Burson V6 Classic Op-amp review

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I have reviewed the Burson Audio playmate with their V6 Vivid Super sound Op-amps few weeks ago. It is one of the best op-amps in the market and provides a comprehensive upgrade over the default NE5532 chips that comes pre installed inside the PlayMate. Just like the V6 Vivid, the V6 classics are their top of the line chips with a different type of output. In their words

“The V6 Classic deviates further from its V5 foundation. With an entirely different output stage design, it is intimate, exquisite and very engaging. With the V6 Classic, Norah is asking you to come closer. She wrote the song for you and she is singing it to you. It was time to stop analyzing and start living in the moment.”

The V6 classic has a different take on the sound with a different imaging. It delivers a more intimate sound with a cohesive and engaging tonal balance.

Get these OP-amps from here:-

INSTALLING V6 CLASSIC:-

THINGS TO KNOW:-

The Super Sound series of OP-amps have a lot of improvements over the basic NE5532 opamp which are pre installed on the Playmate. These OP-amps from the Super Sound lineup are some of the best aftermarket discrete OP-amps one can find. They can be used in sound cards and a lot other DAC/AMPs.

In their words:-

“Discrete circuits are custom built by Burson for specific applications rather than an op-amp’s jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none specifications. The art of circuit design yields superior sound in every way in comparison to simple plug-a-chip engineering.

A system can only sound as good as its weakest link. All our products use thick, quality, temperature-stable printed circuit boards with high-purity copper traces and gold-plated soldering pads. And extra coating is applied to both sides of the PCB preventing oxidation. The boards are hand-built use high-spec metal-film resistors and other audio-grade parts using as few hand-matched components in the signal path as possible.”

“The V6 Vivid and V6 Classic are the results of over 12 years of research and six generations of designs. They are the most refined we have ever created.”

Burson is really proud of their OP-amps and if you have bought them, you can get a lifetime warranty on them. All you have to do is register the OP-amps here.
These OP-amps are not huge is size and fit everywhere without much struggle. One of the remarkable features of these V6 is their reverse voltage protection. If you have installed them the wrong way around these will survive without any problem where other opamps will be fried. That’s a fantastic thing to be precise.

Read the build and other specifications of the Burson Playmate here.

SOUND QUALITY:-

The V6 vivid is already an excellent sounding chip with plenty of details and clarity. The stage is huge and provides a well spread instrument distribution. Does it lack something? Maybe the vocals could have been a bit more forward and the huge stage at times is unable to convey more intimate details with conviction.

Steps in the V6 classic. It has the same size, same design but finds a middle ground between the NE5532 and V6 vivid chips. NE5532 is a not the best chip, it has excellent mid range but kills the treble stage and lacks some bass thump too. The V6 classic delivers a well spread stage with better intricate details than the NE5532 without sacrificing anything. It delivers better contrast than both the other two chips. 5532 is brighter and the Vivid is on the slightly darker sides of the spectrum.

I am putting the Fischer M12s to good work here. Being the neutral one, it helps in exposing the changes more vividly than other colored and damp sounding headphones.

BASS :-

The NE5532 was missing a bit of volume and the V6 vivid is missing a bit of mid bass feel. The V6 classic has it all. It has excellent the extension, rumble, mid-bass body and fullness. Notes are juicier and fuller and have better texture now. The lower region doesn’t feel clumsy or constrained. Notes express themselves with a lot more freedom. The V6 brings more heft without compromising on accuracy, details, resolution and clarity. The Playmate attains a more natural and neutral status and can be paired with any type of headphone and speakers without worrying about the bass region being unnecessarily analytical or less exciting.

MID RANGE:-

Mid range used to take a huge chunk of the stage size with the NE5532, making the playmate a mid-head DAC/AMP and the V6 vivid took slightly more than desired off the mid range, making it a bit dull and less engaging. The Classic brings the required amount of depth and energy to the mid range. The odd thing is it has more vivid instruments than the Vivid chip. Maybe the more intimate instrumental placement is reason. With the 5532 the notes were sharper with smaller base, the V6 has a bit more notes body with a better depth. The vocals are more agile, textured and crisp than the V6 vivid. The upper mid range has a very good amount of energy with equally good transparency and clarity. It has the right amount of sharpness and attack. Layering and separation of instruments remains excellent. Air between instruments takes hit, not because the notes are thick or fuller but because of the smaller stage size.

TREBLE:-

I complained about the lack of treble stage with the NE5532, which was literally fighting for air. The V6 vivid provided a lot of room to breathe but can feel a bit hollowed at times. The V6 classic strikes a balance between the two with improved stage presence compared to 5532 and exhibiting better instrument density than the Vivid. The treble feels evenly expanded with equally impressive treble extension and vastly improved sonicality and dynamism versus the 5532. There is better energy and sparkle at the lower treble region than the Vivid, the projection is in line with the mid range and is equally emphasized. The only niggle comes at the higher treble region where the classic doesn’t maintain similar energy and loses some points.

COMPARISONS:-

VS EARMEN TR-AMP ($250):-

NE5532 was more attacking. The V6 vivid is a bit mild and slightly smoother with notes. The V6 classic matches the emotions of the EARMEN dac/amp. Both have the same type of crispiness and contrast.

If you are not paying much attention it is tough to tell these two apart. Both have similar bass volume and quantity but the V6 classic has more resolution and better texture. Both have similar mid range notes presentation but the classic has a bit more forward vocals and more natural and organic tonality. The treble feels similar with notes sharpness but the TR-amp is on the drier side with slightly better energy at higher treble region. Both have similar amount of treble details.

Stage size is a bit smaller on the TR-amp, the instruments are a bit more closed in with similar intimacy. The Classic chip pulls ahead with better emotion and micro details.

COMPARISON TABLE :-

 BassMid rangeVocalsTrebleStage sizeTonalityAccuracy
V6 vivid8.358.58.458.89.28.79.2
V6 classic8.58.88.88.38.59.29.5
TR-Amp8.28.38.38.58.28.39.0
HUD-100mk28.28.38.38.38.08.48.8
Keep no doubts about the driving power, the 100mk2 and TR-amp cant drive top end orthodynamic headphones and the Playmate can drive mostly everything.

CONCLUSION:-

I love the way these chips change the sound signature without breaking the bank. The V6 classic manages to deliver excellent amount of details without being harsh or aggressive. Not a single instrument is missing from the scene or feels suppressed. If the track has it, you are hearing it, with excellent transparency, very good clarity and stupendous amount of texture. The tonality is as real as it is supposed to be. The V6 vivid is excellent but the textured feel is much better with the V6 classic. Both male and female vocals have excellent bite to them.

Notes have the agility and pace, along with good amount of body to them. I am impressed. I though V6 vivid was excellent, the V6 classic is nothing less than that.

If you have Burson DAC/AMP or are into op-amp rolling these chips are must have items.

I swapped the V6 vivid with the V6 classic and… I am sticking with it. The classics are just excellent. Choose wisely, you should not install dual channel op-amps in place of single channel!!

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About Author

My humble audiophile journey started in 2010, when I was in college, where I fell in love with the elements, nuances, and variations of this mesmerizing world. The ability of tiny earphones to recreate amazing sounds made my bad days tolerable and good days better! Now I am a full-time audiophile with a preference for musical tracks, especially vocals and engaging ones. I must admit I am addicted, but not to drugs or alcohol, but to earphones. Come join me as I share my experiences, bad or good, and let’s have some fun!

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