I’ve done my best to suss audible differences between Fun and Play, and each op-amp set. Play is awesome. Fun is awesome. Differences in sound at loud volumes and through hi-end headphones are less apparent than through my favourite portable headphones and earphones.
By the way, this is what Fun looks like without its bonnet. Got to love the symmetry. And that’s dual mono symmetry to you.
As I stated twice above, Fun is more powerful than any full-size component I have ever had on my. That includes my current favourites: Sony’s JA333 ES, and Lynx Technology’s HILO, both amazing devices, and going for much more than Fun. Of course, neither of the above were made specifically for headphones, but they handle load well (especially the HILO), have low noise floors (the JE333ES being exceptionally good), and are powerful enough for 600Ω headphones, though just barely. Conversely, Fun toys with 600Ω headphones. That it does so with a noise floor between a Sony JA333ES and ZX300 is miraculous.
That also includes Play.
For the moment, you’ll have to rely on my naked word. And that word is that Fun betters Play in just about every measurable way. I say just about because Play appears to supply measurably better stereo crosstalk. My amateur setup says ~10dB better unloaded and depending on the load, an improvement vector of at 5dB at the most. Measurably better it is, but audibly? Fun’s lower noise floor and greater stability make up for that, especially at listening, not hardware testing listening levels.
It gets louder, holds signal better under extreme volumes and loads, has more dynamic range, a lower measurable signal to noise ratio, lower THD, and IMD. A bit worse stereo performance is probably a good sacrifice. Regarding stereo, I think the biggest difference is where highs and high mids cross. Play is airier, but Fun is a bit easier to listen to. Neither are sibilant by any means, but if you’re sensitive to highs, Fun just might be the better amp. That said, if you’re a FPS gamer, Play’s positional highs may do you better both when hunting and in crossfires.
I hope to get Play’s RMAA measurements up next week or the week after. Fun more than keeps up with Mojo. It keeps up with Vorzüge’s VorzAMP DUO II’sdynamic range and SNR, all whilst getting far louder and holding load better at extreme volumes. You’ll remember from my Play review that Burson released a new logic board part way through production. The new board is noticeably less noisy and a bit more stable under load than the old board, but ultimately, due to noise, neither is well suited to sensitive earphones and headphones.
Fun is the only amplifier I’ve ever used that could that could drive a signal loud enough to trim the Lynx Hilo to +24dB dBu and still keep signal sheer almost completely out of portable headphones like the Audio Technica ES7. My ears hurt from across the room.
Sound continues on the next page: