Burson Audio Supreme Sound Opamp V5i

ls13coco

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Details, transparency, cleanliness, soundstage, imaging
Cons: Nothing I could find, maybe the fact that it isn't a whole new amp upgrade?
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Little Dot 1+ op-amp upgrade with the Burson V5i
Gear used
Creative Soundblaster X7 as DAC with 2x Sparkos SS3601 single op-amps, 2x Sparkos SS3602 dual op-amps, Hifiman HE400i, AKG K712 Pro, Fostex TH-x00 PH, Fidelio X2, Little Dot 1+ with Mullard M8100 tubes and of course the Burson V5i op-amp.
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Impressions
The LD1+ was already using a different op-amp, the dual op-amp that I swapped out of the Creative X7 was being used which already made for a clear upgrade from stock. The X7 op-amp upgrade seemed to give the sound a more neutral signature, while also lowering the noise floor with the LD1+.
Because of this, I wasn't expecting to have as noticable of an improvement with swapping in the Burson V5i, but I was happily mistaken.
The differences aren't as large as swapping all for out of my X7, but they were immediate. The LD1+ is not by any means an expensive tube-amp (well, maybe to those who don't use these forums!) However, the sound didn't improve in one area - it was improved all around, while retaining the neutrality I noticed with the X7 op-amp upgrade.
Details, transparency, cleanliness, soundstage, imaging, and a blacker background were all improvements I could notice on all of my headphones. Some more than others, such as the K712 Pro and HE400i seeing as these are harder to drive headphones I could only assume.
The Fidelio X2 still had some background fuzz when the volumes were at pub-style band performance levels but this is a reasonably low impedance, easy to drive headphone.
I'd also like to point out exactly what I mean by "cleanliness" because this was a very appreciated change.
I like to EQ, some are are against this, I am not. For example: for the X2 or TH-x00 I will EQ in a little bit of mids, and I will EQ some low-end into all of my headphones.
The LD1+ with the warm, buttery mullard M8100 tubes would become syrupy sounding while running high levels of bass (only as high as what the X7 as my amp would reproduce cleanly).
Now with the V5i op-amp, the bass was no longer thick and syrupy sounding, so creds for this.
Overall, this is an upgrade I could easily recommend if you are a owner of the Little Dot 1+ and want to go a little farther with your amp, without shelling out for a whole new tube amp.
I have not used the V5 to compare, but the V5i having a smaller footprint is a positive in this case as closing the LD1+ with the backplate remains possible.

uncola

1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Exciting and dynamic sound
Cons: had to use 10db gain instead of 20db in my lehmann amp
I was lent two trial v5i opamps to test out for my honest impressions and here they are:
I used the v5i in my hattor preamp with speakers and with my lehmann headphone amp in a vinshine audio dac-r2r-ref dac/amp.
Replacing the Burson V5 opamps with v5i in my opamp didn't yield much perceptible change, they share a sound signature so sounded extremely similar with the fully discrete V5 edging out the V5i in blackness of background.  
 
Replacing the stock TI opa2134pa opamp with the v5i in my lehmann headphone amp yielded night and day dramatic differences.  The stock 2134pa has a super neutral and clinical sound, not emphasizing any particular aspect of the music and doing a good job of being a very low noise and distortion free baseline, probably making it good for pro audio applications.  When I installed the v5i I immediately noticed a change in sound signature in a different direction.  The v5i presents a more dynamic "fun" type of amplification.  Subjectively it has a W sound signature, being the opposite of boring neutrality yet not emphasizing a single frequency range.  It seems to emphasize treble, mids and bass to bring the music to you for a front row seat near the stage in a small club type experience.  The 2134 was more like listening to studio monitors while the band played on the other side of a glass window.  The change was definitely complementary to my HD800 headphones which while extremely detailed, especially in treble and soundstage, don't have the most impactful bass or mids.  
 
TLDR summary:  major upgrade for any headphone amp!  close enough to the V5 that I'd just get v5i if they fit better
 
Here's a pic of a v5 and v5i in my preamp to demonstrate their size difference
 
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equipment used to compare:  Vinshine Audio Dac-r2r-ref dac and lehmann type headphone amp  https://www.vinshineaudio.com/product-page/dac-r2r-ref
Hattor Small Active Balanced Preamplifier http://hattor.com/
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raoultrifan

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Soundstage, clarity, pleasant tonality, quality, design, metallic shielded case
Cons: Size, compatibility, max. voltage
Hello,
 
Thanks to Charles from BURSON I've done some tests with my ASUS Essence One MUSES BURSON MKii DAC by upgrading existing opamps with V5i received recently from BURSON (thank you BURSON for providing me the chance to make this test).
- WASAPI was used instead of ASIO (don't trust ASIO for this test)
 
Music used for the tests:
- ATB
- Kenny G.
- Best of Chesky
- Head-Fi And HDtracks
- Ultimate Demo Disk
 
Headphones used for the tests:
- AKG K701
- AKG K550
- Beyerdynamic DT880/600ohms
- Grado SR60i with L-cushion
- Apple/Beats Solo2
 
Results:
- When using 2 x V5i in Low Pass Filter and 2 x V5i in Voltage Amplification Stage (from headphone amplifier) difference was noticed from the very first second:
  1.   first impression was like volume is louder than before (which is not, measured three times with my scope and with RMS-multimeter)
  2.   stage is larger and layering is better
  3.   bass seems a bit more "rounded", with better definition, a good improvement for "bass shy" headphones (ATB bass and imaging can really shine with V5i opamps!)
  4.   Kenny G.'s saxophone stands out a bit more with V5i and layering is way better, same I can say about staging/imaging
 
The V5i dual op-amps could be also used in output buffers too with great success; I couldn't find a real difference to talk about here, although it's been a small difference in sound tonality that can't explain it very well (nice pleasant warm sound).
 
There was no overheating for V5i, actually when used in the output buffers and in the gain stage V5i were barely warm to touch. When used in low-pass filter stage the V5i were about the same temperature as by MUSES01 from the I/V stage are (a bit over 45C with case open).
 
I've also attached some pictures to reflect that using V5i opamps in LPF, VAS and also in output buffers is not inducing any oscillations or odd harmonics (tough I don't have access to Audio Precision equipment, I've used a decent scope to test this). Screenshots where taken while using my PicoScope 2204A connected to MacBook Pro laptop with default probe connected to Essence One headphones output, -3dB test signals and volume button to about 10 o'clock.
 
No oscillations up to 10 MHz bandwidth while 1 KHz signal applied
20 Hz applied, 24 KHz bandwidth, no strange harmonics occurs
  
1 KHz applied, 24 KHz bandwidth, no strange harmonics occurs
20 KHz applied, 24 KHz bandwidth, no strange harmonics occurs
  
Those V5i solid-state opamps are looking so beautiful!
 
PROS:
- Soundstage
- Sound neutrality
- Brings more details upfront
- The outside metallic case acts like a EMI/RFI shield (for the SS V5 opamps you needed to purchase additional copper foils and ground it separately, but that's not the case for the V5i opamps)
 
NEUTRALS:
- Size is a bit bigger than a regular DIP8 opamp and may not fit everywhere.
- It would be great for BURSON to create these opamps for devices having +/-18V on the rails. Right now V5i are designed with +/-16V in mind, but a native V5i able to be powered from +/-18 would be great if we could all have it in the future (like the older SS V4 that can be powered up to +/-20V).
 
CONS:
- May not be compatible with all devices out there, some people reported on Head-Fi some hiss/noise issues when used in voltage amplification stage. This happened to me with Matrix HPA-3B when using gain of +5dB, though when using +10dB or +20dB the V5i were shining and singing with great soundstage and lot of details. So, dropping one star because of that.
 
Regards and happy modding, 
Raul.
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gr8soundz

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Impressive sound, smaller and less expensive than other custom opamps
Cons: May be addictive!

Thanks to Charles at Burson Audio for the opportunity to try their latest V5i SS (Supreme Sound) opamps with my Asus Xonar Essence ST PCI sound card. I received the opamps in exchange for my honest opinion and review. I am not affiliated with Burson Audio and my opinions are not necessarily theirs. My experience and conclusions may differ from those of other users.
 
 
DAMN RIGHT, I'M AN AUDIOPHILE......
Too often, when I read reviews, some writers aren’t quite sure if they ‘qualify’ as an audiophile. As if there’s some unwritten path toward making the claim and that, before expressing their opinions, they must (for unknown reasons) firmly state whether they are or aren’t one.
 
To me, being an audiophile simply means I’ve cared about audio quality long enough to have regularly done something about it. It doesn’t mean I have to be an audio engineer or understand (or be able to perfectly explain) everything about sound. Rather, I have more than an overnight insight into my own audible tastes and realize that others may not exactly enjoy what is flavorful to me. Also, how much you can spend and what’s in your collection isn’t the point (at least it shouldn’t be).
 
 
MY AUDIOPHILE JOURNEY (the short version):
Many years ago I started with an Aiwa ‘Super-Bass’ walkman. It was the only one I could afford with both a 3-band equalizer and Dolby (B) noise reduction. I always insisted on original cassettes or dubs made to metal type (CrO2) Maxell or TDK tapes.
 
Next up were finally CDs, followed by MiniDiscs and (sadly) MP3s. I spent countless hours ripping CDs to variable bit rates in EAC just to fit more files on DAPs with miniscule storage. Moved on to WAVs but now use mostly FLAC after weeks of re-ripping my entire CD collection.
 
