• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Burson Soloist 3XP Review (Headphone Amp)

Rate this headphone amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 151 65.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 65 28.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 5 2.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 10 4.3%

  • Total voters
    231

BrokenEnglishGuy

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 19, 2020
Messages
1,343
Likes
750
Added measurements for the fixed gain mode to the review. It definitely cleans up its response. Here is the dashboard for example:
index.php


See the review for the rest of the tests.
Good for a very high power headphone amp.
This headphone amp is good for planar magnetics headphones, like hifiman susvara, some dan clark Audeze, etc. Not for IEMS ;)

With planars 90dB that sinad is almost inaudible.
 

edahl

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2021
Messages
389
Likes
318
Good for a very high power headphone amp.
This headphone amp is good for planar magnetics headphones, like hifiman susvara, some dan clark Audeze, etc. Not for IEMS ;)

With planars 90dB that sinad is almost inaudible.
I wouldn't be surprised if it literally destroyed all planars at max volume. I've already heard one such case with the HE6se
 

BrokenEnglishGuy

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 19, 2020
Messages
1,343
Likes
750
I wouldn't be surprised if it literally destroyed all planars at max volume. I've already heard one such case with the HE6se
Planars don't die that easily, some planars hit 104dB less than 0.5% THD, like my EFO.
I guess is more probably a headphone with DD going to destroyed.
 

pseudoid

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
1,881
Likes
1,079
I was actually saving up money for a Soloist 3XP.
Let's just say I'm probably going to spend a lot less on a topping A90D in the near future, And will invest the difference into something else.
Yes. Take the money and spent it on better speakers, room EQ or headphones... much better invested and more likely to make an audible difference. ;)
Oh Boy! Oh Boy!
I am sure that the PinkPanthers would welcome you sharing some of your $aving$, with the rest of the claw.;)
 

AudioSceptic

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 31, 2019
Messages
2,085
Likes
1,930
Location
Northampton, UK
For neither. It's a great piece to play with, change things, and maybe try to overcome it's horrible test specs. There's peeps/enthusiasts that dig this sort of cult status or whatever this gear has and they dig changing things for what they imagine are the better. I made a conscious decision a few months ago to not hassle OP amp rollers and MOD'ers because they are just into that scheme of things and for many this is their way of getting educated in electronics. So I don't see the Burson tested here as being a throw away. It has uses for some people and some of those OP amp rolling peeps are here at ASR I think going from what I've read. As this unit has lethal to headphones output power capability I imagine for some peeps that makes it better/more exciting for them and the amp is then held to a higher regard. I don't think forcing OP amp rollers into the closets is a goal. They should be able to come forth and request help with stuff so they can self educate.
If this thing cost a couple of hundred, then you might have a point, but what sane person would pay >$1000 for something that's broken, just to play with it in the hope of improving it? What could anyone learn from this anyway? Wouldn't they be better off learning some proper design and then building their own?
 

PeteL

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
2,503
Likes
2,539
If this thing cost a couple of hundred, then you might have a point, but what sane person would pay >$1000 for something that's broken, just to play with it in the hope of improving it? What could anyone learn from this anyway? Wouldn't they be better off learning some proper design and then building their own?
Learning to be a good electronic designer can take decades, and yes this process of studying the behaviour in OP amps can be part of this. Among many other experiments, you don't go and read an electronic for Dummies book and design a great amp.
 

Doodski

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 9, 2019
Messages
13,619
Likes
13,385
Location
Canada
If this thing cost a couple of hundred, then you might have a point, but what sane person would pay >$1000 for something that's broken, just to play with it in the hope of improving it? What could anyone learn from this anyway? Wouldn't they be better off learning some proper design and then building their own?
I think you hold these people to a higher standard then even they are looking to achieve. Some people just want to tinker and not get into electron principles and fundamentals at the formal level.
 

