Supreme Sound Opamp V6 Classic - Review

omegaorgun

Previously known as FireLion
Supreme Sound Opamp V6 Classic - Review
Pros: +
*Nice sound, like really, really nice sound
*Noticeable improvement over IC's
*Wide sound stage
*Holographic presentation
Cons: -
*Expensive for some
*Might need adapter to fit flatter devices
Preface

Op-amps, controversial product in the "science" realm because they make no difference or very little to measurements, which might indeed be the case. I actually am an avid op amp roller and have a few laying about. To me, they are like rolling tubes, well I guess they did replace them after all.

The thing is, you actually have to listen to music and have trained ears to hear the difference they make. Now it is worth mentioning that not every op-amp works good in every amp so keep a note of that when tinkering, but sometimes you will hit the jackpot and find a great pairing.

Generally, amp and DAC makers will have known what voltages are being used and select an op-amp that operates with the circuit's voltage range or parameters. It doesn't always mean it's the best sonically, as they may use the cheapest option to save money in the manufacturing process. So in many cases the op-amps are "just fine" or acceptable but may not be unlocking the full potential of your device.



The amp in question

So here I have this unicorn beast of an amp called the Matrix Audio M-Stage HPA-3B. It's probably the most underrated amp or not so well known amp which was overshadowed by the hype train of the THX 789 a few years back (thanks Zeos), but from my tests it's a superior unit. It has less power @ 32 Ohms, but about double that of the 789 @ 300 and 600 Ohms.

There are only a few op-amps that I like in this unit, and the Burson V6 classic we have here today is certainly one of them.
My benchmark standard op-amp is the OPA1656 which is not the widest sounding, but it's tight, somewhat linear and has a good balance to the sound. It's a jack of all trades so to speak, and this is the op-amp I was able to compare and contrast the V6 Classic to.



My history with Burson

I have had a few Burson products to my name, once owned the V6 vivids, but it has been a while, so I can't recall how that sounded. I also have a few v5i's. The v5i goes great in units such as the Topping D10s. The sound to expect with Bursons is better musicality, a touch of warmth, with a wider sound stage.

Discrete vs IC

I also like larger discrete op amps over IC or regular types. The reason for this is instead of the sound being processed on layers of silicon you have the sound being processed though larger circuits and components, and to me almost every time these larger op amps have a wider and more analog sound.



Don't get me wrong! I like regular style op amps as they are cheap, and you can buy a few on eBay to wet your palette when it comes to adjusting the sound of your amp or DAC. Op amps will not drastically change the sound, but will tweak it some. They might help emphasize the bass notes, sharpen the treble a little or make it sound less digital. Again, it's experimentation to some degree, so YMMV depending on the amp being used. I would advise checking up on forums like here or Reddit to see if people have your amp or DAC and have already tested with different op amps.

Burson V6 Classic, is it any good?



All my testing was done using IEM's, which include the Thieaudio Voyager 14, a tri-brid pair called the ST7 and a Tanchjim Oxygen. The headphones used were a Fostex TR-X00 Mahogany with Dekoni attenuation rings plus lambskin pads followed by a Modhouse Audio Argon MK2 with MK3 baffles using suede pads.

The classics we have here today may be one of my favorite op amps, especially in the HPA-3B. It works well and there is no audible hiss with IEM's which can be a problem for some op amps. It's one of those great pairings or jackpots that I mentioned earlier.

The V6 classics come well packaged in a transparent plastic case surrounded by protective foam. They are pretty tall and will not fit in every amp, luckily Burson also sells flexible 8 pin DIP adapters which allows you to position it flat. I had to use two of these. If it was possible to take off the outer shell, it might fit. The ridge on one side represents where pin 1 is located.



From the first moment I used the V6 Classics, I could instantly tell that the sound was better in comparison to all my other op-amps in this particular amp at least. It instantly had a more open sound or to put it another way sound stage was increased.
Along with that, the imaging was also more precise, so the end result is you have a more holographic like sound, that is if the recording and other gear in the chain allows it to be heard.

Instruments also have a nice, natural timbre. The best compliment I can give it here is that it's a more analog sound, which is what I think most audio enthusiasts are striving for when it comes to music replay. Dynamics are better across the frequency range, transients are also easier to pick out on recordings. Overall, it's a superior sound to regular IC op amps.

Is the V6 Classic right for you?

I had pondered doing in depth comparisons to other op amps, but I think if you managed to read this far that you just want to know one thing. Is the Burson V6 Classic right for you? Well, let's answer that question!

Before I start, the V6 Classic is better to my ears than regular IC op amps. The V6 Classic may not be feasible for everyone, and might seem expensive depending on where you are in your audio journey. If you look at it in the sense that you can purchase an entry level "decent" custom cable for around the price of two of these, which is $145 at the time of writing. With that in mind, you'll certainly get more of a change in the sound than any cable can offer using the V6 Classic. So in that sense it's good value.

If you have an amp worth $90 then it honestly probably isn't worth upgrading using these, I would advise using cheap IC's to get a sense of what an op-amp swap can do. On the other hand, if you have something that is $400-$4000 and so on, then it might very well be worth considering.

Truth be told, I wasn't expecting to like them as much as I did, and had already settled on one op-amp in the HPA-3B and didn't think there would be as drastic an improvement as there was with the V6 Classic. If you want to add that "je ne sais c'est quoi", cherry on top or the missing piece of the puzzle in your system, then I am fairly confident the V6 Classic will add that to your setup.

The two V6's have taken up permanent residency in my Matrix Audio HPA-3B and won't be coming out anytime soon. They have without a shadow of a doubt extracted more performance out of my amplifier and made listening to music more enjoyable. I would also like to thank Burson for graciously sending these out for review.

Burson's supreme-sound-opamp-v6 https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/supreme-sound-opamp-v6/

DIY audio upgrade - Burson discrete opamp rolling explained
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