Burson Audio Conductor 3 Review

Burson Audio Conductor 3

Conclusion

 

So far, we’ve established that we have a very well-built, very good-looking, very capable shiny box on our hands that also happens to sound pretty bloody great. So at $1,744, does it represent good value? And who exactly should be considering a Burson Audio Conductor 3? 

In terms of straight-up dollar-value, I have to say the Conductor 3 represents genuinely remarkable performance and features for the asking price. Compared to another DAC/amp/pre-amp combination I’ve spent time with recently – the iFi Audio Pro iDSD, the Burson is honestly more flexible and usable as an all-in-one unit. While the iFi has tube mode, balanced output, and a host of tricksy digital features such as wifi streaming, the Conductor’s analogue capabilities and simple Bluetooth connectivity make it an easier prospect to simply sit down and want to listen to. It’s easy to like. And, it’s $600 cheaper. 

To frame things a little differently for a moment, I think the Conductor 3 is best viewed from a long term perspective. Why? There’s a very pronounced trend of people looking for ‘upgrades’ in personal audio – the continual search for something more. More features. More power. Middier mids. 0.0000000001% THD. And as a result, audio components have become throw-away stepping stones which add to clutter on our desktops and get in the way of musical enjoyment. What Burson Audio has made in the Conductor 3 is the one-box solution for the person who’s ready to stop looking, and find themselves a genuine legacy piece that will comfortably remain top-tier in terms of performance for many, many years. 

Burson Audio Conductor 3

Add to that the fact that the Conductor 3 can continue to be upgraded via firmware and swappable op-amps, and this handsome sucker will no doubt continue to delight for the foreseeable future. 

If you’re going to invest in a Conductor 3, you’re going to want to use it, and look at it – a lot. And you should too because it’s a knockout. So if you spend a lot of time at a desk in your home office, or have a cozy nook with a nice listening chair, the Conductor 3 could certainly rightly take pride of place there. It’ll look great there too. 

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Matty's a musician, music-fan, and 'gear-phile' from Sydney, Australia. Outside of his day-job in creative advertising, Matty enjoys live music, lawn bowls, craft beer, and spending far too much money collecting vinyl.

    9 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 🙂

          • Reply March 28, 2020

            Viktor Rad

            I eventually bought Conductor 3 Reference. Breathtaking with my Hifiman Arya. High-end musical bliss. I can’t stop listening to music now 🙂

    • Reply May 7, 2020

      Federico

      Hi,
      have you tried it with the Meze Empyrean?
      How is this pairing?
      Is there noticeable background noise?
      Thank you

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