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  1. 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.
      trellus likes this.
  2. 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]
  3. cripple1
    Burson Audio - A Bundle of FUN!
    Written by cripple1
    Published Jan 22, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Small footprint, lots of power, price
    Cons - No gain switch (more a preference than a con)
    1F5B2F8D-4E0F-4369-989C-415F5922BC74.jpeg 01178B38-C037-49AF-A301-80E0FA8C4727.jpeg

    So... Burson Audio sent me one of their headphone amps (The FUN) for review a little while ago. It's taken me a bit to get around to writing this (I apologize), so let's jump in.


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



    About me


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



    Packaging


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



    Contents


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



    The amplifier


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


    Now.. On to the sound!



    The sound


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


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


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


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



    Conclusion


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

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

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


    So... I've never done OP Amp rolling in the past, though I've seen many a discussion on it in forums and videos, so bear with me a bit. After switching out the stock OPAMPS with the V6 Classic, it took some back and forth switching for me to be sure of the differences that I was hearing. The V6, to my ears, seemed to have a much more intimate sound than stock. Whereas the stock OPAMPS were very lively and energetic sounding, the V6 seemed more relaxed, but still as detailed and FUN (Ha!) as stock. It took away everything about the stock OPAMPS that could get fatiguing after a while and made everything slightly warmer and easier to listen to. It's kinda hard to explain the differences between the two, but that's about as best as I know how at the moment. All in all, I think the V6 Classic makes for much easier listening sessions over longer periods of time and adds an intimacy that the stock OPAMPS just can't deliver. They're an absolute necessity in my opinion if you ever wanna just sit back and chill. No analytical listening (though it can still be done), and not too in your face. Definitely a recommended buy.
      trellus and raoultrifan like this.
  4. davidimdpt
    Burson Audio Fun Review
    Written by davidimdpt
    Published Oct 9, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - This is a powerful detailed pre/amp that was able to easily drive my power hungry Mr Speakers Ether C flows and Sennheiser 6xx. It is a solidly built unit. There was no play or looseness in any component. Although it is only a $100 more than the ifi nano black label it is a much better built and powerful unit that goes beyond what you would expect for the price difference. It is very detailed in the highs and has a lot of power to drive the lower frequencies.
    Cons - I noticed a higher noise floor when compared to the ifi nano black label, Schiit Lyr 3 and Schiit Ragnarok. It was most noticeable when listening with the Audeze isine20. The bass although substantial, can sound boomy. The highs although detailed can sound artificially enhanced, especially when compared to the smooth sound of the schiit amps. As a result I found it to be easily fatiguing. Like another reviewer noted there was an annoying buzzing sound the first time I turned it on.
    Full Disclosure: I was recently contacted by another member here with an opportunity to review the Burson Audio Fun. Initially it was an opportunity to keep a review unit after giving it a review. I wasn't looking for another desktop amp in this price range but for the price of free and an honest review I figured why not? In the end there was a miscommunication with Burson that did not allow both reviewers to keep the unit. As a result I decided to do the review anyway and ship the unit back to the original member as long as shipping was paid. So in the end this review is an honest unpaid for review.
    20181004_110623.jpg 20181009_185751.jpg 20181009_190401.jpg 20181009_190808.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

    Song lists:
    Paul Mc Gowan's dirty dozen from PS Audio
    https://www.psaudio.com/pauls-posts/pauls-picks/

    Zeos's song list for testing headphones that i compiled from his you tube videos
    https://tidal.com/playlist/a0d3509b-d8c2-4116-b9f1-83909b34d105

    Cecilia Bartoli St Petersburg
    https://tidal.com/playlist/7c327507-dc9a-44de-8a58-d61ed71f3ff7

    Pure-Maria Callas
    https://tidal.com/playlist/c2fd08bc-9eee-4453-a4cf-9e98568608cf

    and other songs from my playlists.

