Burson Audio Conductor 3 Review

Burson Audio Conductor 3

Headphone tests and musical review

 

Being an Australian device, it’s only fair that we’re going all-Aussie with our test music for the Conductor 3 review. Enjoy. 

ÆON Flow (Open)

Burson Conductor 3

Up first, let’s try out the ÆON Flow (Open) with a bit of Pond – ‘Colder than Ice’. And ho-ly, this is some of the most uncannily good imaging I’ve heard on these cans. I’m able to place each of the vocal tracks and synth/samples into not only a left/right soundscape but a vertical one as well. The Burson also unleashes some killer bass extension and slam on the ÆONs – they’re a terrific match with the Conductor 3 (I’d love to hear what the new ÆON 2 Open is capable of on this!). 

Beyerdynamic T1

Next, we’ll move on to the 600-ohm Beyerdynamic T1’s which requires a jump in volume from ‘30’ to ‘45’ over the ÆONs. The Beyers can be a trifle bright, bordering on tough-going with harsh sources. ‘Borderline’ from Tame Impala sounds smooth as treacle in the treble department with the T1/Conductor 3 pairing. There’s a sense of sparkle and terrific extension, but it’s balanced out by a completely linear transition from the mid-range. The T1 also proves the Conductor 3 to have the most incredibly natural attack and decay – the way it dispatches the leading edge of notes – especially cymbals – sounds analogue, to put it in a word. I could put up with the T1’s all-day on the Conductor 3. 

Grado PS500e

Burson Audio Conductor 3

Plugging in the Grado PS500e immediately reveals the subtle noise-floor of the Conductor 3, but after dropping the volume to ‘26’ and playing some King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, it’s soon forgotten. ‘Polygondwanaland’ has a terrifically wide soundstage on the PS500e/Conductor 3 combo, which reveals micro-detail in the plucked acoustic guitars which sound hyper-transparent. 

Sennheiser HD600

‘Ghosteen’ by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is an amazing vocal performance by Nick Cave, and it’s also just a bloody great song. Turning it right up to ‘46’, it sounds majestic when the Conductor 3 and Sennheiser HD600’s join forces, and give a sense of absolute immediacy and lifelike, forward vocal texture. It’s intimate, and ethereal.  

Sennheiser HD650

If you want to hear an amazing Aussie female vocalist, you won’t hear much better than Nai Palm, lead singer of Hiatus Kaiyote. Switching over to the slightly cosier-sounding HD650’s, the Conductor 3 helps to extract a silky-smooth rendition of ‘Fingerprints’, managing a linear transition from mid-bass to mid-range while Nai sounds like she’s standing in front of you in a small lounge room. 

ZMF Eikon

And lastly, for something completely different, let’s test out bass texture and slam with Sampa The Great’s ‘OMG’. The ZMF Eikon likes to keep the volume pot at ‘46’, and the Eikon also loves sub-bass – this track is an absolute treat on the Conductor 3 with genuinely felt rumble in the lowest octave, but also maintaining tautness and speed. The Eikon and Conductor 3 are the perfect pairing of neutral-meets-slightly-warm, and delivers buckets of detail without ever, ever getting fatiguing.  

Ok, one last track: ‘Shot Down in Flames’ from AC/DC’s best album, ‘Highway to Hell’ (and if you didn’t know AC/DC was Australian, then you ought to be ashamed of yourself). I’ve decided to go back to the T1’s for this tasty rock treat, as overall they’re my favourite pairing with the Conductor 3. The Conductor 3 unleashes the raw energy and dynamic punch that the T1’s are capable of delivering but does so with absolute finesse and control. Nice. 

Check out our conclusions and final verdict on XYZ over at page 5

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Matty's a musician, music-fan, and 'gear-phile' from Sydney, Australia. Outside of work in creative advertising for global youth media network VICE, Matty enjoys live music, lawn bowls, craft beer, and spending far too much money collecting vinyl.

    6 Comments

    • Reply February 24, 2020

      Maxx

      I have a JDS labs Element 2. If I upgrade to this one, will there be a huge difference? Thanks.

      • Reply February 25, 2020

        Matty Graham

        Not enormous to be honest…for most headphones. The main differences will be in connectivity, liveability, and form-factor. The differences sonically will be ‘nuances’ more than anything else.

        • Reply February 25, 2020

          Maxx

          Thanks very much, Matty!

    • Reply March 23, 2020

      Viktor

      Thank you for this great review! I think to buy either Burson Audio Conductor 3 or Mytek Brooklyn DAC+. I see headfonia reviewed for Mytek as well. Are they in the same level? Are there any differences in sound?

      • Reply March 24, 2020

        Matty Graham

        Cheers Viktor! Linus reviewed the Brooklyn, and without having heard them back-to-back I couldn’t tell you. I’m pretty confident that you’ll manage to get excellent headphone performance out of either. The Brooklyn has a phono stage which is a bonus if you’re a vinyl listener.

        • Reply March 24, 2020

          Viktor Rad

          Thank you Matty, I lean towards Brooklyn 🙂

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