Burson Swing

General Information

Swing


Go with a Swing
Featuring SABRE32/ESS9038, the most advanced DAC chip in the world. Together with a Xmos USB receiver, Swing does PCM 32bit/768khz and DSD512 audio files with the highest possible precision. And it plays effortlessly with MS Windows, Apply OSX, iOS and Android devices,

Apart from its top quality USB input, Swing also features a Toslink input, a coaxial input and a USB-C connector. From traditional CD transports to smartphones to gaming consoles such as the Xbox and the PlayStation, from music listening to gaming, this DAC goes with a swing!



Swing your Way.
Opamp rolling is a major part of the audiophile hobby. There are countless online discussions dedicated to it. It offers the opportunity to compare and appreciate different sonic performance in your own comfort zone and it is a valuable opportunity to develop listening preference and taste.

Facilitating opamp rolling in all stages on the signal path, you can swing it your way.



Full Swing
Our power supply revolution is in full swing!

The Burson Max Current Power Supply is the thumping heart of the this DAC. Debuted in the Burson Play, our proprietary MCPS overcomes the deficiencies of both traditional transformer-based linear power supplies and conventional switching power supplies. It redefines the size and performance ratio and it is the reason why Head-Fiers fell in love with the Play instantly.

With Swing, we have a further enhanced MCPS. It delivers even cleaner power. Tuned to Class-A, music shines from a pitch-black background.





Measurement

Input impedance: 38 KOhms Burson Swing Unit PC Connection Cable Set
Frequency response: ± 1 dB 0 – 35Khz Remote Control (optional) 6.5mm to 3.5mm Socket Adaptor
THD: <0.002% RCA Cable 2.5mm hex key
Output impedance (Head Amp): <2 Ohm Power Supply 100-240V AC
Output impedance (Pre Out): 15 Ohm

General
Inputs: USB, Toslink, Coaxial Weight: app. 2Kg
Outputs: RCA Pre-Amp / RCA -DAC output Dimensions: 210mm x 145mm x 45mm

DAC Spec
XMOS USB Spec
Channel Separation: 132 dB @ 1KHz, 121 dB @ 20KHz Desktop OS: Win XP, 7, 8, 10 Mac OSX
THD+N: 0.0018% @ 1KHz, 0dBFS Mobile OS: iOS* & Android (OTG support)
PCM & DXD Support: PCM ? 768kHz up to 32bits
Native DSD: Native DSD 64 / 128 / 256 / 512
DSD over PCM: DoP64 / DoP128 / DoP256
Asynchronous Isochronous

Latest reviews

Pros: Sound, staging, musicality, plethora of adjustments and settings
Cons: Small display
I want to preface this review by stating that I own two of the Burson “PC sized” products. I got the Burson Fun and Bang from Burson as review samples. I thought they were so good that I wanted to get the Burson Swing to complete the stack. So, I ordered it along with a set of the Burson dual V6 Classics.

SETUP and SETTINGS

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I’m using my Swing with the V6 Classics in I/V stage and the V6 Vivids in the LP Stage. I have the Swing set to DAC out mode and its feeding both the Burson Fun and Cavalli Liquid Carbon 2.0 at the same time with a cable splitter. I also have my favorite device in the chain, the Schiit Loki, along with the Burson Bang and Headamp Gilmore Lite Mk2. The headphones used in this review are the Focal Utopia’s and Sennheiser HD820’s. For Comparison, I have the Hugo 2.

Below are the settings I’m currently using on the Burson Swing:

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There are plenty of settings to play around with. Along with the several filters you can tryout to alter the frequency.

BUILD

Just like the Burson Fun and Bang, the Swing comes in an all-black anodized aluminum case. The Burson Swing is perfectly matched in size and stacks atop the Fun and Ban nicely. Since there are no vents to worry about, you can stack them in any order you choose.

The Burson Swing has a small display on its front panel for identifying your settings and volume it you’re using it as a pre-amp. There’s a small button next to the volume control/menu selection wheel to bring up the menu items. Once you’re in the menu you can use the volume wheel to scroll up and down to make your selection. Once you get to a menu item you want to change push the volume wheel, you’ll hear a click, to change the menu item. Once you’ve made your selection simply click the volume wheel again to get back to the menu items. To exit the menu screen, you can do nothing and the Swing will automatically revert back to the home screen or you can push the menu button and exit quicker. There’s also a USB-C input on the front of the Swing.

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On the rear of the Burson Swing you have a separate pre-out and DAC out outputs. This is a great feature. It allows you to connect the Swing to a power amp directly and control the volume. At the same time, you can connect it to a headphone amp as a DAC only with fixed volume. This saves you from having to access the back panel all time a switching cables from one output to the other. All you have to do is change settings in the menu and off you go. You have the both coax and toslink digital inputs. Along with a USB-B input for PC, phone and tablet connectivity. Lastly there’s an 12V DC connection for internal PC use if you choose to house the Swing in a PC.

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The Swing uses the ESS SABRE ES9038Q2M DAC chip. Combined with the Xmos USB receiver it’s capable of delivering PCM audio up to 32bit/768khz and DSD audio up to DSD512. Not bad for such a small package.

Internally, the Swing is well laid out and designed. It uses 2 x single and 2 x dual op-amps that are interchangeable to tailor the sound to your liking. It also using 6 Max Current Power supplies which is uniquely Burson. This is a breakaway from conventional transformers and is the main reason Burson can house such great sounding products in such diminutive size.

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SOUND

I really love how Burson has voiced the Swing. SABRE DACs in general are known to be harsh, bright and dry sounding. I detect none of these qualities in Swing. All is hear is the music when I plug in my headphones. The background is black when paired with the Fun, GL Mk2, or LC 2.0. The sound is natural, engaging, and full bodied. Using the Swing with GL Mk2 and going balanced directly from the Bang with Sparkos SS3602 op-amps the bass on the HD820’s hits hard and has plenty of depth. Vocals sounds so smooth and appealing. The treble with the HD820 has the right amount of sparkle and clarity. The sound is balanced no matter what music genre I was listening too. The Swing does nothing to take away from the wide soundstage of the HD20’s. It adds depth and very good instrument separation and layering to it. If you can’t tell by now the HD820 are my favorite Sennheiser headphones even if they are closed headphones.

Listening to the Utopia’s using the Swing and LC 2.0. Immediately you get a more intimate sound. The soundstage is nowhere near as wide as the HD820’s. But clarity and timbre still stand out. With the Utopia’s the Swing brings its musical qualities to the table. The bass is rich, the mids are more balanced sounding and the treble detail of the Utopia’s are in full swing! The sound is clean, dynamic and powerful.

COMPARISONS

The Hugo 2 is my favorite DAC to date. It renders music a little differently than the Burson Swing. The notes in the music are more detailed and defined. It has more transparency and doesn’t add much of its own sound signature to the music. The Swing, with the V6 Classics and Vivids sounds colored in comparison but not in a bad way. The detail is still there but it doesn’t sound as open and expansive as the Hugo 2. The Swing is smoother and warmer. It’s also more enjoyable with bad recordings. The Hugo 2 does nothing to alter the sound of bad recordings. If recording is bad the Hugo 2 can be rough listen. But with darker sounding headphones, like anything from Audeze, the Hugo 2 is a great compliment to their sound.

The Swing, on the other hand, is great with brighter sounding gear, like Audio-Technica, Focal, and Hifiman. It adds a musicality to them that is so pleasing. Instead of competitors I find the Swing to be a nice compliment to the Hugo 2. When I listen to the Susvara’s on the Bang with the Swing as the DAC the sound is so submersive. It’s same with the HD820’s. I’m not sure if it’s the Bang with the Sparkos SS3602 and the extra driving power or the Swing with the V6 Classics and Vivids. Butt the combination with Susvara’s is amazing.

In closing, the Swing is an outstanding product and can compete with higher end gear. It loses out in ultimate detail retrieval. The Swing more than makes up for it in its musical delivery. If you’re on a budget and need a really great DAC the Swing is a must listen in my opinion. Outfitting the Swing with upgraded op-amps makes it an even better buy and you still won’t break the bank. Well done Burson…..

UPDATE 11.7.19

I received a set of the dual V6 vivids from Burson to tryout. The first thing I did was listen to the Burson Swing in my current configuration with the V6 classics in the I/V stage and the V6 vivids in the LP stage to get a feel for the sound. Then I inserted the V6 vivids into the IV stage to do some listening. The rest of the gear in my demo session was the Burson Bang with Sparkos SS3602 op-amp, Headamp Gilmore Lite Mk2, and Shiit Loki. Headphones used were my ZMF Auteurs.

The first thing I noticed with the V6 vivids in the mix was the sound became livelier. The sound was more detailed and transparent and the bass had more impact. There was more clarity in the treble. There was also a crispness to the sound that wasn't there with the V6 classics inserted. Gone is the touch of musicality that the V6 classics provided. There is also a loss of midrange fullness/body that the V6 classics provide. The bass bloom from the V6 classics is gone and replaced with more definition and speed. I'm not sure which sound I like more after finally hearing an all V6 vivid setup.

