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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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If you are expecting the price of the 077 to be directly correlated with the number of control buttons you get, then you will surely be disappointed.  The 077 only has two large control knobs on the front panel, and six tiny little buttons.  But do not let the minimalist appearance fool you, hidden within the 077 preamp is an array of sophisticated, fully programmable features which included display brightness, input level trim, phase reversal, volume scale, output level, input sensitivity, volume balancing between inputs, input names, as well as home theatre bypass.  All the preamp function can be controlled via its remote control, which worked interchangeably with all Burmester equipment.  The built quality of the remote control matched that of the equipment, and its brushed aluminum body was heavy enough to be used as defensive weapon in the event of robbery intrusion.  The exact same remote also controls  the PH100 Phono Stage.  A fancier, chrome version of the same remote can be purchased from Burmester for an additional $1,675.

For the first hour and a half into auditioning, I wasn’t able to get sounds from two of the inputs, but thank goodness there was the 40-page owner’s manual, without which the intricacies of the programming labyrinth would be impossible to decipher.  The only function I couldn’t find was the ejector seat button, which would come in handy if your better half should show discomfort in the aftermath of your post purchase financial crisis.  In case you’re wondering about the price of the setup at the TAVES show, here it is:

Burmester Reference Musiccenter 111 DAC / Server – US$ 49,995

Burmester Reference 077 Line Stage Preamp – US$ 41,995

Burmester 911 Mk III (four units) – US$ 31,495

Burmester B100 Speakers  (2 pairs) – US$ 94,495 / pr

Total price before taxes – US$ 406,960

Luckily, standard Burmester power cables, as well as kid gloves are included in the price.  If purchased separately, each Burmester power cable will set you back $895 for 2-meter lengths.

The 077 preamp came with its own solid aluminum isolation platform, the combined weight which totals 55 lbs.  If you were to add the optional, external Reference 077 power supply (US$16,000), the combined weight would become 110 lbs which makes it one of the heaviest preamps on the planet.



For this review, the Burmester 077 was matched with a pair of Burmester 911 Mk III Stereo Amplifier bridged into mono configuration.  In stereo mode the 911 is rated at 350W per channel, but in bridged mono mode which was how they were configured, they delivered 770W per channel into my reference speakers, the Dynaudio Temptation.  The 911 Mk III weighed in at 68.35 lbs per unit or a little less than 140 lbs per pair, which means they were literally one tenth the weight of my McIntosh MC2KW.

However, weight alone does not tell the whole story.  The 911 Mk III has one of the highest damping factor of any amplifier ever produced by man, at a whopping 2750, which makes it second only to Soulution Audio’s 700 Monoblock amplifier (> 10,000 damping factor).  Damping Factor represents the ability of an amplifier to control undesirable movement of the speaker cone near the resonant frequency of speaker driver.  A higher damping factor results in better control of the drive movements, as to how it affected the Burmester sound I will get into greater details in the paragraphs to follow.

Last but not least, the Burmester PH100, which I had purchased in prior months, completed the system for this exercise.  The PH100 is a fully balanced, fully configurable phono stage which allows users to adjust gain, loading and capacitance on the fly.  As it stands, the PH100 is the most flexible, and likely my favorite phono stage which deserves an entire review on its own.  Digital source for this review, however, would not be a Burmester unit but my resident CD player, the McIntosh MCD500.


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,

  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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