Burson Audio Swing Pre-amp ESS9038 + V6 vivid Duals – Review - Reviews
Pros: V6 Vivid Opamp Improves all aspects of SQ over basic model

Best DAC spec. with a Xmos USB receiver, Swing does PCM 32bit/768khz and DSD512
Design enables op-amp rolling.
Preamp out with adjustable volume.
Good size as desk top gear.
Cons: same as basic model: (no big deal, really)
small display
power switch is in the back
Swing DAC/PreAmp with V6 vivid op-amp

Product information can be found @ Burson Audio Swing

Gears used:
Source: PC Foobar2000
DAC: Burson Swing (with V6 Vivid Dual opamp)
Topping DX7s
LKS MH-DA003
Amp: iFi iCan Pro
headphone: Sony MDR-Z1R


Disclaimer:

Burson Audio send me this Swing unit for my honest opinion, which I have posted my review on
Head-Fi @ here
After that, they sent me a pair of V6 Vivid dual op-amp to do further review.

This pair of V6 dual op-amp replaces two JRC5532D at IV stage on Swing basic model.

Swing comes with a tool for user to open the cover, and inner side of the top cover has a printed map to show
location of opamp, and their corresponding stage in the circuit.
There are two opamp for each stage, one type (JRC5534D) can be replaced with single version
opamp.
And the other (JRC5532D) can be replaced with dual version opamp, this is what I have in this review.

Replacing OP-Amp:

First thing – power off gears, all gears connected, not just Swing to be safe.
Open up the top cover by unscrew 4 screws, 2 on front panel and 2 on back.
Under the cover there is a picture showing location of opamp that can be replaced.

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The V6 opamp comes with socket attached, if you place them in place of socket of current opamp IC, it will be too tall to close the top cover. So be sure to remove the socket from new opamp and put it into socket by aligning the side with notch to the side of on board socket with notch, place it wrong, you might burn it when you power on.

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To remove IC or socket, you can use a small screw driver to ply it off a little bit on both side in turn, do not try to ply it off from one side, it might bend and damage the pins.
There is special tool to remove IC as shown by other reviewer, but it is not required.
I had been a circuit board designer for 4 years, I used to be able to un-solder and replace a 40 pins IC with no harm to it. But that was long time ago. Just want to say that replace an IC on socket is a piece of cake for people like myself. But it should not be too difficulty to any one either.

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Setting
: PreAmp Mode

I use high level Preamp out, then adjust volume to around 80 to match my Topping DX7s which
has output fixed at 2V.
I think this is important feature in a DAC that has adjustable Preamp out like this, especially
Swing has two level which will allow it to fit in different system needs.
With this, I can set my amplifier volume at the sweet spot as I learned from others and adjust
volume from DAC.

Sound Quality:

In my previous review of Swing basic model, it didn’t win in all aspects comparing with DA003, and DX7s. All had its own strong sides.

With V6 Vivid Opamp in place of the I/V stage opamp, Swing sounds beautifully in all aspects.
Swing V6 has good feel of stage, width, depth are all improved.
It is easy to hear the improvement over DA-003.
Vocal is crystal clearer, high extends in good way, and mid sweeter and low is punchier with
good quality and quantity. And the best of all is the sound stage is better layering, low and mid don’t affect each other and all music play together in harmonic.
Music sounds dynamic and energizing when listen to a track with only drums, when small and big ones play together, it is all clear in different location and full of punches, just amazing.
With instrument music, Swing V6 stage and layering makes it sounds like live concert.

DX7s is very close in, DX7s’ bass is not as punchier as Swing V6, not as strong, but still good though. Layering is not as clear as Swing V6, at times, it feels a tad of concealed when doing A/B.

As you might have noticed, you listen to your gear with satisfaction all along until one day you got a chance to compare with other gears and then you start to swing back and forth about to upgrade or not to upgrade. Yeah, we are all on same boat on this.

Conclusion:

With V6 Vivid opamp, Swing has improved a lot over basic model, it is worth the money to upgrade your Swing with it. I am a bit surprised that replaces opam with V6 Vivid can hear such improvement on SQ. It sounds like a different DAC from basic model in better way.
I have not heard V6 classic, but some reviewers mentioned that it comes down personal preference on their signature and the music you listen.
If you have Swing basic model, I would encourage you to try V6 opamp, you won’t be disappointed. I like Swing V6 a lot over basic model myself.
Pros: Upgrading to the V6 gives you a warmer, richer more powerful 'Concert like' feel. More focus on instruments. Better PRaT. Incredible energy yet still maintaining details, soundstage and imaging.
Cons: Similar to the 'Basic version' its difficult to find ANY cons! Maybe the display could be bigger? but as far as the sound goes, no cons at a all
  • Burson Audio Swing Pre-amp ESS9038 + V6 vivid Duals– Review

    [Disclaimer] I have no affiliation with Burson and was loaned the amp for the duration of the review period only. I would like to thank Burson for this opportunity (and patience!) to spend time with, enjoy and review the Swing Pre-amp

    [Background] I have been collecting IEM’s & headphones for over 20 years and have been a Producer, Sound Engineer, Editor & Mastering Engineer for 10 years.
    I find myself always looking for and interested in that all too elusive truth and purity of audio reproduction!

