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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. 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

    IMG_0926.JPG IMG_0929.JPG
    IMG_0377.JPG IMG_0378.JPG

    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.
      raoultrifan likes this.
  3. 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.
  4. adydula
    Burson Audio Fun.....a Class A amp that "Rocks!"
    Written by adydula
    Published Feb 27, 2019
    5.0/5,
    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!

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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!



    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

    *****

    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!
      raoultrifan likes this.
  5. 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.
  6. DarKu
    Fun begins with Burson (aka the Burson Fun review)
    Written by DarKu
    Published Oct 20, 2018
    5.0/5,
    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]Audio

    Performance


    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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?

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    Conclusions


    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.

    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)
    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
    [​IMG]
    1. Koolpep
      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!!
      Koolpep, Oct 26, 2018
      DarKu likes this.
    2. DarKu
      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.
      DarKu, Oct 27, 2018
    3. Koolpep
      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.

      Cheers.
      Koolpep, Oct 27, 2018
  7. Wiljen
    More Fun! from Burson
    Written by Wiljen
    Published Sep 30, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Great build quality, plenty of power for big cans with a low noise floor for iems, microphone pass-through for gamers.
    Cons - USB input or 3.5mm aux input only – no Coaxial or optical inputs.
    [​IMG]

    Sometime back now, I reviewed the Burson Play and found it to be a solid value and a very versatile DAC/AMP. At $399 for the base model, it still represents great value for those looking at desktop DAC/AMP combinations. The only real complaints on the Play, were the lack of upgradability of the DAC and the limits of the DAC to DSD256. In today’s market, DSD512 playback is becoming more common and some will skip over the play for that reason. This is a shame as the Amp section of the play is very good and offers a lot of customization options at a reasonable price. I had mentioned that in my initial notes so when Burson came out with the Fun, they sent me a note asking if I would like to review it. I jumped at the chance.

    A few weeks later, both the Fun and the Bang arrived at my doorstep.

    The Fun is basically exactly what I had requested, all of the goodies out of the play except the DAC so I can pair with my own DAC.

    The Bang is for those like me who use desktop speakers instead of powered monitors with their computer audio setups. Paired with the Play’s or Fun’s pre-amp outs, the Bang provides 40 watts RMS of clean two channel output again with customizable sound using Bursons V6 family of Op-amps.

    In this review, I will cover the Fun, for the Bang, please see this review.

    Packaging:

    Burson ships all three of these siblings in a black pressboard box with the details of what is inside on the top. Inside the box the main unit is protected by closed cell foam in the center of the box with a small accessory box on either side containing connectors, power supplies, and an allen wrench for opening the case should you want to change op-amps. While not the heartiest box on the market, it does a good job of protecting the device for shipment and should last well unless used repeatedly for shows etc. (I’d advise purchase of a pelican style case for such purposes).

    [​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG]



    Accessories:

    The Fun ships with very few extras, but it really doesn’t need many. In the box you will find the power supply, main unit, a set of RCA interconnects, a 6.35mm to 3.5mm adapter, and the allen wrench for removing the unit cover.

    [​IMG]

    Build:

    All three siblings share very similar black anodized aluminum cases which fit in a 5 ¼ drive bay in a PC if desired. All have a Molex connector for powering from a PC power supply in addition to a connector for an external power supply (provided with the unit).

    Each sibling has different face-plates depending on the controls and jacks present. The Fun lacks the digital display of the Play while the BANG lacks any front panel controls at all. On the front of the Fun (from left to right) is the power led, a 6.35mm headphone Jack, a 3.5mm microphone input, a 3.5mm Aux input, and a large volume knob. The rear face from left to right has RCA inputs, the external power jack, molex connector for PC power, Power Switch, microphone output, and Pre-amp output RCAs at the far right.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The upper half of the case can be removed by removing the two upper screws on both the front and rear faceplates. I found that loosening the lower screws about ½ turn aided in lifting the top without scratching the inside of the face plates in the process.

