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

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So the drivers are back from 12/22/2017 (XMOS-Stereo-USB-Audio-Class2-Driver-3095_v4.13.0.exe).

Are they that bad?
 
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raoultrifan

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raoultrifan

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A really tough weekend is coming for me: seems that I'll need to "climb" up to 8848 meters, then write down here my adventures. Right now, I'm preparing my gearing for this "trip" and...burn-in already started 2h ago already. :)
 
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raoultrifan

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Are we sure about the splitting of those two dual opamps?

Ren
Quoting Dennis from Burson Audio:
"Yes, we have updated our negative power rail with the TPS5430 due to a number of factor noise level is certainly one of them. Yes, we use half of the dual opamp for LP stage and the other half for headphone amp voltage gain stage. The idea is to keep the signal path symmetrical and minimal instead of using a bunch of single opamp for those stages".

I also see a better crosstalk here, because the two halves of the same opamp are working on different audio stages. Usually crosstalk improves if in the same IV or LPF stage we're using single opamps instead of dual, and splitting IV with LPF is almost like having singles in these stages, so a better channel separation.
 
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raoultrifan

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Frequency response, based on the filter setting chosen:

FR_MP_FAST-NO_EMPH.png FR_MP_FAST.png
MP FAST - Emphasis ON vs. MS FAST - Emphasis OFF


FR_LP_SLOW.png FR_LP_FAST.png
LP SLOW vs. LP FAST


FR_BRICKWALL.png FR_CMFR.png
BRICKWALL vs. CMFR


FR_RESERVED.png FR_AP_FAST.png
RESERVED vs. AP FAST


FR_MP-SLOW.png
MP SLOW

Frequency response, based on the filter setting chosen:
FL-LP_FAST.png FL-LPSLOW.png
LP-FAST vs. LP-SLOW


FL-MP_FAST.png FL-MP-SLOW.png
MP-FAST vs. MP-SLOW


FL-AP-FAST.png FL-RESERVED.png
AP-FAST vs. RESERVED


FL-CMFR.png FL-BRICKWAL.png
CMFR vs. BRICKWALL
The above measurements were done on PLAYMATE EVEREST (SS V6 Classics in I/V stage and SS V6 Vivid in LPF & Voltage-Gain) and are intended to help everyone of us to better choose the correct filter setting.

Please notice that the default PLAYMATE setting for EMPHASIS is ON and, at least in my case, this means trebles roll-off, so not quite a flat frequencies response, but probably a good pair with bright headphones (in my case Grado SR60i, but not only this one). Given that most people expects to get an out of the box DAC that measures flat and sounds neutral, I will contact manufacturer to change the default EMPHASIS to OFF instead of ON, for those of us that don't want to ever touch the rotary knob controller (if any). Personally I recommend this setting to stay OFF.

Also, when choosing the correct digital filter setting, bear in mind that pre-ringing does not exists out there in the nature, but post-ringing does. Of course, choosing the perfect digital filter setting, based on pre/post ringing and frequency response is a per individual setting and may not be debated here, but I found the MP-FAST as having a better freq. response with less pre-ringing and MP-SLOW as having no pre-ringing, but not perfectly flat response, so for my music I'll probably work with these two settings mostly.

P.S.: RESERVED seems pretty similar with the MP-FAST to me, just freq. response is somehow different, so quite similar digital filter setting after all.
 
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Elocai

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Just a heads up, dk if already was said but:

the volume reset issue only occurs when gain is set to low! Setting it to high, fixes it for me and makes the playmate more conveniant
 
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DjBobby

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Frequency response, based on the filter setting chosen:


MP FAST - Emphasis ON vs. MS FAST - Emphasis OFF



LP FAST vs. LP SLOW



BRICKWALL vs. CMFR



RESERVED vs. AP FAST



MP SLOW

Frequency response, based on the filter setting chosen:

LP-FAST vs. LP-SLOW



MP-FAST vs. MP-SLOW



AP-FAST vs. RESERVED



CMFR vs. BRICKWALL
The above measurements were done on PLAYMATE EVEREST (SS V6 Classics in I/V stage and SS V6 Vivid in LPF & Voltage-Gain) and are intended to help everyone of us to better choose the correct filter setting.

