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Burson Audio Supreme Sound Opamp V5i

Rating:
4.5102/5,
  1. mojorisin35
    Burson V5i upgrade- A Budget Wise Review
    Written by mojorisin35
    Published Apr 17, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Incredible improvement over all other op-amps tried.
    Cons - little pricey for the budget conscious.
    About me:

    I am an average Joe on a budget chasing audio excellence. I am not able to drop huge cash on audio gear so I have to be conscientious of my purchases. However when I found a deal on the Burson Audio V5I-D on my local marketplace I had to jump on it simply on Burson Audio’s reputation.

    Packaging:
    The chips come in a very appropriate box, fully protected and sealed looks professional and more than appropriate.

    Installation on Biosciencegeek Cmoy :

    Yep a Cmoy. It is really a great Amp that is portable and budget friendly. The installation is extremely simple, you just have to remove the original OpAmp, and place the V5i-D correctly. it is pictured hear sitting atop my dusty Little Dot MK3
    [​IMG]
    I have rolled a lot of OP-amps they are…were cheap and fun. There are sound differences for sure! Some sound like ass, some just meh, and some are bombastically awesome!
    [​IMG]
    The top competitors for the Burson where the Muses 8820, 8920 (close enough to muses 1 and 2 without bleeding money) and the best of the bunch the OPA1622.

    Very Subjective sound analysis:

    If you looking for the review by a mad scientist with oscilloscopes and other high tech magic you may want to stop reading . I will give you the impression of an average Joe who happens to love great music produced exceptionally without spending the equivalent of a Bugatti La Voiture Noire. If you are one of those guys who has the disposable income I envy you, I truly do, and if you have any cast offs I would surely put them to good use but I digress.

    What do I want? I use my amp and headphones (Sennheiser Momentum/Beyerdynamic dt 1350pro) through my work computer using a Essence STX sound card most of the time while working at my desk trying to avoid conversations around my workmates various ailments and leakages which I guess any old amp and headphones would do however why settle? Mostly though I want something that takes me as close to “there” as I can be. Soundstage, ambiance, clarity and moments of having my breathe taken away by an exciting passage or movement in a song. I listen to a huge range of music from sub genres of metal to muddy waters.

    I will save me some typing and say that the Burson V5I-D is in a league of its own. It destroys the Muses on all counts and bests the OPA1622 especially in ambience and soundstage. With the Burson in the amp I am catching myself noticing the “air” around the performers. What? I know right? It is like going from a 3d image to looking at a hologram. So much more realism and texture. There is moments when I am simply listening while working and I am forced to pause as the goosebumps creeping up my arm will not be ignored. Some tracks that I suggest you give a run:

    Pinapple Xpress-Audiomatic Phaze- With its driving beat I find my head bouncing almost uncontrollably and a smile creeping across my face. The headphones are bouncing off my head with a clear precise reproduction of Bass.

    Shall rise/Shall be dead – Invictus- Heart palpating drumming and speed. This may not be your cup of tea but worth a listen if you want to hear one of the best drummers on earth. No machines it is all him. The Burson makes this poor recording better but you’re not listening to Invictus for micro details, your listening to blow your mind with amazing metal and the Burson and Invictus delivers.

    Falling apart-Great Lake Swimmers
    - these guys are all about Ambience and the Brunson clearly separates itself from the others while comparing and listening to this song.

    Moving Pictures Silent Films-Great Lake Swimmers- Again these guys are all about Ambience. This was recorded in an old church on vintage gear. This track clearly is simple but puts any system to the test to recreate the feeling of the moment and the ambiance of an empty church. The Burson once again clearly separates itself from the others while comparing and listening to this song however I sense that there is more there to be resolved-perhaps Burson V6 Vivid Dual X 2 is the answer?

    I searched the forums for quality recordings to test my gear out on and created a playlist on Spotify of all the suggestions I found for myself -Audiophile-Headphone Test Tracks- check it out if you want to save some time there is some real jewels in there.

    Conclusions:
    I know that buying an Op-amp that is twice the price of the amp it is being used in is silly. However what you should extrapolate from my budget audiophile experience if the Burson can elevate my simple set up what it will do to your dampened, chrome alloy, tuned and ported, twin waffle banger set up will be extravagant. Actually ignore everything I said you may not want to leave the house after you upgrade to the Burson and I don’t want to be the one responsible for you turning into a shut in.

    I bought the Burson due to it being a good deal on my marketplace, however having listened to it I would happily go tell my past self it is worth the price new.

    The Burson is clearly a worthy upgrade if transparency, color and texture, dynamics and sound stage are something you enjoy and really who doesn’t.
  2. buzzbuzz
    Burson V5i upgrade is an easy decision to make
    Written by buzzbuzz
    Published Jan 29, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Mid-range details! Dynamic and realistic sound-stage. Better bass extension.
    Cons - Slightly higher battery drain. May be too tall for some installations
    Before Christmas holiday last month, I was listening to Norwegian composer Kim Andre Arnesen’s great work – Magnificat recorded in Nidaros Cathedral by the award-winning 2L Studio. I also found an Youtube video of the live recording of Magnificat 4. Et misericordia. It was very helpful to better locate the instruments/vocals as well as the “dimension” of the sound stage. 2L studio had won multiple awards for its “Immersive Sound” recording – a three dimensional enveloping sound recording system. I once used 2L Audiophile Reference Record dvd to set up a Linaeum speaker system at home.