    The Actual Review

    Previously I reviewed the Burson Audio Swing Amp ‘basic’ version :
    https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/burson-swing.23566/reviews#review-21946

    Now I am delighted to be reviewing the Burson Swing Pre-amp with the upgraded Opamps 2x V6 vivid Duals!


    burson 4.png


    Pre-amble
    Impressions during playtime
    Highs, mids & lows
    Conclusion

    Pre-amble

    Headphones used:

    Full size
    Sennheiser HD 250 Linear - 300 ohm
    Sennheiser HD 540 Reference 1 - 600 ohm

    IEM’s
    Sony EX800ST
    Auriaonics ASG 2.5
    iBasso IT01

    One thing that I found surprising was how the BAS+V6 was not only able to offer a different sound quality to the base version but also the degree to which it somehow ‘corrected’ one of my favourite headphones !
    I decided to spend some time with [arguably] one the best closed back headphones ever made, certainly one of the best vintage closed back cans made, the Sennheiser HD 250
    It’s difficult to express what it means to have a ‘prefect’ tonality but [for a closed back] and being the sister headphone of the legendary open back Sennheiser HD 540 the Sennheiser HD 250 has the potential (with the right pads + cable) to be as close to ‘perfect’ as you could hope for
    However, listening to the BAS+V6 I was presented with a headphone I had never heard before. Everything - the layering, separation, clarity, High/Mid/Low balance, tonality/PRaT is just spot on. I could find nothing that I feel could be improved upon. Moreover, despite being presented with so much to hear, at the same time I find my self effortlessly being able to let go into the music itself.
    This in itself is a very important point. There is so much audio gear out there that is tuned to impress as oppose to being tuned to be as truthful and accurate as possible. One of the best examples of this in recent times was the ‘Beats’ headphone with its mighty bass. Many [perhaps less experienced] people thought the headphone was great largely due to its celebratory endorsement and its huge low end. It had a real ‘WoW!’ factor. In other words it was tuned to impress but at the end of the day it couldn’t replicate what the music actually sounded like in any realistic way.
    Anyway, so this is my point about why the BAS+V6 is so good – it is tuned to be truthful and accurate to the point where you can enjoy so many aspects of what is in the music and yet still be able to just relax into it.
    The combination of the ‘Audiophile’s’ delights of detail & realism and the PRaT of the ‘Music Lover’ are married so skilfully together with the BAS+V6 it’s such a joy and feels like a privilege to be able to experience it.

    So it is perfect? The only thing I would say and its not so much a criticism as an explanation of the type of sound the V6 Vivids offer is that the V6 Vivids are real monsters! They give you everything. They are a real rock concert sounding Opamp that delivers such a rich powerful sound whilst still maintaining all the pedigree of a top Audiophile amp. You really get the best of everything. If you love your rock, soul etc then this amp will save you a lot of money in having to go to actual concerts!
    In comparison, I found the Basic Opamp to be more of a ‘classical concert sound’ I found similar details but the sound was sweeter, quieter over all
    Listening to a DSD recording of ‘Steam Hammer’ by Peter Gabriel I was struck by how much energy and power from this track was portrayed in such a beautifully balanced manner. Every instrument was given its own space to not only breath but to shine and thus I was able to not only hear but to fully enjoy each and every single instrument in the track

    Listening to a combination of 24/192 vinyl rips and SACD’s of Joe Walsh it also strikes me what a great ‘equalizer’ the BAS is! Despite there being obvious differences between the warm analogue of a vinyl rip and the accurate clean detail of DSD there always seems to be a similar over all tone in the sense that you wouldn’t necessarily know that each song is coming from different albums never mind mediums.
    Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. To achieve this level of consistency and quality and with a powerful energy is rare. It is this very quality though that makes me feel the V6 Opamps are maybe more suited to the music lover, someone who just wants to relax and enjoy the music in the manner that the Artist and the Sound Engineer intended.
    Certainly from memory, the ‘Basic version’ with 4x ES55320 Opamps seemed more detail orientated perhaps being more suitable to the detail obsessed Audiophile! Or for the Headphone only user?

    Swopping back to the ‘Basic version’ with 4x ES55320 Opamps I thought would be interesting as IEMs tend to a bit more subtle than cans!
    It was very interesting hearing the ‘Basic version’ again after spending so much time with the ‘V6 Opampsespecially having spent so much time with Headphones and now having spent time with IEM’s. Straight away there was more detail evident but there was still plenty of energy, just a different kind of energy. Again reminding me of a previous insight that the ‘V6 Opampsare very suitable for people who want to rock out to the joy of music in its full glorious quality where as theBasic versionis maybe for people who want to bliss out with the full and joyful experience of a concert hall performance. They are both full of passion, power and energy but the feel is different.

    To be fair, it’s clear that listening to the upgraded V6 Opamps in the BAS this Preamp would make an incredible addition to a full ‘Hi Fi’ system and in fact would completely ‘make’ the system.