Most recent is my current two (plus) year stint on Head-fi after quietly dabbling in HTPCs. 
 
AUDIO PREFERENCES:
I started out listening to hip-hop, classic R&B, and accapella music but mostly listen to jazz and soul nowadays. I gravitate toward pianos, guitars, horn sections, and dynamic vocals. I prefer detailed, full-bodied, non-fatiguing sound and no longer consider myself a basshead (at least not since my Public Enemy years).
 
THE WHY AND HOW:
Before Charles at Burson contacted me, I was already in the process of moving my Essence ST to a newer computer. The card being PCI limited new motherboard choices and I’d refused to buy an STX II just for the pcie connector. So I settled on my older i3 machine and eventually installed an audiophile Linux distro to pair with my Vali. Should be fun explaining to people I’m running Snakeoil-OS (inside a snail; see pic below) with an Essence card and a Schiit amp.
 
No audiophile is ever fully content. Somewhere out there is a guy with an Orpheus II and MSB dac wondering what he’ll change next. Why swap opamps is like asking a racer why he wants his car to go another second a lap faster. Tweaks come with the territory. If you can get more out of equipment you already own why not? It’s certainly cheaper than a full upgrade.
 
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V5i Dual opamps; $39 each or two for $69. More info here: https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/supreme-sound-opamp-v5i/
 
The Bursons arrived nicely packaged inside plastic snap cases, each opamp secure within firm foam cut-outs. A nice touch after receiving some poorly packaged (bubble wrapped in an envelope) opamps from another manufacturer where the pins were bent.
 
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I began with a fresh install of the ST on my test bench to use for the entirety of this review. The volume was set to a comfortable level and remained there for after the swap. I listened mostly though my Oppo PM-3 direct to the card’s rear 6.3mm headphone out. The PM-3 are very neutral headphones and their closed, more isolated nature makes them great for these types of comparisons. It’s difficult to get a firm baseline due to how long it takes to properly swap opamps but I listened to the fully stock card for about an hour before the switch.

HARDWARE USED:
test bench with dual-core AMD FM2 cpu with 8GB of RAM
Oppo PM-3
Sennheiser HD 598
Beyerdynamic T1 2nd Gen.
 
SOFTWARE USED:
Windows 10 64-bit
Foobar 2000 v1.3.10
Fidelizer 7.4
 
DRIVERS and SETTINGS:
v1.80 low latency UNi Xonar drivers from maxedtech.com
Foobar output set to ASIO, no EQ and DSP off
Asus Essence ST headphone output set to High Gain in the Xonar Audio Center
 
TEST TRACKS:
Seal - 7  (16/44 FLAC; a good recent Trevor Horn production)
Stevie Wonder - Innervisions (Hi-Res 24/88 FLAC; an all-time classic)
iFi Burn in Signal
 
 
THE CARD AND THE SWAP:
The Essence ST’s outputs use all three of it’s swappable, dual opamps. You can choose to replace only the two JRCs and/or the one TI for a mixture of customizations. I opted to swap all three and hear the maximum influence of the V5i-D on the card’s output.
 
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The Bursons are quite a bit taller and wider than stock opamps. I didn’t measure them but specs show dimensions of 11x11x7.3mm (although I’ve seen actual measurements closer to 13mm wide; the metal caps appear to be pressed/punched from a die so that may explain any variances). Removing the card’s dual JRC 2114D opamps, they popped out of the ST more easily than I expected. The two V5i-D op-amps fit firmly and snuggly in their place with a millimeter to spare on most sides. Next, I replaced the lone TI LM4562NA. This time, however, the V5i-D was about a millimeter too wide to clear the surrounding J400 capacitors. With a gentle, outward flexing (not bending) of the capacitors, the last one fit tightly in place. Thankfully, the fully seated Bursons were no taller than even the largest caps rising up from the card’s pcb board. This allowed me to reinstall the (desired) EM shield without worry as there was enough clearance to ensure the metal caps don’t come in contact with it (don’t want anything to short out and possibly cause damage).
 
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After the swap I played a test track to ensure everything worked. I had to reduce the volume roughly 1dB (according to Foobar’s meter which I’d been using) back to a comfortable level so the output may have been a bit louder with the V5i. I also had to increase ASIO latency by 10-20ms to get rid of some intermittent crackling/popping noises. The V5i can handle (and likely uses) more juice than stock opamps but I didn’t modify the card’s power section in any way. Although not required, Burson’s site does have instructions on how to this after burn-in for more stable power at extremes.
 
 
HOW DOES IT SOUND:
Impressive. I could immediately hear how much wider the soundstage had become and how much cleaner the bass was. The PM-3 isn’t known for having a wide soundstage which made the change that much more apparent. Vocals and midrange sounded much the same except for a bit more extension on brighter instruments. Placement was also easier to discern due to the increased width. I had no issue with bass output prior to the swap but, on occasion with the stock opamps, bass heavy tracks could sound a bit overblown. I’ve gotten to know the ST’s mostly clear, neutral sound signature well and had come to expect those rare impacts. However, with the V5i installed, each low-end kick (no matter how deep) was audibly clearer. I had also read multiple impressions about the V5i saying they reduced bass compared to other opamps. Perhaps I was pre-biased into expecting this trend but I don’t agree. If well controlled and well extended bass means less compared to edgy, occasionally excessive bass then I’ll take the former. However, I doubt any of that will appease bassheads.
 
I then proceeded to burn-in the new opamps for roughly 100 hours. By my ears, the changes were still as pronounced. With so many hours in between, it is difficult to say if any further improvements surfaced although the card’s output remained stable. However, I can't imagine going back to stock opamps after using the V5i. The extra soundstage and additional clarity are truly addictive.
 
 
ADDITIONAL PAIRINGS:
With the HD 598 changes were much the same. The wider soundstage was still noticeable but had less impact on an already wide, open back like the 598. However, being a bass light headphone, there was less overall impact on the low end than before.
 
Next I tried my T1.2 on extra high gain out of the ST. With all three Bursons installed, the sound output was still superbly clear, wide, and stable. Not the most likely pairing but the Essence ST remained more than capable of driving the T1.2 with lots of volume to spare. Obviously a bit thin sounding but not fatiguing; a better combo than I expected.
 
 
THE BAD:
The only downside of this endeavor is having too many devices capable of using the V5i. With multiple cards and amps that are compatible, I don’t have nearly enough Bursons. Don’t know how I’ll be able to rip them from my ST nor decide which devices they’ll remain in. Had I not purchased those other opamps just days before Charles contacted me, I’d have enough funds to actually buy more of these little guys. Burson Audio have created what equates to little silver nuggets of audiophile crack that I now need more of! I’ve found myself rechecking the internals of every audio device I own to see how many and where I can fit them. (Maybe this is how they get us hooked by offering them for review?). For now I’ll have to wait, but will definitely get more of these.
 
 
VERSUS:
For a quick comparison, I also have a couple of Sparkos Labs SS3602 opamps. They are roughly twice the price and doubly wide as each Burson. A little taller too (either the emi shield stays off or spacers might work). To me (again, it is hard to directly compare these guys due to the time and variables involved in swapping), the Sparkos’ soundstage is a bit wider than the V5i, the level of bass isn’t as reduced, and the output level may be a touch stronger. However, the SS3062 isn’t as clean sounding as the V5i. Direct from a card’s headphone jack, those differences are more a matter of preference (especially depending on the headphones) but, going into an external amp, the cleaner output may have a greater impact (depending on the amp). Also, for smaller devices, the V5i may be the only choice (although they won't fit inside everything).
 
Burson Audio also makes the original V5 which is among the tallest opamps I know of. The V5 are closer in price to the Sparkos but now, after becoming addicted to the smaller ‘i’ version, I’m more afraid than ever for my wallet should I get to try them.
 
 
CONCLUSION:
Overall, with the Burson V5i, the Essence ST maintains it's neutrality yet sounds even clearer, wider, and has more extension on both ends of the audible spectrum. The ST is a very capable card stock but, with the V5i installed, I once again felt I could listen for hours without the need for an amp. In the end, the V5i are among the smaller (easier to fit) and more affordable custom opamps available yet they perform impressively.
 
 
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The Asus ST (with V5i) in it's newest home.....
tl13m
tl13m
Wow, nice case. What is it name?
gr8soundz
gr8soundz
Thanks. Its a Lian-Li PC-U6.

gwompki

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: The gold standard for rock music, extremely sturdy construction.
Cons: Price, occasionally a tad too warm.
Background
The V5i was sent to me by Charles at Burson Audio.  I was contacted due to my participation on the Little Bear B4 thread located here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/626237/portable-tube-amp-from-china.
I was asked if I would be willing to write a review and provide my honest feedback which is what I intend to do here.  I have told Charles that I am reviewing this item with the understanding that it is still Burson Audio's property and can be returned at any time.  I'm extremely thankful to Burson for letting me participate in this process.  I honestly would have considered the V5i out of my price range  despite how badly I wanted to try it.
 
A quick bit of background on me.  I'm a lifelong music fanatic and have been seriously collecting records since I was about 16 (20 years ago), but have only started paying attention to the equipment I listen to music on in the past two years. I would consider myself a very budget conscious audiophile who likes building and modifying both amplifiers and headphones.  I do not have any real measuring equipment, so all impressions are based solely on my listening experience.
 
Also please note this is my first official review so go easy on me so I'm sure there will be some amateur mistakes.
 