    [​IMG]

    The inside of the lid has a diagram that details the components and positions of each. This is particularly useful when changing op-amps. This is certainly a nice touch as manuals are often nowhere to be found when one sets out to change op-amps etc….



    Internals:

    Burson has designed what it calls the MCPS (MAX Current Power Supply) that per their spec does the AC to DC conversion at 170kHz instead of the 30-50kHz of more common switch mode power supplies. Burson’s claim is that this new supply design eliminates all noise in the audible range while still retaining the efficiency of switch mode power supplies.

    The Fun uses 4 distinct MCPS circuits to feed the Class A dual mono circuitry. Those familiar with the Conductor V2 will recognize the Amplication Circuitry of the Fun as it retains the same design.

    [​IMG]

    The fun uses two single op-amps (One per channel) that are shared by both the headphone output and the pre-amp outs so you cannot alter the signature of either the headphone out or pre-amp output individually. This is the same as the Play as the duals in the Play are used for the DAC/LP stage and singles for the headphone/Pre-out.

    [​IMG]



    I found when stacking the Fun and Bang a Seasonic SSR-600TL 600 Watt fanless PC power supply did a good job of running both without any stress to the supply’s voltage rails.

    I also got interested in the microphone pass through as few desktop products account for the microphone used by gamers today. The Fun goes part way there. It does not use a TRRS plug to pass the mic through the same port as the headphone audio data, but does provide a 3.5mm input and output jack on the front and rear respectively. Following the wiring internally, the microphone is simply passed through the case with no processing of any kind done to the signal by the Fun. My immediate thought was that running the mic cable next to the power supply circuitry might create some audible noise but I was unable to create any audible effect even by moving the cable directly over the middle of the capacitors so this does not appear to be an issue. For those non-gamers, this will probably be the least used function of the play, for those more inclined to computer gaming, both the Fun and Play offer the mic pass through which is a nice touch.



    Sound:

    Burson rates the Fun at 1900mW into 16 Ohm, 660mW into 150 Ohm, or 330mW into 300 Ohm so it has plenty of power to drive just about anything you can throw at it. I used a 600 Ohm Beyer 880 and had no trouble getting to ear-splitting volume levels.

    The sound is for the most part a function of which DAC or soundcard is used to feed the Amp and the op-amps you choose. The Fun can be ordered with the NE5543 IC, Burson’s V6 Vivids, V6 Classics. Other op-amps are pin compatible and I’m sure about every possible combination has been tried on Burson products at this point as they have long supported and encouraged Op-amp rolling.

    I have previously written up the Burson V6 products here, so wont re-write all those details again. I did roll all three combinations that Burson offers as factory options and found that I prefered the vivid to the other two offerings although not by a huge margin. With the V6 vivid installed, the Fun imparts just a little warmth that gives the amp a good synergy with a dac that is a bit on the cool side. I found the Fun to pair better with the Bifrost than the Apogee Groove for example. The Apogee faired better when the 5543 Op-amps were used as they didn’t introduce additional warmth.

    As shipped with the NE 5543s, the Fun provides a near neutral signature with good extension on both ends and a very slightly forward treble. I found it to be a good pairing the the Campfire Cascades and the Mr Speakers Mad Dogs.

    It should be noted that like the Play, the output impedance is listed as 6 Ohms for the headphone output but measurements I did never found anything over about ¾ ohm.

    So now you have options, Play around, have some Fun, or Bang it out on your speakers, either way Burson has it covered.
      raoultrifan likes this.
    1. raoultrifan
      Same very low impedance I got myself when I measured output impedance @1KHz sinewave, for both PLAY and FUN. :)
      raoultrifan, Oct 10, 2018
  8. Koolpep
    We live in FUN times...
    Written by Koolpep
    Published Sep 16, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Performance, Dynamism, Power, Transparency, Low Noise Floor, Price, Versatility
    Cons - no gain selector, looks
    REVIEW Burson Fun (Standard setup)

    TL;DR: Amazing performer for its price. Highly recommended.


