 2A power supply didn't work even though the running current consumption is only around 0.6A.

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I need to make a disclaimer that the measurement in this review should not be considered as absolute measurement but only a relative measurement. That means the measurement results are not absolute values and should not be compared with the official specifications or other measurement using a different setup.

The objectives of measurement in this review are:
1. Quick Pass/Fail test, to observe abnormal characteristic if any.
2. Estimated specification of the headphone output.
3. Comparing some audio signal parameters like SNR, THD, and other parameters when using different Op-Amps, measured in the same setup using the same measurement equipment.

It is impossible to judge the exact sound quality of audio equipment just by looking at the number and graphs. The following video is a very good example that same value of THD+N from different measurement might come from a totally different type of distortion, and the value of the THD+N alone doesn't help to understand the sound quality of audio equipment.

Therefore we should consider measurement result only as a set of minimum criteria to check that the device specification is within the acceptable range.

I use QuantAsylum QA401 Audio Analyzer as measurement equipment:

15a P1410528.jpg

For the RMAA test, I borrowed RME ADI-2 Pro as the audio interface (ADC) from a friend.

15b P1410544a.jpg

Measured Headphone Output Specification:

Maximum Output Voltage without load: 9.78 Vrms. Measured with 2 Vrms 1kHz sine wave on the input.

Maximum volume position without load before clipping / increased distortion, with 2 Vrms 1kHz tone: 4 pm.
With 2 Vrms input, the output is slightly distorted when the volume knob is at Maximum position.

Maximum Output Voltage with 32 ohms load at less than 1% THD: 7.95 Vrms
Measured maximum output power at 32 ohm: 1.98 Watt

16 2019-09-08_MAX-Out_32ohms.png

Maximum Output Voltage with 16 ohms load at less than 1% THD: 5.20 Vrms
Measured maximum output power at 16 ohm: 1.69 Watt

17 2019-09-08_MAX-Out_16ohms.png


Output Impedance: 0.21 ohms (highest measured)
Burson official spec is 6 ohms for the headphone output impedance, but several measurements on my unit using different load, 16 and 32 ohm, always showing less than 0.5 ohms of output impedance. Highest measured is 0.21 ohms which is excellent for a desktop amp with 2W output.

18 Output Impedance_32ohms.png
19 Output Impedance_16ohms_05.png

Output Gain measured at 600-ohm load: 5

Volume Control Channel Balance

Channel balance between left and right channel is very good across the volume range from minimum to maximum, with only 0.6 dB highest level imbalance observed:


RCA Pre-Out
Active and amplified, not only passive output from the volume control.
Gain: 5.15 / 1.00 = 5.15
Measurement using 10k ohm load on the RCA output.
Potentially this could be a very high output for the audio equipment connected to the RCA output.
Unity gain at around 1 pm volume position. So if the audio source connected to the RCA input has a regular line-level output (-10 dBV line level) setting the volume knob more than 1 pm might overload the audio equipment connected to the RCA output. So be mindful to set the volume knob when using the RCA line output.
Pre-Out disconnected when headphone socket is connected.

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SNR and THD measurement
Headphone Ouput SNR on 33 ohms load (lowest measurement selected) @ 1kHz - 1Vrms input:
At 2 Vrms (6 dBV) : 97.2 dBA
At 1 Vrms (0 dBV) : 96.8 dBA
At 0.5 Vrms (-6 dBV) : 94.8 dBA
At 100 mVrms (-20 dBV) : 85.6 dBA
At 50 mVrms (-26 dBV) : 79.8 dBA

21 0 dBV Baseline - Burson FUN dBA.png 22 Burson Fun HO 50mV at 33ohms SNR dBA.png

At a higher level, the measurement is pretty close with Burson FUN official specification. Please note that I measure SNR in dBA, and the FUN specification is in dB. Usually dBA is around 3 dB higher than measurement in dB.

For headphone amplifier, SNR means the expected level of audible hissing noise. My rule of thumb based on my own experience is:
SNR greater than 85 dBA: perceived as totally quiet.
Between 80 to 85 dBA: mild hissing noise might be audible.
Less than 80 dB: mild to moderate audible hissing noise.

Regular headphone playback level is usually around 100 mV to 500 mV, so we can expect no audible hissing noise with headphones. Sensitive IEMs playback level is around 50 mV, and less sensitive IEM can be around 100 mV or more. So we could expect some mild hissing noise with sensitive IEM, but more or less quiet on less sensitive IEMs.

Using my most sensitive IEM, the 1964 Ears V3, I could hear some mild hissing noise from FUN headphone output, but to my ears, at the level that is ignore-able. Considering the gain and high power output, I would say the SNR performance is pretty good and will be pretty quiet for most applications.

SNR and THD are also dependent on the Op-Amp being used. I measured SNR and THD of the headphone output using different op-amps on the following condition:
Input: 1 Vrms (0 dBV)
Output: 0.5 Vrms (-6 dBV) as this level is probably the most common listening level for most headphones.

The following measurement showing that practically all op-amps perform pretty close in term of SNR at 1 kHz, at 0.5V output. Burson V5i is the only exception where the SNR is lower and THD is higher than other op-amps in the test. This is also another measurement that doesn't tell much about sound quality differences between the op-amps and functions only as a pass/fail kind of test to see if there is any significant deviation between the op-amps. I will send both Burson V5i to Burson for checking if there is an issue with the op-amp and why it is showing relatively high SNR. So don't take this measurement result as absolute as the Burson V5i might be somehow defective.


RMAA Measurement
In this test, the baseline is Geek Pulse XFi RCA outputs connected directly to the RME ADI-2 Pro Line inputs. Then I inserted Burson FUN in between the Geek Pulse XFi RCA output and RME ADI-2 Pro input and set the volume level to output the same level as the input. In other words, the amp volume is set at 0 dB amplification. This test is another relative measurement to compare the setup without and with Burson FUN inserted in the Out-In loop.

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Note: Please note that I forgot to change the DA-AD digital filter to Sharp during the test that supposedly will give a flatter frequency response. The DA and AD filter was set to SD Slow, therefore we can see the early roll-off of the high frequency. When the digital filter set to Sharp the frequency response is flatter up to the Nyquist frequency.

RightMark Audio Analyzer test:

Testing chain: External loopback (line-out - line-in)
Sampling mode: 24-bit, 96 kHz

Burson FUN RMAA Measurement at 0 dB.
Audio Interface: RME ADI-2 Pro AE
USB DAC: LH Geek Pulse XFi


We can observe the added noise and THD by inserting an amp in the loop between Out to In. The additional 8-10 dB of noise seems huge but overall output noise is still very low at around -113 dB, level of noise that won't be noticeable to human hearing. I would say from the RMAA test I don't see any issue with the result.

Sound Quality and Op-Amp Rolling

NJR 5534D is the default Op-amp that comes with Burson Fun. This is a well known generic op-amp that has good value and spec, and showing good result on measurement. Very low cost too. With the default op-amp, Burson FUN sounds relatively clean, low noise, with a good level of detail and clarity. Overall it sounds ok, but not great for the $299 price tag. Dynamic, impact, and tonal density just average, not as good as other op-amps in this review. Especially the bass slam and punch is rather weak in comparison. Also not as smooth sounding as other op-amps, and may sound a bit grainy with some tracks. Besides that, the perceived holographic spaciousness and imaging is not as spacious as other op-amps in this test and may sound a bit lacking in depth. Op-amp upgrade is highly recommended for Burson FUN to bring it to the next level.

Please take note that op-amp supply voltage is 30 volt, so make sure the replacement op-amp is specified for that supply voltage.

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Sonic differences between op-amps are quite subtle. I'm not confident to say that I would be able to pass blind test differentiating the op-amps below. Practically all op-amps in this review are good sounding op-amps and the sonic differences between them are small. Therefore please take my subjective impressions below with a grain of salt.

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I will divide the op-amps into 3 groups:
1. Fast, detailed, lean towards slightly analytical signature: Burson V5i, LM6171, OPA637, and AD797.
2. Relatively neutral signature: 5534D (stock), OPA627, and Sparkos SS3601.
3. Smooth, fatter bass, good tonal density, towards slightly warmer signature: OPA228 and OPA827.

TLDR, my favorites from the above op-amps in no particular order:
Sparkos SS3601, OPA827, and AD797

Burson V5i

Fast and transparent sounding op-amp. Lean a bit to the analytical side with good instrument separation. May sounds a bit dry and thin with analytical headphones / IEMs. Bass is clean and tight but may sound a bit lean. A bit noisier than other op-amps, and I feel it is a bit too noisy for the 1964 V3 IEM, but generally ok for headphones. So not recommended for sensitive IEMs. As mentioned earlier, I suspect there is something wrong with my V5i, therefore, I prefer not to give a lengthy impression about it. I did review it in the past, so please check my review for a more detail impression of V5i.

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Has some similarity to Burson V5i in speed, clarity, and transparency, but I feel a bit less dry on the LM6171, therefore I do prefer the LM6171 over V5i by a small margin. LM6171 is a very detailed and revealing op-amp. This is an excellent op-amp when detail and transient are the sonic traits that you're looking for. But also a bit too noisy for very sensitive IEMs such as the 1964 V3. So take note on the application especially when dealing with ultra-sensitive IEMs. Headphones are preferable for LM6171.

One of my all-time favorite when looking for a transparent sounding op-amp. Slightly more transparent and open sounding than V5i. The noise level also pretty low, therefore recommended for sensitive IEMs. I don't generally prefer an analytical sound signature, but AD797 transparency does sound amazing. Detailed and transparent and always sounds musical.

OPA637 (OPA637 is optimized for closed-loop gains of 5 or greater)
I consider V5i, AD797, LM6171, and OPA637 op-amps as fast and highly revealing op-amps. Between the 4 it is pretty hard to judge which one sounds best. Each must be tested in the system to observe the synergy with the whole system. In general, OPA637 and AD797 are my favorites among the 4. OPA637 is fast and transparent but slightly less analytical than V5i and LM6171, and a bit more musical to my ears. Also less noisy on sensitive IEMs.

Very neutral sounding, but to be honest I'm never been a great fan of OPA627. A bit too flat and boring for my taste. OPA627 tonality is very neutral, but the dynamic is rather less lively, at least to me. I prefer something with a more lively dynamic. But I know there are many loves the OPA627 sound. So YMMV.

OPA827 is one of my favorites when looking for smooth sounding op-amp with good bass and tonal density. OPA827 is like OPA627 with fatter and fuller bass and midrange. The thick tonal density is just addictive on vocal. But it is not overly warm or thick sounding. Overall OPA827 sounds very musical to my ears. When a system sounds thin and too analytical it is probably a good idea to try OPA827 in the chain. It is also pretty low noise, so a good op-amp for sensitive IEMs.

OPA228 (OPA228 is optimized for closed-loop gains of 5 or greater)
Pretty close to the OPA827 sound signature, with the lowest measured SNR by a slight margin. Recommended for sensitive IEMs. Good bass while still maintaining pretty good clarity and transparency. OPA228 sounds smoother and more fluid than NE5534 with a slightly better bass slam and impact as well. Therefore OPA228 perceived as more musical sounding than NE5534. OPA228 is a great all-rounder audio op-amp and considering the specification and the price that is only a few dollars more than NE5534, I think it is better to use OPA228 as the stock op-amp for Burson FUN instead of NE5534.

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Sparkos SS3601
IMHO the most musically satisfying op-amp in this test. Although the noise a tad higher compared to the other chip op-amps in this test, it has lower noise than the Burson V5i, so still friendly for sensitive IEMs. It sounds very transparent and airy, at the same time smooth with very good dynamic. Bass slam and punch are excellent and very satisfying. Vocal has good clarity and tonal density. Sparkos SS3601 is not cheap but it is worth it. Probably the best op-amp for Burson FUN and now it stays in the amp.

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Comparisons With Other Desktop Amps

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My old Yulong Sabre A28 amp has rather different sound signature than Burson FUN + Sparkos SS3601. I would say the Yulong Sabre A28 is more colored towards smooth warm sound signature. The Sabre A28 is very nice for analytical headphones such as my Sennheiser HD800 and Beyerdynamic T1. But I would say Burson FUN + Sparkos SS3601 is more neutral and less colored.

Comparing Burson FUN + Sparkos SS3601 with Violectric HPA V200 (stock op-amps NE5532)
To my ears, both amps perform pretty close and it was not easy to choose for which one is the better amp. But after listening back and forth between both amps, I prefer the Burson FUN with Sparkos SS3601 over the much more expensive HPA V200. Burson FUN with Sparkos SS3601 reveals more detail with better holographic imaging. Treble perceived as slightly more airy and transparent. Busy tracks presented with better separations and imaging. Bass slam and impact are also slightly more realistic on the Burson with SS3601. The Sparkos SS3601 leaps Burson FUN sound quality a few levels above its price tag. Kudos to Burson!

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Spare of the tiny 5A fuse.

Equipment used in this review:

Hifiman HE-6
Audio-Technica ATH-R70x

In-Ear Monitors:
1964 Ears V3 Universal
DUNU DK-3001
Creative Aurvana Trio

DAC and Amplifiers:
LH Geek Pulse XFi
QueStyle CMA600i
Violectric HPA V200
Yulong Sabre A28

Measurement Equipment:
QuantAsylum QA401 - 24-bit Audio Analyzer
RME ADI-2 Pro Anniversary Edition

Some recordings used in this review:
16 Albums - A 1000px.jpg
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100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Power, Neutrality, Clarity, Soundstage
Cons: Controls
About me: I am not a professional reviewer by any means, I am just a part-time audiophile slowly accumulating gear and sharing some thoughts.

Gear Used: Burson FUN, connected to Creative X7 Amp/Dac combo which is using 2x Dual Sparkos op-amps and 2x Single Sparkos Op-amps.

Headphones used: Ether Flow 1.1, LCD-2C Classic, Hifiman Sundara, AKG K 712 Pro, Sennheiser HD 6XX

Packaging, Build Quality and extras
The unit showed up at my door in perfect condition. The packaging job wasn't to warrant a single complaint, you could tell it wasn't moving around in there. The box is minimalistic but gets the point across of what lies within.
The unit itself is of a solid build, emits minimal heat and my only niggles would be my preference to a switch on the front of the device isn't met here (hard to access the rearward switch, so many cables) and the volume knob is a little hard to get a good hold on.


The FUN headphone amplifier puts out enough power to drive all of my headphones, a little easier than the Creative X7. The Hifiman Sundara seem to be my hardest to power headphones and I had no issue powering these with the FUN, though my volume crept towards 12:30 on the dial.
This is a pure Class-A headphone amp, the first that I've used. I can't comment on the difference in sound that alone makes, but it has enough juice to make for an impactful sound no matter the headphones I've tried.
I'm not going to go into decay, mids or any of that too much but I will say that in comparison to the Creative X7 which has upgraded op-amps, the FUN keeps up close in terms of detail. I'd say the FUN leans a little more neutral, laid back, less bright. Solid low-end, sounds no less impactful than any other amp I've used. Highs are clear without piercing my ears, mid-range is smooth without sounding recessed.