    Right around that time, Charles of SS-Audio contacted me and offered a free trial of their Burson V5i op-amp in exchange for an unbiased review. Charles “caught” me at the right time so I agreed to the offer.

    I don’t consider myself an audiophile or an engineer. I am just fascinated by the 3D sound concept however. Over the years, I have evolved into a budget-minded portable DAP listener. The equipment used for this test reflect that.

    Equipment in the test

    * DAP : Zishan DSD (AK4497eq DAC)
    * IEMs: KZ ZS10 (1DD, 4BAs) , Tennmak Pro (6mm + 9mm DDs)
    * Op-amps: Burson V5i, LM4562 (stock), LME49860NA, AD8066AR on SOIC DIP adapter

    Sound Tracks Used for General Testing
    * 2L: Nordic Sound – 2L Audiophile Reference Record, 24bit 192khz, flac
    Tracks consist of modern jazz, opera, strings instruments, church organ, and more.

    Music Genres testing Sound Tracks

    * Instrumental/Orchestra
    - Selected tracks from 2L Audiophile Reference Record
    * Orchestra/Opera
    - Delibes: Lakme – Duo des fleurs Sabine Devieilhe & Marianne Crebassa (dsd256)
    - Arnesen: Magnificat 4. Et misericordia Lise Granden Berg, soprano (dsd256)
    * Rock/Pop
    - Santana: Evil Ways (dsd256)
    * Vocal
    - Eva Cassidy : Autumn Leaves (16 bit 44.1k flac)
    * Jazz/Blues
    - Oscar Peterson Trio In a Mellow Tone (dsd64)
    - selected tracks from 2L Audiophile Reference Record
    * Synth-pop
    - Frankie Goes to Hollywood: Relax (dsd256)

    I was planning to use my well-worn Sennheiser HD439 for this test. However, the HD439 sound just too “different” from other IEMs to complicate this test. So I used KZ ZS10 (hybrid 1DD+4BAs) and Tennmak Pro (6mm+9mm DDs) instead.

    Before I receive the offer from Burson, I have already ordered two new op-amps – LME49860NA and AD8066. LME49860 is a plug and play, but both AD8066 and Burson V5i are too tall for the Zishan DSD to be put back into the case. So I conducted most of the test without the case.

    SAM_8748.JPG

    SAM_8754.JPG

    SAM_8755.JPG

    SAM_8756.JPG
    Testing

    The performance of the stock op-amp LM4562 is best characterized as clean, lean, fast, but relatively laid back. May be that is reason why LM4562 is popular with many OEMs. Most of the listeners would be perfectly happy with it. To me, the sound is just too laid back. The “width” of the sound stage seems fixed and artificially (too) wide. It was very noticeable in the Oscar Peterson Trio’s In the Mellow Tone track. The actual stage was small and tight, but LM4562 “expands” the width of the soundstage way too much. That just messed up the sound in my head. Also Vocal is sitting in the middle, between the listener’s ears. LME49860NA is actually in the same family with the stock LM4562 (identical to LME49720). LME49860NA has a wider operating voltage range, but for reasons unknown to me, its bass is fuller and louder. It also shifts the vocal to the front of the listener ever slightly. It still have the same sound stage width issue the LM4562 has. But I consider LME49860NA a slightly improved version of the stock op-amp.

    AD8066 is very much the opposite of the LME49860. It has a v-shaped profile, superb accuracy, high resolution and dynamics. It has more realistic spaciousness than LME49860. Base noise level is slightly higher than LME49860. One big bonus: it also offers thick but fast bass. Extra “punch” in bass occurs around 80-200 Hz, however the kick drum range at around 3,000 Hz is lacking in weight. It has an asymmetrical V-shaped sound with extra emphases on the sub bass end. Bass-head listeners will find it very pleasing.

    Burson v5i is a semi-discrete op-amp in a beautifully-crafted metal casing. There are many detailed technical write-ups in this Review section so I will skip writing one. V5i is very different from LME49860 or AD8066. First, it is slightly louder across the entire range yet maintain a very low base noise level. I can praise v5i’s accuracy, high resolution and dynamics all day, but its mid-range that steals the show. V5i manages to retrieve and reveal mid-range details without losing the overall tonal balance. The bass and treble qualities are still tactile and rhythmic. The goosebumps inducing details in the mid range creates a more intimate sound stage, closer to the listener. Sound tracks focusing on vocals and solo instruments (as in jazz jamming or orchestra featuring soloist performance) really shine.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Testing Summary

    General Property
    - Volume - v5i > AD8066 > LME49860
    - Airiness/Sound stage v5i > LME49860 > AD8066
    - Brightness LME49860 > AD8066 > v5i
    - Analytical sound LME49860 > AD8066 > v5i
    - Intimacy v5i > LME49860 > AD8066
    - Transparency LM49860 > v5i = AD8066
    - 3D sound v5i > LM49860 > AD8066

