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Burson Audio V6 Op-Amps: Classic & Vivid


Consider this a continuation of the last review of the Burson Audio Fun if you will. Burson were kind enough to send me both the V6 Classic and V6 Vivid op-amps to try out in the Fun and I was keen to see how they performed versus my other favourites, but also to see how they compared to one another.


Burson Audio’s V6 op-amps are available in a single (mono) or dual (stereo) configuration for $70 USD each or $130 USD for a pair. At that price they’re at the upper end of op-amps in terms of pricing, but they propose to match their price in terms of performance. Having enjoyed the V5i op-amp, I had high expectations.

Physical Requirements

Before you even think about buying the V6 op-amp(s) for your system, do keep in mind a couple of things:

  1. They will probably not perform well in portable, battery operated systems so stick with mains-powered units for this op-amp
  2. They are large and therefore probably won’t fit in anything but mains-powered / desktop setups

How large? Each op-amp has a 15mm x 12mm footprint, but stands about 29mm tall. You can see in this pic how much space they require:

Setting a baseline for comparison – OPA627

To get this started, I’ve inserted the OPA627 in the Burson Audio Fun. The Fun is being fed by the Schiit Gungir Multibit DAC from a BNC feed using only hi-res audio.

The sound from the Fun + OPA627 is rich and warm. The mid-bass is slightly elevated in a very enjoyable way and vocals are placed front and centre, but not highlighted – if anything, I would like a just a tiny bit more clarity from this particular combination, but that’s also a bit recording dependent. That said, the overall experience is nuanced, sophisticated and thoroughly enjoyable. It’s smooth, but engaging.

k.d. Lang’s “Save Me” is so smooth and lush with layers of details, a rich backing track and the slight percussive twang of each guitar note being rendered crisply, but without any edge.

Jackson Brown’s “Colors of the Sun” is not a great recording, but the vocals are wonderfully present with this combination and the rendition is faithful enough to hear the problems with the recording when Brown’s voice isn’t cutting through the haze and taking my full attention.

On the Herbie Hancock collaboration, “When Love Comes to Town” (with Jonny Lang & Joss Stone), the recording quality is back to reference standards and the OPA627 is once again rendering everything with silky ease, but at no expense of clarity. The bassline has rhythm and groove, and Stone’s and Lang’s vocals are both wonderfully textured with Stone’s having a presence that suggests she was maybe a touch closer to the mic.

I’ll take these three references forwards for the Vivid and Classic op-amps now and we’ll see how they compare…

V6 Classic vs OPA627 Comparison

Starting again with k.d. Lang I am immediately struck by the removal of the creaminess than permeates the OPA627. I miss it slightly, but I’m comforted by what takes it’s place. Sure, the guitars are slightly less beguiling now, but I can hear more breath in k.d.’s voice. The music is more textured for better or worse. On this recording, I probably slightly prefer the OPA627, but it’s such a personal choice and this is just one track…

Jackson Brown steps forward now and the V6 Classic shows all the same problems with the recording, but somehow makes the track far more engaging. Somehow it cuts through the haze and better reveals all the details of the track. Brown’s vocals are still clearly the hero piece in the recording, but everything is now more enjoyable overall despite the shortcomings of the recording which are still very evident.

Now back to Hancock, Stone and Lang – the opening bars seem a little sparse with the V6 Classic, but it’s a very clean recording with no added ambience so it’s probably more accurate than the OPA627. Once the bass kicks in and Stone joins the fray, the V6 Classic reveals it’s ability to groove and renders a picture-perfect sound. The OPA627 probably has a slightly better sense of groove, but it’s by a small margin and comes at the expense of the clarity.  Both are great.

At this point I decided to return to my music library because I feel like I haven’t clearly separated these two in my mind. John Mayer to the rescue with “Wildfire”. This recording has a fun groove and plenty of detail and texture. Starting this time with the V6 Classic I feel like the kick bass notes are a bit fuzzy. The kick drum is on the looser side, but it’s sounding a bit sloppier than I’d like. Mayer’s vocals and guitars sound great and the overall experience is largely enjoyable, but it’s a bit muddied by the V6 Classic / Fun amp combo.

Back to the OPA627 now and the bass is definitely tighter and cleaner. I think the V6 Classic was overdoing it just a bit, but can also now say that some of the over-emphasis is coming from the Fun’s warm sound signature. Let’s see how the V6 Vivid compares given that it’s intended to have less of that warm, analogue sound and focus a bit more on the detail.

V6 Vivid vs OPA627 vs V6 Classic Comparison

Starting once more with k.d. Lang I am immediately struck by the more delicate hand taken by the Vivid. The name would suggest a sound that’s more etched and edgy, but the details are delivered in a very sophisticated manner. The sound isn’t as creamy as the OPA627, but the balance between musicality and detail is gorgeous.

Jackson Brown is up next again and the better delivery of the Classic is matched by the Vivid. The instrumental backing is thoroughly enjoyable rather than being a space-filler in between vocal moments. All-in-all, the Vivid brings out the very best of this poor recording.

“When Love Comes to Town” has me interested. The Vivid is meant to be less warm than the Classic and the Classic seemed leaner than the OPA627 in a way that I didn’t enjoy as much for this recording… As it happens though, there’s a subtlety to the presentation from the Vivid that balances it’s slightly leaner presentation. It may not pick up the groove quite as well as the OPA627, but it’s at least as good or better in every other way, particularly in the separation of sounds and it clearly presents a larger, wider soundstage.

I’ll include the “Wildfire” test again this time even though I have clearly found a preference for the Vivid over the Classic. The bass is much better controlled with the Vivid. It’s still a bit loose because it’s meant to be for this kick drum recording, but everything is perfectly balanced and the bass sounds like it’s meant to sound rather than sounding like it’s been slightly over-enhanced. In fact, my sense is that the Vivid is showing me just what the Fun’s sound signature is.


Having put both Burson Audio op-amps through their paces, I would comfortably choose the V6 Vivid almost every time I think. To me, it balances engagement and neutrality perfectly. It has warmth and depth, but never at the expense of clarity and quality. The V6 Classic occasionally goes a step too far for my tastes.

Having said that, there is a time and a place for the Classic. Let’s say you have a particularly lean and analytical amplifier. Throw a Classic in it and hear it come to life because the combination is likely to produce a beautifully balanced final sound. If you’re starting with something neutral-to-warm though, my recommendation is for the Vivid and doubly-so if you have a thicker sounding amp like the earlier M-Stage amps or Burson’s own Fun amp. Of course, the OPA627 is still a great choice if you like a warm sound that’s still beautifully nuanced, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about!

If you think the V6 Vivid or Classic sound like your cup of tea and you’d like to support this blog, please consider using the links below to make your purchases – it costs you nothing, but returns a small amount of income to help me keep this blog running.