Today, I’m reviewing the Burson Super Charger 3A power supply. The Super Charger promises to lower DC noise, resulting in a better signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio. It’s priced at US$185 USD or A$284 for the 3A and US$225 or A$345 for the 5A.
Some people take their audio very seriously. Not only do they want the best performing devices but they want to get the best components for their systems too. So they’re willing to spend more on things like cables and power supplies. Today, we’re investigating the latter and trying to help you decide whether or not you should add one to your system.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Burson Audio for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Burson Super Charger Review
If you've already got a good audio system, this will help you get the most from it.
Inside the box is the Super Charger along with 3 slide-in adapters. So, no matter where you are in the world you can take advantage of the Super Charger thanks to its plug compatibility and 100 – 240V AC compatibility.
The Super Charger looks like your average power supply brick or wall wart albeit considerably larger. It plugs directly into the power socket via its rotating connectors. Thankfully, the unit is slim enough that there’s enough room to use the adjacent sockets on a power board.
There’s a white LED on the top of the unit that lights up when the unit is connected. Just next to the LED is the 1.8-meter cable with a 2.5mm barrel plug.
How Does the Super Charger Actually Work?
I’m going to keep this part simple but if you want a more technical breakdown they can be found around the web with some simple searching. In lamen’s terms, the Super Charger work at a higher operating frequency than standard power units. That results in lower DC noise and an improved signal-to-noise ratio.
Generally, the lower the noise, the better (just look at recent releases from TOPPING or SMSL to see how they’ve doubled down on noise reduction). In fact, the same is true for headphones and speakers as well. We’ll talk more about the sonic benefits in the sound section later.
The Super Charger is compatible with most of Burson’s products. Here’s a full list of their current models:
Super Charger 3A
Super Charger 5A
Soloist 3X GT
Check compatibility with your device before purchasing.
But the Super Charger is also compatible with products outside of the Burson line. If you’re curious whether it’s compatible with your current gear you can use this as a guide:
Is your current PSU 24Volt with the same amp or less? (eg 3A or less)
Does it have a 2.5mm DC barrel plug?
Does it have a centre positive polarity?
If the answer is YES to all three, then the Burson Super Charger is compatible.
For testing I used my Burson Funk amplifier with the Soundaware M2Pro as the source. The M2Pro is a high-quality DAP that runs on clean battery power and thus should not introduce any extra noise further up the audio chain. I then tested a variety of IEMs, headphones and speakers to see what happened after adding the Super Charger to the chain.
Take note that the changes I hear are subtle. You’ll need some pretty good quality transducers to hear the difference. It’s also worth noting that if you have noise further up your audio chain, the effect of the Super Charger won’t be as obvious; but since the SC is aimed at more discerning audiophiles, you probably don’t need me to remind you of that.
The Burson Super Charger does indeed make a difference. Where I hear it the most is in the imaging and soundstage. The added cleanliness and transparency creates a blacker background which in turn makes the soundstage sound more organized.
Transient responses are improved too, giving notes better defined edges. This makes the background cleaner and solidifies the centre image. As a result, instrument placement is defined more clearly which you’ll notice even more with a good pair of speakers. Take a seat in your sweet spot and get ready to be immersed.
Micro-details become easier to distinguish with the Super Charger. This becomes even more apparent during complex passages where the extra control and precision make the sound as neat as a pin.
So who is the Super Charger For?
So should you buy the Super Charger? Well, that depends. Obviously, if you’re using a lower-end system the answer is more likely to be no. If you’re using a pair of budget headphones or speakers, you’ll most likely see more benefit from upgrading those first.
However, if you already have a good DAC, amp and speakers/headphones and want to squeeze even more performance from your system, then this could well be worth your money.
The Burson Super Charger really does improve the sound of a good audio system. Yes, it is rather expensive for what essentially looks like a power brick. But relative to the price of a good DAC or amplifier or speakers, each of which can cost thousands of dollars, the Super Charger looks a lot more reasonable.
To sum up, the Super Charger is a product for people who already have a solid audio setup in place and want to get the utmost performance from it. If that is you, then I can easily recommend you get yourself one of these. You won’t regret it.