Please notice that the default PLAYMATE setting for EMPHASIS is ON and, at least in my case, this means trebles roll-off, so not quite a flat frequencies response, but probably a good pair with bright headphones (in my case Grado SR60i, but not only this one). Given that most people expects to get an out of the box DAC that measures flat and sounds neutral, I will contact manufacturer to change the default EMPHASIS to OFF instead of ON, for those of us that don't want to ever touch the rotary knob controller (if any). Personally I recommend this setting to stay OFF.

Also, when choosing the correct digital filter setting, bear in mind that pre-ringing does not exists out there in the nature, but post-ringing does. Of course, choosing the perfect digital filter setting, based on pre/post ringing and frequency response is a per individual setting and may not be debated here, but I found the MP-FAST as having a better freq. response with less pre-ringing and MP-SLOW as having no pre-ringing, but not perfectly flat response, so for my music I'll probably work with these two settings mostly.

P.S.: RESERVED seems pretty similar with the MP-FAST to me, just freq. response is somehow different, so quite similar digital filter setting after all.
Thanks a lot for the great graphs.
Only, aren't the frequency graphs for the LP fast/slow inverted, the LP slow is on the left, and the LP fast on the right?

As mentioned in my review of the Playmate (https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/burson-playmate.23567/reviews#review-21574), completely agree with you about that the de-emphasis setting should be by default on OFF. Also much preferred MP fast and MP slow filters to default AP fast filter.

Could you please make one more graph with the LP fast filter with a 192 kHz signal? I am much interested to see if the pre-ringing is reduced on higher sampling rates, or using the software upsampling for the matter. It would be much appreciated.
 
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raoultrifan

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Can somebody who has both the Playmate and the Play, try to power on the Play with the Playmate's power supply? I've tried but strangely the Play doesn't react at all.
I can't even plug the power adapter from PLAY inside PLAYMATE, so it's definitely a different plug inside the board and also a different plug on the cable as well.
At least in my case:
- PLAY shares the same plug with FUN, of course, their power adapters work both ways
- PLAYMATE shares the same plug with BANG, of course, their power adapters work both ways (just not quite recommended for the BANG)
I personally like more PLAYMATE/BANG plugs because if more sturdy and do a better electrical contact, otherwise...both adapters are doing a great job.
 
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raoultrifan

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I've noticed on the Playmate the sound is quieter at similar volume numbers as Play. Before when I'd use the play with my akg 712 pro I would go no higher than 40 on the volume display but on the Playmate 60-65 sounds about the same. I emailed Burson about this and they said they are using a new volume control program which climbs slower than the Play. The uptake is that this was expected but the overall output of the Playmate should be higher.
Below pics represent PLAY V2.2, PLAYMATE and Conductor Virtuoso 2+ (CV2+) and their corresponding volume levels while listening to "Animal Trainer - Wunderland" song at the same output volume; lot of bass in there, average listening level of about 90 dBFS with peaks a bit over 95 dBFS, a very compressed track, but worth trying these kind of tracks when testing low frequencies response for the amplifiers, transients too. Headphones used were Hifiman HE-560, the above volume was pretty high, so not recommended for hours of listening! All the three "contenders" are having about equal output sound pressure, just volume knobs are in different position, so internal gains are probably different (PLAY seems to have the highest gain). However, on CV2+, after 75% the volume is somehow logarithmic, so displays values will not show us their max. output power.

WP_20190217_12_18_43_Pro.jpg
AdobePhotoshopExpress_4753059443c14ba684017f2da33f3317.jpg


Worth mentioning that with my very sensitive Superlux HD381f IEMs (16 Ohms, 103dB/mW, 120dB/V) PLAYMATE has about 90% of the PLAY's background noise (no music playing, volume knob position makes no difference here) and CV2+ has a higher noise than both (has a higher internal gain anyway and it's not meant to drive IEM's). This test was done around 0 o'clock in the night, without noises around me, and with NE5523/NE5534 inside PLAY vs. LME49720/JRC5532DD inside PLAYMATE. During daytime it's kinda impossible for me to get any audible background noise from my IEMs.

