Audio enthusiasts generally have a healthy interest, although cynical at times, around new bits of kit and gear that pop up from time to time in the audio market. When you weed your way through the snake charmers and medicine men you occasionally find something that catches your eye and you want to know more.

I’m inquisitive but I get somewhat disappointed when I find what I thought was new, innovative and maybe a little different is just a ‘pig with lipstick’! I have recently been in the ‘pig pen’ with the Burson Buffer (AB160). Yes I know buffers are nothing new and a few well know brands have had their shot a building one. I read some rather rave reviews and few others that said the BB did not do much for them in their audio set-up. So I assumed that this device had the potential to do something. I thought I would ‘buy before I try’. I bought one from Burson in Melbourne Australia, where they are made. Burson have suppliers in the US and Canada, one well known supplier is Parts Connexion

The box finally got to my address and I opened and hooked the up BB AB160. I thought it was a little heavy for what you get and looked rather sexy so I was pleased with its aesthetics. This device can sit between your source (CD et al) and your pre-amp or between you pre-amp and amp. I have tried both ways.

The first thing I noticed when I drove it through my ‘powerless shunt’ (similar to Axiom passive), that I made some months ago, was the immediate clarification of highs and lows. Things had more definition and punch and some bloating in the bottom end had gone. There was also better octave to octave integration and yes when you start to get excited you begin to hear more. I think it has to do with adrenalin levels but who cares if it makes you feel good…and it wasn’t illegal!

I put it away and then came back to it a few hours later and started to shift my bits of gear through it. All improved! I did not want to believe at first so I trotted my 17 year old son out to play the ‘blind tester’ (you can use 2 different sources or 2 different pre’s in the hookup). AB testing is made easy and I did find out that the BB AB160 does not add much, if anything, to the final sound because I could tell significant differences between my bits of gear. I haven’t been able to do this noting this sort of significance. My son could also tell the difference and not knowing what he was listening too (other than his music) he picked the BB as sounding better in 5 out of 6 trials. I tried Altmann Dac, Cyrus CD8, a few different shunts with different values, Morrison ELAD and a rather intersting Class A tube pre-amp. The amp I used in all trials was the Pass Aleph 30 but will try a few others I have. Speakers are of course 2004 Khorns moded with Crites tweeters and a tractrix to a Altec 288 16.

So apart from a good weight and nice looking box you get a device that actually works its magic on system to system impedance and delivers better clarity, imagery and the sensation of improved speed and attack that I think Burson need to rename this the ‘Audio Broom 160’…it simply just cleans things up!

Check out and see what they have on offer they also build amps!