Burson Funk - 3Wpc Headphone Amp and 45Wpc Class-AB Speaker Amp

Vincicoustics

New Head-Fier
Burson Funk : Funk to the Max
Pros: Premium, classy but sturdy build
Ample power for single-ended
Underrated speaker amp section
Cons: None except competitors have a built-in DAC or balanced option at this price
To begin with, happy to be part of the Funk experience review, thanks again to @SS-Audio for letting me listen and test the Funk. I will not delve onto the specs as it has been discussed already in prior reviews so I'll be going direct to my impressions. For the unboxing and contents, check out @d m41n man 's unboxing video as it is comprehensive and covers all the contents.
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Build and Package
The Burson Funk comes in a white box with the unit housed in thick foam and its accessories in another white box inside. Like its breathren of the same generation of products, the casing also acts like a heatsink but for most of the testing, it does seem that it does not get hot like other amps. And it does look the combination of classy and rugged, which will fit most workstation aesthetics.
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Sound and Connectivity
You'll find the speaker binding posts and stereo inputs at the back. So we hooked it up to some of the most popular bookshelf speakers from Q Acoustics, JBL, and Revel - driving those to loud levels without distorting and maxing out the potentiometer. They also sing with utmost transparency of your music source while giving you a really good stage presentation, being able to pinpoint instrument placements with the vocalist front and center.
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With its headphone amp section, it is also reflective of its transparency and is able to power even the most demanding headphones at single-ended (except electrostats probably) Listening to the Hifiman Edition XS, Sennheiser HD650 and Grado SR225e, it drives these headphones with ease without pushing past the potentiometer. The sound output is basically dependent on your sound chain going in, yet it never sounded dry with every setup we tried like a DAC dongle (Dragonfly) or a DAP (Fiio X3 line out). That class A (headamp) and class AB (speakeramp) topology does wonders to its musicality while still being exciting and energetic. Compared to the Toppings and SMSLs that I've heard back then, this outshines most of them as both brands were somewhat leaning to be analytical and digital sounding. Turning that volume knob is really satisfying while getting onto the music at its volume peak. It is to note that despite having a low-gain, always start at low volume levels as this unit gets really loud with IEMs. This may work with earphones but be careful when turning that volume knob. Also, unplug your headphones before turning off and on because it makes a 'pop' sound whenever you turn it off and on.

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Conclusion
Just go ahead and buy it especially if you chance upon it discounted. If you happen to own or plan to get a non-powered bookshelf speaker for your desktop and would like to have an all-in-one amp then you've found it. What I love about the Funk is it does what it's supposed to do without the complexities. The Funk just works as it is meant to be, no fuzz. And it performs beyond expectations without needing a balanced output. I did not even mention that you can play around with the opamps to further tune your sound as it is functional in its core package. If it ticks all the boxes of your requirements, then you won't be disappointed.
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d m41n man

100+ Head-Fier
Funky Aussie Awesomeness
Pros: Robust, durable build and premium feel
Transparent sound with lotsa power
Passive near-field and head amp desktop 2-in-1 solution
Cons: Less pricier options have built-in DAC and/or balanced option
Shout out to @SS-Audio and Bhavneet of Burson Audio for the experience and for the chance to review the Burson Audio Funk. It was such a pleasure and out of the gate - the Funk lives up to its brand's reputation with its use-case efficiency, premiumness and power. Read on for more details.

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Introduction
For those not in the know, Australian-born Burson Audio has been around for quite some time already (around 12 years) providing us with quality hifi products and proprietary technology designed to set them apart from the competition. Their Max Current Power Supply (MCPS) and focus on discrete opamps are such cases that made them a signature and a household brand in the world of head fi. Now, they're back with a sequel to their predecessor amp (Fun) and combined it with their old near-field speaker amp (Bang) and gave birth of sorts to this compact desktop monitoring & near-field listening solution. Trust me when I say that the Funk is the only funky desktop amp you'll ever need.

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Packaging
The Burson Funk comes in a brown cardboard box, then unboxing from it is a clean, sleek white box that houses the unit and its accessories. The basic package (which is the version I received) comes with the unit itself, a powerbrick supply, an RCA-RCA audio cable for your sources and a cable that plugs onto standard 2-prong round outlets. On a separate bag is a hex tool for opening the chassis, a headset w/ mic Y-split adapter and a very small fuse in case of future unit failure. I received the stock package which has the default 2 x NE5532 opamps installed separately as head amp and speaker sections but I did get a pair of V6 Classic dual opamps as upgrades.