    Musical Instruments
    - Drums v5i > AD8066 > LME49860
    - Bass/double Bass AD8066 > v5i = LME49860
    - Vocals v5i > LME49860 > AD8066
    - Cello v5i > LME49860 > AD8066
    - Acoustic guitar LME49860 > v5i=AD8066
    - Electric guitar v5i > AD8066=LME49860
    - Violin v5i > AD8066=LME49860
    - Piano v5i > LME49860 > AD8066

    Music Genres
    - Instrumental/Orchestra v5i > LME49860 > AD8066
    - Rock/pop AD8066 > v5i=LME49860
    - Vocal/opera v5i > LME49860 > AD8066
    - Jazz/Blues v5i > AD8066 > LME49860
    - Synth-pop LME49860 > v5i > AD8066

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Conclusion:

    The music genres I listen to are Jazz/Blue, classical/orchestra and Latin jazz/pop. 5vi shines in these genres. True and accurate presentation of the details and textures, and realistic sound stage is what I want. I suspect that is what most of the listeners want too. Burson 5Vi upgrade is a easy decision to make.
  3. fgfgfg0923
    Reasonable upgrade
    Written by fgfgfg0923
    Published Dec 17, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Nice monolythic opamp, very staible and noise proof
    Cons - I think price is quite high compared to capabilities but it have to be confirmed with measurements
    photo_2019-02-19_09-26-26.jpg First of all, forgot about "hybrid" marketing statement, it is just a regular monolythic IC with correction.
    The metal can around the socket is really bigger than it should be to use it in parallel schemes.

    After these disclosure statements we can go forward to my little review.

    I've got two duals charge free from Burson audio in exchange of honest review in my audio stuff, so here it is:

    I've used
    • Centrance Mini-m8 with OPA1612 LPF, Fiio Q5 with Muses8832 LPF and Hiby R3 as LO sources
    • Auglamour GR-1 with ADA4627-1 double stacked in preamp to check V5i potential as headphone power buffer used in parallel with another V5i (double dual) under reasonable ±7v power supply
    • iBasso PB2 Pelican full stock with Muses03 buffers to check V5i potential as preamp with ±6V battery only power supply
    • Etymotic ER-3XR, Meeaudio P1, Meeaudio Planamic, Fostex T20RPmk3 as headphones to listen
    Sorry Charles, I have really not enough time for my hobby, even to write a review :D

    Well, an intro finalized.
    The music only matters, so I've used my tidal hi-fi and went through everyday music like Dance With the Dead, The BossHoss, Infected Mushrooms, AnnenMayKantereit, Eminem, some classics e.g. Crazy Town, One-T, ACϟDC etc

    Compared to LM4562, OPA2604, NE5532 and other "popular" opamps V5i is a big deal.
    Clear and crisp sound with rich tembre extended at the edges down to deep bass and up to vivd highs.

    When we're talking about more complex opamps like ADA4627\OPA627 or OPA1612...it is not really easy to say that V5i really overtakes, I didn't realize yet what makes V5i + Muses03 sound better than 4627 + Muses03, but yea, it sounds more comfortable.

    Buffer test was failed, low impedance iem are too hard for V5i to handle, P1 were at the edge, 56 Ohm average but low sensetivity.

    I didn't measure them yet and no LPF \ I/V application test as well, but I wll complete this review soon, I hope.
    Be ready for Asus Xonar Essence One, Burson...

    To be continued (with photos, yea)...
      plutonim likes this.
  4. Onik
    Yes V5i can beat any stock IC op amps.
    Written by Onik
    Published Dec 3, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Soundstage, gives music life, deep and extended bass, airy sounding, must have for portable devices/headphone amps (if the amp does have op amp socket)
    Cons - not strong enough like it's big daddy V5/V6 when it comes to Soundstage. Maybe not the best upgrade option for desktop headphone amps, maybe will not surprise you at first, need to wait for the burn in time to complete.
    file1.jpeg
    Before writing this review I would like to say many thanks to Mr Charles from Burson Audio for sending me the hybrid op amps for review purposes.


    now lets see and talk about my Audio Gears for testing V5i:

    file6.jpeg

    with dual to mono adapter somehow I managed to install the 2 V5i Single inside the well known LD I+ hybrid tube amp.

    file4.jpeg
    unlike sparkos ss3602 the v5i dual sits tight inside the LB B4 without any extra pressure.

    file10.jpeg
    I think the v5i was really made for xduo-xd05 and it is a part of this amp.:family:


    file12 (2).jpeg

    I love to have a music player that can give me a bit retro vibe so I decided to use my Colorfly C4 for music(wav and flac files)source and used it's digital output to feed in to the digital in on xdo5 and for warm sound I used Aux out from xd05 to LB B4s input and for this review I used my headphone ATH-R70x.


    Now lets talk about the sound:

    If I try to remember the first impression I heard was on LD I+ and on LB B4 the sound was even more dynamic and had extended deep bass compare to the stock op amp.