I haven't detected a noticable difference in soundstage, or imaging. I do tend to use the FUN instead of the X7 while gaming now, which could be in-part to sounding less bright.
Listening to older tracks from 90s, back to 70s seems to present less harshness of the recording with the FUN than it does with the X7's amp section.

So far, can't say anything bad about the FUN. It's at a good price, and with the options of op-amp rolling it can really be your "do it all" amp if you don't want to accumulate multiple amps, instead switching the characteristics of one instead.

V6 Classics Installed
V6 Classic op-amps arrived from Burson and I ran the FUN with its stock configuration with many songs before unboxing the Classics.

Within the first moments of using the V6 Classics, I could clearly hear a difference.

Words that came to my mind instantly were "body" and "musical". These op-amps opened up a new realm of sound from an already solid amp, bringing with it an increase of detail, warmth, punch and musicality without question.

I'd even say that the bass and mids seemed to become more present, which aligns right to my tastes in sound signature.

V6 Vivids installed
After using the V6 Classics for awhile I cannot hear as much of a change as I did going from the stock op-amps, to the Classics.
That being said, the changes are there and I really do not have a clear favorite.
The V6 Vivid op-amps seem to mellow out the mid-range a little, less forward than with the Classics. I wouldn't say it brings up the low-end or treble per say, but it does seem to strike a more balanced sound signature which can pair well with certain headphones, amps, music or moods.
I can't help but feel that there is more body to the low-end with the Classics, while some extra sparkle, clarity and dynamics with the Vivids while the Classics provide a closer sound to a tube amp in all the right ways.
I do not believe you can go wrong with either, as both the types of V6 op-amps are audio bliss and a clear upgrade from what comes stock.
I believe this would be the same for something like the Burson Swing DAC and I could only imagine if this type of sound upgrading/personalizing will be possibly on the new monster Conductor that it would absolutely be worth it.
I love swapping the op-amps so much now as they both have benefits, that I wish for a toggle switch between the op-amps :)

THX AAA 789 comparison
Prior to the V6 Classic op-amps coming in, I've spent a few weeks with the highly sought-after THX AAA 789 amplifier. The 789 immediately brought forward a different sound compared to the other amplifiers in my stable, one which I can only describe as clear, neutral and accurate.

This seems to be a highly reference amplifier for its price range, one which I'm glad to have in my collection.

Though, it is not my favorite amplifier. It is accurate, clear, detailed and dare I say sterile.

It does give a different dimension to music, which at times is the sound I want - so it definitely does get its use.

If I could only have one amplifier from my collection it wouldn't be the 789, it would be the FUN with the V6 Classics. I haven't heard the V6 Vivids and I haven't heard either amp with a dac different than my op-amps rolled Creative X7, but at this point in time the musicality that the FUN w/Classics brings is right up there with my tube-rolled DarkVoice/HD6xx pairing, but with all of my headphones.

I will update this review with any new findings once my Airist Audio R2R dac comes in and yes, I would recommend Burson Fun w/V6 to a friend.


Great Fun and Bang for the buck! :)


Other gear used for reference: DarkVoice 336SE with 5998 and GTB tubes, LD1+ with Mullard 8100 Tubes and Burson V5i op-amp, Hifiman HE-400i, Fidelio X2, Fostex TH-x00, Beyer-Dynamic DT 1990, Sennheiser HD 598


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Very high price to performance, nice quality case, compact design
Cons: At this price, none
Fun Marketing.png

Having just reviewed the Burson Play, I knew I was in for a treat with the FUN and was not disappointed. The sound quality is superb and I personally don’t know how to match it at this price. It is very true to its source as a very transparent amp offering girth and size to the note that makes the music “FUN”. If the detail is there, the FUN scales it to allow listeners to hear more into the music. This is true audiophile listening for those that have champagne taste and a beer budget. Now, this begs the question, if Burson can do this for the Fun and the Play at these incredibly low prices, what do Burson’s pricier options sound like?

The FUN (basic) was built with PC gaming in mind to bring rich audio to the gameplay. My hope was to install it into an open DVD bay and to have easy access to good sound without having to set up my more expensive chain. The FUN offers a modular design that is meant to either sit nicely on a desk or to be slipped neatly into a computer case and powered by the PC. As you can see from the back panel image below, there is a standard PC power plug allowing it to be powered from the case.

Fun Back.png

As you can see from the model options below, the FUN comes in configurations ranging from my Basic $299 configuration to the upgraded Opamp options V6 Vivid or Classic at $399. This review is based on the Basic $299 configuration, so as you can imagine, I am very interested to hear what the upgrade can offer.

Fun Config.png

To minimize distortion, the Play is tuned to operate in pure Class-A. Outputting 2000 mWatt per channel, it is over 20 times more powerful than the next best soundcard. To top it off, the Play features a high-performance mic input and fits into any PC case elegantly.

PER BURSON: Fun is a dual mono Class-A head amp and preamp. Its symmetrical circuitry is powered by four sets of Max Current Power Supply (MCPS) developed by Burson. The revolutionary MCPS is far superior to traditional transformers delivering instant, clean, and maximum electric current to the Fun. Like an engine with unlimited torque and zero latency, Fun delivers a rock solid performance regardless of demand. It will put most 4W and even 6W amplifiers to shame.

MY SETUP: For this review, I have the FUN sitting on top of the PLAY set up on my audio table across from my computer using a longer USB cable to reach the PLAY which was used primarily as the source to compare it to my much more expensive Eddie Current ZDs tube amp as well as the PLAY amp. The required XMOS driver was installed from the Burson website onto my computer previously for the PLAY review. My plan is to pair my library of headphones and CIEMs with the FUN and compare the ZDs and PLAY amps.

Comparing the Fun to the PLAY
At first glance, the FUN and PLAY look very similar sporting the same case. The main difference between the two is that the Burson Play features the SABRE32/ESS9018 DAC chip and Xmos USB receiver chip to be used as a DAC/AMP while the FUN is a dedicated amp.

OUTSIDE: They both have the same nice volume knob on the front of the case, but the PLAY also offers a digital volume display that sets them apart. In exchange, the FUN offers an additional line in input in the front to easily connect sources. The PLAY back panel offers a USB input in exchange for the RCA input on the back of the FUN. Everything else is the same on the outside.

INSIDE: As seen in the screenshots below, the PLAY and the FUN offer two different stock opamp configurations. While this implies a different sound, they are very close in practice. However, I am guessing that the optional step up to the V5 or V6 would be significant based on other reviews I have read.

Fun Opamp.png
Play Opamp.png

COMPARING FUN/PLAY AMP SOUND QUALITY: With the PLAY connected to my computer via USB and sitting under the FUN, I was able to connect the PLAY DAC directly to the FUN RCA input to offer a single source with two headphone plugs to go back and forth. So I turned the music on and tried all my headphones going back and forth between the two headphone outs. After hours of listening enjoyment, I was having trouble hearing any detectable auditable differences in sound quality between the two amps. However, I enjoyed the FUN headphone out just a little more for some reason that I cannot explain. So while there is no perceivable difference that I can explain, to declare a winner, I definitely have been listening to the FUN headphone output more than the PLAY. Sorry,….I wish I had a better explanation. Maybe it is a lower noise level or a less complex pathway given the dedicated AMP circuitry on the FUN. But this means that either is a great choice and your use case should determine your purchase.

CONCLUSION: For me, the PLAY will go next to my bed to offer premium sound at night offering a DAC and an AMP in one convenient and compact package. My computer audio is good enough that the premium position for my FUN is as advertised – to go into my computer case for better computer sound quality and thus freeing up my desk space. I should also point out that I am a firm believer in breaking up tech into dedicated modules to get the most out of each. I am not usually a fan of DAC/AMP combos – but have made a notable exception for both the PLAY and the HUGO2 as they are really that good. In the end, having access to both the FUN and PLAY side by side, it was the FUN headphone output that I favored even if I cannot articulate the difference.

How does the FUN Sound
Am mentioned earlier, I cannot articulate the difference between the PLAY and the FUN sound quality but chose the FUN over the PLAY to listen as I enjoyed it more. Moreover, this sound quality review is based on using the PLAY as the source for the FUN – therefore, the review will sound much like the PLAY sound quality review.

To put it simply, it sounds like an audiophile headphone amplifier. The key theme for the FUN sound signature is big, textured, dynamic, and black background. While there is no color, there is a welcome richness to the bottom end offered through the highly dynamic quality. The dynamics and the bottom end offer a richness to the detail with gobs of texturing. The colorless black background is almost eerie and abyss like that provides superb spacing between the instruments. The soundstage is nice, but not the widest that I have heard. It feels deeper than wide offering great layering. While the detail is the star of the show, the texturing offers a natural organic feel to the resulting sound.

What is important about the FUN sound is that there is no sound or signature, the FUN gets out of the way to allow you to listen and enjoy your music. Often equipment offers a mix of results that sound great with some genres or songs, but not with others. Not with the FUN. It is a very neutral and flat response with full-sized instruments, much like listening to a good speaker system. While neutral and flat may sound boring, I assure you that this is not the case, the FUN offers a very dynamic, textured, and detailed window with a large sound stage.

How does it Pair
For the most part, I listened to the FUN using my HD800. However, I have a wide variety of CIEMs and HPs to try. Here is what I found:
  • Sennheiser HD800: To dial in my HD800, I use SonarWorks True-Fi adding what I need to be truly satisfied with the HD800 signature – more texture, dynamics, and bass/sub-bass. This is the same setting I use when I listen through my Hugo 2 or my Hugo 2 > Eddie Current ZDs setups. When just listening to the FUN without a direct comparison, there is little to notice as I don’t feel like I am missing anything. In fact, the FUN feels like it has a little more power than the Hugo 2. Either way, the HD800 feels like it is giving all it can give leaving nothing to be desired from any of the three setups. The FUN is a great pairing with the HD800 offering lots of power to drive the headphone’s higher 300-ohm impedance. Often on lesser setups, the HD800 can sound congested in busy passages or bottom out with big bass booms – but not happening on the FUN. Lesser amps can sound noisy and detract from the gobs of HD800 detail – again, not so on the FUN. Great pairing.
  • HiFiman HEX: There is nothing unexpected here as the HEX sounds good on anything including an iPhone. However, there is the occasion that a cheap source can make the HEX sound bright. This is not the case with the FUN, as it is a very nice pairing providing everything the HEX is famous for.
  • Audeze LCD2.2: The LCD2’s are known for gobs of godly bass and always delivers when paired with powerful amps such as with the FUN. However, this is my least favorite pairing as the LCD2 can be particular in the source to offer its best. While the LCD has clarity and slam with the FUN, it doesn’t have the larger soundstage that some amps such as the ZDs have to offer. Switching to the ZDs, now I am hearing what I am after. Stepping up further to the Hugo 2 > ZDs the LCD2 goes wider in soundstage, but without a direct comparison, the FUN is good enough. However, I should point out that my overall planer preference has always been for a tube amp to downplay a perceived brightness.
  • 64 Audio A18 CIEMs: Booooom….wow, this is the biggest I have heard the A18 bass. While it is almost too much stepping on the mids a little, I am enjoying it very much. Moving to songs with less bass, the dynamics get very snappy but very controlled with no slop. The snaps are crisp, the guitar is very plucky. If I have any complaint, it would be that the sound stage on the A18 is compressed a little compared to the Hugo 2 source it usually is paired with. While this is a great pairing, I like the Mason pairing better. However, I have to say that the a18 is sounding very big and full sized which is "mucho" fun. Moving to the ZDs, there is a big noticeable upgrade in a18 performance as it is liking the ZDs tube sound better.
  • Empire Ears Legend X CIEMs: The LX says “hell ya” to the FUN. It sounds wonderful. The LX is known for its dual subwoofers which are very tight and controlled with the FUN. These sit on top of the Empire Ears famous Zeus SQ to provide a complete audiophile home stereo sound. The dynamics are very punchy while the black space in between the instruments stays very dark and clean. This is a wonderful pairing. This pairing is bringing the voices front and center and offering a lot more emotion to the mix. Like the a18, my only complaint is that I have heard a wider sound stage on other gear, but I am being fussy. Moving to the ZDs, I trade some of the blackness for euphonics and richness. I also get some of the soundstage back. Both ways, the details are intense.
  • Unique Melody Mason V3 CIEMs: The Mason is my favorite CIEM for voice – male and female - and is a wonderful all-rounder that grows on you over time as does the HD800 (implemented correctly). They offer gobs of detail and texturing with black space and sound stage galore. This plays into all the strengths of the FUN as the pair very well together. In fact, this is the best I have ever heard the Mason sound.
  • Fearless Audio S10-Genie CIEMs: The S10 is a huge performer at $759 for 10 BA drivers. Being new to my lineup, I am just getting used to it, but have not heard any better setup so far than through my FUN amp. Like the Mason, this CIEM is wonderful for voice – male and female - and is a wonderful all-rounder. This CIEM offer gobs of detail and black space with not quite as much texturing or sound stage as the Mason – but not that far off. Like the Mason, this plays into all the strengths of the FUN as they pair very well together.
  • Fearless Audio ACME8 CIEMs: The ACME8 is the top of the line for Fearless Audio offer a unique 3D printed sound tube system to augment its bass response. While I am a fan of the innovative bass system, there are some scenarios that can sound a little off, or flabby when using DAPs to drive it. However, I have not found this to be the case with the FUN. The fun has the effect of tightening the bass on each of the mentioned test HPs offering blackness between the bass notes and speed to their delivery. This blackness on the ACME8 really added a boost to the perceived soundstage and is the best pairing I have heard to date with this CIEM. It also added a bit of life and thickness that was needed to the high notes offering a flatter response curve. Very nice pairing.
How does it Compare
Using my HD800, I wanted to see how the Fun stood up to the other amps in my arsenal. The FUN did not disappoint.
  • C&C BH2 Amp: Using the PLAY headphone out into my BH2 line in was not optimal for comparison, but it worked. Being very familiar with the performance of this little amp, I was happy with the outcome. The BH2 is a tiny $100 amp that offers 40 hours of playtime on its battery and drives the HD800 to almost full potential. It is now discontinued and rare, but has been a giant killer that has stood up against many amps that were priced in the thousands of dollars for the last five years I have owned it. This was an interesting matchup. The FUN clearly came out on top, but the BH2 was awesome like normal. The difference is that the BH2 while having clarity and a large soundscape, the FUN was even bigger, clearer, and had better texturing. The BH2 has more tube like ephonics, but in direct comparison to the FUN, it sounded a little muddy where I much preferred the FUN.
  • Hugo 2 Amp Section: This was tested still using the computer as the source, but through the HUGO DAC so it is not a direct comparison. At $2500, there is an expectation that the HUGO2 would come out on top, and it did, but by a tiny margin. A one percenter audiophile will appreciate this subtle increase in sound quality, but the majority of music lovers would be better served saving their money for better headphones. While the difference was slight, there was an audible elegance to the HUGO2’s representation to the music that increased with the quality of the source file. The only way I can describe it was as a more 3D representation. My wife could not hear the difference.
  • Eddie Current ZDs Tube Amp: When comparing the FUN to the ZDs, I am focused on the tube sound as the key difference. So it comes down to a solid state vs. tube amp conversation. While I favor tube amps of the SDs quality, I was surprised to find that with some genres, I was enjoying the FUN solid state presentation more. Remember, we are comparing a $2K tube amp to a $299 solid state amp so this is saying a lot. I didn’t roll tubes with the ZDs so there could be a combination that changes this opinion, but the tube employed is a $150 Sophia tube which is known to be one of the best for the ZDs. If I had to say what made the ZDs better, it would be that it was a little more lifelike for lack of a better description where the FUN is more solid state. Again, for most music lovers, they would be better off with the FUN using the savings to buy a better headphone.




