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Burson Audio Fun (2w pc Class A Headphone Amp)

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by ostewart, Jun 7, 2018.
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  1. escalibur

    The test took me a while but it was worth it. :) Here is my review regarding some opamps

    Burson Fun V6 Vivid review


    It feels like the opamps were existing forever yet they still seem to receive very little attention. Personally it was a double 'edge sword'. In one hand opamp can improve amp's sound quality but on the other we cannot assume that every opamp just fits into any amp you can imagine. Pretty much the same can be said about the DACs where selecting 'the best' DAC chip doesn't mean the whole device will automatically be great. Nevertheless I was very curious about the greatness of Burson's V6s' thanks to this forum's members. :) Without having any possibility to test which one to pick I thought maybe Vivids could be worth a try. To make my test a bit better I've decided to compare V6 Vivids to AD797, OPA1611 and the stock 5534Ds

    V6 Vivid Single


    After receiving the Vivids from Burson Audio the opamp replacement was smooth thanks to Burson's amazing design. Apart from screwdriver no other tools were required and it was straight forward. According to Burson Audio's support Vivids have 100 hour burnin time. This was pretty much the only reason why it took me this long to write this review. :)

    After spending solid 100+ hours of listening different music using Spotify Premium and Tidal Hifi I could finally test and compare V6 Vivids to the other opamps.

    The most important thing about the whole operation is the sound itself and is there enough difference to justify the price. :) After spending hours of listening to different songs and records I have to admit there were moments when I just couldn't notice much difference in any. But that wasn't the whole story. Depending on the record or song's mixing I could definitely hear some differences. V6 Vivids have in my opinion very balanced sound (used with Fun) without over exposing any sound characteristics. The bass was just right, mids were good and the highs were just about right without going too high especially while using Beyers DT 1990 Pros. V6 Vivids brought a bit more detail and separation in already very good sound of Fun Basic.

    AD797 - Probably the second best opamps out of these 4. These are (in my opinion) very very close to the V6 Vivids but maybe slightly too bright. The difference can be heard at some rock songs where the symbals are mixed with high volume. The soundstage is maybe just a bit narrower compared to the V6 Vivids.

    OPA1611 - Solid third position. Very good opamps used on eg. some very appriciated in some quality DACs and DAC&AMP combos. The sound itself was maybe a bit too 'sterile' in my opinion. It was a bit smoother than the V6 Vivids'. I wouldn't say it's any weaker but rather a bit different.

    Stock opamps 5534Ds - Very solid fourth position. I was so much prepared to write 'it was a crime to release Fun Basic with these opamps besides V6 Vivids' but I just can't It would be too harsh considering how good these really are. :) The sound itself was smaller than V6 Vivids' and in some acoustic songs it felt like the singer is closer to your ears compared the V6 Vivids. This can also be a matter of personal preference but in general V6 Vivids definitely had more detail and better soundstage. Again very good opamps but the V6 Vivids are stealing the show here.

    The verdict

    So are the V6 Vivids worth the hype and price. Yes and no. If your budget is very strict I would say go with Fun Basic and upgrade from there. The beauty of Burson's products is that only sky is the limit in terms of hunting that special sound very few other brands can offer. Opamps' sounds are very personal so there is no silver bullet which one is the best or above everything else. Get Fun Basic and start the jurney in your personal pace. :) If you can afford Fun V6 Vivid then definitely go with it. You will save plenty of time avoiding opamps orders and such because you will already have one of the most advanced opamps ever built. Burson has spent years in developing V6 opamps and we can only imagine how many other opamps they were measuring and testing in their labs. I'm not aware that there are any fake versions of Burson's V6s' compared to some like OPA627, MUSE and many others. If you decide to start your opamp jurney make sure that you are ordering them from valid distributors otherwise you will just be wasting money on electornic waste.

    Thanks to Burson's decision to make opamps swappable. :) I can only imagine what will be our next stop when they release something as fun as V6 Vivid opamps. Cheers! :):notes:

    Slim1970 likes this.
  2. escalibur
    Burson Fun with Sparkos SS3601 review



    After spending quite some times comparing different opamps with my Fun (post above) I had to test Sparkos SS3601 opamps due to their very positive feedback from so many fellow audiphiles.

    UPDATE posted in my next post. (Sorry for my mistake!) In terms of build quality opamps look very quality made. DIP-8 legs seem to be quite flat. Personally I would prefer something very similar to eg. Burson V6 Vivids/Classics. However I havent experienced any contact issues while constantly replacing the SS3601s in and out.


    The sound

    In this comparsin I have used Burson V6 Vivids because they were the best opamps I have tried so far. To be honest V6 Vivids are so good that I didn't expect to hear pretty much any difference using Sparkos. The test took about 3-4 weeks listening different music using Tidal Hifi & my Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro (analytical pads) headphones. I have been swapping the opamps after each song and also after spending some hours listening different songs using the same opamps. I wanted to make sure that I can hear the difference while listening and also while enjoying music in the background while doing other stuff on my PC. The volume knob has stayed untouched so the levels should've been as close as both opamps could produce.

    I've asked Andrew from Sparkos regarding the burnin time and according to him the Sparkos should sound "a bit better after a few days". "They should also be pretty good out of the box."

