Burson Audio Cable Plus Pro – Review
If you are into this hobby for a few years now, I am sure that you have heard about equipment matching on lots of occasions. Between dacs and amps, between amps and speakers, etc.
And indeed, I have noticed a lot of situations when for example a pair of speakers sounded great with an amplifier and dull with another amplifier. In this situation it’s mostly related to the needs of the speakers. One reason can be that some speakers might have impedance peaks/dips that need more current on some parts of the frequencies. Some people would now say that you need a stronger amplifier or an amplifier that can handler bigger current loads. Indeed, but more powerful doesn’t necessarily mean better in all cases. It might solve your immediate problem related to dynamics, energy and even tonality, but maybe it won’t be as transparent or clean as your less powerful amplifier that sounded wonderful with your previous speakers.
Besides the situation from above you can also get a mismatch between your DAC and your amplifier/pre. Now let’s say that it could also be a miss-match in tonality, both being on the bright side for example, or both being on the warm side. I think this is still possible, but it seems that some of these situations are also generated by the impedance miss-match between your dac and your amplifier. Looking at the specs in general, you will see that there is no standard in dac impedance output or amp impedance input. Most companies have different philosophies / approaches to this matter.
This is where Burson comes in with the Cable Plus Pro which is actually an audio buffer that eliminates the impedance miss-match between your components. This is not a normal cable as it becomes an active component in your system.
Presentation and Specs
There are a few version of these cables that can be used in your system depending on your input/output needs.
This is what Burson claims the cable with do in your system if you have a missmatch:
Once the Cable+ is in place, sonic details once lost, will be fully reproduced to create a complete experience. Play familiar – very familiar – material, and you will hear the finest details fully resolved, while the fundamentals take on a new level of life and solidity. That “harsh digital sound” replaced by a wider and more three-dimensional soundstage.
|Input impedance:||250 KOhms||1 x Cable+ / PRO||AUX to RCA / AUX to AUX /RCA to RCA|
|Frequency response:||± 1 dB 0 – 55Khz||1 x USB Power Cable|
|THD:||<0.005%||1 x USB Power Supply|
|Output impedance||3 Ohm||General|
|Signal to Noise Ratio||>118dB at 6dB gain||Weight:||app. 200 (net)|
|Power Dissipation||5W (1VA USB Power)||Cable Length: Appx||120cm / 47.2in|
Tests & Listening Impressions
I have tested this cable in two sound systems:
- MSB Analog Dac9 (53 Ohms on RCA Output, 106 on XLR) , Audio GD Master 10 (47K @RCA, 94K @ XLR) , Martin Logan Impressions ESL-11A Speakers
- Chord Mojo(75 Ohms Output) , Indiana Line Puro 800 Amplifier (47 K ohms input), Piega Coax 30.2 Speakers
This cable is active and needs an usb connection for power. What I observed here is that the sound improved if I used a linear usb power supply, in this case Ifi Audio Micro USB 3.0.
In the first system I have noticed differences, but in it’s case, all components are quite strong and even the interconnects I have are not bad at all. I am talking about a pair of Audioquest Sky which I manage to get at 25% of the original asking price. While overall, the Cable Pro infused a little more energy into the system, the clarity, extension & details were better on the sky. However, considering the price difference, I can tell you for sure that the differences were not that big and it didn’t justify the price of the Sky compared to Cable Plus.
Now, in the second system, where the amplifier is not the best option for Piega Coax 30.2 and it shows it it’s struggling, putting the cable plus between Chord Mojo and Indiana Line Puro 800 was more obvious, improving the dynamics & energy in the sound.
One thing to note in both cases is that with cable plus, the sound was louder at the same volume, so I had to lower the volume to match the db for tests. In the first seconds you might have the feeling that the energy & dynamics are much much better, however this might be because you didn’t match the db in your tests.
Now, even after I matched the volumes, I still felt improvement in dynamics, energy & details. The description from below is for the second system.
The punch became stronger and and more engaging. Didn’t notice any big changes in the depth department.
The midrange seem to have more vibrant & detailed textures, being a little more forward and lively.
I have noticed a little more air in the scenes and this is also because of a more focused and detailed treble.
The soundstage expanded, showing more air and bigger width.
With Cable Plus, the details were more apparent & vibrant. The guitar plucks and strings in general are more lively and seem to displace more air around them.
Energy, Dynamics & Prat
This is maybe the area that is the most obvious in terms of improvement. The sound overall had better prat, energy and macro dynamics.
What I noticed here is that the attack was stronger, but I haven’t noticed big differences in the decay section.
While it didn’t solve the problem of the amplifier in my second system, it sure improved the sound to a degree where I am not so anxious to change it. Is this cable worth it? Personally I was impressed by it.
If you test a lot of equipment, if you think that there is something wrong in your sound after a current amp/dac upgrade, or if you just think your sound might need some improvement in terms of tonality/energy, I definitely think the Cable Plus Pro deserves a chance and comes in handy to have in your house. It might not fix your problem if there is a mismatch between your amp and your speakers/headphones, but it definitely has a chance to fix the problem between your dac and your amp/pre-amp.
- Punchier and more energetic bass
- More vibrant and livelier midrange
- Better focused treble with more air
- Expanded and more airy soundstage
- More apparent details
- Better energy and macro dynamics
- More powerful transients
- It needs another usb cable for power
- You will get better sound with a linear usb power supply to power up the cable plus (fortunately I already had one with one free output)