This is where it gets tough as I don’t have many DAC/AMP combo’s in my collection to compare the Conductor 3XP to. Two of the most popular ones I do have though and those are the Topping DX7Pro and the Chord Electronics Hugo 2.
The Hugo 2 isn’t as versatile and doesn’t offer the same connectivity options (or a balanced output for that matter) but it simply delivers great sound. It’s really hard to compare both units with Chord having the FPGA DAC and Burson using the SABRE32/ESS9038Q2M. They’re both very good in decoding digital signals but they use completely different technologies.
To me the Hugo 2 perhaps sounds cleaner and faster but it has that digital feel to it. The Burson sounds more natural, more analogue. It obviously is the most powerful one. Their sound signatures are so different there I can’t really say which one is best, it’s just different. If you want a transportable DAC/AMP the Hugo 2 id of course the way to go. If you have room on your desktop, I feel the Burson will get the most out of your headphones.
The Topping DX7 Pro is a bit cheaper than the Burson and it offers a bit more connectivity options. It uses different chip from ESS, namely the ES9038PRO and the two units sound completely different.
The Topping is ultra clear and has less body from top to bottom. IT’s a more neutral presentation compared to that of the bigger, more powerful sounding 3XP. The topping’s bass is tighter and faster while the Burson’s is deeper and more detailed/layered. The sub rumble in the Burson is also way bigger than in the DX7 Pro.
The mids section of the DX7 Pro is also cleaner but it is more digital sounding. The 3XP sounds more natural and the mids are more spacious with gorgeous timbre. It’s the typical digital vs analogue kind of difference, though these obviously are the same technically.
The treble section of the DX7 Pro probably is more accentuated and clear compared to the Burson’s smoother treble.
Both units are great and they both easily outperform their price point, but they’re also very different in tuning. It’s all about personal preference and of course budget. It will also depend on the kind of headphones you want your DAC/AMP to drive. I personally do feel the Burson is the better unit looking at its build quality, performance and sound signature. It certainly is the one that up to know has gotten most playtime. At the same time the DX7 pro is great too and many readers absolutely love it. Choices!
The full review of the Topping DX7 Pro will be posted over the next weeks, and in that review I will also compare it with many of the headphones we tested the 3XP with. So if you’re considering one of these units, keep an eye out on that upcoming article.
I expected a lot of the Conductor 3XP based on my experience with Burson’s other units and I have to say they fully delivered.
Of course the Conductor 3XP isn’t cheap but it doesn’t break the bank either. I honestly do feel it outperforms its price level. It’s the kind of amp that drives all different types of headphones with ease and from the test results we can obviously say it matches well with all kind of headphones.
The 3XP will make your headphone sound best, it being the $6000 USD Hifiman Susvara or the $130 USD Beyerdynamic DT770/32. The 3XP might be the Conductor 3X Reference’s little brother, but here’s nothing little in the performance of this unit. This for many will easily be an end game unit. Fully recommended.