Product
This is by far the best and most protective packaging I have ever seen for an opamp (OK not really an opamp in the strictest sense of the word, but you know what I mean).
 
closedbox.jpg
 
openbox.jpg
 
v5i.jpg
 
Test Setup
For this particular review I performed all of my listening tests on the very budget friendly Little Bear B4 amp in tandem with the VE Zen 2.0 ear buds.  I decided to base my review on a comparison of the V5i to that of the MUSES02.  Since these two are both in relatively the same ballpark price wise (approximately 40 USD) I felt this a better and more useful comparison than comparing to standard opamps such as the NE5532 or LM4562.  I did some A/B testing with those as well and the differences were so stark compared to the V5i that I'm not sure they are worth mentioning in this review.  The V5i bested them in every conceivable way.

 
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In order to perform this comparison as fairly as possible, I listened to a track with one opamp and then the same track immediately after with the other. I realize this is not the most accurate or scientific way to perform this type of listening test due to the one minute gap between listening to each opamp.  However,  it was the best I had to work with since I don't own two of the same amp.
 
Impressions
My musical tastes tend to lean towards the punk and metal end of the spectrum but I made sure to include classical, jazz, folk, country, indie and just straight up rock in my listening tests.

When it comes to almost any type of rock music, I have found the V5i to outshine the MUSES02 in most every regard.  In my rock based test tracks, the presence of all of the instruments increased tremendously.  The mids were brought front and center.  The low end became slightly more pronounced but not in any sort of unpleasant way.  The soundstage seemed to be accurate or perhaps  slightly narrower.    On Neurosis' "Times of Grace," the V5i really brought out Steve Albini's masterful recording of drums. Listening to Earth's "The Bees Made Honey in the Lions Skull" was a real treat.  The sense of desolation became very real as the whole soundscape opened up and yet the instruments lost nothing.  These same tracks with the MUSES02 were less impactful, distant and relatively cold.  I think this is largely due to how well the V5i reproduces the sound of an electric guitar.  Simply gorgeous.
 
That said, with acoustic and classical tracks I feel like the Burson is perhaps not quite as refined.  Sure the MUSES02 seems a little colder but with the addition of a sense of airiness and wider sound stage.  The dynamics of the Revenant soundtrack with both the MUSES02 and the Burson are extremely impressive but the MUSES02 comes out on top.
 
With jazz I would say it's almost a toss up.  I tested with some "Bitches Brew" era Miles, Coltrane "Live at the Village Vanguard" and Kamasi Washington's "Epic".  The Miles and Kamasi records were stellar with the V5i while the Coltrane record was best with the MUSES02.
 
Conclusion
In summary, the V5i is a great pick.  It's a solid performer and is built like a tank.  It is so easy to take this thing in and out of an opamp socket without fear of bending one of the legs like on a standard opamp.  It is a very solid upgrade over any of the cheaper opamps that typically come in less expensive headphone amps.  It is a tougher call against the MUSES2,  but the chance of getting a fake Burson are slim to none where as counterfeit Muses are fairly common unfortunately. 
 
Overall the V5i has an extremely satisfying sound that just wants to reach out and hug you (or perhaps slap you depending on how aggressive your music is).
 
bw.jpg
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vapman
vapman
I've been wondering about these opamps!

Lickumms

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Size, Clarity, Separation, Price
Cons: Size, Not for people looking for a warm sound
A quick disclaimer:
 
I received a review sample of the Burson Audio Supreme Sound Opamp V5i in exchange for my opinion on it. No other compensation was offered or implied. This is also my first review so hopefully I am able to properly articulate my thoughts for the V5i.
At the time of this review the 1x V5i Dual is selling for $39 + shipping. https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/supreme-sound-opamp-v5i/
Big thanks to Burson for sending me this review sample!
This will kind of be a comparison of the OPA1612 to the Burson V5i.
 
Packaging:
 
I ordered a single V5i Dual from Burson. It took about 3 weeks to get to me and arrived in a small bubble mailer from China, which is on par with most items that I order from China. Which is fine. The opamp its self was inside a small plastic case filled with foam. So there are no worries of it being damaged during shipping and the case will come in handy for keeping track of the opamp(s) you replace. All-in-all, a good first impression.
 
SAM_2138.jpgSAM_2136.jpg
 
 
 
Set up:
 
Foobar>xDuoo XD-05>Alpha Primes
 
Pleas ignore Mr. Blooby. My brother got him for me while he was in England.
SAM_2151.jpg
 
 
For my testing I ended up using my xDuoo XD-05 and my MrSpeakers Alpha Primes. I choose the XD-05 because it had the easiest opamp to replace. All you need is a T4 Torx Screwdriver. I used this one in case you were wondering: https://www.amazon.com/Wiha-96704-Screwdriver-Precision-Handle/dp/B000T9XPTK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1479086410&sr=8-3&keywords=torx+t4+screwdriver  but any T4 will get the job done.
 
I decided to use the Alpha Primes for the sound portion of the testing because they are probably the most accurate headphones I own.
 
Installation/ Design:
 
As far a design goes the V5i is a well built little opamp. It is larger than the stock opamp that came in the XD-05.
 
SAM_2129.jpg
 
 
Its size should posse no real problem if it is used in a non-portable device.  
 
The installation of the V5i in the XD-05 did pose a minor problems. The V5i has slightly more girth than the stock OPA1612 that came in the XD-05. So to properly install the V5i I had to bend a few of the capacitors near the opamp socket out of the way(see the pictures).
 
SAM_2119.jpgSAM_2120.jpg
 
 
So long as you are careful and do not bend them too far you will be able to get the V5i in with no problems.
 
 
Sound:
 
Now we come to the main purpose of this review. The sound. I will try my best to explain the sound signature for the amp with my, relatively new, audio vocabulary. I will break it down by Highs, Sound stage, imaging,  Lows and instrument separation. So bear with me and if anything doesn’t make sense I apologize in advance.
 
-Highs:
 
For testing the highs I decided to mainly use the song Cowboy Bebop - Spokey Donkey(Alternative Take).
I found the highs on the V5i to be incredibly clean, crisp and bright. Though during the more intense portions of the Harmonica solo the opamp could come off as a tiny bit sibilant to those with a sensitivity to sibilance. It never quite made to sibilance for me but it was very close. Overall I found the highs to be vastly improved in both quality and crispness compared to the stock OPA.   
 
-Lows:
 
For testing the lows I ended up mostly using the song Run the Jewels, El-P – Run the Jewels.
The low end reach and reproduction on the V5i is incredible. The bass never bleed into the mids and never lost any of it cleanness. The sub bass was always powerful, tight and never sloppy. Compared to the laidback sound for the OPA the V5i truly gave an incredible accuracy to the bass.
 
-Instrument Separation:
 
For testing the separation I found Beck - Missing to be the best.
The V5i did incredible. Everything had its place and nothing overlapped. I was able to pick out every instrument. The OPA gave, what I would call, a slightly more musical sound with its warmth and slight blending of the instruments.  
 
-Soundstage and Imaging:
 
For testing the soundstage I ended up listening to classical music and the Ni No Kuni Sound track.
This is where I found the V5i to fall a little short. While it was still able to give a decent sound stage it was never able to really give the feeling of listening to a live orchestra. Things felt a little cramp, pushed forward or towards you. Nothing overlapped but still felt small. It did, however, do very well at imaging. I was able to track sounds with great accuracy as they moved across my head and from the drivers to my ears. The OPA did provide a slightly larger soundstage but was a tiny bit worse at imaging compared to the V5i.  
 
Final thoughts:
 
-Will it work in all devices?
 
No, it is a little too large to work in smaller portable devices and any device that has a lack of space around the opamp socket.
 
-Is it better than the OPA?
 
In technicality?
 
Yes.
 
In listening enjoyment?
 
Maybe, depends what you like. If you like cleaness and accuracy? Yes. If you like laid back and warm? No.
 
-Do I think it is worth it?
 
Yes, unless you prefer a warmer sound. It is a great, technically accurate, opamp for the low price of $39. It will be a great improvement to just about any device you own.
 
 
I would like to thank Burson again for giving me the opportunity to do a review of the V5i and thank you, the reader, for… well... reading my ramblings.
 
-Best,
Lickumms
DaveLT
DaveLT
I was being sarcastic. The reviewer didnt check the xd05 product page. Or he'd have known ak4490 is the DAC not the opamp.
Z
ZGojira
haha..... :wink:
 
I get it now...
Lickumms
Lickumms
Ahh, sorry, I coppied the wrong thing. I will change that now.

ph0n6

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Relatively small, really good sounds.
Cons: Still bigger than monolith IC, Not eaxctly buffer friendly (check the final notes, especially for fellow iBasso P5 users :) )

1) Disclaimer:

A big thanks to Charles and Burson for offering me a review sample of the V5i dual op-amps in exchange for my honest opinion on them. No other compensation was offered or implied. I'm not affiliated with Burson.

2) Sounds:

There are many reviews out there that list out the packaging, size, functionality of the opamp so if you want to know of such thing, kindly check out their reviews and the few pictures I posted below. (it fits perfectly on my iBasso P5).
WP_20161023_23_03_22_Rich.jpg
 
 
I wasn't able to do ABX blind testing so the review is highly subjected to humans errors. Takes my impressions with a grain of salt.
 

Evaluation chain: Audirvana plus -> JDS Odac rev.b w/ Hifime USB Isolator -> iBasso P5 w/ PS(dummy grounds, stacked BUF634). The opamp was burned in for about 150hrs before reviewing.