For a visual unboxing, please check my video here -

Build
Similar to the current portfolio of Burson products, the Funk is housed in an aluminum casing that feels solid and durable which is designed to be a heatsink in itself. It houses a 3W class A head amp and 45W class, AB speaker amp. Opening the amp is easy wherein you unscrew the top 2screws on the front and rear each in order to unveil the insides. In itself, it definitely looks premium and is not that big enough to eat up some real estate on your desktop (just like the Playmate 2) giving yourself some room for your separate DAC. The front has the volume knob as well as which with light indicators for modes, output and gain levels as well as the 6.3mm ans 3.5mm outputs. On the rear, you have the power supply socket as well as the speaker binding posts and aux/RCA inputs. It is important to note however that upon turning it off, it will give a loud pop sound to your headphones so better to remove your headphones before turning off the unit.

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Functionality and Sound Performance

The Funk in its stock configuration is transparent sounding in itself while scaling high with its 3W power, capable to drive almost all dynamic and planars single-ended. The class A power gives this set a very musical, smooth, heft, full-bodied sound but still with some obvious transients and graininess. Though it still leaves some room for improvement. Hence, the rolling of opamps with the change to a pair of V6 Classic dual opamps. The V6 Classic dual opamps makes it more musical, expands the soundstage width but also brings an intimate sound signature. Not exactly warm but never harsh or peaky nonetheless. It, also squeezes out some more details than the stock configuration. It does perform in between the stock NE5532's neutrality and the smoothness of the V6 Vivids. It did not had any problems making the HD800, AKG K812, AKG Q701, Hifiman XS, and Sennheiser HD650 sing without distortions. Though adding your DAC and preamp may alter the sound more according to your flavor.

With this information, the same goes for passive desktop bookshelf speakers. If you have tube preamp, then it will alter its signature to that preamp's sound. What's good about having a class AB and class A amp sections is that these are more natural sounding than their class D counterparts by not sounding digital, with that hint of analog flavor. The speaker amp section powers most passive bookshelf speakers, tested to drive the Q Acoustics 3020i and JBL Studio 620 to high volume levels without distorting but clipping does happen at 4 o' clock knob levels.

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Conclusion
I'll just go ahead and say it - if you need an all-in-one desktop amp and not having a balanced output is not much of a dealbreaker, then go ahead and get a Burson Funk. You can play around with other elements in your equipment chain to cater your setup to different preferences. At the end of the day, the Funk will power whatever listening gear you might have on your desktop except the most demanding electrostats. Its solid, compact formfactor is a nice plus and is a really good product though it is admittedly not the most price-friendly of amps but it does justify what you pay for. No worries with powering most headphones despite lacking a balanced connection as there is no shortage of power here unless drving some electrostats. The V6 package aeems to be really a good bundle though the Playmate 2 V6 package seems more enticing because of the extra V6 single opamps and remote control for the same additional price. Hats off to Burson Audio for coming up with this 2-in-1 amp. Awesome job!

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kolisten09

Head-Fier
Aussie Funky Sound - the definitive value desktop amp
Pros: Solid premium build and design, powerful transparent sound at stock config, all-in-one amp for your desktop (headphones and near-field passive speakers), Mic passthrough
Cons: Other competition have balanced I/O at this price range
Intro
To start off, thanks to Bhavneet and Burson for having me as part of the Funk review tour locally. After my experience with the Playmate 2, I am really looking forward to how the other products in the lineup sound. With the Funk, it may share similarities with the Playmate 2 in terms of its amp section but since it is not dependent on the built-in DAC like the PM2 then the sound chain with Funk can really be tuned according to preference, based on the DAC, preamp and/or EQ that you'll be connecting. For the unitiated, Burson Audio has been around for more than 12 years as one of the few audio specialist brands hailing from the country down under, making their names especially with their discrete opamps being used by DIYers all around the globe.

