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Burson Supreme Sound Audio V5-OPA-D,V5-OPA-S Review

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  1. Libertad
    As a pc gamer myself this is great news
  2. genclaymore
    I uploaded better photo's, look like some of the glue that they used on one of the V5-opa-D started to drip from the op-amp, It works great so i think it just the glue that holds the orange heat sink on. Due to the heat inside the Gustard H10. I think the amp should have heat vents to release the excess heat.I been using them for a while now. I didn't smell any thing, only reason i notice it is because i opened it up to take much better photos with a camera and get rid of the webcam photos.
  3. Audio Addict Contributor
    Drop Alex a line. They are guaranteed for life and they stand behind there products.
  4. newdoughboy
    Supreme Sound (Burson) Audio V5-OPA Dual Opamp Impressions with HT Omega Claro Halo
    Let me start by stating that this is my first review of an audio product. I am an audio enthusiast, being that I spend tons of money on decent audio gear. I can tell what sounds good to me, and that generally falls in line with the general consensus amongst fellow audio enthusiasts. So take from this what you can, especially with my lack of audio vocab.
    Equipment wise, I own/have owned HT Omega Claro Halo, K702, HD650, K550, Beats Studio, SE535 Reshelled (CIEM), Xiaomi Piston 2, TTPOD T1-E, Xuelin ihifi960, Blox BE03, Brainwavz S5, Bravo Audio Ocean, PreSonus HP4, Racoon SG-300. So I get a good sense of what I can get in terms of sound quality for the extra cost. My favourite combination is Foobar with ASIO playback to HT Omega to my K702. Source is very important, and most of my music is in FLAC.
    The fact is, after upgrading from the stock JRC to Burr Browns, things got a tiny bit better. I only noticed that the music was a bit more dynamic, hence more bass. I didn't really think my ears can hear the difference of a "better" dac or opamp. My dual wolfson DAP was fantastic, but not significantly better sounding than my Claro Halo. So I thought, why not give opamp rolling another shot. Many people sang praises for AD797BRZ and Muse01/02, but they were all pretty expensive or sort of complicated. Either sourcing them or the authenticity. So I figured if I was going to spend big bucks (relative to the sound card $200), then I would go full out and try the Supreme Sound V5-OPA. I figured that would be the end game unless I really disliked their sound. There wasn't much information on the V5s, and what I did find was a bit vague and based on the V4. Reading through many forum gave me one simple conclusion. Burson Audio is a highly regarded/respected company when it comes to the quality of their products and customer service.
    Purchasing these were very easy through Ebay. I purchased 4 of the Dual Discrete Opamps, and they were shipped out promptly. The delivery was a tad slower than their Ebay estimate, but their staff was very good to keep me updated.
    When I first got these, I was a bit shocked by the size. It was a whole lot smaller than I expected, which is very good because I do not need to mod my case. Without moving the extension sockets that came with the V5s, the whole card is under 4cm. So it fits in dual slot format.
    The test will be kept simple; I will be listening to 4 songs all in CD quality FLAC. I will be listening to the OPA2134PA,  then V5-OPA after 50+ Hrs Burn-in (I've read that it does make a bit of a difference)
    Song Selection
    1. Lady Gaga - Starstruck (Feat. Space Cowboy @ Flo Rida)
    Massive bass in the beginning with lots of synthesized notes
    2. Simon and Garfunkel - The Sound of Silence
    An older simple recording with great vocal harmony and instrument accompaniment
    3. Within Temptation - Somewhere(Black Symphony)
    My favourite female-female duet, live with symphony
    4.Andrea Bocelli - Dare to Live (Vivere) Duet with Laura Pausini
    I love duets and harmonies, you probably already caught on. Andrea and Laura's Vivere just contains pure pleasure covering highs and lows. The strength and the beautiful placement of their notes is just breathtaking.
    Lady Gaga - Starstruck (Feat. Space Cowboy @ Flo Rida)
    The bass in this song is very powerful, with good impact. It reaches very low and vibrates in a way that makes you really feel it. Though strong, it is quite muddy in the sense that you KNOW it's there, but it is not tight enough to precisely know exactly when one bass note ends, and   another starts. Nevertheless satisfying, like when I first heard the Beats by Dre Studios. The high synthesized notes are very delicate, and accurately observable within the soundstage. They bounce around with great energy, but they are what I would call "sharp" to my ears. Whether the correct term is harshness; it's just that they fatigue my ears very quickly. Overall, this song is not as enjoyable on this system as out of a phone into the Beats Studio. It is just not very musical as the voices and the synthesized notes do not merge well; and each element sounds like they are doing their own thing.
                    Simon and Garfunkel - The Sound of Silence
