My Burson PI-160 arrived on a rainy Thursday afternoon in December. I made some space, and removed my T-Amp from my setup, and plugged my Nakamichi MB10 cd player into my Burson Audio Buffer, which I plugged into my PI-160. Despite the constant talk of burn in of the amplifier the difference I heard was not subtle and it was immediate. An instant depth was given to the music, and the separation between instruments and vocals was noticeable.

Over the past month of listening to this set up, I have heard a much more reliable and realistic delivery of my music, ranging from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds to Esthero, Devin Townsend to Paul Grabowsky, Archie Roach to Majandra Delfino. The amplifier excels in reproducing epic layered rock music, but is just as comfortable with a single instrument and/or voice, all of this without creating any listener fatigue.

This is also available at any listening to level, the volume doesn’t have to be loud to produce a quality sound.
After I had used the Burson Audio Buffer with such impressive results for a while, I was expecting the PI-160 to sound good, but I didn’t expect it to sound this good. It sounds more like a pre-amp and power amp setup, and not like any integrated amp I’ve heard before.

I am an avid believer of stereo being superior to the gimmick of surround sound. My home theatre setup consists of a projector, a dvd player which is connected via digital coaxial to a ZhaoLu DAC3 which I have connected directly to my PI-160. The sound is completely immersive; all guests who experience a film on this system are always impressed at the way the PI-160 can drive my Sonab speakers to produce sound which often outperforms the sound at the local cinema.

Whether it’s listening to music, television or dvd, the addition of the Buson PI-160 has been the most significant single upgrade I have made to my system. Now its time to renovate my speakers so they can keep up with my amplifier.

Looking forward to the release of the Burson DAC sometime in the future.


Chris Marlton