- Written by Stephen Hornbrook
- Published on 04 February 2013
Burson Soloist Headphone Amplifier In Use
One of the reasons the Soloist's development is the recent surge of demanding planar magnetic headphones. What better way to test it out than with the power hungry Audeze LCD3 and HiFiMAN HE6? I started out with the LCD3 and the first thing I noticed was dead silence, even with the volume knob cranked. The Soloist has a very low noise floor which makes for an intimate experience when it comes to quiet passages. When you take away that background hiss and hum another veil is lifted from in between your ears and the musician's performance. On the 2L SACD recording of Mozart's Violin Concerto in D Major, the Soloist was able to reveal all of the delicate detail of the stringed instruments without sounding systematic or overly precise like some solid states do. Acoustical music is organic and flows with infinite layers of sound which is why it can be so difficult to reproduce correctly. The Soloist embraced those characteristics and let them shine.
Having listened to John William's Sabrina score many times since its release back in 1995, it usually sounds distant and bottled up like a fly trying to escape a small glass jar. However, on the Burson Soloist via the HE-6 it sounded natural and full of life. The dynamic range of a CD is taken full advantage of when the orchestra picks up the melody midway. The Soloist had no strain at the peak levels, just fully engaging and robust music. The piano solos were more open and three dimensional than I have heard during previous listens. The bass clarinet notes had proper tone and body to lift the instrument into a space with realistic depth.
On Radiohead's OK Computer, the soloist gave the CD an almost analog like quality. Dynamic peaks were there, but without any strain to the ears. On the track "Exit Music" York's voice was larger than life and free of any murkiness I have commonly heard on systems. The resolution of the LCD3 headphones came through with the hauntingly real guitar strum via the Soloist.
As a tribute to the late, great Dave Brubeck, I finally picked up Analogue Productions 2 channel SACD remaster of Time Out. Listening to this great album via the Soloist and HE6 was exactly why I enjoy being an audiophile and hearing details in the recording that could not be heard on most other setups. I was able to feel the sound of the cymbals radiating out to the edge, like butter melting down a hot pancake. I heard no hint of compression in Paul Desmond's skillful alto sax as it filled the virtual stage of the headphones. Overall, the Burson Soloist was able to reproduce music with more life and body than most headphone setups.