Review: Burson Fun – overwhelming the senses

Sound

Required reading:

RMAA Burson Fun 24-bit

I’ve done my best to suss audible differences between Fun and Play, and each op-amp set. Play is awesome. Fun is awesome. Differences in sound at loud volumes and through hi-end headphones are less apparent than through my favourite portable headphones and earphones.

By the way, this is what Fun looks like without its bonnet. Got to love the symmetry. And that’s dual mono symmetry to you.

As I stated twice above, Fun is more powerful than any full-size component I have ever had on my. That includes my current favourites: Sony’s JA333 ES, and Lynx Technology’s HILO, both amazing devices, and going for much more than Fun. Of course, neither of the above were made specifically for headphones, but they handle load well (especially the HILO), have low noise floors (the JE333ES being exceptionally good), and are powerful enough for 600Ω headphones, though just barely. Conversely, Fun toys with 600Ω headphones. That it does so with a noise floor between a Sony JA333ES and ZX300 is miraculous.

That also includes Play.

For the moment, you’ll have to rely on my naked word. And that word is that Fun betters Play in just about every measurable way. I say just about because Play appears to supply measurably better stereo crosstalk. My amateur setup says ~10dB better unloaded and depending on the load, an improvement vector of at 5dB at the most. Measurably better it is, but audibly? Fun’s lower noise floor and greater stability make up for that, especially at listening, not hardware testing listening levels.

It gets louder, holds signal better under extreme volumes and loads, has more dynamic range, a lower measurable signal to noise ratio, lower THD, and IMD. A bit worse stereo performance is probably a good sacrifice. Regarding stereo, I think the biggest difference is where highs and high mids cross. Play is airier, but Fun is a bit easier to listen to. Neither are sibilant by any means, but if you’re sensitive to highs, Fun just might be the better amp. That said, if you’re a FPS gamer, Play’s positional highs may do you better both when hunting and in crossfires.

I hope to get Play’s RMAA measurements up next week or the week after. Fun more than keeps up with Mojo. It keeps up with Vorzüge’s VorzAMP DUO II’sdynamic range and SNR, all whilst getting far louder and holding load better at extreme volumes. You’ll remember from my Play review that Burson released a new logic board part way through production. The new board is noticeably less noisy and a bit more stable under load than the old board, but ultimately, due to noise, neither is well suited to sensitive earphones and headphones.

Fun is the only amplifier I’ve ever used that could that could drive a signal loud enough to trim the Lynx Hilo to +24dB dBu and still keep signal sheer almost completely out of portable headphones like the Audio Technica ES7. My ears hurt from across the room.

Sound continues on the next page:

Review: Burson Fun – overwhelming the senses
5 (100%) 2 votes

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

4 Comments

  • Reply November 29, 2018

    DjBobby

    Thanks for a nice reading. Only one small correction: you can normally close the top of both the Fun and the Play with the V6 op-amps. In order to close the top, you have to remove DIP8 Sockets attached to the bottom of the V6 op-amps. Cheers.

  • Reply December 14, 2018

    Wills

    Nice review as always, Lieven.
    Do you think I can use it in UK (220ishV)?
    Also, do you think it will perform well with hd800(s)?

    • Reply December 16, 2018

      ohm image

      Hey Wills,

      To my knowledge, Lieven hasn’t used this amp. Nathan reviewed it. Anyway, it has more than enough power and drive potential for any frequency for the HD800. More than enough. As I said, it is the most powerful amp I’ve ever used.

  • Reply December 22, 2018

    andrew doan

    Nice headphone amp and pre-amp from Burson Audio as other products from the land of down and under. “Fun is both more powerful and better on a software test bench than Play.”, indeed.

    Crocodile sings in my audio room. Pre-amp is clean and it sounds wonderful through my Adam Audio A7X .

    Thank you, Burson Audio.

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