The all V6 vivid setup in the Burson Swing is very comparable to the sound of my Hugo 2, which is high praise. The dynamics are similar, the soundstage width is similar but the soundstage depth goes to the Hugo 2. The Hugo 2 is also slightly more transparent and offers a bit more insight into the music. But the Burson Swing gets you 85-90% there at a fraction of the cost of the Hugo 2.

The Burson Swing is a very underrated product. Despite the basic looks on the outside the internals are well laid out and contain a wealth of technology and innovation. Burson has taken the ESS DAC chips and turn them into a musical force. The way Burson has implemented and integrated the ESS DAC chips into the Swing is phenomenal. The Burson Swing has synergy with all the amps I've paired it with. My Cavalli Liquid Carbon 2.0, Gustard H20, and Burson's own Fun all sound superb with the Burson Swing performing DAC duties. From novelist head-fier to audiophiles the Burson Swing is a worthy listen.
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Baten
Baten
So which did you keep in I/V? V6 Classic or Vivid :)
Slim1970
Slim1970
I'm back to the Classics in the I/V stage. The mix fairs well with my different sets of headphones.
Pros: Clean, neutral and silky sound. Packed with features.
Cons: Dynamically laid back and sometimes too polite.
This is a review of the Burson Swing, a Pre-Amp/Dac featuring the ESS Sabre's latest dac chip. The unit is a loaner in exchange for an honest review.

The Burson Swing is a full blooded dac, capable of high resolution for the PCM 32bit/768khz and DSD512, with latest XMOS usb receiver. The Swing features two USB inputs, one on the back and one ubs-c on the front, plus a Toslink and a coaxial input. It shares absolutely the same casing as the whole latest Burson line, including the Play, the Fun, the Bang and the Playmate. There is a possibility to use it as a desktop dac/pre-amp or to incorporate it into the PC.

The basic version, which is featuring the NE5534 & the NE5532 opamps, costs $399. It supports the op-amp rolling and when upgraded with Burson's own V6 op-amps it can go as high as $599.

The miniature front display is identical as the one found in the Playmate. Actually the Swing looks very much like the Playmate, minus the headphone amp. This is where the first question arises: is it worth to pay the same amount for the Swing as the Playmate costs, which offers additionally a very decent headphone amp section.

The Swing uses the very same dac chip, ES9038Q2M but has one more digital input, the coaxial one, which the Playmate is missing. Besides, the Swing has separate RCA outputs for the dac fixed level output and the variable preamp output. The Playmate offers the switchable dac out/pre-amp out but shares the same pair of RCA outputs, so you have to re-cable the outputs manually every time you want to change from dac to pre-amp out. The Swing is saving you this effort, enabling you to have it connected at the same time to an external amp like the Fun, or to the power amp without volume control like the Bang. A big plus for the Swing.

The Swing uses 2 x single and 2 x dual opamps with the “6 Max Current Power Supplies”.
The Playmate uses 4 x dual opamps with “ 5 Mac Current Power Supplies”.
Whatever that should mean, it looks that the analogue section of the Swing got a better quality treatment which will justify the price, as compared to the Playmate.

There are plenty of tweaking possibilities in the menu, including the several filters affecting the frequency and the time domain. After extensively switching forth and back, which can be addictive, I have settled for the MP Fast filter. The manual is very sparse and I wish I could have read more information about the effects of the myriad of settings offered.

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How does it sound:

For my listening I was using plenty of bass-heavy tracks from the classical, jazz, acoustic and electronic music to judge the Swing primarily as a dac, and then as a pre-amp. Some of the tracks I was listening to included the Rimsky-Korsakov “Sheherezade” with Gergiev/Kirov Orchestra, Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto with Richter/Warsaw National Phil/Wislocki, the McCoy Tyner’s album “New York Reunion”, Aziza Mustafa Zadeh’s album “Jazziza” and the “Blue Train” by John Coltrane, amongst others. Most of the listening has been done in the basic config, although I had a chance to do some opamps rolling, which I will mention at the end.

Overal impression:
The Swing is the most un-Sabre dac I have ever heard. It sounds quick and dry, but there is no glare and no unpleasant treble edge associated with the Sabre dac chips. It sounds smooth, silky and sophisticated. It also sounds clean, neutral with a hint of warmth.

The soundstage:
Moderately wide but deep with good instruments positioning.

The Bass:
The upper bass is tight, controlled and with rich colors. The sub-bass could go deeper and improves remarkably with the opamps upgrade.

The Mids:
The mids are rich, vibrant and have plenty of micro-dynamic which makes the music emotional. It is not lush or euphonic, but still very warm and natural.