 

Test album: Rebecca Pidgeon: The Raven

                   Art Blakely, Dr. John, David "Fathead" Newman: Bluesiana Triangle

                   Eva Cassidy: Lives at Blue Alley

                   Keith Richards: Main Offender

                   Jordi Savall: La Folia

                   Orff: Carmina Burana
                   Carol Kidd: Carol Kidd

                   Jesse Cook: Gravity
                   Jerome Harris Quintet: Rendezvous: The Jerome Harris Quintet Plays Jazz

 

Comparision:

Vs the OPA627AP:

Overall the V5i to me is an improvement over the 627AP even though they carry different sound signature (forwading, energetic vs laid-back, soft sounding). The most noticable improvement is in Layering , airiness, detail and transient response. In complex album like La Folia, all the improvement really shines: cascabels, guitar, triple harp, percussion, even the hum of the musician can be heard distinctively while on the 627 some of them maybe masked in the interweave of instruments. Also the V5i seems to lift off the notorious veil of the 627, which could be good or bad depends on one's taste. For example in the Rendezvous album, the 627 could make the trombone sounds more rounded and less offensive (the trombone here is quite hard to listen to because of how shouty it is, though it is a good test for colouration); but on some already quite lush one like Carol Kidd the veiled vocal could make the sounds a bit too smooth (at least for my taste).

Vs the SS3602:

Unsurprisingly, given the larger size (and price) of the SS3602, I would say the SS3602 take this rounds (I would say the V5 is more appropriate comparision, but I don't have one so....). Anyway the sound signature of both opamp is quite similar, so the main difference is in their technicality. The main improvement of the SS3602 is dynamics, soundstage, detail and layering. In huge soundstage album like Carmina Burana, with the SS3602, I can really feels the depth and height of the hall, the layering of the voice in massed Chorus and instrument of the Orchestra with the huge dynamic range of the whole ensemble. The V5i, while being quite decent, just couldn't convey the expansiveness of this album due to its somewhat limited depth and height (it does have good width though). On the other hand, on albums that are not recorded in huge stage like The Raven, Main Offender the results are pretty close. The non-overtly tuned vocal of Rebecca; the tight drum kicks, growls of guitar and crispy cymbals of Keith Richards album are all well done by both.
 

3) Summary:

In conclusion, I'm quite impressed at what Burson have achieved with the V5i. It sits perfectly at the mid-range: bigger than monolithic opamps, smaller than most discrete one, more expensive than most IC opamp (other than the MUSES series which I unfortunately haven't have the chance to test) but cheaper than most TOTL discreet (39$ vs 79$), and sounds really good as an in-between. Highly recommended.
 

 

4) Some notes for fellows iBasso P5 users:

I read others reviews and see that no one have compability problems with the V5i, but my experience with it isn't all rosy. The V5i is quite picky with the buffers. Of all the combinations I tried only the following works: normal BUF634, Stacked 2x normal BUF634 with Bypass adapter on top, High-Bandwidth BUF634. Any other combinations either introduces highpitch noise (oscillating opamp?) or White noise (voltage drop?). I have no trouble with other opamps, and the V5i sounds quite normal with the correct buffer so I don't think anything is defective.

killerline

Head-Fier
Pros: Deep bass, detailed sound, wide sound stage, louder than other op-amps, price
Cons: Could have deeper sound stage
First of all, I'd like to thank Burson Audio for giving me this opportunity. I really mean it.
Secondly, this is my first review what so ever so please bear that in mind :) .
 
I got home one day and checked my mail inbox. There I saw a PM from Burson (their nickname for, now heh) that they would like to send a review sample to me and in return, they would get my honest opinion and of course, I said yes. Two weeks later or so they arrived at the post office and I immediately picked them up and started to put them in my Xonar Essence STX II. Now here's my review of the SS V5i op-amp.
 
 
Packaging
 
IMG_2200.jpg  
 
They arrived in this bubble plastic padded envelope which looked safe.
 
IMG_2202.jpg
 
Inside that envelope were two small cases which seemed really durable and good quality as well. Plus point there. One of them with two V5is and another one in the second case. My Xonar Essence STX II (I will refer to it just as STX II) has three DIP-8 sockets. Two of them are the I/V section and the third is the Buffer one (I don't quite understand this myself, all I know is the I/V sockets are for the headphone out port and the Buffer one is for speakers) so just to be sure I asked them to send three.
These op-amps compared to their last V5s are much smaller (or rather shorter) which for me is perfect because now they fit inside my STX II. And as I have never tried op-amps other than the ones included with the STX II (which are MUSES 8820 & 8920 and LME49720), I think these are quality. My other op-amps always bend when I take them out of the socket or when I apply a tiny pressure to the pins but these are on a whole other level.
 
 
Price
 
I, myself, would never pay so much for op amps that barely make a difference but when it comes to the V5is my opinion is instantly changed.
The price at the time when I'm writing the review is $39 for one dual, $69 for two duals and $49 for two single ones. The Supreme Sound V5i is available directly from the Burson Audio website: 
 
https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/supreme-sound-opamp-v5i/
 
To be honest, I wouldn't take a gamble and buy the V5is op amps (same goes for other op amps over 30-40$). But now when I've listened to them I would buy them IF I was older and had a job. I am a 15-year-old guy still attending school in Sweden. Jobless as well. So you could understand that I wouldn't want to put my monthly student grants on a pair of op amps for 70 dollars plus like 30 dollars shipping to Sweden. So once again, I utterly thank you whole-heartedly Burson Audio for sending me this review sample.
 
 
 
Equipment
 
I do not own a studio or any fancy equipment like you fancy Head-Fi:ers own but I do have a lovely Asus Xonar Essence STX II paired with a Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro Black Edition (250 ohms).
I do use an EQ as well. 
 
 
 
Sound & Comparison
 
I've read that op-amps didn't make a huge difference and I agreed when I switched from the MUSES 8820 to the LME47920 and then to the MUSES 8920. I did like the 8820 (even though the 8920 were installed then...) the most out of them but the differences were minor. Even between the 8920 and 8820 the difference were negligible. Note I am going to compare the V5i's with the 8920. 
But then I installed the V5is and holy mother of cow, the sound actually did change drastically! Do note that the sound won't change to a completely different headphone. More like give the one you already own more life, happiness.
If we start from the bottom. The low end (bass) just got more hard hitting now. How do I put this into words... It sounds a bit quieter compared to before (which I like IMO), but now I actually feel the bass and quite a lot actually. It also has more punchiness and upper bass. As we get to the mids, they sound airier more natural now. Like all of the singers bought a new microphone and made their voices clearer, crispier. Everything just got more lively, like flowers started to bloom.
And then the highs (treble). There wasn't as a big difference here as it was with the lower tones but all just sound clearer, crispier. Not harsher, just clearer. The sound stage has the same depth as the 8920 but the V5i has a wider sound stage, and when I'm gaming I feel like it sounds more accurate as well. The LME47920 wins here when it comes to depth though as it's amazing at that. It's sounds so dead, though. 
 
 
 
Conclusion
 
The V5is are truly an impressive and a unique pair of op-amps that outclasses anythings in its price range that I know of at least. Sure I haven't tried the MUSES 01 & 02 but I am pretty sure these will still sound better to my ears than them. Sure, they are expensive for lots of people but when you get into this price range of op-amps they're going to sound better and even make a difference. 
If you're thinking about changing your STX for example, hold that thought, try these first and then see if you'll change your mind. That's how good these are! These alone will upgrade your sound in all the ways one would want it to. The only thing I missed was a little depth, to be honest. That's it. No complaints about them. They are fully made of metal (and some gold) that screams quality for crying out loud! They look good if that matters to some people? I'm running out of text here but here's the last info you'll need:
I really do recommend them. They're a lovely piece of technology and I hope that my buddies at Burson keep changing the world of audio (and maybe even send me another review sample for their next project
wink_face.gif
)!

 
 
 
Pictures:
 
 
IMG_2203.jpg
 
IMG_2245.jpg
Clearly, this picture does not contain the V5is but hey it looks sexy af
 
 
 
 
 
 

cleg

1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: sound, price, ease of use, versatility
Cons: bigger then regular opamps, which makes replacement difficult sometimes
1MainPic.jpg

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest influences on the audio market was the invention of the operational amplifiers. Compact and inexpensive (mostly) chips allowed to create small and well sounding products. But not always the miniaturization is good for sound quality, and then comes to the aid well-known company Burson.

In addition to developing popular DACs and amplifiers, Burson is also known as the creators of the V4 and V5 discrete op amps, but because of the large size of those solutions, not every device is suitable for upgrading with these opamps. Recently, company released V5i - a more compact model, using hybrid schematics inside.

2Box.jpg3Overview.jpg

First of all, I'd like to thank to Burson audio for providing me a pair of V5i in exchange to my honest opinion.

V5i designed for easy OpAmp rolling with devices, allowing that. V5i can be used to replace big number of "traditional" OpAmps, details can be found on the official website. You should look carefully, whether you need single or double V5i, they are not interchangable. Also they differs in price a bit ($49 vs $69). Apart from the V5i, on the official website are sold various useful accessories that can come in handy - extenders for those cases when V5i not fit in the body of the device in the normal position, capacitors to upgrade power supply, insulation to protect against interference, different sockets and adapters. By the way, separate nice bonus - V5i is covered by a lifetime warranty.

4Ontheside.jpg5Accessories.jpg

I've received my OpAmps in a simple plastic container, sealed by a brand tape. A simple and effective solution.

