Every so often there comes an audio brand so well respected and revered in the industry editorial writers go out of their way to review its products. When it happens it’s a clear indication of the true value of the brand.
Burmester is one of those rare jewels.
The quality of Burmester’s audio systems is so unquestionably high and the resulting reputation so great writers and critics from the world’s best audio magazines have been flocking to publish reviews (such as What Hi-fi?, Hi-Fi+, Tone Audio, and Audiophile). Now, America’s well-respected audio magazine, The Absolute Sound, has just released a cover-story review of the Burmester 151 Music Center. The author’s overall impression can be summarized with the title: “Luxury is sometimes worth the price.”
If you would like to download a digital copy follow this link to The Absolute Sound website. Otherwise, read on for a brief summary.
In his 12 page in-depth analysis of this stalwart German device writer Anthony H. Cordesman provides a notably unbiased opinion. He’s clearly unafraid to share his criticisms, but the resulting article still maintains a very high degree of enthusiasm for the product.
Cordesman introduces his article with the following words:
Let me begin with one central and perhaps overriding observation: One can debate the features and cost of the Burmester MC151, but not its sound quality. It is a truly outstanding digital player, one of the most musically exciting I’ve auditioned. It is superbly built, offers a wide range of features, and its iPad remote control option is well designed and highly functional.
In absolutist terms, akin to what one would expect from Absolute Sound magazine, Cordesman lays down a clear statement: you can debate price and features all you want, but you can’t debate the device’s phenomenal sound quality. It’s simply the best.
Most of his article is dedicated to addressing the MC151’s features. He quotes the Burmester website’s description of the product then he discusses its storage space, music streaming connectivity, and the phenomenal firmware updating and support Burmester offers. Throughout the article he makes a compelling case against any perceived drawbacks of the device. For example, he cites a handful of reasons why the 24-bit/192kHz sampling rate is more than enough for even the most astute audiophiles. He also explains why 2TB of backed-up storage is plenty considering other limitations. In the end, the only fault he finds is the fact that it “is not suited for background music. Its sound is too compelling and involving.” You can’t help but stop everything and listen when a Burmester system is playing.
Not included in the article is a recent revelation that came out since this article was written: Tidal high fidelity music streaming will now be officially supported on all Burmester Musiccenters. An update has been released and anyone who owns a 111, 151, or 150 will have full access to the millions of high quality tracks in the Tidal database. Anthony predicted this change in his article when he wrote: “The MC151 brings to the table both an Ethernet connection and a manufacturer dedicated to steadily improving the component’s sound and features.” Perhaps he didn’t imagine the change would come so soon.
His biggest lament is the price, summed up his closing statement: “The Burmester is a superb-sounding digital player, and one where cost was never intended to be a key concern. The unfortunate thing is that luxury is often worth the price.”
Other notable quotes include:
“Even in a world of ever-more-competitive digital players and servers, this one is truly outstanding”
“The Burmester was far better than any separate computer-storage system, such as JRiver, that I’ve yet encountered.”
“The Burmester consistently got the soul of the music.”
“It did an excellent job with the better high resolution recordings that I referred to earlier. It brought out their exceptional upper-octave life and air, and still kept all the warmth of the midrange. Bass was equally excellent, as was the soundstage width, depth, and detail. I kept trying to fault its performance, but the unit kept dragging me back into the music.”
Overall, the article he makes a strong argument for the merits of all the Burmester MC151’s technological features and highlights the truly outstanding nature of this stalwart, hand-crafted, German marvel of engineering and design.