My Burson Audio "Fun" Review and Impressions...

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by adydula, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. adydula

    adydula Rando

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    Burson Audio FUN



    Well I have received from Burson Audio a new headphone amp to me. In the past I have reviewed Burson's Audio Cable + and Pro, and have always liked the Burson products. They seem to build some really well liked and well built headphone amplifiers. For people that like to play and experiment with various op amps to see if there are any differences etc, the FUN amp I just received is the “cats meow” for this type of activity!

    [​IMG]

    Imagine a company that is enticing you to open up the device and plug and play to your hearts content and your wallet can stand!. The circuitry is designed to handle a wide variety of op amps, from inexpensive to expensive... They even supply you with an allen wrench and a spare power fuse!.

    All it takes is 4 small hex head screws to pop off the cover and see the internals! The build quality inside the unit is second to none. I have built and worked in the electronics industry and this is a top of the line amp. The circuit board is well laid out, and there is no BIG unsightly power transformer inside that will ever “hum” or have isolation issues.

    [​IMG]

    The FUN is a class A headphone amplifier that again encourages Opamp rolling. There is also an added mic input on the front. The Mic input is straight wired to a Mic output in the back for less cable clutter if used in a desktop pc system. For me I use this amp as a headphone amplifier....there is no DACinside. But the FUN can fit into a PC drive bay and connect to your PC sound card and headphones. For gaming and great audio as well.



    Instead of the traditional AC power into a transformer then into a bridge rectifier and filtering to remove the AC component etc...Burson designed what they call Burson Max Current Power Supply or (MCPS). The transformer is removed altogether. Burson states that main power at 50-60Hz is within the frequency the human ear can easily discern. A traditional linear power supply charges and discharges 50-60 times a second. They claim this is too slow for audio amplification. Their MCPS increases the working frequency to 179Khz. Any noise at this frequency is well above the human hearing threshold of 20khz. They say this allows for a pitch black soundstage critical for micro-details to shine through. Now this is techno talk from Burson, and I am a real technical geek that always has doubted many if these claims, the end result to me is the proof in the pudding. I will tell you in this review whatever they are doing here has led to a really GOOD amp. Call it what you want, this $299 Class A gem, is very crisp and clean.....pitch black for sure.

    [​IMG]

    So there is no need for those LARGE capacitors for AC filtering and hum reduction. This amp puts out 2 watts of power into 32 ohms. A day when size natters, or bigger is better, this little amp throws all that away for sure. So its a 4x Max Current Power Supply, symmetrical dual mono design, Class A, Two DIP8 sockets for op amp rolling, ELNA audio aluminum electrolytics, and Vishay Professional MELF resistors ( with a 1% tolerance and a +/- 50ppm/K). Then volume pot is an ALPS pot with excellent tracking, All this with a 5 yr worldwide warranty.



    The unit is the same size as a CD/DVD PC Drive that fits into a 5.25” PC drive bay. Its power can come from a 12VDC 5A source from your PC via a Molex connector. If you want to use it as a standlone unit they supply a small external power supply that has a green power led. The backside has two sets of RCA plugs, input and output, this unit can be used as a preamp as well, the preamp output impedance is 25 ohms, and the head amp output impedance is 6 ohms. They supply you with a nice set of RCA cables as well and 6.5mm to 3.5mm socket adapter. Inputs require 2V RMS line level, mic input. The unit weighs approx 2kg.





    Class A amps run HOT. I have run this FUN amp for hours with 600 ohm Beyerdynamics T1 R2 and the case is slightly warm, there are 4 power transistors for each channel mounted to the bottom chassis assembly. Nothing like some other Class A amps I have built and owned. Not even close to hot to touch. Great design here.



    The front of the FUN has a nice small bue LED to indicate power on. Its subtle and does not blind you.

    The aluminum case is a matte black finish and it exudes 'professional” to me....very well done, like the SR 71 blackbird finish at the Smithsonian at Dulles Airport! There are four small plastic feet on the bottom.



    The volume knob is large and fairly easy to turn the ALPS pot...nice and firm feel when rotating it...again exudes good parts and good operation.



    The unit at the entry price of $299 comes with a pair of NE5543 X 2 op amps. My unit had JRC 5534D's which are in the $10-$15 cost retail. They are a high performance low noise op amp well beyond the old 741's. The amp with my headphones was silent with the volume turned up all the way. With 32 ohms cans I did hear some very slight noise with the volume up at 3pm, way, way beyond any listening. Most listening with 250 ohms or higher are dead silent.