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Build, packaging, and configuration
The main product packaging is housed in a cardboard box wherein the white labeled box holds the item and its accessories protected by solid hard foam. The Funk in itself feels solid, sturdy and shall withstand abuse case situations on a desktop placement, similar to all the current Burson Audio lineup despite being part of the entry series. The metal casing also serves as a heatsink since it does get warm after a couple of hours use but will not reach concerns of overheat levels. The accessories portion comes with the powerbrick, a RCA-RCA cable for connecting to your audio sources, a headphone/mic splitter, a very small replacement fuse (in the case of internal burnout I guess), and a small hex tool for opening up the unit in order to change to opamps, which is quite addictive that such option gives it the feeling similar to rolling with tubes to tune your sound preference (of course, it can be possibly costly as well). Since it does not have a built-in DAC, you can somewhat tune your sound within the chain based on the DAC, preamp, and/or EQ you apply before the Funk. Out of the box, it is transparent to the source and audio chain with its stock NE5532 opamp configuration unlike the Playmate 2, which is a bit harsh and noisy in its default configuration. The Funk functions really well on its own as an amp in contrast with the Playmate 2, wherein the experience of changing the PM2 opamps seem to be a must as the change is really a noticeable improvement especially with the V6 Vivid dual. In the case of this review, we used the Funk in its stock package as well as adding the V6 Classic dual in this case for this review. The amp section also differs from the Playmate 2 as the Funk only has two opamp stage for rolling, which is the headphone output and speaker output sections (unlike the PM2 wherein you can change the pair of duals for IV stage and another for single at the LP stage).

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At the back, it has RCA stereo input ports for connecting your source, mic passthrough, and a pair of speaker binding posts for speaker output powering at a Class AB 45W per channel @ 4 ohms and 35W per channel @ 8 ohms. At the front, you have a 6.3mm and 3.5mm 3W Class A headphone output jacks as well as the volume pot (which feels really good) and 3 buttons to control the gain, output (speakers or headphones), as well as the on/off function.

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Sound
Right off the bat, I have to inform that the amp is too powerful for any IEMs even at Low gain though you can listen to them at low volume without channel imbalance at a sweet low spot so for its use case, will focus on the headphones output with the HD650 and tried it with the Hifiman Edition XS as well. Out of my HD650, the class A 3W sound is really powerful, energetic without being grainy, retaining the smooth reference character of the HD650. Adding the V6 Classic dual opamp onto the mix, it squeezed out more details and separation from the default setup. It also gave a deeper, rumbling bass as well as a more extended treble to the Edition XS. The V6 Classic opamp gave more texture and somewhat a humanistic factor and personality to the overall sound, bringing in a more intimate, vocal-centric character while expanding on the bass and treble extension without any sibilance. Though just to mention in comparison to the Playmate 2 w/ V6 Vivid opamps installed, the Playmate 2 does sound smoother while being more dynamic to cater as more of the all-rounder option between the two. For those who are planning to get the Funk, the default configuration is already the way to go especially if you have a preferred DAC or an existing tube preamp for your preferences. Getting the V6 or other opamps changes the overall character of the amp and is a totally different experience worth exploring if you have the extra funds. Though with the sound I got by connecting a Dragonfly Cobalt DAC onto the chain, the amp is really transparent that it took the Dragonfly Cobalt sound I hear from my IEMs and gave it a powerful oomph, magnifying it for your headphone setup.

Bass control with Darkside's "Paper trails" as well as the presentation with Ariana Grande tracks are really a wonder to be heard with these, not ever going at a time where it is all around the place. Details are easily picked out and the presentation is whatever the DAC and preamp chain you put before the Funk. The power it brings is more than enough for almost all the headphones in the market except the most demanding electrostats as it goes really loud at just 12 o'clock of the volume pot for both the HD650 and the Hifiman Edition XS.

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Overall
The Burson Funk is your definite value combo of choice as both a headphone and speaker amp for your desktop if you have a listening station setup for both. With its relative-sized footprint that does not take too much space and its more-than-adequate power, it's a gear that belongs on everyone's desk especially if you fancy trying out different DACs and preamp options while doing your studio monitoring on a pair of passive speakers. The only caveat is if balanced connections really matter with your setup. The premium solid feel and look also does not feel outdated along with any peripheral you might have as it is a straighforward amplifier for your other gears. Unless you want an all-in-one box like the Playmate 2 that connects to your PC to save space for other elements and you fancy playing around with other parts of your audio chain to attain that desired sound, then this is a very solid purchase. Great job Burson and thumbs up!

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Otto Motor

Headphoneus Supremus
Burson Funk Headphone/Speaker Amplifier Review - Muscular Aussie
Pros: Power, robust/organic sound; versatile application (headphones/iems, speakers), low output impedance; super design and build; advanced power supply.
Cons: May result in opamp rolling addiction; deluxe package is effectively a “must”.
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Executive Summary

The Burson Funk is a highly versatile combined headphone/speaker amp that particularly impresses by its midrange reproduction and power.


