Burson Audio Supreme Sound Opamp V5i

General Information

A Hybrid Audio Opamp with SSV5 DNA

The inception of our latest product originated as a result of our partnership with a leading microchip foundry. Together we have created an integrated version of our V5 FET circuitry. In order to overcome many of the inherent limitations associated with ICs, we have externalized parts of its circuitry and completed those sections with high quality discrete components.

The newly developed Burson V5i is a hybrid audio opamp, which is both partially IC and discrete. It bears the sonic signature of its bigger brother, the V5 discrete opamp, considered by many as the reference in audio application.

Latest reviews

UntilThen

Headphoneus Supremus
Burson v5i op-amp
Pros: -Soundstage width increase
-Organic life like sound
-Music has meat to the bones
-Lovely mids with a fuller tone
-Lows goes a bit deeper
Cons: None that I can think of
Introduction

I was contacted by Burson Audio to conduct a review on the V5i a few months ago. The v5i op-amp took a long time to arrive from Hong Kong. I was provided with one Op amp to test them in my Topping D10 dac.

I bought the Topping D10 as a 2nd hand unit for AUD$100, to use as a spare. My main dac(s) are Yggdrasil and Bifrost 2. So why did I buy the cheap Topping D10? One, I could use it as a spare and it's cheap. Can just keep it in the drawer and forget about it. I have always view the D10 as clear but digital sounding - which is another way of saying I don't like it.

I like a dac that is neutral sounding and also have a soul to the tone and the Topping D10 in it's original form isn't it.

The V5i Op Amp
I did not know about this op-amp before it arrives. I did not read up much about it because I want to experience it without being tainted by others impressions.

This is the tiny bugger.

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Installing it into the Topping D10 dac is straight forward. Open up the D10 and see the picture below on how to install it.

In the first picture is the dac in it's original form. The black chip 'circled' is the original. In the 2nd picture, you can see the Burson v5i op-amp installed 'circled - and it must be installed with the words facing left like you see it in the picture. This is important as installing it the wrong way will result in no sound and may damage both the op-amp and dac.
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Test Setup.
My listening gear consists of :-

Source - PC, Schiit Wyrd > Topping D10 with v5i op-amp installed.
Amps - Ultrasonic Studios Oblivion and McChanson 300b amp for speakers and headphones.
Headphones - Audeze LCD4 ; HiFiMan He1000se

Music
  • Fourplay - 101 Eastbound
  • Dire Straits - Private Investigations
  • Holly Cole - Hold On
  • Jennifer Warnes - First We Take Manhattan
Lows
Lows goes deeper now. Quite a marked changed.

Mids
This where it stands out for me. Mid range and vocals are very engaging now and sound organic and natural. Love it !

Highs
Sound a bit rounded off but still very detailed. This makes for a non fatiguing listen especially for longer sessions.


Performance Closing thoughts:
I am used to Yggdrasil for 4 years and I won't lie when I say that the Topping D10 is so far from Yggdrasil's performance scale that it's not worth comparing.

However taken on it's own - Topping D10 with Burson v5i op-amp installed show a marked improvement that makes this cheap dac worthy as a spare dac in case I need one. In the company of my gear, it was still enjoyable and engaging enough. Recommended.


Value
Not knowing how much this v5i opamp cost, I can't comment on the value to performance ratio.

chaotic_angel

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Significant increase on clarity.
Sense of spaciousness on each notes.
Space and headstage.
Low is more pronounced and textured better.
Cons: Higher batt consumption.
Fit issue on amp enclosure
I was contacted by Carlos from Burson and offered an excellent opportunity to try out their product line up in exchange with my honest opinion and I thanked him for this chance, in this opportunity I got two V5i single (V5is) which are plugged on to my HA-02 an excellent price to performance headphone amplifier made by Dethonray. The V5is have gone thru 50hrs of burn in time which in my hearing, there are no longer changes in sound. I have no affiliation with Burson company.

you may find the detail of the V5is https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/supreme-sound-opamp-v5i/

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In this review I am using line out from DTR1, connected to HA-02 amp using local made mini to mini. Tin P1 iem. As a music lover the original op amp which are OPA627Ap are good in giving sense of neutrality.

