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Burson Cable+ Active RCA Cable Review Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 January 2017
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Burson Cable+ Active RCA Cable Review

The only consideration for the Cable+ is that, as an “active” cable, it requires a power source, and that is supplied by a 5V USB input on the cable for use with either a standard USB charger, or the power source of your choice. I used both a supplied generic USB charger, and an iFI iUSB 3.0 USB power conditioner/power source for comparison. Burson, not surprisingly, says the cleaner the power source, the better the results, and even suggested a battery would provide ultimate performance.

Even though I am a big fan of passive preamps, there are times the sound can be anemic, bland, and uninvolving depending on the music, the source, the power amp, or the cable used. (There are a lot of variables.) But, when everything lines up, passives provide, to my ears, transparency, and lack of coloration that most active preamps can’t match. The Cable+, from the getgo, eliminated most of these issues by providing much more consistent performance. It was easily audible with even casual listening.

I used as wide a variety of music as I could to put the Cable+ through its paces. What I heard from the get go was excellent drive, detail, and momentum. Burson is onto something here and I was intrigued.  I ran through a good number of early Pink Floyd, including a mix of the 2011 remasters, and the recently released Early Years: 1965-1972 mega box twenty-seven disc box set.  There was loads of texture, and the psychedelic atmospheres were there in spades.  The 2016, 24 bit, 96 Khz remix of the classic Meddle album made this forty-eight-year-old recording sound as avant-garde as the day it was released!

I then cycled through SACD rips of the Japanese SHM Dire Straits titles that are, to my ears, the closest one can get to the original vinyl pressings.  Mark Kopfler’s guitar tone was utterly pristine, and the elegant arrangements breathed with lots of space between instruments.  I especially enjoyed their 1978 self-titled album, and my personal favorite, Making Movies. Tracks like “Solid Rock” and “Skateaway” brought me right to my bedroom 30 years ago spinning these records.

The same goes for the Super Deluxe Edition of Jethro Tull’s Minstrel In The Gallery. Both the 24/96 remix and flat transfer of the original master tape provided me with new insights into why these recordings are still exciting all these years later. The title track, along with “Cold Wind To Valhalla”, and “One White Duck” were so much fun, the “system” disappeared, and suspending disbelief was easy.

I also put on some new recordings recently purchased from Bandcamp in FLAC, including new releases from Elephant Stone, William Ryan Fritch, Wolf People, and Skyjelly. These all fall into the category of modern progressive/psychedelic/alternative, and all are well recorded. The Cable+ really made the big round bass lines come through, and the blending of current digital recording techniques, with a nod to a vintage aesthetic, was easy to hear.

For kicks I also used the Cable+ between my Graham Slee phono preamp and the Schiit Saga. The Slee is connected to a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC turntable. Different phono preamps can provide varying output, depending on design, so the Cable+ in theory would be a great solution. Indeed I heard the benefits as above, with such LPs as Traffic’s Shoot Out The Fantasy Factory, and Santana’s self-titled first album. There was a vibrancy was a very nice addition, as the Sllee can be come off as a bit mellow at times.

A few logistical notes. The Cable+ is directional, with the attached module end inserted into the host component. Secondly, the iFi iUSB 3.0 definitely provided the best performance as a power source. The “noise floor” was lower, and high frequencies seemed smoother. But even a generic power source sounded fine. I am betting Burson is right; in the end, a battery supply, readily available at reasonable prices, will provide best results.



Burson impressed me with their Cable+. It certainly is a bit of an esoteric product, but it works as advertised.  I can only extrapolate that for mobile devices, it would work very well.  The quality of build, sound quality, and generous trial period make this a low risk purchase.  I would suggest an in-home audition of all of the above has piqued your interest. Well done, Burson.


Burson Cable+ RCA to RCA: $149

Review System 1

Server: Bryston BDP-2
DAC: Bryston BDA-3
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Turntable: Rega Planar 3
Phono Preamp: Lounge Audio LCR MKIII, Lehmann Cube SE
Preamp: Schiit Audio Freya
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55, Simaudio 760A
Speaker:  Bryston Mini T
Cables:, Wireworld, iFi, Transparent, Black Rhodium
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks and Svelte Shelves, Shakti Stone, Bryston BIT-15, Salamander rack

Review System 2

Music Server: Sonore microRendu
Turntable: Project Debut Carbon DC
Phono Preamp: Graham Slee SE
Preamp: Schiit Audio Saga
DAC/Streamer: Simaudio 280D
Power Amplifier: Onkyo M5000R
Speaker: Magnepan MMG, Spendor S35R
Cables: Wireworld
Accessories: Cable Pro Noisetrapper, iFi iPower, Audience aR6

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