Burmester 101 In­te­grated Am­pli­fier and B10 Loud­speak­ers

NOVO - - PRODUCT REVIEW - Glen Wa­genknecht

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.

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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

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