As the title says, the FUN offers a lot more than $299 of value competing with amps that are 10x its cost. For 99 percent of the music listeners out there, the FUN is good enough – no need to go any further. Most casual listeners will not be able to tell the difference in quality in direct comparison to my $2800 Hugo 2 or my ZDs. However, for us 1 percenter that wants to see how much further we can go…. the V6 Vivid or Classic upgrade kit is shown in the table above may prove to be irresistible. What does that extra $100 have to offer? I may have to find out so I can offer an update.


Reviewer at Sound Perfection Reviews
Formerly affiliated with HiFi Headphones
Pros: Fun sound, plenty of power
Firstly, I would like to thank Burson for sending me these samples for review, they have both been used for at least 100hrs before this review was written.

*disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings.

Gear Used: Topping D50 / JDS Labs OL DAC / JDS Labs EL DAC > Fun > Play > HE-500 / German Maestro GMP 400 / Mission Bookshelf speakers / HD820 / Clear

Tech Specs:


Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
The Bang and Fun both come in a simple black box with the product name and picture on the outside, it is very simplistic but for these products you really don’t need anything fancy. When you open up the boxes you will find the products held tightly in place by foam cut outs, all the accessories are in a separate compartment. All of it is very secure for shipping and protects the products well, along with being sleek and understated.

Both units have the same build quality, a full aluminium outer casing that is sturdy and flawlessly finished. All the inputs and outputs are sturdy and everything stacks very neatly if you want it to. The volume control on the Fun is super smooth, both units have the power switch on the back but that is only a minor inconvenience for some, and I have never found rear mounted power switches to be an issue. What I can say here really is that Burson know how to make a solid product that is built to last.

Accessory wise with the Fun you get a set of RCA cables, a jack adaptor, the power supply and a 2.5mm hex key to open it up for op-amp rolling. With the Bang you only get the power supply and 2.5mm hex key, but then again I can’t think of anything else that would be needed to get it up and running. Overall a good set of accessories with each unit, and everything you need to get set up.

So the Fun is a headphone amp / pre-amp and it also has a mic jack pass through for those gamers out there. This is a pure analogue amp that has some very impressive output power for its size and price, it’ll drive most headphones out there with ease, and the gain is fairly high so it is still more suited for full-size headphones, but it does work fine with IEM’s too. It has one set of RCA inputs, and one set of outputs that are controlled by the volume control on the front. There is a 6.3mm headphone output on the front, and a 3.5mm mic input that passes through to a 3.5mm output on the back. The mic jacks are a pass through and not affected by the amp’s internals. On the back you have the power input from either the external power supply or a 4-pin molex from a PC power supply in case you want to mount the Fun in a PC case.

The Bang is a small desktop power amplifier for passive speakers; it outputs 40w @4Ohms, 29w @8Ohms and 15.2w @16Ohms. It is also very quiet and can be used to drive hard to drive headphones with the correct banana-XLR adaptor. It is a power amp so you need a pre-amp to control the volume; there is merely a LED on the front panel to show it’s on. On the back you have the power input, a set of RCA inputs and the speaker outputs (accept bare wire, banana plugs and spades).

The Fun is a pure Class-A headphone amp, and a powerful one at that. It comes in a small form factor but don’t let that fool you. First off, we have the stock version with the NE5543 op-amps and the Fun is a nice neutral leaning amp with plenty of detail and punch. It has so much power on tap I’ve never found myself going over 10 O’clock on the volume pot. The NE5543 is a perfectly good op-amp in the Fun, but there is still room for improvement. For starters the NE5543 may sound a little sterile to some, it lacks a little dynamism and the treble is not the most natural sounding in timbre.

Pop in the V6 Vivid op-amps and it becomes just that, more vivid. The sound is more dynamic and punchier, with kicks hitting harder but never losing control. The midrange is not affected much apart from having better layering, separation and air. The treble gains some finesse and sounds more realistic than the NE5543. The Vivid plays well with many headphones, I personally found it to work wonders with the new Sennheiser HD820 over more reference style amps. The V6 vivid is just a lot of fun to listen to.

The V6 Classic on the other hand is a little more reserved in its presentation, preferring to be a subtler and laid-back sounding op-amp. The sound is slightly less exciting and up-front but what is does have is a more balanced and even sound that is smooth and enjoyable without losing out on detail retrieval. The midrange on the V6 Vivid is not as intimate as it is on the Classic, the Classic is the one to go for if you want an expansive sound with an even balance.

The V6 Vivid is energetic and fun, the V6 Classic is more reserved and balanced.

Now on to the Bang, the sound changes between the op-amps in the Bang are less noticeable but are still there to some extent. The changes are the same as the in the Fun, with the Vivid being more fun and exciting, the V6 Classic being more even and balanced. If you are using the Fun or Play as the pre-amp you can mix and match between the units to get the right balance.

The Bang with the NE5532 is a little on the brighter sound, and does not pair very well if you have brighter leaning speakers. Saying that it will work well with warmer speakers and still has a lot of power for its size. The good thing about the Bang is that you know the specs are not inflated, they are real life power ratings.

Again, the Bang does not change as much with different op-amps but there are still subtle changes, the V6 vivid playing better with slightly more neutral speakers, bringing out a little bit of life out of them. The V6 Classic will give you a more faithful and truer to the source sound.

What surprised me about the Bang is the moment you plug it in and get it playing you will notice how much more open, spacious and detailed it is compared to similar priced integrated amps. It really is the only amp you need for a nice little bookshelf / PC setup, and it will also handle a lot of bigger speakers if you are wanting a compact amp. It does not shy away from a challenge.

The Bang is a powerful yet compact power amplifier that would be at home in both a PC based system as well as a HiFi system. If you partner it with the Play you have a remote from which you can adjust the volume, with the Fun you only have the volume pot. The Bang does not shy away from a challenge and it will do justice to many easier to driver speakers out there, it sounds a lot better than the cheaper integrated amps around the same price, the only downside is you will need a pre-amp to match the amount of inputs you need.

Conclusion: Well I can easily recommend both products, as I can the Play. You can have them as a system or separates, but they all do what they set out to do with excellence. Have a Bang and a Play and you have an all in one DAC/HP amp/power amp that will drive most headphones and a large number of speakers with ease all in a compact stack or mounted in a PC case. The Fun comes in when you want to use a separate DAC and want a slightly better headphone amp than that of the Play. Burson have launched a superb series of desktop components that all sound great and work flawlessly, with the ability to tune the sound easily with op-amps along with mount them in a PC case. Keep up the good work Burson!

Sound Perfection Rating:
Fun 8.5/10 (Solid and powerful, V6 op-amps are highly recommended)

Bang 8.5/10 (superb power amp, V6 op-amps are again highly recommended)
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100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Price, Size and Costumer care
Cons: Not really the highest degree of sound for the Basic-version
NE5543.jpg CD192.jpg First of all, I want to say thank´s to Charles at Burson Audio, as he gave me the opportunity to do this listening test with their headphone amp; Fun!

My first impression when unwrapping the box, is that the amp are quite well packed in the original retail black box, with some white foam and also a thick rubber foam surrounding it. At the side of it, there are two boxes; one containing the power adapter and the other contains a 2,5 mm Hex-key to be used when opening the lid of the amp, a power cable for the power adapter, a small gold plated resistor or capacitor for surface mounting (that I have not yet know the purpose for) and an short RCA-cable from Pailicc of a much better grade than usually includes with most other equipment, especially the connector´s! Most other manufacturer´s tend to include those familiar and very thin "licorice laces", that either get´s placed among all other scrap cabel´s in a box on the shelf of being throwed away immediately! Those Pailicc´s can be used withoud any bad conscience.

This amp are also equipped with a new developed power stage, using no transformer for maximum power and minimal noise.

There are three available options of the Fun; the Basic model that I´m gonna test are the cheapest, implementing a pair of NE5543 Opamp´s. The other options is get with Burson´s quite new and well regarded V6 Vivid or V6 Classic discrete Opamp´s.

What I first realized, was the lack of grounding as the amp´s power adapter are ungrounded. Also, there amp has no 100 Ohm resistor between the enclosure and the signal path´s ground (that many other amp´s have to avoid any EMI/EMR to reach the signal and bring noise to the sound). But they are not alone with this solution, as many manufacturer´s do the same, and honestly, I´m not sure how much this grounding filter solutions will do for the sound.

I did a A/B comparison test against my own assembled DIY headphone amp, that are using V6 Vivid dual, a Dale 24 stepped volume attenuator and Mundorf/Russian Teflon´s (as it´s built by me, it´s not easy to tell a retail price for it, but similar models will cost about four times the Fun Basic). For the source, I used a Cambridge CD192 CD-player that has two analog RCA-out, with upsamling module and modded with THS4032 OpAmp´s (had a retail price new about $1400) and listened to both my Sennheiser HD595 and HD800. After I calibrated the volume to a similar level for the amp´s, I used my DIY A/B-testing unit to switch between them, as the unit that gonna compare, should not be connected to the Fun´s pre-out, otherwise the sound will be limited by the Fun (or vice versa, if connecting the Fun to the other amp). Each amp must be directly connected to the source, and the A/B-tester will to this without the need to connecting and disconnecting each time.

The first thing I noticed when listening to the Fun, whas that I must admit there were many similarities between the two amp´s, but what I rather quickly distinguished, was the rolled off treble for the Fun, as there were much more open sound from my DIY-amp, the sound from the Fun was much more veiled. The bass was quite good, and the mid also mostly nice, but no up the grade the DIY-amp, that had a more open and well defined sound.

Of course, it´s not really fair to compare the Fun against an amp with Burson´s own V6; their latest generation of discrete Opamp´s, altough both amp´s consists of part´s at a really high grade! But having in mind this Fun are the Basic version, with a pair of NE5543 Opamp´s, I must nevertheless admit the sound are quite good compairing to the rival´s, for the price and size of the amp!


A few days ago, I also did a comparison for JRC NE5534, Burson V6 Vivid and also did a quick comparison to the Classic and a SparkoS SS3602 installed in my Burson Fun headphone amp, every A/B-test were done with the DIY stereo switch for instantly swapping between the simultaneously powered amps and compairing with my own DIY assembled LBC amp with a V6 Vivid and Sparko discrete voltage regulators SS7815 and SS1117-15, that will replace the original LM317 and LM337. Those discrete voltage regs will give the amp a steady and clean power voltage with very low noise and a black background.

Before the test, every OpAmp were burned in with pink/white noise and sinus waves for several hours. The test were again made with my Sennheiser HD 800 connected with the DIY A/B-switch to both amps simultaneously powered and listening to some CD´s, for example Ani DiFranco and Laura Pausini from 2006 - playing in my Arcam CD192 CD-player. Here are my conclusion:

As I already stated, the standard NE5534 are dull sounding some treble roll off and not as clear and open as all the other OpAmps. It´s not bad, but more in the same range as the OPA2134.

The difference between Burson V6 Vivid and Classic were the smallest between all tested and not as big as many people stated, that the Vivid should be more open with a bigger sound stage and the Classic should be warmer and closer. But their sound are in a totally other league, definitely a wider sound stage and more details. One thing also worth to be noticed, are the included gold plated DIP8-adapter, that can be leaved fitted at those dicretes and soldered to the PCB if you decide, as they are of very high grade while SparkoS adapter socket should only be used as PIN protection and are recommended to be removed before installing due to their low quality.

The SS3602 had more treble than the all the other.

And when I compaired both amps with V6 Vivid for both, the DIY amp had a more open sound with a wider sound stage. But have in mind that I have paid a bit more for the DIY amp in component cost than the Burson Fun, that will cost $399 with V6´s. One more thing I noticed, was the extreme power/gain for the Fun, as the volume knob were at bearly 9´clock, while the DIY were at almost 12´clock, when calibrated equally with noise. So, the Fun amp is definitely a winner for it´s retail price, and combined with the V6 it´s remarkable good!

Beside for the Fun amp, I´ve used the V6 Vivid in a AK4490 DAC, also with amazingly good result!

My DIY amp were connected to the CD-player with a Van Damme Twin Interconnect, while I choosed the original bundle Pailiccs for the Fun. I also tried the Fun with a thick high grade silver plated OFC Interconnect, without any noticeable improvements. Therefore, I will praise the bundle Pailiccs quite high, altough I soldered the cables screen to the connectors for best connection. Have in mind that most other equipments bundle cables are of a very low quality that should be avoided to use for HiFi!

My verdict are that the Burson Fun have a very affordable price, compared to most other amps (for example; the Grado RA1 have a price, while having a very simple schematic, base on the Pimeta that can be done as a coffe break DIY-project), and will give a sound that will satisfy most people, and beat most of it´s competitors - especially if you choose a discrete OpAmp, regardless model - but have in mind that the V6 costs about 10$ less than SparkoS!


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Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: POWER!
Ability to fit in your PC.
Gamers take note...this is good.
Easily stackable.
Cons: Plain black box?
"Too affordable for some."
none really.
Burson Fun-Act One: Basic-$299usd. 5-year warranty. 4.25 stars, if I could. 4.5 with the Vivid.

*Burson had previously sent me the Play on tour. They contacted me to see if I was interested in the Fun, followed by the Bang. I said, “well of COURSE!!” I will provide an open honest review, to the best of my abilities, without reservation. Both parties involved would have it no other way. Period.

*Parts labeled with an asterisk (*) below are additions added using the V6 single Vivid OpAmp. I graciously thank Burson for sending the units for comparative purposes. As a side note, those are the OpAmps of choice for me in the Burson Play as well.