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Songs:

Send My Love – Adele .flac 16 bit

No Sanctuary Here – Chris Jones .dsf

Mombasa – Inception OST – Hans Zimmer .flac16 bit


Starting with Send My Love by Adele using Tin P1 which is well known for its power hungry iem has started a good experience with the detail on the Adele instruction voice that has reverb which was never heard in previous OPA627AP, sense spaciousness and clarity are next finding. A pleasant to hear each instrument I sense there are more space, none of it feel congested, this is also bringing out better headstage and well-textured low. Adele voice is more pronounced and at dead center position.

Depth and Imaging is getting better , I can easily pin point each musical instruments position, one example the sound of tambourine started on 00:52 in between the music appears starting on bellow right then quickly shifted to upper left repeatedly, highs are also crisp without making ears tired, pleasant!

Going to the next song, No Sanctuary Here by Chris Jones, yet another pleasant experience of clarity and instrument separation in general speaking. Low notes produced by bass are definitely clearer in sounding; this detail was somehow unheard at OPA627. Mids presented in fairly neutral and no coloration. Details are rich especially when acoustic guitar solo started at 01:51 those sound of the guitar pick against the steel strings are sound realistic while at the same time at the background they keeps on maintaining excellent layering sound of Hammond and bass guitar.

At Mombasa by Hans Zimmer, V5is works very well in giving good dynamics and fast lows, impact of the low in this song felt stronger than before. Again nothing sounds packed or too crowded.
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The V5is from Burson has become my new favorite op amp when pursuing for clarity, superb details, clear mids and better definition in low. from what I experience from it at the end, I dont mind to leave the amp naked without its enclosure:smile:

Salam!

trivium911

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: -Soundstage Width
-Engaging Live/Lifelike sound
-Music has more “Soul”
-Instrument separation and air on the high end.
-Lows dig a bit deeper
Cons: -Marginal Improvement (Not night and day difference)
-Expensive for an OP-AMP
-Larger size might be an issue
-May not fit in the Objective 2
-Might not improve all amp designs
Introduction

I was contacted by Burson Audio to conduct a review on the V5i, as such I was provided with two Op amps to test them in my Little Dot I+ and My Objective 2 on the output side. Tube rolling aside I found that the GE JAN-5654W which are the military variant are my favourite tubes for ”ME” at the moment. They have excellent clarity without sounding overly digital while simultaneously not being sloppy in the bass department, as a result these were the tubes I chose to use for this review. I am in no way affiliated with Burson Audio, all results are my own findings and personal opinions. For the time being my review is based on the Little Dot I+ since I use it the most, in the near future I will review these in the objective 2 amp. Right now my Little dot has been paired with an AliExpress knockoff of the Muse02 op amp which by itself was decent for what it was.

I started to get into great sounding audio when I 8 years old playing around with mixing tapes and than burning cd’s. When I was 13 I got an iPod mini which is when I started playing with compression only to learn the hard way that it ruined the audio files. When the world moved on to iPods and high compression in favour of convenience I was left behind with my CD’s and portable disc player knowing that this was the best way to listen to music.


I don’t call myself an audiophile but rather a music and gear enthusiast. I have other hobbies and love getting new equipment, tools and gear for each hobby or task, than putting it to good use in my day to day life. If I cant justify a purchase, I wont buy it…simple as that. I’m not interested in high end cables and typically try and find the best value for my money wherever possible. That said, I do like to have certain high end items if I know I will use it daily or often so the definition of ”value” is very subjective. Usually my internal justification entails reading hours of reviews and educating myself on certain products. Specifically how they work and how the engineering principals would apply, aswell as reading between the snake oil marketing gimmicks. In most cases
this has served me well over the years.

The V5i Dual Op Amp
For the sake of this review I will skip the physical, fit and finish of these OP Amps since this is the least important aspect when the equipment is closed up. They are much larger than a standard amp and I would encourage those that have clearance issues in smaller equipment to check the data sheet and measure with a micrometer. These amps do have a nice quality feel to them and a nice laser etching of the manufacture and model on the face. After removing a few screws on the bottom of my Little Dot i+ and popping the little op amp into the slot, I was ready to roll.


Test Setup.
The testing setup I’m using is the little dot i+ (V5i Dual op Amp and GE JAN-5654 Tubes) mated to my Hifiman 400i planar magnetic headphones, and my Ibasso DX120 in DAC mode. I’m most familiar with my DX120 since I use it almost daily. I would love to do an A-B comparison however having only one Little dot makes this impossible, so for now as difficult it may be the review will have to be based solely on swapping the op amp.

