After much delay, I was able to go and pick up the Burson Play DAC today. Included was an entire set of both the V6-OPA-D Vivid + V6-OPA-S Vivid and V6-OPA-D Classic + V6-OPA-S Classic (pictured below). This DAC can slide right into the front drive bay of most desktop computers (was that dirty sounding? ha-ha)! It uses 3x Dual DIP + 2x Single DIP op-amps (5 total). For its size, the sound is awesome during my early testing. I know how an ES9038Pro sounds using full size components and this guy only uses a tiny ES9018 with 50/50 SMD to through hole components.
That should tell you something right off the bat, they have put in a lot of R&D to optimize these components in a tiny footprint. They mainly use full-size components in the headphone amp/pre-amp stage, this is where you see the Dale resistors. The side you see of the Dale resistors + transistors and capacitors is mirrored on the other side.
Note: Burson Audio includes everything you need, including quality RCA cables and the rear mount RCA-to-RCA header for mounting this in the front of your PC and running the DAC’s RCA out to the RCA header, or headphones out the front.
They also included a 12V molex power connector on the back of the unit, this gives extremely easy power in almost any modern desktop. The real joy with this guy is the convenience of only having to grab your desktop vs. having to take care of external DACs/Headphone Amps. This is especially true for anyone who is traveling with their desktop frequently such as professional/semi-pro gamers, college students, and anyone traveling who wants their full desktop hardware with them.
There are only two things I think could be added to improve on their design.
- Make it so you can power the USB module independently of the normal USB power (XMOS in this case). The power supply in the computer has to deal with so many devices, including all of your fans which are very noisy on the supply lines. The answer is to use an external power supply for the USB module as you have seen me show in my Part 1 of the Discrete Op-Amp review. They already use an external transformer, so I’m surprised they didn’t consider this.
- They should offer the Amanero as an option also, the Amanero is supposedly capable of DSD1024 over I2S from what I’ve read in multiple sites and threads. Right now the Amanero is only limited to how big access you have to high res music files. If you have the right high end recording gear, you can record your own DSD1024 files!!
In my short time with this DAC + headphone amp/pre-amp, the highs are especially clear using the all Classic V6-OPA setup. It’s crystal clear, no floor noise creeping up, or 60 Hz hum. I am using the AudioQuest Jitterbug with this DAC and the sound has been surprisingly musical, what Tom Hoffman told me to always keep in mind when reviewing new hardware. How does the sound make you feel, does it capture your attention or is it nothing special? I think the Burson Play at the price for the lowest op-amps ($200-$300) is a steal for the sound you can eventually upgrade to overtime. I prefer Burson Audio’s Classic V6 to their Vivid V6. I think I prefer the Burson Play over my high modified ZXr!
Electrical Engineering student (Jr year) with a background in IT. Such as dealing with large scale network infrastructure upgrades at Lowe's HQ and former lead hardware tech for the NC Government.