Burson Conductor 3XP Review

Burson Conductor 3XP

Today we look at the Burson Audio Conductor 3XP amplifier, selling for $1.344 USD.




Disclaimer: Burson Audio sent us the 3XP for the purpose of this review, in exchange for our honest opinion.

Burson Audio

The first amplifier I ever reviewed was the Burson Audio HA-160D and that was back in 2011 already. Since then we reviewed practically all of Burson Audio’s units, and most of our readers will know Burson very well. For those who are new to the scene, here’s a small intro.


Burson Audio is a Melbourne based manufacturer of D/A Converters, Amplifiers and DAC/Amps. They have been active for over 20 years (since 1996) now, and are probably best known for their good price to performance products. We have covered many of them on our web space in the past, and if you want to check out previous reviews you can do so here: www.headfonia.com/tags/burson

Burson works on a couple of different technologies. Their most popular one might be their discrete op-amps for which they give a life-time warranty. Burson also introduced a so-called max current power-supply and their cool case. You can dig deeper into what these exactly are on their website.

Their product range goes from the $199 USD Fun all the way up to the $2,144 USD Conductor 3X. Burson has something for every wallet-size in their portfolio and even offers upgrade components for those that want to tinker a little.

Burson HA-160D

Burson HA-160D

Another good thing about Burson is, that they have a wide-spread dealer network all around the globe. So, if you want a try-out session you can check their dealer-list online and go to the nearest available one. Why do I mention this? Because it isn’t always guaranteed that there is a retailer nearby in our hobby.

Conductor Series

I can hear you think “Hey, didn’t you review this one already?”, but no that’s not the case. Burson Audio just has a couple of different versions of the Conductor, being the Conductor 3 Reference, the Conductor 3X Reference, the Conductor 3 Performance and the Conductor 3X Performance.

It’s this last one we’re looking at today in this review, but as there’s a relationship with the other Conductor models, I suggest o read Matty’s and Linus’ reviews of those first. You can find these here:


In short, the difference between the regular and the X-series is that the latter has a fully balanced topology. And now there are 2 more versions of these DAC/AMPs: the Performance Series. This overview by Burson gives a clear overview of the four models.

3XP – Conductor 3X Performance

Burson describes the Conductor 3X Performance (from now on the 3XP) as follows:

While our Conductor Reference is like Huge Jackman in Kate and Leopold, the completed package, the Conductor Performance is the shredded Wolverine. It’s still him but stripped down! Power and total control of that power will be the overwhelming first impression. It energises every note and space in between, bringing accuracy and micro-details. The C3 performance is for the perfectionist who works hard and plays harder.

Of course Burson Audio has a dedicated web page for the 3XP and you can find that here: https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/conductor-3x-performance/

Burson Conductor 3XP

The Conductor series use the SABRE32/ESS9038Q2M DAC and XMOS USB receiver chips. Its Customised USB driver by Thesycon Germany ensures low latency bit-perfect audio playback. The result is incredible processing power, accurately playing back DSD512 and 38bit/786khz audio. It also features a Qualcomm/CSR8675 Bluetooth 5.0 receiver. Playing back at 24bit/96khz with aptX HD audio codec.

So in short, the 3XP is a trimmed down version of the 3XR unit, with less power, a different power supply and no analogue inputs. Just like the other Conductor models, the 3XP comes with Burson’s special Cool Case technology. Burson likes to turn Class-A amplifiers from monsters with heat-fins into elegant, desktop-friendly machines. The case is made from high-density aluminium and electroplated to space-grey and the Cool Case basically is a unified heat-sink keeping the Class-A Conductor cool and optimized. That means the unit will feel warm, but it’s all normal.

The DAC-input offers 4 options: Bluetooth, Optical, Coaxial and USB. For this test I have used a mix of these, but mostly the cables ones, even thought the 3XP’s BT uses aptX HD.

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4.5/5 - (333 votes)

Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.


  • Reply June 10, 2020

    Mike I

    Very nice review, Lieven, especially the comparison between all those excellent headphones.
    I’m glad to read that you will do the same comparison with the Topping DX7 Pro. It would be very nice to do this again in the future in the Headfonia reviews of desktop amps and DAC-amps !

    • Reply June 10, 2020


      Thank you!
      I can’t promise I can or will cover them all, but some fir sure will be mentionned in the test report.

  • Reply July 8, 2020


    Love the review. Will this be a huge jump from my ifi micro iDSD ( non- Black Label)? I’m deciding between the 3XP and McIntosh D100. No DSD.

    • Reply July 8, 2020


      The Mc and Burson will be quite the upgrade, but also a different sound signature. Where iFi is more digital sounding, these sound more analogue to me.

  • Reply July 14, 2020


    Thank you for the reviews. Is Zmf a good connection to Burson? Thank you

    • Reply July 14, 2020


      I don’t have any ZMF here to test with, but Burson in general is really great for Planar magnetic headphones (as well as with Dynamic drivers). SO I would not worry

  • Reply July 17, 2020


    Great review as always. If I have HD800S, you suggest this or the Xduoo TA30 that was just reviewed?

  • Reply January 30, 2022


    Hi there
    Any clue if this would be a good match for my denon ah-d7200 please?

  • Reply April 2, 2022


    Thanks for sharing your detailed review! I really like the Schiit DACs and amps with their corporeal, sweet sound, but I find myself craving a touch more air and microdetail with them. Conversely, although they bring the detail, I find Topping/SMSL’s timbre to sound kind of artificial and dry.

    It sounds like Burson might find a good balance between the two ends of that spectrum.

    That said, Linus mentioned in his review of the Conductor 3X Reference that there was an audible hiss when using more sensitive headphones. Given that you mention there was never any noise through the 3XP, would you maybe recommend the Performance over the Reference for more sensitive phones?

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