The Treble:
The confusion starts in this area. The highs sound silky, smooth and very polite. Maybe sometimes too polite. I don’t have the Play anymore to compare it directly, but from the memory the Play has more zing, more sparkle in the highs. The Swing’s treble, while being silky and smooth can sound too much laid back with some recordings.

Opamp rolling:
I had some Burson V6 opamps around and was curious to hear how would it affect the sound. All-Classics combo was a little bit non-inspiring, the much praised mix of the Classics in the IV and the Vivids in the LP/Gain was better but my favourite with the Swing was the all-Vivids combo. The Vivids help getting the edge from the bass notes more pronounced and are also adding some air to the treble. I know that the Vivids are often described as being U shaped, but to my ears they complement ideally to the Swing’s basic polite tuning.

Closing words:
The Swing is highly capable dac/pre-amp which can be used as an external DAC in any higher tier system, as well as connected to the headphone amp of your choice. It sounds quite decent in the basic configurations but gets more life breathed in with the opamps upgrade. The sound is very sophisticated, dark, creamy, analogue, silky and smooth. It works extremely well for classical, jazz and acoustic music. If any critic could be addressed, it would be that it can sound sometimes too cautious and held back to get the last of the dynamic challenges from the recording. Although the opamp rolling brings more oomph to the sound, it also makes the price jump steep, for at least 50%. Therefore the Swing in the basic version is the best bang for the buck in the whole line.
Another great Burson product to be recommended.

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Pros: stereo imaging and stage
-offers some sound tweaking in user menu
-very good included dac with great usb implementation
Cons: wish there was an analog input, too
I received the Burson Swing in the context of the head-fi loaner that was going on. Burson contacted me if I wanted to try it in return for a review to which I happily obliged!

First, confusion. Upon looking up the Swing on Burson's site, it mentions Pre-out Output impedance as well as Head Amp Output impedance. This is a typo: the second must mean DAC out output impedance, there IS NO headphone output, out of the box.

(Considering the pre-out is a cool 15 Ohm, I did use the Swing as a DAC/AMP with my HiFiman Ananda planar headphones in pre-amp mode by using an RCA-to-headphone adapter with great success; besides headphones I used it with my M-Audio powered monitors as a pre-amp. Most planar headphones have a flat impedance curve, meaning they don't actually show any frequency response changes with increasing output impedance, with the pre-out being 15Ω the FR change would be <0.1dB. So not a problem for most (if not all) planar headphones. Note that when connecting headphones this way, headphone impedance is ideally 8:1 of your output's impedance, making this only really optimal for ~120ohm traditional dynamic headphones, or the frequency will start to get boomy with lower or lacking in bass with higher impedance traditional headphones. If you want to have a wider compatibility, look into the Playmate instead with its headphone-optimized outputs).



About the Swing. It has a whopping six of Burson's proprietary Max current supplies. Playmate has 5 of those, but does come with 3.5mm/6.3mm headphone outputs. Swing might have a tad cleaner power, making it the ideal companion for dac/pre-amp duties for your favorite powered speakers. Or for headphone amp duties if you do like I do :wink:



Package

That being said. On to the review! Burson's packaging feels a little like a high-end video card's box:



Driver install is a breeze on Windows 8 or older using Burson's installation file, while up-to-date OSX, Linux and Windows 10 installations should come with general use UAC drivers which will work with the Swing out of the box.

The Swing has one piece of ESS Sabre 9038Q2M for its digital to analogue conversion specced at 0.0018% THD or total harmonic distortion. This means that its amp section at an impressive <0.002% THD is a perfect match and will not add distortion or otherwise bottleneck the DAC stage of the amp! Note also that this is one of Burson's best specced amp in the product range, closely matching the Playmate but with its slightly cleaner power it will be slightly less noisy.

Impressions:



The Swing boasts some ridiculous power even in the low-gain mode, yet manages this with a whisper quiet background until going real high in volume with more sensitive headphones. With traditional audiophile headphones like Sennheiser or Hifiman you're looking at zero hiss or noise problems whatsoever. Really impressive and a testament to Burson's Max Current supplies.

Sound-wise right off the bat the Swing sounds wider than I'm used to. The L/R panning going on is incredible, I can see why people call it "holographic" sounding. One of the better stage experiences I've ever had, and this coming from a 100% solid state amp. Who needs tubes in the output stage when it gets this good w/ solid state?

