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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
    Will try the TOSLINK soon, thank you.
    Indeed, there is some noise visible on my scope and ARTA measurements when inserting the USB cable, but this normal and is happening on all my DACs (none are having USB isolation).

    Given that I can barely hear PLAYMATE's background noise in the middle of night (very silent environment) with my test headphones I can strongly recommend PLAYMATE as a very good all-rounder combo. Worth mentioning again that my test IEM's are pretty sensitive:
    - 16 Ohms
    - 103dB/mW
    - 121dB/1V
    So with 900mV I get 120dB SPL and getting -85dB lower I only need 50uV (usually my ears can't hear a background noise lower than -85dB). On my scope I was able to get a noise of 59uV vs. PLAY that had 111uV (I wasn't using the cleanest setup ever, so in real life and with an AudioPrecision, output noise might be lower). To my ears, PLAYMATE (LME49720/JRC5532DD) has a very low background noise, like 10-15% lower than PLAY (NE5532/5534).

    PLAY_noise.png PLAYMATE_noise.png
    PLAY vs. PLAYMATE (background noise)
    Worth mentioning that on ARTA this noise is somewhere between -140dB and -130dB, will post updates soon.
    Also, worth mentioning that max. ouptut voltage on the headphones jack is identical on both PLAY & PLAYMATE: 10V RMS, theat means 0.167mW/600Ohms. That voltage corresponds to the volume knob having a position of 96% for the PLAY and 98% for the PLAYMATE. Given one of my previous posts above, regarding the level matching between PLAYMATE and PLAY for my HE-560, seems that PLAYMATE has a more gradual volume, sort of logarithmic volume, offering a slower volume increase.

    PLAY_before clipping-96volume.png PLAYMATE_before_clipping_98volume.png
    PLAY vs. PLAYMATE (both having a 10V RMS output voltage)

    P.S.: If you want to try PLAYMATE with an extremely sensitive IEM like FiiO FH5, then background noise will probably be a bit too high for you, given their sensitivity of 112 dB/mW (129.2dB/1V) and their impedance of 19 Ω. However, any 16-32 Ohms with a sensitivity lower than 105dB/mW should be a great pair with PLAYMATE.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
    DjBobby likes this.
  2. Fasterball
    Burson being the great company they are - is sending me another pcb to swap out with my original because of the volume issues I'm having. I love this option as the last time I had to send my unit in the turnaround time took 3 weeks because of long ship times. I'm excited to see if this will solve the problem.
    raoultrifan likes this.
  3. Dżoneł
    I confirm, with FH5 I feel like walking through the coastline, hearing the sound of the sea :D
    raoultrifan likes this.
  4. raoultrifan
    What exact opamps, please?
    Is there a way to test with OPA1612 or MUSES8920?
  5. Dżoneł
    I use V6 Classic everest combos in Playmate, unfortunately don't have any of op-amps you listed above
    What a surprise! With LME49990 in gain and LME49720 in I/V there is significant lower background noise compared to V6's (about 3 times less)
    Using Fiio FH5
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
  6. raoultrifan
    I've tested 2xLME49720 & 2xJRC5532DD, this is why I asked you. I was indeed expecting a higher background noise with HH5, but not a huge one.

    How is the noise with current your current LME49720/49990?
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
  7. Dżoneł
    I don't have tools to measure this but it's significantly lower with LME than V6
  8. raoultrifan
    Using your ears should do pretty fine, not need for any equipment to measure the background noise. I managed to hear the background noise with my cheapo HD381F in a quiet environment (no music playing, but USB was connected).

    So in my case, PLAYMATE with LME49720/JRC5532DD is a good match for the HD381F and under normal environments I don't really hear any background noise, so a good pairing between PLAYMATE & HD381F, even if it's a very sensitive IEM (16 Ohms, 105dB/mW).

    Instead, when using PLAYMATE Everest opamps (Classic in I/V and Vivid in LPF/HP_Gain) the noise was also increasing a bit in my case too and I find the pairing with HD381F as being not adequate, because even in normal environments (TV in background, some noises from the kitchen) background noise is present while music is not playing. Worth mentioning that using other cans I have no noise issues when using PLAYMATE with SS V6 opamps.

    With planars I get the most pleasant "sonic bang" when using the Everst opamp combination, but I'll try do A/B test a bit more during the next days. It might worth investigating this along with @Dżoneł, either by using our sound memory, either by A/B testing against another device (I do have access to PLAY Basic, so I can easily A/B between the two).

    @Dżoneł, many thanks for confirming my hypothesis about the Fiio FH5 IEMs and the background noise in the Everset combination. Waiting for you to confirm if the noise with FH5 and LME49720/49990 opamp combination is good match or still noise heard is higher than it should be? Thank you!