    I think i enjoyed the sound on LD I+ more than LB B4 because it was more relaxing and soft treble(without rolled off) and felt more airy sounding, I can still remember that Jazz music oh yes I think Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue and JOHN COLTRANE Lush Life (2007 DSD Japan Remaster)Albums impressed me a lot and with R70x sound signature I was able to feel the rumble. :L3000:

    But on LB B4 it was indeed dynamic but wasn't really relaxing like ld i+ but instead more aggressive(maybe it's good/bad for some people), but in some songs I felt like the bass was even more extended which I really enjoyed.


    file2 (4).jpeg
    xDuo-xd05 on High gain mode I think at first the sound was aggressive but cleaner than water, More Dynamic, sound stage was bigger than before Bass was there but still for some heavy metal track I felt like I should use the bass slide but unfortunately for some reason it failed (goes to PROTECT mode), but after I fused it with LB B4 overall the sound impression was excellent and it was warm and more air in the sound and I was able to enjoy the music even more. :gs1000smile:


  5. kukkurovaca
    Burson V5i in Walnut F1
    Written by kukkurovaca
    Published Oct 8, 2018
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Harder/cleaner bass, v-shaped sound (if you're a fan)
    Cons - V-shaped sound (if you're not a fan), slight tendency to sibilance, increased noise floor, too tall to install normally in F1 case.

    (Applies only to use in the Walnut F1)
    Carlos from Burson asked if I would be interested in trying out the V5i in combination with the Walnut F1. The V5i was provided free and does not have to be returned.

    Please note: this review should only be applied to the V5i as installed in the F1. I don't have any other amps available with swappable opamps to try the V5i in, and the F1 is...quirky.

    I bought a Muses02 to have another point of comparison in addition to the stock opamp, which in my F1 is labeled OPA2134PA. You can't really A/B opamps in a single amplifier, so I compared each opamp to the other amps I have and tried to use that to triangulate the differences between the opamps themselves...

    Amps: TEAC HA-250, Phatlab Phantasy, ALO CDM (Sonotone tubes)
    Sources: Onkyo DP-S1, iPhone SE
    Headphones: Modhouse Argon (ZMF protein pads), HD800 (Dekoni velour pads), B&O H6 (Rapha pads), iBasso IT01. (The IT01 was mainly just used to check hiss levels.)

    Snapseed.jpg

    tl;dr

    Stock (labeled OPA2134PA): Generally unobjectionable, but feels a bit closed in compared to the other two. Hissy. A bit grainy?
    Burson V5i: Slightly v-shaped. Bass hits a bit harder. Slightly more prone to sibilance. Even higher noise floor/hiss than the stock opamp. Soundstage/imaging slightly improved?
    Muses02: Smooth. Some might find it too soft? Lowest noise floor of the three, more suitable for use with IEMs.

    Note: I don't want to oversell the distinctions here, because the differences between amps are quite subtle. Also, my comparisons were made pretty casually, volume matched only by ear.

    Installation

    Changing out the opamp is a pretty easy affair, even for an entirely nontechnical user like me. Here's the process:

    • You only have to remove the top four screws (two front, two back) in order to remove the top of the F1's case
    • But the screws are tiny and VERY easy to lose
    • It's not particularly hard to remove the opamp from its socket, but a cheap "IC Extractor" tool can be handy. It's like tweezers with hooked tips that slide under the body of the chip and let you pull straight upward instead of having to lever it out from one side or the other.
    • Once you have the top panel off, make a note of the direction of the dot or circle on the opamp. When you install the new opamp, the dot should face the same way
    • Disconnect the battery. The IC extractor actually helps with this part, too.
    • Remove the opamp, trying not to damage the legs.
    • Install the new opamp. The V5i is sturdier than the stock opamp or the Muses02 and has nice strong legs, which makes it much easier to install and remove.
    • Reconnect the battery

    Unfortunately, the next step is not to reinstall the top of the F1's case, because it won't fit. The V5i is just a bit too tall, unfortunately. There are some possible solutions here. I believe Burson sells adapters/extenders ("Extension Lead"?) that would let you reposition the opamp and lay it on its side. I'm pretty sure this would let you get the top of the case on, but I don't have one to try. Otherwise, if you're DIY-inclined, you could source a new case. For testing purposes, I just gaffered-taped the case together to prevent inadvertently damaging the internals. That wouldn't be a very good long-term solution, however.

    Impressions

    Here are my notes. Please take with a mega grain of salt, b/c I'm not the most technical listener, and I don't normally review stuff.

    Stock (labeled OPA2134PA): Generally unobjectionable, but feels a bit closed in compared to the other two. Hissy. A bit grainy?
    Burson V5i: Slightly v-shaped. Bass hits a bit harder. Slightly more prone to sibilance. Even higher noise floor/hiss than the stock opamp. Soundstage/imaging slightly improved?
    Muses02: Smooth. Some might find it too soft? Lowest noise floor of the three, more suitable for use with IEMs.

    The Muses02 probably suits my personal preferences the most, but the V5i would make sense for anyone prioritizing bass over mids. Might be good in combination with a dark/warm heapdhone, also. The F1 is a great cheap option as a portable amp for Fostex RP driver headphones like the Argon, and for those who are running that or similar combinations and want a little more bass impact/detail, the V5i would make sense -- with the substantial caveat that you have to figure out a solution for the height problem.

