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Burson Audio Cable + Review

Preamble

Whilst I have been an audio enthusiast for many years now, I must admit I have never really been all that interested in using any kind of esoteric cables with my systems. I have always felt that as long as the cable has a good solid connection and is undamaged - then that will do. In fact, to be completely honest, in the past when I have tried slightly more expensive than normal cable, I can’t say I really truly noticed any difference. You could say that I’m a kind of ‘high-end cable sceptic’.

One thing I do believe is that my portable MP3 players are capable of very high quality playback - assuming the file being played is of sufficient quality. I have been into high quality audio since the early 80’s and have progressed from a nasty ‘music centre’ to a really nice analogue turntable-based system - Logik DM-101, Linn Basik LVX, Nagioka MP-11 Boron, NAD 3020 and Heybrook HB1’s - those were the days.  The system sounded great because I took care to set it up as best I could with a proper turntable shelf with ceramic discs underneath the shelf resting on  inverted spikes (cost 75 quid if memory serves), decent shelving for the electronics and proper loudspeaker stands with the spikes. My point being that back in the day you really had to work at achieving (and maintaining) that good sound. Not to mention that the turntable was completely manual in operation and you had to get off your lazy arse every 25 minutes or so to flip sides or change the record.

Now, all you have to do is press a couple of buttons and you get high quality sound - in fact very high quality sound, with none of the fuss and bother. What’s more, you can easily get access to all of your media and have pretty much unlimited and inexpensive storage for about the same price as my turntable and loudspeaker stands had cost me back in the 80’s - and that’s not adjusting for inflation.

I have to admit that these days I tend to do most of my music listening through headphones - specifically the following:

Ultimate Ears Triple Fi-10 iem
1More 1001 Triple Driver iem
1More iBFree Bluetooth iem
V-Moda Crossfade Bluetooth Wireless
1More MK-802 Bluetooth Wireless
Audio Technica ATH M50X Full Sized Wired

The reason why I have mentioned my old analogue system and my currently used headphones is really to show that I know what good sound sounds like. I completely understand that people have different tastes and that different genres favour different sound shapes. This is perhaps why I use so many different headphones - each have their own character and, with the exception of the bitchingly bass-driven V-Moda’s, all sound fairly flat and reasonably neutral.

My current (and probably for the foreseeable future) loudspeaker based system is a Sony Micro system connected to the excellent Google Chromecast Audio and an old pair of Mission loudspeakers. As I do most of my listening now through portable players and headphones I feel that this is sufficient for my needs when I need to ‘rock out’ and annoy the neighbours. To be honest, the speakers are not ideally placed and the system tends to lack power (although more on this later). In its defence however, I feel the overall sound characteristic is reasonably neutral and flat.

The Burson Audio Cable is much more than just a good quality length of cable. It’s designed to increase the output from portable players to that normally found on full-sized components. This, they claim, improves resolution, clarity, bass - well pretty much everything audio. Well…...it works. It definitely works.

The cable features an active section which ‘amplifies’ the signal up - there’s no controls on the active box - just a Micro USB socket for power. The cable is reasonably unobtrusive and has enough length to effectively be hidden away. Everything about the cake screams high quality from the material used for the outer sleeve to the high quality plugs.

The improvements made to the music isn't subtle - it’s like the system has been completely upgraded. Bigger speakers, more powerful amplifier and improved signal source. There isn't just one aspect of the sound that's been changed either. Bass is deeper and more controlled, mids and vocals are clearer and the top end shimmers with detail without becoming too bright. This cable offers my loudspeaker based system the chance to produce the same resolution and detail that I normally get with my high quality headphones. Although the cable is designed to offer more volume to the sound, the truth is that even at low volume levels the improvements are still apparent.

Listening to familiar music is a revelation - I know of the phrase ‘hearing things I've never heard before’ is a bit of a cliche but it's totally true with this cable. Additional depth in the sound field, solidity in positions of performers and instruments (this is usually the first thing I look for when evaluating audio equipment) and micro details come through with ease. It's almost like I have found new high quality recordings of my favorite albums.

When I was originally asked if I would be interested in reviewing Burson cable I was not overly enthusiastic about it because I've never really been interested in cables and the like because they're kinda boring and not sexy, however I'm so glad they sent it to me. This has to represent one of the most effective single solution upgrades I have ever come across in a the years I have been interested in audio. Very highly recommended indeed.