    Conclusion:
    This is a well made, powerful preamp/amp combo that gives you a lot for the price. I would not hesitate to buy this if I was looking for a unit in this price range. Burson has done a great job with this unit.
      Alcophone likes this.
    1. raoultrifan
      With what cans have you noticed the background noise, please? On my FUN, when listening toIEMs (sensitivity >100dB, impedance 16-Ohms) with volume to around 9 o'clock, there's absolutely no background noise. When maximizing the volume knob out, some noise appears indeed, but that's inevitable for a 2W/ch. amplifier.
      raoultrifan, Oct 10, 2018
  5. Alcophone
    Burson Fun: What's all the buzz about?
    Written by Alcophone
    Published Oct 3, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Very engaging and resolving when using the Sparkos SS3601 opamps

    Improved imaging in my speaker system when used as a preamp

    Volume knob has a good size and is very smooth

    Power switch is easy to locate by touch and satisfying to operate

    The protective muting relay disengages quickly after turning the unit on
    Cons - Somewhat harsh and boomy with the stock opamps

    External power brick with a relatively short cable

    Volume knob indicator is often covered by the knob itself

    Design somewhat compromised in order to fit into a computer case

    Occasional buzzing sound with no apparent reason or reliable fix
    Burson Fun Review


    Disclaimer

    Burson Audio reached out to me about their Fun & Bang review tour. There were some misunderstandings about the conditions, and I may get to keep the Burson Fun, or not. Either way, that did not influence my review - other than inspiring me to buy a pair of opamps to try with the Burson Fun.


    Summary

    The Burson Fun in its stock configuration for $299 is a tolerable headphone amplifier and a surprisingly good sounding preamp. But swapping its two single opamps for two Sparkos SS3601 ($40 each) transforms it into possibly the best headphone amplifier I have heard so far, making it wonderfully engaging and very resolving at the same time. My unit was plagued by an occasional buzzing sound with no apparent cause or reliable fix. It also seems to be more sensitive to dirty power than other headphone amplifiers that I have tried.


    Externals

    The Burson Fun is a headphone amplifier with a 6.35 TRS headphone jack in the front and a preamp with a pair of RCA connectors to connect to a power amp or power speakers in the back. Its main input is a single pair of RCA connectors in the back, but it also has a 3.5 mm TRS jack in the front. When plugging in a source into this front jack, a number of relay clicks can be heard as the unit switches to this input. Inserting or removing a cable into the front plug is the only way to select one of the two inputs. There is also a 3.5 mm TS (mono) input jack in the front that appears to be simply passed through to a 3.5 mm TS (mono) output jack in the back. This only makes sense when taking into account the unit's form factor - it can be mounted in a computer's 5.25 in drive bay and powered by a 4-pin Molex connector - if your power supply still has one, or an adapter for it. I only used the Fun powered with the supplied external power brick. Its cable has a non-polarized 2-prong plug and is therefore not grounded. This might be helpful in avoiding ground loops. The power switch is located in the back, and a blue LED on the front indicates whether the unit is powered on. A volume knob in the front is used to adjust the volume.

    01. Box.jpg


    Internals

    The Burson Fun has a class A power supply, ready to provide full power at any moment, and so its power consumption does not vary with use. When turned on, it consumed 8.8 to 10 W and drew 0.12 to 0.14 A according to my P4460 Kill A Watt. The power brick itself consumed 0.4 W and drew less than 0.01 A. The amp delivers a generous 2.1 W into 32 ohms, but has a fairly high output impedance of 6 ohms. Despite its power and the relatively thin case, it barely gets warm when in use. It contains two single opamps in DIP8 sockets, ready to be swapped out for something better. The underside of the lid features a sticker outlining the circuit board's layout, which helps with locating the opamps and their correct orientation. A beefy ALPS potentiometer can be found behind the volume knob.

    03. Open case.jpg 04. Sticker.jpg

    05. ALPS pot.jpg


    Accessories

    The package includes a pair of 2 ft long mono RCA cables, a 6.35 mm to 3.5 mm adapter (described as 6.5 mm to 3.5 mm on the website), a replacement fuse and, uniquely, an allen wrench. That is because Burson encourages you to replace the opamps in order to change the sound to your liking - the solid state equivalent to tube rolling.