Burson website: https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/fun/

*Burson OpAmp link: https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/supreme-sound-opamp-v6/



Input impedance: 38 KOhms
Frequency response: ± 1 dB 0 – 35Khz
THD: <0.03%
Output impedance (Head Amp): 6 Ohm
Output impedance (PreOut): 25 Ohm

Package Content

Burson Fun Unit
2.5mm hex key
RCA Cable
6.5mm to 3.5mm Socket Adaptor
Power Supply: 100-240V AC (12V 6A)


Inputs: RCA (2V RMS line level), Mic Input
Weight: app. 2Kg
Outputs: RCA Pre-Amp / Headphone Jack / Mic out
Dimensions: 210mm x 145mm x 45mm

Impedance (Headphone Jack)/Power/Signal to Noise Ratio/Separation:

16 Ohm/1.9W/92db/99%
32 Ohm/2.1W/95db/99% 100 Ohm/1W/94db/99% 150 Ohm/0.66W/96db/99% 300 Ohm/0.33W/94db/99.5%

Gear used/compared:

Mr. Speakers Ether-C Flow
Campfire Audio Cascade
Clear Tune Monitors DaVinci X
Campfire Audio Atlas
Hidizs MS4


Sendy Aiva
HiFiMan Ananda

Thebit Opus #2
Shanling M5
Shanling M3s
Aune M1s
MacBook Pro-Tidal Premium & Pine Player

Songs used:

Coldplay-All I Can think About Is You
Coldplay-A Message
Coldplay-White Shadows
Dona Onete-Sonos de Adolescente
Los Lonely Boys- Heaven (en Espanol)
twenty one pilots-Trees
twenty one pilots-Car Radio
twenty one pilots-Heathens
Damian Marley-Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
Damian Marley-So A Child May Follow
Damian Marley-The Struggle Discontinues
Ziggy Marley-Lighthouse
Ziggy Marely-See Dem Fake Leaders
Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado

twenty one pilots-Trench
*Tedeschi Trucks Band…oh my goodness…


Coming in the same sized matte black box as the Play (I certainly do not mind utilizing the same packaging to save costs and space…), you are met with an outline of the Fun (via sticker), complete with front, back image and which option you have. A few specs are listed as well. Since none of the boxes regarding version were highlighted in red, I assume this is the basic, which retails for $299. None the matter, as I can OpAmp roll using those from the Play.

Opening from the front, you are met with two long rectangular boxes bordering the outside, which open as the lid, from the front. Directly in the middle, beneath ¼” soft foam and cradled in a ¾”-1” rigid foam frame lies the Fun. Just the same as the other Burson models of this line. Underneath is the same soft foam, so the Fun is completely protected. In one long box is the power unit. In the other is the power cord as well as connecting 2 single RCA cables as well as Allen key, warranty card 3.5mm-6.3mm adaptor. That’s it. Basic indeed, but I do not mind. It is the listening, which counts.



Again, following the same format as the other critters in the foray, you get a black rectangular box. Four Allen screws on the front, the same volume knob (in the same place), a 3.5mm input jack to the left. Left of that is the microphone jack, while left of that you have a dedicated 6.3mm jack. A small blue LED is at the most port position, denoting that the unit is on. Unlike the Play, there is not analog readout for volume, only the turn of the knob, with a smaller yet white dot denoting position.

The back has L/R RCA in and out (pre-amp out) connections as well as the power connection, on/off toggle, microphone jack (for mic pass through when mounted in a PC) and computer cable hook up. Yet again you can use this in your desktop tower, providing a killer amp upgrade. At 2 watts Class A, I would hope so…

Simple straightforward and to the point. This isn’t meant to be a boutique piece no; the merits are in the sound. With discreet circuitry (a Fun read in and of itself, haha) there is no crossover distortion or feedback. Not noticeable on the outside, much like the look; but it is what’s inside that counts.

OpAmp rolling is quick and easy with the included Allen Key. I listened to the included Basic OpAmp’s as well as the Vivid’s from my Burson Play. I prefer the warmer signature of the Vivid to the Classic, but the Basic (NE5543 X 2) sounded near-neutral and just fine. YMMV. As a desktop amp, the ease of changing the OpAmps cannot be underestimated. Throw in the Bang, and you can essentially get a good set of combinations with which to play.

*Dedicated OpAmp sound:

To add to what is listed below, after Burson sent me the V6 (single) Vivid pair for installation, I dedicated several hours using the same songs listed above (and same sources/gear) with the addition of a couple newcomers to my corral; the Sendy Aiva and the tour HiFiMan Ananda. My initial usage of the Vivid OpAmps in the Burson Play allowed me a direct comparison between the Classic (more neutral) and the Vivid (warmer signature). In the Fun though, Burson included the Basic, to give me an impression of their “bottom-line” component. Using the V6 Vivid (again, single not double) added $140 to the cost, on par with Basic Playmate and Play with V5 OpAmp options. A fair comparison in my opinion. Following this, Burson will send me the Bang to use in conjunction with the Fun for a complete comparison of the line-up as well as giving a good representation of the whole line.

Installation is as easy as messaging @Wiljen to ensure all went well…it did…after sending a couple of DOH! Messages, he graciously did not make “fun” of my doltishness…it is straightforward and easy to change OpAmps in under five minutes. A huge option when used as a stand-alone.

So…what happened? Using Tidal Premium through my MBP and first the Ananda, I was met with visions of a small venue concert I attended with my Brother-in-law listening to the Tedeschi Trucks Band. I distinctly remember ordering Guinness a pint at a time, rotating with the local Boulevard Pale Ale in glasses. By concerts start time, we were the only ones allowed to use glasses, as the others were relegated to the ubiquitous Red Solo cups. Our waitress took very good care of us that night adding to the enjoyment of top-class music and passion deserving of Susan Tedeschi. A magical night topped by a hug to the waitress and a tip she wholly deserved. I mention this, for playing Tedeschi Trucks through the Fun/Vivid brought back those good memories. Small venue, excellent company, excellent beer, and incredible music. And if that is what our music can do for us, then it has served its purpose. And served it well.

Richer, fuller and mellower would be apt descriptors for what the Vivid brings to the table. And I do so love that sound. Detail remains excellent in this iteration. Sound stage is good. Slightly on the intimate side, but oh so nice. Susan’s voice rings like from the concert. Sitting at our bar table, right in front, with Tedeschi giving us props throughout the show. And we returned the favors with glass raised.



The Vivid provides not more power, no; but that richness, almost velvet-like sound, which can make an analytical song ooze with sensuousness. This can make a sterile song come to life, and dance across the page, not unlike the verbiage espoused here. I must openly admit that the Fun by itself is good, but with the Vivid, the sound comes more in line with my tastes. I openly admit to liking the Sendy Aiva (even after hearing more expensive units, which mellowed my view a bit) and here the combination brings the sound I very much appreciate from the Aiva. Just a really good combination.

Switching to the Cascade, the bass is superb. Almost toning down the overwhelming-ness, the package brings to light how good the Cascade can sound with a good amp. Yes, Tidal Premium and the MBP are not the best; but I still enjoy them both. Again, rich bass and sound emanate from the Cascade, moving me back yet again to the concert. A more mid-centric sound than the Aiva, the Cascade gives you a better feel for the sound package, as you most definitely feel centered about 10 people (the venue was small, and save for our raised table area was standing) back from stage, moving perfectly in time with the music and crowd. You glance around and all look, feel, envelope Tedeschi’s sensuous voice and guitar licks. They catch you looking and raise their Red Solo cup of adult beverage and you share the moment. Any How, epitomizes this sound wonderfully. I fully recommend a Tedeschi Trucks concert. You will not be disappointed with their musical variety and genre-crossing sound. A hip blues sound, with Grateful Dead thrown in along with the musicianship of Dave Matthews and Lyle Lovett. Yes, they have their own sound, but melding the above give you the idea.

And the Fun/Vivid represent that sound oh so well. I finish with Laugh About It, a spiritual song about not forgoing your chance. A fitting way to end the second part of this review. For you see, Burson took a chance with an amp line-up, which can span the spectrum of making your gaming set-up top notch, while pulling double duty as a very good affordable desktop amp. One, which will stay in my rotation for comparative purposes for a good long time. This is good stuff.


A word about sources:

As @Wiljen mentioned in his review, you are more dependent upon the DAC you use for the sound as the Fun itself. Therefore (to me) if you scale up too much, you really are not adding anything (and could detract in fact) from the sound signature presented. In other words, it simply is not worth it for me to hook up my Questyle QP2R to the Fun, other than to add power. And I would be losing some quality in the making.

This certainly is not a snub or shot at Burson, no. It is simply that hooking a $300 headphone amp to a $1300 DAP can be done, but do not expect anything above the sound of the DAP except volume. The Fun is quite adequate at providing that power as well. While the original source signature can show itself through the Fun, you realize what the limits are.

Through the Aune M1s, the additional power is welcomed, and can show the warmth of the M1s quite nicely. I would say that this is a good match, as it can provide the added power, with a bit more oomph down low. Especially when I ran the Atlas through it. Or the Cascade for that matter. Quite nice.

Tidal Premium through my MacBook Pro and the Fun (using headphone jack into split RCA cables), the sound in the Ether-C Flow is definitive and additive. The Fun does indeed provide the necessary power to drive the Flow to voluminous levels of hurt. Want more warmth? Throw in the Vivid OpAmps, sit back and enjoy. I do love the Ether-C Flow, but always welcome a bit more sub-bass. Coldplay’s Up & Up shows well in this set up. Coldplay has a tendency to be a shouty-kind of sound on many songs and this is one of them. But I sift through that to the added power. Giving that extra rumble down low (yes Tidal Premium does that) the Fun drives the Flow well.

Switching to the Cascade through the same set up, that bass is back in full force. The Cascade is known as the bass-cannon of headphones in some circles, and it does not disappoint here. Sounding better than straight out of the MBP (one would hope so anyway), that “better” comes straight from the extra amplification of the Fun. So, one could argue that the source sound is the same, but only amplified. That would be correct, but it still sounds a bit better. Not more definitive like the Flow, which is a harder to drive critter, but just more of it. So, I cannot say definitively if the sound is “better,” but only more of it. A harder to drive headphone such as the Ether will benefit more than the Cascade, which is straightforward to drive since it is marketed as a portable.

With Motherboard pouring through from Daft Punk (one of my favorite test tracks) on the same set up, the Cascade reminds me of what I love about it. There is just that presence there, which comes through loud and clear. The Fun is not the detail monster of other amps, and it isn’t meant to be. That job is up to the Bang or the Play. No, the Fun provides the engine with which to drive your music. And in that regard, it does a very good job.

Follow that up with Song For America from a favorite of mine, Kansas, and you have a pretty good idea of what the Fun can bring to the table. Power, and what I will call “girth” give it very good presence. Details while slightly above average come through with good placement. You do not mistake what sound is where. As such Sound stage is decently wide and tall. A good boxy set up pervades the feeling of a larger hall. Nicely done.


As stated above, I preferred the Vivid OpAmp for its warmth, but kept the Basic in most of the time to show what the most economical unit could do. Providing what I would say is on par with other amps at this price range, the Fun has a bit more power than many at this price, providing up to 2 full watts for most easily driven headphones and IEM’s. More than adequate in my book, and good for gaming situations as well, like the Play. What it does not provide is a better DAC. Whatever you have in your source is it. But my thought here is those that would use this in either a desktop headphone amp set up or inside a PC tower for gaming will most likely have a better DAC (either from a DAP) or a better soundcard for gaming purposes.

The Fun makes no pretense in providing better sound, only in providing MORE sound. Burson leaves that up to the source, whether it is the Bang or as other reviews here have provided their own DAC’s. And in the end, who doesn’t want more power?



This may be a shorter than average review of late, but that is by design. For once I have the Bang inhouse, I will be able to pair the two and get a better sense of their place. I have the Schitt Modi2 Uber and Magni2 for cheaper comparative purposes, and my iFi stack moving up, so that will be a good mix.

Don’t take this as a slight of the Fun. No, indeed not. For the Fun is a powerful desktop amp, which fits nicely into my set up. Not the most versatile of options, but easy to hook up with pretty much whatever you would like. Easily hooking a DAP to the front slot, or your laptop/PC/DAP from the RCS cables in back; it simply works. And sometimes that is the best compliment you can earn. This is the true benefit of the Fun. It is affordable, "optionable," PC-able, and small of size with excellent power.


*Vivid V6 OpAmp finale: So…after too long of a time, I can add to what is stated above. The Burson Fun is indeed a quality amp and for its intended purposes, does very, very well. Then when you add in the ability to roll OpAmps, you have added to its versatility. When I changed to the Vivid OpAmp, I felt this better represented what Burson was trying to achieve with this line of their amps. Good to excellent for computers, raised to excellent to very, VERY good with the Vivid.

In fact when comparing to my iFi Pro iDSD or the tour HiFiMan Jade II system I have on hand, to me using the Vivid had more of an impact on my MacBook Pro (the closest I could come to the mostly intended desktop tower PC for which this was designed) sound than the others. While the iFi and HiFiMan systems sounded grand, it was most definitely overkill. A MacBook Pro was not the intended target of those higher priced amps. And here is where the true beauty of the Burson lies. Want clearer, cleaner sound? Roll with the Classic. Want a richer, fuller sound? Roll with the Vivid. Want a very good basic upgrade to your PC’s set up for gaming? The Classic will work just fine.


The desire to tune and fine tune items has been around as long as humans (and animals). We have this innate desire to tinker. Make things better, improve upon, come up with new inventions. One need look no further than the vaunted Shelby Cobra for the true definition of that human desire. And here is where I think Burson has carved out a niche for itself. That ability to allow the user to change as their taste fits. That ability to change the sound quickly, and with minimal effort. And for that, I have a newfound appreciation and respect for what Burson is doing.


I thank Burson for this opportunity, and when the Bang gets to my humble hamlet of a town, there will be an act two. So, we will simply call this act one.



New Head-Fier
Pros: Small foot print
Great build quality
Black backgroung
Cons: Power switch on back
DISCLAIMER: Burson sent the fun to me for a honest review. I'm by no means a expert reviewer this is just my opinion of this amp. All done with my ears and moddest gear.

SETUP: PC(spotify premium)>usb>Audio-gd NFB 28.38 fixed out>Fun input>HD-600 and Hifiman HE-400i

PACKAGING: The Burson Fun comes will packaged. In the box you will find the Fun encased in tight fitting foam. You will also find two boxes on each side of the fun. One contains power brick the other a nice set of RCA's,fuse,adaptor and allen wrench.

BUILD: I thought the Fun was well constructed with it's all aluminum chassis. The four rubber feet on each corner let's it sit nice and firm on your desk. I really liked the feel of the volume knob with it's Alp's pot. It is very smooth with precise adjustments.

SPEC'S: The Fun is a dual mono class A amp. Powered by four sets of max current power supply developed by Burson. Rest of spec's can be found on their web site.

SOUND: This little amp packs a punch. It has all the power you would ever need for most headphones. It sound is very clean and dead quite. I thought it was very detailed with great dynamic's. I heard no signs of distortion at higher volumes.
The Fun I received had the stock op amps which sounded very good to my ears. Can only imagine what rolling in the Classic or Vivid op amps would bring to the table. I can see why Burson named this amp the Fun very fitting.

LOW END: With my headphones the low end is very fast and detailed with great weight and impact.

MID'S: The mid's to me were smooth vocals sounded very natural with good mid bass punch.

HIGHS: The highs were very very clean and detailed. Never had any fatiguing when listening to this amp for hours.

