Burmester 101 Integrated Amplifier and B10 Loudspeakers
In contrast to the norm of planned obsolescence and throwaway products that runs rampant in this day and age, you will find that Burmester Audiosysteme adheres to a refreshingly different school of thought. Their audio offerings are prestige items, intended for lovers of music with both means and taste, superior in execution and presentation to lesser fare and built with permanence in mind. What this company offers is tangible, lasting quality, not colorful ad copy.
German based Burmester Audiosysteme has garnered universally positive press since its inception in 1977 and the company’s products have consistently been regarded in the top tier. They lay claim to many firsts, including the introduction of balanced circuitry to the high-end industry, the belt-drive CD player, and the use of chrome and aluminum panels in cabinet housings.
Founder and CEO Dieter Burmester has combined his strong technical background with the passionate drive of a music lover and accomplished musician to shape the direction and philosophy of his company. Although the product specifications themselves are immaculate, it is the emotional involvement in the music that is primary goal, with technology applied as means to that end. Mr. Burmester’s Bauhaus influence also brings a form follows function approach to the integrity and ergonomics of every product that is reflected in the company motto “Art for the Ear”.
His products are a fully realized package designed to be a revelation for the ear, a feast to the eyes, and a tactile delight. The shiny chrome exterior is not mere eye candy, but an assurance of longevity. The case is aluminum plate, not folded sheet metal. Knobs and switches don’t just perform, they must have the feel of high performance devices. The quality that greets the senses on first sight and touch is fully backed up under the hood with innovative engineering that is rock solid in execution. The “Hand made in Germany” badge is taken very seriously as a an assurance of quality. Burmester products are rarely seen on the used market. They are generally purchased as heirloom commitments based on their reputation for sustained reliability and enjoyment.
From inception the intent was to pursue excellence rather than the compromise of mass appeal. Although Burmester offers different tiers of products, all are built to the same rigorous tolerances. Power amps must pass almost 300 measurement standards before they can earn the Burmester badge. All data on every piece ever manufactured is filed away in case of modification or repair. Loudspeakers and electronics are handmade in Germany with almost all case parts sourced from German manufacturers. There are no compromises or shortcuts here. When we look upon the Burmester automotive division, it is important to note that the automobiles involved started with Bugatti and now include Porsche and Mercedes. These are mutual associations of prestige items. Armani should be matched with a Rolex, not a Timex.
The two items that arrived for review were Burmester’s smaller luxury offerings, the $9,000 (US) B10 monitor loudspeakers and the $12,000 (US) 101 integrated amplifier, a potentially very promising match up. The relatively small B10 near field monitor began its history