This review was originally published at www.audioreviews.org


Introduction

Burson Audio was established in 2001 out of Melbourne aiming to push the boundaries of innovation. They started with audio parts (“opamps”) before moving into complete amplifiers. The company prides itself of not advertising and not visiting trade shows (we don’t do that either…no ads here) – and they don’t buy reviews (I have not received an offer yet). This attitude, combined with their product quality is appealing to many so that Burson has generated quite a following. And, as far as I can assess, rightly so.


Specifications

Selected Data
HEADPHONE AMPSolid State, Class A
Power:2*3.5 W @ 16 ohm
Output Impedance:<2 Ohm
SPEAKER AMPSolid State, Class AB
Power:2*45 W @ 4 Ohm
Download Manual:Google Drive
Product Page:Burson Audio
Purchase Link:Burson Audio
Tested at:$744 for the Deluxe Package (with two NE5532 installed,
two V6 Vivid Op amps and “Cool Stand”)
Standard version:$544 (with two NE5532 opamps installed)
Full Specs

Physical Things

During the design phase of their Lisa computer in 1981, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a meeting: “Well, circles and ovals are good, but how about drawing rectangles with rounded corners? ” This started a series of designs that persist right to the current iPhones. Nothing new here, though, Jobs was obviously following the idea of the Bauhaus school “form follows function“.

Burson also picked up on that German idea with their designs that are minimalistic and functional…and therefore attractive. After all, “less is more“.

The Burson Funk is a piece or art — and not only that. It is that square box with rounded corners and minimalistic operational elements. Build is as good as it gets, the enclosure made of a high-density aluminum. Rugged and heavy. A clever “ridge-n-groove” groove heat-sink structure increases and maximizes the surface area, which optimizes heat dissipation.

The “Cool Stand” also incorporates this design. And it keeps the Funk in an upright position, which further increases head dissipation by decreasing its footprint. Nomen est omen. Didn’t we know this from external computer hard drives?


Rectangles with rounded corners are everywhere! Steve Jobs.


Burson Funk


Burson Funk’s top cover: ridge-n-groove head-sink design maximizes surface and therefore heat dissipation. Allen keys for removing screws are included.


Burson Funk


The heavy duty “Cool Stand” has its name for a reason. Positioning the Funk in an upright position maximizes the surface area exposed to air – and therefore cooling.


Burson Funk



The “Cool Stand” features three pods (the single one avoids the Funk’s rubber feet).

Features

What it does:
Drives headphones and even sensitive iems with its powerful Class A circuit
Drives near-field speakers with powerful Class AB amplification
Is a sonic chameleon through opamp rolling
The low-noise MCPS switching power supply minimizes signal contamination
Can be used by gamers though its microphone bypass


What it does not:
Has no balanced output

Operation

Just like its general shape, the Burson’s operation is straight forward and strictly functional. The front panel offers two headphone jacks, one for 6.3 mm and the other for 3.5 mm plugs. There are three buttons, one for on/off, the second for toggling between headphone amp and speaker amp, and the third for low/high gain. High gain may be used for harder to drive headphones, and low gain for sensitive iems.

The applied settings are indicated by blue “pinhead” LEDs that are subtle and inconspicuous even in a dark room. The volume knob in the centre has good resistance when turning and is as accurate as could be.

The back panel hosts all sockets: RCA for source input, mic-bypass for gamers, speaker-cable connectors, and the socket for the power supply.


Burson Funk


Front panel from R to L: three buttons (on/off, headphone/speaker amp, low/high gain), volume knob, and two headphone jacks.


Burson Funk


Rear panel sockets from R to L: power-supply, speaker-cable output, mic bypass, and analog source input.


Burson Funk


Mic bypass: splitter included for connecting an external microphone and headphone while bypassing the dac. Gamers frolick!


Amplification

The Burson Funk’s Class A headphones circuit offers a healthy 3.5 W at 16 Ohm and a still very generous 150 mW at 300 Ohm. It drives my 300 Ohm Sennheiser HD 600 with ease and will probably do justice to the most inefficient planar magnetic headphones. A low gain setting and the relatively low output impedance of <2 Ohm make the Funk also well suited for sensitive iems. I went as low as 16 Ohm iems in my testing and heard no hiss.

The Class AB circuit is designed for near-field listening, but 2*45 W on 4 Ohm speakers are overkill for desktop use. The Burson Funk works quite well for midsized rooms, too.

MCPS Power Supply

Burson have created their proprietary Maximum Current Power Supply “MCPS” that is included with all their amps. It is an ultrafast switching power supply that minimizes noise riding on the signal – and it lowers resistance speed up performance.

Opamps

Operational amps (“opamps”) are one of the building blocks of analog electronics circuits, used for signal conditioning, filtering, and/or performing mathematical operations, and therefore sound optimization and customization. They are easily plugged into/pulled out of the logic board (Allen keys for opening the enclsoure are included).