    This song starts for me with very unique presentation. The piano lightly enters near center, then followed by the guitar from far right, almost 3 O'clock. Then comes in Simon and Garfunkel from above center; I have always described it as if they were singing to us from heaven. Right after 30 seconds, the guitar becomes louder and moves toward 1:30, then enters the percussions. Once again, I find the guitar high notes to be quite sharp/harsh to my ears. I also find that the instrumentals lack detail; I know they are there and the notes that are played, but it doesn't sound like I'm right there in the recording room. This might be a bit high expectation, but I find many songs to give me this kind of pleasant presentation. Overall, the instruments just do not sound real to me. In a way, it could be that most of my complaints are just that the K702 are sometimes just too analytical for some recordings.
                    Within Temptation - Somewhere(Black Symphony)
    Even though this was mixed from a live concert, the soundstage feels intimate and close. Parts of the song you can tell that there are cheering fans and such, and those moments broadens the soundstage. Aside from those moments, it feel like you are the only audience onstage as these amazing vocalists sing to you. The only negatives comes from the instruments again; it just sounds like the symphony and other instruments are behind a curtain, and a bit too far away from the vocals.
                    Andrea Bocelli - Dare to Live (Vivere) Duet with Laura Pausini
    The song is simply stunning to the ears. The piano notes are very clear and realistic. Their voice is just so powerful and rich. The cymbols are light and crisp. The instruments are very much involved in the song, just must softer to let the voices shine; therefore, there isn't much bass to discuss here. At this point, it seems like we see the pattern that the highs extend well, but in a way that is just too sharp/harsh.
                    Lady Gaga - Starstruck (Feat. Space Cowboy @ Flo Rida)
    This song received two major changes after the swap; and both to me are improvements. First the bass became much tighter/quicker which cleaned up the low end significantly. It made the OPA2123PA sound bloated and lazy; however, it almost feels like the song is progressing a little quick. I don't quite understand that observation, but I do find the song more energetic. Second, The high synthesized notes seemed to sparkle a little more, whatever that means... I guess it could be a little more detail, but mostly the sharp/harshness has been removed. Lastly, the        soundstage seemed to have tightened a bit. Just a little so that a lot of the notes and voices are overlapping in source; this created a more musical listening experience.
                    Simon and Garfunkel - The Sound of Silence
    The instruments gained a fair bit of detail; where the individual percussion hits differentiated    from each other, and the guitar notes had a lot more natural string sound. It doesn't make these instruments the best sounding I have ever heard, but it is a great improvement over the OPA2134PA. Another example is how it is easier to differentiate the kick drum from the low bass notes.
                    Within Temptation - Somewhere(Black Symphony)
    Even though the voices were already very well presented, the V5s made them just a little more intimate and immersive. The "curtain" / extra distance between the instruments and singers have been significantly diminished. The band/symphony is still behind Sharon and Anneke, they just complement each other better. The highs do not sound sharp/harsh at all, but it may even sound a little pulled back. I have not decided whether that is an improvement or not.
                    Andrea Bocelli - Dare to Live (Vivere) Duet with Laura Pausini
    This song was already pretty perfect coming out of the OPA2134PA, it has been simply refined by the V5s. The V5s are just able to pick up a little more detail, and control the highs better.
    In summary, I feel that my observations of the 4 songs between the 2 opamps are very consistent. I did not notice any significant differences of the 50+ Hrs break in. The highs were simply too harsh coming out of the OPA2134PA, and were removed completely (if not a little bit pulled back) by the V5-OPA. There was significantly more detail retrieval from the V5-OPA, and the bass is more controlled. The bass did not lose any impact, just cleaner. Ultimately, I am a value based guy so I must talk about cost. These opamps costs $130 per pair, about $70USD each after shipping. Together they cost more than the sound card that they go in. It feels more like a transplant, instead of a minor upgrade. The key point to note is that, I cannot imagine life without my HT Omega Claro Halo. I just love its sound and capabilities. So if I had the money (Obviously I found some), I would definitely do this upgrade. No regrets.
    My next upgrade to my sound system, which may be my end game would be a OPPO BDP 105 with KEF LS50. But that will be when I get a major promotion :p
    Thanks to anyone who stuck with me until the end of this review.
  5. Audio Addict Contributor
    Nice review. 4 dual v5 is a quite a few. Could I ask how the card used the dual v5? My Lycan only needed 1 dual v5.
  6. newdoughboy
    I'm not really sure how they are used and how it would affect the sound but their website states that 1445720088655-2141105554.jpg
  7. Burson Audio
    Burson Audio Stay updated on Burson Audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/BursonAudio https://twitter.com/bursonaudio http://www.bursonaudio.com/products/
  8. beyerdude

