Review: Burson / Supreme Sound Lycan + opamps


For testing the Lycan and the SSA V4 and V5 op-amps I also ordered the popular OPA627BP single op-amp and the OPA2134PA double op-amp. The specs mentioned above no doubt are with the V5 as this is the standard op-amp with this unit. With all of the op-amps used the Lycan has more than enough headroom with all of my headphones, the Hifiman HE-500 and HE-1000 included.

I will be describing the Lycan and each op-amp’s sound with the following headphones: Audeze LCD-2.1, Hifiman HE1000, Fidelio X2 and AKG Massdrop K7XX. Source used is the AK240.


OPA627BP (single op-amp, 2 needed): Really good bass body and reasonably tight bass. Sparkling highs and great layered mids

OPA2134PA (double op-amp, 1 needed): Bigger bass but it isn’t as tight. Highs are more layered but not as extended as in the 627. Sound is more airy in the mids

SS4 (double): Faster sounding than both the previous OPA’s. Better layering and extension from low to highs. Bigger bass body like the 2134 and it’s a bit tighter. The highs are more sparkling then 2134 and sound more like the 627 but with better layering.

SS5: Best layering and extension of all op-amps. Almost the same bass body as SS4 but bass is tighter and fast. The mids are layered and spacious and treble is detailed and extended. Best op-amp for the LCD2.1

Lycan 4


OPA627BP: Very extended and layered treble. Bass body is good and reasonably tight and the mids have good layering.

OPA2134PA: Treble is better layered but a bit sharper, less extended. Bigger bass body but still a fairly concentrated sound.

SS4: Faster, more spacious with better layering. Bass has a good mix of slam and tightness. Mids are spacious and layered and treble is extended, just under hot and has good layering. Good speed.

SS5: A little less bass body than the SS4, more mid presence. Best combination of bass body, speed, layering, extension and detail. Treble layered, detailed and extended. Very lively treble without being too sharp.

I’m not the biggest fan of this headphone but I do like it for electronic music, especially with the SS4 and SS5


Hifiman HE-1000

OPA627BP: Deep bass with big body, big mids with good layering but not very spacious. Treble is extended but not the most layered

OPA2134PA: Bigger but looser bass, greatly layered mids with more body and layered treble but it isn’t as fine/extended as on the 627

SS4: Better layering and extension. Bass is a bit looser and bigger like OPA627, spacious sound with nice lids and lively treble

SS5: Tighter bass with a little less body than the SS4 but it’s faster. Layering from lows to high is the best. Spacious mids and energetic treble which on the HE1000 is never too sharp.

Fidelio X2

OPA627BP: Really big bass as the X2 is a tad bass heavy already. Bass is reasonably tight and the mids have a more concentrated feel to them


OPA2134PA: The better treble layering is immediately noticeable. Bass is looser and even bigger, this is on the limit of acceptable to me though. The mids have bigger body with good layering but aren’t the most spacious.

SS4. Tighter bass with good acceptable body. Treble extension and layering comes out while the mids sound more spacious

SS5: The tighter bass gives it a bigger bass slam. Great layering everywhere and a very life and sparkling sound

OPA Conclusion

The regular OPA’s sound is more concentrated and they aren’t as spacious as both the Burson’s sound. That being said separation and spaciousness will never be the very best with the Lycan but for the price it’s very good. To me the V5 has the best mix of everything although I can see listeners of dance music go for the SS4 as its bass is a bigger (but looser). Both the SS4 and SS5 have great mids and good layering from low to high. Treble just like the mids in both OPA’s is layered and detailed but it never is sharp or hot.

Lycan 5

A Statue

The Lycan with the SS5 has also quickly become my 300b amplifier’s preamp in my office. The dynamics of this combination is incredible. With the Lycan you don’t only get a very good sounding, clean and clear solid state headphone amp but you also get a great pre-amp as well. And all that for only $299!

With all the headphones I tested, I never had to go above 9 o’clock on the volume dial. The Lycan is powerful and it gives you a lot of headroom, something you wouldn’t say by just looking at it. The sound of this “cheap” amp isn’t perfect but it is very impressive and like FIIO the Lycan has a very high price/quality ratio. The Lycan always sounds clean, clear, detailed and fast. The different op-amps have nuances as described above. The Lycan does sound very solid state like: fast, detailed and clean but there of course is still room for improvement.


I, in a short time, became a big fan of the Lycan. The softer and slightly warmer Violectric V281 remains my reference amplifier but the Lycan is the one I use when I’ve got my dancing shoes on (electronic music) or when my 300b amp is up for a session.

Another nice thing is that you can easily keep buying (cheap) op-amps to roll (You don’t even have to know how to solder). Burson/SS just might have created the ultimate solid state op-amp testing unit on earth that also is headphone amp and preamp. All of that for only $299USD. They deserve a statue.

4.4/5 - (10 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 May 17, 2016


    Hi. Good reading, thank you. I am just expecting today a very similar amp in design and same functionality (solid state + pre-amp), it´s from Garage1217 Project Polaris, also the price is similar 🙂 Have you heard about it? THX

    • Reply May 17, 2016


      Thank you. I have not heard from it though

      • Reply May 17, 2016


        2 questions:
        1) Is the $299 version with the better opamps one of those you referenced in the sound tests?
        2) If I sit the amp on top of an aluminum plate (i.e. Macbook), would that absorb enough heat to keep it cooler? My other (tube) amps run cooler that way.

        • Reply May 17, 2016


          For $299 it comes with the V5 yes
          I haven’t tried, I doub it as there are feet between it

  • Reply May 17, 2016

    Barun C

    Nice review Lieven. This is like a reminder of the days when I used to roll op-amps to the Audiotrak Dr. DAC2 DX and the iBasso Pelican Pb-2. Op amp rolling certainly changes the overall presentation of the sound, I used to do a lot of A/B testing with the Pelican Pb-2 as it used to come with four nos OPA604, AD797, BUF634U (Stackable) & BUF634P(Hi-C).

    • Reply May 18, 2016


      Thank you. Was it as easy to change the op amps as with the Lycan? 😉

      • Reply May 18, 2016

        Barun C

        Well with the Pelican 2, one has to only slide the aluminium cover after unscrewing it and then its pretty much just swapping op-amps to get the best match. It used to even operate with the covers off and just one stacked quad op-amp array out of two, which was good for IEMs.

        With the Dr DAC 2 DX though, it was not so easy, as the opamps were soldered in very tightly, so I had to initially take the default op-amps off and then insert OPA2107 and OPA1642. (As per Mike & Earfonia’s suggestion back in the day)

  • Reply October 10, 2016



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.