A lot of excellent HiFi products are designed and produced in Australia, and none more than Burson Audio belong in the upper tier of offerings from Down Under. Not only do Burson’s products sound excellent, but they also do not make cookie cutter gear, and inject original thinking into the process. I reviewed and loved Burson’s superb Conductor DAC/Preamp and Timekeeper power amp combo sometime ago, and have tried to keep up with the company’s recent products.
Burson built their reputation on headphone amps, DACs and, more recently, their op-amps which have been getting rave reviews. Having corresponded occasionally with the fellows at Burson, it was obvious that they think out of the box, and really do like looking at things from unique angles. This is a great thing, because there are already enough by-the-book audio designs on the market. But the best part is my exposure to the Burson line at home and at shows tells me they make components that are true high fidelity.
Burson decided to tackle an issue they consider to be important for maximum performance in high-end audio systems. In particular, that would be impedance mismatches between source components and amplification. To this end, Burson developed what they call their Cable+ line. These are “active” cables that they say “remove any impedance mismatching by acting as an isolation platform between any source components (CD, DVD, Media Player) and downstream amplification (preamp, integrated amp, active speakers). It is designed to Increase signal transmission efficiency and unlock the potential of any system.”
The Cable+ products come in a few flavors, which include AUX (1/8 inch mini jack) to RCA, RCA to RCA, and AUX to AUX. The cables are priced at $149, with a two-year warranty, and a thirty-day trial period. Essentially, Burson wants you to be happy with your purchase, which is nice considering this is a unique product.
Concerning component impedance matching, Burson goes on to explain, “many audiophiles are not aware that the performance gap between what they hear in the shop and what they hear at home is a direct result of impedance mismatching between the new machine and the rest of their system. Impedance matching is a complex technical issue in audio as different circuitry designs produce different input and output impedance. What makes it worse, is that the same manufacturer can have different output/input (I/O) impedance standards across their range of products due to design changes/updates. While some manufacturers are willing to disclose the I/O impedance figures, most are not too keen. In the 80s and 90s, most audiophile equipment accurately published them. Nowadays, impedance numbers have disappeared from most spec sheets. The result is an audio market full of confusion, myth, and plenty of frustration. Unless the entire audio system is from the same manufacturer within the same product line, it is most likely that impedance mismatching will exist. Most audiophiles are paying 100% for their systems but are only hearing 70% of its full potential.”
The Burson Cable + uses their V5i opamp module, which raises the signal level from 5 Volt mobile devices to the standard RCA line level, ensuring a good match with audio amplifiers and active speakers. Burson says the Cable+ will turn any portable device into high-end media players. I received the RCA to RCA model for use in my home system, and I had a good set up to test it out. Unboxing made it clear the Cable+ is very nicely made, with high-quality RCA termination, and the packaging is classy.
Set Up & Listening
The RCA/RCA Cable+ was used between a Simaudio 280D DAC and a Schiit Saga preamp in passive mode (review in the works). The source was a Sonore microRendu network streamer
. The power amp was an Audiocontrol Rialto 600 (review in progress), and speakers were Magnepan MMG, augmented by a JL Audio d108
. Cabling was DH Labs, Wireworld, and Kimber.