Burson Conductor 3X Performance

General Information


Some DAC/Amps claim to give you the front row experience in exchange for less soundstage. Others promise a 3D soundstage in trade for fewer details. The Conductor simply gives you everything in the recording, without sugar-coating, the good and sometimes the ugly. You can locate a tapping foot on the stage while enjoying that lingering vibration of air after a keystroke.

Advanced Digital​

The Conductor uses the SABRE32/ESS9038Q2M DAC and XMOS USB receiver chips, the most advanced and expensive in the industry. Its Customised USB driver by Thesycon Germany ensures low latency bit-perfect audio playback. The result is incredible processing power, accurately playing back DSD512 and 32bit/768khz audio.
It also features a Qualcomm/CSR8675 [+] Learn More Bluetooth 5.0 receiver. Playing back at 24bit/96khz with aptX HD audio codec. , it pushes sound quality and ease of use to the highest level.


Max Current Power Supply​

The Conductor Performance features the same Max Current Power Supply (MCPS) that has made the Conductor Reference legendary.
A technology developed, owned and used exclusively by Burson Audio, the MCPS raises voltage frequency from 50Hz to 170kHz, pushing noise beyond human hearing. It completely overcomings the disadvantages of both linear power supplies and conventional switching power supplies, resulting in incredible dynamic and micro-details. [+] Learn More

The Cool Case​

We like to turn Class-A amplifiers from monsters with heat-fins into elegant, desktop-friendly machines, and we do it through the Cool Case. Made from high-density aluminium and electroplated to space-grey, the Cool Case is a unified heat-sink keeping the Class-A Conductor cool and optimised. Critics such as Headfonics called it “the new standard” in the audio industry.
Having a footprint that is 30% less than the Conductor Reference and a volume similar to a lunch box, it is beautiful but unobstructive. Take it to work, and no one will raise an eyebrow. [+] Learn More

Opamp Rolling Fun​

The Conductor Performance comes with Burson V6 Vivid discrete opamps. But don’t let us or anyone dictate your listening experience. The Conductor encourages opamp rolling with gold plated DIP8 sockets along its signal path. With hundreds of audio opamps out there, you have the freedom to tailor your listening experience to your preference. [+] Learn More


The Sound​

While our Conductor Reference is like Huge Jackman in Kate and Leopold, the completed package, the Conductor Performance is the shredded Wolverine. It’s still him but stripped down! Power and total control of that power will be the overwhelming first impression. It energises every note and space in between, bringing accuracy and micro-details. The C3 performance is for the perfectionist who works hard and plays harder.

Which Conductor is for you?​

Suppose you have a DAC with balanced outputs or any headphones with balanced cables, or a power amp with balanced inputs. Suppose you are considering such upgrades in the future. Then the Conductor 3X future proofs your audio journey.
Otherwise, our Conductor 3 is a timeless addition to any single-ended audio system.

Go to your Roon!​

Roon is the most popular streaming and HD music management platform for audiophiles. Burson is part of this fantastic ecosystem.
Our DACs are Roon Tested, and they seamlessly connect with any 3rd party Roon Ready audio streamers.
Learn More [+]

Latest reviews


500+ Head-Fier
Burson Conductor 3XP - Great Performance/Annoying Issues
Pros: Really good sound
6W of power in balanced
Easy to use once setup
XLR4 and 1/4" headphone output options
Gaming mic input
RCA speaker outputs
Great case
Small footprint
Cons: Stupid fiddly knob
Comes on high-gain, no instructions about gain in the manual
The most annoying computer software setup EVER
The shortest USB C cable ever

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The Burson Conductor 3X Performance (3XP) is Burson's fully balanced Headphone DAC/AMP all-in-one. It plugs into your source (computer/phone) with the world's shortest USB C to USB C cable (it's like a foot long - ugh) and then it outputs through a balanced XLR4 jack or a 6.3mm (1/4") jack to your headphones. It has two gain modes, some pretty useless FIR settings and the worst setup instructions of all time. I bought mine on sale from Headphones.com, which conveniently would not allow me to return it because it was on sale.

