Blue Moon Award for Burson Audio's new DAC/Preamp

Interesting review just publised by 6moons.

Srajan rated this new DAC/Preamp/Headphone amp higher than some of the industry heavy weights. He liked it more than the Weiss Dac. And given the price difference he awarded it the Blue Moon. Has anyone tried it yet?
Well a favorable comparison to the Yamamoto YDA-01 DAC in terms of organic character, exceptionally good tone saturation and natural presentation is very high praise. I own the YDA-01 DAC and it`s truely fantastic.
It's a very nice sounding unit.
6Moons quote from YDA-01 DAC review
If Shigeki-San were to ask me for engineering advice on the YDA-01 (he clearly doesn't need it nor would I be competent to give any), I would suggest he at least investigate the AK4397 if he hasn't already. There's something special about it and it's worthy of conjecture to wonder how his I/V conversion and output stages would sound with those chips.

While AK4397 are turly exceptional, the AK4399 are much better in every respect, and by far, IMHO! And, none of these requires I/V converter.

Alex Peychev
Yes, I recall that speculation regarding the AK 4397 but S. Ebaen ultimately choose the Yamamoto to replace his then current APL HiFi as his new reference DAC. It seems Yamamoto`s passive/very simple I/V conversion approach is sonically effective.
...but S. Ebaen ultimately choose the Yamamoto to replace his then current APL HiFi as his new reference DAC.

While everything is subjective, Srajan still suggested to Shingeki-San to investigate AK4397 because of their refined top-extension, correct?

15 years ago I was playing with the 16 bit PCM-53J mono current-output DACs that were the choice for the D/A conversion in the Sony D1 prfessional digital video recorder ($180,000), then I went through all imaginable DAC chips made by Burr-Brown (including PCM1794), Analog Devices, Cirrus Logic, Wolfson and AKM.

AKM is still my favorite, and their latest AK4399 is the best in my book.

Maybe you would consider auditioning one of my new DAC-S boxes and let us know what you think about it compared to yours?

Alex Peychev
What's the price on the DAC-S? Has volume control?
Hello Rja,

The DAC-S is $5000 with 5 years warranty included. Yes, it does have a remote volume control with 0.5dB step. It comes with 192/24 capable USB based on a highly upgraded hiFace from M2Tech with linear power, 2 coaxial RCA (75 Ohm) and one AES/EBU (110 Ohm balanced) digital inputs. Both USB and built-in upsampler are asynchronous. Please note that the USB allows for “device DMA” when paired with J. River Media Center and ASIO4ALL which allows for much better results compared to Kernel Streaming, WASAPI and Apple based solution, all IMHO of course! The analog output stage is Lundahl-transformer-coupled (Amorphous core), has no negative feedback, no OpAmps and can drive most headphones direct.

Alex Peychev
Going back to the Burson HA-160D, anyone tried it? How does it sound? I´m particularly interested in it as a DAC and preamp.

How does it compare to other DACs?
If its anything like their headphone amp, then its probably going to be a winner. Srajan at 6moons loved it.
I have their older integrated and am awaiting their newer on as I write this and trust me, they make a great sounding product.
It has a very similar sound to the W4S's DACs. The biggest differences I found were in the low end and overall dynamics. The Wyred unit has a more powerful low end, while the Burson's low end was a little thinner but slightly more articulate. I also found the Wyred unit more dynamic overall. Both are fantastic sounding units, but it's a little disappointing that the Burson unit doesn't have a remote and or balanced out either. There are other small technical differences, but you would have to study the literature on both units to compare.
Thanks, Face. Srajan from 6 moons said the Burson bested the Weiss which bested the W4S. Same DACs in different systems can sound different...

Thanks again.