    I've played around with a good number of op-amps on different products - the OPA627 seems to illicit a great variation of comments (love/hate) - I found it to be too dark sounding, music too distant, very pleasant to listen to but ultimately not engaging, I think I equated the price with getting 'more' performance rather than a slightly different flavour - I tried this on 2 devices - a Neco Bossfet v3 and an E12DIY both times I ended up using a different opamp - I used it to tame a pair of headphones that ultimately didn't suit my preferences (too much treble energy).
    I'm just playing around with a set of Dual and Single V5 opamps (hence me finding my way here :) which I have just installed into a second hand Eastern Electric Minimax Dac - so far things are looking very positive about 10 hours in....
  9. beyerdude
    I'd assume it's an opamp for each channel set, they give the option to replace only one, I'm assuming if you are only worried about stereo/front channels you change a single dual opamp
  10. Libertad
    just got my V5-D in the mail pluged into my HT Omega eClaro and its a significantly higher of an improvement than i was expecting over the V4.
  11. newdoughboy
    I was originally was going to by the V4 cuz the price. But like I said in the review, then I would always wonder how much better V5s would be :p
  12. ChristopheSpark

    I decided this summer to upgrade my UREI 1620LE mixer with Burson v4 amps,I wasn't very pleased with the original sound it produce.After some research and spending a lot of time (care and patience) to deeply modify the machine (thanks to my Weller WR2),a total of 8 v4 amps replace originals TL072C including 2 on one of the 2 phono preamps (for the moment,later upgrades are possible).

    Because of the increased power consumption,I had to totally redesigned a new external power supply in a 19' 3U rack(not showned and not finished) based on a couple of 78-7915 regulators with a 100VA toroidal transformer plus 20000uF of filtering caps.The Burson Crew took some time to answer to my questions and they helped me to solve some problems (a huge thanks to them :) 

    As far as I know,it's the only UREI 1620LE with a 100% discrete path and after a series of test,I must say I'm very happy with the result and it's far beyond my expectations.

    The sound is beautiful and it's a pleasure to play with the little EQ on the mixer,you're-discover all your records from your collection and there is no hear fatigue no matter the level you play the music,and I think the best part of my project is the quality of the phono preamp:simply marvelous :)

    In conclusion,although Burson amps are very versatile,I highly recommend to use them on EQs,active filters and phono preamps,once you try them,there's no turning back.

    Best regards,


    ChristopheSparkUrei1620LEDSC03183.jpg ChristopheSparkUrei1620LEDSC03182.jpg
    ChristopheSparkUrei1620LEDSC02825.jpg ChristopheSparkUrei1620LEDSC02872.jpg
    ChristopheSparkUrei1620LEDSC02973.jpg ChristopheSparkUrei1620LEDSC03174.jpg
    ChristopheSparkUrei1620LEDSC03173.jpg ChristopheSparkUrei1620LEDSC03179.jpg
    ChristopheSparkUrei1620LEDSC03190.jpg ChristopheSparkUrei1620LEUreiPhonopreamp.jpg
  13. Libertad
    here are some pics of my set up my apologies as my phone isn't the best camera nor am i the best photographer.
    My initial listening to this in comparison to the V4 is that this is a clear upgrade across the board at least to my ears at least[​IMG]
    Gear: JVC MX10 w/HM5 ear pads and Clear Tune Monitors CT-6E custom in ears listening with some gaming and music and alittle youtube
    the game is Warframe i use no effect from the sound card just in 8ch mode the music i use 2ch mode again no added effect and no EQ
    the music: lots of heavy metal progressive psytrance some classical and rap and pop ( i listening to everything) most of my library is in flac played in foobar 2000 in WASAPI output
    Treble: Its not attention grabbing but very clear and extended the V4 feels like its boosted/peaky in comparison and seems grainier than the V5.
    Mids: even smooth relaxing and snappy. The mids blend in so well into the rest of the spectrum that it just has a better sense of flow and rhythm. Track seem faster also i know someone posted about this before but i get what they were saying now.
    Bass:[​IMG] a significantly noticeable increased tightness and texture all audio material now gives me a lot more information in the lower registers. The V4 seems more bloated in comparison or slower not really sure how to properly describe it
    Sound stage: wider by a good bit not concert "OMG this is huge!"[​IMG] large but its noticeable however what i feel is a much better sense of depth
    Timbre: to me the V5 sounds much more natural and life like. Again not really sure how to word it properly but every thing seems much more believable and realistic in tone and clarity
    overall character: It seems like a warmish neutral and very revealing the detail retrieval is amazing.  The V4 made the difference between well recorded tracks easy to tell but the V5 seems much more reference oriented in its sound and the V4 seems more hi-fi. The V4 gives that wow sense when you first listen to it and ist a real pleasure to listen to but the V5 just presents a much more pure yet musical presentation making the V4 feel slow and unrefined in comparison. I also notice the V5 in general sounds much smoother and less grainy than the V4
    The V4 is amazing in itself and was a huge jump when i swapped in into my eClaro but the V5 to me is a clear upgrade. Burson has done there homework!
    Ill run this unit in the 100hrs as recommended by burson and write up my full review then but i can tell you guys this thing is going to cost me so much sleep....i just cant stop listening to it.[​IMG] 
  14. beyerdude