    So how does it sound...I used headphones from 32 ohms to 600 ohms and all were easily driven. All sound great. I have only 7 headphone amps at present, been selling! The Burson FUN sounds as good and “better” than most of them, its that good. Beyer 1350's, T1's, Audio Technica M50x's, Grado325i's,

    Beyer T90's, Audio Technica MSR7's....and others. All sound great, of course I have a preference....



    The first word, adjective that comes to mind is “clear”, then “transparent”, then “soundstage”, followed by “accurate”, “lifelike”...and all those lesser adjectives...then I kept thinking “how are they doing this?” Its that good / different..the old “I have to listen to all my music again stuff...” The bass extension on headphones like the Audio Technica MSR7's is really mind blowing! The bass is indeed tight and well controlled with all my headphones.



    The FUN has no internal DAC, so I am feeding it with a Schitt Bifrost Multibit DAC which I like very much as well....its a wonderful pairing that is making this amp come alive for sure, but there is magic in this little FUN Burson amp!



    I could go over many of the songs I use to audition headphones and head devices but suffice to say I and hearing new stuff from my old favorites in a very enlightening way. Its like I am there. The tonality of violin strings are lifelike and mesmerizing. The music is effortless, the amp is supplying enough power throughout the frequency range...clear crisp, dynamic, tight......etc.



    Everything from the remastered Beatles, A Hard Days Night, Eva Cassidy's , Eva by Heart, and on and on are being amplified very well. Whats there in the CD is being heard accurately and musically with my T1's....oh gosh its that nice.



    Ok the surpy stuff is over....:>) I have not used the mic input or the preamp outs. So I cant comment on them. As a headphone amp, Class A, its the cats meow IMO.



    I have been listening for three hours now and just dont want to stop listening its that nice....There are a lot of choices in this price range $299. But if your looking for a great Class A amp, that allows you to swap out and roll to your hearts content op amps, like NOS tubes...the Burson FUN should be high on your list. I look forward to rolling in some of Bursons other discrete op amps as well...Its just FUN!



    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

    *****

    Alex Dydula



    NOTE: I got up this morning, cup of coffee in hand, to see if the Burson Fun was still working as well as my first impression...Instant on and instantly the smile appeared on my face...Burson has a winner here!
     
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  2. zonto

    zonto Friend

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  3. adydula

    adydula Rando

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    Yup your right it is not Head-Fi.

    I thought there would be people here that just might be interested in this amp. If not fine.

    Regardless of your camp, this amp is a really nice unit, Class A ...clean, clear, transparent sounding even with Senn's!

    Take it or leave it.

    Alex
     
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  4. adydula

    adydula Rando

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    Ok guys so just because I posted a review or experience on other websites makes me an asshole...did I get that right?

    Screw me for thinking some folks here might just want to know about this device.

    ..........
     
  5. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    No. not quite like that

    1. You should consider target readers. People here are way more experienced. All unnecessary/redundant sentences and words must be deleted.
    2. Compare with similarly priced gears at least. There are several gears known as de-facto standards or frontiers. In this case, comparison with THX 789 or Jotenheim would be welcome.
    3. Copying and pasting from HF is risky, mostly because of #1. If you really want to post your impressions here, you must rewrite every sentence to meet sbaf quality standard.
    4. Ignore marketing BS unless you are technically smart enough. In this case, class-A is a typical example. It seems that you don't know it well.
    5. Read other posts and try to understand what people want to know.

    Maybe there are some other problems, too. These are input from my side.
     
  6. adydula

    adydula Rando

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    Vtory,

    Thanks for the reply. I understand your points. I might not agree on all of them.

    Copy and pasting, well technically your correct, but "I" wrote that article or review or experience. So IMO it was a matter of expediance.

    Class A, dont understand. You do not know me or my background. But make an assumption on one review or post?

    40+ years as an electrical engineer with IBM, Simmonds Precision, General Electric, Lenovo and the US Army. Designing , prototyping, building and testing all kinds of electrical and electronic devices for many other companies, some TOP SECRET.

    I have drawn loadlines for vacuum tubes when they were not NOS....God knows how many amps, receivers, transceivers, and AF stuff I have mucked with. High tech gear that makes an AP analyzer look like a toy....

    I was not doing this to prove to you or anyone else on this site my technical prowess. Its just a hey this is a cool little Class A amp that seems to work vey well for what it is...

    I will leave the engineering or emotional tear down of this amp to others....who enjoy that...

