The HA-160D was built as an all in one machine that fits in anywhere from a desktop audio setup to a full sized stereo system. Since its introduction audiophiles and magazine reviewers everywhere, appreciate it as a benchmark 3 in 1 performer, outgunning its competitors whose prices are much more expensive. Renowned reviewers, and recording artists are using it to assist their creative work and are enjoying its sound everyday.
For headphone audiophiles however, the HA-160D has features that some may never use. Features such as its high end preamp, DAC output and multiple analogue inputs. We also understand that some head-fiers would like it to have a smaller footprint on the desk. Bearing this in mind we have introduced the HA-160DS. It is a streamlined version of HA-160D focused for the desktop head-fiers.
Compared to the HA-160D, the HA-160DS is 16% smaller in footprint and 35% lighter in weight. And with fewer features, it is more affordable. But it is in no way an inferior or focused product. It is simply a focused 2 in 1 machine that has all the performance and refinements expected from Burson Audio.
Its DAC is identical to that inside the HA-160D right down to each component used. The headphone is also identical to the HA-160 which we have been refining since 2009. We have also reduced the number of headphone outputs to one and used the best volume potentiometer we could find to ease control while preserving sonic quality. It is housed in a smaller but precision folded 4 mm aluminium casing that is elegant on any desk and works as a singular heat-sink for the entire machine. This case really puts the conventional 1 mm folded steel case to shame.
Burson HD Audio DAC
While most of the marketing spin centres on the DAC chip, the output stage is in fact one of the critical stages in any audio DAC design. It is not getting the air time that it deserves because a properly designed output stage is not simple, and the concept is harder to sell to a customer compared to a DAC chip model number. After the digital signal (0s and 1s) is converted by the DAC chip into stereo signals, an important LP (low pass) stage is needed to reconstruct the analogue signal from the rectangular pulses from the DAC output. Any distortion and signal loss during this conversion stage is irreversible. Unfortunately, due to the lack of customer awareness of the output stage, this is where most audio companies cut their costs, and it is common to see an output stage designed around a cheap IC opamp.
The HA-160DS has a fully discrete output stage that is independently powered. It has a high slew rate and fast recovery time, operating in pure Class A the HD Audio DAC ensures the highest level of signal preservation. The result is higher resolution audio playback, with a completely transparent sonic signature consistent with our ideals.
The function of Opamps at the output stage is as important as the lens on a cinema projector. Regardless of the analytical capability of the audio gear, an inferior opamp will halve a machine's performance, and distort every dB of sonic imagery. Just like our acclaimed HA160, the 160DS features our Burson HD audio opamp. It enables the 160DS to reproduce music in superior resolution and accuracy.
Just like an athlete needs clean air to perform at an optimum standard – audio equipment needs clean power to reproduce transparent and natural music.
Input impedance: 36.5 KOhms
240 mm x 220 mm x 80 mm
Listening to the mesmerising Op.posth (Nocturne in C-sharp minor) by Claudio Arrau. Recorded over 30 years ago by Philips, this recording lacks all the latest hypes in terms of data density. But through the HA-160DS, sonic imageries are formed as intended, like a Sebastiao Salgado photograph. Black and white compared to many of today's saturated recordings, but texture, contrast, depth, feel and all the subtleties in between made the experience deeper and more profound. Eyes closed, it was as if the master was within reaching distance. When the last note falls, he was sorely missed once again.