    02. Accessories.jpg


    Dislikes

    I much prefer devices with integrated power supplies that accept regular power cords with C13 connectors. Instead, you get a thin fixed length power cord with a chunky power brick attached to it, requiring you to put it somewhere close-ish. Without an integrated power supply, the unit itself feels a bit too light in comparison to, say, the densly packed Schiit Jotunheim.
    The power switch in the back feels good, but this type of switch is usually illuminated when turned on - not so here, which I find irritating. From the back, I have to look more closely to determine whether it is turned on. Luckily, that's less common in regular use than in a review situation.
    The volume knob's indicator is often not visible because of where it is located on the tapered volume knob, especially when placing the unit to your left.
    The provided allen wrench is tiny, and you have to remove two screws in the front and two in the back (and ideally loosen two more on one side) before you can remove the top to replace the opamps. The screws are anodized, resulting in a black oxide layer, which is at risk of being scraped off by the allen wrench. Maybe thumb screws, at least in the front, would have been more inviting and durable.
    The aux connector in the front didn't work the first time I used it, but reconnecting the plug fixed that. I probably confused the detection circuitry while enjoying the relay-based soundtrack. There is no indication of which input is selected, which is fine as long as the detection works reliably. Nevertheless, I would prefer a switch over the relay-powered magic.
    Basically, I would prefer a redesign of the unit that is not compromised by trying to make it mountable in a PC case. Remove the mic pass through and the mounting holes on each side, replace the aux connector in the front with a second RCA input in the back, add an input selector in the front, integrate power supply into the case and make it more wide than deep.

    The included 6.35 mm to 3.5 mm adapter did not provide a secure connection to a Kabeldirekt aux cable I used. One of my regular adapters (either a Sennheiser 549346 or something that looks very similar) instead worked flawlessly. I did not play with the RCA cable much, but it seems to work.

    My biggest gripe is hopefully a defect instead of a design flaw. On several occasions, an annoying buzzing sound can be heard in the headphones after turning the unit on. The buzz's volume is independent of the volume knob's position. It seems to occur most when the unit has been powered off for a while. I'm not sure what the best way is to get rid of it, but power cycling the unit a few times seems to do to the trick. You might be able to hear the buzz in one of these recordings:
    1. Burson Fun > Ether Flow > Blue Yeti
    2. Burson Fun > Focusrite 6i6 > amplified in Audacity to roughly match volume with headphones

    Likes

    The volume knob has a good size given the unit's general dimensions, rotates very smoothly, feels solid and is free of obstacles around it. Many other headphone amplifiers put the headphone jack so close to the volume knob that the headphone cable gets in the way. The volume indicator, when visible at all, has good contrast. I also like that there's no sound at all when the volume is turned all the way down, which is not always the case (looking at you, Audio-GD HE-9). As usual with potentiometers there is some channel imbalance at very low volumes, but this was never a problem at volume levels that I would actually use. It might become a problem with very sensitive earphones/headphones.
    While the power switch is in the back, it's easy to locate by touch and satisfying to operate. The power status LED is blue and hidden behind a tiny hole, making it not too bright. A muting relay protects your headphones while the unit is powering on, and disengages after a few seconds - fast enough to not make me impatient, in contrast to the Schiit Jotunheim's muting relay.


    Test Setup

    Songs: Mostly FLAC files from HDTracks.com and CD rips, mostly acoustic music like Folk and Jazz.
    Sources: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 or Apple MacBook Pro
    Digital interconnect: 6 ft AmazonBasics USB 2.0 A to B cable
    DAC: Topping DX7s in filter mode 4, using its single ended RCA outputs
    Analog interconnects: A pair of Audioquest RCA splitters into two 3 ft KabelDirekt RCA stereo cables (unless otherwise noted)
    Headphones: MrSpeakers Ether Flow 1.0 with the stock 6 ft 6.35mm DUM cable


    Comparisons while using the stock opamps

    The stock opamps appear to be NJR NJM5534D, based on the label on the opamp itself. It says JRC, but if you visit njr.com, it says "New Japan Radio Co, Ltd." with "JRC" in the logo (presumably for Japan Radio Co). The Burson website describes the stock option as NE5543, i.e. 3 and 4 are swapped.