Opamps fine tune the’s sonic signature, and help tailor the sound to the listener’s preference – similar to tubes in tube amps. Opamps are universally deployable across different amps independent of brand.

Burson includes a pair of their flagship V6 Vivid opamps in the “Deluxe Package” that produce an energetic and dynamic sound. They also offer opamaps separately, for example, the V6 Classic, which generate a more laid back, relaxed sound with a vinyl charm.

The Funk holds two opamps (hence the supplied “pair”), one for the headphone circuit and the other for the speaker circuit. Feel free to use a different opamp in each signal path. Many users prefer the V6 Classic for headphone use and the V6 Vivid for speakers.

Caution, “opamp rolling” can be addictive!


Burson Funk


The included V6 Vivid Dual is Burson’s flagship opamp.


Burson Funk


Two dual opamps installed. Each is for a different signal path…the upper left one for the speakers and the central right one for the headphone. You can use a different opamp for each signal path if desired.


Burson Funk


V6 Vivid opamp in the headphone’s signal path.


Sound

Headphones

Equipment used: Questyle QP1R reference dap | MacBook Air + Khadas Tone2 Pro with Allo Nirvana SMPS; AudioQuest Golden Gate RCA interconnects; Sennheiser HD 600 heaphone; Sennheiser IE 300/400 PRO iems.

What became evident first to me was how the Burson Funk with the V6 Vivid opamp replaces the analytical signature of the Questyle’s own Class A amp with a slight warmth and an overall subtle tone colour moving the signature towards analog. Sound is quite natural and definitely not digitally artificial.

Bass with the Burson Funk is tight and the vocals above are placed where they should be, not back and not too up front. Voices are delivered with very good weight and definition, and with crispness, which is of utmost important for my enjoyment. I found that the Funk worked well even with the overly sharp recorded vocals in my test track portfolio. Vocals reproduction is the Funk’s biggest trait which would be my personal dealmaker.

Treble extension with the V6 Vivid is good without any grain. The top end is as sweet as the rest of the spectrum
In contrast, the Topping L30, hailed as one of the best audio products around by quite a few, failed my ears miserably in the vocals department and timbre. That’s where many cheap amps cannot convince: they attenuate the midrange, possibly for better perceived transparency, and they sound sterile and lifeless. The Funk does not suffer from these.
The opamp certainly justifies its “Vivid” name, but the dynamics are well dosed and not overpowering. If you want less punch, try the V6 Classic.

Stage has excellent depth and height, but average width. Headroom is plenty so that a balanced output is not missed. Resolution and separation are very good, too. Most headphone amps I have tested (“Topping L30” type) sounded digital, flat, and thin in comparison. But I have not auditioned many, admittedly.


Burson Funk




Speakers

Equipment used: Marantz SA8000, Monster M-series RCA interconnects, Heybrook HB1 speakers (8 Ohm, 90 dB).

The Burson Funk’s AB speaker circuit is designed for near-field speakers on our desks. 45 W per channel @ 4 Ohm speakers appears to be overkill for our eardrums. I therefore undermined my reviewing task — also because I don’t have (space for) desktop speakers — and ran the Funk with 8 Ohm Heybrook HB1 speakers @35 W on the main floor of my 2000 sq. ft house. Sourced by the Marantz SA8005 SACD player, the Funk replaced my regular Luxman L-410 dedicated speaker amp.

The result was somewhat predictable. The Burson Funk lacks the Luxman’s sheer power, body, and note weight (“quantity”) but it excels in quality: that is better transparency and depth, better three-dimensionality, crisper attack, better defined notes and better detail resolution.

The Burson Funk is leaner than the Luxman, but never thin. It is a bit underpowered for that large area when listening to Metallica, but I still thoroughly enjoyed its fluidity with Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos by Café Zimmermann. Move the unit into a mid-sized room…and bingo.



Concluding Remarks

The Burson Funk is a gorgeous device that has been pure pleasure for me. Great to look at, great to handle, and very good sounding with lots of power. Most impressive is its vocals presentation.

It does more than justice to my 300 Ohm Sennheiser’s HD 600 and 16 Ohm Sennheiser IE 300/400 PRO iems. And it works well with my speakers the size of a bookshelf (“bookshelf speakers?”) in a mid-sized room. Thanks to the “Cool Stand” finally an amp that fits on my crowded desk.

There is nothing I dislike about the Burson Funk other than perhaps my desire to try more opamps. Well done, cobbers!
Until next time…keep on listening!

