Most headphone amplifiers use standard IC Opamps in their designs. Such opamps are very cheap and easy to apply, however they are inferior sonically. This is because they are not tailored for a particular audio circuitry, and they contain many low quality and unnecessary components which degrade the audio signal.
Three years ago Burson developed the HA-160 headphone amplifier. Instead of using standard IC opamps on the signal path, we designed tailor made circuitry using high quality discrete components. Because of this, we were able to reduce components on the signal path to optimise its operation. It offered higher resolution and superior dynamics to any IC based design, and yet presented a mid range intonation that many thought only possible from top-tier tube amps. It was good, like a properly designed solid state should, and many in the industry saw it as a benchmark.
Instead of celebrating and introducing "newer" versions each year with small refinements, we have been studying and developing circuitries that can realise more of our ideals. Now, our dream of an even more idealistic circuitry, with even less components on the signal path is realised. And it sounds more beautiful than any of us could have conceptualised at the beginning of this project. We named this new headphone amp Soloist!
FET input stage
The input stage of the Soloist is a symmetrical current feedback circuit with only 21 components on its signal path (compare that to a typical IC Opamp of over 50). It's signal path is so short and with so little blockage on it, that it can achieve amazing sound. Also because we only had to select and match 21 components, the Soloist sounds absolutely amazing.
Variable Output Stage
The Burson Soloist features a new Variable Output Stage (VOS). It enables the Soloist to match well with any type of headphone. Be it easy to drive high sensitivity in ear monitors or open back moving-coil designs. It can drive anything including the latest planar magnetic headphones with ease.
Combining the VOS with our new generation of step attenuator, volume control is always smooth and synergy is always perfect.
High resolution volume control
At the time when an audio signal is passing through the volume control, it is still at its weakest. At this stage, the audio signal is very vulnerable to noise pollution and interference. A major source of such distortion is the commonly used remote volume control adopted by most manufactures.
Heavy duty, built like a brick sh**thouse, enclosure
The Soloist is housed in a 6mm case, constructed from high precision machined aluminium. This enclosure allows the Soloist, to achieve a very high mechanical damping factor, which reduces any microphonic effects, that may degrade the clarity of sonic performance.
The enclosure was also constructed to act as a giant heat-sink, which allows the Class-A headamp to run cooler, and remain optimised at all times.