    Creative Sound Blaster E5 ($200)

    The Sound Blaster E5 is a feature-packed portable DAC/amp unit. It has a 3.5 mm TRS line-in and can therefore be used as a headphone amplifier. It also has a 3.5 mm TRS line-out, making it a preamp as well, which I did not test - the volume knob has no absolute position, which is too risky for when using it as a preamp. The E5's output impedance is 2.2 ohms vs. the Fun's 6 ohms. On Massdrop it is specified as delivering just 105 mW into 32 ohms.
    For power I used an Anker PowerPort 4 USB power supply with a 6 ft Anker PowerLine+ micro USB cable. I used a 6 ft KabelDirekt stereo RCA to 3.5 mm TRS cable to connect it to the DAC and a Grado Mini Adapter Cable to connect the headphones. I turned off all sound processing in the E5 and set it to high gain. In this comparison, the Burson Fun was already warmed up from prior testing.

    Impressions: Generally, the Sound Blaster E5 seemed to be a bit more resolving and smoother than the Fun, but lacks power in the low end. In my notes, I often described the Fun's bass as boomy and its highs as harsh, but it has a fuller low end than the E5. Basically, there's no clear winner here to me.


    Yamaha RX-V377 ($300)

    The RX-V377 is a 5.1 surround receiver that happens to have a headphone out. Since the Fun is a dedicated headphone amplifier at the same price point, I expected the RX-V377 to be the weakest competitor to the Fun. I turned off all audio processing in the RX-V377.

    Impressions: The RX-V377 is not as bad a headphone amplifier as I expected, producing fairly clear sound when using the planar magnetic Ether Flow, with some volume to spare. It does have a disturbing "digital" quality to it, though. There is a noticeable delay compared to the Burson Fun, leading me to believe that the DSP is active at all times, even when it isn't actually manipulating the audio intentionally. The result is a weird rounding of the sound, a lack of definition and musicality. The Burson Fun is clearly the better option here.


    Schiit Jotunheim ($400)

    The Schiit Jotunheim is a versatile package with a unique and appealing design (to me). Like the Burson Fun it can function as both a headphone amplifier and a preamp, but with adjustable gain levels, balanced input and output, a built-in linear power supply, and an optional DAC module or phono preamp (at extra cost). It is fully balanced, yet its topology allows for single-ended output without any summers in the signal path. With a balanced output power of 5 W into 32 ohms, it is even more powerful than the Burson Fun's 2.1 W, but when using single ended headphones, the Fun beat the Jotunheim's 1.5 W. However, at 16 ohms, the Fun's 1.9 W still lose against the Jotunheim's 2.5 W even when using single ended headphones. Also, the Fun's 6 ohms output impedance is no match for the Jotunheim's exemplary < 0.1 ohms. However, in my particular case, with the very flat 23 ohms of the Ether Flow, neither power nor output impedance should be deciding factors between the two.

    Impressions: The Jotunheim sounds noticeably cleaner and is more resolving. Overall, it simply sounds more refined to me. Its only downside is the sound stage, which is generally less wide and flatter than the Fun's sound stage. If you're not interested in rolling opamps and assuming you're not specifically looking for a headphone amp that fits into a computer case, the Jotunheim would get my clear recommendation despite costing a little more. Its flexibility in terms of providing balanced inputs and outputs and variable gain make it the clear winner to me. But if you are interested in rolling opamps, you should read on.


    iFi micro iDSD ($600)