CONCLUSION: For the asking price of the Fun with its power and dynamic sound it's a no brainer for me. It was super easy to set up and get started listening to music. The ability to charge op amps to alter the sound and be mounted in a computer case if that's for you. Over all I thinks this is a great little amp sounds great.


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Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Class A, Promotes Op Amp Rolling, Crisp. Clear, Wide Soundstage, PC interface for Mic and easy integration into a Desktop PC. Cost effective, Great Build Quality
Cons: Some very slight Noise at lower impedances, well out of hearing loudness range.
Burson Audio FUN

Well I have received from Burson Audio a new headphone amp to me. In the past I have reviewed Burson's Audio Cable + and Pro, and have always liked the Burson products. They seem to build some really well liked and well built headphone amplifiers. For people that like to play and experiment with various op amps to see if there are any differences etc, the FUN amp I just received is the “cats meow” for this type of activity!


Imagine a company that is enticing you to open up the device and plug and play to your hearts content and your wallet can stand!. The circuitry is designed to handle a wide variety of op amps, from inexpensive to expensive... They even supply you with an allen wrench and a spare power fuse!.

All it takes is 4 small hex head screws to pop off the cover and see the internals! The build quality inside the unit is second to none. I have built and worked in the electronics industry and this is a top of the line amp. The circuit board is well laid out, and there is no BIG unsightly power transformer inside that will ever “hum” or have isolation issues.


The FUN is a class A headphone amplifier that again encourages Opamp rolling. There is also an added mic input on the front. The Mic input is straight wired to a Mic output in the back for less cable clutter if used in a desktop pc system. For me I use this amp as a headphone amplifier....there is no DAC inside. But the FUN can fit into a PC drive bay and connect to your PC sound card and headphones. For gaming and great audio as well.

Instead of the traditional AC power into a transformer then into a bridge rectifier and filtering to remove the AC component etc...Burson designed what they call Burson Max Current Power Supply or (MCPS). The transformer is removed altogether. Burson states that main power at 50-60Hz is within the frequency the human ear can easily discern. A traditional linear power supply charges and discharges 50-60 times a second. They claim this is too slow for audio amplification. Their MCPS increases the working frequency to 179Khz. Any noise at this frequency is well above the human hearing threshold of 20khz. They say this allows for a pitch black soundstage critical for micro-details to shine through. Now this is techno talk from Burson, and I am a real technical geek that always has doubted many if these claims, the end result to me is the proof in the pudding. I will tell you in this review whatever they are doing here has led to a really GOOD amp. Call it what you want, this $299 Class A gem, is very crisp and clean.....pitch black for sure.


So there is no need for those LARGE capacitors for AC filtering and hum reduction. This amp puts out 2 watts of power into 32 ohms. A day when size natters, or bigger is better, this little amp throws all that away for sure. So its a 4x Max Current Power Supply, symmetrical dual mono design, Class A, Two DIP8 sockets for op amp rolling, ELNA audio aluminum electrolytics, and Vishay Professional MELF resistors ( with a 1% tolerance and a +/- 50ppm/K). Then volume pot is an ALPS pot with excellent tracking, All this with a 5 yr worldwide warranty.

The unit is the same size as a CD/DVD PC Drive that fits into a 5.25” PC drive bay. Its power can come from a 12VDC 5A source from your PC via a Molex connector. If you want to use it as a standlone unit they supply a small external power supply that has a green power led. The backside has two sets of RCA plugs, input and output, this unit can be used as a preamp as well, the preamp output impedance is 25 ohms, and the head amp output impedance is 6 ohms. They supply you with a nice set of RCA cables as well and 6.5mm to 3.5mm socket adapter. Inputs require 2V RMS line level, mic input. The unit weighs approx 2kg.

Class A amps run HOT. I have run this FUN amp for hours with 600 ohm Beyerdynamics T1 R2 and the case is slightly warm, there are 4 power transistors for each channel mounted to the bottom chassis assembly. Nothing like some other Class A amps I have built and owned. Not even close to hot to touch. Great design here.

The front of the FUN has a nice small bue LED to indicate power on. Its subtle and does not blind you.

The aluminum case is a matte black finish and it exudes 'professional” to me....very well done, like the SR 71 blackbird finish at the Smithsonian at Dulles Airport! There are four small plastic feet on the bottom.

The volume knob is large and fairly easy to turn the ALPS pot...nice and firm feel when rotating it...again exudes good parts and good operation.

The unit at the entry price of $299 comes with a pair of NE5543 X 2 op amps. My unit had JRC 5534D's which are in the $10-$15 cost retail. They are a high performance low noise op amp well beyond the old 741's. The amp with my headphones was silent with the volume turned up all the way. With 32 ohms cans I did hear some very slight noise with the volume up at 3pm, way, way beyond any listening. Most listening with 250 ohms or higher are dead silent.

So how does it sound...I used headphones from 32 ohms to 600 ohms and all were easily driven. All sound great. I have only 7 headphone amps at present, been selling! The Burson FUN sounds as good and “better” than most of them, its that good. Beyer 1350's, T1's, Audio Technica M50x's, Grado 325i's,

Beyer T90's, Audio Technica MSR7's....and others. All sound great, of course I have a preference....

The first word, adjective that comes to mind is “clear”, then “transparent”, then “soundstage”, followed by “accurate”, “lifelike”...and all those lesser adjectives...then I kept thinking “how are they doing this?” Its that good / different..the old “I have to listen to all my music again stuff...” The bass extension on headphones like the Audio Technica MSR7's is really mind blowing! The bass is indeed tight and well controlled with all my headphones.

The FUN has no internal DAC, so I am feeding it with a Schitt Bifrost Multibit DAC which I like very much as well....its a wonderful pairing that is making this amp come alive for sure, but there is magic in this little FUN Burson amp!

I could go over many of the songs I use to audition headphones and head devices but suffice to say I and hearing new stuff from my old favorites in a very enlightening way. Its like I am there. The tonality of violin strings are lifelike and mesmerizing. The music is effortless, the amp is supplying enough power throughout the frequency range...clear crisp, dynamic, tight......etc.

Everything from the remastered Beatles, A Hard Days Night, Eva Cassidy's , Eva by Heart, and on and on are being amplified very well. Whats there in the CD is being heard accurately and musically with my T1's....oh gosh its that nice.

Ok the surpy stuff is over....:>) I have not used the mic input or the preamp outs. So I cant comment on them. As a headphone amp, Class A, its the cats meow IMO.

I have been listening for three hours now and just dont want to stop listening its that nice....There are a lot of choices in this price range $299. But if your looking for a great Class A amp, that allows you to swap out and roll to your hearts content op amps, like NOS tubes...the Burson FUN should be high on your list. I look forward to rolling in some of Bursons other discrete op amps as well...Its just FUN!



Alex Dydula

NOTE: I got up this morning, cup of coffee in hand, to see if the Burson Fun was still working as well as my first impression...Instant on and instantly the smile appeared on my face...Burson has a winner here!


1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Tight bass
Cons: Had two review units fail
Not the best at detail retrieval
The Burson name is no stranger to folks at Head-Fi. Having said that, I've got to admit that I've never personally really listened to a Burson component at any great length - save for a local audio show where a Soloist variant (or so I hazily recall) was on demo.

On deck here is the Fun - a moderately priced headphone amp that can also double as a single source preamp for a nicely compact system. Burson produces a matching amplifier, the Play, to push the electrons through speakers.

The design is supremely functional - a decently thick steel case houses the guts while a beefy font panel sports a 1/8" jack for input, 1/4" headphone output, and a sculpted volume knob. A single blue LED tells you when the unit is powered up.

The back panel sports two pairs of RCA jacks - one for input, the other for preamp output. There's also a 4 pin Molex inlet as well as standard barrel connector for DC power. The Molex inlet and two pairs of screw holes on either side of the chassis speaks to an interesting feature of the Fun - it can be mounted in a 5 1/4" drive bay in a tower computer. A red rocker switch turns the amp on and off.

Using the Fun is straightforward. Hook up the interconnects (make sure you pay attention to the symbols above the jacks to figure out which is input and output), connect the appropriate power connector, and switch the amp on. The volume knob can feel a bit stiff, but it also cuts down on times where you accidentally crank it up.

I do have to mention that not one, but two review units malfunctioned during the course of this review. The first review unit pumped out tunes for an entire day and was switched off but left plugged in. About a week later, turning the amp on and expecting music, my ears were instead met with a squealing noise in the left channel and nothing from the right.

The second review unit suffered from different maladies. The first was a low level buzzing noise when the amp was first powered on. This noise went away after about 25 seconds. Again, after working perfectly fine for a day,
it was shut off and left untouched for about a week. When turned back on, no sound came from the headphone output, no matter how much I turned the volume knob. A new PCB was shipped out to replace the faulty one and the amp performed flawlessly thereafter (though I did leave the unit unplugged when not in use as a precaution).

Burson has been extremely gracious throughout this process and my experience with their representatives leads me to believe that they will take care of their customers with any issues that may arise.

To put the Fun through the proverbial wringer, I started off with some modern rock and pop. The most noticeable trait here was the vise-like control of the bass octaves. It's a very taut, impactful presentation that
lent a propulsive rhythmic drive to tracks from Florence + the Machine and The National. One little nit to pick was that cymbals seemed to trail off into a gaussian haze rather than retain their shimmer.

The same sort of situation played out on jazz and classical music. Paul Chambers' bass lines on "I'm Old Fashioned" off of Coltrane's classic album Blue Train sounded tight, with no hint of boominess. Yet the Fun had
a tendency to gloss over the inner detail I'm used to hearing on the brass instruments, leaving Coltrane's and Fuller's solos a little flat sounding. The finale to Schumann's Piano Concerto showcased the amp's macrodynamic chops, with the orchestra and piano sounding big and bold but the Fun couldn't quite resolve that last bit of air which lends a sense of space to the recording.

Comparing the Fun to my current solid-state reference, the HeadAmp GS-1, the Fun had a decidedly tighter presentation to the bottom octaves, The flip side of that coin was that the bass frequencies on the GS-1 tended to sound weightier, more corporeal. The GS-1 also possessed a sense of refinement that the Fun simply couldn't match - easily retrieving the air around notes, the inner details and ambience that the Fun was struggling to resolve.

Overall, the Burson Fun is a competent amp on all the sorts of music that I threw at it. It's not the most natural, organic sounding piece of kit nor does it portray that last iota of fine resolution (spatial or otherwise), but it gets the job done. It drives high impedance and low impedance cans to satisfying volume levels - at least for my taste - and is quiet enough for the IEMs that I have on hand, the Etymotic ER4SR. And though I never tested it as a preamp, it's a nice bonus feature that gives it some flexibility in a small setup. The only hesitation I have at this point regard the quality control issues, though Burson's excellent customer service do much to assuage that concern.


1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Simple set-up and ease of use
Versatile (Heaphones + Speakers)
Sleak form factor
Cons: Upgraded Op-Amps are extra $
This amp is so simple and so fun! I am a person who really enjoys equipment (amps and dacs) that are easy to use, simple to set up and just work! In my humble opinion, there are too many amps on the market that offer an immense amount of inputs and outputs, that for people like me who only use them to listen to great headphones, and great music, done honestly need. I really like the simplicity of this amp because it is easy to use, easy to set up and comes with a ton of power for any headphone or desktop speaker!

Burson is a company located in Melbourne, Australia, the city my brother's wife is from. Its full of beauty, very much like this little amp. I appreciate that the amp is compact, powerful and looks great. I'm going to review this amp from the perspective of a person who likes to get home, plug in my headphones, USB into my MacBook and listen to music straight away [Aussie phrase :)]. The Burson Fun allows me to do with no issues.

The Power:
I will let you read the specs on their website, but for power, it has enough power for any and every headphone imaginable. I used this amp in conjunction with my LH Labs Geek Pulse X Infinity by bypassing its built-in amp so it could just be sent the clean dac sound to be amplified by the Fun. The power is perfect for an at-home set-up for headphones, and speakers alike!

The Sound:
Its sound is clean, clean clean. There seems to be no extra warmth added to the sound from this amp, just powerful, dynamic sound to my Audioquest Nighthawks, Sennheiser 6XX and Audeze iSine20. The Fun amp is the type of amp I was looking to pair with my Geek Pulse X Infinity's DAC which is a sublime combination! If you are looking for an amp that won't add color to the sound, just clean, clear amplification, this is a wonderful buy for the base price of $299!

This is a perfect addition to any system that needs more power, better amplification, and a sound that is accurate to the way your favorite music should be! I am excited to tinker with the addition of the various other op-amps Burson offers to see how the sound is enhanced with these better quality components.


1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Very strong output. Looks Great. Nice smooth volume control. Wonderful sound quality. Can be used as a pre-amp. Fits inside PC case if required. Very low noise floor.
Cons: Expensive. No remote control (nitpicking).
I have been an avid headphone user for many years now. I think it’s fair to say that I’ve got to the point where I would always prefer to listen to music through headphones than loudspeakers. In all fairness, perhaps one of the main reasons for this is because I don’t live alone and my family really don’t share my taste in music. Also, I do like to listen to my music fairly loud - far louder than I would through speakers.

Throughout the years I have had an incredible number of headphones and playback devices including various portable Minidisc, portable CD players and MP3 players galore but the key thing is that they were portable. Although I did have a full sized and rather excellent analogue based hifi system, it's been many years since that was my primary listening system.


I feel it's only fair to point out that I don't talky consider myself as a headphone snob - I have found myself enjoying some really inexpensive bluetooth headphones costing less than 20 quid. One final piece of information about me is that I now listen to music mostly using my LG V20 phone and a combination of different headphones - many of which are bluetooth.


I know, I know. The Flat-Earth brigade are wringing their hands right about now at the mention of using bluetooth headphones but to be honest I feel that they are now good enough for more than simple casual portable listening. Don't get me wrong though. I still do very much appreciate excellent sound quality. Whilst I can honestly say that I will probably never spend thousands of pounds on high end gear (perhaps more because of financial circumstances rather than a complete lack of desire). When I’m sat down at home, listening to music intently, portability and wireless features will always take a back seat to sound quality.


Burson very kindly sent me their Fun headphone amplifier to review. Although I have used headphone amplifiers and external DAC’s before, they have always been portable units - with the limitations that all portable units have. The Fun is the first desktop-based amplifier I have used and wow - what a difference.

I won’t go into too much detail about the externals of the unit. Basically this amplifier can act as both a headphone amplifier and pre-amp thanks to its outputs on the back of the unit. This makes it an ideal match for active loudspeakers or systems with power amps. The unit is powered by a fairly small external power supply but is also designed to be inserted into a desktop computer system and can be powered from the PC itself. The Fun supports pass through for microphone input so gamers shouldn’t have any problems.

Needless to say the unit is pretty solid and very well made. When powered up, the only real giveaway that the unit is powered on is a small blue LED on the front - you certainly wouldn’t tell the unit was on by just listening through your headphones as there’s no noise floor on the Fun it’s completely and utterly silent - when when using fairly sensitive IEM’s.


