Simple Yet Effective Way To Change Your Sound / A Comparison Between the V6 Classic and the V6 VividPros: More inviting sound
Slightly weightier bass
Richer more fuller mids
Relaxing and easier listening
Cons: Sound stage is smaller
Less precision within the sound stage
Not as articulate in the transients
weaker on the overall airiness
I received the OpAmps a few days ago and immediately installed them into the C3XR. For clarification, I’ve only been provided a single pair Classic OpAmps and the C3XR has place for two pair, for a total of four OpAmps. There are a pair of OpAmps for the L/P Stage and a pair of OpAmps for the I/V Stage on the circuit board. I have done listening with the pair of Classics in both stages, the L/P and the I/V. In my multiple listening sessions I swapped between the two stages to see what differences I was able to experience. I did find a little bit difference, which I will touch on in a little bit.
First, comparing the V6 Classics versus the standard V6 Vivids, I first tried the V6 Classics in the L/P stage and my initial reaction was there was a bit more sweetness to the sound. Acoustic guitar strums sound a little bit lively and tangible. There was a little bit more energy and coloration making it appear more palpable. Vocals also have a little bit more richness and body. Both male and female vocalists just had a little bit more lushness to their timbre. Sound stage on the Classics seem to have shrunk a bit though; the sound it produces is just a little bit more intimate. Instrument and detail separation within the sound stage appear to have less physical space between them. Vocals are more forward in presentation and they sound a little more in my head instead of out in front of me.
There appears to be less airiness to the sound. The trebles seem slightly more tapered and don’t quite have the same sparkle but there is still a beautiful richness that extends into the trebles. There may be slightly less energy in the treble range than on the Vivids, which make the Classics a little less revealing in nature. It probably is better described as a little bit less analytical in its sonic approach. Voices have a little bit less of a breathy quality to them, adding to that vocal lushness I had mentioned. Midrange overall sounds fuller and creates a little bit more of a warm sound. With both the reduction of the treble and the fuller bodied mids it provides a bit more of a relaxed, kick-back and listen approach.
Bass response seem just a touch weightier as well. The sound has just a bit more impact in the mid-bass region, but that impact doesn’t seem to extend to the lowest frequencies. There’s not less sub-bass compared to the Vivids, rather the mid-bass sounds slightly elevated. Kick drums have a stronger presence than on the Vivids.
While the Classics seem to have an “easier listening experience” feel to them, with warmth and richness, it comes at the expense of the speed in the sound. Articulation definitely is not as fast as the Vivids; however, this is not to the point of sounding smeared together. Transients throughout the frequency range seem just a little bit more rounded and smoother sounding. Attacks while they seem weightier don’t have as quick of an attack or onset and take ever so slightly longer to decay from.
Swapping the pair of Classic OpAmps in the I/V Stage and having Vivid OpAmps in the L/P Stage position, I would say mostly things are more similar than different to my findings stated above, however there were a couple things that I did note as sounding different. The first thing I had written in my notes was a little bit more weight and presence in the bass. The sound stage size felt about the same size in width and depth, but I did note that the sound seems a touch more ambiguous. What that means, delineation within the sound stage seemed a little bit blurrier. Main vocals sounded a little broader and less centralized, as if it was filling a little bit more of my headspace. Detail retrieval and articulation seemed about the same with the Classics in the I/V Stage versus the L/P Stage.
While I’ve taken time to pinpoint the differences that I experienced between the stock Vivid OpAmps from the C3XR and the Classic OpAmps that Burson graciously sent over to me, I will be candid and say that the differences are not as monumental as, say, changing amplifiers entirely. These OpAmps provide subtle changes that don’t drastically alter the original characteristic of the amps they are installed in. That being said, as I’ve aged my listening experience and what I look for in my sound characteristics has shifted. I used to truly value lushness and that relaxed, laid-back listening experience, which would have put the V6 Classic OpAmps right in my wheelhouse. Nowadays it seems that sound stage, precision, articulation, neutrality outweigh my earlier preferences in sound. That said, there’s no real wrong way to listen and I think Burson in their expertise knew that when making and offering both the Vivid OpAmps and the Classic OpAmps. Each have their strengths and their weaknesses, but having flexibility to OpAmp roll make trying to figure out just what suits your listening preference an easy and relatively inexpensive option. So while, I will likely stick to the Vivids for my listen experience, I certainly will whole-heartedly recommend you try the Classic OpAmps to see what it can do for your listening experience.
For referential purposes the equipment that I used was my iMac with Tidal fed via USB to the Burson Conductory 3X Reference. For headphones, I used both the Hifiman Arya and Hifiman Susvara. And here’s a list the songs that I listened to throughout my listening session:
Inquisition Symphony - One
Sound in Spirit - Como Pod’ a groriosa, Night Spirit Song
Batman Begins - Molossus
Dune - Dream Of Arrakis, Herald of the Change
Inception - Dreams Are Collapsing, Time
Interstellar – Mountains, No Time for Caution
10,000 Days – Jambi, 10,000 Days, The Pot
Call Me Irresponsible - The Best Is Yet to Come, It Had Better Be Tonight, Everything
Tenet – Priya, 747, Sator, Trucks In Place, Inversion, Algorithm
Speak For Yourself - Hide and Seek, Have You Got It in You?
Details - Let Go, Maddening Shroud, Shh, The Dumbing Down of Love
Big Willie Style - Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It, Just The Two of Us
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Sound of Glory - Battle Hymn of the Republic
Corner of Broadway and Main Street Vol 1 & 2 - Disney Love Medley, Bring Him Home, You Will Be Found, Remember Me, Prince of Egypt Medley
Symphony & Metallica - Enter Sandman, One, No Leaf Clover, Master of Puppets
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? - Bad Guy, Bury a Friend, ilomilo
Come Away With Me - Come Away With Me, Nightingale , Don’t Know Why, The Nearness of You
In Between Dreams - Better Together, Sitting, Waiting, Wishing, Crying Shame
The Love Club - Royals