First candidate for upgrade became Audinst HUD-DX1 — very good DAC/amp combo with great potential, although not everyone likes its monitor sound representation with a hint of brightness. Replacement of stock Muse9820 is easy and quick. You will need two screwdrivers (H2 and Philips 1) as well as special pliers for extracting chips. I strongly recommend usage of chips extractor for everyone, as opamps legs are soft and can be bent very easily, while sockets are tight, so it's really easy to damage your chip. Actual replacement can be done under 5 minutes. You'll have to unscrew the screw that secures the volume control knob and remove it. Then unscrew the 4 screws at the corners of front paned and remove it. The last step - Philips screw on the back side of device near RCA connectors, then the board can be easily removed and parts replacement is easy.

6DX1PCB.jpg

Usually I am skeptical about such upgrades, often it requires a blind tests with two devices to fully disclosure the difference, but in this case sound changed drastically.

Bass is more accentuated so the overall representation becomes warmer, or, to say more precisely, it's loosing that hint of coolness that present in stock. Lows became more layered, separation of instruments in this range also improves. Midrange is almost unchanged, perhaps there is a bit of detail increase, but it's barely audible. Because of bass improvement, treble became less accentuated and sound more musical. After the upgrade, HUD-DX1 became pretty usable even with bright headphones.

7OpAmps.jpg8Replaced.jpg

I've tried some other devices capable of amp-rolling. xDuoo XD-05 as a result of the upgrade becomes slightly tighter and got more details in LF. Unfortunately, treble remained unchanged, looks like problems in this range isn't caused by amplification. To install V5i in the XD-05 I had to slightly bend the capacitors around the socket. I also tried these amplifiers with Valoq DAP. Because of the design, V5i do not fit in the opamps bay, so they can be used only with an extender. Player became not portable, so it's not a best candidate for tweaking. From the sound point of view, player gains better defined mids and treble with improved details level.

Of course, there is no silver bullet, and not all devices became better as a result of V5i installation. In some cases, the changes in the sound come not to your taste, sometimes device is tuned exactly for particular OpAmp. But in most cases V5i does the trick, so it's probably the simplest and most affortable way to improve sound of your devices. As for me, I'm really glad with a step forward that my DX1 made with V5i.

P.S. As usual, I've made a first impressions video.
[VIDEO]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1KiXaKRXE0[/VIDEO]

privilege15

Previously known as "stillevil"
Pros: opamp size, 3D sound, intimacy, instrument positioning, natural reproduction of instrumental music, great at rock and metal genres
Cons: demand brighter headphones, too dark at times

Intro

 
I still remember that day when I received Burson V5i Dual Opamps in my mailbox.
 
IMG_20160831_170549.jpg
 
It was 3 days prior to passing my 8 hour long engineering lab exam of my life to finally get certified under the CCIE program. Before passing the exam I could hardly do anything else but to sit in front of multiple console screens all days long for over 500 hours taking breaks only to have some sleep, eat and attend work of course.
 
Now when the nightmare was over and I could have my life back again there was a couple of Burson V5i opamps lying on my table still unattended. They would just come in handy, I thought to myself, to have a good round of yet another music listening experience and joy of opamp/buffer rolling in never never-to-get-old iBasso PB2 balanced portable amplifier, the most powerful portable amplifier on the market, which can give a head start to many multi thousand dollar table-top headphone amplifiers if chosen the right out of thousands available opamp+buffer combinations.
 
IMG_20160831_170739.jpg IMG_20160831_170910.jpg IMG_20160831_171026.jpg
 

Experience and Setup

 
Before diving into the review of Burson V5i opamps I would like to give insight into my overall personal audio listening experience. In my opinion, having a diverse experience is very important in order to be as much more objective as possible on such a subjective matter of sound analysis.
 
Here is a brief list of the audio equipment I had honour to audition. Only the brands which I remember:
 
Full-size Headphone Amps/DACs:
 
Beyerdynamic A2 (DAC+Amp)
Burson Conductor V2 (DAC+Amp)
Chord Hugo TT (DAC+Amp)
+some many other hi-end Amps/DACs
 
Portable Headphone Amps/DACs:
 
Fiio E12 (Amp)
Corda Quickstep (Amp)
iBasso PB2 (balanced Amp)
iBasso D14 (DAC+Amp)
Chord Mojo (DAC+Amp)
 
Full-size headphones:
 
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
Audio-Technica ATH-A700
Beyerdynamic DT150
Beyerdynamic T1
Sennheiser HD800
Audeze LCD2
Audeze LCD3
+many others
 
Opamp ivnentory: Burson V5i, MUSES01, LME49990, NJM2068, LM6172, LME49860
 
Buffer inventory: LT1010, LT1028ACN8, Dummy buffers, and others...
 
I must note that I no longer believe in the most common misconception which states "the more expensive an audio asset is the better it sounds". It matters only to an extent beyond which it doesn't matter any more. The "extent" is very subjective, so there's no point announcing mine. All that matters is I never take the price into account to evaluate the sound reproduction properties of the gear.
 
I had many trial and error to build my reference setup. Prior to auditioning Burson V5i my audio rig had the following specs:
 
Headphones: Balanced Beyerdynamic DT150 (250Ohm) studio headphones
Headphones Cable: Balanced copper handmade cable
Amplifier: iBasso PB2 (MUSES01+LT1028ACN8) balanced only mode
Power source: XP8000 external battery (16V power supply for the amp)
Source/DAC: Fiio X5 (PCM1792 DAC)
 
IMG_20160910_145439.jpg IMG_20160910_145520.jpg

Sound Signature Adjusting

 
The Golden Rule to any audio combination is the synergy between headphones/speakers and DAC/Amp. For example, it can be referred to pairing a darker sounding amp and with darker sounding headphones which will overwhelm you with bass and cuse fatigue in the long run. But since we are speaking about opamps, one has to carefully consider the choice of buffers to match (i.e. add to) the opamps' signature and reveal their potential.
 
A good example regarding Burson V5i is the following:
 
1. Dummy buffers are extremely good with LME49990 but combined with Burson V5i reduce immersion and flatten the sound-stage of V5i.
2. LT1028ACN8 buffers match well with bass starving MUSES01 but combined with Burson V5i they greatly expand deep low frequencies reproduction introducing darker 3D sound stage which might be acclaimed by bass heads but it comes at a cost of depriving reproduction from some higher frequency touches making, for example, a violin's pitch to become less prominent and less touchy. Bright headphones might be a good solution to even the balance. PS. After another set of buffer rolling the signature with these buffers seem to have improved. They now sound pretty good with violins and guitars. Might be either my brain or the opamp burned in, hmm))
3. LT1010 is the golden middle with Burson V5i...but you should still try buffers from number 2 above  
wink_face.gif

 
If buffers are irreplaceable one would have to adjust the sound signature by trying another set of headphones. My assumption is that brighter headphones will do better than darker with Burson V5i.
 
NOTE: And that's another beauty of iBasso PB2. I don't need to replace headphones, hence cost savings  
darthsmile.gif

 

Impressions

 
Honestly when I first plugged in Burson V5i opamps and played first compositions I was attacked by so many goosebumps that I can hardly remember having that many ever before. It was a different new sound characterised by integrity, thickness where everything seemed to have volume as opposed to hollowness and airiness of bright sound and have its place in the overall 3D soundstage. It was a bliss. It was a warmer sound signature much warmer.
 
A week passed, I settled and got used to the new sound now and can speak about pros and cons of new Burson V5i opamps with clear head. When I am speaking about these opamps I am speaking about them in combination with LT1010 buffers as those reveal the true musical nature of Bursons best and transform the concept of listening to music from hearing it to feeling it.
 
With Burson V5i opamp + LT1010 buffers installed the setup looked like in the picture below:
 
IMG_20160910_145506.jpg
 
Burson V5i are darker sounding opamps. Cellos, bass, double bass, alto saxophones in Jazz and Blues represented by V5i sounded exceptionally good and natural. As an example, I never listened to The Piano Guys with MUSES01 installed in the amp because my brain was rejecting unnatural bass reproduction. With Burson V5i, on the contrary, now I can't help it and listen to this music over and over again. Same refers to any Jazz, Blues, Instrumental or Orchestral compositions with higher dynamic range especially. Even Apocalyptica's album Reflections (2003) which has dynamic range of 6 (six) and what is considered to be bad on DR scale now sounds great. Hard Rock and all Metal genres have a bigger punch and presence.
 
Binaural recordings are amazing and more real and intimate with Burson V5i as well.
 
Although Burson V5i excel at Instrumental/Orchestral, Metal, Jazz/Blues and Binaural recordings they lose the battle to MUSES01 and/or brighter DACs in Classic Rock where acoustic guitars dominate the scene. This also refers to any acoustic guitar passages in other musical genres as well. It happens because of an overall warmer nature of V5i opamps which make acoustic guitars have a slight tint of bass and suppress its clarity and crystallity. But the lack of spaciousness and brightness is compensated by the full body sound presence, volume and 3D appearance which I am afraid cannot be presented by brighter amps. Brighter DACs/Amps can give incredible, huge cold scene as if you are in a concert hall with separation of musical instruments scattered all around you. This is good for some and bad for other reasons at the same time. Warmer ones like Burson V5i opamps are more intimate, integral, real, natural and more 3D like producing a complete musical scene. I would stress that Instrumental music especially is the most breathtakingly reproduced by Burson V5i.
 
