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  1. ls13coco
    It is a FUN listen
    Written by ls13coco
    Published Jun 18, 2019 at 2:07 AM
    5.0/5,
    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.

    Capability:
    [​IMG]


    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.
    Sound:
    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.
    [​IMG]
    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.

    I am using the stock op-amps for the FUN so I can not comment on either the V6 Vivid, or V6 classic. Though, I am imagining the Vidid will bring forth some extra detail and clarity, possibly with a touch more brightness.
    The Classic, I wonder if that will butter things up slightly more.
    I will update this section once I have tested out those op-amps.

    I have a THX 789 AAA en route, so I will make a comparison to it here in this section after it arrives.


    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.

    [​IMG]
    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
  2. mikaelmark
    Review of Burson Fun
    Written by mikaelmark
    Published Apr 22, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Price, Size and Costumer care
    Cons - Not really the highest degree of sound for the Basic-version
    SAM_0265.JPG 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!

    Update:

    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.

    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. I think one of the biggest improvement for the DIY are the Dale 24 step volume attenuator, while the Fun has an Alp RK27 "Blue Velvet", found in mostly every well known amp in the market. One more thing I noticed, was the raw power 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. This 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 Bursons are $10 cheaper.
  3. ngoshawk
    Burson Fun-Act One
    Written by ngoshawk
    Published Mar 24, 2019
    4.0/5,
    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/



    Specs:



    Measurement

    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)



    General

    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:

    8Ohm/1.2W/91db/99%
    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

    *Additions:

    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…


    Unboxing:

    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.

    [​IMG]

    Fit-n-Finish:

    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.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    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.



    [​IMG]

    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.


    OpAmp:

    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?

    [​IMG]



    Finale:

    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.

    [​IMG]

    *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.


    [​IMG]


    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.


    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]
  4. Michaelp
    THE BURSON FUN REVIEW
    Written by Michaelp
    Published Mar 11, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Small foot print
    Great build quality
    Versatility
    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.


    images

    1. burson box 1.jpg
    2. burson box 2.jpg
    3. burson amp 1.jpg
    4. burson amp 2.jpg
    5. burson amp 3.jpg
  5. yage
    A good amp with some QC issues
    Written by yage
    Published Feb 25, 2019
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Tight bass
    Quiet
    Cons - Had two review units fail
    Not the best at detail retrieval
    Introduction
    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.

    Operation
    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.

    Sound
    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.

    Conclusion
    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.
  6. upsguys88
    Burson FUN for Everyone!
    Written by upsguys88
    Published Feb 9, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Simple set-up and ease of use
    Powerful
    Versatile (Heaphones + Speakers)
    Affordable
    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!

    Conclusion:
    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.
  7. Peddler
    Excellent headphone amp - looks good too
    Written by Peddler
    Published Jan 26, 2019
    5.0/5,
    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.

    20190119_092929.jpg

    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.

    20190119_092948.jpg


    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.

    20190119_092724.jpg

    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.

    20190119_092850.jpg

    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.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. wje
      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.
      wje, Jan 30, 2019
    3. raoultrifan
      It's an analogue ALPS Blue inside, totally low noise headamp for IEMs actually, you could give it a try.
      raoultrifan, Jan 30, 2019
      wje likes this.
    4. raoultrifan
      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).
      raoultrifan, Jan 30, 2019
      wje likes this.
  8. h2rulz
    Burson's got game.. er Fun
    Written by h2rulz
    Published Dec 13, 2018
    4.5/5,
    DISCLAIMER
    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.


    ABOUT ME

    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.

    IMG_5311.JPG
    IMG_5312.JPG

    SETUP
    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

    HOW DOES IT SOUND?
    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/
    Vs LCX
    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.

    Vs ZDS
    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.


    SUMMARY
    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
  9. Asahi Templar
    Burson Fun v Arcam Rhead
    Written by Asahi Templar
    Published Oct 18, 2018
    4.5/5,
    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......
  10. Barra
    Way more than $299 Worth of Headphone Amp Fun
    Written by Barra
    Published Jun 3, 2019
    5.0/5,
    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?

    Configuration
    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.
    Pictures

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    Conclusion

    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.
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