    The iFi micro iDSD is a portable DAC/amp combo that is quite a bit bulkier and heavier than the Sound Blaster E5. But as a result, it also has oodles of power, especially in its Turbo mode, where it is rated at 4 W into 16 ohms vs. the Fun's 1.9 W. It can be used as a headphone amplifier courtesy of a 3.5 mm TRS line-in, and in contrast to the E5 has a 6.35 mm headphone jack, thus not requiring an adapter for my tests.
    I used the Anker PowerPort 4 as a USB power supply and the micro iDSD's standard USB extension cable to plug into (or around?) its unusual male USB connector (that happens to be very useful with OTG cables). Admittedly when I previously used it as a DAC in Turbo mode, it drained its battery more quickly than it was able to charge it, and so isn't completely useful as a desktop headphone amp in this mode. The iFi micro iDSD can also be used as a preamp courtesy of its RCA input jacks. I did not test this because the preamp functionality can be turned off for use as a DAC, and the switch to do so is too easily triggered by accident to be safe. I turned off the iDSD's bass and 3D features, and set the IEMatch selector to high sensitivity to have a bit more range in the volume knob before it gets dangerous.

    Impressions: The micro iDSD sounds cleaner, fuller and is more resolving. I find imaging and sound stage to be comparable. In some songs, the iDSD sounded more natural to me.


    Gustard H20 ($930 / $800 on Massdrop) with 2x Sparkos SS3602 dual opamps ($80 each)

    Like the Fun, the H20 is a headphone amp and preamp, and is also fully class A. However, it is fully balanced, providing one single ended and two balanced inputs, a high and low impedance 6.35mm headphone jack, a 4-pin XLR headphone jack and a stereo pair of two 3-pin XLR headphone jacks. However, for preamp use it only has XLR out, no RCA. While it has three gain settings, they are not all that different, providing limited use.
    At 12 W into 32 ohms, you needn't worry about power. Thanks to the relay-stepped attenuator, there's also no channel imbalance, even at low volumes, although there's a pretty big gap between its lowest volume setting (no sound) and second lowest (louder than expected). Due to a translation error, you may find it specified as having an output impedance of 200 ohms, but it's actually ~0.1 ohms for the balanced headphone outs and ~0.05 ohms for the high impedance single ended headphone out (and, interestingly, 50 ohms for the low impedance out).

    Impressions: I love the H20, at least with the Sparkos opamps. It is resolving, musical, engaging, clean, natural sounding with an expansive sound stage. There is more texture to its sound, it images better and its bass hits harder - and all that while constrained by using the single ended input and output, despite being balanced. Sound wise it's a clear winner against the Burson Fun with stock opamps - as it should be, given the considerable price difference.


    Usage as a preamp

    I didn't test its preamp functionality very thoroughly, playing only two songs per configuration. I compared it to using the DX7s in its DAC/HP mode, in which it basically functions as a digital preamp (particularly useful with a remote). I also used the passive Schiit SYS ($50) and the Schiit Jotunheim ($400) as a preamp.

    Impressions: Compared to these three options, the Burson Fun stood out with significantly better imaging, without exhibiting the somewhat harsh highs and boomy lows I experienced when using it as a headphone amplifier. The SYS and the Jotunheim have the advantage of having additional inputs, while the DX7s has the advantage of supporting a remote - a crucial feature in a living room setup.


    Dirty power?

    The improvements I heard when using the Fun as a preamp surprised me. Maybe the opamps were responsible for the objectionable sound I heard with headphones, and are not in use for the preamp part of the Fun? This would definitely make sense to me.
    But there was also another possibility: The Fun was no longer plugged into the same power strip that was also powering a desktop computer and a monitor, two laptops, a USB charger and a desk lamp's power supply that I can hear singing up close. Instead, it was now in a different power strip that also contained three iFi AC iPurifier power conditioners.
    So I added another power strip to the noisy one used prior, and moved the Fun to the outlet furthest away from the power cord. Then I experimented with adding the three AC iPurifiers into the power strip one by one - and this seemed to indeed reduce the harshness I heard with headphones. Adding one AC iPurifier made the biggest difference, but adding more seemed to improve the result further a little bit. It didn't fundamentally change the sound of the Fun, but it seems to have cleaned it up a bit.