    IMG_2702.jpeg


    IMG_2703.jpeg





    Pros:
    Performance, Dynamism, Power, Transparency, Low Noise Floor, Price, Versatility


    Cons:

    Looks, no gain selector


    IMG_2705.jpeg



    About me:
    As you can see in my profile - I am completely NUTS if it comes to audio gear. I have way too much. For me experimenting and trying new audio devices and headphones is FUN. I love to tinker and explore my music all over again. Because first of all I am a music lover. I cannot get enough of my favorite tunes. Though my music taste is sometimes eclectic and often standard, I tend to like music nobody else has ever heard of to some degree.


    IMG_2706.jpeg


    I love full sound, borderline bass-head. I like treble too but am surely not a treble head. For me, musicality, or however you want to describe the thing that MOVES you when you listen to music, is what counts. If a piece of equipment makes me want to dance, tap my toes, and rock it out, then it’s GOOD! No matter what.


    IMG_2709.jpeg

    IMG_2710.jpeg


    Premise:

    I love my Burson Conductor with the ESS 9018 DAC chip. I consider my Cavalli Audio Liquid Carbon and JDS Labs EL DAC (AKM4490EQ) a superb combo. On the go, I like my ifi xDSD. That should set the tone and give you a baseline.


    My current favorite headphones are: LCD2, TH900, HE560, HD650, Oppo PM-3 current fav IEMS: UE11Pro, Roxanne2, IMR-R1, JVC-FW1, KZ-AS10 (yep).

    IMG_2716.jpeg

    Let the FUN begin:


    Burson & the outside:

    Others have already explained the looks of the Burson Fun and the company history, please check out their website and the photos. In short, it’s a rather functional case, that can also be mounted in a desktop / tower PC (wow, I haven’t had one of these in ages). And it’s black. I like it but it’s rather bland.


    The power switch is on the back, the front has the single ended 6.35mm headphone out and the volume pot. The volume pot is well weighted and feels just right!. No fancy stepped attenuator like the Conductor, but a perfectly fine volume pot. I also found that the channel imbalance (or rather balance) is amazingly well controlled. I couldn’t hear any, even with very sensitive in ears.


    Which brings me to…


    …Specs:


    That thing has power - lots of power, it really has a good grip on demanding headphone drivers, squeezing every bit of control and detail out. Never heard that in this price range to be honest.


    2.1 W at 32 Ohm

    330mW at 300 Ohm

    Headphone output impedance 6 Ohm


    I found that the output impedance can make some very low impedance headphones sound funny, so better to stick with anything at≥ least 16 Ohm and higher, ideally 32 Ohm and higher. Also - the lack of a gain switch can cause some issues with sensitive IEMs - there is not much play on the volume pot....



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    The SOUND:


    That’s why we are all here. So - this Fun is the base model, I have ordered OPAMPs from Burson to do some rolling as I like to tinker and see what they can do. Hard to believe this Amp can be improved though.


    General sound signature:

    Full bodied, yet detailed, very believable soundstage, not too large, not too small, pretty bang right where it should be.


    Ideally a good amplifier should get out of the way and let the music just move you. I don’t know how Burson does it but my personal track record is really good. And I had a couple of amps in my life :)

    Is it completely neutral - not entirely - but I have the feeling that the headphones I tried with this amp were driven so well - I haven’t heard such a well performing amps with such lovely black background at this price range. I have not felt fatigued while listening to it and to be perfectly honest - I really enjoyed every minute with the amp. I must admit - its been a while since something in this price range has brought me so much FUN - pun intended.

    The FUN with there standard OPAMPs was never harsh, but it, full bodied and rich but not overboard smooth or dark. it has a velvety quality to it. For $299 it’s really lovely quality sound. As transparent as possible - driving the headphones - amplifying the sound, not adding or coloring it.

    I can’t wait to try the OPAMPs to alter the sound a bit and see how I like it. I shall edit the review once I got the tinker tools.

    All the different headphones I tried with the amp - sounded distinct and special - since the Fun didn’t add any of it’s own colouration to the sound - the specific sound signature of the headphone was allowed to fully shine through. A very nice treat indeed.

