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DAC - Burson Conductor
AN AUSTRALIAN DAC IN THE RACE
BURSON CONDUCTOR

I-INTRODUCTION.

The Australian manufacturers are very rare on the high end market, with the exception of METAXAS that had an exclusive/state of the art approach in the 85'. Since then, we have not faced many products from this area. As the dematerialized world gains more and more market shares year after year, most of the audio manufacturers see a big interest in proposing a DAC (very often with a preamplifier + headphone output included in the same box).

The current DAC under review is made by BURSON AUDIO. The range of the DAC devices has increased and 3 DACs are available, all of them having an excellent manufacturing quality: the Soloist, the Soloist SE and the Conductor.


Soloist_tn.jpg Soloist_SL_tn.jpg Conductor_tn.jpg

We have chosen to review the highest model in the range: the Conductor.


II-THE BURSON CONDUCTOR DAC.

This model is pretty recent: it hosts both a preamplifier section and an headphone amplifier. Its DAC chip belongs to the 32 bits family and is the famous
ESS Sabre 32 bits.

The manufacturing quality is excellent and uses a very beautiful aluminium based chassis. The features are easy to use, the knobs are beautiful and this DAC offers a selection of three different headphone impedance in order to match as perfectly as possible this value (that varies a lot from an headphone to another).
Another detail that must be pointed out is the use of a stepped attenuator instead of a classical potentiometer: this is so rare on the current products that we must emphasize on it.
Here is a photo of this attenuator:
HD_Vol_Control.jpg


The front face is simple (who believes too simple ?) and is pretty beautiful in our opinion:

Burson_Conductor_front.jpg

and here is the rear face:

Burson-Conductor_back.jpg

Despite we have the notice that the XLR input and output connectors are missing (this is acceptable providing the retail price of this DAC), the rest will covers all the needs of most users.

By looking inside the Burson, we note that everything is clean and clear, like the
SPECTRAL products are...
Burson-Conductor_interior.jpg


III-SYSTEM SETUP.

As usual, the system setup to compare the DACs is the same, so you have a perfect basement to compare the listening results.

config_burson.jpg


IV-THE LISTENING SESSIONS.
Once again, we are surprised by the comments given to the devices that are reviewed by most of the other websites or magazines: we believe that they are too positive compared to the real value of the devices.
This BURSON Conductor DAC is very often rated as the perfect example of an « outstanding product at a reasonable price » (€1,700 in Europe).
But at ThresholdLovers, after a lot of listening sessions with the
SONY MDR CD3000 headphones, our opinion is not that incredibly positive...: we rate it more or less at the same level of musical quality than the ANTELOPE Gold and the EXIMUS DP-1.

Our personal tastes go towards a high impact bass section, some weight on the notes, a lot of emotion, enough dynamics to be immerged into the musical ambiance... But here again, we have been frustrated... This Burson is, without any doubt, a very good product, but still not at the right level to transport you in the musical room...
The music is fluid, beautiful, with a lot of class, always analogic (meaning that the artificial digital personnality is not there), and linear. But we still miss something to go to the Paradise...

This BURSON is a beautiful product, and its price/quality ratio is much better than most of its competitors, but we cannot completely agree with the websites or magazines that say that it is a « new reference » in the DACs world.


 
V-CONCLUSION.

It has been a long time since we have listen to a very good Australian product ! Since the METAXAS era, we have been waiting for such a product... This BURSON will be satisfactory those who like a relax sound; we must not forget that its price/musicality ratio is much better than most of its competitors.

Pros:
  • excellent stepped attenuator (where its competitors use a simple potentiometer).
  • excellent level of details
  • proposes 3 different level for the headphones impedance
  • a preamplifier is included
  • the manufacturing quality is very good
  • the music it delivers is fluid
  • its price is good (€1,700)

Cons:
  • nothing is particular
TL_4.jpg

This article has been written by Florent and Nounours - March 2013.

Creation date : 16/02/2013 @ 18:27
Last update : 02/11/2014 @ 21:00
Category : DAC
Page read 53 times


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