    As a result, all of the above comparisons as a headphone amplifier may not have shown the Fun at its best. On the other hand, most people looking for $299 headphone amplifiers will not use any power conditioners at all, and are likely using it close to other gear as well, or plug it directly into a computer's non-audiophile power supply.


    Using the Sparkos SS3601 opamps

    Due to Burson's encouragement to roll opamps, I was really curious about how much of an impact the opamps have. I am already using two Sparkos SS3602 (dual opamps) in the Gustard H20, but didn't feel like they changed the sound that much compared to the stock opamps, though I didn't wait very long before making the swap. Still, I really like the H20 with the SS3602s, so I happily bought two SS3601s (single opamps) for the Burson Fun.

    Impressions: Well! This completely transformed the Burson Fun. With the Sparkos opamps it sounded very clean, spacious, extremely detailed and resolving - and oh so engaging. The last time I found a headphone amplifier this gripping was when I heard the Lyr 3 with new production tubes at the California Audio Show in 2018 - no matter the song, it made me move to the music. In comparison, the Jotunheim still sounded good, but less engaging, while at the same time being more resolving - so that seemed to be the trade off. But the Burson Fun changes changes the equation when powered by the Sparkos opamps. I find it to be as engaging as I remember the Lyr 3 to be while actually surpassing the Jotunheim's resolution. Before the heart surgery, I had no desire to switch back to it when comparing it with the most of the other headphone amps, and was looking forward to just being done with this review. With the SS3601s it was the complete opposite, I could not stop listening. I heard things in songs I never heard before. Regardless of what genre I threw at the amp, it simply excelled, delivering razor sharp transients, smooth, punchy bass with lots of texture and the best sound stage I have heard with my Ether Flows.
    Sadly, my Gustard H20 was back at the office at this point and I had to send the Fun on to my review partner, so a direct comparison wasn't possible anymore. I really hope that I will still get to do this, and also hear it with the Schiit Yggdrasil instead of the Topping DX7s.

    06. NE5534s installed.jpg 07. SS3601s installed.jpg

    08. SS3601s vs. NE5534s.jpg


    Conclusion

    For now, it seems that the Burson Fun with the Sparkos SS3601s is the best sounding headphone amplifier that I have heard so far. And trust me, I find that hard to believe myself - because of its price, because of its size and because it is single ended. There is enough that I don't like about the Burson Fun that I kind of don't want it to be true, and with the stock opamps I find it rather forgettable. Nevertheless, this experience reminded me of what made me obsessed with audio - reaching a new peak in sound quality, making me wonder once more how good it could possibly get. For that, I am very grateful.
      earfonia, bunkbail and raoultrifan like this.
    1. bunkbail
      Hi, thanks for the review! I know that you didn't pit the Fun /w SS3601 against H20 side by side, but which one do you think sounds the best (from memory)?
      bunkbail, Nov 10, 2018
    2. Alcophone
      Hey @bunkbail, I forgot you asked me this! I did get a chance to compare them side by side, and the H20/SS3602 is still a bit better - cleaner sounding with more authority - than the Fun/SS3601. Of course it's also much more expensive, and bigger.
      The H20 with stock opamps is much more enjoyable than the Fun with stock opamps, though.
      Alcophone, Mar 16, 2019
  6. BulldogXTRM
    A lot of Fun in a little box
    Written by BulldogXTRM
    Published Oct 5, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Outstanding musicality, rich harmonics, flat response from 20Hz-20kHz
    Cons - None
    Fun_Marketing.png 03_P1410494.jpg Fun_Back.png