    How Burson managed to get all the benefits of their full priced amps or DAC/amps in such a small and affordable package - is beyond me. The shoehorned the full amp section of the Conductor V2 into the chassis - an improved version of it.

    But let me finish with this: We are living in amazing times for personal audio, the quality we can get today for a few hundreds would cost thousands just a few years ago.

    Burson - you have a real hit on your hands. In standard form already, plus offering the opportunity to roll OPAMPs = brilliant. A really well made amp based on a highly regarded platform that got improved for the last 10 years.


    Disclaimer: The Burson Fun was provided to me in exchange for my opinion. I do have Burson gear (purchased from my own hard earned money) like the Burson Conductor. I paid full price for the OPAMPs as well.

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  9. Mij-Van
    Ain’t We Got FUN
    Written by Mij-Van
    Published Aug 26, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Warm, full bodied, natural sounding.
    No hiss, no sibilance, silent background.
    Cons - Having a gain switch would be great
    This is a review of Burson FUN, latest headphone amp and a preamp from the house of Melbourne's Burson Audio.

    I am a double bass, triple bass and sub-bass aficionado listening mainly to classical and jazz. As I have previously stated in my review of the Burson PLAY Dac/Headphone amp/preamp combo (https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/burson-play.22702/reviews#review-20430), I am looking and listening for well articulated double bass, bowed and plucked upright bass reproduction. There are plenty of high praised units featuring sparkling treble, euphonic mids and punchy bass, which still fail in bringing well articulated and easy to follow acoustic bass line.

    It is inevitable to make first a comparison with aforementioned Burson's own PLAY.
    The FUN shares almost the same physical appearance as the PLAY plus one aux input on the front. FUN’s volume control is analog, as compared to PLAY’s digital volume control, so no display and digits to show. The PLAY has a decent DAC inside feat. ES9018K2M chip, the FUN is a pure headphone amp which needs an external DAC or other audio source. The PLAY is a stereo amp, the PLAY is dual mono, having slightly more power.

    Some maths:

    Both the PLAY and the FUN cost $299 in the basic version. It leaves some price gap between the units because youu have to add a budget for a dac to feed the FUN.
    If you go for an upgrade with Burson’s house op-amps the price bracket changes siginificantly. The PLAY now goes up to $549 and the FUN only to $399, because it needs less op-amps. The price difference of $150 in favor of the FUN leaves you with some space for additional DAC. While getting a DAC for $150 which will compete with one in the PLAY would be more difficult to find, if you stretch for some $100 more, I have a feeling that for $250 you can get a more versatile DAC with different filter settings for PCM and DSD.

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    FUN as a preamp:

    As a preamp, the PLAY wins having a remote control and dac inside. It will take less space on your desktop and will be easier to run. The FUN on the contrary gives you more old skool feeling. Turning the volume knob on the FUN gives a pleasant analog touch sensation.

    How does it sound:

    I’ve listened plenty of busy symphonic recordings plus many of the jazz giants. The FUN’s sound signature is dark chocolate, creamy, smokey, and very clearly articulated. It is not warm or smoothed, there is a plenty of attack, plucking strings transients are extraordinary. The power reserve gives you relaxed listening, with no strain or signs of distortion even in the busy, loud passages of Mahler and Bruckner symphonies. There was no listening fatigue even after prolonged listening sessions. I have only Sennheisers, so I can speak only about them. Well, the FUN pairs great with Senns, perfect match.

    There is again a clear winner from the Burson. While for the preamp use, I will give a slight advantage to the PLAY (dac included, digital display and remote control), for pure headphone audiophile listening I would certainly go for FUN. Great device indeed.
      Povell42 and raoultrifan like this.
    1. Povell42
      Would love a comparison between the FUN ($400 version) to the Sololist SL MK2 ($500).
      Povell42, Aug 28, 2018
  10. Cinder
    Burson Fun Review: Dynamite Performance
    Written by Cinder
    Published Aug 22, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Outstanding performance, low noise floor, compact footprint, great build quality, premium materials
    [​IMG]
    Burson Fun Review: Dynamite Performance

    Burson builds audiophile-grade DACs and amps. Based in Australia, they use their technical expertise to build high-grade amplification and source devices nearly entirely out of discrete components, a trait that Burson says improves the performance of their products. They’ve recently released the Fun, a premium headphone amp, and the Bang, a 40W class A/B speaker amp. So now its actually possible to have a complete Burson source stack, from the DAC to the pre-amp, to the speaker amp. Let's see how well all this tech works!