When switching to SS V6 opamps, the above test shows an increase in background noise for PLAY to about double (I know, it's subjective) and for PLAYMATE for about 25%; seems that V6 opamps are more prone to EMI/RFI noise inside PLAY than inside PLAYMATE.

Also, placing Vivids in IV was not a good combination for me, as volume decreased a lot, so I do recommend instead the Classics in IV and Vivids in LPF/Headphones voltage-gain. This combination will increase the stage a little bit and provide a fuller sound, but I must admit that the Basic ver. of PLAYMATE has the best price/performance ratio or sure, so a strongly recommended combo!

Bit_depth_and_resolution.png

There is also the ability of playing 32-bit files, in my case up to 192KHz, but there should be workarounds to get over this sampling rate, for sure. I did played DSD512 with Thesycon driver that I already had installed on my laptop.

L.E.: Sound is very similar between the three "contenders", which was expected actually, given the identical output stage of all these three DAC/amplifiers. They are indeed sharing identical output powerful transistors, this why this trio can easily drive all kind of headphones.
 
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Eiffel

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I found that with Thesycon driver, even if I'm able to play DSD files I get from time to time some short pauses during FLAC files playback, which I didn't have with Burson driver.
Some latency issues it seems.
 
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Fasterball

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Below pics represent PLAY V2.2, PLAYMATE and Conductor Virtuoso 2+ (CV2+) and their corresponding volume levels while listening to "Animal Trainer - Wunderland" song at the same output volume; lot of bass in there, average listening level of about 90 dBFS with peaks a bit over 95 dBFS, a very compressed track, but worth trying these kind of tracks when testing low frequencies response for the amplifiers, transients too. Headphones used were Hifiman HE-560, the above volume was pretty high, so not recommended for hours of listening! All the three "contenders" are having about equal output sound pressure, just volume knobs are in different position, so internal gains are probably different (PLAY seems to have the highest gain). However, on CV2+, after 75% the volume is somehow logarithmic, so displays values will not show us their max. output power.



Worth mentioning that with my very sensitive Superlux HD381f IEMs (16 Ohms, 103dB/mW, 120dB/V) PLAYMATE has about 90% of the PLAY's background noise (no music playing, volume knob position makes no difference here) and CV2+ has a higher noise than both (has a higher internal gain anyway and it's not meant to drive IEM's). This test was done around 0 o'clock in the night, without noises around me, and with NE5523/NE5534 inside PLAY vs. LME49720/JRC5532DD inside PLAYMATE. During daytime it's kinda impossible for me to get any audible background noise from my IEMs.

When switching to SS V6 opamps, the above test shows an increase in background noise for PLAY to about double (I know, it's subjective) and for PLAYMATE for about 25%; seems that V6 opamps are more prone to EMI/RFI noise inside PLAY than inside PLAYMATE.

Also, placing Vivids in IV was not a good combination for me, as volume decreased a lot, so I do recommend instead the Classics in IV and Vivids in LPF/Headphones voltage-gain. This combination will increase the stage a little bit and provide a fuller sound, but I must admit that the Basic ver. of PLAYMATE has the best price/performance ratio or sure, so a strongly recommended combo!


There is also the ability of playing 32-bit files, in my case up to 192KHz, but there should be workarounds to get over this sampling rate, for sure. I did played DSD512 with Thesycon driver that I already had installed on my laptop.

L.E.: Sound is very similar between the three "contenders", which was expected actually, given the identical output stage of all these three DAC/amplifiers. They are indeed sharing identical output powerful transistors, this why this trio can easily drive all kind of headphones.
Thank you for this. This helps a lot.
 
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@raoultrifan What pads are you using with your HE-560s? Have you tried any of the Dekoni Elites for HiFiMan and measured the difference?
 
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Dżoneł

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Did you try optical input in your PLAYMATES? I just did and i think it sounds even purer :O There's no ground loop, no usb power trash gets throgh, no USB driver problems, issues etc. (of course). Despite the limited toslink bitrate it's absolutely worth to try!
btw. thanks for the graphs, now I'm using MP-FAST filter on my setup :wink:
Cheers,
Dżoneł
 
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raoultrifan

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Thank you for this. This helps a lot.
Default ones from 2018's HE-560 model...I guess are Alpha pads (very comfy, perhaps a bit more relaxed bass, but totally relaxing).
 
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