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Burson Audio Supreme Sound Opamp V6 Vivid and Classic

Rating:
4.8/5,

Recent Reviews

  1. Peddler
    Tube rolling - with a difference
    Written by Peddler
    Published Oct 2, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Immediately noticeable improvement in sound quality. Pretty easy to fit - took considerably longer to remove the lid.
    Cons - Expensive. Not a sexy upgrade (but worth it nonetheless).
    I feel its important to put my cards on the table up-front with this review. The following points should give you a clearer idea of my thoughts and opinions regarding headphones:-

    Much of my listening is done using headphones designed for portability.
    I like wireless - much of my listening is done with wireless headphones and iems. Whilst I'm always looking for the best possible sound quality, I'm perfectly OK with the limitations of Bluetooth over wired.
    My usual sources are my mobile phone and Google Play Music via my excellent Chromecast Audio. I don't tend to listen to many 'high-res' files.

    The reason why I wanted to make those points was to illustrate that I don't really consider myself an audiophile - rather someone who likes good sound quality at an affordable price. In addition to my portable kit I do have a loudspeaker-based system which comprises of the following:-

    Burson Audio Fun headphone amplifier
    Burson Audio Swing DAC/Pre-Amp
    Burson Audio Bang power amp.
    Google Chrome cast Audio (connected to the Swing optically).

    For non-portable headphone listening, I use the excellent Sennheiser HD598SR full-sized headphones. I consider these headphones to be a nice balance between relaxed listening (thanks to their extremely comfortable design) and capable of excellent analytical listening thanks to their extremely flat sound profile.

    Swapping out the original Op-Amps for the Vivid's was a fairly simple process. I'm certainly not comfortable 'fiddling' around with the insides of my devices - I effectively have zero working knowledge of electronics. I basically just took my time, gently levered off the original chips using a flat bladed small screwdriver and inserted the Vivid's - making sure to get them in straight and not bending any of the legs. Although these are not quite 'zero insertion force' they're pretty easy to seat them onto the board with gentle downward pressure. The whole process really took less time than it did to get the lid off the amp.

    Burson-Fun-Int3.jpg

    Sound Quality

    This is what it's all about. As I mentioned earlier I tend to listen mostly to streamed content but even with the use of compressed audio the differences are really quite remarkable. Whilst I was perfectly happy with the sound quality of the stock Fun headphone amp, the Vivid's have definitely taken the amp to the next level.

    The first thing I noticed was the increased details in the high-end. Whilst I'm very sensitive to overly 'bright' sounding systems, the Vivid's offered this additional detail without making the sound harsh. Cymbals have a more 'metallic' sheen to them, percussion is more 'percussive' and the overall sound character became 'faster' and more exciting.

    20191002_211750.jpg

    Another characteristic to come through after the swap out was imagery. Whilst headphones will always come second place to loudspeakers when it comes to stereo imagery in my opinion, the sense of depth, width and height to the soundstage was noticeably improved. The differences are certainly more than just minor adjustments to eq - the differences are more like the differences between a 128k and a 320k MP3 track. The sense of ambience - albeit artificial on many non-classical recordings is quite profound and certainly most welcome.

    The overall sound character could be described as effortless - you can listen to your music at any volume you're comfortable with, clearly hear every detail in your recordings - be able to follow any instrument in the mix without having to concentrate - everything is presented to you without any apparent limitations. You can relax with the music and still maintain focus on what you like without having to make a conscious effort. Whilst this effect was present with the original Burson Play configuration, the addition of these op-amps makes a significant difference.

    20191002_211911.jpg

    I've often thought about trying out a tube amp and experimenting with 'tube rolling' but I also lack the patience that is often needed to nurture and tweak these types of amps - years ago I would happily spend hours fiddling around with my hifi system in order to get the slightest improvement in sound quality - I really can't be bothered to do things like this now - I'm more comfortable in accepting limitations. The combination of Fun and Vivid's really feels like there's no real limitations - the overall system really feels like it's working at its very best. This is such an easy upgrade - no soldering, no worries thanks to Burson's excellent protection against incorrect insertion - easy peasy lemon squeezy.

    In conclusion, those who have appropriate equipment would definitely do well to investigate Burson's excellent upgrade option. Whilst this isn't necessarily cheap, it's certainly has a profound effect on the sound quality and is therefore highly recommended.
  2. Baten
    Burson Audio V6 Classic Dual
    Written by Baten
    Published Sep 25, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - The perfect replacement for the stock NE5534
    Cons - Still pricy for an opamp, but worth it if you feel the need for that upgrade!
    [​IMG]

    I received these as a loaner to try out in the Burson Swing, so thanks Burson, really really nice to have to opportunity to try these out. I had a set of various other op-amps and will compare these as good as I can, in no particular order:

    NE5534 (stock): had to mention these first. I honestly think the Swing sounds stellar in its stock configuration. Bass is tight, sound is very controlled and balanced. Noise levels are good until the highest of volumes. So really, not too bad.