    FullSizeRender (1).jpg

    In comparison to other amps I had available, I found that the stock F1 was very, very similar to my TEAC HA-250, which is a decent but outdated portable DAC/amp. (The TEAC uses an OPA1642 opamp, for whatever that's worth.) The only notable difference in sound is that the HA-250 has a lower noise floor. This isn't really useful information for this review, but it did make my comparison process a little easier. : )

    Comparison to my tube amps is very unfair. They're bulky, expensive transportable units. That being said, the F1 stands up surprisingly well when it comes to hard-to-drive headphones. (If you're curious: the Phantasy (SET Class A) is very tube-y and mid-centric, with a surprisingly black background. The ALO CDM (hybrid)'s amp section is clean and clear, with particularly good separation, but a bit of a noise floor with sensitive IEMs.)

    The F1 had no difficulties driving either the HD800 or the Argon with any of the opamps installed. The sound of the V5i is better suited to the Argon than the HD800. The B&O H6 doesn't really benefit from an amp, and in fact it picked up a fair bit of hiss, so I didn't spend too much time with it in testing. The IT01 does like amping (oddly) but it's quite hiss sensitive. The noise floor with the V5i in the F1 was too high for me to want to use the IT01 with it. (I would have tested the IT01 using an iFi IEMatch, but sadly my IEMatch disintegrated a few weeks ago.)
  6. chickenmoon
    A worthy upgrade over LME49860
    Written by chickenmoon
    Published Oct 7, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Tighter and punchier bass
    More details
    Better separation and soundstage
    Cons - None
    1) Introduction: A little while back I was contacted through PM by Carlos from Burson Audio who offered me a free sample of the v5i opamp in exchange for a review, an offer which I accepted. I would like to thank Carlos and Burson Audio for this opportunity.

    2) Setup: I have attempted to ABX as much as possible the v5i against the LME49860 and for doing so I used two DAC/Amp devices using an LME49860: a) An Audiotrack Prodigy Cube Black Edition which uses the LME49860 natively and b) An xDuoo XD-05 whose default opamp had been replaced by an LME49860 a while back as I didn't like the default sound. As per diagram below, the Prodigy Cube is connected to the PC via USB and its optical output goes into the optical input of the XD-05. I volume matched the device by successively connecting their headphones output to the input of my PC internal soundcard, an ESI Juli@, and measuring their output volume with software. In that configuration and setup both devices essentially sound the same.

    v5i Setup.png

    I then replaced the LME49860 of the Prodigy Cube by the v5i as can be seen on the following image.

    v5i Prodigy Cube.jpg

    Using my current favorite earphones which are the Simgot EN700 Pro, Toneking Nine Tails and Whizzer A15 Pro I then proceeded to test out the differences between the two opamps.

    3) Testing: What struck me first was the bass response, tighter, punchier, better defined and seemingly louder with the v5i. Since the bass seemed louder I proceeded again with connecting the headphone outs of the devices to my Juli@ input in order to measure the frequency responses using a white noise file for playback. What I found out, using Voxengo SPAN in VSTHost for measurement, is that there was no difference in frequency responses, the earphones output of both devices being dead flat along the whole spectrum. So, unless I did something wrong or the testing methodology isn't adequate for a reason that escapes me, it appears the bass only seems more elevated and this feeling is certainly due solely to its significantly increased tightness.

    After that I soon stopped "ABXing" and carried on with just listening to my favorites playlists using the Prodigy Cube/v5i only. As I was primarily using the Prodigy Cube/LME49860 before and was very used to its sound I sure went into a few more wows, mainly due to perceived increase in separation, soundstage and detail retrieval. At some point I felt the treble was sometimes grainy and running a sine sweep soon convinced me otherwise and that the "grain" must be treble texture/details.

    4) Conclusion: This is in my opinion a very worthy upgrade and the v5i stays in my Prodigy Cube Black Edition. I'll certainly be purchasing a couple more of those opamps in the near future for putting in my less used devices, the XD-05 and Audinst Hud-MX1 (which also uses LME49860).
  7. alex5908
    Terrific op-amp
    Written by alex5908
    Published Oct 4, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - The best op-amp I've tried Zishan Z3 with out of 10
    Cons - The sound is a bit distorted at high volumes
    UPDATED ON February 23, 2019

    Carlos (Burson Audio representative) has kindly offered me a free trial of the Burson V5i op-amp in return to my honest feedback.

    Burson Audio is famous for its discrete V4 and V5 op-amps, but many applications cannot accommodate them due to their larger size. Thus, they made the V5i which is smaller comparatively. I would still prefer an even smaller size, i.e. to use it in Zishan DSD.

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

    The two op-amps came in a plastic container secured with strong scotch tape. This eliminated the chance of damage during shipment.

    I used the V5i in Zizhan Z3. The song I listened to was “So Far Away” from “Brothers in Arms” by Dire Straits in DSD format. I picked that song as it has all the ranges of frequencies with good air between instruments.

    Zishan Z3 and Burson.jpg

    Of course, any review of this kind is subjective as reviewer’s taste in music varies. Thus, it is very subjective.
    With this in mind, I will outline the changes in the sound quality compared to the LM4562NA op-amp.

    V5i installed.jpg

    The soundstage appeared wider to me. It sounded enhanced.

