BURSON Soloist 3X Performance - Class A Headphone/Pre Amplifier

That I cannot answer…I’d like to assume this issue isn’t widespread. Though honestly I don’t think it’s a serious issue as in actual use, it didn’t bother me that much. But of course it shouldn’t be an excuse as well. Burson may have no control over it as they don’t make these volume chips (just a guess)…

Yup! But it also happens between 19-25 (19 gets loud then volume drops until 25) and 30-35 (same thing) at least for me. This is all in med gain btw but this is what I’ve found to be inconsistent with my unit.

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Soundnews reviewed the Soloist 3X and actually plotted a graph of the volume behavior:

His full review here:

Glad to know a replacement volume chip fixes this to some degree.

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I’m just curious does anybody here use the headphone power amp feature of the Soloist regularly? If so, what DAC/pre-amp are you using?

I’ve tried it before and it didn’t sound that good but I’m assuming it’s because using the RME as a pre-amp isn’t the best…

Makes me wonder what a top-notch pre-amp would contribute.

Question for the Soloist owners out of curiosity, does your unit have a notched or smooth action volume control? Burson sent me a replacement front plate (unrelated warranty issue) and I was delighted to see they changed to a smooth volume control. Feels much better to me. I thought the notched one felt cheap.

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It should have a notched feeling…

I’m not sure if they changed it or not. I am receiving a replacement front plate as well so I should be able to find out soon.

In the meantime, I’d send Burson an email just in case nothing bad happens.

Did you see if the piece itself was notched…when you removed the volume knob?

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Mine is notched. I like the fact that each click equates to one unit of volume on the display.

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Mine is notched too. I am still having issues with my remote, out of curiosity, does changing the front plate potentially fix the inconsistent remote issues?

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I hardly ever use the remote, so I can’t tell. The only remote issue I am aware of is that Composer and Soloist use the same remote and “channel” which makes the remote pretty much useless in this combination.

Interesting, mine had a misaligned display. Why is yours getting replaced?

Oh, I had a small incident where my headphones fell onto the front plate and chipped a small piece of it.

It’s very small but I kept getting bothered by it so I requested for one…

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has anyone gotten the chance to compare the soloist 3x with the singxer sa-1? i would love to hear about that

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Lots of great reviews in this thread. Thank you all.

I really hope I have the same finding. Personally, I found that the Singxer SA-1 I bought recently made the veil worse compared to my other solid state amps lol

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Passion for Sound on YT recently reviewed the SA-1 and has a comparison section to the Soloist. Check it out!

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I know a lot of y’all are wondering how different op-amps would sound like on the Soloist; I know I was…

There’s a member that typed up a little comparison of the Soloist vs GS-X Mini and they had the chance to roll op-amps with the Soloist.

Anyway, I’ll quote the op-amp section of the comparison as I thought it’d be useful. If you want to read the whole comparison click on the quote. I should be getting the Classic op-amps soon and post impressions as well if anybody is interested…

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Notched here. It’s their new design and they even promote it being grippy. Strange…

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Thoughts on V6 Vivid vs Classic dual op-amps…
thoughts/opinions are my own and should be taken as so


I thought I’d share some of my thoughts between these two op-amps paired with the Soloist as I was really curious of the differences between the two. Although there were already some impressions out there, I had to satisfy my curiosity and try it for myself. Hope this’ll be helpful to you Soloist owners…

1st listen: It’s like someone threw a wooly blanket over my head…sounded muffled, slow, and stuffy—thicc sound :nauseated_face:

After this, I told myself I would need to spend more time so I can acclimate from the Vivids. So, I left the Classics in exclusively until I could understand it. It’d be pointless to switch back and forth anyway since the Soloist does take some warm-up time, so keep that in mind. I’m pretty familiar with the Vivids as that’s what I’ve been listening to everyday.

I actually came across this description on Burson’s website about the differences between the two op-amps and I thought they were pretty similar to what I found overall, so I’ll copy/paste this below.

[“The V6 Vivid is dynamic, transparent and exciting. It is the V5 sound improved on all aspects. From its incredible dynamic range, three-dimensional soundstage to its ability to reproduce the finest micro details. It invites you to witness that moment of recording. Play Norah Jones’ Come Away with Me, and suddenly you are in the best seat in the house. Norah and her handsome band materialize vividly on stage and you are immersed in magic.

The V6 Classic deviates further from its V5 foundation. With an entirely different output stage design, it is intimate, exquisite and very engaging. With the V6 Classic, Norah is asking you to come closer. She wrote the song for you and she is singing it to you. It was time to stop analyzing and start living in the moment.”](https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/supreme-sound-opamp-v6/)


I did not use the track Come Away with Me as a test track…:joy: (good song tho)


Gear: RME ADI-2 DAC, Burson Soloist (all balanced)

Few tracks used (primarily J-pop vocal-heavy tracks, soundtracks):
Streaming done on Tidal via Audirvana

Masshiro From THE FIRST TAKE - yama available for streaming
My Caffeine - Faith Richards available for streaming
Bass & Drum Intro - Nils Lofgren Band available for streaming
Gurenge From THE FIRST TAKE - LiSA available for streaming
Kaikai Kitan - Eve purchase
Avid - SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]: mizuki available for streaming
DEKIGOKORO - Kana Shibue purchase

Now let me share some of my brief thoughts with how the Classics played with the headphones/speaker I use…


Focal Clear

Vivids: Transparent and clear. Enhances its already dynamic nature. Very engaging and great synergy.

