Burson Audio from Australia makes a range of compact, integrated headphone amp/preamp/DAC systems and power amplifiers exemplified by a ‘less is more’ design philosophy. Burson’s approach, which “insists on meticulous ground-up design using specialised discrete circuits throughout”, is represented by the Conductor SL 9018 headphone amp/DAC; Conductor SL1793 headphone amp/DAC and Timekeeper stereo/mono power amplifier.
The Conductor SL 9018 features a fully discrete (IC free) output stage, it operates entirely in Class A and is capable of driving “most if not all headphones to their full potential”. It delivers up to 2W per channel into 8 ohms. It has a symmetrical FET input stage; multiple discrete power supplies and a twin-gain Variable Output Stage (VOS) to optimise output power for a range of headphones. D/A conversion is via ESS9018 32bit Sabre DAC. Its compact (210 x 220 x 80mm) aluminium casing acts as a heat-sink ensuring a stable and optimised performance at all times. The SL9018 features 24 bit/192k Asynchronous USB, coax RCA and Toslink/SPDIF digital inputs and a single analogue RCA line-level input. Recommended retail is £1199.00.
The Conductor SL 1793 headphone amp/24 bit DAC departs from that of the SL 9018 with the inclusion of a FET input stage developed specifically for its PCM1793 DAC chip. Having significantly fewer components in the signal path than conventional designs, the SL 1793 is “able to realise the full potential of the PCM1793 for greater transparency”. It’s also a Class A design that offers up to 2W per channel through a twin gain level VOS. Likewise it provides 24 bit/192k Asynchronous USB, coax RCA and Toslink/SPDIF digital inputs and a single analogue RCA line-level input. Price is £969.
The Timekeeper is a compact IC-free 2 x 80W power amplifier complete with a custom-built transformer and linear power supply. A fully discrete Class AB design it features a proprietary 300VA transformer for seven individually tailored power supplies, feeding a fully symmetrical FET bridge input stage. Timekeeper may be bridged for 240W mono operation and has RCA or XLR inputs, it costs £1,950.
UK distribution is handled by Karma AV www.karma-av.co.uk