    The Fun can be found here for $299-$399, depending on the configuration options you choose. You can also purchase bundles and save some cash!

    About My Preferences: Heads up, I’m a person! As such, these words are my opinion, and they are tinged by my personal preferences. While I try to mitigate this as much as possible during my review process, I’d be lying if I said my biases are completely erased. So for you, my readers, keep this in mind:

    • My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, mid-bass.
    • I have a mild treble sensitivity.
    Audio Stack
    • Motherboard -> USB -> Burson Play -> Burson Bang-> JBL 990X
    • Motherboard -> USB -> Burson Play -> Burson Fun -> Headphones
    • Motherboard -> USB -> Burson Play -> Burson Fun -> Burson Bang -> Headphones
    All testing was done using the Classic opamps.

    Tech Specs
    • Input impedance: 38 KOhms
    • Frequency response: ± 1 dB 0–35Khz
    • THD: <0.03%
    • Power Supply: 100–240V AC (12V 6A)
    • Output impedance (Head Amp): 6 Ohm
    • Output impedance (Pre Out): 25 Ohm
    • Inputs: RCA (2V RMS line level), Mic Input
    • Outputs: RCA Pre-Amp / Headphone Jack / Mic out
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    Sound Signature
    Performance and Pairing
    The Fun is an absolute pleasure to use. It handles both higher-sensitivity headphones like the Meze 99 Classics and more power-hungry headphones like the Advanced Sound Alpha with grace. It exhibits top-notch dynamics and an intensely transparent sound signature that leaves you with nothing more than what the producer’s intentions. The Fun has a low noise floor too, so don’t worry about any background hiss on most of your headphones. Of course, very sensitive ones and IEMs may produce some background noise, but I found it to not be particularly distracting either way. I’d expect no less from a Class A amplifier. Like its siblings, the Fun has swappable opamps, and as such, is incredibly versatile. Tune it to your exact preferences!

    Packaging / Unboxing

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    The Bang and Fun both come in minimalist cardboard boxes. The interior is padded with foam that does a good job of protecting the product from damage while stored inside the packaging.

    Build
    Construction Quality

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    The Fun has nearly identical construction to the Bang and Play. On the front panel, you can find a finely machined metal. It’s affixed to a premium-feeling potentiometer that rotates with just the right amount of heft. The front panel has a 1/4in output, a 3.5mm input, and a mic input. The rear panel has two RCA inputs, a power input, a mic output, and two RCA pre-outs. Each connector is very firm and has no wiggle what so ever.

    I did not ever run out of power with the Fun and rarely ever used even half of its capabilities. Based on the info from Burson’s website regarding the Fun’s amplification abilities, you should be fine no matter what headphone you plan to use with it.

    Accessories
    Inside the box you’ll find:
    • 2x male RCA to male RCA
    • 2.5mm hex key
    • 1x power supply
    • 1x 6.5mm to 3.5mm Socket Adaptor
    Summary
    The Fun is an outstanding product. It performs very well against its peers and has a no-nonsense approach to its design. The small form factor is a huge plus for people who don’t have a lot of desk space, and the pre-applied rubber feet on the bottom of both devices is a nice touch. With a couple QOL modifications here and there the Fun can become even better. So Burson, definitely keep it up! We’re expecting great things from you!
      selvakumar, Povell42 and raoultrifan like this.
    1. Povell42
      Would love a comparison between the FUN ($400 version) to the Sololist SL MK2 ($500).
      Povell42, Aug 28, 2018