Actually the same refers to full-size Burson Conductor V2, which has almost the same sound signature as little Burson V5i opamps. Burson Conductor V2 was dark sounding when I auditioned it last week, so I had to replace Audeze LCD3 with LCD2 for obvious reasons that LCD3 are already dark headphones and multiplying it by x2 equals to almost pitch black darkness))) What does it say? It says that Burson V5i opams are really that good on their own if in optimal circuitry.
 

Direct Comparison

 
Now that I have shared my impressions I will pick up hi-end MUSES01 opamps for comparison. In this regard I had hard time auditioning and most importantly defining the differences between Burson V5i and MUSES01 as they might seem on par at first but still they are not equal in reproducing various music genres. I can say that both opamps are in the same hi-end league and offer incredible sound stage and 3D presentation but each with their own sound signature. Just like everything in the music world there is no single solution for every type of music. To excel in one area means being unable to do the same in the opposite one. It's called balance.
 
I have already shared my impressions regarding Burson V5i. Hence I will present just a summary comparison table of Burson V5i vs MUSES01 below:
 
GroupPropertyV5i MUSES01
GeneralVolume++++
  Airiness/Sound stage
+++++
  Darkness
++++
  Brightness       
++++
  Analytical sound
+++++
  Intimacy
+++++
  Transparency
+++++
 3D sound+++++
Musical Instruments Drums
+++++
  Bass
++++
  Double Bass
++++
  Cello
+++++
  Acoustic guitar
+++++
  Violin
+++++
 Piano++++++
Music Genres Instrumental/Orchestra
+++++
  Classic Rock
++*+++
  Hard Rock/Metal
+++++
  Jazz/Blues
+++++
 Synthpop++++++
*with LT1028ACN8 buffers

Summary

 
Truly Burson V5i are amazing opamps and I will definitely put them in the hi-end league. Having the right set of headphones, capable of constructing 3D sound stage during sound reproduction is a must for these opamps.
 
Remember, the sound is as good as its weakest link in the chain. Thank you!
 
PS After another set of buffer rolling and more hours of auditioning my opinion regarding LT1028ACN8 buffers has changed. They are actually not that bad at all. I'd rather say pretty good. Was it that my brain adjusted to the sound or the opamps burned in. I have no idea but now they improved the overall presentation adding some details which LT1010 lack. Somehow they add +1 point to classic rock and acoustic guitar presentation. So far I'm keeping them with Bursons V5i:
 
IMG_20160912_180456.jpg
*The heatsinks in the photo are my custom upgrade due to LT1028ACN8 tend to warm up.
 

Makiah S
Makiah S
Nice write up 
pitsel
pitsel
Thanks, Very helpful, order V5i for PB2
numon
numon
yes really helpful
can you say muses01 is brighter one and burson v5i fuller thicker than muses01?
Pros: Sound, value, size
Cons: Not quite on par with its older sibling in sound
The Burson Audio Supreme Sound V5i op amp was sent to me by Burson Audio to be a part of my Audinst HUD-DX1 review. I think it deserves its own review as well. Those of you that have already read my HUD-DX1 review may recognize some things bud I’ve elaborated further here and included a short comparison between the V5i and the original V5 in the Little Dot I+ as well.  I’d also like to send a big THANK YOU to Burson Audio for letting me check out the V5i
 
IMG_4087.jpgIMG_4088.jpg
 
IMG_4089.jpgIMG_4090.jpg
 
 
The price at the time for this review is $39 for one dual, $69 for two duals and $49 for two single ones. The Supreme Sound V5i is available directly from the Burson Audio website: 
 
https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/supreme-sound-opamp-v5i/
 
I’m not in any way affiliated with Burson Audio.
 
Short introduction to Burson Audio:
Burson Audio is an Australia based company founded in 1996.  They’ve specialized in making headphone amplifier and amp/DAC combos, stereo amplifiers and op amps using discrete circuits.
 
This is what says themselves about their philosophy:
Our philosophy is simple; the less our components interfere with the audio signal the more complete your musical experience. This is our core design philosophy since we began in 1996. If our equipment is designed well and transparent enough — and it is — then the pace, rhythm, timing dynamics and tonality becomes a natural expression of the music. We feel this can never be achieved with standard circuit building blocks like IC chip op-amps, IC regulators, or even standard transformers. Instead we research and develop customized discrete circuits specifically to suit their applications. Only then does each and every component in the signal path perform at its peak. And only then will the end result match our expectations.
 
About me:
I’m a 44 year old music and sound lover that changed my focus from speakers to headphones and IEM’s about five years ago. At that time I realized that it wasn’t realistic for me to have all the different setups that I wanted and still house a family of four children and a wife so my interest turned first to full sized headphones and later also IEM’s.
 
My preferences are towards full sized open headphones and I believe that also says something about what kind of sound signature I prefer (large soundstage in all directions, balanced and organic sound).
 
My music preferences are pretty much all over the place (only excluding classical music, jazz and really heavy metal). My all-time favorite band is Depeche Mode although I also listen to a lot of grunge/indie, singer/songwriter/acoustical stuff as well as the typical top 40 music.
 
I do not use EQ, ever.
 
I’m a sucker for value for money on most things in life Head-Fi related stuff is no exception.
 
Demo list:
Mark Knopfler – Sailing to Philadelphia
Røyksopp (Feat.Susanne Sundfør) – Save Me
Ane Brun – These Days
Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana
Metallica – Die Die My Darling
The Peter Malick Group – Immigrant
Eva Cassidy – Songbird
Thomas Dybdahl – A Lovestory
Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why
Celldweller – Unshakeable
Jack Johnson – Better Together
Seinabo Sey – Younger (Kygo remix)
Dire Straits- So Far Away
Bjørk - Moon
Lupe Fiasco - Deliver
Morrissey – Earth Is the Loneliest Planet
 
 
Compatibility:
The Burson Audio SS V5i is a hybrid op amp that it is both partially IC and discrete.  It’s compatible with a lot of the common op amps out there. It comes in two different configurations (single and dual) so the first thing you need to do is to find out if it’s at all a drop in replacement for your existing op amp in the device where you plan to use it with. To do this I’d recommend visiting the Burson Audio website through the link on the top of this review where they list a lot of common op amps that the V5i is a direct replacement for. You will also need to know whether you need two single or one dual (or even more depending on your device) of them. If you’ve got any questions whatsoever just ask them. From my experience they’re very knowledgeable. Since the Audinst HUD-DX1 uses two dual op amps that’s what I received
 
Please also make sure that you put the op amp in the socket in the right direction. There should be markings on both your old and new ones showing which way to be inserted.
 
All Burson Audio op amps come with a lifetime warranty.
 
Comparison:
For this comparison I’ve used the Audinst HUD-DX1 amp/DAC combo as well as my Little Dot I+ amplifier fed from the dac direct output on my Burson Audio V2+. I’ve used my VE Zen 2.0 and Grado 325is for listening.
 
 
Audinst HUD-DX1, MUSES 8920 ($15) vs Burson Audio V5i:
The HUD-DX1 come equipped with the highly regarded MUSES 8920E op amps in its stock form. I happen to have a couple of Burson Audio V5i op amps around  (thanks to Burson Audio for sending me the samples) that is compatible as a direct replacement for the 8920 so let’s see what happen if we switch the op amps.
 
The op amp’s in the HUD-DX1 is DIP 8 socket mounted so they’re very easy to replace. If you’d like to try this for yourself make sure that you put the op amps in the correct way and that the op amps in use are compatible with the DX1, as long as you’ve got this covered it’s a very simple procedure to switch them.
 
After having properly installed the V5i instead of the 8920 I started listen with the VE Zen 2.0 since they were the last pair I used while doing the matching section and WOW!!!!
 
This was truly a surprise. Although I’ve done quite a bit of op amp rolling before I’ve always considered it to be fine tuning and the changes to be pretty subtle. That’s certainly not the case here. When listening to the HUD-DX1 with the V5i installed it’s really as if a vail is lifted from the stock sound. The DX1 does still have a prominent low end with good drive but now it’s supported by a lot more airy midrange and treble and an easily detectable wider soundstage. The overall sound does now remind me a lot more of that from the Conductor V2+ although not necessarily with the same quality.
 
To me the $69 V5i op amps take the DX1 from being OK sound wise to being very good.  This is a highly recommended tweak in my opinion and I honestly cannot believe the difference in sound quality that’s achieved by using changing the op amps.
 
IMG_4069.jpgIMG_4073.jpg
 
Little Dot I+, Burson Audio V5 ($79) vs V5i
I’ve been using the original V5 fully discrete op amp in the LD I+ for a while now and with the help from an adapter that finally made me it possible to close the lid on the LD I+ with the V5 installed. My tubes lately are some Siemens NOS 6AK5W.
 
The difference between the V5 and v5i in the LD is nowhere near as big as between the MUSES 8920 and the V5i in the Audinst. The sound signature of the Burson siblings are very similar but the original V5 does have a bit better bass layering, more space between instruments and is even slightly more airy sounding.  The difference is not big but noticeable and if I would put percentage on how similar they sound (although I really don’t like doing it) I’d say that the V5i has somewhere around 85-90% of the performance of its bigger sibling the V5 so they do really sound very similar. I do also find the V5i to be more quite in the LD than the V5 with the adapter. The V5 with adapter has some occasional random interference while the V5i seems to be dead silent all the time.
 
