BURSON Conductor 3X Reference - Balanced Head amp / Preamp / HiRes DAC


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Headphones impedance:
16-300 Ω
2x XLR, USB, Toslink, BlueTooth, microphone
XLR Pre Amp, XLR DAC Out, 6.3mm & XLR Headphones
D/A converter:
2x Sabre ESS9038Q2M
Digital formats:
DSD 64-512, PCM 32-768 kHz, 16-32 bit
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The Best BURSON Audio XLR DAC / Headphone Amp / Preamp

  • 7,5W Class A XLR / 3,75W Single Ended Headphone Out
  • 2x Sabre ESS9038 DAC
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD codec
  • OpAmp Rolling ready (upgradable opamps, changing possible for different sound character)
  • 5x Max Power - 5 sets of MCPS Power Supplies
  • 3x Cooler - All New Aluminum Enclosure
  • Quality Parts - ELNA Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors, DALE MELF Resistors, 10ppm Low Jitter Clock

The Conductor 3X is for those who go all the way.  Fully balanced with one DAC chip per channel.  Pure Class-A and fully discrete with top quality components throughout, including Neutrik XLR connectors, the C3X is the perfect command center for any XLR audio systems.

The C3X achieves an even lower signal-to-noise ratio, revealing amazing micro dynamics, the stuff that makes music magical.  Furthermore, by going fully balanced, the C3X achieves ultra-low output impedance, making it the perfect preamp for any power amplifier.

Its balanced headphone output delivers 7.5W per channel while its half-the-power single-ended output is still powerful enough to drive any headphones with ease. 


Advanced Digital


The SABRE32/ESS9038Q2M DAC and XMOS USB receiver chips are the most advanced and expensive in the industry. There are two ESS9038 DAC chips in our C3 Reference and its USB receiver comes with customized driver by Thesycon, Germany. The result is unsurpassed processing power, perfectly playing back DSD512 and 38bit/786khz audio. The C3 Reference also features a Bluetooth 5.0 receiver Qualcomm/CSR8675 [+] with aptX HD audio codec. It pushes Bluetooth playback beyond CD quality and ease of use to the highest level.

Max Power X 5


Max Current Power Supply (MCPS) [+] raises voltage frequency from 50Hz to 170kHz, pushing noise beyond human hearing. Its low impedance ensures abundant and instant energy for output transistors. The C3 Reference uses 5 sets of MCPS: Which means, Display/Functionality, DAC, analogue left and analogue right are all separately powered.

The Cool Case


Let’s face it, most audio equipment cases are ugly and impractical. They usually have visible screws everywhere, sharp corners and boring colours. Class-A amplifiers even have finger cutting heat-sinks! They diminish the aesthetic of any living space especially modern desktops where every other electronic is slick and refined.

Made from high-density aluminum and electroplated to space-grey. The Cool Case [+] has only 4 visible screws under its belly. It is also a unified heat-sink that is 300% more efficient than previous Conductors. It is audio jewellery at its finest and It looks and plays very cool.

Smooth Control


The all-new OLED screen and interface program deliver a calming and intuitive user experience. Its machined solid aluminum knob offers the fines control and feels luxurious.

The Sound


Through a quieter, darker background, micro dynamics propels forward by the sheer energy of the Conductor 3X.  It lets you dive even deeper into the miracle we called music.

When listening to Sinner’s Prayer by Ray Charles and B.B. King.    Ray’s authentic vocal dramatics, frail yet still capable of true emotion and flashes of fire like a dimming star mixing with King’s stinging guitar and barking vocals  Two partners in soul and titans of music, trying to top each other, ripping the joint apart and put it back together again, competitive yet completely in tune and sharing their love for music.  A perfect balance of soul, love and heart displaying in full gory.



Measurement   Package Content  
Input impedance: 40 KOhms Conductor V3X Ref.
Model # R180X
USB Cable
Frequency response: ± 1 dB 0 – 58Khz Remote Control Warranty Card
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: 2 x XLR line-level input, USB, Optical Toslink, BlueTooth 5.0, microphone Weight: app. 5 kg
Outputs: 1 x XLR Pre Amp, 1 X Line Level DAC Out, 1 x 6.3mm & 1 x XLR Headphone Jack Dimensions: 255mm x 270mm x 70mm
Impedance (Headphone Jack) Power XLR / SE Signal to Noise Ratio Separation
16 Ohm 7.5 / 3.75W 96db 99%
32 Ohm 5 / 2.5W 98db 99%
100 Ohm 1.75 / 0.88W 95db 99%
150 Ohm 1.16 0.58W 96db 99%
300 Ohm 0.58 / 0.3W 96db 99.5%
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

Download english user manual

Download latest USB audio driver for Windows 8+

Download latest Xmos USB driver for Windows

Download latest USB audio drivers for OSX

3 years after registration online

3 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 5
    Conductor 3XR Review

    Posted by 6moons review on 7th Jan 2021

    Despite petite dimmensions, the Conductor 3 Ref weights a reassuring 5kg like the kitchen sink Burson threw at it. After having read its resumé, orchestral management now wants to know how good this conductor is at marshaling the troops, then getting the very best from them. Whilst potential orchestral members must audition behind a curtain to eliminate sighted bias, conductor auditions always require everyone to see him or her. So we will keep our eyes open as well. Of course our conductor´s interpretation will depend on the choice of 15V opamps. The stock opamps are the "Vivid" from the V6 range wich could be rolled for the "Classic" of that range.

  • 5
    Awesome quality. Awesome performance. Awesome value

    Posted by Head-Fi review 08/2020 on 7th Jan 2021

    Why do I like the conductor so much as a DAC? Well I love my two CD players and the Burson DAC takes the best of both of them and combines it. The burson is incredibly musical, wonderful timbre and incredibly detailed at the same time and has a sensational soundstage. I'm sure there are better products out there but I'd probably have to spend a hell of a lot more money. Burson's combining of a top end headamp, DAC and preamp with exceptional Bluetooth is an unbelievably good one-box solution for me, someone who has a speaker based system and wants to listen to headphones too.

  • 5
    One that deserves its place on our Best DAC/Amp list for sure

    Posted by Headphonia 02/2020 on 7th Jan 2021

    With the Conductor 3X Burson has created a solid piece of equipment. It shows exemplary engineering on all fronts. The case is crafted at a high level, the internal layout is a beauty to look at and the sound completely convinces. I do have some negative remarks about it though. Like the missing channel information on the back, the not so good looking 4-pin XLR connector and the missing gain information on the screen. And maybe the remote control that doesn’t allow you to turn the unit off or switch outputs. The biggest issue for me though, is the background noise you get with more sensitive earphones. The sound the Conductor 3X produces is wonderfully neutral, balanced and natural. It brings excellent body, resolution and enjoyment to both my speakers and headphones. Its high powered output gives enough juice to make any headphone blast. But on top, it also makes them really sing. When it comes to amplifiers, it’s not all about the power, the implementation is far more important. And Burson definitely made a high quality product that wins. All in all, I find the Conductor 3X to be a very good product.