Burson VIVID + CLASSIC Op Amps In Millett's Butte Headphone Amp
Aug 23, 2019 at 4:01 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3


Headphoneus Supremus
Dec 14, 2010
This is an update on a DIY amp I built several months ago. Pete Milletts "Butte" headphone amp.

A very low cost simple amp with OPA552 high gain op amps (11X) that was easy to build and worked the first time.

When first using the amp, there was a little noise heard at high volume settings, when using low impedance headphones, but well at the pain levels for volume and not a real issue. I reduced the gain to 5X and the noise went away entirely.

The amp was ok, but IMO nothing really stellar or better than other SS amps in house.

So it sat there for a few months and a couple of other DIY folks contacted me and built the Butte amp as well...and popped in some OEM op amps and really liked the result. So that got me thinking....I have a bunch of op amps, and I know you just should not pop in an op amp into a circuit without checking the design and the requirements. If your not careful you might have oscillations, really hot components and destruction.

That said, I did some research and it seemed safe to try my Burson Vivid single op amps. I had two I was using in Bursons FUN amp that I have reviewed elsewhere and with great results.

The Butte at first was well "mediocre" nothing really special in its first time around. MY first real experiment with a high gain amp design. The volume could not be cranked up very much before your ears started to hurt!. So again we lowered the gain to 5X, any lower according to some would require taking out the 552's.

Well we lowered it and it now was ready for some op amps!!

In went the Bursons Vivids...first listen to: Mino Cinelu, Album - Mino Cinelu, "Petit Prince".

Results: 10 out of 10 stars.

Bass, strings, tonality...an amazing change to this amp with the Vivids compared to the stock OPA 552's.

If you have not heard of this artist, your missing out on a very well recorded and holistic recording...such a great moving experience for strings and bass. A CD that is used by many in demoing for parting the wheat from the chaff!!

The magic is definitely coming from the marriage of this circuit and Bursons Vivids. This is one experiment I wish I had done earlier, but I kind of wrote off the Butte because of the high gain and its just plain ho-hum performance.

But with a simple change in op amps, I have become a believer that op amps do make a difference and these from Burson in this circuit are nothing short of spectacular.

The only issue I have with them is the physical dimensions, for the Butte the case is too small in height to allow for them to go into the enclosure. So Burson if your listening, how about making these op amps to fit in a op amp socket much like Sparkos.

So the sound is so good I am now making a new Plexiglas case to enclose the Butte with the Vivids so I can see the parts etc..

Rather than bore you with more specific songs and experiences, let me say its once again like listening to my music for the first time....and that's good.

I cant give a product a higher recommendation!

Its indeed Burson Magic with Pete Milletts basic Butte design!..

Win, Win!

Aug 27, 2019 at 8:53 AM Post #2 of 3
Another update:

After a week with the Burson Vivids, I popped them out and popped in a set of Burson Classics, the orange ones....and they worked first time, no wierd oscilations, the amp runs normal temps checked with a
thermocouple here.

Sound is the "Classic" Burson discrete op amp sound...excellent....in this case the Butte runs class A with small signals due to a CCS circuit, and at low volumes the classics are about as nice as the vivids, hard
to tell them apart except for some type of music. The Classics in this amp with some older remastered Beatles sound absolutley holographic!.

Tested with Senn HD 600's.

Highly recommended to try Burson op amps in your "stuff"...alot like tube rolling on the solid state side!


Aug 27, 2019 at 9:30 PM Post #3 of 3
I bought a Butte kit a few weeks back and built it. A very fun and rewarding project.

I did not buy the bill of material op amps. I had a pair of Sparkos SS3601 op amps that I wanted to use in it. They flat out rock! Bigger soundstage, clarity and definition as well. ( I used the stock up amps from a Burson Fun for comparison.)

I used the V5 s and the V6 s in a Burson Lycan amp a year ago. They are very good and they give you different sounds to choose from. The V6 classic is my favorite Burson.

To my ears the Sparkos SS3601 op amps are a great op amp roll as well.

If anyone is interested in the Butte amp, but don't have the time to build one, PM me. I would be happy to build one for you. The board and components are less than $125.
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