New: Burson Audio Play Amp/DAC (2W@16Ohm) (op-amp rollers dream)
Dec 23, 2017 at 12:49 PM Post #151 of 1,256
Suspecting the amp section of the Mojo was the bottleneck, I decided to put the mojo into line out and hooked it up to the Burson Soloist, a $1000 MSRP headphone amp.

The bass is still better on the Play, but it appears the Soloist really helped the Mojo in opening up the soundstage, and improving the details.

Now it's much harder to differentiate which sound is better.

It sort of reminds me of when I compared the Mojo to the Conductor Air.

Mojo with the Soloist makes the background notes and synth spark/shine/pop.

The Play still produces the most lush vocals with all the same details.

Just keep in mind Mojo is only competitive after a huge help from the soloist.
Dec 30, 2017 at 3:28 PM Post #159 of 1,256
today, Im comparing the Play to the conductor air.
my first song is hotel california dsd64
resolving power of the same dac is very similar.
we all know that the play has more power, about 4x more.
from this one example, i noticed the play was able to provide better bass performance. the bass guitar sounds much more prominent instead of hiding behind rest of the instruments. the kick drum punches harder and deeper.
Dec 30, 2017 at 3:57 PM Post #160 of 1,256
listening to sexy bitch and dark horse confirmed that there is definitely better bass extension from the play.
the air can compensate a little bit by increasing the volume, but that makes everything louder which hurts my ear drums :p
Jan 1, 2018 at 2:40 PM Post #161 of 1,256
Anyone else with findings/impressions?

I did 1 gaming session so far, comparing onboard soundcard to the Burson Play. So far, everything just sounds a tiny bit more realistic in World of Tanks. Not enough for me to say the gaming audio performance is worth $500. To me it's just a great daily driver that fits in with the looks and performance.
Jan 10, 2018 at 11:11 AM Post #162 of 1,256

Received a PLAY to test from BURSON a couple of days ago, so many thanks for that Charles!

WP_20180108_18_42_29_Pro (1).jpg WP_20180108_18_42_51_Pro.jpg WP_20180108_18_46_03_Pro.jpg WP_20180108_19_45_01_Pro.jpg

Quite beautiful piece of equipment with latest available XMOS XU208 chip on market, reference ES9018K2M DAC, discreet output stage, DALE resistors and ELNA caps...hmmm, yummy!

I already started to use my DIY passive A/B testing device that I had presented in another thread, so I can compare the sound with other external headphone amplifiers and DACs I have at home:


Till now, after few dozens of hours of intensive testing, I got a neat and crystalline sound out of this Hi-Fi combo that pairs perfectly with my AKG K701 and FOSTEX T50RP Mk3 headphones. I was using iMac under OS Sierra High with default XCORE Audio driver auto-installed and latest jRiver and Vox.

Already have few dozens of opamps at home from TI, AD, LT, NJR/JRC and ofc from BURSON (V5i, V5, V6 Classic and Vivid), so rolling opamps inside the PLAY would be my pleasure, though PLAY already sounds powerful, spacious and neutral out of the box, just like I like it. :)

Will get back soon with my impressions and more photos, but I really think that PLAY is one of a kind, especially for those that are looking for powerful audiophile sound from inside the PC case.

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Jan 11, 2018 at 10:58 AM Post #163 of 1,256
I spent some time testing the Basic 299.99 version of the play and I have to say it sounds pretty darn amazing. I still prefer it to the Schiit Multibit stack and it costs less money. Its one of the better values in DAC/AMP combos IMO, long as you can deal with the 8 ohm output impedance. Its not quite as detailed as the V6 Vivid version nor does it expand the soundstage in the same way but still sounds fantastic and a better deal as it is a lot cheaper.

I actually preferred violins with the basic version over the vivids. The vivids make them sound a bit diffuse/overly airy at times, less fatiguing but less exciting.

This led me to try putting the NE5543 in with the 3 V6 vivid duals and have to say that I actually prefer that to using all V6 vivids with the 660 S. To me it gets rid of the slightly artificial edge of the vivids while keeping the extra detail and dynamics. Think the bass hits slightly harder too mostly due to it seeming closer. The soundstage is slightly closer than all vivids, which can be good or bad depending on your perspective.

Just got a 650 to compare to the 660 S and initial impressions are positive with it, sounds surprisingly lively off the play, especially with the NE5543 Vivid combo. I actually just listened to a DR 3 song on it and was truly blown away by how good it sounded, instrument separation was perfect (and there is a lot going on in that song) and no harshness at all.

Really impressed by the Play with low DR material, it really does make it sound considerably better.
Jan 11, 2018 at 1:39 PM Post #165 of 1,256
I was testing it last night with 3 x LM4562 in I/V and LPF + 2 x SS V6 Classic in pre-amp (voltage amplification stage) and I was very pleased about the output sound. It was sounding totally neutral, non-fatiguing with quite a decent soundstage. After placing the LM4562 in there I thought the scene will narrow-down a lot (vs. SS V6 Classic) and I confess that I was sceptical that I'll be getting a good sound with LM4562, but I was wrong. So, looks like with cheap opamps in I/V and LPF the sound can still have a very good quality. However, swapping the 2 x SS V6 Classic with 2 x SS V6 Vivid in pre-amp stage increased the details and made women voices more upfront and intimate; depending on the headphones I was pairing it, Vivids could be an option or not for some of us (though my ears do prefer the Classics).

I've also tested 1 x MUSES 8920 in I/V and 2 x MUSES 8820 in LPF, not very expensive opamps, but not very cheap either. Couldn't get significant audible improvement from the above setup with the LM4562, but at least their temperature was a bit lower. Yes, LM4562 are getting quite worm to touch, perhaps because their max. recommended operating voltage is +/-15V and PLAY is having +/-15.65V, while 8920/8820 can operate to +/-16V (even more).

Also tested 3 x AD8599 and 3 x AD8672 in I/V and LPF and some songs become a bit more mellow, on the soft side, very subtle difference from the LM4562 but I felt it. Also they were pretty warm to touch (only +/-15V too). Too bad I don't have 2 identical PLAYs to A/B test, because I don't really trust my hearing memory. :)

Don't know how PLAY sounds with NE5532/5534 (don't have 5534, sorry), but I'm sure LM4562 can be considered as a cheap upgrade for NE5532, though should not expect miracles. :)

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