    Zishan Z3 with LM4562NA op-amp had recessed bass and highs. I look for headphones which are V-shaped to satisfy my liking. The V5i is more flexible in that I can use a wider range of phones. With the V5i I can use studio headphones as these ranges are quite good. The bass with the V5i is more emphasized, sounds deeper and thus, the general tone is warmer. The lower frequencies become more layered and the instrument separation (bass guitar and drums) is more defined. The bass and sub-bass rumble, but they do not bleed to other frequencies and do not suppress them. They are controlled and textured quite well.


    The mid-range is almost the same. It is more focused as compared to the LM4562NA. The vocals are more vivid and defined. On the other hand, they are forwarded a bit (which may not appeal to some). Due to this, the vocals sound more emotional and engage a listener.

    The high frequencies are less accentuated, but they are still present at a good level. They have the right balance and are sparkly with a transparency tone. They are not piercing and quite airy. The treble is smooth. It sounds more open and dynamic.

    I've tried 10 different op-amps (OPA 1642, JRC 4580, TLE 2082CP, LME 49860NA, OPA 2604AP, NE5532AP, NJM2068M, NE5532P, LME49720, NJM4556AD) but V5i is by far much better than these as far as SQ is concerned.

    My opamps.jpg

    There are some cons for the V5i as well. The sound is a bit distorted at high volumes and it is slightly noisier.

    To conclude the review I can say that in general the sound is less analytical as compared to the LM4562NA , but more musical which is more to my preference.

    I am so grateful to Carlos for the possibility to open a new world of op-amps.

    P.S.
    Carlos was kind enough to send me two more op-amps and I will extend my review here with Walnut V2 and Zishan Z1.

    Here you go.

    walnut V2 and i5v.jpg
    Now let’s see how V5i installed in Walnut V2 changes the SQ. Let’s not get into details about the pricing as everybody knows that just the opamp (V5i) costs more than the whole player itself. For me it is justified and I will try to explain why.

    The Walnut stock opamp (RC5532A) sounds a bit rough to me (especially in the treble part) and lacks the depth as far as the lows are concerned. I’d say that the player makes a good match with warm and dark headphones which manages or compensates for the annoying and aggressive treble. The presentation is rather edgy.

    With the V5i installed, the Walnut ends up having a more organic presentation. Besides, there’s a distinct improvement in the sound stage width, as well as in the instrument separation and layering.

    I was so much impressed how V5i was able to give a richer output with more robust bass presentation. It also smoothed out the treble range, and enlarged the sound stage (I have already written about that above). With V5i you can pair almost any kind of earphones, including treble prominent ones.


    Now about Zishan Z1 paired with V5i.
    z1 and i5v.jpg
    The stock op-amp is NE5532P. I was told that modding Z1 is a mug’s game. But fortunately it was the other way about.

    V5i gives Z1 more well-rounded sound as compared with the stock op-amp. The sound is clearer, fuller and more dynamic. The highs are sweet and more refined. The mid-range is much thicker. But what is improved the most is the bass. It is really robust and powerful. The soundstage is wider and deeper. At least the way I perceive it. It sounds natural and not super exaggerated, though. It’s just amazing to me. The instrument separation is very pleasing. You can feel physically where the musicians are. I can immerse into music with Burson op-amp.

    I know that it’s hardly possible to get all the benefits the Burson V5i can offer in budget gears but definitely you can hear and feel the difference in the sound as compared with stock op-amps. Who knows, there can be another step to SQ improvement after trying Burson V5i op-amps.
  8. Themilkman46290
    Awesome sounding opamp
    Written by Themilkman46290
    Published Sep 24, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Sub bass, mids come alive, great quality good highs
    Cons - Price, size
    IMG_20180923_145905.jpg


    I have received this burson v5i-d free of charge in return for an honest review

    I know sound is subjective and this is my first review so I will try to do my best.


    My first impressions was wow, I spent a week listening and in general am very happy with how it sounds in my zishan z3. The z3 has a bit of a roll off in the bass and highs , I used the kz zs5 (good combo) for this review and ty hi z hp150. I also try it in my Walnut F1(beautiful combo) and my wife's zishan dsd but for this review I will use my zishan.
    IMG_20180923_150031.jpg

    For most of this review I used a few songs and albums that I know and listen to often. Here is a list of some of these;


    Pink Floyd's dark side of the moon (whole album) the subbass in opening track is wonderfully defined (better then all the opamps I have heard)

    And the clocks in time really come alive!


    Rush's caress of steel ( necromancer) soundstage is wider then before, some small details seem better pronounced and the drums sound beautifully separated and kick a bit harder


    For bass and subbass

    21 Savage's issa (close my eyes) bass hits hard and rumbles but never bleeds into the rest, vocals seem less veiled and better defined


    Beastie boys's hello nasty special edition (stink bug) the percussion is very well defined, the rumble from the sub bass has more control but everything stays clean and crisp


    DJ Shadow's the mountain has fallen( three Ralphs) the bass reaches deeper without overwhelming, bass hits with better depth and definition and rumble, soundstage seems wider, separation seems more defined and the metal coin at the end of the track is really textured, just the right amount of highs


    For mids

    El gran combo de puerto Rico's sin salsa no hay paraíso, the brass instruments, and percussion seem better defined, vocals more emotional, Made me want to dance across my living room!