The Sabre DAC sound on the Burson is truly silky smooth. I hear no, really absolutely zero "Sabre" veil or glare or any other mythical Sabre nasties that people mention in older generations of these DAC chips. However, I wish I could compare another DAC in this same output stage though. We could really use a Swing-like performer with analog inputs, Burson :wink: that would really be a nice-to-have for the tweakers among us. That being said, the 9038 chip inside sounds good. Few DACs could improve on it, take it from me! Comparisons at the bottom of this review!

Expanding on the sound characteristics, the sound is a generally transparent one. There is no mid-bass bleedage or no bass bloat with the stock op-amps. It is not romantic sounding, but juist detailed, very solid statey, and REALLY to my liking. Possible the most pleasing solid state sound I have heard. CLEAN, but with a touch of warmth, for sure. That is the kind of sound Burson is know for :)

About the volume control: there's a digital volume control with a satisfying digital wheel/knob. If I'm being critical, not the most premium feeling but with its perfect channel matching it does the job just fine. No complaints for the compact PC-slot sized package that the Swing offers.

DAC Input-wise I prefer using the Swing via USB. I leave the PLL on High since that seemed to sound best. Over the time of the review I tried optical/coaxical from a modded SU-1 source but felt that the stock USB implementation is at least as good, and far more convenient.

Perceived response:

Lows: Perhaps a little in the background, never overbearing but perhaps a tiny bit muted? Blends in perfectly with overall representation though. Impact/heft is again not overdone but I’ve had gear that sounds bassier that ends up much more flabby sounding. Burson = tight and just right. :dt880smile:

Mids: There is no NOS or resistor ladder magic to them, but rather reference sounding. This might be the best trait of the Swing: voices sound detailed. Not distorted or euphonic, yet very pleasing and real-sounding.

Highs: Using the MP Slow filter treble never felt harsh. I’m not a treblehead so won’t delve too far into this, the fact that I don’t mind the Burson treble in any way is to me a testament to its capabilities (for example, compared to D50: sold mine off right away, either it was defect or it was meant to sound so harsh...).

Overall a very well layered sound, absurd positioning and dead accurate rendering of spatial cues, with a naturally wide sound stage. Excellent for jazz, live, roomy music. EXCELLENT for EDM, video games, movies. VERY immersive sound with a life-like, accurate representation.

From Burson: The Burson MCPS also converts the original sine-wave energy into a more efficient square wave. In combined with the 170khz frequency, the MCPS charges capacitors much faster. This is the reason why a big capacitor bank is not necessary for our designs. The resulting sound is holophonic with dynamic, accuracy and details even during the most demanding of music reproduction. Furthermore, the resulting sound has a much higher perceived driving power which means a 2Wpc Burson Fun feels even more powerful than a conventional 4Wpc headphone amplifier.

And well, it sure sounds holographic, clean and powerful. Bravo Burson. I will miss the loaner!

Comparisons:



Compared to MacBook Pro 2019 output: Burson boasts a much better sense of space and dynamics, music feels like MUSIC rather than the flat and somewhat compressed laptop output.

Swing DAC out to THX AAA: there's little weight and body to it now. They call the THX AAA a "wire with gain" but honestly, it offers little immersion: the sound is almost clinical. The THX is excellent but I will sell mine: it is ideal for background listening but to me is less resolving or engaging. I can't tell you why that is.

Swing DAC out to JDS Atom: I found the Atom fatiguing. The Swing is less strident, less fatiguing, has better L/R panning and perhaps better feeling of sound stage (maybe placebo, the atom did well here too).

Compared to Burson Audio HA-160: this is entirely from memory but Burson’s newer amps like Swing and Playmate sound much better to me, clearer and wider. I suppose things have only gotten better these past years.

Compared to Aune S16: the Aune sounds just as silky to me, but Swing amp stage offers much blacker sound stage with no noise whatsoever, and far more power where the Aune runs out of steam very quickly.

Compared to Audial TDA1541A DAC: the Sabre has a more detailed sound, but ends up perhaps a tad less analogue sounding because of it. You can't compare a bygone era 16-bit DAC to todays 32-bit delta sigma ones. Hence the reason why a line-in would be cool to switch DAC signatures as your mood swings (mood swings, get it?).

RECOMMENDED FOR:

GAMERS and movie-watching for the Swing's great immersion, ideal with active speakers or other pre-amp duties. Possible to use with planars or others that play well with the ~15ohm pre-out via an RCA-to-3.5mm adapter like the Ghent Audio B06 (custom 6.3mm ver.) which I used during the review.

Finally, absolutely recommended to those that wish their dac/(pre)amp adds a dash of colour to the music. The Burson offers a big, colorful sound that sounds warm and never piercing. This is the kind of device that actually makes a difference to your sound. If that's what you desire, get the Swing. It's the bomb! :darthsmile:
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