To test the unit I tried a number of different headphones including:-

Sennheiser HD598SR
Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10 IEM’s
Sony WH1000Xm2’s in active wired mode
1More Triple Driver IEM’s

Needless to say the Fun powered all of them to extremely high levels without running out of steam or even a hint of distortion. Even when listening at low volume levels, the sense of power and scale definitely still comes across - far more so than directly from the LG V20 phone (which has a far more powerful headphone out than what you would find on most mobile phones). Whilst this degree of power is pretty much overkill when using IEM’s, it’s still more than welcome and gives the music a real sense of powerful dynamics and impact. The lack of electronic noise floor really helps when using IEM’s with the amp.

Many purists feel that all an amplifier should be is a ‘wire with gain’. They should neither add nor subtract quality from the original signal - simply make it louder. In all fairness, the Fun does offer a degree of colouration to the sound in my opinion - but we are talking about such subtleties that it could simply be a side effect of having all that additional power at your disposal - in no way does it spoil the character of the music. The amp is called Fun for a reason - it’s not pretentious, it hasn’t been made by magic pixies nor has it been breathed on by God. It’s simply a very well designed and made headphone amp/pre-amp which looks good and sounds great.

In conclusion I personally feel that the Fun is an excellent headphone amplifier and has definitely brought all my wired headphones to a whole new level of musicality.

Using the Vivid Op-Amps

I feel its important to put my cards on the table up-front with this review. The following points should give you a clearer idea of my thoughts and opinions regarding headphones:-

  1. Much of my listening is done using headphones designed for portability.

  2. I like wireless - much of my listening is done with wireless headphones and iems. Whilst I'm always looking for the best possible sound quality, I'm perfectly OK with the limitations of Bluetooth over wired.

  3. My usual sources are my mobile phone and Google Play Music via my excellent Chromecast Audio. I don't tend to listen to many 'high-res' files.

The reason why I wanted to make those points was to illustrate that I don't really consider myself an audiophile - rather someone who likes good sound quality at an affordable price. In addition to my portable kit I do have a loudspeaker-based system which comprises of the following:-

Burson Audio Fun headphone amplifier
Burson Audio Swing DAC/Pre-Amp
Burson Audio Bang power amp.
Google Chrome cast Audio (connected to the Swing optically).

For non-portable headphone listening, I use the excellent Sennheiser HD598SR full-sized headphones. I consider these headphones to be a nice balance between relaxed listening (thanks to their extremely comfortable design) and capable of excellent analytical listening thanks to their extremely flat sound profile. I also use the Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10 IEM's for serious analytical listening sessions (although admittedly I don't do this very often these days).

Swapping out the original Op-Amps for the Vivid's was a fairly simple process. I'm certainly not comfortable 'fiddling' around with the insides of my devices - I effectively have zero working knowledge of electronics. I basically just took my time, gently levered off the original chips using a flat bladed small screwdriver and inserted the Vivid's - making sure to get them in straight and not bending any of the legs. Although these are not quite 'zero insertion force' they're pretty easy to seat them onto the board with gentle downward pressure. The whole process really took less time than it did to get the lid off the amp.

Sound Quality

This is what it's all about. As I mentioned earlier I tend to listen mostly to streamed content but even with the use of compressed audio the differences are really quite remarkable. Whilst I was perfectly happy with the sound quality of the stock Fun headphone amp, the Vivid's have definitely taken the amp to the next level.

The first thing I noticed was the increased details in the high-end. Whilst I'm very sensitive to overly 'bright' sounding systems, the Vivid's offered this additional detail without making the sound harsh. Cymbals have a more 'metallic' sheen to them, percussion is more 'percussive' and the overall sound character became 'faster' and more exciting.

Another characteristic to come through after the swap out was imagery. Whilst headphones will always come second place to loudspeakers when it comes to stereo imagery in my opinion, the sense of depth, width and height to the soundstage was noticeably improved. The differences are certainly more than just minor adjustments to eq - the differences are more like the differences between a 128k and a 320k MP3 track. The sense of ambience - albeit artificial on many non-classical recordings is quite profound and certainly most welcome.

The overall sound character could be described as effortless - you can listen to your music at any volume you're comfortable with, clearly hear every detail in your recordings - be able to follow any instrument in the mix without having to concentrate - everything is presented to you without any apparent limitations. You can relax with the music and still maintain focus on what you like without having to make a conscious effort. Whilst this effect was present with the original Burson Play configuration, the addition of these op-amps makes a significant difference.

I've often thought about trying out a tube amp and experimenting with 'tube rolling' but I also lack the patience that is often needed to nurture and tweak these types of amps - years ago I would happily spend hours fiddling around with my hifi system in order to get the slightest improvement in sound quality - I really can't be bothered to do things like this now - I'm more comfortable in accepting limitations. The combination of Fun and Vivid's really feels like there's no real limitations - the overall system really feels like it's working at its very best. This is such an easy upgrade - no soldering, no worries thanks to Burson's excellent protection against incorrect insertion - easy peasy lemon squeezy.

In conclusion, those who have appropriate equipment would definitely do well to investigate Burson's excellent upgrade option. Whilst this isn't necessarily cheap, it's certainly has a profound effect on the sound quality and is therefore highly recommended.
Thanks for the review. You indicated that the volume knob was "smooth". Does this mean that Burson has moved away from the stepped attenuator on this model? I wasn't a fan of their volume knobs on previous products - though, that's just personal impression and others may not agree.
It's an analogue ALPS Blue inside, totally low noise headamp for IEMs actually, you could give it a try.
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wje, Burson had stepped attenuator inside older headamp, but inside their latest DACs (PLAY, PLAYMATE, SWING) the volume is controlled from inside the DAC chip, like most of 2018-2019 DACs actually (32-bit volume control).
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500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Small footprint, lots of power, price
Cons: No gain switch (more a preference than a con)
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So... Burson Audio sent me one of their headphone amps (The FUN) for review a little while ago. It's taken me a bit to get around to writing this (I apologize), so let's jump in.

Burson Audio is an Australian based audio company that caters towards the mid to high end headphone amplifier range, providing buyers with pretty great bang for your buck with the different types of sound signatures you can get from opamp rolling, which they encourage. I've been a bit of a fan myself for a while, so keep in mind that I am human, this review is my opinion, and as such, it may differ from your own. This is okay because it's that's variety of differences in this hobby that makes this so interesting and... FUN.. right? Haha.

About me

I haven't been in this hobby very long. Since about 2012 to 13-ish, actually. In that time I've been lucky enough to listen to quite a few different headphones from different companies, all with widely varying sound signatures, while I searched for my preferred sound. My preference normally leans towards dark, full bodied, and warm as I am highly sensitive to harsh treble as I perceive it. My music taste runs along the lines of Hip-hop (yeah, yeah), Classic Rock, R&B, Smooth Jazz, and Blues/Soul. While I do love a bit of bass emphasis in my music most of the time, I also like a more neutral sound for smooth, relaxing listening sessions. Now that you have a bit of an idea about me, let's move on.


The amplifier came in a simple box, well packaged and protected. Not much else to say here except that I appreciate simple. While others may go with flash and pomp and make their products damn near people proof, I was able to tear this amp out of the box immediately upon arrival and get to the glorious piece of gear tucked neatly away inside.


On opening the package I was greeted with everything needed to get started. Inside were the power cord, a couple of RCA cables, and a 1/8th to 1/4th headphone jack, along with the beautifully simplistic, all black aluminum chassis’d amp itself.

The amplifier

The Burson Audio FUN headphone amp is beautiful and well built with a full aluminum chassis and the usual outs you would expect, the FUN also boasts a mic input and output (both 3.5mm) for those who want to integrate this amp into their gaming setup on their PC. The footprint of the FUN at just over 5 inches makes it ideal for this kind of integration, or for just using as a standalone headphone amp in an area with very little space. It's also very well priced at $299 USD, in my opinion. Especially for the performance you get from this little bundle of FUN. At 2.1 wpc into 32Ohms, you get allllllll the power you'll ever need for just about every headphone you own. You can opt for their V6 (classic/vivid) opamps if you want a bit of a different sound, which will drive the price up a bit, but I can honestly say that as much as I would like to do so, I am REALLY enjoying the FUN in its stock configuration.

Now.. On to the sound!

The sound

Noise Floor - What noise floor? I used the FUN with my Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7, Audeze LCD-XC, and my Flare Audio Flares Gold IEMs, as well as an LB Acoustics MySphere 3.2 and my ears heard no audible noise floor through any of these headphones. It was an utter joy not to listen to or worry about any distracting hum taking me out of my musical bliss. This is due to Burson magic - and by magic I mean their “Max Current Power Supply”, developed in house by Burson to be superior to traditional power supplies and to deliver as clean a maximum current as you can get, instantly taking you into sonic bliss!

Highs - I'm always a little leery when testing new equipment. With how sensitive my ears are to hot/harsh/sibilant treble, sometimes new gear isn't the joy I was hoping for. Thankfully, this wasn't the case with the FUN. Highs were well extended, but had a smoothness to them that was pleasing to the ear. There was something about the way the highs were presented that just made the image of the music seem much more defined, to my ears.

Midrange - The midrange of the FUN felt slightly pushed back to my ears, but not as much as you'd expect from a headphone amp that calls itself the FUN. The vocals of both females and males voices have a certain heft... A weight behind them.. that makes them feel right at home between the slightly colored highs and lows.

Bass - This is always my favorite part of the review with me being a bit of a basshead, but since entering this hobby a couple years ago, I've come come to appreciate a more... appropriate.. amount of bass, so to speak. That being said, the FUN definitely has a bass emphasis, and although that emphasis is slight, it definitely contributes towards the enjoyment of the amp. Bass slam is nice and low notes are full and weighted, never overpowering or taking over the entirety of the spectrum with its fullness.


The Burson Audio FUN is well worth the price tag its been slapped with, and it more than lives up to its name, being one of the most fun amps I've ever used. It's power and versatility as far as sound signature makes it a great amp that outperforms all others in its price range, in my opinion. With loads upon loads of power to spare, the only thing you'll have to worry about is what DAC you want to pair it with and what headphone you are going to enter into musical bliss with.

(I will be doing a follow up review testing the V6 Classic opamps in the future, so if you liked this, look forward to that!)

Update: I received the V6 Classic OPAmps to replace the stock ones that come with the Burson Audio FUN. It's taken me a while to get around to this due to personal issues, but I'm happy that I finally got the opportunity! Here we go!

So... I've never done OP Amp rolling in the past, though I've seen many a discussion on it in forums and videos, so bear with me a bit. After switching out the stock OPAMPS with the V6 Classic, it took some back and forth switching for me to be sure of the differences that I was hearing. The V6, to my ears, seemed to have a much more intimate sound than stock. Whereas the stock OPAMPS were very lively and energetic sounding, the V6 seemed more relaxed, but still as detailed and FUN (Ha!) as stock. It took away everything about the stock OPAMPS that could get fatiguing after a while and made everything slightly warmer and easier to listen to. It's kinda hard to explain the differences between the two, but that's about as best as I know how at the moment. All in all, I think the V6 Classic makes for much easier listening sessions over longer periods of time and adds an intimacy that the stock OPAMPS just can't deliver. They're an absolute necessity in my opinion if you ever wanna just sit back and chill. No analytical listening (though it can still be done), and not too in your face. Definitely a recommended buy.


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Powerful, dynamic sound, good clarity, outstanding bass response, great driver control, ability to roll op amps for a different sound, small footprint, great build quality, quiet background
Cons: Lack of input selections

Burson sent me the Fun for an honest review


iPad Pro, Burson Conductor Air, Schiit Loki, Burson Fun, Gilmore Lite Mk2, various headphones, Pandora and Tidal


The Burson Fun came very packaged. There were 3 compartments with the Fun in the middle, the power supply on the left side and the accessories to the right. The Fun is well protected. It takes a little effort to get the Fun out of the foam surrounding. So be careful removing it as you don’t want to damage the foam for future usage.





The Fun feels solid in hand. The all-aluminum chassis looks and feel premium. The internals are well laid and uses some quality parts like Vishay resistors and a ALPS volume pot that is very smooth to operate. The volume knob seems to offer nice incremental steps when making volume adjustments.

The Fun is a Class-A dual mono design headphone amp and pre-amp. The Fun doesn’t rely on traditional transformers for its power supply but instead uses their own in-house design called the Burson Max Current Power Supply (MCPS). The MCPS is designed to deliver current instantaneously to ensure those dynamic swings are meet on demand. The MCPS is also low noise and efficient.



The spec looks good. You get a lot of power at this price point. 1.2 watts into 8 Ohms, 1.9 watts into 16 Ohms, 2.1 watts into 32 Ohms, 1 watt into 100 Ohms, 0.66 watts into 150 Ohms, and 0.33 watts into 300 Ohms. The input impedance is 38 KOhms and the output impedance is 6 Ohms. So I would recommend headphones or IEMS above 16 ohms just to avoid issues with hissing even though the headphone amp itself puts out 1.2 watts at 8 Ohms


Now on to the good stuff. How does the Fun sound, it one word amazing. I am a big fan of the Burson house sound. It’s big, dynamic, full bodied, has a warm tilt, and is very detailed. The Fun I received has the stock op amps installed and they do a fantastic job at delivering music. I can hear all the details in the songs. Each note has weight to them. I love the sense of power the Fun delivers. I now want to get a listen to the Fun with both the classic and vivid op amps to see if they sound better than the stock ones.

Audio-Technica ATH-2000Z

This was the first headphone I tested with the Burson Fun. This is a very underrated closed headphone that doesn’t get talked about. The 2000z’s are incredibly detailed and airy. Using the Burson Conductor Air and my DAC going through the Loki and out through the Burson Fun the 2000z’s sound like they were made specifically for this setup. Before the Fun arrived, I thought the bass on 2000z’s I felt could use a bump. That’s not the case when listening to them through the Fun. The bass came alive with the Fun. It was impactful and well defined.

Audio-Technica is known for their mid-centric and treble sound. The Burson Fun takes the mids on the 2000z’s and make them more tuneful and lush. Male and female voices sound intimate and forward. The treble detail on the 2000z’s is already very good. Driven by the Burson Fun they are crystal clear. The sound is very balanced and the warmth of the Burson Fun makes this a great combo.

Hifiman HE-500

These are one of my favorite headphones even today. They seem to do everything right and are one of the most balanced headphones I know about. I have the Focus PadA’s on my HE-500’s. Listening to these through the Burson Fun is a relaxing experience. I simply kicked back and enjoyed the music. The HE-500 needed a little more volume. I had the Fun volume knob set between 10 – 11 o’clock to get the best sound out of the HE-500’s. The bass is quick and deep with excellent decay. The mids of the HE-500 are a perfect match for the Burson Fun. They are creamy and romantic. The treble is well extended with very good clarity. I can’t believe how good the pairing sounds.