In an implementation like the Little Dot I+ where there’s really not enough space for the V5 op amp I’d wholeheartedly recommend gong for the V5i instead of going through the trouble and cost with extra adapter or even modifying the chassis. The small advantage in sound quality is not worth the extra cost and especially the extra trouble to fit the V5 I where it doesn’t
 
IMG_4115.jpgIMG_4116.jpg
Original V5 with adapter
IMG_4136.jpgIMG_4137.jpg
V5i
 
Summary:
The Burson Audio Supreme Sound Vi5 is just an op amp but I’m very impressed by its price/performance ratio as well as how much it lifted the total sound quality in the Audinst HUD-DX1. I’ve never heard this much of an improvement from an op amp change ever before. Add to this the small (or normal if you prefer) size and an all metal build and the V5i is a great, fairly cheap, way to play around with and most likely improve the sound in many devices that it’s compatible whit. Highly recommended!
 
IMG_4117.jpg
The adapter for the V5 (or other op amps)
beachpea
beachpea
Question:
Which Burson V5i does one use for the Little Dot 1+ amp? One single? One dual? Other?
Thanks!
Achel
Achel
the dual one (just one) 
judomaster
judomaster
Is Burson v5 compatible with Audinst DX-1? Wich adapter i must use? Thx

h2rulz

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Clarity, Adds detail overall from top to bottom, Small size, Easy installation, Sound becomes more engaging
Cons: May not be the best for people looking for warmth
A few weeks back, Burson sent me a pair of V5i doubles and V5i singles. In return I was asked to provide an honest feedback. Here, I'll try my best to do just that.
Also note, this was my first opamp rolling experience, and I'm fairly new to the head-fi scene.
 
EQUIPMENT
Amp: V5i (pair of doubles and singles) installed in Gustard H10
Headphone: HE560
Dac: Bifromst MB
Source: TIDAL HIFI on a MBP
IMG_1592.jpg
 
INSTALLATION
Installation was a breeze on the Gustard H10. Remove a few screws, slide the top half of the body off, replace the stock opamps with the V5i opamps, and there you have it in 3 easy steps.
Just know the singles replace the bottom two, and the doubles replace the two stock opamps to the right (alignment is important too).
IMG_1593.jpg
 
 
 
SOUND
(Stock)
The Gustard H10 with stock opamp offers a relatively warm and dark sound despite being solid state. I did not mind the stock setup with the relatively bright HE560 or even the darker sounding HE500.
Also note, among what I have paired (not that I tried much) with for Hifiman headphones (HE400i, HE400, HE500, HE560) the Gustard H10 sounded best. 
 
Pros: Smooth warm mids, Good quantity and quality bass. Dark background. Decent imaging. Great overall for hours upon hours of easy listening.
On the fence: Soundstage could be wider. Might present an overall too intimate/up close soundstage, but these are purely a matter of preference.
 
(V5i)
Immediately I notice everything sound much more clear. It was like the moment when I paired the HD650 with the Valhalla 2 for the first time. However, even with the V5i the Gustard is still a solid state amp on the darker side of the spectrum. Overall, this combination perhaps provides the best of both worlds, or rather a happy medium. For those who find the stock Gustard H10 too dark sounding, and have a preference for brighter sound, then the V5i just might do the trick for you.
 
*The following is a summary of my listening notes. Unlike A/B'ing headphones or amps with a switch, A/B'ing opamps is a bit of a challenge. So take my impressions with a grain of salt. As always its best to hear for yourself.
 
Bass: Quicker, Improved Detail. Might have very slight bass slam.
Highs: Much more airy and seems to bring music in the upper frequency more to life.
Mids: Relatively dry and possibly recessed slightly compared to stock. Certain female vocal frequencies can be concerning (not sibilant).
Soundstage: Good 3D soundstage, and imaging. Instruments have more air and sense of space between them.
 
*Many of the differences were minor. But the overall effect of sounding more clear/open/less dark is pretty noticeable.
 
"Dave Brubeck - Castillian Drums"
My go to song for checking the drums.  
Good sense of space/soundstage/imaging. The drums are detailed, where I felt like being able to pick out more detail.
 
"Sara Bareilles -Come Round Soon"
The "ss sh" sound could be concerning for some. No, it is not sibilant. Relatively dry and recessed (possibly me just hearing things due to better imaging).
Here, I find myself missing the stock opamps.
 
"Winter Wonderland - Verve Remixed" & "Still Life - Oneohtrix Point Never"
Good bass detail and extends low. Truly does justice to the technical capabilities of the HE560.
 
 
IN THE END...
Overall, the V5i turns the Gustard H10 into a much more technical sounding amp. I enjoyed the added clarity/resolution and improved imaging capabilities.
However, the mids did sound more lush with the stock opamp.
 
The V5i is for,
People who want that extra bit of clarity and instrument separation. All the while, maintaining many of the amps stock characteristics.
 
Is not for,
People who place "dark" sound and listening fatigue at the top of their listening priority. Also not for those who absolutely loves the mids of the stock opamps.
 
Personally, I really enjoyed the improvements the V5i brought to the Gustard H10, however slight they may be. Burson truly has made something that many will be able to appreciate. It's an affordable upgrade to those who own the Gustard H10, and I assume it is the same for many other amps as well.
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Sdmark
Sdmark
Thanks for the review h2rulz! Just wondering if you spent time breaking the Bursons in or if your review is for fresh-out-of-the-box op amps? I know that for some of the reviews for their discrete op amp versions, break-in yielded somewhat better results. Might take some of the sssh away? I do love the mids of the Gustard but know that the upper frequencies can be better with op amp rolling.
h2rulz
h2rulz
Though I'm not sure what the recommended break in period is, I've been listening to it pretty much nonstop for 2-3 weeks. I could see my review being a bit misleading about the mids, especially female vocals. Its nothing serious, but rather a perception I got relative to the stock sound. Hence, I repeatedly did state that it is not sibilant. The V5i does clear things up overall, but I just thought for someone who truly is after a darker/smoother sound, the stock opamps would work just fine in that particular area. Again a matter of preference. Other than that one gray area, I do agree the V5i technically improves the stock sound overall.

Yethal

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Silk smooth treble, clear and detailed upper mids, smaller than the V5, will make a critical listener out of you
Cons: Not as versatile as other discrete opamps, does not fit inside the X7

Introduction

You probably heard of Burson Audio. An audio company well-regarded in the Head-Fi community for their Soloist amp and Conductor amp/dac. You may also know them as the makers of the infamous V5 op-amp, also known as: “The only op-amp visible from the outer space”.
 
                                              bursonv5diagram.png
Seriously, that thing is huge. Which makes it unsuitable for devices with little room to spare such as the X7. Luckily, Burson Audio created the V5's little brother, the V5i, aka “Reasonably-sized Burson op-amp”
 

Disclaimer

Charles from Burson has reached out to me some time ago and offered me a review sample of the V5i single op-amps in exchange for my honest opinion on them. No other compensation was offered or implied.

Packaging

The op-amps arrived in a small plastic box lined with hard foam. The box itself is small enough not to take more space than necessary, while still providing adequate protection for the V5i during transport. Tight and secure, like two babies wrapped up in a blanket. Great job on the packaging Burson!
                                                                     V5box.jpg

Installation

As is the case with pretty much any op-amp, installation is a breeze. Take the device out of the box, line up the markings on the socket with the markings on the op-amp and just put it in place. Nothing too complicated here. However, there are two caveats I need to mention, one of which is specific to the Sound Blaster X7.
  1. The V5i are about 1mm too tall to fit inside the X7. The bottom cover will have to be removed for the op-amps to fit. Not a deal breaker for me but has to be mentioned anyway.
  2. The second issue is that the V5i is slightly bigger than a DIP-8 socket it is mounted in, therefore it cannot be used in devices with DIP-8 sockets placed right next to each other (2mm clearance on each side should be enough for the V5i to fit).
 
After installing the op-amps always remember to test them using cheap headphones first! No matter how well-regarded the manufacturer is, sometimes accidents happen and you do not want one of them to happen to your precious pair of cans. Test the op-amps for stability before you turn on the music.
                                                       20160801_184648.jpg

The Sound

Now that our V5i are unpacked, installed and tested it’s time for some listening.

 
Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems is my first choice here. Not only is it a great album by itself, I’ve heard to it so many times already that I can easily catch even miniscule changes to the sound.
First impressions: Damn, that’s smooth. Second impressions: So. Unbelievably. Smooth.
Mr Cohen’s voice has lost of its harshness and replaced it with a bit of brightness I never heard on this album before. While some of the details have been lost, the reduced edge in the upper mids was a welcome change.
The bass guitar in the intro of “Almost Like The Blues” now had more powerful impact and was more audible in the mix, as were the cymbals in “My Oh My”. Overall, I was pleased with the results.
 
Next up, Ne Obliviscaris, my favourite band of all time. Their song “And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope” is to me a pure eargasm, regardless of the source or the phones used. Fourteen minutes of violin solos, clean vocals and growls. Pure bliss. So, how did the V5i do? Here, my reactions were mixed. On one hand the violin sounded more forward and was better separated from the other instruments which is a welcome change. On the other hand though, the guitars were now pushed to the back, no longer being an equal part of the mix.
 
One of my recent discoveries, The Mantle by Agalloch was my next weapon of choice against the V5i. In The Shadow Of Our Pale Companion not only blends acoustic guitars with heavier, more overdriven sound, it also uses clean vocals together with black metal screeching.
All at the same time. For fifteen minutes.
And I have to admit, the little Bursons performed flawlessly. Not only was the acoustic guitar well articulated and detailed, it gained this wetness to it, as if the sustain of the strings was prolonged. A very pleasant experience.
 