    Outstanding Headphone Amp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Value
    Each of us wants value for our money. The value of the Burson products that I've tried are well above their price point and the Burson Fun is no exception. This is an outstanding value for a professional quality desktop headphone amp. Great job Burson!
  7. earfonia
    One of the best amplifier for Op-Amp rolling!
    Written by earfonia
    Published Sep 8, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Well designed amplifier for op-amp rolling. Good balance between high output power and low output noise. Very Low output impedance (based on my measurement).
    Cons - Location of the on-off switch at the back panel of the amplifier. No gain switch to switch to lower gain for IEMs. My unit came with a poor 12V power supply.
    Big thanks to Burson for providing me with the review sample of Burson FUN!
    Class A headphone amp with symmetrical circuitry is not rare, but Burson advertised that they implemented four sets of Max Current Power Supply (MCPS) that is claimed to be superior to traditional transformers for delivering instant, clean, and maximum electric current to the Fun. I expect the combination to produce class A low THD with fast and realistic dynamic. Besides that op-amp rolling is a welcome feature to bring the sonic signature closer to our personal preference.

    01 P1380177.jpg


    Product Webpage:
    https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/fun/

    Product Manual:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BkYzliXQfuzxnYRiL-uJ7YdaVgku8T5-/view

    Showcase:
    https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/burson-audio-fun.23238/

    Discussion Thread:
    https://www.head-fi.org/threads/burson-audio-fun-2w-pc-class-a-headphone-amp.881515/

    Op-Amp Rolling:
    https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/opamp-rolling-with-the-burson-fun.23632/

    02 P1410513.jpg


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


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


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

    03 P1410494.jpg 04 P1410499.jpg


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

    05 P1410504.jpg



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

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

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

    09a P1380197.jpg 09b P1380198.jpg

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

    09c 20190816_231614.jpg

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



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

    10 P1380184.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

    13 20190804_230103.jpg 14 20190804_231046.jpg



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

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

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



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

    I use QuantAsylum QA401 Audio Analyzer as measurement equipment:
    https://quantasylum.com/products/qa401-audio-analyzer

    15a P1410528.jpg

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

    15b P1410544a.jpg



    Measured Headphone Output Specification:

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

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

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

    16 2019-09-08_MAX-Out_32ohms.png


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

    17 2019-09-08_MAX-Out_16ohms.png

    P1410613.jpg

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

    18 Output Impedance_32ohms.png 19 Output Impedance_16ohms_05.png


    Output Gain measured at 600-ohm load: 5

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

    2019-09-09_030814.png


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

    20 20190705_185914.jpg


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2019-09-09_030717.png



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

    23 P1410557.jpg 24 P1410551a.jpg 25 2019-07-05_185552.png

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


    RightMark Audio Analyzer test:

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

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

    2019-09-09_030210.jpg fr.png

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



    Sound Quality and Op-Amp Rolling

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

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

    26 20190501_235857.jpg


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

    27 20190816_232158.jpg 28 20190816_232414.jpg

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

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



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

    29 P1410541.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

    30 P1410571.jpg

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

    31 P1410578.jpg



    Comparisons With Other Desktop Amps

    32 P1410596.jpg

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

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



    33 P1380166.jpg 34 P1380179.jpg 35 P1380189.jpg
    Spare of the tiny 5A fuse.



    Equipment used in this review:

    Headphones:
    Hifiman HE-6
    Audio-Technica ATH-R70x

    In-Ear Monitors:
    1964 Ears V3 Universal
    DUNU DK-3001
    Creative Aurvana Trio
    ATH-IM50

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

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



    Some recordings used in this review:
    16 Albums - A 1000px.jpg
      DarKu, Baten, gr8soundz and 2 others like this.
  8. ostewart
    Pure Fun! (Bang + Fun review)
    Written by ostewart
    Published May 19, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Fun sound, plenty of power
    Firstly, I would like to thank Burson for sending me these samples for review, they have both been used for at least 100hrs before this review was written.

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

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

    [​IMG]

    Tech Specs:
    https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/fun/

    https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/bang/

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

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

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

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

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

    [​IMG]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    [​IMG]

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

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

    Bang 8.5/10 (superb power amp, V6 op-amps are again highly recommended)
      raoultrifan likes this.
  9. 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
      trellus likes this.
  10. 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.