Totally agree on Remote Control. Balanced might be a need for many, not for me right now but I do look if the DACs I look for are balanced or not in case I upgrade in the future.
Congrats for your ability to understand anything Srajan says in a review. I find his writing impenetrable. Idioms within idioms, and if you are not an audio engineer, there is no chance . . . .

just goes to show different strokes for different folks, I find his review approach very informative,honest and always with substantial comparisons with competing components for perspective. I look forward to reading his reviews with anticipation.
Charles1 dad,

Indeed. If you can understand, so much the better. here is another example of Srabanese. See if you can divine what he is talking about:

"For that we need yet another example - auras. Rather than acrylics, auras act like water colors. They fluidly interpenetrate edges where acrylic brush strokes of different colors separate hard. Greater smoothness transcends instruments or voices that exist on their own as cut out and divorced from their surroundings on which they get subsequently superimposed like a shadow play. When those instrumental or vocal outlines blend into space, a softening happens. That reflects real life. Naturally, our water color example fails just as the prior examples. In this case it fails by suggesting, on the surface at least, a lessened articulation. On canvas after all, hard acrylic separation means sharper outlines, ergo superior articulation. Not so with sounds. Only when tones and their refractive actions into space are separated out are they articulated against space. Articulation per se is impossible. It would have to occur against a vacuum or nothingness for unnaturally dry lifeless sounds. While audible auras bleeding into surrounding space could suggest something diffuse, it's really a higher degree of realism. It's softer but not synonymous with less resolved. In audio, spatial resolution relies not on razor-edged silhouettes against jet-black backgrounds after all. But let's mute them metaphors. Flip the switch or hit the remote."

What component is he describing?

I could`nt tell you what particular component in the text you provide. However in general I can understand his attempt to describe contrast and seperation of tones/overtones relstionship to the music`s background/foundation. The artist`s paintbrush/paint canvas metaphor works for me as does the acrlic/water color analogy.Essentially the nature of musical transients and decay.
I would say he is describing an amp and it's ability to portray an event that mimics reality without being too etched, which would draw one's attention away from said event to concentrate more on the individual performers, losing the magic of the moment.
This description of tones-overtones and harmonic seperation of indivdual notes with decay characteristics could apply to any component. As all components in the audio system would contribute. Even cables would exert a sonic influence.
Yes, it would. Being an avid reader of Srajan's reviews, I believe he tends to delve into these characteristics more when it tends to be an amp review. My guess was nothing more than that: a guess based on a perception of what I think he's been saying all these years.
Nonoise I understand your point, I`m also an avid reader of his reviews and do look forward to them.
I think the appeal of Srajan's style has to be his being German born and classically educated, a world traveler, and having spent so much time in America. What seems, at first blush, to be an incongruence, grammatically, is actually old world rooted and spot on. Our language has lots of Germanic influence but the structure of the sentences are different. I only had two years of high school German but can appreciate the wordship he employs.
I've always been in awe of someone with that talent. Another writer with similar style and humor was L.J.K. Setright, who wrote for 'CAR' magazine back in the '80s. He would turn a car review into a treatise that kept you captivated and in the end, you'd kind of forget about the car as an object and instead, how it related to the world.
LOL!! I guess I'm not the only one who can get lost in Srabanese. However, he is one of the few reviewers who will do direct comparisons to similarly priced products and has no problem telling us if a more affordable product outclasses a expensive one. So I like his reviews despite all the fluff you have to go through to get to the bottom line.
Any new comments/reviews of the Burson HA-160D? Thanks
I just got mine yesterday so not much critical listening.

Running cd from Oppo 981hd via coax and Macbook pro via USB.

I have the same USB issue as noted in the 6moons review.
Burson replied very promptly to my email and will take care of the issue.
Outstanding customer service so far.

Did notice when running the Burson directly to my Bryston 4B SST the right channel still had a barely audible music coming through even with the vol pot turned down to zero.

I'll have to do additional trouble-shooting tonight and report back.
Thanks, Jmdesignz2! Keep us posted. Any initial impressions?
Any new comments about the HA-160D?
Just ordered mine last night. I had a Weiss Minerva for a while, so it will be interesting to see if I agree with S.E.'s opinion. I spoke with the dealer about the 24/96 issue the S.E. spoke of. He said Burson was notified of this issue a while back and he assured me mine would be the latest up-to-date model. It worries me slightly that Jmdesignz2 received his the other day and he had the same problem. We shall see.....
Still waiting for Sound Earphones to send me the replacement Burson HA-160D.

I am very eager to hear the high resolution files in 24/96 but the flawed USB receiver will not allow any higher bit rates.

Sound via the coaxial input is very dynamic - clean and musical.
LMAO...I agree, reading 6moons is like reading a script from college, can't wait for the summary to tell me what the bottom line is...
wish it had toslink input