Burson Audio’s latest piece of hardware is a proper slice of Future-Fi: the Timekeeper 3i houses a 100wpc Class A/B loudspeaker amplifier, 2W Class A headphone amplifier – with “two levels of feedback-based gain” – and an ESS Labs-based D/A converter. That this new model’s chassis is half-width also makes it a solid Kallax-Fi candidate.
Like many of the Melbourne company’s circuit designs, the Timekeeper 3i’s DAC is dual-mono with one ESS9038Q2M DAC chip per channel talking to a fully discrete output stage. It can be accessed via the back panel’s coaxial, TOSLINK, Theysconn USB-C and aptX HD / LDAC Bluetooth inputs*. A single analogue input extends a hand to outboard DACs and phono stages.
The Timekeeper 3i’s power supply is described by Burson as follows: “Powered by Burson Audio proprietary Max Current Power Supply, it resets your perception of rhythm through power, precision and micro-details. It makes most conventional amplifiers, even the ones with twice the declared power, sound slow and dopey.”
Burson is incentivising early-bird orders on the Timekeeper 3i with a discounted price of US$2199 + US$55 worldwide shipping + a free ‘Cool Stand’** (U$125) until the end of May, after which the price reverts to US$2444 + shipping. And that shipping is slated to begin in mid-June.
Super-integrated? Since I coined the term five years back, I should clarify its meaning for newcomers: a super-integrated is an integrated amplifier with at least two additional features e.g. DAC + streamer or DAC + phono stage. Here it’s a DAC + proper powerful Class A headphone amplifier.
Lastly, a point of order. Burson did not supply photos with the Timekeeper 3i’s email announcement, only the YouTube video (below). Therefore, the photos shown in this article are of the Timekeeper 3i Reference, which, adding to the confusion, is also linked inside the Timekeeper 3i’s email announcement to leave us wondering if the 3i and 3i Reference are two separate SKUs (or not).
Further information: Burson Audio
Footnote 1: Don’t fall for Qualcomm or Sony’s marketing sleight of hand regarding aptX HD and LDAC’s hi-res audio capabilities. Both are lossy codecs — they will parse hi-res audio but not before throwing some data away.
Footnote 2: From the press release, the Cool Stand “supports the TK-3i vertically, saving even more desktop space and further enhances the heat dissipation of this Class-A head amp and Class-AB stereo amp.”