    For the highs

    The beatles’ sgt. Pepper's lonely hearts club band, adds a bit of sparkle that the z3 is missing, not much but a bit more and seems smoother and yet more outlined, instruments seem more discernable


    And for vocals all of the above plus

    Portishead's portishead, the vocals come alive, become more emotional, bass never takes away from the vocals, highs are just right, and Beth gibbons voice sounds beautiful


    I compared the burson with the original opamp and my budget favorite the now obsolete lme49720ha
    IMG_20180923_145457.jpg

    To me it seems as the v5i brings the vocals forward a bit, not in a bad way, in a nice way, more emotional, intimate, but doesn't take away from the rest of the range, the lme49720ha seems to have a bit more bass and highs but not as well controlled or textured, and against the original opamp they both are better but the v5i seems to separate and control the frequencies much better, soundstage is wider even though the lme49720ha is pretty close the v5i takes the cake and the original opamp simply doesn't compare, seems a bit too aggressive in the mids, bass is not as hard hitting and sub bass seems less controlled and a tiny bit muddy and highs are a bit too harsh compared to the v5i


    For the hell of it I compared it to my wife's zishan dsd, I remember it being I jump ahead of my little z3 but with the v5i it seems the z3 catches up, I was baffled, didn't expect that


    I would say the burson v5i has a slight focus on mids, they seem more emotional and intimate but doesn't take away from lows or highs, and the sub bass and bass is very well controlled and textured reaching deeper, having the perfect amount of rumble but never sloppy. highs are nice, sparkly, and have a bit more air but never piercing even with the kz zs5. Brass instruments are really a joy to listen to, honestly I would recommend this opamp it really is a step up.
  9. B9Scrambler
    Burson Audio Supreme Sound V5i: Op-amped up!
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Sep 22, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Improved my Walnut devices output by adding warmth, smoothing treble, thickening the mid-range, and enhancing sound stage. Gave off an overall more refined sound.
    Cons - None that i know to look for
    Greetings,

    Today we're checking out something I've had no prior experience with, an op-amp swap!

    Burson Audio is an Australian company founded over 20 years ago who specialize in the design and construction of audio equipment and various components within. When Carlos from Burson Audio reached out to see if I would be interested in checking out the V5i for use in my Walnut devices, I had to do some research. Swapping op-amps was an aspect of the hobby I was aware of through forum discussion where people showed off their swaps and other various upgrades to budget devices like the Walnut V2S, but it wasn't anything I had personally participated in. My device use is generally a little more straightforward, with my efforts towards modding going to headphones instead.

    The Walnut V2S and F1 are awesome little devices and quite capable for the price, but they're also a little rough sounding in the treble and lack depth in the low end. If the V5i could address this it would make for a very appealing upgrade, though in truth it costs more than either one of the players used during my testing. I decided to dig a little further to see if it would be worth both my time and Burson's to send the V5i to someone with no hands on experience in this particular field.

    IMG_4368.JPG IMG_4567.JPG IMG_4538.JPG

    Checking out the V5i product page (https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/supreme-sound-opamp-v5i/), it was touted to be fast, dynamic, and transparent. Fast and transparent were, for the most part, already addressed by the Walnut bros' stock op-amps, though I found dynamics lacking, particularly in terms of bass. Both of Walnut's devices have a clear mid-range and treble bias in stock form, making them best suited for pairing with neutral, warm, and/or dark headphones which manage or compensate for the aggressive treble and edgy nature of their presentation. The V5i sounded like just the thing to deal with this. I replied to Carlos to advise I'd be interested, and two weeks ago a V5i dual-SS op-amp showed up on my doorstep.

    **Keep in mind that this is a purely subjective review. There are no measurements, there are no in-depth comparisons with competing products. I don't have any experience in this area of the hobby beyond this, though I'm definitely going to be diving in further after this experience. Op-amp swapping was fun and seems to be a great way to give new life to an old device.**

    Installed in the Walnut F1 and V2S:

    Starting with the Walnut F1, note that my testing only applies to the 3.5mm unbalanced output. Also note that I didn't realize the V5i would be so tall. With it and the battery in place, the top half of the case no longer fits. If you decide to get this op-amp for use in the F1 you're going to have to fabricate a new way to fit the device back together. Of course, you could always run it with the internals exposed, though that probably isn't the most brilliant idea in the world.

    The stock OPA2604 op-amp is described on a certain retailer's site as having a “warm and delicate” sound with a low frequency that has “quality and quantity”. I personally wouldn't agree with any of that, unless talking about low end quality, at least not when it's plugged into the F1. The stock sound is fairly cold and treble aggressive. You need to use the built in EQ presets to bring up the low end and make it sound anywhere close to warm and delicate. That, or pop in the V5i. With Burson's op-amp in play, the F1 took on warmer sound with a stronger, punchier mid-bass presence. An increase in sound stage width was immediately apparent, as was the V5i's reset on your default position relative to the music. Where the stock op-amp is fairly intimate, the V5i sets you back a couple more rows, pulling you away from the artist and giving the F1 a more open and spacious sound. It's not a night and day difference, but it is noticeable and makes for a much better listening experience, especially once you realize the F1's edginess in stock form is mostly gone.

