Today’s review is going to be quite different. We’re taking a look at Burson’s Super Charger 3A, a low-noise power supply built for their devices. Here’s the list of compatible devices:
As you can see, it can be used with most of their current lineup. This is a good thing because even if you’re going to upgrade your current Burson device, it’s very probable that you’ll keep the Super Charger and use it with your next purchase.
We have reviewed Burson’s Playmate 2 and V6 Vivid Opamps recently (here and here), and we’re going to test the Super Charger in this specific configuration.
Burson yet again proves that their devices are meant to last you a very long time. On top of fantastic build quality and sound, you’ve got options for upgrading your current model without hurting your wallet too much. You can either go for better Opamps, the Super Charger…or both. I now have a fully upgraded Playmate 2 on my hand, so let me tell you how much better it got.
This review will be a rather short one. It’s a power supply, I’m not going to write a book about it and give you 5000 words about the sound, because that would have been outrageous. I’ll try to focus on the most important stuff, and most importantly, give you my opinion on whether it’s worth it.
The packaging of the Super Charger 3A is very basic, as you would have expected. It comes in a nice-looking black box, which contains the power supply itself, together with different types of connectors, for you people living around the world. It’s a great thing, as you don’t have to choose a specific plug version when ordering or changing your Super Charger if you’ll decide to move to a different country.
This is literally all you need and Burson Audio focused on the most important aspect – for the Super Charger to arrive safely at your door.
The Super Charger is built well. It’s not huge, which is a plus in my book, as it won’t take up too much space, which is always desirable. Having in mind, that you’ll probably put it in your hand for literally a minute, plug it into your power strip, and don’t touch it again for like a year, the actual build quality is not that important.
You’re not going to toss it in your backpack and take it with you on a trip, are you? Well, if you will…then it’s built well enough to easily take a beating. At the end of the day though, it’s a power supply, it’s meant to be plugged in and for you to forget that it’s there.
I really appreciate the honesty of the folks at Burson Audio. Here’s the first thing that you’re going to read when looking at the Super Charger at their official website:
“There are no gimmicks here. We did not invent new elements nor space-tech. And submarines certainly do not use it to lower their noise floor. Instead, it is based on nearly two decades of experience building power supplies for audio, then assembled with the best parts we can find. The resulting improvement is instantly audible and across the entire audio spectrum.”
Audio manufacturers often get lost in story-telling, when you’re getting so many promises that it feels like you’re dealing with alien technology. It’s different this time. Burson Audio is just a group of highly knowledgeable engineers that has one goal and one goal only – to provide high-quality audio for the people.
So, what’s so special about the Super Charger? Lower noise, and Higher Frequency.
Lower noise gives you a blacker background and better overall cleanliness of the sound. This can definitely improve detail retrieval, separation, and resolution. This aspect is pretty self-explanatory, you don’t want any noise in your audio, at all costs.
“Off-the-shelf power units have an operating frequency that’s just above the human hearing threshold. In contrast, the Burson Super Charger works at an even higher frequency, resulting in a much lower DC noise—instantly improving the final noise to signal ratio.
The lowering of DC noise allows a deeper dive into the micro-details. It reveals more texture and decay around each note and more acoustic information in the air between instruments and vocalists.”
Higher Frequency on the other hand is meant to give you better dynamics, bigger sound, and a more expanded soundstage. Here are two cents from Burson on this topic:
“The Burson Super Charger doubles the charging frequency to power capacitors inside the audio amplifier. The resulting sound is more impactful with a bigger and deeper soundstage.”
As you can see, there’s no Rocket-Science in this little guy, but rather simple yet refined technology. At the end of the day, sound quality improvement is essential to evaluate whether the Super Charger is worth your money, so let’s not waste any more time and get right into it.
I’m not going to say that the Super Charger changed my Playmate 2 into a Summit-Fi AIO, because it hasn’t. Also, I don’t want to try to convince you that you have to get one, because you don’t.
What I can certainly do though is try to give you an idea of an improvement it gives and whether the (not too low) price is worth paying if you have the Playmate 2.
So, the quick answer is – I don’t know. See, there’s always an aspect of diminishing returns. You’ve just spent around $500 on your Playmate 2, then you paid around $150 for these fancy Opamps, and now you’re wondering if you should spend $284 on a dedicated power supply. This comes very close to a $1000 total price, which you could spend to get a Conductor 3P ($1044), a higher, beefier model from Burson Audio.
Is the fully upgraded Playmate 2 going to sound as good or better than the Conductor 3P? Sadly, I don’t know, as I never tried the latter. But you should definitely have this thing in mind before pulling the trigger.
But, I’m here to tell you if the Super Charger 3A actually improves the sound quality of the Playmate 2. Yes, it does, by quite a lot actually. You can immediately hear that it sounds cleaner and more refined with better detail retrieval. It’s like removing a very thin blanket from the sound, giving you a more accurate and more controlled sound throughout the whole frequency range.
Another thing that you can easily hear is the dynamics and overall size of the sound. The Super Charger makes the sound grander, more epic, and just more natural to your ear. The most important aspect of these changes is that they happen in the entire frequency range, giving you an instant and very straightforward upgrade. This is not witchcraft, nor it is subtle, and this makes it a very easy recommendation if you’re wondering whether the Super Charger is worth getting.
The name Super Charger is just perfect. This power supply literally supercharges your Burson Audio device, providing a substantial upgrade to the entire sound quality throughout the whole frequency range.
If you own the Playmate 2 and really like it, this is a no-brainer when it comes to upgrading your audio experience. Together with V6 Vivid Opamps it enhances the sound quality by a lot. This is what audio upgrade products should always be about. No audiophile-grade routers, LAN cables, or magical audio stickers, but rather well-engineered and actually meaningful devices that deliver on their promise with no doubts.
Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
- Headphones – Audeze MM-500, Audeze LCD-X 2021, Final D8000 Pro, Fir Kr5, Fir XE6, Unique Melody MEST, HEDDphone
- Sources– Burson Playmate 2 + Vivid Opamps
Big thanks to Burson for providing the Super Charger 3A for this review. I wasn’t paid or asked to say anything good or bad about this product, all of the above is just my personal, unbiased opinion. Burson hasn’t seen this review before publishing it.
Founder of Ear Fidelity. I’ve been into audio for many years, working in production, distribution, retail, and marketing throughout my career. Now trying to revolutionize the art of reviewing audio gear, but one thing will never change: Music is the most important.