Burson Audio is an Australian company originally from the city of Melbourne. The brand is known for its high-quality digital-to-analog converters and amplifiers, manufactured in accordance with the High-End philosophy: the shortest signal path, the minimum number of elements in the audio path and proprietary operational amplifiers with selected discrete transistors. In fact, it was discrete op amps and other circuits with their participation that brought audiophile recognition to Burson Audio.
Burson Audio founded in 1996, has been producing ready-made devices since the mid-2000s. And before that, under the Burson Audio brand, very successful op-amp and voltage regulator modules were developed and sold, addressed to lovers of making something with their own hands or modifying ready-made audio components.
Moreover, already having a solid lineup of its own devices, the company continues to develop a family of proprietary discrete opamps. And this is not surprising: first of all, Burson Audio makes op-amps for itself, in the future, all preliminary stages in ready-made components are created on their basis. And for fans of good sound, Australian discrete opamps have become perhaps the easiest and most inexpensive way to modify budget or mid-range audio devices, raising the playback quality a good step above their original level.
In addition to developing popular DACs and amplifiers, Burson is also known for the discrete operational amplifiers V4 and V5, but due to the large size of these solutions, not every technique was suitable for upgrading with these op amps. Burson thought about it and released the V5i, a more compact model that uses other op-amps inside, connected in a hybrid circuit.
And today we look at the v5i opamp, a model that is already well known to many audiophiles, but is still relevant on the market today.
V5i is intended for easy replacement of standard op-amps in devices that allow this, and is suitable for replacing very many op-amps. Details can be found on the official website, the main thing is to carefully look, you need a “single” or “dual” model. They differ slightly in price ($49 versus $79 per pair) and are not interchangeable. In addition to the V5i, the official website sells various useful accessories that may come in handy – extension cords for those cases when the V5i does not fit in the device case in a standard position, capacitors for power upgrades and more, isolation for noise protection and various sockets with adapters. By the way, a separate nice bonus – the V5i comes with a lifetime warranty.
We decided to test V5i on Topping A50 headphone amplifier which gives excellent sound for its $170, while it has two the cheap and muddy default LME49720 opamp.
We used several different headphones for test (HiFiMan Sundara, Meze Audio Classic 99, HiFiMan DEVA, Audiosence AQ3), and everywhere we got an amazing result. All headphones opened and played in a new way.
The first thing you notice right away: improved detail, more lively and raised timbres, improved attack and bass control, and increased transparency in the music scene. The music just becomes more realistic.
The bass becomes more accentuated, due to this, the overall flow becomes warmer, more precisely, it loses that slight coldness that is characteristic of it in default. Lows become more layered, and separation of instruments in this range improves. The mids are almost unchanged, perhaps a little more detail, but this is somewhere on the edge of audible. Treble due to the increase in bass becomes less accentuated and, thanks to this, the overall flow becomes more universal.
In general, you can note a large amount of space and air that is noticeable immediately. It is impossible not to notice that the stage of our Topping A50 has expanded several times and gains incredible volume and depth. The sound begins to flow in this space and instruments become melodious. It’s amazing how such a small detail can improve the sound in a cardinally way, without destroying its original properties, but only strengthening them and adding nuances that were previously fundamentally absent.
Of course, size of Burson opamp is quite large, our Topping A50 for example can be used only in disassembled. And this is the smallest Burson opamp, while the V6 is much larger. However, the Burson for this case has an elegant solution in the form of an extension lead. We will try to test this solution in the near future.
Burson V5i is a really simple and affordable way to experiment with sound, getting in most cases an increase in quality. With the experience of the Topping A50 we was very satisfied, in our hearing, the upgrade allows this already good amplifier to take a couple of steps up, although the upgrade price in our case was only $79. This is a really simple and affordable way to greatly improve the quality of your device.
Official site: www.bursonaudio.com
Additional information Burson V5i Dual:
|Dimensions||10 × 10 × 5 cm|
|Type||Dual x 2, Dual x 1, Single x 2|