    The V2S comes with the Texas Instruments (TI) NE5532P, which from what I understand is a pretty well-respected op-amp. Still, replacing it nets similar changes as those experienced with the F1, though not quite as drastic. With the V5i installed, the V2S ends up having a more organic presentation. Texas Instruments' op-amp applied a colder, more digital feel to the music. I heard a similar improvement in sound stage width, though without as much change to your “sitting position” within the music. There was also improvement in instrument separation and layering.

    The most notable thing to come away from my testing was that the V5i gave both players a richer output with a fuller and more robust bass presentation, smoother treble, and a larger sound stage. They come across more open and dynamic with the V5i, and simply put, sound a heck of a lot better. Before, I wouldn't have bothered pairing either with treble prominent earphones like the ADVANCED GT3 or Echobox Finder X1. With the V5i in place, treble heavy gear is no longer a painful experience.

    IMG_4571.JPG IMG_4576.JPG IMG_4581.JPG
    Packaging and Build Quality:

    The V5i arrives in a nice little plastic case sealed shut via a plastic lock and a Burson Audio branded sticker. Inside, the V5i is set within a secure foam block with cutouts present for two op-amps. This case is a great way to ship the V5i because not only do you have a custom tailored area to store it when not in use or during transit, but you also have a place to store the op-amp the V5i replaces, as well as an extra.

    The V5i is interesting in that it is a hybrid op-amp; part integrated circuit, part discrete. This probably explains the size since under that sturdy metal casing, which I'm guessing doubles as a heat sink given this little guy gets somewhat toasty during operation, are two micro chips. The 8 pins are gold plated and also pretty tough, unlike the pins on the stock op-amps which required the most deft of touches to keep from bending. It all looks and feels well constructed and durable, handy given the way I conducted testing.

    How I Tested and Compared Stock op-amps vs. V5i:

    It was very scientific *cough-sarcasm-cough*. First, I removed the top half of the shell of the Walnut device I was testing. I then listened to a song with the stock op-amp. Once that was up, I unplugged the battery and carefully pried the stock op-amp up and out with an itty bitty screwdriver, careful not to bend anything. Then I popped in the V5i, making sure the half-moons were lined up. The battery was reinstalled and I proceeded to listen to the song again. During my listening I noted a few key moments. I would return to these, quickly unplug the battery, swap op-amps, plug the battery back in and listen to that moment. This would be done three or four times per op-amp to note the differences, then I would move on to the next track.

    Some Test Tracks:

    First up was BT's “Angels On My Broken Windowsill” from his experimental opus 'If The Stars Are Eternal Then So Are You And I'. This song was used to test dynamics, sound stage, instrument separation, and layering.

    Next was Supertramp's “Rudy” from 'Crime of the Century' for male vocals, timbre, and general tone.

    Last was The Crystal Method's “Grace feat. LeAnn Rimes” for femal vocals, sibilance, and general treble edginess.

    I also ran through my regular gamut of tracks for more general testing when I wanted to sit and enjoy the sound of the V5i without analyzing every little aspect.

    IMG_4544.JPG IMG_4580.JPG IMG_4587.JPG
    Final Thoughts:

    I wasn't really sure how much of a difference a new op-amp would make to the Walnut Bros, but after spending some time with the V5i in place I came away impressed. It gives both of these devices more well-rounded signatures than they have in stock form. It warms them up to give them a full, dynamic sound with more refined highs, a thicker mid-range, and a more robust low end.

    At 39 USD it may seem weird to spend more on a single component simply to enhance a device that costs less than 35 USD. This hobby isn't always logical and you don't always do things because price dictates it. If that were the case, then no one would be “upgrading” their budget earphones with cables costing twice as much, or more. When it comes to these Walnut devices, they are desired for their simplicity, durability, and ease of use. They are basic devices, free of complication, and I've gotten plenty of use out of them in stock form. The V5i is a great way to improve their sound quality, bringing new life to a device that maybe you were otherwise ready to move on from. And when that time to move on inevitably comes, the V5i will be right there with you.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler
  10. AthenaZephyrian
    Insufficient voltage in Little Dot I+
    Written by AthenaZephyrian
    Published Sep 19, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Good looking, detailed sound
    Cons - Cannot evaluate under current conditions
    The Burson V5i is lovely looking op-amp, and, by all accounts, contains some impressive technology. Unfortunately, the amplifier I have, the Little Dot I+, supplies 3.7V of the recommended 5V minimum. It's generally better to operate closer to the voltage maximum than minimum, let alone below the minimum. That said, as I was requested by Burson to review their product, I plugged it in and gave it a listen over two pairs of cans, the He400i and ATH-MSR7's.

    The sound is fairly neutral, but lacking the textured mids I prize in an op-amp (or any other component of the sound chain, for that matter). The mids actually sounded a bit recessed--though this could well have to do with the voltage. It has a slightly larger soundstage than the LME49720NA I normally use, and very, very detailed treble. Bass wasn't lacking or obviously missing anything, but I fear I cannot offer a fair review of this op-amp, owing to insufficient voltage.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]