The German brand builds its philosophy on four pillars: Perfection, Design, Technology and Ease of Use. Since its conception in 1978 by Dieter Burmester until today, when the business is run by the Burmester family after the owner passed in 2015, this approach has never changed. Unlike quite a number of high end audio newcomers the Burmester brand has a very solid reputation in technological industry, not just in audio business.


FRONT Burmester 911

  • Loudspeakers: Burmester B18
  • Preamplifier: Burmester 035
  • Power amplifier: Burmester 911 Mk3
  • Player: Burmester 089 CD player
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Nordost (Tyr 2, Valhalla 2, Odin)
  • Power conditioning: Nordost Norse 2 (Heimdall, Tyr, Frey), QRT Qb8, Nordost QKore

The auditioned set-up included electronics from Burmester's Classic and Top catalogue lines that are both affordable and easier to accomodate in a standard-sized apartment. The 911 power amplifier provides great power and dynamic headroom, the 035 preamp is definitely much friendlier that costly Reference preamps, the B18 are the best fit to small to medium size rooms, and a good digital CD source is always welcome unless you use a compromise solution - streaming.

Burmester supplies audo systems to automotive industry and the makes like Mercedes, Porsche and Bugatti expect rather obsessive quality assurance policy in place. Now wonder that also for home audio Burmester burns-in intensively all the drivers to sort out not only obvious crap but also slightest deviations from prescribed standards. So all other components are submitted to heavy duty testing over extended time period, i.e. full week, to prevent any incompatibilties and non-conformities. This way audiophiles receive electronics that are guaranteed to work impeccably for years.

Burmester is a system...

...and this credo starts with the visual aspect of the components:  chrom-plated fascias that are polished to high gloss to mirror-like finish and lots of aluminum plates give the compotents industrial beauty. The interconnectivity is also optimized for all the components to be set up together. This approach leads to some quibbles, however.

For example, the labels of buttons and stamped directly into the fascias and then thick layer of chrome is plated over them. It makes them rather illegible. I suspect that the system remote controller (that only comes for free with the CD player, however) will be necessary. On other hand the chunky remote is exquisitely built, almost like a standalone component.

The hyperblitz of chrome asks for constant maintenance as it collects fingerprints way too easily. Therefore equip yourself with a stack of microfiber cloths and expel kids and pets from the listening room.

Burmesters are strictly balanced components and as such they do not have RCA cinch connections. The good news is that each package contains necessary high quality XLR-to-RCA adapters.

The 911 power amplifier has an 16A IEC C19 power inlet. Unless you want to use the good Burmester power cable that is added to the amp, the re-termination of your existing power cable will be necessary. Also please note that all the mains switches are at the back of Burmester units which may be tricky if you plan to bury the electronics in furniture.

The volume is controlled through switched relays and as such it is pretty noisy. It represents no issue as once the volume is set it is dead silent but it may scare off those who have grown up with smooth analogue potentiometers.

Last but not least the aluminum design is a kind of brute industrialism with sharp edges so beware. Especially the 911 power amp in fact is an assembly of cooling fins which are not friendly to glossy surfaces.

Burmester B18 veneer


How does the Burmester set-up sound like?

Great. If there is something like "high end electronics good for heavy metal" then the Burmester is it. The control over Slayer's Seasons In The Abyss was amazing - the sound was thick, resolved, bass deep and crunchy loud like at the finest spot of a concert venue. No matter how loudly are played the 911 amp let me know that there was sufficient headroom for much more and the sound remained organized and composed. No wonder with its power rating and a high damping factor of 2750.

Should we assume that the pre/power combo was responsible for the control, then the 089 CD player became responsible for surgical resolution and articulation. The 089 managed to extract the information from the discs to the last bit and sent it to the amps. If you like the emotional or romantic spinners then the Burmester may not be your cup of tea: its transients are razor sharp, mids a bit lean rather than dense, highs extended and the transparency astounding. Yet it is not thin. For example, the live-to-two-tracks recorded bass guitar on Sheffield Labs' sampler was analogue round and punchy, and precisely contoured at the same time.

The tonality of Georges Cziffra's piano (Hungarian Rhapsodies, EMI) remained colourful from the softest strokes to fiery fortissimos and subtle dynamic shadings secured the lifelike impression of the grand concert instrument. The sound was indeed built with a healthy dose of drama and scale - not unlike McIntosh can do - only that the Burmesters provided more precise insight into the music. For example, the Es-major Carnival in Pest was as if my head was looking directly into the open piano.

As the result the great recordings sounded extremely good, the bad recordings were not improved, rather mercilessly exposed. And if I should judge the whole set-up then the B18 loudspeakers were a bottleneck of otherwise superior chain. The Burmester B18 had the midrange resolution of a good studio monitor, it could not provide the bloom that was delivered by the 911 power amp,  though. Nevertheless, the bass was tight and fast, and it could be could be compensated further by flipping a toggle switch at the crossover assembly, which facilitated easier placement in the room which is the first thing (the optimum placement) which any user should do prior to anything else. 

Burmester B18 loudspeakers
  • 2 ½-way ported speaker with a ring radiator and a midrange cone in a separate enclosure, crossed-over to a bass driver by quite a complex crossover. The fiber glass reinforced cones overlap in midrange.
  • Sensitivity 88dB, nominal impedance 4 ohms, maximum power input 120W.
  • Frequency response 42Hz – 30kHz realistically describes what is heard.

Burmester B18

Burmester 035 preamplifier
  • Completely balanced Class A with no capacitors in the signal path.
  • Attenuator with 60 steps is designed to have the same impedance throughout its operating range.
  • Output lopp for a surround processor.
  • Defeatable tone controls.
  • Optional modules for MM and MC catridges.
  • 3 balanced inputs, 2 single-ended inouts. Their impedance can be set in +/- 6dB range.
  • Outputs: XLR, RCA, tape loop, AV processor (XLR). The output voltage can be increased by +6dB in settings menu..
  • A headphone jack located at the rear panel.

Burmester 035

Burmester 035 rear

Burmester 035 inside

Burmester 911 Mk3 power amplifier
  • All the previous 911 models can be factory upgraded to the Mk3 version. The upgrade includes all silver wiring and replacement of the outout stage. The 911 Mk3 can be also ordered as a monoblock.
  • High damping factor: 2750.
  • Input stage is class A, the output stage in class AB.
  • The speaker do accept only spade lugs.
  • The inputs accept RCA only through adapters (in the packaging).

Burmester 911 rear

Burmester 911 inside

Burmester 089 CD player
  • A belt-driven transport.
  • A selectable sampling rate 24bit/96kHz and 24bit/192kHz.
  • Only balanced inouts and outputs (RCA adapters in the packaging). Digital outputs: SPDIF, coaxial, optical. RCA tape loop. Analogue outputs have adjustable output voltage.
  • Separate power supply for analogue and digital sections.
  • The CD player's variable output makes connecting directly to the power amplifier possible.

Burmester 089 

Burmester 089 rear

Burmester 089 inside

Kontakt: Perfect Sound Group, Praha, tel. +420 722 960 690