    After intensive testing Sparkos' sound definitely had a bit more air and space compared to Vivids'. Also the treble was a bit cleaner while using Sparkos. Vivids were maybe a bit harsh on highs to my tastes. Also the bass had a bit more air compared to Vivids'. The difference wasn't like night and day but it was hearable. The synergy between Fun and Sparkos is just amazing. Honestly I think I might have an end game amp in my Fun. I have compared this combo to allmighty JDS Labs Atom. Atom's soundstage was very narrow compared to Fun & Sparkos combo. Both amps were using Khadas Tone Board as a DAC. Vivids are very solid opamps and I can definitely see some prefering them over Sparkos so it might also be due to personal preferences and tastes.

    I have to admit that after this test Fun & Sparkos will be one of my very few 'go to' recommendations regarding quality amp with exceptional clarity and transparency. During this test I have just received my Burson Playmate and I have to say that even it made me wanna run and hug my Fun & Sparkos. More comments on that will be in my upcoming Playmate review. :)


    Kudos to Sparkos and Andrew for creating such underrated opamps! :beyersmile:
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  3. Audio Addict Contributor
    Could I suggest removing the second socket with the inexpensive 8 pins? Those are intented to protect the actual pins on the SS3601 .
    escalibur and Alcophone like this.
  4. yavormoskov
    Yeah, I am not a huge fan of the Vivids. Will sell mine. I do disagree about the soundstage of the Atom but have to admit that the instrument separation in better on the Burson Fun. And Khadas is just excellent. I have my DT 1990 coming tomorrow. I hope it's a good synergy with the Fun and Sparkos.
    escalibur likes this.
  5. bcschmerker4
    @escalibur Thanks for the report on the SS3601 in a Burson® amplifier. Had I an audio card, or an amp module consistent with the FUN™ or PLAY™, that uses single op amps I might consider it; but the ASUS® XONAR® Essence™ ST™, STX™, and STX II™ have very little room for hybrid dual op amps under the RFI shield; the V5i is the tallest dual op amp I can fit.
    escalibur likes this.
  6. Asahi Templar
    How are the Muses 03 with the Fun? I was really curious about that combo when I had the Fun.

    I really like the Muses 8920 with the Playmate, I actually might prefer it to the Vivid V6/Classic V6 Everest configuration. Sounds very detailed and real.
  7. escalibur
    I was wondering can the second socket be removed but never actually tried it. :blush:

    Thanks to your and Andrew from Sparkos tips I've removed them and here is the proof:

  8. Eiffel
    Hmmm... The Fun ( or the Play ) are a bit too much for DT1990.
    I have them and I have the Play - with V6 Classic in I/V and Vivids in LPF and Gain.
    Sound great, but I'm limited with the volume. At 09 it's already too much for my ears.
  9. escalibur
    I would definitely disagree. :) To me Fun + DT1990s are very good combo.
  10. ls13coco
    Just recently got a pair of V6 Classic op-amps installed into my FUN, well this is a nice sounding amp. I'm actually using it more than my THX 789, which also still has new-toy effect. :)
  11. Shane D
    The Classics are amazing. My Fun came with them. I then bought the vivids via MassDrop. It is the nicest sounding amp I have ever heard. Unfortunately the quality is not great. I am now on my third quality problem since I bought it in February. But it sounds so good...And I just added a Schiit Loki to make it an almost perfect system.

    Shane D
  12. ls13coco
    That's a shame to hear about the issues you've been having. Luckily, more people post about issues online than who post about being issue free, but I hope you get that all rectified.

    What are your thoughts on the Vivids after coming from the Classics?
    My FUN came with stock op-amps, so the Classic upgrade was a fair upgrade to my ears.

    To me, it kind of blurs the line between a good SS amp and a good tube amp at this time. Music to my ears. :)
  13. Shane D
    Mine came with the Classics and blew me away from the start. By far the best amp I had ever heard. I didn't care for the Vivid's at first. I have had them in for a about a month to give them a fair chance and they sound fine to me now. I will put the Classics back in and check for a difference. IMO, all you need is the Classics, but of course everybody hears differently. And you have a very different 'phone collection from me.

    What do you think of the 789 compared to the FUN? I had that in my cart a few weeks ago, but chickened out. It would have exactly twice the price that i paid for the Fun, landed. And I KNEW it couldn't be twice as good, but now I am wondering. I thought I was done with the amp game, but maybe not.:open_mouth:

    Shane D
    ls13coco likes this.
  14. ls13coco
    Was your initial displeased state of the Vivids due to a brighter sound, or something else?

    The 789 is an interesting beast, I'll first say that I think it is a great unit that would benefit anyone's amp collection unless maybe they are running summit-fi equipment. I haven't used an amp worth more than any that I currently own, so that would be hard to say.

    Comparison to the FUN running the Classics, though, I enjoy using the FUN more often than the 789. The 789 gives, like most say, good, clean power. It sounds very accurate and un-colored, but I think that might be why I do not prefer it the majority of the time.
    Coming from the Creative X7 as my main SS amp over the years, it has almost always been running Sparkos op-amp upgrades which do give it a brighter, more detailed, vivid if you will.. sound. This has probably caused my headphone choices to run a little warm lately, but this is also my only DAC at this moment and I imagine that the 789 could sound more musical with a smoother/warmer dac.

    The take-away is I seem to find that the FUN, as well as my other amps, give less neutrality and more dips and jumps in the frequency response which seems to be just a more engaging and musical sound to my ears. I am still glad to use the 789, though, it's easy to listen to and detailed as can be. Just maybe giving a bit less colored, or flavorful sound.. would be my choice amp if I was playing back any of my guitar recordings.
    Shane D likes this.
  15. Slim1970
    The fun has a nice musical tone to it. Especially with the V6 Classics installed. On top of that it has sneaky power. It’s sounds more powerful than its 2W listed specs.
    ls13coco and Shane D like this.
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