    LME49720: I had the 'HA' metal can version of these to try out. They are very low noise with very impressive specs, but honestly did not feel there was a big improvement over stock, perhaps actually slightly less musical. I'm sure these can be quite good sounding, but not really my jam in this particular amp. I'd say pass on these, I expected more.

    AD797: the venerable BB 797 opamp is definitely in my favorite opamp list. They are basically the 5534 but better. Not super cheap for an opamp and perhaps really not 'worth' spending a lot of money on for a pre-soldered set on DIP switches, but if you like the stock sound and want that tiny improvement, I would recommend trying these.

    And finally, Burson V6 Classic Duals: these... if you want that maximum feel of musicality, these are the opamps to get. They are very punchy sounding and just a breath of fresh air next to the typical discrete opamps. I'm really wondering if the Vivids sounds markedly different, because the Classics already made the biggest difference to me. They just match well with the Burson sound. From what I've seen they measure well too and are pretty noise free, and they definitely sound great. They are pricy, but worth saving up for if you want to max out your Burson amp.

    [​IMG]
  3. Joong
    Burson audio's V6 engine for dynamic drive
    Written by Joong
    Published Sep 4, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Dynamic and Smooth sounding
    Cons - Only upright shape making difficulties for fitting in small-sized amps.
    Testing audio devices: Windows 10 -> ifi usb nano 3.0 -> Gemini dual head usb cable -> Singxer f1-> Burson audio Swing that has Burson audio V6 classic dual x2 and single x2 - Fun with V6 vivid opamps -> HD800s. The same chain of gears but Topping Dx7s / Yulong A18 for comparison.
    20190717_172056.jpg

    Introduction: Burson provided me with opamps for free in exchange of honest review. I am familiar with Burson audio's original full size conductor and the soloist. According to my memory they have liquidy and gentle sound signature in those old Bursons but they were sounding too polite and lacking in dynamical nature, which forced me to sell them all and I got Krell ksa 5 that had 8 watt per channel.

    Also I had a Gustard h10 that has the same weaknesses in that regards. Simply there are some people who think that liquidity or buttery is not enough.
    20190823_215926.jpg
    Now my Burson gears have come long way to address those lacking spots in their product line. Those crops are Swing and Fun whose name represent what they have tried to achieve: Dynamism in the Swing and Tempos in the Fun which have shared the same essential engines that are V6 Classic opamps.
    In those opamps have good muscles to support the dynamism but they need the supporting devices too which I thinks MCPS (maximum current power supply), and their minimalist approach has been changed to the main stream engineering of modern days which has full use of excellent electronics that justify in large margin to support high fidelity devices: The solution is feed back where opamps are really playing out their power.


    From minimalist to mainstream:

    Having return back to mainstream, my Swing redefines the sonic qualities of fullness, rhythmic, and energy across all the audio spectrum while maintaining the old liquidity. The improved quality was obvious when I changed from stock opamps to ad797 to V6 Classics. During the changing I felt repeating the same history of Burson's old to new transformation: The stock and ad797 gave me the improvement, whereas V6Classics impressed me in big way with way more dynamism and energy with the same old liquidity of smooth quality.
    Also I found more detail.
    20190823_215711.jpg

    In Comparison: My Topping DX7s / Yulong A18 have been now with my new Silver Xlr cables upgraded sound signature in another level. Swing / Fun pair was toe to toe or superior in many areas. With Fidelio X2 or He-560V3 there are almost no difference between them. Finally HD800s were need to get difference between two sets of gears. Now Swing / Fun pair has more fullness and more energy with more extension to sub-bass.

    Conclusion:
    I think V6 Classic opamps produce more energetic and rhythmic sound while they maintain the same old smooth sound signature by Burson's experties across all subsystem level technologies to fill those missing holes, which are now solved with V6 classic opamps.
      volly likes this.
  4. Onik
    Burson Audio V6 Classic
    Written by Onik
    Published Jul 10, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - micro/hidden details well presented, sounds more revealing. Huge Soundstage! Neutralish! With Everest sounds more Musical and Airy.
    Cons - sounds dried when you first try them.( Not after burn-in time complete )
    IMG_20190620_115539.jpg
    Burson V6 Classic OP AMPS Yes they are not new anymore but still one of the best known discreet op amp in our Audiophile scene.