Beyerdynamic DT1990 Pro

This the last headphone I tested the Burson Fun with. I wanted to see how the Fun handled higher impedance headphones. I must say I was not disappointed. The DT1990’s are one of the most detailed headphones I own next to the Focal Utopia’s. The DT1990’s is one of the few headphones that I know of that can compete with the HE-500’s in terms of technical prowess. Once again the Burson Fun seems to be a great pairing for the bright highs of the DT1990’s. I for one love the treble on the DT1990’s, I don’t find them sibilant at all. Matched with the Burson Fun the clarity and details of the DT1990’s shine through. The mids come through as very natural sounding. I can hear every detail in the song but with better tone. So the Burson Fun is interjecting a bit of it flavor into the DT1990’s, which is telling me that it’s not a neutral amp. But none-the-less very pleasing.




The only amp I compared the Burson Fun to is the Headamp Gilmore Lite Mk2. The GL Mk2 is more transparent than the Fun. It’s gets out of the way and doesn’t add anything to the music. It really just amplifies the signal with tons of technical ability. There’s a crispness to every note. Every note is delivered with speed and transient snap. Bass hits hard and quickly decays. This is really apparent when listening to my Utopia’s.

This brings me to the first difference I hear between the two amps. Were as the GL Mk2 is the more technical amp, the Burson Fun is the more musical amp. The Burson Fun is warmer sounding and is more forgiving even though these are both Class A amps. On bad recordings the Burson Fun is much easier to listen too. The GL Mk2 does nothing to make bad recordings more enjoyable to listen to. It delivers music as is. This could be both good and bad depending on your musical preference.

The second difference is sense of power. The Burson Fun is the more powerful amp. Going back and forth between the two the Fun adds more weight and body to the music. The Fun is fuller sounding. Switching back to the GL Mk2 it sounds cleaner and adds more depth to the music. The bass is more defined but just as deep. The treble has a touch more clarity and the mids are smoother. Both amps have good extension at both ends. The difference is the GL Mk2 is more 3D and spacious.

The difference in sound signatures is apparent. They are both very good amps. The Burson Fun may not be the technical tactician the GL Mk2 is but it isn’t lacking in giving you details either. It’s a very detailed amp but it does color the sound. I can’t say that I hear the v-shape sound signature that some of the other reviewers hear in the Fun. That’s probably because I use the Loki to correct what I think is missing from the sound.

The Burson Fun is quickly becoming one of my favorite amps. I like its power, it musical delivery, it’s detailed with good treble clarity. The mids might be slightly recessed but it works well with the rest of the frequency response of the Burson Fun.

Last thoughts, if your preference in music is all about transparency, clarity and speed then the GL Mk2 is your amp. But if you’re a fan of music I find the Burson Fun hard to beat at this price point. They are very close in performance to each other. The Burson Fun is $100 - $200 dollar cheaper depending on if you wan the standard op-amp version or if you chose the V6 Vivid or Classic op-amp version. Is the Headamp Gilmore worth the extra cash? That is entirely up to you and your ears. What ever amp you decide to bring home you will enjoy hours upon hours of entertainment regardless of headphone you have plugged in. Happy listening!
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I have several Burson Audio products including the Fun. I am going to get the Swing so I have a Burson stack. Nice product for the money.
I have the Conductor Air and had the Conductor V2+. I made a big mistake in selling the V2+. I want it back and will purchase it again soon. The Fun reminds me of the V2+ in a lot of ways minus a slight loose in dynamic punch. I need to try the V6 Vivid op-amps as I have a feeling this will bring the up another level in performance.


100+ Head-Fier
Burson sent me the Fun for review weeks ago (I apologize for the late review). That said, as always, I'll try my best to provide an honest feedback.


I’ve been in this hobby for about 3 years and still feel like I’ve just started with so much to learn and explore. No, I'm not the type that can pick out every little detail, nor am I able to discern between 320kbs, 256kbs, etc. However, I am pretty sensitive to EQ and have developed a preferred sound signature over the years. I tend to gravitate toward audio gear that provides clean sub bass extension (little to no mid bass bump), relatively forward mids, and highs that are on the smoother side. I also appreciate a large soundstage with great imaging capabilities. I do prefer depth (out of your head) over width when it comes to soundstage.


iMac (Tidal HIFI) > USB > Schiit Eitr > digital coax w. BNC adapter > Neutrik impedance converter > AES/EBU2 > SFD1 > coax > Burson Fun > various headphones

*Mainly used the HD800 (SDR) to get a better idea of the relative differences between amps
*The focus of my review is how the FUN sounds relative to other amps as I find that most useful.
*FYI, the FUN worked well with most of my headphones (HD800 SDR, LCD3, HD650), and powered them all with ease.

IMG_5313.JPG IMG_5314.JPG

IMO the Fun is Burson's jab/comeback at the increasing number of quality sub $500 gear. With Schiit gaining significant grounds and Massdrop churning out one great collaboration after another, it has never been better for budget headphone lovers to get a good taste at what hifi really sounds like. Add the Fun to the bunch with a bit of added flavor ("Fun") and you basically got the gist of what this amp is all about.

/Stock Opamp (Single x2)/
At first, coming from the Master 9, EC BW2 and ZDS as my main amps, I was expecting noticeable grain and a lack of transparency/detail. Well, it was noticeable, but to a much lesser degree than expected. I was also immediately struck with the weight behind the notes. The name of the Fun had me expecting some V shape sound signature with hollowed out mids. Yes, the bass and treble emphasis was there but the mids and vocals also have good heft behind them. The slight emphasis in the mid bass does give the FUN a warmish sound. The soundstage isn't particularly wide nor deep. But it does present a believable sound stage, nothing too closed in or walled. No problems here. The FUN does present a more intimate soundstage, giving you the feeling of being closer to the source of the sound. As for power, there's plenty to spare. I had no problem with any of my headphones nor should you!

Occasionally the Fun did get hot in the treble on certain tracks and the bass at times did ever so slightly bloom relative to my preference. But, if Burson was after a Fun sounding quality affordable amp, they certainly succeeded.

/V6 Vivid/
With the stock opamp, it wasn't too hard to point out the relative deficiencies of the FUN compared to the higher priced/tier amps. That does change a bit with the Vivid opamps. The Vivid adds extra air and clarity to the FUN. With improvements in those areas the FUN's imaging does improve. You do have to pay an extra $70-100 for the Vivids, but personally I find it makes the FUN that much more convincing among the array of quality low to mid range budget amps despite the additional cost. I'd highly recommend going for the Vivid or perhaps the Classics if you're set on getting the FUN.

/Amp Comparisons/
Both are technically capable in terms of detail and transparency (happy times for sub $500 gear!). The LCX does have that tubish sense of sound in terms of soundstage depth despite being a SS amp. Also, the LXC is the more neutral between the two. Both are similarly priced (the SDAC of the LCX makes up for the extra $79). If you want a more FUN sounding amp that doesn't lack in relative transparency and detail the FUN is for you. If you want an all in one hassle free option and want to get a hint of the Cavalli sound the LCX is for you.
*With the Vivid, the difference in soundstage lessens in terms of size. Both still have their own way of presenting music but sheer size becomes nearly identical.

Vs ZDT Jr.
The ZDT excels in transparency, but lacks heft in the lower end. However, I do prefer the relative bloom free bass of the ZDT. The FUN does sound more engaging for tracks calling for more bass. However, the ZDT is overall more netural while being ever so slightly tubish sounding (there's more treble emphasis with the FUN). Between the two, its really comes down to personal preferences. Both are capable (details, mids) amps that are fairly similarly priced ($300 vs $400). Also, both do have the potential extra cost of tube or opamp rolling.
Perhaps the biggest downside of the ZDT is it's accessibility and issue with hum on many of the units (supposedly Massdrop is in the works for a fix).
*Even with the Vivid, the soundstage is still larger and convincing (sounding real) with the ZDT. FYI, the FUN is no slouch.

Vs Master 9
Ok, from here the price difference becomes quite big. That said I'll compare the two to give a relative idea on how the FUN sounds/spars against amps in this tier. Both are unabashedly powerful and is also where the similarity ends. The Master 9 has a noticeably wider soundstage. The sound is more laid back and neutral with the Master 9. Also the Master 9 is more organic sounding. I hate to use that term, but "organic,” “effortless” and "warm" are terms I would associate with the Master 9 relative to the FUN. The FUN is clearly the more exciting in your face type of amp. As for detail and transparency, you do have to struggle a bit to find the Master 9 eventually stumble out on top even with the Vivid.

Vs BW2
The BW2 is also a somewhat colored amp. Both quite have some meat behind the mids and to a lesser degree the bass. However, the clear difference is in the highs. The highs are shy of neutral with the BW2 leaning towards smoother treble. In contrast the FUN does better with hi-hats, cymbals etc. There's a better sense of "clash" and a natural decay with the FUN. However, overall I side with the BW2 (less so with the Vivid) for its somewhat holographic soundstage (surprising deep for a SS amp) and detail. Despite the overall warmness and relatively shelved highs the BW2 just edges out in detail as well. With the Vivid opamp in the FUN the gap does narrow. The price difference now makes the FUN a lot more attractive.
*Like the ZDT the BW2 is far less accessible than the FUN.

Yes, this isn't a fair match up. The ZDS excels in detail, imaging, soundstage size. But is it worth x8 the Fun? That'll depend on your priorities and willingness to spend the extra money to achieve "better" sound. If on a budget, you wouldn't miss out too much with the FUN. Perhaps you do miss out on a few scuffs in the background, coughs in the audience, better sense of space/air, and noticeably better imaging capabilities. Ok, maybe that's more than just a few, but I hope you get the idea.

With so many great low to mid range budget options out there, the introduction of the FUN certainly doesn't make it any easier to choose one. But if you don't mind a bit of flavor/FUN, while still being technically capable, the Burson Fun should be up there in your list of must try amps.

4.5 stars with stock opamps and 5 stars with the V6 Vivids


Reviewer at Soundnews
Pros: Great kick, speed and impact
High level of transparency and airiness
Natural sound with a great flow
Powerful & potent headphone amp
Spread soundstage and quite deep as well
Sturdy and quality construction
Good price for great performance
Cons: Slight sound coloration (V-shape frequency response)
When I was testing out the Burson Play it really opened my mind that good sounding gear should not cost a fortune. I loved everything about the Play… well except the fact that it didn’t have RCA analog inputs, so it could not be used as a stand alone headphone amp to properly evaluate it with a higher quality DAC.

Burson completely solved my concerns with the introduction of the Fun: a simple and elegant desktop headphone amp and pre-amp.

On the plus side it has a higher driving power than Play, it has analog inputs (Duh!) but on the down side the DAC part was completely removed.

As a single solution Play probably is a better choice but for someone that already owns a higher quality DAC, the Burson Fun makes a lot more sense.

Fun along with the Play in my opinion has a very dynamic and mood lifting sound signature that I rarely hear at this price points. That’s due to dual mono Class A headphone and preamp inside. Its symmetrical circuit is powered by four sets of Max Current Power Supplies (MCPS). This power supply is more advanced and far superior to traditional transformers delivering instant, clean, and maximum electric current to the Fun

Is important to know that Fun is using the fully discrete amplification stage found in the 1500 USD Burson Conductor V2! It is basically the same circuitry Burson Audio is refining since 2008 and famed for its incredible micro details and musicality.

I am enjoying the Burson Fun for about one month already and I feel I’m ready to leave my full impressions.

Under the hood

Do not be fooled by its small footprint, Fun as its siblings Play and Bang were designed around the 5.25” PC drive bays, so Burson Fun can be integrated in any tower gaming PC or in regular small, mid tower or full tower cases that have at least one 5.25” drive bay. In this case it can be powered by a single Molex 4 pin cable that goes directly from your PC power supply and you really should not worry about the quality of your power supply because Burson already thought about that in advance and integrated a voltage regulator inside so that your PC’s power supply will have a minimal impact on sound quality.

Fun can also be used as an external device as I was planning to do, being powered by a simple SMPS external power supply.

Besides the usual headphone out, RCA analog input and the RCA preamp output, there is also a 3.5mm (1/8”) Mic input and 3.5 mm (1/8”) Mic output, so gamers and streamers out there can really put those sockets to good use.

Of course the stars of the show are the Burson developed ICs always working in the magical class A circuitry powering the headphone amplifier that are fed by four sets of revolutionary Max Current Power Supplies (MCPS) developed by Burson, the Fun is really one of the most powerful headphone amplifiers in the world.

And I can attest that, if it can easily power a set of Audeze LCD-4 and Sennheiser HD820 with ease, then it can power any headphones in the world.

Compared to Play, Fun has only 2 op-amps in the signal path and both are Single op-amps. Play is using 5 op-amps in the signal path from which 3 are dual op-amps and 2 are single op-amps. If you plan to upgrade the basic version to higher quality op-amps, Fun will cost you much less to upgrade, keep that in mind.

Besides that, lesser op-amps in the signal path will always yield a more transparent and breathing sound, so in advance I already hope that Fun will sound even better than the Play.

The Fun is being sold in 3 variants: the basic one that uses NE5543 op-amps, other two variants are using much more advanced discrete op-amps such as V6 Classic or V6 Vivid.

I have the Basic version, but please don’t worry as in its stock form it already impressed me enough.



1. Driving power

When I was testing the Play I was impressed by the output power it was capable of, delivering power even for most power hungry headphones such as Audeze LCD-4. Funny thing is that this little guy (Fun) is even more powerful. Using four sets of MCSPs instead of three sets on Play really made a difference. Especially for higher impedance headphones such as Sennheiser HD820 I was testing it with.

For HD820 Fun will deliver three times the output power compared to the Play.

Connected to a standard 2.2 Volt output DAC I can’t go higher than 50% volume on Fun powering a set of HD820, more than that and I feel that my eardrums will blow!

With lower impedance headphone the difference is not that big, with FiiO FH5 hybrid IEMs power wise both devices are almost identical, however due to lower impedance headphone output on the Fun, I hear a better control over the drivers on Fun compared to Play.

2. Controlling the power

Second thing that struck me is the control and speed Fun is capable of. For example Play in its own right had a remarkable control over the headphone drivers, small or big, headphone transducers always hit hard and fast. With Fun take that up a notch.

Every sound hits harder and faster with clearly a better control over the headphone drivers. As a headphone amp Fun will appease even vast majority of headphone enthusiasts, please take a listen to one if an opportunity will occur.

3. Transparency & Resolution

Third thing that was clearly different compared to Play is the overall clarity and resolution. It is on a higher level on Fun compared to Play, it even rivals my own Headamp Gilmore Lite MK2 in terms of transparency, airiness and resolution and we already know that Headamp is making ones of the most transparent head amps out there.

There is not a big difference in terms of overall clarity and transparency compared to Play but is a very noticeable one. It was very apparent on HD820 and on tiny FH5 hybrids.

4. Noise Floor

I personally don’t use IEMs at home connected to desktop audio gear, I use them exclusively on the go, but to those that use IEMs with desktop gear as well should know that Fun works much better than Play – it has a lower noise floor and hiss is practically non-existent with sensible earphones. There is only a faint hum only on higher volume when music is not playing. Apart from that, to me Fun can be used with BAs or hybrid IEMs no problemo, on the other hand Play was doing just an Ok job with those.