Jürgen Kraus signature


Disclaimer

The Deluxe Package of the Burson Funk was provided unsolicited for this review by Burson – and I thank them for that.

Get the Burson Funk HERE.

My generic standard disclaimer.
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Dobrescu George

Reviewer: AudiophileHeaven
Burson Funk Amplifier for Speakers, Headphones & IEMs - Let's Jazz
Pros: + Build Quality
+ Driving power for both speakers and headphones
+ both 3.5 and 6.3mm headphone outputs
+ Great Control
+ Clean, neutral sound
+ No distortions
+ Great Value
Cons: - Needs external DAC, setup price will be a bit higher
- Not the most bassy sound out there, needs you to have bassy headphones or speakers to sound its best
Burson Funk Amplifier for Speakers, Headphones & IEMs - Let's Jazz

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Burson Funk is a high-end amplifier for Stereo and Headphones, with a starting price of 550 USD, and depending on the configuration, able to reach 750 USD. It will be compared to other amplifiers, like Aune S6 PRO, Hagerman Tuba, and Audio-GD Master 19.






Introduction

I have always been enthusiastic about Burson products, and their Funk makes no exception being an exceptionally musical one, with a good price tag, and tons of power under the belt, not to mention the high quality class AB, which you can hear working in the background. I haven't had such a high opinion of the Playmate, but I loved the Burson play, so I kept my opinions as neutral as possible, but I have to say, they are one of the more enthusiastic companies out there. With a 5-year warranty, Burson Audio is surely going to survive years of usage, and if you watch closely on second hand forums, you will find folks still rocking Burson Audio products from the first generation with zero issues, so we have one that's going to survive for years to come.

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It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Burson Audio. I'd like to thank Burson Audio for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with Burson Funk. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it. The purpose of this review is to help those interested in Burson Funk find their next music companion.



Packaging

First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:

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Burson has always had this way of approaching customers by having more marketing done online, rather than spending money on fancy packages. It is paying off, and I have to say, the package of the Funk is as simplistic as that of their other products, yet this time around they have included a few extras, like a tool to open it, power converter and protectors on the RCA jacks applied from the factory.

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There's no need for a 6.3 to 3.5mm adapter since Funk has both.



Build Quality/Aesthetics/Functionality

Speaking of the amazing stuff that Funk can do, this one is a beautiful desktop amplifier, with a large volume wheel at the front, and a selection of 3 buttons. It is able to select between speaker and headphone output, has an on/off switch, and it also has a selector between 2 power outputs for the headphone output, for both IEMs and Speakers.

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And this is where things started to get fun. Funk has a bypass for headsets with a microphone, and you can use a cable from its back to your main soundcard to use your gaming headphones with it. In terms of headphone driving power, it has a full 3W Class A headphone amplifier, which means that you can drive everything. This includes HIFIMAN He6SE which are notorious for being hard to drive, but also Rosson RAD-0, Audeze LCD-MX4, Kennerton Thror and everything in between. Funk is simply unstoppable when it comes to driving headphones.

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The fun doesn't stop here, because it can also drive IEMs and has an extremely low noise level, no background hissing, it is the perfect amplifier to drive everything you have around the house. Comparing it to a DAP, I would say it is as silent as Astell & Kern SE180 when driving IEMs, making Funk one of the most silent and efficient power amplifiers for both headphones and IEMs I ever tested. I had trouble with this because usually I reviewed products from FiiO that have a pretty high noise floor for IEMs and I can't recommend them much with IEMs, unless we're talking about the infamous Final Audio E5000, the IEM that's harder to drive than most headphones. Fun fact is that I also reached nirvana while driving E5000 from a Burson, but it was the Burson Play back then.

Despite the fact that the whole build is made for it to be a heatsink, I actually dig it. I like the design, being a bit industrial, is really cool, and the finish is really nice too. You can open it up and replace the Op-AMPs, which will change its sound greatly, and it comes with the Basic OP-AMPs by default, and you can replace those with VIVID or Classic Burson OP-AMPs (I made a review on the Vivid in the past).

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When we reach the back of the unit, things start to get even more interesting. We have our typical RCA input for the signal, but we also have a full sized speaker output! The speaker amplifier part is class AB, and it can provide 45 Watts of power. While it may not seem like much, it is more than enough for pretty much any bookshelf speaker out there, and both with Buchardt S400, NHT C3, and Dali IKON MK2, I had the pleasant experience of Funk being able to take them to full power. I could get all of them so loud that I almost shattered the glass of my room, other audio products started dancing on my desk, while Burson Funk stayed still because it is rather heavy.