    For me its just enjoying the music for once.....

    Alex
     
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  7. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio; recovering HFM addict

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    With no subjective comparisons to other similarly priced and widely-heard gear, this review is basically just marketing... regardless of your level of knowledge and experience.

    I have no doubt you're a knowledgeable person who has the ability to contribute to this community in a positive way... but claims need context. Descriptions are useless in a vacuum.
     
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  8. Gemini

    Gemini Facebook Friend

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    @adydula You just drove into the employee parking lot of a GM assembly plant in your shiny new Toyota Camry and started reading the sales brochure of the Camry through a bullhorn.
     
  9. ergopower

    ergopower Friend

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    Me, I couldn't care less that you cross-posted the same review. But there is a general style to full reviews here that makes sense and makes it easier to 'cross shop' for lack of a better term.

    @Vtory 's 2nd point is especially important. There are a bunch of similarly-priced amps that many people here would have owned or at least heard. Since you are down to 7, that puts you in a really good position to do those kinds of comparisons.
     
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  10. restrav3

    restrav3 Likes Audio-GD

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    who gives a shit for cross posting?

    I dont like the stock photos and sucking up to burson for free review sample an what the fuck is up with your writing style? are you auditioning to write for positive-feedback and enjoy-the-music?
     
  11. adydula

    adydula Rando

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    Ok subjective comparisons to stuff that is widely out there...

    I will make no bones about what I am about to say...

    I have been a real objective type for years, measuring and understanding what they mean to how shit sounds....but there are those times when stuff just sounds good, or works very well, by itself and compared to other pieces of gear.

    I dont care if something costs $100 or $1000, whatever one turns me on wins.

    So much stuff out here, so many opinions, so many ways to do things.....life is too short.

    Over the years I have learned there is a lot of good gear out there moderately priced that does just fine.

    Now for the Burson Audio Fun Review, Subjective style: "based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions."

    I have a Schitt Asgard (1st gen), Schitt Lyr (1st gen), Schitt Vahalla 2, Bottlehead Mainline, Bottlehead Crack w/speedball, DIY Heavily modified Desktop O2, yes a O2 desktop of what some of us think a desktop version of the O2 would have been if the man had not disappeared), A DIY Inverting version of the O2, to see how this would sound compared to the original design. I have a few more but nuff said, 7's a nice number.

    Compared to ALL the other amps, this amp just sounds different. Compared to my beloved Vahalla 2 with Senn 600's it make music sound more "clear" and "transparent'' very easy to discern or articulate all those micro details you can heads speak about....

    Listening with the Senn 600's just opens up and they feel like the HD800's I had...so close IMO with a low end $299 Class A amp....Even my T1's and T90s it makes listening with them very tolerable, I know how much you guys like Beyer..but IMO they work very well with this dac/amp combo..and the Bifrost MB is one of my favorites.

    I have a set of Tyll's beloved Audio Technica MSR7's....and they have sat there on the shelf for months and yesterday I tried them with this amp and its like what the fxxk happened here....the bass is just very well done...borderline tight, but with that slight "boominess" that make it feel just pefect to me. Maybe its called "weight"?
    I cant stand to use these cans with the Vahalla 2 or the Bottlehead stuff....the FUN is just different.

    Its possible that the amps 6 ohms impedance with these cans is making this type of presentation to me.
    However some have measured this impedance and found it to be lower than Bursons 6 ohms....oops getting to objective...

    The only amp I have presently that bests this amp is the Mainline. It has a slightly more presence and is more musical...but the soundstage and clarity of the Burson Fun is as good as the Mainline...the Fun is a clean sounding amp...its not adding or subtracting IMO and this makes it sound just so "right" or neutral....

    The Vahalla 2 with most of my cans sounds really good, but the FUN just sound noticeably clearer...you can hear the shit in the source so much better. WIth the come tonality....violins sound like violins, horns sound like horns. Piano sound like the real thing is there....

    Compared to the Asgard, the FUN sounds like I wish the first ASGARD would have sounded like. I have not mucked with the latest generation Schitt stuff...but I have a keen respect for Mike Moffat and Jason....maybe I will try there latest stuff someday. Main reason for the tube stuff is most of my cans are high impedance....not all but the ones I really like are....600's and 1350's. T1's.

    I wont compare this amp to my DIY stuff because they are not widely out there....they are very, very good though.

    Ok thats it .....for $299 and a set of say 600's you can have a very good resolving, muscial and enjoyable setup....and yeah a good dac like a Bifrost...