Before going forward just a quick summary: Up until now Fun has more power, better control over the drivers, sounds clearer and more transparent, has a lower noise floor and hiss with sensitive earphones compared to Play! Impressive isn’t it?

5. Transient response

More power and a better transparency will always lead to a better impact and to a faster transient response.

Listening to some local alternative/hardcore metal: Implant Pentru Refuz (IPR for short) it was clear to me that I am dealing with a really fast and agile performance.

Double drums and hi-hats had the right amount of spark and zing. I really liked that the treble was not as bright as it was on older Burson Designs (160D and Conductor V1 I am looking at you!) and in return it sounded as having a better shape/outlines. The hi-hats & cymbals never had an annoying delay but just right amount of presence and decay.

To me treble response is where I see the most improvement over the older Burson designs and a slight improvement even to Play where sometimes it had a little more bite than needed.

6. Frequency Response

The bass and mid frequency response is almost identical to that of Burson Play and other Burson designs. The sound overall has a lot of meat to the bone, sounds full and pleasant to the ear. It’s not warm or dark by any means; I’m calling it class A sound, if you get what I mean.

Trebles are crisp, maybe too sparkly sometimes; with few headphones I really like this effect. It is not overdone even with Sennheiser HD820 but it may be too much with something like a HD800 or Beyers.

I also like that sounds are not lingering too much so overall the sound is going towards great speed and impact and not towards a romantic experience.

If you are enjoying a slightly slower speed & impact and a more rounder & romantic experience I do recommend looking at other amps as Fun will not deliver that.

When I am thinking about Burson Fun I am thinking about big V8 American muscle cars, about spicy food and… roller coasters.

Select Comparisons

Fun vs Play

It is pretty difficult comparing the two since Play doesn’t have a true line-out, using the Pre-out will cause the double amping effect which will raise even more the Total Harmonic Distortion. I used the Matrix X-Sabre Pro to listen to the Fun, it uses a Sabre chipset as the Play does. Later on I also connected the Fun to the Play to see if my impressions will change.

As I was expecting Burson Fun sounds a bit clearer, has a faster transient response and a better control over the headphone drivers.

Power output is also higher, especially for higher impedance headphones. I really enjoyed my time with Fun powering the Senn HD820. HD820 sounded good on Play but great on Fun.

Fun is also a bit more transparent and offers a bit more air between the notes, it seems that less op-amps in the signal path made a big difference.

I also liked more how IEMs performed on the Fun as it had almost no hum or noise with sensitive earphones, Play has a higher noise floor and a higher impedance headphone output that may plague your listening experience with sensitive IEMs.

Fun vs Headamp Gilmore Lite MK2

Both headphone amps are working in Class A circuitry for the best possible sound quality and both have the same footprint and weight. Gilmore Lite MK2 goes for 500 USD and Burson Fun basic goes for 300 USD.

Let me start by saying that the Fun has clearly more power and a better control over the drivers. It can drive a pair of Audeze LCD-4 with headroom to spare, but that can’t be done with the Gilmore Lite.

Gilmore Lite sounds a bit more linear and flat, like disappearing completely from the acoustic chain, it has no coloration and can work with a wider range of headphones. It also has a lower noise floor with sensitive IEMs at a higher volume, at normal volume levels both have the same very low noise floor.

Fun adds a bit of its own flavor into the mix, it surely has a character of its own. For rock and fast electronica Fun will sound as having more energy and joy. Fun by comparison has a slight V shape frequency response boosting the low end and the treble response, not by much but it is sizable.

Fun also has a shorter decay of notes and a bigger impact to the eardrums, in this sense Gilmore Lite is a bit leaner, but that can be a result of a lower power output.

Stage size is bigger on Fun but it is deeper on Gilmore Lite, different strokes for different folks as they say.

On technicalities alone Gilmore Lite Mk2 wins, but on sheer power and enjoyment level Fun is clearly ahead.


When Fun was just introduced I remember seeing the price and specs and was a bit confused to why Fun as just as a headphone amp has the same price as Play (that besides being a headphone amp is a DAC as well). But now I understand why they both share the same price point. Yep, Play has a DAC as a bonus, but Fun is a higher performance headphone amp, there is no doubt about that.

To me Burson Fun is among the best compact sized single ended headphone amps out there regardless of output power or price and that says a lot.

Headbangers and electronica dancers will enjoy it a lot, it has a lot of energy under the hood and power to spare even for the most demanding headphones.

  • Great kick, speed and impact
  • High level of transparency and airiness
  • Natural sound with a great flow
  • Powerful & potent headphone amp
  • Spread soundstage and quite deep as well
  • Sturdy and quality construction
  • Good price for great performance
  • Slight sound coloration (V-shape frequency response)
Associated Equipment:
  • Headphones: Audeze LCD-4, Sennheiser HD820, 660S, Momentum 2, FiiO FH5
  • DAC: Matrix X-Sabre Pro with X-SPDIF 2, Burson Play
  • Headphone Amplifiers: Burson Fun, Burson Play, HeadAmp Gilmore Lite Mk2
  • Speakers: KEF LS50 Wireless
I can only mirror your experience. The Burson Fun is amazing value for money. I have bought the V5 and both V6 opamps and must say that the standard are my second favorite after the V6 classic. So really the “stock” is damn good indeed. Same as the Bursn Conductor, even though it has a few watt less (2 vs 4) the Fun always had full control over the drivers. No wonder since the amp is lifted out of the Conductor (and refined)....

Great review!!
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Thanks mate,
I will try the V6 Classics and Vivids soon, don't know what to expect, should be fun testing those.
My older Conductor V1 didn't have such drive and impact as Fun, really loving it so far.
Interesting. I used my V1 as Dac so that I could use the fun and the conductor parallel a d just switch the headphones do and forth. I found the conductor to stand on pretty equal footing. When on the correct gain and volume setting. Am looking forward to your V6 comparison.


Asahi Templar

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Amazing sound, Great bass control, Large amount of power, Rollable OP AMPs, Microphone Passthrough
Cons: Annoying hum for first 2 mins or so of use, No balanced input or output
Here is my (too) long review of the Burson Fun with comparisons to the Arcam Rhead amp.

First off the build quality is excellent, it uses the same black aluminum case as the Burson Play which looks really nice and helps disappate the heat generated by the amp. The alps pot has a nice amount of resistance to it which makes it easy to get the volume you want and feels like it will last for a long time.

I dont notice any huge channel imbalance except at very low volumes, to me it sounds pretty much balanced by 5 o clock on the dial, which is great because this thing has a huge amount of power on tap and will get loud real fast. Even the included RCA cables are very high quality, much nicer than the monoprice esque cables you usually get when you buy an amp.

It feels like a product that will last a very long time and if there are any issues it comes with a 5 year warranty as long as you register it on their website.

So on to features, the first obvious one is the enormous amount of power this thing has. It is able to do 2.1 watts into 32 ohms which is a bit insane. I dont know if there is any headphone on the market that would need more power than this other than electrostats and the ridiculous Hifiman cans. It is very much designed with Planar Magnetic headphones in mind and is going to more than capable of driving all but the most insensitive of them. It has some kind of attenuation function which drops the power a bit when something lower than 32 ohms is connected but it would still explode the drivers of IEMs and the like, so I would use a LOT of caution using them with the Fun. It operates in Class A all the time with this level of voltage too.

With my Sennheiser HD 6xx I had to use the Topping D50 to drop the output by -10DB to get a reasonable volume at the 9 o clock point of the dial (which I do just to ensure there is no imbalance) and it was still loud. With my Fostex T60RP, I cut the attenuation down to -6DB to get to roughly the same volume.

One of the most unique features of the Fun is that it has a microphone passthrough which lets you plug in your mod mic directly into your amp, then run another mic cable to your PC or sound card. This is a really nice feature and something I wish more amps would do. It really helps cut down the wires running around you.

Okay so now onto sound, I got the Vivid V6 version of the Fun so all my impressions are based on that. I compared it to the Arcam Rhead I was using before (also a terrific amp) using my HD 6xx(650). I volume matched them with my sound level meter using a 500hz tone, and then switched back and forth by plugging and unplugging them.

I found the Arcam R head made the 650 sound quite bassy and warm, decay on the bass was a bit slow which made it sound pretty bloomy. The deep bass popped more than usually though which was very nice as the 650 is usually lacking there. The upper mids and treble were there but sounded a bit dull but I think this is just the 650 with worn in pads really. The sound staging was pretty narrow and didnt have a great deal of depth to it. Everything sounded pretty close to your ear, it could go out decently wide with a song that had a wide image built into it but rarely did so. It gave the 650 a very romantic intimate kind of sound which I think is what most people who get the 650 want. I would say the Arcam Rhead is a great match for it, it emphasized its strengths well.

Switching over to the Fun, I found that the bass decay became noticeably quicker and it sounded a lot less bloomy which made everything sound a little clearer. The upper mid and highs were more present and energetic, but still not harsh in anyway. Female vocals in particular improved, getting some more energy than before. The depth of the sound stage improved quite a bit with things seeming a lot more spread out and going out wider more frequently. The 650 became a more open ,energetic headphone. It was an interesting contrast to the Rhead, as while the Rhead emphasized its strengths, the Fun improved upon its weaknesses.

I liked both these amps for the 650 for different reasons and I would have a hard time choosing between them if that were my main headphones and I wanted to focus on them. I think the Fun matches my preferences for exciting dynamics better, so I decided to keep it and sell the Rhead.

The other exciting feature of the Burson Fun is the ability to roll op amps. It has 2 single channel slots which can accept just about any op amps on the market. I would have liked to test this more, but I dont have any other single op amps at the moment, so I am not sure how much difference the Vivid op amps actually make to the overall sound.

While I am not sure how much impact the Vivid V6 has on the Fun, I also tested the Burson Play which had 5 Vivid OP amps as opposed to the 2 in the Fun. I also had the basic version of the Plays OP AMPs so I could compare those to the Vivid ones.

With the Play I found that the Vivid OP amps had an effect somewhat akin to the Creative Labs Crystalizer DSP effect that they include in all their soundcards. It basically applies a smiley face EQ to try to make lower DR music sound more exciting. I was not a huge fan of the Crystalizer, but the Vivid op amps seem like a much better version of that idea. They seem to make music sound more dynamic especially low DR music (Dr 8 or lower) is where I noticed the most difference. With the vivid OP amps installed the low DR songs no longer sounded like a wall of sound and I could easily pick out each element. Its quite a subntle effect compared to the Creative version which is a very good thing IMO.

Unfortunately in some cases if you were using 5 of the Vivid Op amps in the Play I also found they could make music sound unnatural. The separation of different elements became so strong that it all sounded kind of disconnected and I didnt really like the effect.

Thankfully the Burson Fun does not have that unnatural quality, likely owning to it only using 2 Single Channel OP amps. It just seems a nice subtle enhancement, but not sure if that is just the Fun itself being a better amp or the fewer op amps doing it.

i do have one serious complaint with the fun and that is some noise at start up. When I first power up the fun after its been cold for awhile there is a loud low humming sound after it unmutes. This hum stays there for a min or two after powering it on and then goes away after its warmed up. It never comes back after going away, untill I power it off for awhile again.

While this is not a deal breaker it is very annoying. I asked Burson about it and they told me that its power supply raises the voltage frequency from 50hz to over 190Khz. Since we can hear up to 20Khz, you could hear some power source noises during that time. This is the characteristic of our Max Current PS.

Rather you actually hear it or not probably depends on your power setup and grounding situation I would assume.

Overall I think the Fun is a wonderful AMP and for me endgame for the foreseeable future. I will probably play around with op amps a bit (very interested in the Muses 03!) but I see myself keeping this for a long time. Only thing out there that tempts me are the THX amps, dont think much else will beat this. Now if onlyBurson would make a matching DAC to go with it......


Pros: This is a powerful detailed pre/amp that was able to easily drive my power hungry Mr Speakers Ether C flows and Sennheiser 6xx. It is a solidly built unit. There was no play or looseness in any component. Although it is only a $100 more than the ifi nano black label it is a much better built and powerful unit that goes beyond what you would expect for the price difference. It is very detailed in the highs and has a lot of power to drive the lower frequencies.
Cons: I noticed a higher noise floor when compared to the ifi nano black label, Schiit Lyr 3 and Schiit Ragnarok. It was most noticeable when listening with the Audeze isine20. The bass although substantial, can sound boomy. The highs although detailed can sound artificially enhanced, especially when compared to the smooth sound of the schiit amps. As a result I found it to be easily fatiguing. Like another reviewer noted there was an annoying buzzing sound the first time I turned it on.
Full Disclosure: I was recently contacted by another member here with an opportunity to review the Burson Audio Fun. Initially it was an opportunity to keep a review unit after giving it a review. I wasn't looking for another desktop amp in this price range but for the price of free and an honest review I figured why not? In the end there was a miscommunication with Burson that did not allow both reviewers to keep the unit. As a result I decided to do the review anyway and ship the unit back to the original member as long as shipping was paid. So in the end this review is an honest unpaid for review.

This is a powerful detailed pre/amp that was able to easily drive my power hungry Mr Speakers Ether C flows and Sennheiser 6xx. It is a solidly built unit. There was no play or looseness in any component. Although it is only a $100 more than the ifi nano black label it is a much better built and powerful unit that goes beyond what you would expect for the price difference. It is very detailed in the highs and has a lot of power to drive the lower frequencies.

I noticed a higher noise floor when compared to the ifi nano black label, Schiit Lyr 3 and Schiit Ragnarok. It was most noticeable when listening with the Audeze isine20. The bass although substantial, can sound boomy. The highs although detailed can sound artificially enhanced, especially when compared to the smooth sound of the schiit amps. As a result I found it to be easily fatiguing. Like another reviewer noted there was an annoying buzzing sound the first time I turned it on.

Equipment Used:
Headphones: Isine20 with LCDi4 premium braided cable, Audeze LCD4z with wood cups with LCD4 premium braided cable, Mr Speakers Ether C Flows with Moon Audio blue dragon cable, Sennheiser HD6xxx mass drop edition with Venus Audio cable.

Ampifiers: Ifi nano black label, Schiit Lyr3, Schiit Ragnarok

Source: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 with Roon connected to a Schiit Bifrost Dac with multibit

Song lists:
Paul Mc Gowan's dirty dozen from PS Audio

Zeos's song list for testing headphones that i compiled from his you tube videos

Cecilia Bartoli St Petersburg

Pure-Maria Callas

and other songs from my playlists.

This is a well made, powerful preamp/amp combo that gives you a lot for the price. I would not hesitate to buy this if I was looking for a unit in this price range. Burson has done a great job with this unit.
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With what cans have you noticed the background noise, please? On my FUN, when listening toIEMs (sensitivity >100dB, impedance 16-Ohms) with volume to around 9 o'clock, there's absolutely no background noise. When maximizing the volume knob out, some noise appears indeed, but that's inevitable for a 2W/ch. amplifier.