Burson Audio Playmate 2 review – Musical Magic

Welcome to my review of the Burson Audio Playmate 2 which retails for £599. The Burson Audio Playmate 2 is a headphone AMP/DAC and Pre-AMP.

Key Features/Specs

  • 3W Class A SE.
  • Upgradeable Opamps with four detachable DIP sockets
  • ESS 9038QTM DAC.
  • XMOS DSD 512.
  • Precision machined aluminium for a sumptuous finish.
  • Unified aluminium enclose also acts as a heat sink.
  • Class-A and 3W per channel
  • Two levels of power control, each with 100 volume steps. 110db IEM, no worries. 70db planar magnetic, no problem either.
  • USB-C input
  • MCPS charges the Playmate at 170 thousand times per second to enhance the power, dynamics and micro-details.

A decade ago, Burson Audio argued against using IC opamps on the audio signal path. Today, their discrete audio opamps are industry benchmarks. They focus on building great products that speak for themselves. Based on my experience so far, not only do they look stunning but they also sound terrific too! Plus with the added bonus of being able to easily upgrade the op amps, what more could you ask for!

Menu Options

The Playmate 2 has an easy to access and use menu system, that provides access to the following options.

  • Headphone level – High or Low, this is your headphone gain setting
  • FirFilter – you can select a digital filter that are built-in directly in the ESS Sabre DAC chip, there are 7 filters to play with
  • DPLL (DSD) – OFF, Low, Mid and High (default) – the higher this setting is the higher the jitter rejection will be for DSD files
  • DPLL (PCM) – Off, Low, Mid (default) or High – the same but for PCM files
  • Emphasis – Off (default), On – ON position rolls-off the treble by about 5db at 10 kHz and by about 8 db at 20 khz. Best to leave this setting to the OFF position. Only turn on if using a cassette tape player.
  • OLED Level – Low (default) or High – changes the brightness of the OLED screen
  • Reset Set: No or Yes – resets to factory settings.

Audio Tracks used for the Review

  • Roxy Music – True to Life (Remastered)
  • Leonard Cohen – In My Secret Life
  • Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (2012 Mix Master)
  • Eric Clapton – Layla (Acoustic Live at MTV Unplugged)
  • Axel F – From Beverly Hills Cop
  • Natalie Merchant – Ophelia
  • CeeLo Green – Bright Lights Bigger City
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan – Tin Pan Alley
  • K.D. Lang – Constant Craving 
  • Nigel Kennedy – The New Four Seasons
  • Hans Zimmer – Mountains 

Video Review


A beautifully engineering amp dac that sounds as good as it looks. Highly recommended 9.2/10.

Useful Links


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