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

I can’t feel any screws, so I think they must be stuck on. The feet are about an inch from the edges, and are about 5 inches apart from each other.

Is it weird that I have a tape measure permanently on my desk?

4 Likes

thanks for that. I keep a tape measure handy too. :grinning:

I could always slip some Herbie’s Tenderfeet underneath too…

1 Like

Yeah, I think they’re stick-on too. You could also orient it vertically with the “cool stand” if you didn’t know (although the screen orientation won’t change).

Nah, gotta measure how each new amp will fit on the desk right? :joy:

3 Likes

I’m studying it. My A20 is a little light on horsepower. 170ma.

I can probably fit it. I wont orient it vertically. It fits horizontally, but will have to sit over the edge of the shelf. Some Herbies Tenderfeet or IsoAcoustics OREA should be a good workaround.

Thank you for checking.

3 Likes

Hi guys, just a quick cautionary note on the Soloist.

I picked one up last weekend to use with my Susvara, and was comparing it directly to the GS-X Mini. I had a strange episode upon first using the amp - it initially produced a static hiss that rose louder and louder until I actually disconnected my headphones out of concern. When tentatively checking again after it had been powered on for a while I found that it was completely silent. I wrote it off as being something to do with the amp never having been used before and used it as normal, encountering no issues.

My first impression was that the GS-X sounded more dynamic, more engaging, a little wider and a bit more holographic. I instantly thought the Soloist sounded slightly flatter, and that’s factoring in my bias towards a shiny new toy. I wanted it to sound better, but it didn’t. I thought the best thing to do would be to spend some proper time with it before making my mind up, so I resolved to use it as my go-to amp for a couple of weeks.

Then came a few days away from home. I got back today, and fired up my system and the Soloist - it’s worth noting that the Susvara was plugged into the amp at the moment of me switching it on. I’m not in the habit of disconnecting my headphones from any amps I’ve used upon shutting them down, and I frequently leave things connected and ready for future use. If this makes me a moron, what happened next is just my fault. However, I suspect that many of us probably leave our headphones plugged in, switch off an amp, switch it back on again the next day etc. Also worth noting that my Soloist (which was bought new from a UK dealer) shipped without a manual. I used it as I’d use any other amp.

I switched on the amp and heard a popping sound from the headphones - they weren’t on my head at the time. I wouldn’t say it was a particularly loud pop, but I had a bad feeling straight away and threw them on to check that everything was OK. To my horror, upon trying to listen to anything with the headphones, I found that one of the drivers was dead. So I’m now going to have to send my Susvara back to the manufacturer to get the driver fixed/replaced - they’re under warranty and only a few weeks old, so hopefully it’ll go smoothly for me.

So yeah, don’t leave your headphones connected to this amp.

9 Likes

Dang, sorry to hear all that but that’s good it’ll be solved rather smoothly!

Nah, Burson recommends turning off the amp before disconnecting/hot-swapping anything.

I believe all Burson products don’t have a physical manual; it’s all on their website digitally.

For the popping sounds, I asked Burson long ago if it was safe for the headphones. They assured me that the popping noise is normal and is within safe range. So, it sounds like you might have a faulty op-amp… @Tom_Ato had the same problem when he plugged in his Focal Clear. Your best bet is to email Burson and tell them what happened. They’ll help you troubleshoot and if need be send you a new op-amp (if that’s the issue).

6 Likes

Thanks for reply. Personally, I’m now terrified of this amp. I just tried another pair of headphones. Pop followed by slowly escalating static followed by another pop and eerie silence. I thought for a second I’d broken a second set of headphones.

You’re probably right about it being an op-amp issue, but the fact that other people have had the same sort of problem is disconcerting - a problem that if present can damage your equipment if you don’t read the manual on the website (does everyone do that? I rarely do that).

Add to that the fact that it just fried my Susvaras… I know a lot of people like this amp, but I think I’m out.

I don’t mean to sound too negative about it, but this is my personal experience as a guy who is into this stuff, so I just want to let other people know that as this happened to me, there’s probably a very small chance that it could maybe possibly happen to you too.

7 Likes

Sorry to hear man, crap like this is why I always turn volume to zero and unplug before turning off, same when turning on. I’ve heard pops like that with headphones on. Scared the shit out of me.
Never again.

Hope nothing is damaged further, and that the Sus will be covered.

7 Likes

Thanks dude, yeah, you’re more sensible than me. I didn’t realise this was a risk. I’ll disconnect my headphones from my amps in future.

4 Likes

Yikes, yeah it sounds like a faulty amp to me!

That is unfortunate, but I totally understand. To be honest, whenever I swapped op-amps I make sure to plug in a 6XX just in case I messed something up. lol

Nah, thanks for sharing that! Even though it might be a small, isolated incident it’s good to know about it.

Isn’t it safer to plug when off and unplug after turning it off? Well, I guess it depends on how the amp was designed…

4 Likes

I don’t know, would rather have no pops or loud noises occur when amp is powering off. Heard it too many times to be a bit paranoid, if the amp takes the hit that’s fine for now. Better than a blown driver.

4 Likes

I usually unplug headphones from anything with a tube in it before power on/off. I don’t need in-rush at power on, or caps slowly draining at power off messing with my cans.

But… A solid state amp having this issue is extremely disconcerting. This is why Schiit has muting relays on Mjolnir, Rag, Jot, etc. Why doesn’t Burson?

7 Likes

In my experience with socketed electronics – ranging from 1980s PCs to Android devices with flash RAM in the last few years – anything in a swappable socket is less reliable than not-for-routine-swapping socket or permanent soldering. Even in the best implementations with the highest quality parts suffer. The 1990s Pentium III on a rectangular daughter board were ridiculously unreliable and inconsistent.

I personally turn the volume down on any amp when I’m done using it, but don’t turn them off. If I come back in 15 minutes or 5 hours, it’s easy to ramp up the volume once you hit Play. This has worked fine, and caused no damage. I also limit power cycling with tube amps to once per day, or once per tube if more tubes are used in one day (with a full cool down between).

EDIT: One of the main reasons why I use overpriced walled-garden Apple products is that they don’t have swappable RAM. I want that.

This pattern of issues puts me off Burson for sure. I’d been looking seriously at the Funk as a dual purpose headphone/near-field amp. That’s on hold now.

1 Like

How much of an issue is it with Burson? I feel like I see more raves than issues.

If you ask me, I don’t think these “issues” should cause worry. Concern, yes…

Let’s run a list of these “issues” that I can gather since following this thread:

  • volume jumping (looking at it from the buyer’s perspective sure it could cause worry…when you actually have it on hand, it hardly affects regular use plus it’s an easy fix IF you are affected)
  • unlabeled L/R markings (totally stupid; no idea why it isn’t labeled but once you figure out the right orientation you’re good)
  • insensitive remote (I haven’t had issues with mine…in addition, for this kind of product, I see an included remote as an extra feature rather than a necessity)
  • missing volume knob (this…someone just messed up I guess; I heard of one case)
  • headphone destroyer (likely faulty op-amp; it really is unfortunate for those people who have experienced this, but looking at the bigger picture I’ve heard of 3 cases this has happened)

I don’t think I’m missing anything else. If I did feel free to add it.

I’ve laid down all what I have observed through this thread. Keep in mind that this tiny sample of people is not indicative of the overall picture of every Soloist owner.

The only “issue” I encountered was with the volume jumping (fixed), unlabeled L/R markings, and dented front plate (it was my fault). I’ve experienced no other issues thus far and my overall impression is still positive. If it changes, then I’ll probably be running to post it on this thread or have passed on to another amp.

If this is enough for you not to invest in any Burson product then so be it - nothing wrong with that. As a consumer I get it, but imo I do think it is a bit overblown.

3 Likes

Thanks for sharing your impressions. Sorry to hear about your Susvara, I hope they get repaired quickly!

2 Likes

That’s the big one. Having 3 sets of headphones destroyed with bad op-amps suggests there could be deeper issues with Burson’s op-amps.

I’m also wondering if their flagship power supply technology involves previously undetected or considered risks. From their website:

In 2017, we had a breakthrough in power supply research. It led to the development of our proprietary Max Current Power Supply (MCPS). Superior to both transformer-based and conventional switching power supply designs, the MCPS is featured in all Burson products, winning awards and leaving competitors in the dust."

[Source]

The Burson Max Current Power Supply (MCPS) resolves this problem by removing the power transformer altogether. It uses transistors and as such it has less than 1 ohm of resistance. It means delivering electric current instantly to met any demand. The resulting music reproduction is detailed and dynamic, the way music should be.

In the “old days” size really matters. Audiophiles and manufacturers everywhere like to show off the size and weight of their equipment. A big transformer and an even bigger array of capacitor formation was a reassuring sign of performance.

By removing the power transformer, the Burson MCPS is more responsive and quiet. Its improved efficiency also removed the need for big capacitors. As such, it gives us an opportunity to squeeze top-level performance and functionality into products that are elegant and practical in everyday homes.

The Burson MCPS starts a new chapter in audio engineering where style and performance co-exists.

[Source]

4 Likes

I guess that is pretty much what I am asking. I ordered a soloist during the FY21 sale and have no intention of cancelling the order. But, I was curious as to issues and the headphone destroyer part of all this is worrying. It does stink to have anyone go through that, but the percentage sees low overall. I am not sure how many soloists they have sold, but the amount of heard failures is pretty small.

The missing knob is funny, but I have had similar experiences with other companies.

I did run across this on YT when I was watching review videos: https://youtu.be/qxugUUOl7eI

1 Like

There are 34 posters in this thread (excepting me). Most of them are not owners of the amps in question, but let’s assume they ALL are. Two of those posters have had a Burson amplifier destroy their headphones.

That’d be 1 in 17 cases of headphone destroying issues.

That could be an outlier, and it may not remain at the same ratio as you increased the number of users, but it’s a pretty sobering perspective. Without more data I personally would be erring on the side of caution and not plugging any of my headphones into a Burson amplifier (much less buying one) until it was apparent what is really going on and how widespread it is. And that’s using the more favorable ratio that assumes everyone in the thread has one of these amps. If you used the actual number, it’s 3-4x worse.

I’d be much less concerned if it was 2-3 reports spread across hundreds of posters on multiple forums, but this is just going from the very small group here.


Then there’s another cause for concern.

The recommended practice (where there is one) with most amplifiers is that you disconnect your headphones before power off, and connect them after power-on. But apparently Burson told @Tom_Ato that:

“We recommend unplugging the headphones after powering off. Plugin the headphones before powering on. We never recommend hot plugging headphones while the machine is on.”

So for whatever reason, maybe lack of shorting protection (also an issue with the 1/4" TRS socket on the Phonitor X/Xe, so wouldn’t be unique to Burson), Burson don’t want you doing that most people deem normal practice to protect their headphones.

Not good.

7 Likes

I guess the best way is to ask Burson directly so that they’re aware of this issue (if they’re not already). I’ll try my luck with that and see what they say.

Does it work the same way as with balanced connections?

1 Like