Last but not least, Kraftwerk. It seems as if the V5i were built with the specific purpose of reproducing the Mensch-Maschine album as beautifully and close to the original as possible. Every note, every single sound and every word were so full of life, and full of detail. Pure magnificence. Among all the albums I’ve listened to with these op-amps Mensch-Maschine paired with them best.
 
And then I was enlightened. The V5i sounds the way it sounds because it was built by true audiophiles for true audiophiles. For the Typical Head-Fier Andy who listens mostly to classical, female vocals and Random Access Memories. With that kind of music the V5i will shine. Play it some jazz and it will sing like a bird. Only average performance with metal is not a flaw, it is part of the design. The V5i were built to turn average human beings into seasoned listeners. This is brilliant! I bow to you Burson Audio for you have outaudiophiled yourselves and everyone else too.

 

Comparison with the SS3601

A few months ago I’ve reviewed the SS3601 op-amps by Sparkos Labs. Since both the SS3601 and V5i are single, discrete op-amps it’s only natural for potential buyers to want to know how these two compare against each other.
  • Price. Pair of V5i singles will set you back 50$ plus shipping. Pair of SS3601 is 80$. Burson is a clear winner here.
  • The packaging. V5i are shipped in a box that will surely protect them from harm during transit. SS3601 are wrapped in some bubble wrap and stuffed into an envelope. Another victory for Burson.
  • Installation. Both are equally easy to install, however the SS3601 can be used with the bottom cover of the X7 therefore it is a victor.
  • Sound. This part will be much more difficult for me because I can't honestly tell you which one is better than the other. There is no clear victor here. They are simply different. SS3601 is a neutral op-amp, V5i colors the sound. If you demand absolute neutrality from your system SS3601 will be a better choice. If you do not mind the coloration but enjoy the occasional brightness the V5i is a better choice. What matters is that neither one will disappoint you.

Conclusion

What Burson Audio created is not only an amazing upgrade for any op-amp based amplifier, it's also a perfect indoctrination tool that will turn any person new to audio into a seasoned critical listener within weeks, not years by sounding best with 6moons approved content. Personally, I'm impressed with the sheer genius of that strategy. I wish all the best to good people of Burson Audio and all of their customers.
 
  1. Agalloch - In The Shadow of Our Pale Companion
  2. Animals as Leaders - An Infinite Regression
  3. Animals as Leaders - The Woven Web
  4. Bruce Springsteen - Ghost of Tom Joad
  5. Death - Pull the Plug
  6. Death - Sacred Serenity
  7. Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers
  8. Eminem - Lose Yourself
  9. Eminem - Mosh
  10. Fleshgod Apocalypse - Kingborn
  11. Gogol Bordello - My Companjera
  12. Gojira - From Mars to Sirius
  13. Haken - The Cockroach King
  14. The Heavy - Can’t Play Dead
  15. The Hooters - Johnny B
  16. Kraftwerk - The Model
  17. Kraftwerk - Showroom Dummies
  18. Kraftwerk - The Robots
  19. Laibach - We Are Millions and Millions are One
  20. Laibach - See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
  21. Leonard Cohen - My Oh My
  22. Leonard Cohen - Almost Like the Blues
  23. Leprous - Rewind
  24. Manilla Road - Necropolis
  25. Merzbow - Promotion Man
  26. Meshuggah - Dancers to a Discordant System
  27. Moby - Honey
  28. Mumford and Sons - Broken Crown
  29. Ne Obliviscaris - And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope
  30. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Henry Lee
  31. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Where The Wild Roses Grow
  32. Obscura - Septuagint
  33. One Day as a Lion - Wild International
  34. Orchid - He Who Walks Alone
  35. Overkill - The Years of Decay
  36. Parov Stelar - Catgroove
  37. Parov Stelar - Chambermaid Swing
  38. Primus - Welcome to this World
  39. Tom Waits - Everything Goes to Hell
  40. Tom Waits - Knife Chase
  41. Tom Waits - The Part You Throw Away
  42. Tool - Schism
  43. Tool - The Pot
*Do not take anything written in this review too seriously. It was meant to be humorous.
Burson Audio
Burson Audio
Love the graphic.... The v5 is taller :)

YoYo JoKeR

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Transparency, Size, Compatibility
Cons: Soundstage Depth


Intro: Burson Audio is an Australian audio company located in Thomastown, Melbourne. Famous for creating Soloist amplifier, which was popular amongst audiophiles. Burson is well known for employing discreet circuits. What I like the most about Burson is that they leave nothing unturned to achieve best possible transparency in sound chain. Burson takes considerable time to create its products; their product line is very steady & has a strong Research & Development. By hearing the name “Burson Audio” we remember two things in a flash: 1) Soloist 2) Op-amps. Burson Audio is making op-amps for a long time now, The only other renown op-amps were ‘Sun’ ‘Moon’ Earth’ from Audio-GD, but sadly AGD stopped developing them.
Burson-Logo.png
Burson sent me a pair for review. I am writing my sincere opinion without any bias, trying my best to convey my readers about its advantages & disadvantages in a clear-cut manner. Headphones used in this review: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K702 & K812. Amplifiers/DAC’s used: Objective2/ODAC, CMOYBB, M-Stage, TCG TRD3, Audinst MX-2
 
DSC03030.jpg

Design: The V5i is a hybrid: Meaning, it has both IC & discrete components in it. This is done to make a cost effective & smaller version of V5. The IC is custom created, & FET components of the bigger V5 are used to create the V5i. There are 2 variants of V5i:  Dual op-amp: is a 2 channel op-amp (most audio devices use this configuration)  & the other is Single op-amp:  is a 1 channel op-amp (Single channel DIP8 slot is present in some higher end devices like Gustard H10 or so on)
 
DSC03033.jpg
 
DSC03036.jpg
 
Nowadays, all devices are becoming smaller & compact. It’s difficult to fit larger op-amps in tight space. But The V5i has a very small footprint. The advantage is that you can actually use the V5i in every device, not worrying about the space. Previously The V5 could not fit in all devices due to its larger size. The V5i is significantly smaller than The V5. The Size of V5i is very similar to default op-amps. The V5i op-amp is sealed, thus to show the internals, image from Burson Audio website:
 
V5i-S2.jpg
 

Sound:  The problem with many other op-amps is that they carry a ‘flavor’. They are either ‘dark’ ‘bright’ ‘thin’ etc. But theoretically op-amp’s function is to amplify signals, & never to alter the input sound signature. But this function is impossible to achieve practically. The V5 & V5i are the one's closest to this function I've ever heard. Only drawback I found was, V5i lacked decent soundstage depth. but width was good enough. Details, instrument separation are strong plus points of the V5i.
 
Burson has put a significant effort here & it shows: the V5i noticeably the most transparent (next only to the V5) op-amp I have ever heard.  So there is no doubt, this is an ideal yet practical op-amp. With V5i, I am able to hear the true characteristics & capabilities of my Amps/DAC’s. The V5i sounded ‘bright & upfront’ right out of the box. I have 'burned' it for about 20 hours (after which I am unable to detect any improvements or changes). 
 
DSC03043.jpg
 
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Comparison:  Compared to LME49990, OPA627, OPA209 & LME49710HA.  Out of all these, I will pick the Texas Instruments LME49990 X2 soldered on converter board (costs about 15$) as the chief competitor for V5i. All other op-amps I tested had a slight ‘veil’ or a curtain of darkness as you might call it. The V5i delivers very good transparency, No more veil. I have installed & listened to the V5i in many devices like TCG Audio TRD3, Matrix M-Stage, Objective-2, Cmoy BB, It worked very well with all of them. No overheating or any sorts. V5i has a metallic outer cover which also serves as heat sink & noise shield. However it’s bigger brother V5 is even better with respect to sound quality. But due to its bigger size, it can’t be installed in majority of the devices.
 
DSC03040.jpg
 
Affordability:  When getting an aftermarket op-amp, cost plays an important role. The V5 costs 70$ and consumed more physical space, which many devices didn’t have. V5i costs 40$, & is small in size. If you have a good performance headphone amplifier or DAC, I recommend that you get the V5i. The 40$ is well justified for the better sound quality it delivers. V5i is by far the most affordable custom op-amp in the market. Far better than the OPA’s or AD’s. Burson Audio provides lifetime guarantee, which I feel is reassuring on durability aspect.
 
DSC03053.jpg
 
DSC03054.jpg

 
Conclusion: The Burson approach is what impresses me very much. Burson Audio is one of the handful audio manufacturers in the world who focus in bringing maximum transparency out of audio device with minimum or none flavor/coloration in sound quality. Burson has nailed it this time with the V5i. Better than any op-amp in terms of transparency except their own V5 ofcourse. I can whole heartedly recommend the V5i. It is the best upgrade one can do to his amp or dac without any hardware change. Kudos!
 
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luckyeights
luckyeights
You make it sound like the v5i has very poor sound stage is this true?  I mean are we talking a subtle difference in sound stage or are we talking omg if your looking for a sound stage look else where type deal here?  
penmarker
penmarker
Yeah, the sound stage portion of the review concerns me too. Though I do understand some people are sensitive to changes, and that their "OMG night and day!!" difference is just "noticeable at best" to people like me.
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qafro
qafro
I'm thinking of buying V5i for my EHP-O2 amp = Objective-2 amp.
How many and type of V5i dual or single OPS do I buy ?
Is the SQ improvement huge and it is worth the getting it or just buy another amp upto $400?
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