Burson Composer 3X Performance (ESS9038, DSD512, Bluetooth, balanced output...)
Jul 31, 2020 at 5:32 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 110

escalibur

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After very successful reception of Burson Swing, it seems that Conductor family just got a new DAC (with Preamp): Burson Composer 3X Performance

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More details can be found here:https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/composer-3x-performance/

Pre-orders: https://www.bursonaudio.com/product/composer-3x-performance/

I'm curious about the performance, especially compared to Swing.


Maybe Fun's upgrade is next? :)
 
Jul 31, 2020 at 12:26 PM Post #2 of 110

Condocondor

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So this looks like a very nice unit with great specs and a discrete output stage. I'm sure the sound is fantastic.

Now, what I don't like is the way you're marketing.....by putting down other manufacturers with "...tube output stages in parallel with solid state, and little portholes to peer into to see the glowing tubes, and DSP trickery...etc." You can't lift yourself up by putting others down.

The Performance 3X looks like a dog and it's a no frills/higher performance unit. That's fine! Performance is king. Let your product stand on it's own merit and let the community defend it. You don't have to go on the offensive by getting down in the dirt.
 
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Jul 31, 2020 at 2:21 PM Post #3 of 110

ScornDefeat

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Does anybody know where Burson Audio products are manufactured? I know they are designed in Australia, but are they actually made there?

Thanks!
 
Aug 12, 2020 at 11:06 AM Post #6 of 110

ScornDefeat

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Some units are shipped straight from Hong Kong so I am assuming they are only designed in Aus.

Thanks for the confirmation, appreciate it. I figured that, since the site only mentions "designed" in Australia. Thanks!
 
Aug 12, 2020 at 11:50 AM Post #7 of 110

E8ArmyDiver

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How will this differ to the Conductor Reference? Please correct me if i am wrong but this does not have any digital filters right?
ALL of the Conductor series have extensive FIR & DPLL(DSD)Filters..The base model Performance is basically a stripped down version of the Reference,uses same Vivid OpAmps & same power supplies only 3 instead of 5 like Ref...
I am running my Performance with HiFiMan Sundara headphones & the sound is just wonderful,detailed & resolving without being harsh & beautiful instrument tone,very organic...
 
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Aug 27, 2020 at 9:23 AM Post #8 of 110

Sam Spade

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So this looks like a very nice unit with great specs and a discrete output stage. I'm sure the sound is fantastic.

Now, what I don't like is the way you're marketing.....by putting down other manufacturers with "...tube output stages in parallel with solid state, and little portholes to peer into to see the glowing tubes, and DSP trickery...etc." You can't lift yourself up by putting others down.

The Performance 3X looks like a dog and it's a no frills/higher performance unit. That's fine! Performance is king. Let your product stand on it's own merit and let the community defend it. You don't have to go on the offensive by getting down in the dirt.
I have a conductor performance 3x reference and have previously upgraded my marantz CD80 with burson low jitter digital clock and opamps plus new caps and a double crown TDA1541A S2. I also have a cambridge audio 640c CD player which is sublimely detailed with digital inputs so it functions as a DAC too. Oh and an astell and kern SP1000M and i used to sell hifi and have heard my share of pretty esoteric systems including the marantz two piece CD12LE Transport/DAC we had on the shop floor which was amazing especially with the marantz PM95 integrated and a AU$10,000 nakamichi 200wpc pre power ive forgotten the model number of.

The reason i upgraded my CD80 was chasing the CD12 sound. I'm not trying to gloat or name drop here i just want to give some context.

Bursons service is outstanding and their products i have used are exceptional. When i contacted them about buying the conductor they very politely said you have great stuff but we are confident the conductor will match it. They were right. The conductor beat all my gear.

I got the conductor 3x in a package pre release deal with audeze lcd3s. It is a match made in heaven and that's coming from an atheist. I only expected to use the conductor as a head amp. But the bursons DAC section beats all my other DACs.

While their marketing may take a dig at other product types they don't name anyone. Basically they are positioning their product and in my experience they are right. I don't think they are bashing anyone. And there is so much nonsense in the hifi world, it is full of smoke and mirrors and ridiculous claims.

Plus in my experience their points are fair. I have a musical fidelity nuvista preamp #276 of 500. It uses the legendary scientific/military grade 6CW4 nuvistor metal tubes. The nuvista pre is the most beautiful thing ive owned in form and function. I Never thought I'd let it go. But it's going on ebay. The Burson conductor is a better preamp than the nuvista. That was completely unexpected.