Classics: Gives an overall warmth. Slight bass boost and fills in lower mids a little. Upper treble is smoothed over but lower treble is slightly pronounced. Less engaging and makes the Clear a sit-back-and-relax headphone.

Preference: Vivids (if I didn’t own the Aeolus then it would be a TIE and it would just depend on my mood, but most of the time the Vivids)

*If you only have the Clears as your main headphone, I think getting the Classics serve as a nice alternative presentation for those times you want something different.

Focal Shape 50

RME pre-amp: Harsh and very closed-in. Too hot to handle!

Vivids: Super transparent, detailed, and fast. Treble is raw but not harsh. Soundstage is huge and deep. Bass is exceptionally tight and defined. Very engaging.

Classics: Slower and upper treble is further tamed. With the monitors, the emphasis in the lower treble is much more prominent causing slight sibilance. Less engaging and very intimate. Bass is rounded a bit like a rubber mallet instead of a :hammer:

Preference: Vivids (I do like the bit of color and texture the Classics provide, but not at the sacrifice of speed, soundstage, and that slight sibilance. So, I prefer some qualities of the Classics but overall the Vivids take it here for me)

Random rant: Kind of sucks that there are barely any audiophile powered speakers good for nearfield that aren’t monitors and that have XLR inputs…only one I’ve seen based on research is the Buchardt A500 which is :money_mouth_face:!

ZMF Aeolus w/ perf suede universe

Vivids: Sparkly treble, luscious mids, punchy mid-bass. Great synergy and addicting sound.

Classics: Nope. It’s not bad don’t get me wrong, but the synergy between the Aeolus and the Vivids is just that much better. Sounds lifeless compared to Vivids. In other words, darker overall and too laid-back; very slow and lethargic/unexciting.

Preference: Vivids all the way!

Senn HD6XX

Vivids: Dynamic, lively, and engaging. Brilliant highs, neutral mids w/ a tinge of tonal warmth, and punchy bass. Fantastic synergy and makes these sing!

Classics: Punchier, laid-back, and smoother. Slight edge on lower treble still present.

Preference: Vivids (I didn’t think I’d like the Classics with this at first but I was wrong…same situation as with the Clear, so it’s really a TIE and depending on mood/preference)

ZMF VC w/ non-perf lambskin auteur

Vivids: Very lively, dynamic, engaging. Nice and wide staging. Can sometimes come off as slightly sharp and shouty (I don’t think this is coming from the Soloist but the RME). Great synergy and a very pleasurable listen.

Classics: Intimate with slight bass boost. Lower treble emphasis is more prominent since the VC is already a sparkly and energetic headphone, thus coming across as slightly harsh. Something is missing and I can’t quite describe it; I’m usually smiling a lot when listening to the VC…I’m not smiling here. :thinking:

Preference: Vivids…yeah, definitely (some 🪄 magic lost w/ the Classics)


Closing thoughts

If you can’t already tell I prefer the Vivids with mostly everything, but that’s because my preferences align more with its qualities. In contrast, the Classics sound smoother, bassier, thicker, intimate, laid-back, slower, and less engaging that I doubt it will result in any fatigue. However, the lower treble emphasis does seem to cause some sibilance and edginess so keep that in mind. That being said, I don’t think the Vivids are definitively better but instead gives a different presentation of the music. The Vivids bring everything into focus while the Classics focus on whomever or whatever is the star of the show—the Vivids equal an engaging presentation, while the Classics equal a laid-back presentation overall—and I can definitely see why Burson shipped the Soloists with the Vivids as default. In addition, I do think that a wider selection of headphones will synergize better with the Vivids; they shine the most!

Should you buy it?

I think the Classics serve as a nice contrast to the Vivids and I can totally see why someone would prefer the former over the latter. To that person, I’d say go for it! You can get an entirely different presentation with a simple op-amp roll. That being said, if you own multiple headphones with differing flavors I don’t think you should get the Classics and should stay with the Vivids. But if you have one, maybe two headphones that already have a very detailed and engaging sound signature, getting the Classics could be a worthwhile choice as an alternative to getting a different headphone entirely. In retrospect, it can save you some money if you already own the Soloist!

Happy Listening…:notes:

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Great writeup and comparison piece @hifiDJ.

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Just biding my time until headphones.com gets it back in stock….

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Great review! Enjoyed it a lot :+1::blush:

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@hifiDJ
@PaisleyUnderground

How are the feet attached? Are they stick on? I’m thinking about one, but have some space challenges, and may need to hang one side of the Soloist off the edge of the glass shelf. My Beyerdynamic A20 fits perfect (next to my Bryston BDP-2) but its only 164mm (6.5") wide. I can probably cheat little on each side to make it fit.