    Playmate (Noir) V6 Classic:

    After receiving 4 samples of burson classic duals from Burson Audio I decided to try them without mixing with any other op amps on the new burson PlayMate headphone amp.

    IMG_20190620_121315.jpg


    After a day or two the V6 classic sounded pure Analog to me.


    Instruments sounded a bit dried less fuller than Vivids but vocal sounded clean but not too musical like vivids.


    Soundstage was more or less same like vivids yes it was huge.


    Instrument separation felt same but bit more revealing than complete Vivids mod and I also heard more micro details with Classic.


    Even though playmate is not a revealing headphone amp the V6 classic still did it's job.

    After few weeks of trying V6 classic I had a feeling that V6 Classic OPAs are especially made for music producers who need to hear everything.


    I don't know what on bursons website says about this op amps but after trying them on playmate I can say that they have flat and neutral sound signature and less musical than vivids but this opinion is only valid for PlayMate(complete V6 Classic).


    Playmate (Everest) V6 fused:

    IMG_20190708_163243[2445].jpg

    let's talk about how the sound signature changes when you use 2 dual Classics only in I/V stage and 2 dual Vivids in LP Stage.




    Everything I said before no longer valid with this mod.


    I felt like instruments had bit more depth and sounded fuller than Complete Classic mod.


    Bass sounded original and deep also had bit more extension.


    Treble had sweetness and didn't sound flat and harsh.


    Vocal sounded warm and smooth and felt someone actually singing.



    Soundstage didn't change but the micro details felt like more revealing and well presented like they are part of the song and not hidden details.



    Everything felt truly Analog and Musical and Airy with this setup, I think I couldn't find anything to complain about this setup.



    Conclusion:

    This is a quick review that I wrote for V6 Classic and remember whoever reading this must remember that this is my personal and own impression and it's not valid for every Amps.The V6 Classic might sound different in other amps especially in class D Amps.

    If you like flat and neutral sound and more revealing then Playmate (Noir) V6 Classic is best choice.

    But if you like more musical and only for music listening then you should go for Playmate (Everest) V6.


    This was my review for now, Thank you for reading...:slight_smile:
  5. theoutsider
    The End Game of Opamps
    Written by theoutsider
    Published Jul 1, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - The sound quality is as good as it gets!
    Cons - Size, that’s something you should already know.
    First of all, I would like to apologize to Mr. Charles of Burson for late delivery of this long overdue review. I guess I will blame it on my penchant for procrastination and drinking. I am sure many of you can relate to that.

    I will start with a bit of my history with Burson Supreme Sound. This review is very much a continuation of the review I wrote on Burson V5i months ago. In that review, I mentioned that V5i is a bit of a half-measure.

    V5i is a partial discrete opamp, the sound is not a total departure from a conventional IC opamp. I compared V5i with some of the opamps I have then and I think V5i performed very well as an opamp but it is not a game changer that delivers the ‘other-worldliness‘ in sound. So I ended that review voicing my keen interest to check out Burson Supreme Sound V6, the pure discrete opamp!

    DSC09350.jpg

    Fast forward a month or two, I was granted my wish and another few weeks later I received two pieces of V6s in my mailbox, a vivid V6 (red) and a classic V6 (orange). Hurray, I rode off into the sunset and have since lived happily ever after…

    Hahaha, not really. It ain’t all sunshine and rainbows, at least not in my point of view, I still see myself grinding through this humdrum existence.


    The Sound Test

    I usually numb my pessimism by listening to music and I treat opamp rolling and appreciation as a sorta sacred ritual because it takes up a lot of attention and time. I don’t always roll my opamps, but when I do, I do it ceremonially, like it is some kinda Chado.

    DSC09357.jpg

    At the time of writing this review I have already upgraded my sources, DAC, amplifier and what have you. A third of my desktop real estate is now occupied by audio gears and gizmos. For this comparison, I scribbled down how I felt and perceived, what I subconsciously heard listening to my various setups.

    DSC09434.jpg

    On any given day, I listen to a variety of music but for this discrete opamp connoisseur exercise, I made myself loop through selected songs and albums below:

    Another Day in Paradise - Phil Collins
    Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
    Rosanna - Toto
    The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
    Diana Krall’s Wallflower album

    and some of those songs by Norah Jones

    Ya, I know, give me that mackerel eyes and call me cliche.