Ra1zel

Active Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2021
Messages
261
Likes
418
Location
Poland
Learning to be a good electronic designer can take decades, and yes this process of studying the behaviour in OP amps can be part of this. Among many other experiments, you don't go and read an electronic for Dummies book and design a great amp.
Arguably doing a headphone amp based on op amps is as easy as it gets.

Try discrete and retain good performance without cranking 130dB open loop gain, now that's skill.
 

LTig

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
4,413
Likes
7,167
Location
Europe
Arguably doing a headphone amp based on op amps is as easy as it gets.

Try discrete and retain good performance without cranking 130dB open loop gain, now that's skill.
I agree, but 130 dB open loop gain of op amps is usually below 20 Hz and falls 20 dB / decade above.
 

Phoney

Active Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2021
Messages
240
Likes
143
I

Indeed, my wish I knew up front was a pipe-dream. The alarming part is that the folks who shell out big bucks for these “luxurious” mediocre products insist that they sound better than fairly-priced equivalents that outperform them, and over at Head-Fi they’re speaking authoritatively about this as they encourage others to fall for the same shill. Which not only reinforces the price points but perpetuates the quality myth these “luxury” brands enjoy.

I always marvel when people refer to ASR and Head-Fi as two equal resources that simply differ on “opinion”—and sadly Head-Fi is the far more popular for reasons their denizens don’t understand—it’s corporate-funded and completely infiltrated by industry plants perpetuating the myths. Head-Fi is one big marketing cesspool where folks think they’re getting useful information because they think they’re getting unbiased advice from peers. They don’t realize that their peers are passing along the promises made by one sheets created by manufacturers, who are not bound by truth in advertising laws…
ASR and Head-Fi has about the same amount of viewership for the last 6-12 months.
 

PeteL

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
2,503
Likes
2,539
Arguably doing a headphone amp based on op amps is as easy as it gets.

Try discrete and retain good performance without cranking 130dB open loop gain, now that's skill.
Baby steps, 99% of the population don't even know what an op amp is, nor a DC offset, nor what brings an op amp to oscillate. "easy as it get" for you maybe. If you have an engineering degree and studied audio circuits. and have some experience. You may not have anything to learn about opamps designs but others do and it can be of interest.
 

SirYabadaba

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2020
Messages
5
Likes
7
True. The DC offset is the thing that scares me the most about accidentally damaging my headphones but if this measures so poorly yet there is no audible distortion present, why does that end up mattering?
As the owner of this particular Burson Soloist, I can tell you.

Yes, I am at times terrified of this amp. I once sent 28 volts down the right driver of my HD 6XX! Made a large bang. I swore the driver must be dead. But no, still works perfectly fine.

The same 6XX that has survived being flung over the handlebars of my bike along with me twice, yet they still work.
 

SirYabadaba

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2020
Messages
5
Likes
7
It sounds good. Just a high noise floor. Nothing wrong otherwise really. Someone mentioned its kind of like a tube amp and that actually seems to fit my experience too.
This is how I see it. I thought I would like the sound of tubes as they were described to sound, and at the time I bought it, I was listening to music so often and for so long, I would have an amp running all the time, and I knew it would get expensive if I did that with actual tubes.

Edit: Except the DC offset issues. Allowing any headphone amp, regardless of price, to have such a level of offset is ridiculous and poor design.
 

SirYabadaba

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2020
Messages
5
Likes
7
I was actually saving up money for a Soloist 3XP.

Let's just say I'm probably going to spend a lot less on a topping A90D in the near future, And will invest the difference into something else.
If you want something that sounds similar, yet measures much better, I know people compare the Burson Soloist to sounding like the Singer SA-1.

And that one you don't have to worry about DC offset blowing up your headphones, unless you modify the amp.
 

Snoopy

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jul 19, 2021
Messages
738
Likes
408
If you want something that sounds similar, yet measures much better, I know people compare the Burson Soloist to sounding like the Singer SA-1.

And that one you don't have to worry about DC offset blowing up your headphones, unless you modify the amp.
Got already a SA-1. But need another amp for another room
 
Top Bottom