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Parasound and Burson adventure

  1. snellemin
    I am/was mostly a Solid-State kinda guy. Old school Luxman, NAD, B&K preamps and Amps.  Later in life added Pro Audio and DJ equipment on the list. But kids came in and had to give most of these things up.  So I ventured into headphones and was never satisfied until I got the Fiio E12A and FIIO E12 DIY for my bass head needs.  The Guitar guys’ opamp roll all the time to get different sound signatures. So I started swapping opamps in the E12 DIY to figure out what I like.  You would think a simple 8 legged opamp would just pass the signal from A to B and that would be it.  But it’s how the circuit within is implemented that changes the sound.  There wouldn’t be so many varieties of opamps on the market if the circuit was basically the same within and the output always the same.  On top of that, the circuit surrounding the opamps effectively alters the sound as well.  This is how big name companies can use cheaper opamps and still manage to get their “house” sound out and make a slightly better profit per unit.
    Soooooo, the hunger for more power came after getting the Hifiman 400i.  I started with the NAD 2140 amp and was happy for a while.  Then there was the B&K dual mono amp and it sounded nice. The car amp for headphone use adventure began, which were powered by HP server PSU’s.  But I wanted to opamp roll, so I ended up with Parasound Z series and opamp roll on the cheap.  I installed DIP8 sockets into the Preamps and Amps.  I’ve used the same opamps that came in the FIIO kit of mine and some Muses. The Muses in the preamps did great, but I disliked them in the Zamp as they just didn’t sound as good as in the FIIO portable amps. 
    Burson contacted me to try out their opamps in my hardware setup and post the results.  It didn’t matter if my findings were positive or negative.  I’ve heard the Burson’s V4 in the Gustard’s from two forum members and I really liked what I’ve heard.  So I agreed that I would try the Burson’s out in my setup in exchange of me posting my findings.
    I received the V5 early one morning and within a few hours had some extensions made at work.  Two sets where made, with one set containing a small 0.1uf WIMA cap soldered between the positive and negative leg of the dip socket.  This was based on the “upgrade” suggested on the Burson’s website.  100 Hours of burn in was required.  I rounded up 4 fellow audio enthusiast that are familiar with my audio setup at work.  Swapped out the Muses8920 out of the Parasound preamp first.  Huge difference right away in output and everybody agreed that the Parasound was on a whole different level now.  Everything sounded more detailed, but wasn’t so smooth.  So the adapters with the Wima caps went in and BOOM!!!!!......NOW the Parasound was perfect.  It’s detailed with every type of music.   I was able to remove the sonic maximizer that I was using with my headphones.  Acoustics are just might boggling. 
    Next up was the Zamp which had all its caps replaced.  I had swapped out the stock JRC for Opa2134 and the sound was too bright.  Then I used the Muses02 and I liked it again.  But stopped swapping opamps l after the Opa1611’s went in.  That was the sound I liked the most.  Well that was until the Burson went in.  Same scenario again.  Initial impression was WOW!  The WOW became a WOW WOW when the Wima cap went in. I soldered the Wima cap between the + and – legs as close as possible to the opamp.  My fellow audio witnesses all agreed on the WOW factor that the Burson brought to their genre of music taste.
    So the impact in sound was the greatest in the Preamp vs the Amp. And I say it’s a worthy upgrade for the Preamp.  Was it worth the upgrade in the Parasound AMP?  If I had spare change, I would purchase it for the Zamp.  The Parasound preamp on the hand sounds better than the old school Luxman preamp of mine.  But this happened after 3 days of running the Burson’s continuously.  I didn’t hear any difference in sound after 3 days of burn in. 
    For giggles the Zamp V.3 went under the knife and got its JRC 072D removed for a Burson upgrade.  Short work was made and a machine wrap 8 pin socket went in.  The burned-in Burson went in and something new was born.  The very good Parasound V.3 amp is now on a different level.  I like it way more than the Zamp V1 and it’s a worthy upgrade.  Music is very detailed, open and alive.  Doesn’t sound clinical at all and you can easily listen to your jams for hours on end. 
  2. snellemin
    Sooooo, I took out the Burson from the Parasound amp and went with a Muses01.  It didn't sound too good, so I added a Wima cap like I did with the Burson and the sound was sweet again.  It's detailed, but not as good as the Burson.  The Burson to my ears, has a smoother detailed sound.  The Muses01 sounds a bit "harsh" at the topend at times.  
    I took the Burson and for fun added it to my FIIO DIY.  Man o Man what a sweet sound it is.  Subbass smooth as butter, just like the highs.  I just didn't want to take my headphone off.  But too bad the V5 is a giant and not portable in my case.  
  3. snellemin
    This Wima cap tweak is really worth the effort in bringing the Burson's to life.  