    No sucking up here, I wrote them and requested a sample to evaluate. I was not asked by Burson to do this period. THey sent me the amp. I liked it alot, and wrote a fairly non technical review as a thank you for sending me the unit. I had the balls to ask for a unit based on other things I do in the "world"....as for my writing style...just dont read it, the pix i totally understand....
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
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  12. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio; recovering HFM addict

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    Nobody was saying measurements aren't also valuable in context. Here at SBAF most people believe BOTH measurements and subjective comparisons are valuable together and intrinsically intertwined. The intersection and diversion of the two are where the interesting discussion and actual learning happens.

    Now that we have a list of the amps you have, some detailed and specific comparisons about how the "Fun" compares - given you're using the same DAC and headphones during your evaluation -would be of actual value.

    We're all on the same team here. I, for one, want you to have an enjoyable experience at SBAF. Don't be too defensive, embrace opportunities to learn the chemistry of the community, and you'll have plenty of chances in the future to contribute in a meaningful way.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
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  13. adydula

    adydula Rando

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    E-Schaaf...

    Thanks for the nice reply....

    Measurements have been my life in electronics....painfully at times!

    I recognize at times just enjoying the music on "good" stuff is enjoyable over arguing or debating SN ratios,
    bit-perfect, what i hear is "right" etc...

    What I can tell you and the rest of the readers, if your looking for a great amp at a decent price this is one that
    will compete with similar priced amps out there from other vendors.

    Its astonishly clean sounding compared to my present inventory.....

    Thanks
    Alex
     
  14. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio; recovering HFM addict

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    "astonishingly clean sounding" is neither detailed nor specific.

    Do a direct A/B comparison with each your amps. Take notes about which amp excels in which particular category of sonic performance. Don't write back until you have those detailed impressions.

    Here is a gold standard as to what a comparative amp review (especially when there are many) should look like - https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...ompendium-guide-to-schiit-amps-headamps.3058/
     
  15. BenjaminBore

    BenjaminBore Friend

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    TOP SEKRET FUN TIMES

    Head-fi
    Banoonas!
    Guys, this new banana. MAN. It’s got heart, its got soul. It made me revaluate life itself, and it’s so yellow. I’m a better man, and can now orgasm on command (the banana helps).

    Farmed from the top sekret nether regions of a nameless country, grown from ancient Babylonian seeds, massaged with scented pine oil. These bananas impressed me before the first bite, and they should impress you too.

    It’s sweet, luxurious. I just ate ten of them, and am buying more right now. In a world of only Bananas it really is the best fruit, I highly recommend it. The other fruits just don’t matter.

    I don’t know about you, but I for one am going to have another banana.

    Just look at my Banana

    Banana


    11/10



    SBAF
    Bananas vs Oranges.
    The comforting banana is long and slender in appearance, and its skin alone has the potential for both great comedy and great sorrow. The phallic flesh is mild in flavour and mild in sweetness, with a nice initial bite that quickly reduces its meat to a mushy texture. A nice all-rounder, though admittedly the starchiest of fruits it is good for any occasion. Just watch out for that bitter yucky black bit at the bottom once peeled. The aftertaste can be a little cloying, but a swig of something will take care of that. A couple of bananas can keep a rumbling tummy filled for a nice while, without spoiling your appetite. A fantastic workhorse, though not without its faults.

    The Orange is ball like in shape with a rather stubborn pith that wants the skin to stay exactly where it is, though useful once pried away and dried for your own personal coffee blend. The citrus sphere within can be dismantled one semicircular segment at a time. Each piece once bitten filling your mouth with its wonderful citrus juices that are just the right sweetness never to overwhelm, leaving you wanting more of its refreshing segments. A rarity in being both flavoursome and yet a palette cleanser. It’s a lighter snack, just right for when you need a little sating but not filling. Makes for a healthy dessert to any meal. Baring all that in mind, one can have too much of a good thing. Its richness will both dull and offend in equal measure if enjoyed to excess.

    They’re both really good for the right occasion, though perhaps not up to the level of refreshment a Honeydew melon can provide or those sweet sweet Pineapple highs. But they’re cheaper, more portable, less work, and more abundant making them a better option for most people. Neither is perfect but if you want an every day staple that won’t offend get the Banana, if you just like to dip in and out then for maximum excitement get the Orange.