The bluetooth section of the conductor is remarkable. I can stream tidal or ripped FLAC CDs from my phone or A&K DAP and it's practically the same as putting a cd in the player or running usb or SPDIF digital in by cable.

So i think burson seems to be run by a dedicated team of fanatics whose aim is to make the best gear they can and they aren't charging stratospheric prices for it. They seem to be in it for love rather than money. My experience is they make exceptional gear that is ridiculously good value at the price point of each item. Note I haven't demoed their entire range. And I have no connection to the company other than owning some of their products.
 
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Aug 27, 2020 at 10:47 AM Post #9 of 110

Sam Spade

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Actually a few more points, I should reiterate that the unit I have is the Conductor 3x reference and that is US$2144. You can get it from Burson with the Audeze LCD3's for US$3730. If you want some new headphones and a head amp/dac, even if you don't use it as a preamp, I think that is outstanding value. The LCD3s are beyond sublime.

I also decided I needed some closed back headphones, as the LCD3s project sound into the room like a pair of bookshelf speakers when you turn them up. So I also got some Audeze LCDxc closed back headphones and they are AU$1000 cheaper than the LCD3s but they are very close in performance, they don't sound $1000 cheaper. And they don't leak sound and they isolate really well in noisy environments. And all the service I have got from Audeze has been outstanding also.

To get a speaker based system that sounds as good as the conductor 3x reference/Audeze LCD3 or LCDxc combo in my estimation you would probably have to spend 10 times the amount.

I have a Rotel RB1080 power amp and a pair of Dali suite 3.5 floorstanding speakers and it is a great system, but the Burson has made it better than it was with the Nuvista.

And the Composer 3x reference is US$1144 on pre release sale now for US$915. So it probably isn't as good as the Conductor 3x and I haven't heard the Composer but I have no doubt it has excellent performance and is great value. This review is excellent. This reviewer rates it a better DAC than what's in a $6K macintosh integrated amp. That is a seriously impressive performance:
My modded CD80 is beautiful it has a wonderful timbre, and simple acoustic music, including hi quality vocals like kd Lang, Sarah Vaughan and Marlon Williams sounds so amazingly musical and transparent. The Cambridge 840c on the other hand is incredibly detailed. It has a fully balanced layout, twin Analog Devices AD1955 24 bit DACs, true balanced XLR outs, use of DSP processing to up-convert the signal to 24bit/384kHz. The detail it extracts is amazing and it handles complex layered music so well and has an awesome soundstage. It is a few years old now but the technology is impressive and was regarded as best in class by more than one reviewer. I had been tempted to upgrade it with burson op amps and low jitter clock but never got around to it.

Why do I like the conductor so much as a DAC? Well I love my two CD players and the Burson DAC takes the best of both of them and combines it. The burson is incredibly musical and incredibly detailed at the same time and has a sensational soundstage. I'm sure there are better products out there but I'd probably have to spend a lot more money.

Burson's combining of a top end headamp, DAC and preamp with exceptional Bluetooth is an unbelievably good one-box solution for me, someone who has a speaker based system and wants to listen to headphones too.

Just for the record, it had been about a decade since I had upgraded any of my hifi gear. I was really happy with what I had. But neither the 840C or the Nuvista had a headphone socket, and I was due for some new headphones to upgrade some excellent but aging closed back Yamaha professional series I had. So I splurged on the Burson/Audeze package.

I love my Rotel RB1080 power amp. It grabs speakers by the balls and makes them sing, it does everything well and the bass extension is remarkable, detailed and tight. But it might be next on the upgrade list :)

One final note. Planar headphones are unbelievable. I had no idea they would be so much better than conventional drivers at the same price. If you haven't listened to some give them a try

cheers
Sam
 
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Aug 27, 2020 at 8:42 PM Post #10 of 110

MLGrado

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So this looks like a very nice unit with great specs and a discrete output stage. I'm sure the sound is fantastic.

Now, what I don't like is the way you're marketing.....by putting down other manufacturers with "...tube output stages in parallel with solid state, and little portholes to peer into to see the glowing tubes, and DSP trickery...etc." You can't lift yourself up by putting others down.

