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Burmester System: Reference Line 077 Pre Amp, Top Line 911 MK3 Amplifier and Top Line 100 Phono Preamp Review

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There has been no shortage of positive news coming from Burmester recently.  In addition to the partnership that Burmester already has with Porsche and Bugatti, they have just announced a partnership with Mercedes Benz in which all 2014 S Class vehicles will have a Burmester Reference sound system available as an added option.  The Burmester name is broadening its impact as the iconic brand name of German-made high end audio.

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At the 2012 TAVES show (Toronto Audio and Video Entertainment Show), the Burmester setup certainly stole the spotlight.  They displayed their biggest system in the grandest ballroom of the hotel, and took up the most amount of space, and of course, carried the heftiest price tag.  They even showed off a Porsche 911 fitted with a Burmester sound system right at the Grand entrance of the show lobby.

When Rob Niemann, CEO of Burmester North American offered me the opportunity to review the Burmester system, my heart began to race.  As in the words of Emily Bronte’s poem “The Prisoner,” “Intense is the agony, when the ear beings to hear, and the eyes beings to see, the pulse begins to throb, the brain to think again, the soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the chain.”  The stunning look and the elegant sound of the Burmester setup had completely captivated my heart.  Intense was the agony indeed, during the waiting period in those forty-eight hours before the show ended at 5pm on Sunday night.  My van was waiting in front of the hotel entrance at 6 pm.  I wanted them, now.

“One month is all I can afford”, said Robb Nieman with a smile.  “One month is all you can get”.

Under normal circumstances, I would have turned him down.  The time constraint would impose great difficulty for me to do a thorough review, especially when it involved so many pieces of equipment.  But could I have lived with myself by turning down the Über system of the entire show?

“I will make time to do the review”, I told Rob.  The whole pie would be a little too big to swallow though, as the complete setup would be too big to fit into my living room, so I decided not to take the speakers.

“I’ll take the 077 Preamp, two units of the 911 power amp, leaving behind the B100 speakers.  And since I’m not much of a digital guy, I’ll leave behind the 111 Musiccenter as well.  They will be returned to you in one month’s time, which gives me just enough time to write down all my listening notes. ”

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(The Burmester setup at TAVES 2012)

Burmester – Art for the Ear

Of the numerous pieces of equipment that have passed through my living room over the years, very few have the ability to strike such a lasting impression of exclusivity and exquisiteness as the Burmester.  As soon as you slice open the fancy white tape with the imprinted Burmester logo, the mirror-like chrome finish of the equipment inside the box is exposed.  It immediately strikes you that Burmester is “Art to the Eyes” as much as they are “Art to the Ears,” as the company slogan says.

The jewelry-like finish on the chassis was second to none, the only flaw which I could find were the fingerprints I left on them during unpacking.  The machine work on the chassis was also the finest I have seen coming from audio equipment.  From the curvatures of the heat sink on the sides, to the engraved letterings on various parts of the chassis, Burmester definitely set itself apart from other CNC’d aluminum chassis.  The Burmester equipment resembled works of art instead of electronic equipment.   The Burmester look is the only one to which my wife literally said, “Wow.”

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(Burmester 911 Mk III Power Amplifier)

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The first piece to come out of its box was the 077 preamp. The 077 was released in 2007 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its predecessor, the 777 Preamp which was Burmester’s first product in 1977.  The 077 sports a total of seven inputs: five Line level inputs, one Surround or High level input, and an optional modular input which could be fitted with a line module, a Phono MM or MC module (different from the PH100 phono modules), or a D/A Converting Module.

4 Responses to Burmester System: Reference Line 077 Pre Amp, Top Line 911 MK3 Amplifier and Top Line 100 Phono Preamp Review


  1. rob stewart says:

    Many thanks for your thoughtful review – although it wasn’t a review of the phono stage per se, I could see that there are some very strong elements in this line that are worth striving for in a system. The elements of their line are out of my price range, but I am focusing at present on their phono stage and wondering whether it will elevate my analogue experience.

    thanks again,
    rob

  2. Of the many phono stages I have owned in the past, the Burmester PH100 is currently my reference. It is remarkably full bodied, with a strong strong dynamic contrast. Despite being a solid stage German made phono stage, it has even more body and weight to my tube AR Ref SE II, and renders the belief that solid state phono stages are cold and sterile, invalid. It most certainly does not apply to the Burmester PH100.

  3. 45triode says:

    “A fancier, chrome version of the same remote can be purchased from Burmester for an additional $1,675.” / fancy indeed.

  4. Dr Winston J Smith says:

    I am on the market for Burmester product,please send me a price list or email me the information

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