    Unfortunately, Im not currently in a position to be able to run a full system where I live so I will have to leave it to others to review the BAS in that particular set up but having spent a lot of quality and very detailed listening time with the BAS its clear the Upgraded BAS is a ‘Monster’ of a Pre-amp that has the power to really shine with unashamed magnificence and yet gives the detail and precision of the Sabre ESS/ESS9038 full reign

    IEM Conclusion:

    I wanted to spend some time with 3 very different sounding IEM’s to get a feel of how well the BAS+V6– a powerful, warm, rich Preamp would behave with more delicate and sensitive types of headphone IEMs, at different price points and quality levels. I experienced zero hiss, no issues at all, in fact listening now to the relatively neutral EX800ST I am breathless at how effortlessly and naturally and frankly perfect the music is presented.
    I find that in my daily listening sessions it is very rare to arrive at a place when I would not change a single thing about the sound I am hearing and yet here I am


    The Low end, Mids and Highs:

    Bass
    Rich and smooth, deep and controlled – Never overbearing and yet majestic.
    Acoustic bass lines have that wonderful ‘woody’ richness that brings visions of the bass player being immersed in each pluck , thoroughly enjoying the timbre of his 1970’s Fender, losing all sense of time as each perfect bass note vibrates through his body.
    Anyway, my point being that there is a natural rich acoustic tone to many of the bass guitars that is addictive and makes a fertile imagination sing with joy!
    There is a more visceral, meaty, more immediate depth and width to the Bass with the V6’s sounding like you are nearer to the instruments than with the ‘Classic Opamps’ The soundstage may suffer slightly because of this although this is not so much as a fault as a different presentation of the music

    Sub-Bass
    The sub bass is superb and certainly seems more prevalent and of a higher quality than the Basic OpampIt is wonderfully controlled and detailed offering a powerful visceral feel and yet has a definable level of quality and accuracy. It is not just there as a gimmick but has the same excellent detailed expression of the bass, mids and highs, a rare and pleasurable surprise!

    Mids
    Going over to vinyl of ‘Ella Fitzgerald – Ella & Bassie’ and listening to “dream a Little Dream of Me’ You are met by a thunderously rich and warm organ – the physical feeling of is frighteningly like hearing it in a live setting. Mixed in with this is a delicate guitar strumming in the background which despite being far back in the mix is crystal clear. There are trumpets that come into the right stereo field that sound and feel realistically ‘brass like’ Again I was struck by their exciting ‘live’ sound.
    When Ella starts singing she is full, rich with an incredible space around her voice. The BAS has a wonderful ability to keep the 3D space of the recording studio intact
    Over all, female mids seem a bit more prominent where as male vocals, although not recessed are more integrated into the mix. Perhaps better to say that as the V6’s offer a warmer, fully richer sound making male vocals appear to sit deeper in the mix.
    As I mentioned earlier the BAS has an amazing ability to somehow equalize all elements in the mix so that everything has a chance and a space to express itself in and yet the vocals, when important in the mix, are perfectly clear and set in their own space – centre stage

    Highs
    Somehow the highs are crystal clear and yet never display any sibilance. On tracks that have hot highs already present on the recording the BAS seems to be able to keep the energy and yet somehow keep any sibilance ‘hidden away’ It could be tempting to say the highs are slightly rolled off but I think better to say that they are tuned perfectly in relation to the mids and lows. No details are lost and yet they seems smooth and buttery clean
    In one sense, it’s not easy to comment in detail on the highs, mids and lows as they are all so very well balanced with each other. There is nothing given any prominence.
    One aspect that is very impressive and is an important aspect to point out with the highs is that amongst the ‘tour-de-force of the majestic presence’ of the sound you can still clearly hear full transients

    Final Thoughts:

    With the BAS+V6 you have an over all presentation that is powerfully energetic, warm, rich yet balanced perfectly. Everything in the mix has a chance to breath and shine. You feel physically much closer to the actual instruments which makes the V6 Opamp upgrade a very interesting proposal if you want something more than the [essentially sweet detail] of the original ‘Basic’ version. They are both superb each offering a different flavour

    Main music I use for testing…amongst others:

    Natalie Merchant – Ophelia [cd 16-44]
    Bane & Doe – Endangered by me [cd 16-44]
    Right Away, Great Captain! – The Bitter End [cd 16-44]
    A Winged Victory for the Sullen – S/T [vinyl 24-96]
    Bjork – Post (Hyper-ballad) – [vinyl 24-96]
    Crosby & Nash – Another Stoney Evening – [flac 24-96]
    Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Swings Lightly – [vinyl 24-96]
    Janis Joplin – Cheap Thrills (Summertime) – [vinyl 24-96]
    Jimi Hendrix – Band of Gypsies [vinyl 24-96 - Capital 1997]
    Joe Walsh – (Country Fair) [ DSD]
    John Martyn – Solid Air [vinyl 24-96]
    Lou Reed – Transformers [vinyl 24-96 MFSL]
    Nirvana – Nevermind [vinyl 24-96 DGC]
    Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool – [vinyl 24-96]
    Stevie Wonder – Innervisions – [DSD]
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