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In fact, this surprised me the most - Burson Funk has absolutely zero distortions at maximum volume. While I can rarely take a 3W Class A Headphone Amplifier at maximum, I was able to explore the speaker amplifier quite a bit, and man, I was not expecting Funk to withstand the maximum volume it can reach with absolutely zero distortion. There's simply none, no problem using it all the way to the maximum, so unlike your latest sports car, with Funk, if you paid for the whole volume wheel, you can use the whole volume wheel. Naturally, everything is gold plated and should survive well to usage, plus with speakers, you generally don't have to replace the cables often.



Sound Quality

Since we need a DAC for using Burson Funk, I have used Burson Play, Burson Playmate, Cyrus One Cast, Mytek Brooklyn DAC+, AAdac from Analog Audio, as well as a few portables including iBasso DX300, Astell & Kern SE180, and Lotoo Paw 6000 for testing Burson Funk. I also teste it with speakers including NHT C3, Buchardt S400, Spendor S8e and Dali Ikon Mk2. For headphones, I tested the Burson Funk with Sendy Audio Peacock, Audeze LCD-XC, Crosszone CZ-10, HIFIMAN Arya, and Final Audio A8000, Final Audio E5000, Campfire Dorado 2020, Metalure Wave, Unique Melody MEST MK2, and Audeze Euclid, as far as IEMs go. Basically, I did my best to cover all grounds and provide you with the best review I could on the sound, pairing and overall abilities of Burson Funk.

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The general signature of Burson Funk can be described as really open, wide and musical. There's a slight difference between the headphone output and the speaker output, but both share the same overall tuning. What is most surprising about Funk is the musicality, how effortless it sounds, how it can simply drive everything that comes in contact with it, and how it has control and authority over any headphone and speaker. We're looking at a leaner sound, with a neutral bass presentation, a musical and rich, slightly warm midrange, and a sparkly, airy, detailed and well extended treble.

The bass is the least intruding part of Funk's sound, being neutral, but really quick, effortless and having a smooth presentation. A smooth bass means slightly less impact than a hard one, but Funk's not afraid to deliver a fluid, distortion-free bass even in the most picky of speakers and headphones, and will be a perfect match for already warm and thick sounding IEMs / Headphones / Speakers. I really like the pairing with Buchardt S400, where it helps with their already fairly warm nature, and I also really love the pairing with Final Audio E5000, which are fairly thick and bassy, as well as Rosson RAD-0 and Sendy Peacock. Generally, the bass has a ton of detail, but no grain, being presented really effortlessly compared to most amplifiers out there. Burson really made it sound like Funk ain't struggling in any way.

There's the open and fun midrange, and Funk has a really nice stage to my ears, with good detail, and still the same fluid and effortless presentation. In some ways, despite the leaner and neutral tuning, Funk is one of the most musical amplifiers I know of, and despite it not having Tubes, or Lamp Tech inside, Burson knows how to design a natural sound and musically pleasing sound. The midrange has no particular coloration, and I'm sure Funk would measure dead neutral regardless how you measure it, but one thing I'm not sure would be revealed by any measurement is the softer kind of presentation it has. Dynamics are through the roof with Funk, and it is the perfect amplifier if you like metal, rock, pop, punk, or modern classical / Jazz music, and if you like to be surprised by a myriad of new sounds + colors.

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We're also looking at a really interesting treble, open, reaching new heights, but non fatiguing. I always thought of the Burson house sound as a bit light, but this is insane on Funk, as it has one of the most mature, detailed, clean and airy trebles you can get around this price point. For driving a nice pair of speakers, once again, I think it is a perfect pair for Buchardt S400, which needs a natural and open treble rather than smoothness to reach a balanced presentation. For Headphones and IEMs, Burson pairs best with warmer and bassier headphones / IEMs, where it can give them some extra sparkle, and anything you thought sounded dark will become more open and more airy. The stage is helped by the high extension, and overall Funk has a slightly splashy, wet character treble, so you can expect zero grain but full fluidity throughout its entire sound. Another important aspect about the treble is again, how effortless it is. Reminds me of the way Astell & Kern design the treble in their sound, effortless, well extended and clean.



Comparisons

Given the price point, but also the design, I selected a few competitors that are at least priced similarly and to a similar job. I'm talking about them being a headphone amplifier, because honestly no speaker amplifier I tested in this price range can come even close to Burson Funk. The main competitors I selected are Aune S6 PRO, Hagerman Tuba, and Audio-GD Master 19. Generally, the DAC for driving all of them was either Aune S6 PRO, Mytek Brooklyn DAC+, Audio Analogue AAdac, Keces s3, or Astell & Kern SE180.