    Straight from my Dell Laptop (DAC Conexant ccx20672 21z) = The sound is sad and muffled, I had never listened through the laptop jack ever since getting my first lossless player.

    Straight from Sabaj Da2(unbalanced) = Edgy sound with some spiky high but it is quite a bit better than listening straight from my laptop.

    Straight from Sabaj Da2(balanced) = Crystal clear sound but it is still a little anemic. It is not bad overall, at least the mid sounded fuller now.

    Straight from Zishan Z2 (with V6 Vivid)
    = Vocal sounded very “human” with the red tower. V6 Vivid is obviously less fatigue sounding than listening straight from Sabaj Da2. It sounded “rounded off” and perhaps a little colored compared to listening straight from Sabaj Da2.

    Straight from Zishan Z2 (with V6 Classic) =
    Vocal sounded more in the face compared to V6 Vivid, V6 Classic is a tad more aggressive sounding than the red V6. Music sounded very engaging through V6 Classic and there is a sense of intimacy in the sound.

    Zishan Z2 (as DAC) with Nobsound NS-02E (with V6) = The mid sounded too thick for my liking, I didn’t like it.

    Dell laptop with Nobsound NS-02E (with both V6) = Did not sound very refined, the sound has a bit of character but is slightly grainy. Some details were lost somewhere.

    italic = with Burson Supreme Sound V6 attached

    DSC09481.jpg


    After some comparisons, I quickly realized the benefits of a good discreet opamp. Overall Burson Supreme Sound V6 delivers a denser, fuller sound with a perceptibly wider soundstage. That confirmed Burson’s claim of V6 as offering a live concert experience.

    Discrete opamps have a dozen of benefits but none is more important than the higher output power. The off-the-shelf integrated circuit (IC) opamps can only run at about half a watt (0.5w) because there’s no way to squeeze huge individual electronic components into an IC opamp. Discrete opamps by nature do not have such limitation, they are capable of delivering tighter sound with wider and more realistic soundstage.

    DSC09458.jpg

    If you own Burson Supreme Sound V6, I recommend you to listen to Baker street by Gerry Rafferty. With a pair of full size open back headphones, I was able to enjoy the song like I had never before. Playing the song through V6 Vivid, I don't think the soprano saxophone line can sound any better.

    My go to track for accessing the smoothness of sound is All Along the Watch Tower by Bob Dylan. It is not a song I typically listen to with my earphones. All Along the Watch Tower is a harmonica-rich track, the harmonica section sounded extremely harsh straight from analytical DAC such as Sabaj Da2. The same track sounded fine through V6 Vivid and better with V6 Classic.

    DSC09347.jpg

    Overall I think the two V6s sounded more ‘emotional’ compared to the IC opamps that I own. They are still no way as sophisticated sounding as a tube amplifier but unlike a tube amplifier, V6s retain a higher level of clarity and details in a song. The tube amplifier (at least the one I own) tend to filter off some of the minute details in a song.

    I have also compared V6 to V5i, V6 is obviously a step up. V6 Vivid is a direct upgrade of all aspects from V5 while V6 Classic is a variant with a different sound. Personally I prefer the red V6 Vivid for contemporary and rock songs because the sound signature is more accentuated. Classic V6 works great if you listen to folk, country, concerto or other audiophile engineered medias.


    Packaging

    V6 came nicely packed and sealed in a small plastic snap case. The case is actually very handy for storing Burson opamps. If you have plenty of opamps and you suck at housekeeping then you will understand what I am saying.


    Physical

    Burson Supreme Sound V6 looks tall and massive in pictures. It stands at 29mm and the footprint is 12.4mm x 14.5mm. It is one of the largest if not tallest opamp in the market, maybe the coolest looking as well.



    Don’t expect V6 to fit inside Zishan Z2 because they simply won’t. Actually I should take my words back. If you are comfortable with soldering and tinkering, you can actually shift the capacitor to another location and have V6 laying flat inside Z2 housing. Also, when I am using XuanZu XZ-U303 with the two V6s, I have to keep the lid off.

    DSC09437.jpg

    Burson Supreme Sound V6 looks like a Lego brick and it is color coded. The bright red plastic tower is V6 vivid and the one with orange housing is V6 Classic. I am not able to inspect the parts inside because the whole construction is sealed off with black epoxy at the bottom. However I am able to peep through the vent holes at the top and I can spot two pieces of printed circuit boards (PCBs) suspended inside, held apart by the external plastic. Yes, I believe the vents are there for heat dissipation because V6 does heat up when it is operating.