    Burson Superme Sound (SS) Opamp 101 Part 1 (MKP cap tweak)

    Following tweaks are optional steps for the more experienced DIYers.

    1. After installing the SS Opamp please allow for at least 100 hours or burn in time before carrying out the following steps.
    2. Please solder a good quality foil capacitor (MKP caps) across the power intake pins (V+ and V-). You can try different value capacitor between 0.01uf to 0.1f. Please see diagram below for the different pin setting on the single and double SS Opamp.
    3. Power coupling cap is another key to further enhance the performance of our SS Opamp. Some budget CD player will only have a few low value low quality power coupling caps for their audio stage. It is recommendable to change them to slightly higher value and better quality type (Elna Slimic or For Audio range, Blackgate and etc…). Our SS Opamp will take full advantage of the stable power and give you music in a way the musician intended.

  4. snellemin
    I had some time at work to solder up some Snelle-Wima adapters.  This way I can swap them easier in little projects.  Downside is that it takes some overnite burning-in before they sound good.  It's sound pretty harsh when new.  With this, you can just purchase the Burson extensions and add this in between the extension and V4, V5 and V5i.
  5. snellemin
    I got around with playing with the Gustard H10 with the Burson V4 installed.  Added the Wima caps again and it's a different animal.  The Wima's are not going to be permanent in this setup, as the case isn't going to close.  Well the enclosure can close with the extensions installed.  I added thermal tape with pennies as heatsinks.  The dual V4 in the rear get stupid hot and so do the fets on the board. 
    The Gustard sounds great, musical, clean, detailed and non fatiguing with the V4's.  It also has more bass and subbass compared to the headphone output of the Zamp V3.  The Zamp speaker output powering the headphones is where the Gustard loses. The Zamp V3 also runs way cooler and runs 24/7.  Something I wouldn't try to do with the Gustards without additional heat sinking.
    Swapped the pennies out for memory heatsinks on the overworked regulators.  Very bad design.
  6. snellemin
    I stuffed the Burson V4 Dual in the Zamp V.1 with great results.  Subbass goes way lower now. Lower than the Muses02!!  It kinda like how how the Muses02 has the lowest subbass in the FIIO DIY of mine. The V4 does run warmer vs the V5 in this same amp and it doesn't work in the Fiio DIY.  
  7. slex


    What white material is the V5 laying on?

    I have the same parasound Zamp V.3. Is the stock opamp soldered?
  8. snellemin
    That white material is just thermal foam tape.  That is what I had at hand.  Regular double sided foam tape will work just as well.  The stock opamp is soldered on, but it's not hard to desolder it.
  9. slex
    Ok thank. The V5 is a dual opamp just to confirm?
  10. snellemin
    The V5 is a dual opamp.  
    This is the V.3.
  11. slex
  12. snellemin
    I made those extensions with 24 awg wires.  The one in the pic has a WIMA cap implemented, as suggested by Burson.
  13. slex
    Good to know . I will be looking forward to this great upgrade as i also have good perfomance out of MHDT paradisea 3 with burson V5.
  14. Rroff
    Out of curiosity have you tried with an "audio grade" 10uf aluminium electrolytic rail to rail instead of the 0.1uf film cap? whenever I've tried with 0.1 or 0.22uf WIMAs in my DIY amps I've noticed a "narrowing" of the sound compared to higher end commercial amps while a Nichicon KZ or Elna Silmic II hasn't had that effect while also appearing to improve how well the op amp is working (in some cases, depends a bit op amp to op amp).
  15. snellemin
    I only used the 10uf cap that came with Fiio DiY kit.  I can't say if I heard a difference or not like I did with the Wima caps.  But I'll try it again once my V4 Burson's come in.

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