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Burson Funk vs Hagerman Tuba (550 USD vs 500 USD) - Tuba's one heck of a sweet sounding and soft sounding amplifier, and priced pretty close to Funk, but the differences in versatility are a bit high, with Tuba being tube-based, and driving mostly headphones well, while funk can drive headphones, iems and speakers too. The overall signature has a sweeter midrange, but smaller soundstage, softer treble and softer bass on Tuba. By comparison, Funk sounds more neutral, more balanced, has more detail, more sparkle in the treble, as well as more overall punch in the bass. Tuba's has a more euphonic sound, Funk is more effortless and everything is more fluid with Funk.

Burson Funk vs Aune S6 PRO (550 USD vs 700 USD) - S6 PRO comes with a DAC too at that price, and a balanced output too, but the power delivery is actually rather low, and S6 PRO is best for IEMs and really easy to drive headphones, while Funk is best with pretty much everything under the sun. The big sonic difference between the two is that S6 PRO has a colder, more analytic sound, more neutral, with even less bass, where Funk sounds more natural and balanced, has more overall bass and is more musical. S6 PRO has slightly more detail, but the better driving power in Funk gives it more dynamics, and more expressivity with all headphones / IEMs.

Burson Funk vs Audio-GD Master 19 (550 USD vs 880 USD) - We have a hard one here, because Master 19 is the strongest headphone amplifier below 1000 USD that I reviewed to date. It has more power than even Funk, but that's not something too long lived as you don't really need more power for headphones than Funk can offer. Master 19 is also harder on IEMs and I would recommend Funk more. The sonics are different, with Funk sounding more neutral, and Master 19 sounding more colorful, more dynamic, but also harder hitting. The smoother, more effortless sound of Funk is really nice for rock and melodic songs, where Master 19's harder impact works well for EDM, Dubstep and Metal. Both are really capable amplifiers, but Master 19 is needlessly large in practice, and will take a good portion of your desk, where Funk is just perfectly sized for any desk. Master 19 is great as a preamplifier, where Funk is the final amplifier for speakers too, having more usage versatility.



Value and Conclusion

While I can't speak about Funk's value negatively I know for sure I can speak positively. It has probably the best value you can get from an amplifier in this price range, since it can drive both speakers and headphones, and even IEMs, for a starting price of 550 USD, and up to about 750 USD. This means you have a media center at your fingertips, and one with full Class A Headphone Amplifier, and Class AB Speaker amplifier, and enough power + control to make your other gear kneel.

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The package is interesting, but not very marketing-oriented, rather made to offer protection to Funk during shipping. It has a pretty typical power converter, but Burson gave us the tools to open the Funk and replace the OP-AMPs if we wanted to, so power to us.

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Before the end of today's written review, I want to add Burson Funk to Audiophile-Heaven's Hall Of Fame for its exceptional performance, as well as price / performance ratio, plus forward-thinking design, and good control over both headphones and speakers.

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At the end of today's review, if you're looking for a smooth, musical, neutral-natural, effortless sounding Amplifier, with tons of driving power, able to deal with both stereo systems and headphones, and if you're looking for an amplifier you can always have on your desk, Burson Funk is surely going to be among the first choices you'll naturally come to.
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Dobrescu George
Dobrescu George
@PoSR77 - You could totally go for the Funk first and repurpose, but it doesn't have a DAC inside, so if you made it a bedroom setup, you'd need to think of a DAC too. Otherwise, I would get funk first to see if Burson House Sound is right for you :)
buson160man
buson160man
I used to have a burson ref 3 preamp/dac/headphone amp for around a year. But after listening to the headphone amp for awhile I noticed a digital sound signature to it while i was listening to my headphones using the headphone amp. So, I dragged out my old reliable Burson HA-160 headphone amp and did some comparative listening between the two and came up with the conclusion that the old Burson had a much more analog like sound to it and no digital signature to its reproduction. I stopped using the Burson REf 3 as a headphone amp and went back to my old Ha-160 as a headphone amp. I used the dac for a bit until I traded it in on a Sonnett Morpheus dac. I attributed the digital signature to Bursons use of a switching power supply in their newer designs. Whereas their older designs with the analogue power supplies sound better and much more analogue like.
Dobrescu George
Dobrescu George
@buson160man - Interesting, but it ends up being considerably more pricey
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