    P.S.: Finding a headphone amplifier able to deliver 10V RMS voltage @600 Ohms & 2W/ch. @32Ohms on it's outputs, without analogue adjustable gain, and being compatible with 16-20 Ohms IEMs with a sensitivity higher than 100dB/mW is very challenging and worth investigating.
  9. Mij-Van
    According to your opinion, is the background noise a product of the V6 op-amps, or is it in the circuit, meaning the V6s are only amplifying this noise more than other op-amps?
    Also, is it possible to measure the voltage swing of the Playmate?
    raoultrifan likes this.
  10. raoultrifan
    @Mij-Van, a good legit question. :) My answer is a big NO, for most cases, arguments below:

    - 1) In my Objective2 amplifier I've used SS V6 Classic and noise was on pair (if not lower) with the default low-noise NJM2068 (tested with the gain of about 3.5X and sensitive IEMs). In this moment my Objective2 has a SS V5 in gain-stage, but for no real reason, it simply performs admirably, similar with SS V6 or NJM20168 in regard with the background noise and with great musicality.
    - 2) In my Matrix M-Stage HPA-3B I got a lower background noise with 2 x SS V6 instead of the default 2 x LME49860; difference was significant in regard with background noise with sensitive headphones and soundstage too, so quite an achievement.
    - 3) In ASUS Essence One MKii background noise was on pair with MUSES01/02, just sound was different.

    For PLAY/PLAYMATE case, SS V6 opamps are close to the SMPS boost-converters and like most solid-state opamps, they are prone to EMI/RFI field radiation. On Burson's website there is a copper shield presented there, with a small wire, that can be purchased for each opamp (just email Burson) and grounded properly to PLAY/PLAYMATE's ground screw (in the middle of the board or anywhere where metallic parts with screws). I did that with PLAY and the background noise was decreasing a bit, but given that I used my own DIY shields (not quite visually appealing) and the complexity of this work I preferred not do publish my "DIY work", because risks to get a short circuit might happen, which would void the beautiful 5-years warranty. Maybe I'll retry this on PLAYMATE, but without the original Burson shield I'm not sure I'll have proper results.

    However, feel free to purchase and try by yourself the copper shields from Burson, ground them properly, and post your own findings here. But please take care to not do any short-circuits in there, because given the low-distance between the opamps and surrounding components inside PLAYMATE you might break the device with ease!
    Mij-Van likes this.
  11. raoultrifan
    Oh, I missed that I guess, but it's already posted above on this page, right? Around 10V RMS it starts to bend the sinewave, so clipping starts around 10V RMS, like the PLAY. 166mW/600 Ohms, but voltage will increase on 32 Ohms and start clipping around 2 Watts (about 8V RMS). PLAY & PLAYMATE are sharing the same output stage and the same +/-15V power rails, just that PLAYMATE has smaller SMPS regulators, better implementation of USB transport and DAC, new display, lower background noise...probably others too. :)

    L.E.: The pictures from "PLAY vs. PLAYMATE (both having a 10V RMS output voltage)", the one from top is PLAY, the one from the bottom is PLAYMATE, so the same 10V RMS on outputs).
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
  12. Mij-Van
    Thanks a lot. If I understand it right, ordering the V6s specifically to upgrade the basic Playmate, would need the copper shield as well. I am just wondering, is the copper shield preinstalled by default in V6 and Everest versions of the Playmate?
  13. raoultrifan
    Not necessarily, unless you're using very sensitive low impedance headphones (>100dB/mW) I don't see a problem, and for these sensitive cans we can anytime use smaller low-noise opamps inside PLAYMATE.

    I've tested PLAYMATE with most of my cans and I find it better sounding with the Everest combination (Classics with Vivids): AKG K701, Fostex T50RP-mk3, Hifiman HE-560, while the Basic version might be a better match for IEMs.
  14. Dżoneł
    Hello, yes I tryied Fiio FH5 with both V6 Everest/classic and LME combos. In my opinion V6s are not best match with sensitive IEMs like Fiio FH5. Compared to LME combo (49990 and 49720) (and probably any other low noise op-amps like this) the noise is approximately 2-3x louder on V6.

    I have to say that Everest combo (Vivids in LP/Headout and Classics in I/V) is the most beautiful combo I've ever heard :) It merges the magic, musicality, chill and intimacy of Classics with soundstage, accuracy, dynamic, depth and details from Vivids - awesome!! It's hard to explain - you need to try by yourself. So engaging

    Furthermore, when pluggin in the FH5 to O2 amplifier with OPA627 in gain (2xSOIC to DIP8 adapter) and 2xOPA2227 in I/V does not produce ANY audible background noise! :)

    Previously I've tryied V6s in O2 and there were no noise as well but they're just too big to close the case of Massdrop O2 amp :wink:
    Of course the sound quality comming from Playmate is much better than O2.

    Anyway, when I listen to music with decent volume the background noise doesn't bother me so much, clarity and sound quality is audible.

    raoultrifan likes this.
  15. raoultrifan
    @Dżoneł, I guess you're using 2 x OPA2227 in the output buffer of O2, right? If so, then these are 20mA opamps vs. 70-75mA of the original NJR4556 opamps. Perhaps for IEMs could be a good match after all, but using regular 32 Ohms cans might affect the THD and stability of the O2.

    Also, while testing the O2, what gain have you used? I'm asking this because in my case, with the gain of about 3.3-3.5X on my O2 I got about the same background noise like the PLAYMATE (volume to the max., RCA inputs not connected, so no music playing). Listening test was done with HD381F IEMs, in a noise-free environment.
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