Honestly, I wanted to return this because I couldn't get my computer to acknowledge its existence for several days (keeping in mind that I was a computer science major, and I am typically not an idiot.) This was made more challenging by the shortest USB C cable ever, which forced me to set the 3XP on my desktop computer instead of my desk. I replaced that stupid thing with a Pixel USB C cable, which seems to work and was about 7,000 times longer. You WILL need to buy a longer cable unless you carry the 3XP around with you like a portable DAC/AMP and just plug it in wherever your source is - assuming there's a plug nearby (this thing is NOT portable.)

For setup, make sure you install the Burson_UsbAudio_v5.30.0_2022-03-24_setup.exe, everything in the TE8802-(Win).7z file that installs, AND the Xmos-USB-(Win8+).rar or the 3XP WILL NOT work. Also, conveniently, there are no instructions on how to do ANY of this included with the product, or on their website (The link to all of these things is here: Stupid Downloads.) Hopefully, that helps so that you don't have to contact Burson's team in Australia for support.

OK, once you've finally got the 3XP plugged in and up and running, found a long enough USB C cable, installed every dang piece of software ever, and your computer recognizes it - STOP. Yet another thing Burson doesn't tell you is that the gain setting comes set to High. Click the button onthe far right to go to the options menu and change the gain to LOW (unless you have the world's hardest to drive headphones ever.) I did not know this, and almost blew out a new set of very easy-to-drive headphones (the volume was a comfortable listening volume set to 1/100 - I had it at 20.) To do this, you will get to play with Burson's terrible fiddly volume knob that is super sensitive and likes to jump around or undo the turning you just did (this also happen when trying to adjust volume - it's the most annoying potentiometer I've ever used and I had a Fiio M11 Plus with the side volume adjust.)


Phew, if you made it to here, you're wondering why the heck you'd buy this thing when stuff like the ifi Micro iDSD Signature exists. Honestly, you'd be right, just go buy that - it's great. BUT, if you want more power, a desktop profile, great sound, a display screen (that loves to flicker every second or so as it reads the hz rate,) you have XLR4 headphones, good looks, and you don't want to buy a Schiit stack for some reason even though it costs less and performs just as good, then the Burson Conductor 3XP is for you!

The Burson Conductor 3XP sounds really good, it doesn't add any coloration to the music streaming from my Tidal. It even slightly toned down the bass and treble harshness on my Kennerton Gjallarhorn GH 50 JM Mk2 (GHJM.) I do mean slightly, as in almost imperceptibly compared to the Schiit Bifrost 2/64/Jotunheim 2 combo it was plugged into before. Other than that, they sound almost the same, which is to say extremely good, though both options cost over $1k, so they should sound good. The Schiit stack is cheaper though - and doesn't have the connection issues the 3XP has, and has a nice volume knob (though it doesn't come with ANY cables other than power, but I'm not sure the 3XPs USB C counts either.) If I was able to return the 3XP, I would have and I'd have kept the Schiit, though the Burson has a smaller footprint on my desk, which was the goal, and the all-in-one is nice to have.

The Burson also has a screen, which is basically useless, so no points earned there. If you don't need XLR4 (all of my headphones have XLR4 terminations,) there's really no point in this. If you don't need XLR4, don't get the Schiit OR the 3XP, get the ifi Micro iDSD Signature, it has a ton of power, sounds great, is portable, can do MQA, power IEMs, has bass boost, etc. I even used it as a desktop amp for several months and enjoyed it more than the Naim Unity Atom HE that cost 6x as much. Actually, it has 4.4mm balanced, so just get an adapter and have a better option with ZERO issues for 1/2 to 1/3rd the price. You will however be missing out on MQA, a screen, and a crappy volume knob in addition the annoying setup.

If you really want a screen, get a DAP and attach it to a good amp, maybe the Jotunheim 2, be happy (Fiio M11 Plus is pretty great.)


Man, it sounds like I hate this thing (little bit,) but it will remain as my desktop DAC/AMP until I find something else I like more (the Fiio K9 Pro ESS was even worse, so that's not an option.) It provides excellent sound, doesn't take up much space for a high-end desktop all-in-one DAC/AMP with XLR4, and has enough power to run a small city (my RAD-0s are my toughest to drive headphones and they run at full volume at 70/100 on low gain.) It also has Bluetooth if THAT's your thing (I can't think of a reason I'd use this.) So, if that sounds like the DAC/AMP for you despite all the issues, get this ON SALE, not full price ($1400 for this is crazy.)

You can buy this from Amazon here: https://amzn.to/3YdrvaR

Wolfhawk's Overall Rating: 7/10
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