The Burson Conductor 3X Performance is a great DAC/Amp in its own right, with clear, accurate output and huge soundstage. It also happens to be a great choice if you’re familiar with the Burson Conductor line, and want the Conductor 3X sound at a lower price point and with a smaller footprint. Read our full review.
From Burson Audio
Some DAC/Amps claim to give you the front row experience in exchange for less soundstage. Others promise a 3D soundstage in trade for fewer details. The Conductor simply gives you everything in the recording, without sugar-coating, the good and sometimes the ugly. You can locate a tapping foot on the stage while enjoying that lingering vibration of air after a keystroke.
The Conductor uses the SABRE32/ESS9038Q2M DAC and XMOS USB receiver chips, the most advanced and expensive in the industry. Its Customised USB driver by Thesycon Germany ensures low latency bit-perfect audio playback. The result is incredible processing power, accurately playing back DSD512 and 38bit/786khz audio.
It also features a Qualcomm/CSR8675 Bluetooth 5.0 receiver. Playing back at 24bit/96khz with aptX HD audio codec. , it pushes sound quality and ease of use to the highest level.
Max Current Power Supply
The Conductor Performance features the same Max Current Power Supply (MCPS) that has made the Conductor Reference legendary.A technology developed, owned and used exclusively by Burson Audio, the MCPS raises voltage frequency from 50Hz to 170kHz, pushing noise beyond human hearing. It completely overcomings the disadvantages of both linear power supplies and conventional switching power supplies, resulting in incredible dynamic and micro-details.
The Cool Case
We like to turn Class-A amplifiers from monsters with heat-fins into elegant, desktop-friendly machines, and we do it through the Cool Case. Made from high-density aluminum and electroplated to space-grey, the Cool Case is a unified heat-sink keeping the Class-A Conductor cool and optimized. Critics such as Headfonics called it “the new standard” in the audio industry.
Having a footprint that is 30% less than the Conductor Reference and a volume similar to a lunch box, it is beautiful but unobstructive. Take it to work, and no one will raise an eyebrow.
Opamp Rolling Fun
The Conductor Performance comes with Burson V6 Vivid discrete opamps. But don’t let us or anyone dictate your listening experience. The Conductor encourages opamp rolling with gold plated DIP8 sockets along its signal path. With hundreds of audio opamps out there, you have the freedom to tailor your listening experience to your preference.
While our Conductor Reference is like Huge Jackman in Kate and Leopold, the completed package, the Conductor Performance is the shredded Wolverine. It’s still him but stripped down! Power and total control of that power will be the overwhelming first impression. It energises every note and space in between, bringing accuracy and micro-details. The C3 performance is for the perfectionist who works hard and plays harder.
|Input impedance:||39 KOhms||Conductor 3X Ref.
Model # M180X
|Frequency response:||± 1 dB 0 – 58Khz||Remote Control||OTG Adoptor|
|THD:||<0.0015%||Power Cable||24V Power Unit|
|Output impedance (Headphone Amp):||0.5 Ohm|
|Output impedance (Pre Out / DAC Out):||1 Ohm / 25 Ohm|
|Inputs:||USB, Optical Toslink, BlueTooth 5.0, microphone||Weight:||app. 3 kg|
|Outputs:||1 x XLR Preamp/DAC
1 x RCA Preamp/DAC
1 x 6.3mm Headphone
1 x XLR Headphone
|Dimensions:||200 X 250 X 60mm|
|Impedance (Headphone Jack)||Power XLR / SE||Signal to Noise Ratio||Separation|
|16 Ohm||6 / 3W||96db||99%|
|32 Ohm||3 / 1.5W||98db||99%|
|100 Ohm||1 / 0.5W||95db||99%|
|DAC Spec||Asynchronous Isochronous USB Spec|
|Channel Separation:||142 dB @ 1KHz, 135 dB @ 20KHz||Desktop OS:||Windows XP, 7, 8, 10 Mac OSX|
|THD+N:||0.0005% @ 1KHz, 0dBFS||Desktop OS:||iOS* , Android (OTG support)|
|COAX & Toslink / SPDIF :||up to 24bit 192K||PCM Support:||PCM ? 768kHz @ 16, 24 or 32bits|
|Native DSD:||Native DSD 64 / 128 / 256 / 512|
|Bluetooth Input||Bluetooth 5.0 aptX HD (Qualcomm CSR8675)||DSD over PCM:||DoP64 / DoP128 / DoP256/Dop512|
Conductor 3 Comparison
|Model||Retail Price||Dimensions (mm)||Digital||Analogue||Power Supply||Others|
|Conductor 3XR||2,199USD||255 x 270 x 70||ESS9038Q2M DAC X 2
||7.5Wpc XLR / 3.5Wpc SE
||MCPS X 5||Analogue Inputs X 2|
|Conductor 3R||1,799USD||255 x 270 x 70||ESS9038Q2M DAC X 2||7.5Wpc SE||MCPS X 5||Analogue Inputs X 2|
|Conductor 3XP||1,399USD||200 X 250 X 60||ESS9038Q2M DAC X 1||6Wpc XLR / 3Wpc SE||MCPS X 3|
|Conductor 3P||1,099USD||200 X 250 X 60||ESS9038Q2M DAC X 1||4Wpc SE||MCPS X 3|
Customer ReviewsWrite a review
Picked this out as my upgrade from a small dac and small tube amp combo stack and i could not be happier. The initial setup had some driver conflicts but found after uninstalling all, installing burson, then installing realtek i was able to clear up the buffer glitches when using toslink. It has been rock solid and even use the bluetooth input from my iphone more than i expected. The headphone+mic input is fantastic for those of us who have game headsets or add-on mics as well. It has plenty of power to push even my least efficient drivers in 'low gain' setting up to a comfortable listening volume. Paired with my ZMF cans it really shines for clarity. I have not tried the opamp rolling yet, have not heard a need. Its size has a great desktop profile and the heatsink case keeps it cool enough for whole work days worth of listening. All the buttons and connectors and volume dial feel very solid. The file bit rate icon on the lcd flickers which is probably a fault but now i'm just nitpicking because its absolutely fantastic otherwise. Well done Burson.
Although I purchased the C3XP to serve in my secondary system, I was surprised and delighted to find that this outperformed my fully-balanced headphone DAC/amp in my primary system. That prompted me to also buy the Conductor 3X Reference to take over that spot in the primary system.
With the C3XP, the sound was much more vibrant than the outgoing amp. What I found most surprising was in some cases I could hear instruments on stage with the C3XP that I couldn’t hear at all with the old amp. The C3XP provided a bigger soundstage, far superior imaging, resolution, and detail retrieval. It also gave me a greater sense of being at the live performance. It was like I received an upgrade for my imagination. I could see the performers, their movements and expressions, all in a visual high resolution, versus just having a sense of where the instruments were on stage. It was a complete improvement in every sense of the listening experience.
Everything from a wide range of genres and various formats (16/44, decoded MQA, 24/192, and DSD256) sounds wonderful and neutral. The C3XP provides a very low noise floor across the board. It also capitalizes on higher resolutions by offering more vocal clarity, deeper and wider soundstage, and incredible detail retrieval, imaging, and layering between the instruments.
Even with this device connected directly to the iMac in my secondary system vs being in the more optimized signal path in the home system, it still maintains all these fantastic qualities to a very high degree. This is a wonderful DAC/amp and is a joy to use. The beautiful build is a great bonus, and the remote is surprisingly convenient even in a desktop setup.
Furthermore the purchase process, communication, and lightning fast shipping from Bloom Audio is nothing short of exceptional. This has been a wonderful purchase in every aspect.