Music
  • Guillaume Perret- Sirenes
  • The Haggis Horns - Stand up for Love
  • Jesse Cook - I Put a Spell on You
  • Quadro Nuevo - Tango Del Mare
Lows
Those luscious lows are addicting on the 400i's, there is no question about the planar magnetic bass. This is not a night and day difference and unsubstantiated without an A-B switcher, however there is something different that seems to push the lows to dig further. The Melancholy mood in Guillaume Perret's Sirenes paints an eerie atmosphere which is reinforced by the now deeper digging bass. In the haggis Horns - Stand Up for Love, The bass seems more organic and less digital with more soul compared to the Muse02 knockoff, the bass also seems to be better controlled throughout the spectrum.

Mids
The mids are probably where I detect the least amount of difference especially in the french horn in Quadro Nuevo - Tango Del Mare, however the total package seems to come together nicely with a sense that the music is live in an intimate studio, yet somehow it sounds more engaging, more alive with the V5i. The closest visual representation I can think of is on an HDR TV where the upgrade allows the colors to pop out a bit more akin to the V5i allowing music to Pop a bit more, the former being more obvious or contrasting. The air around the instruments once again allows the separation to stand out in an impressive way since this track also carries a lot of depth and layers.

Highs
Im a huge fan of Jesse Cook, and unfortunately due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak the live concert I had booked is now cancelled, as a result listening to his recordings will have to do for now. When I play "I Put a Spell on you" I can hear a slight amount more air between the instruments. The twang in the background guitar takes an interesting seat on the stage, while Jesse guitar takes a slight backseat to the lush intimate vocals. I chose this song as its fairly busy with multiple layers without being overwhelming which would otherwise make it difficult to detect discernible differences, it also has vocals which if you may have guessed by now is the least of what I listen to. One would have to spend substantially more money on a better sounding setup for this genre of music (400i, LD i+ with V5i Op Amp). I do feel though however that the highs are somewhat discernibly different not by overall clarity but rather soundstage width and instrument separation or air around the instruments. I would love to at this point do A-B comparison on a stock OP AMP little dot but as mentioned this is unfortunately not in the cards at the moment as I don’t own two LD i+ amps.


Performance Closing thoughts:
The 400i's are a bit of chameleon when it comes to some recordings, they are very transparent and can be picky which makes them a great review candidate for showcasing the V5i. They scale very well with source quality and one thing I've noticed is that there is this invisible wall to the width of the soundstage, where height was never an issue but width can . At times, depending on the source cause the 400i's to sound out of balance or "Off" when the recording hits the "invisible" sound wall for width. This is more depending on the recording than anything else, strange though that I noly hear with the 400i's. That being said I do believe that the V5i has improved the overall width of the soundstage which I believe is the reason why there is a bit more air around the instruments, however this will not fix a sloppy recorded track that has no attention to detail. The V5i does seem to help a smidge with this virtual sound width wall phenomenon in the 400i's as well. Regarding the V5i there is no question though that its arguable one of the best performing op-amps available in its price class. As mentioned these are my findings and im trying to find differences and improvements, if someone was to swap the OP amp without one knowing, I highly doubt anyone would wake up one day and say "Hey! This thing sounds great…What happened?!". The improvements im noting could also be the placebo affect which unless I have a second identical amp that very few do, I cant perform an A-B switch to rule this out. Im still claiming that I notice an increase in air and soundstage in the highs, the lows dig a touch deeper and have more "soul". The music as a whole seems to sound a smidge more lifelike and engaging, more realistic and less digital.

Value
In The quest for value I think the V5i is a great opportunity to step up your game into some high end OP-amps. The price for admission is high compared to some other op amps but low in a world where people spend hundreds of dollars on cables. Once you justify how much you will use the equipment and whether or not its worth it to spend the money, the rest is easy. Since I’m not one to spend unnecessary amounts of money on speciality cables trying to convince myself I hear a difference, I’m far better off spending money on an OP AMP or two to maximize the equipment I already have. There are a lot of pieces of well designed equipment that were produced in china with generic but swappable parts, the little dot having come with a cheap op amp and basic tubes is a fine example. Op amp rolling is also cheaper than rolling the entire amp. Paired with the little dot i+ I think the V5i is a no brainer upgrade since you only need one, pair that with some nice tubes and you will have a winner. Given the opportunity if I got another amp I would likely be looking at installing these OP amps.

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