    I would certainly back up your impressions - the first thing I noticed with mine is the increased depth, suddenly the soundstage just gets WAY deeper, as you said not much increase in soundstage width (I don't need that with my ESS Sabre based Minimax). There was a comment on my recently sold Metrum Hex about the HEX giving a certain 'champagne sparkle' to the music vs other dacs - some additional life - I feel the same about the Burson V5 Opamps - its not about treble quantity - more the quality - just as extended but smoother sounding at the same time.
    I have just passed about 20 hours of listening and the album last night was Elbow The Take off and Landing of everything and every part of the music just sounded right - its a rarity for me to say this and usually I go through some period of 'user adjustment' to get used to the sound of a new DAC (either I burn in or the DAC does) - there are only two Dac's that I have sampled that have got this right first time and one was the Metrum Hex and the second the Minimax DAC with the V5 Bursons
  15. beyerdude
    So following on from my previous post I thought I might also pass on my experiences with the Minimax DAC and V5 Opamps since my initial instinct was NOT to upgrade it with the Bursons (due to the fact that the DAC only cost me a small amount of money ($250 aud), had been repaired badly (bodged capacitor repair, wrong value and really cheap 'jaycar' replacement) and also had a tendency to have jitter on coax and BNC), also all of the information that I could find on it suggested that the Burson Opamps would not fit in the case (too high) and need some sort of case riser to work......not ideal.
    Previous experience rolling Opamps cost me a lot of time fiddling and some considerable frustration. I played around with the E12DIY which gives you a fantastic opportunity to check out many different Opamps easily  (I ended up with around 10, including the stock E12DIY Opamps as well as the OPA627, OPA827, LME49990, MUSE01, AD8066 plus a few more I have forgotten about). Frustratingly I ended up with a combination of buffer and Opamp that I loved with my HD600 (Buff 634 and Muses01) but which sucked with my Havi B pro 1 and SE535 - end result ended up swapping Opamps every other day depending on which headphone I was using at the time...oh JOY....
    Out of pure interest I contacted Burson and was told that the V5 Opamps would work as they are now shorter and that I would need 2x dual and 2x single to work in the Minimax - outlay about the same as I paid for the DAC (it was cheap!) - so seeing as I had just got someone to agree to buy my Metrum Hex for a good sum (what the heck) I bought some and took a gamble (plus they're fellow Aussies and quite frankly I'm a sucker for the look of the things.....)
    Initially my impression of the Minimax was pretty much the same as every view I had read online - a good value Dac, punched above it's price point 5 years ago but things have moved a lot in that time, also that it sucked (okay maybe a little strong) using the Opamp only setting and was far punchier/livelier and dynamic with the Tube option enabled (i.e. nobody seemed to prefer it on opamp output alone)
    First installed for me was the Psvane premium Tube 12au7 - additional gain of tubes makes it hard to compare to default Opamps with but it doesn't take long to work out that the Opamps sound flat, lifeless, very little depth to the music, graininess to the treble and a lack of transparency - the music feels flat......flat.......boring.....dull....At that stage the Metrum Hex was sitting next to it as direct comparison so I guess it may have contributed to my impression.
    Tried with my favourite tube of all time - Mullard Blackburn long plate 12au7 - added some depth, I can feel the music more but the bass sounds bloated, too loose and lacks punch. Lovely overall relaxed sound but just lacking something also not that transparent sounding.