    On the outside, V6 looks minimalist. There isn’t a lot to talk about the physical design. Apart from the taper for mold release, V6 is very much a square column. The front is pad-printed with Burson’s kangaroo logo, suggesting that Burson is an Aussie company.

    DSC09446.jpg

    The pins at the bottom of V6 are plated with gold (or so it seems). I have swapped the two V6s in and out of my amplifiers many times and the pins are holding up alright. Compare that to my other IC opamps with crooked pins, I have to say that V6 screams quality.

    burson v4.jpg

    It is amazing how Burson discrete opamp had evolved and reduced in size. They switched from using bulkier electronic components to smaller components, hence also achieving lower power consumption and a reduced minimal working voltage. V6 looks a million time sturdier (a figure of speech) than the bare-naked V4. Also for your information, V6 is now backed by Burson lifetime warranty, so worry no more.

    DSC09484.jpg

    Most naked or bare discrete opamps do not have intuitive marking for installation. For orientation, Burson designed in a groove on one side of V6 for matching with the notch on a DIP8 socket. I read that if an opamp is plugged in reverse, it will get destroyed. That will no longer be the case for V6 as it is probably the first and only opamp in the world to be equipped with reverse voltage protection. In simple English, it means you will not fry V6 even if you install them reversely in the dip8 slots.


    Technical

    V6 is the sixth iteration of the Supreme Sound discrete opamp and the result of over 12 years of research and development. It is the most refined opamp that to roll out off Burson's factory today.

    It is not altogether surprising that discrete opamps consume more current than the conventional IC opamp due to larger and separated components. That said, the efficiency of V6 is quite a leap from V4, a dual V6 opamp consumes about 14mA (mili Ampere) compared to 40mA of a dual V4. Most people will not have a problem with the power consumption because in most cases, V6 can only be used in stationary amplifiers. The reduced minimum operating voltage also means V6 is compatible with more amplifiers.

    internal.jpg

    V6 Classic and V6 Vivid have different PCB layouts and they produce slightly different sound. V6 Vivid should have similar sound signature to its predecessor V5 while V6 Classic that has an entirely different output stage design is intended to sound different.

    DSC09493.jpg

    I figured that a single discrete opamp almost always has a single PCB to hold the electronic components. Dual discrete opamps tend to have two identical PCBs and the PCBs should be similar to that of the single discrete version of the same opamp. The PCBs in V6 stand vertically with both PCBs facing back-to-back in the housing. SparkosLabs (another discrete opamp maker) had another approach, they arranged their dual opamp PCBs horizontally.

    I have seen some adapters that converts two single opamps into a dual opamp. I have also heard people telling me that the best sound can only be achieved by pairing two single opamps with an adapter but now that I look at it in detail, I think that’s bogus. If you need a dual opamp, save yourself the trouble, just go ahead and purchase a dual opamp.


    Compatibility and Pairing

    The sample I received are dual op amps so I am not able to use them in VE Runabout Plus but they work fine with Zishan Z2 and XuanZu XZ-U303/ Nobsound NS-02E.

    DSC09443.jpg

    I have tried to pair Burson Supreme Sound V5i with XZ-U303 with very little success, it hissed beyond acceptable level. However I do not have a problem fitting V6s into the same tube amplifier, it works flawlessly! I really didn’t expect XZ-U303 to work with V6 seeing that it didn’t work with V5i.


    Some Word of Advice:

    A single opamp can only replace another single opamp and a dual with a dual. The two are not compatible and cannot be used interchangeably.

    Do not try to hot-swap your opamps, you will get a loud noise that will potentially destroy your eardrums and earphones.

    DSC09461.jpg

    If you did not manage to fit V6 into your amplifier due to constrained space, consider getting DIP8 extension sockets or risers. I am currently using DIP8 extension sockets for XuanZu XZ-U303.

    foil.jpg

    There’s a saying that PCB is part of the opamp design. If you wish to reduce the noise level of your audio setup, you can try out this mod by wrapping V6 with a piece of copper foil and have it grounded. I have not gotten around to do the mod but in theory it should work like a Faraday cage and cut down on external electromagnetic interference.

    DSC09415.jpg

    Last but not least, be warned that opamp rolling is an addictive activity so do it responsibly. Make sure you have enough time to burn before going down the rabbit hole.


    Conclusion

    Burson Supreme Sound V6 is the best opamp money can buy and the sound quality is as good as it gets.

    If you already spent a fortune on headphones, earphones, DACs and amplifiers, don’t settle for mediocrity, go the distance and try out Burson Supreme Sound V6.
      snellemin and DBaldock9 like this.

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