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New, Burson Playmate 9038 DAC, 2Wpc HeadAmp, Preamp, Changeable opamps.

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by raoultrifan, Dec 3, 2018.
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  1. raoultrifan
    A new DAC/headamp combo gets on the market soon: https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/playmate/. It's based on the ESS9038 flagship chip, stereo single-ended outputs.

    This should be the successor of PLAY combo and with its new DAC chip and with the addition of the digital optical connection.


    I can see an improved LCD and something USB-C connector for Android/iOS devices


    The two gain levels adjust is something that was requested by few Head-Fiers for the PLAY combo, to be able to listen to very sensitive IEMs, like 8-16 Ohms and > 100 dB SPL. I'm glad that Burson was listening to us, Head-Fiers (like always actually) and created this new beautiful device for two gain levels.


    I can see inside the two I/V opamps and the LowPassFilter too. Also, the XMOS chip is probably the newer version, like they did inside PLAY. I do like the big ELNA capacitor just nearby the I/V opamps.


    About MCPS we can read more here: https://www.bursonaudio.com/max-current-power-supply/, but it should be the same schematic used inside PLAY and FUN. It should deliver a lot of power instantaneously and planar headphones should be thrilled with this technologies.


    Remote seems a bit different, more stylish, with rounded corners and with the visible LED it's quite pretty. It definitely looks better than the one used on my PLAY.

    Front plate

    Back plate

    I do hope someone will be able to procure some closer look with the internals.

    - PLAYMATE's manual: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1B8z1Zjj8rIeOzJ8A5WPfU-aw9JgmH1i2/view.
    - OPAMPs position & role: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/new...changeable-opamps.894619/page-7#post-14734979
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
  2. raoultrifan
    Specifications could be found below:

    If the internal headphones amplifier is similar with the one used inside PLAY & BANG, then the impedance on headphone's jack @1KHz & 50% of max. power is somewhere around 0.5 Ohms. The 8 Ohms indicated by BURSON is probably the worst case scenario that myself and others couldn't reproduce it (@100 KHz and full 2W of power perhaps?).

    L.E.: Last specs updated on Dec.07/2018.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
    Asahi Templar and kukkurovaca like this.
  3. Asahi Templar
    I think they just copies the specs from the original play for both the playmate and the new swing, hopefully they update it with measurements for the new units (which are likely better).

    Of course Burson had to go and make these new amp/dacs, I just got my THX amp and now I have to think about changing to the Playmate!

    I doubt that it will beat the THX amp in performance by any stretch, but having a AMP/DAC and Mic amp in one little box is really appealing.

    It really does looks awesome too, that new LED screen looks way better than the one on the original Play.

    Wish they would get one to Audio Science Review to see how much its improved over the original before the presale deal ends. Original Plays performance was quite good but had too much distortion for my taste, new version may have been able to resolve that.

    They are definately going all in on the Max Current Power Supply thing, looks like the Playmate has 5 of them compared to the Plays 3, so in theory it should produce more stable current. 5 is more than the Funs 4 also, so i wonder if it actually produces more power than the original Play did?
  4. raoultrifan
    Sometimes the final measurement's numbers are directly dependent to the opamps used between the DAC and the RCA plugs. Let's wait for the first tests and measurements, I'm confident this is a real upgrade over the previous PLAY given the new design & layout, better resolution LCD, the polymer caps inside etc.

    Also, hope to see some porn pics until Christmas...not sure who'll be purchasing the first unit and have it tested. :)
  5. Eiffel
    Beware about the specs - they are from the Play, for both products Playmate and Swing.
    Webpages are work in progress.
  6. raoultrifan
    Thanks for sharing, I'll get them changed on inside this thread when will get some more updates.
  7. Renfield1217
    Hi Raoul,

    Dennis ( big time thanks) is holding my order for the Burson Play to allow me some time to think about the Playmate.
    There are a few questions I have about the Playmate before I buy.

  8. Asahi Templar
    Looks like the Playmate specs have been updated. It now does the full 2w at 32 ohms rather than the 1W the original Play did. Looks like they are reporting increased SNR and a LOT lower THD on the amp section. Very good specs, and the output impedeance is now listed as 2ohms which is great see as the original play as actually very low but the given 8 ohm spec scared people off I think..

    Very impressive stuff, hope some more of my gear sells so I can preorder one lol.
    raoultrifan likes this.
  9. raoultrifan
    Thanks for the updates!

    BTW, I was getting 2 x 1.825W/30Ohms with my PLAY and with 16Ohms cans it could do even better (just a bit less than 2W/channel). PLAY has 2x1W/channel for 50...60 Ohms cans.

    If the output stage os PLAYMATE and SWING is identical with PLAY and FUN, then the output impedance is a bit less than 0.5 Ohms @1KHz. Most amplifier manufacturers are providing impedance measurements @1KHz, so...this could be more relevant for those who like to compare headamps from different manufacturers. However, looking further for first reviewer than will be able to measure the output impedance for these two new audiophile devices.
  10. ACDOAN
  11. ACDOAN
    Give me a reason to order the Playmate over the Swing since both are in the same price. The Swing has the optical and coaxial inputs while the Playmate has only the optical input. I don't use the USB input in my application.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  12. Asahi Templar
    That was a pricing error. It was 399.99 and 319 when they first posted the prices. They messed it up when they updated the page with the new specs and now they have fixed it.
  13. raoultrifan
    Never saw such a low price on their website, most likely a webmaster error for few minutes. However, let's face it, not even Chinese manufacturers can't provide such low prices...not even when comparing it with devices with TPA6120A headamp inside, not Class-A discrete design. Don't get me wrong, I love how TPA6120A sounds and measures, but we can't compare prices of a headamp made out with couple of opamps vs. a fully discrete solid-state design (this is like comparing handmade cars with regular cars, like Bugatti Veyron vs. production line of Mercedes/BMW etc.); I'm not speaking about how they're measuring or sounding, I'm only speaking about the production costs.

    P.S.: I won't bet my kidney here, but I don't think Burson will make any money out of this PLAYMATE/SWING pre-order campaign. The price is a totally steal!
  14. ACDOAN

    Now, it makes sense since I received an e-mail with no price listing on both pictures of the Playmate and the Swing . Below the pictures ,there was a break down pricing for difference prices of both series and the upgrade op-amp pricing. The basic Playmate was listed for $219.00 vs the Swing for $319.00.
    I wondered why it is so cheap and I contacted Burson regarding the inputs of the Playmate and since it does not have coaxial input so it's a no go for me. I don't use the USB but the Optical and Coaxial so pricing of the Playmate is a mooth point.

    Thanks for the clarification. I bought the Conductor V2+, two of the Soloist MK II and a Fun from Burson Audio and I love to have a DAC from Burson as I told Dennis and Alex via e-mail. I appreciate the sound quality and the stylish designs from Burson Audio. The Swing will be a nice add-on to my Burson audio collection.
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