    I’ll take the Banana, but I know I’ll keep reaching for that damned Orange.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
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  16. Griffon

    Griffon 2nd biggest asshole on SBAF

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    This should be pinned as a part of "MUST READ" for any new "reviewer". Absolutely gold.
     
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  17. trl

    trl Acquaintance

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    I was able to get over 10V RMS @600 Ohms (clipping starts after 10.35V RMS).

    [​IMG]

    On 30 Ohms resistive load it's steady around 2W/channel, without overheating the internal regulators, nor the TO-220 output transistors. Seems quite a beefy output stage, actually.

    The output impedance measured is around 0.5 Ohms @1KHz, pretty low.

    It has no caps in the signal path, hence the perfect 10 Hz response (red is the freq. generator, blue is the output of FUN):

    [​IMG]

    At 20 KHz there's a little bit of phase-shift, inaudible for sure (red is the input, blue is the output), probably because of the low-pass filter built-in:

    [​IMG]
    I had it tested with HE560, T50RP-mk3 and T60RP, lot of power and headroom left, it's quite a different experience in A/B test vs. a LME49600 output buffer (ASUS Essence One MKii).

    The 8 transistors working as output buffers are simply doing their job very well, soundstage is great, no matter opamps used in voltage-gain stage.

    In A/B test against Matrix HPA-3B (medium gain) it was impossible for me to make a winner, however, FUN had a bit more power than HPA-3B at it was a bit colder to touch.

    My sensitive 103dB/mw (121dB/V) 16-Ohms IEMs were used to search for the background noise, but no noise was heard up to about 1 o'clock of volume pot. Of course, no music was playing and RCA inputs were shorted. Max. knob position for these IEM's is way below 12 o'clock, so definitely not affected by any internal noise.

    I'm not a fan of boost converters, but as long as I found no oscillations (no matter the opamps used) and no noise in my sensitive IEMs, I've no problem with downsizing the PSU this way.

    BTW, I do like the backside of the PCB, seems well done, also the ground plane:

    [​IMG]
    (the Arctic Silver MX4 is my job, feel free to ignore it...I can be paranoia sometimes, I know)​
     
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  18. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Oh dear... Perhaps it is just me getting it all wrong again... but I thought it was a spoof review. Then I find that this thing that fits in a PC drive slot (!) actually exists? Really? I still can hardly believe it. And I'm sure it will read the same to me tomorrow morning as it does now.

    @adydula... Except on those rare occasions when an arsehole drops in, I don't really care for the "friends" v "randos" thing that sometimes happens here. I can only say this: better you do not write like a magazine column. And if that is your natural style, better, on SBAF, you don't give it free rein. Really. It doesn't ring true. Maybe on Headfi, quite a few people want to be magazine-style reviewers, with their own magazine-style illustrations. Not so much here. Although the good photography is still appreciated.

    So. It's not quite April 1st. And the Burson Fun really exists. Well, goodness me: I think I'd rather have a Banoona.

    (And WTF happened to Burson anyway? The last time I looked, they prided them on discreet components and circuitry of their own design. And now drop-in opamps?)

    (Self correction: rein, not reign. Tough one, that.)
     
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  19. trl

    trl Acquaintance

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    Swapping the default JRC5534DD with SS V6 Classic/Vivid will make it an opampless amplifier.

    However, I couldn't actually measure any differences with ARTA between V6 Vivid and 5534 (FFT @1KHz, multisine and noisefloor), although with SS V6 Vivid sound is having a better soundstage and more microdynamics...I've no idea why. I'll try to run a "THD vs. frequency" test and see what's changing there.

    Anyway, SS V6 Vivid is not for pairing with Grado, nor with DT880, it's more for darker headphones. Instead, SS V6 Classic is totally neutral (like 5532/5534), but with a tiny increase in soundstage.
     
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  20. Darren G

    Darren G Friend

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    Most gear has objectively measured well for several decades. It's the subjective, annoying repetitive traits, that I look to trusted ears to measure. When they say it's all good, but I keep hearing a metallic ring, or I hear a noise pattern, that is annoying me after listening for 10 minutes, that is the piece of information that may not show up in graphs.

    The objective graphs do matter as others have written, because if the objective measurements are extremely out of sync that could be audible, but our auditory system isn't so precise. What our brains are good at is picking up on patterns. Some people pick up on annoying patterns in a few moments, while others take a while, but I think it's those annoying patterns of noise, and tonality, that make or break the experience of listening to music on gear. Live is different because even if the gear is junk, its a 2 hour experience if that, and there are a lot of other distractions.
     

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