    So having gathered some impressions on the overall characteristics of the DAC I popped off the case and installed the V5 Opamps - 2x DUAL into U1 and U2 (luckily easy enough to see) and 2x Single into U6 and U7.
    I nearly had a heart attack when I plugged it back in - got back ZIP, NOTHING......then realised the DAC defaults to TUBE mode when its powered on, I hadn't fried some Opamps......phew

    So potential things to bear in mind (I found anyhow) - the cable which runs through the middle of the DAC just slightly nudges 2 of the Opamps - so they end up a tiny bit on an angle (really minor issue) 
    In the process of adjusting I also happened to find out the reason for my jitter/bad connection on COAX/BNC - basically the cable tension effects the operation of the front selector switch (nice one Eastern Electric!!) - very happy bunny as this means now I have an easy fix for my problem - simple......

    So basically the angle the cable pushes them is very minor, also there is plenty of clearance and that is with the Opamps installed with the included DIP8 sockets still on (they are shipped with a DIP8 connector attached which can be removed or left on to afford them additional protection) - I'm leaving them on.
    I have played a wide variety of music, different sources, different bit rates....approaching 20 hours over the past 3 days so I think I have a hang of the general characteristics of the V5
    I have been able to compare it to my (never sell hahaha) Metrum Hex which has been a joy to listen over the past year (spoiler it doesn't beat it, but I'm missing it less than I was prior to the Burson upgrades) and also to the stock Minimax unit. 
    Music listened to during test
    Infected Mushroom Friends on Mushrooms
    John Hopkins Insides
    Lorde Pure Heroine
    Northlane Singularity
    Mozart - Requiem in d Minor
    I listened to each album in its entirety as I base my impressions on my emotional attachment to the music, how easily I can goosebumps and how easily I can get to a place where the music just flows over me in waves rather than having to actively listen and analyse. 
    My impressions were uniform across the various genres of music played - the first is that the sound stage DEPTH is substantially increased, there is far more separation of instruments but also there is more sense of where the instruments are spatially. I very quickly started to feel surrounded by the music whereas before it was far more 2 dimensional.
    Secondly BASS quality is substantially improved - in this area I would for my listening preference rate this over the Metrum Hex - the BASS was tighter, better defined and controlled. Drums/deep sub bass sections of music quickly gave me a great emotional involvement in the music. With dance music they added additional excitement/energy to the music, and with Classical music a greater sense of scale or grandness.
    Thirdly the background is blacker - hence the sense of increased depth to the music but also more transparency - I can't exactly describe it but it's the X-factor for me that defines a good piece of Audio equipment - the silence between the notes and the lack of anything getting in the way, no Veil - the V5 Opamps have this characteristic in spades (and the Stock Minimax did not Tube/Opamp or otherwise). 
    I was afraid that the V5's would add too much additional treble energy to the DAC as I have experienced this with some of the Opamps I have tried in the past - trying to increase sound stage and ending up with a thin sounding harsh sound that did nothing for my music pleasure. There is more treble extension with the V5 Opamps but this is smooth and non fatiguing rather than artificially extended - i.e. quality rather than quantity - it gives more impact to cymbals and vocals but without the harsh sibilance that can accompany brighter sources.
    A few of the reviews I have seen have alluded to the fact that the EE Minimax Dac has a very high potential to be a giant killer if those (pesky) not very good stock Opamps are swapped out. My impressions would mostly support this, the Burson V5 turn this (CHEAP now) Dac into a very very competent source. I didn't mess around with other combinations of Opamp due to the wealth of impressions and threads on exactly that - Most pointed to the final (logical) conclusion that discrete Opamps are the way to go - I'm glad I cut out the middle man and went for the best option.
    My Litmus test for a piece of audio equipment is how quickly I can relax, close my eyes and go to sleep - I have had a few technically great DACs where I was NEVER able to switch off critical analysis mode - revelling in the detail and sheer clarity but ultimately going nuts when I just can't relax.....These DACs wow with their sheer excitement and energy long enough to get it them out of the showroom and into the front room.
    The Minimax DAC with the V5 does pass the Litmus test for me -  The V5's haven't turned it into a giant 5k DAC killing monster but it's pretty damn close - close enough for me to just listen to the music and revel in the fact that I am more than $2k better off with my new DAC/Opamp combo and getting more than 90% of the enjoyment :) - done deal!
    Next moves....
    Hmmmm might have to try the capacitor bypass and also change out the cheapo power supply capacitors!!
    Tried it with Tube mode on and Just 2 V5 Opamps - step backwards for me now - plus from what I can gather the best way to run the Minimax if you use Opamps only is to pull the tube out.
    Disclaimer - As well as using headphones for this review (SE535, Oppo Pm3, HE-6) I also used a pair of Usher Diamond Mini Dancer 2 speakers....is this even legal on Head-Fi?
    moriez likes this.
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