BURSON AUDIO PLAYMATE 2
BURSON AUDIO PLAYMATE 2
BURSON AUDIO PLAYMATE 2

Burson Playmate 2: A solid hi-fi headphone amplifier

The Burson Playmate 2 stands out as a robust desktop headphone amplifier designed for seamless integration with your PC or smartphone, perfect for enhancing your music listening experience during work. Its ability to power high-end headphones is impressive, offering remarkable performance. In comparison to Burson’s premium offerings, the Playmate 2 is more compact and budget-friendly, making it a practical addition to both your workspace and financial plans.

BURSON AUDIO PLAYMATE 2
BURSON AUDIO PLAYMATE 2

This device excels as an amplifier for digital audio sources, incorporating a digital-to-analog converter while foregoing analog inputs. It supports hassle-free connections to PCs, smartphones, and both Windows and Mac systems via USB-C, eliminating the need for additional adapters. For devices like music streamers or CD players, there’s an optical input available. Additionally, it offers RCA outputs for use as either a standalone DAC or digital amplifier.

Constructed with a focus on high-quality analog components, including discrete elements and class A output stages, the Playmate 2’s design mirrors that of premium integrated amplifiers, yet it’s dedicated to headphone amplification. Its digital architecture is modern, featuring top-tier DACs from ESS, recognized for their superior quality.

BURSON AUDIO PLAYMATE 2
BURSON AUDIO PLAYMATE 2

Ideal for PC users and gamers alike, the Playmate 2’s USB input benefits from a powerful XMOS chip, supporting high-resolution audio up to 32-bit/768 kHz and DSD 512 files. It also features a microphone input for a comprehensive gaming audio setup, allowing connection of audiophile headphones and a separate mic, or a gaming headset with an integrated microphone.

Burson Audio prioritizes quality and customization in the Playmate 2 by using standard operational amplifiers, with the option for enthusiasts to upgrade for enhanced sound quality, despite the inherent limitations of such components. This strategy makes high-quality sound accessible to more users.

The company has committed to class A amplifiers, renowned for their sound quality and musicality, despite their higher energy consumption compared to class D amplifiers. The Playmate 2 ingeniously houses a class A amplifier within a compact frame, utilizing a 6 mm thick aluminum case for efficient heat dissipation.

Highlighting its superior sound quality, the Playmate 2 incorporates the ESS SABER32 9038 DAC, chosen for its exceptional resolution, transparency, dynamics, and clarity over competitors like the Burr Brown PCM1793.

Addressing power supply efficiency, Burson’s Max Current Power Supply (MCPS) system transcends traditional linear power supplies by reclocking the mains frequency, significantly reducing noise and ensuring quick current delivery to match music variations.

Pros

  • Compact and exclusive design in aluminium
  • Class A output stage
  • Built with discrete components
  • Audiophile USB-C input with support for up to 32-bit/768 kHz
  • Connection for microphone for gaming
  • Can drive audiophile head-fi headphones
  • Remote control is available as an option

Cons

  • No analog audio inputs
  • No Bluetooth
  • No connection for balanced headphones
  • No pass-through for connection to other components, e.g.¬†power stage