The Performance 3X looks like a dog and it's a no frills/higher performance unit. That's fine! Performance is king. Let your product stand on it's own merit and let the community defend it. You don't have to go on the offensive by getting down in the dirt.

I caught that too. One can say it was a generic 'critique' of competing products but I knew immediately who they were targeting.

Funny thing is, the ESS chipsets could be the posterchildren for 'DSP trickery'.

I am in no way judging the sonic performance of the ESS chips, but if you are going to throw stones at other products, make sure you don't live in the proverbial glass house.
 
Aug 28, 2020 at 2:34 AM Post #11 of 110

Sam Spade

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I caught that too. One can say it was a generic 'critique' of competing products but I knew immediately who they were targeting.

Funny thing is, the ESS chipsets could be the posterchildren for 'DSP trickery'.

I am in no way judging the sonic performance of the ESS chips, but if you are going to throw stones at other products, make sure you don't live in the proverbial glass house.
Hi MLgrado there are a stack of headamp/dacs that use tubes out there do you think they are targetting one manufacturer? Cheers sam
 
Aug 29, 2020 at 9:11 AM Post #12 of 110

raoultrifan

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Aug 31, 2020 at 3:28 AM Post #13 of 110

Sam Spade

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Well, why not? Check these out: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/bur...wpc-xlr-with-muse72320-volume-control.941047/ or here: https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/burson-soloist-3x-performance.24591/ and read some Burson wonders. :) Looking further for some in-depth reviews and opinions about how it sounds and what power it really unleashes.
Hi raoultrifan, burson just emailed me they have two new products on pre-release sale price, The Composer 3x performance DAC/headamp/preamp and the Soloist 3x performance headamp/preamp

I have the Conductor 3x reference It is insanely good as a headamp, preamp, DAC and the Bluetooth connectivity, the sound quality of it is astonishing.

10 years ago I upgraded my Marantz CD 80 with Burson opamps, low jitter digital clock, new capacitors and Philips TDA1541A S2 double crown d/a converter. I have a Cambridge audio 940C CD player/DAC too. They are both unbelievably good. The timbre of the marantz on simple acoustic music is beautiful. The Cambridge extracts so much detail from the most complex music and it's sound stage is holographic.

The burson conductor 3X combines the best of both worlds and beats both of them as a DAC. I also have a musical fidelity nuvista preamp. I never thought i'd replace that as it is an astonishingly good preamp. The Burson is better as a preamp too. This review gives you some idea how good the nuvista is, plus it's an interesting story. https://hometheaterreview.com/musical-fidelity-nu-vista-preamp-reviewed/

Burson's service is exceptional, they were completely honest when offering advice to me, said I had some exceptional gear and were quietly confident about their products.

I think they are too modest. They are a bunch of fanatics who are in this game for love not money. The gear they make is awesome. Oh and I have no connection other than being a customer.

I'd recommend getting on their mailing list as thier pre-release deals are great value.

https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/
 
Aug 31, 2020 at 7:10 AM Post #14 of 110

raoultrifan

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[...]
I have the Conductor 3x reference It is insanely good as a headamp, preamp, DAC and the Bluetooth connectivity, the sound quality of it is astonishing.
I do know about the C3X, this is why I've created https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/burson-conductor-3x.24156/reviews. :)

[...]
I think they are too modest. They are a bunch of fanatics who are in this game for love not money. The gear they make is awesome. Oh and I have no connection other than being a customer.
I like the way you wrote it...I really do. They are somehow nonconformists, but in a good way, although not sure everyone else understands them very well. I like their gear and the new tech added, but most of all I like how they treat their customers.
 
Aug 31, 2020 at 10:02 AM Post #15 of 110

Sam Spade

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I do know about the C3X, this is why I've created https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/burson-conductor-3x.24156/reviews. :)


I like the way you wrote it...I really do. They are somehow nonconformists, but in a good way, although not sure everyone else understands them very well. I like their gear and the new tech added, but most of all I like how they treat their customers.
The proof is in the listening, and I've no where near come close to tweaking the C3X, it's still just running on the settings straight out of the box. And the fact that I like it more as a preamp than the MF Nuvista, well that is high praise.

The other thing I like about dealing with them is they say if they don't know the answer to your question. They don't gloat or brag and they are straight up front about what they know and don't. It's a lot like dealing with Audeze. They are awesome too. And the synergy between their products is amazing.

Thanks for the link I'll have a look at it. Cheers, Sam
 

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