After my last review of the SS V5 Opamps, Burson has sent over some more SS (Supreme Sound) discreet op-amps for my review. Operational amplifiers are specialised amplifiers that have high input impedance, low output impedance, high gain as well as large bandwidth. Op-amps are one of the options to upgrade your headphone amplifiers and alter the sound quality. Based on my review, they do make a difference, and it is up to your ears to pick up the subtleties.
All Burson Opamps have a lifetime guarantee. The 6th-gen V6 come with reverse power protection circuit to prevent damage if you insert the circuits the wrong way.
Note that there are differences between the single op-amps and dual op-amps. The Burson Playmate requires two pairs of dual opamps. One pair takes care of the I/V Stage, where the digital audio signal enters. The second pair handles LP (low-pass) Stage and Headamp Output stage which filters the high-frequency noise.
For this review, I will be do the following comparison:
- SS Opamp V6 Vivid Dual (I/V Stage) + V6 Vivid Dual (LP Stage + Headamp Output Stage)
- SS Opamp V6 Classic Dual (I/V Stage) + V6 Vivid Dual (LP Stage + Headamp Output Stage)
- SS Opamp V6 Vivid Dual (I/V Stage) + V6 Classic Dual (LP Stage + Headamp Output Stage)
Burson V6 Vivid
The V6 Vivid opamp is characterised to have great details and transparency. Swapping out from the V5, the V6 Vivid immediately makes the music less cluttered. Where the highs were slightly energetic on the V5, they sound more resolving on the V6 Vivid. The one thing that the V6 Vivid lacks is the meat at the lower frequency. If you needed more bass extension, then the V5 would work better, but between the two, I certainly enjoy the V6 Vivid a lot more, because of the improved sound staging and the sparkles at the highs without too harsh. Listening to jazz numbers like Hiromi “Player”, you get more of the bass and piano warmth filling the space, while the drums are positioned wide and almost behind the ears. On the V6 Vivid, the bass is less prominent, the piano is clearer, the drums are staged slightly more forward at the corners of my eyes.
Burson V6 Classic
The V6 Classic is designed to have a more cozy sound staging and delivers slightly less transparent. But I also would not say they sound warm. For my review, since I only have one pair of V6 Classic, I could not fill up the entire Playmate with the opamps, so I mixed with V6 Vivid. For the current observation, the V6 Classic is used for the I/V Stage. Listening back to Hiromi “Player”, the recording is less spatial, more intimate, the piano sounds a bit more acoustic, while the pure V6 Vivid config tends to sound a bit too clinical. This definitely puts the V6 Classic as a better choice if your listening preference is towards a more authentic acoustic presentation.
Interestingly, the V6 Classic brings out a bit more instrumental texture that was not as obvious with the V6 Vivid. On Daft Punk “Give Life To Music”, the recording captures the crispy snap as the foot pedal hits the skin of the kick bass drum. Hence the V6 Classic does not entirely suppress the upper frequency, but merely re-presents them.
Indeed, I find the V5+V6 combination more balanced, bringing me closer to the recording while retaining the character and details of the instruments. The V6+V6 does have its charm with a more spatial sound staging that offers more breathing space. The instrumental details are more spaced out and layered, offering a little more laid back experience without sacrificing
The last thing I tried is to swap the V6 Classic to the Headamp Output Stage and move the V6 Vivid to the I/V Stage. Honestly, I thought this setup elevates the clarity somewhat towards the pure V6 Vivid setup while retaining the V6 Classic character. Regardless, if you have decided on this dual V6 Classic+Vivid setup, you can swap yourself to see which one you prefer.
All the above hearing analysis is done using the Sennheiser HD 800 S Anniversary Edition.
When you compare products, you will pick up the difference and might detect the weakness in your current setup. Sometimes, I myself was surprised at the sonic improvements that audio equipment could bring to reference tracks that I have listened for decades.
The V5 would be a good opamps if you like to have a bit more bass and bite at the treble. The V6 Vivids are excellent for listeners who love more imaging and transparency. The V6 Classic brings instruments closer as well as picking up finer texture with slightly more acoustic feel, not too exaggerated highs.
The list of dual opamps that the Burson dual opamps can replace:
AD823, AD823AN, AD8066, AD8620, AD712, AD827, C4570, JRC4556AD, JRC4580, JRC5532, JRC5532D, JRC5532, LF353, LM4562, LME49860, LM833N, LME49720, MUSES8920, NE5532, NEC4520, NEC4570, NJM2068D, NJM2114, NJM2214D, NJM4558, NJM4558D, NJM4560, NJM5532, NJM4558P, OP275, OPA1612, OPA2277PA, OPA2132, OPA2134, OPA2604, JRC4558, RC4558D, RC4558P, TL052, TL072, MUSES01, MUSES02, MUSES8820, MUSES8920, MUSES8832, BA15532