Burmester 911 mk3

Apr 5, 2012
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#1
Tone Audio #26, Jeff Dorgay, 2009
link
PDF - page 138

"I continue to draw the same conclusion with the 911 MK 3. It has a huge, three-dimensional soundstage that I would normally associate with tubes, with the pace and drive I would normally associate with solid state, yet the weaknesses of neither. After six months of listening day in and day out, I can find no fault with the Burmester 911 MK 3 and am happy to say that this will become my new reference amplifier. It was dropped off of a truck on its way to me and I’ve often played it continuously for 24 hours day after day when breaking in new speakers, and it’s never let me down in any way. The 911 MK 3 offers perfect balance in my book; it is highly detailed and articulate, yet not harsh, and it is tremendously musical without being dark or rolled off in any way. This is truly the best power amplifier I have ever experienced. I can’t recommend it highly enough."

The Absolute Sound, Golden Ear Award, 2007
link

"Quite simply one of the best-sounding solid-state amps to thus far lighten our doorstep. It is an advance over the earlier Burmester electronics in that it is not only close to completely neutral but it shows no trace of the normally ubiquitous transistor texture and grain in the upper octaves. More interesting yet, to these ears, is how happy it is driving all sorts of speakers, from the ultra-revealing Kings to the sweetly euphonic Coltranes. An amp for all seasons, and virtually all setups."


Audiophilia, Star Component, 2002
http://www.audiophilia.com/hardware/burmester911.htm

"And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what the 911 brings to the table: Honesty, brilliance, totally clear and absolutely refined sound, great power, adaptability, and pride of ownership. If it is within your means, purchase at your pleasure. Is one note worth near 20K? I think Beethoven may have thought so. Very highly recommended."

What Hi-Fi, 2012
link

"Such a sky-high price tag leads to massively high expectations when it comes to build, finish and performance. And the biggest compliment we can pay to the whole amazing pre/power set-up is that it’s every bit as good as you’d hope. This is one case where you really do get what you pay for."



 
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Tonepub

New Member
Jun 3, 2011
116
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#3
In response to Joost's PM, yes I am still using the Burmester 911 mk.3 and am still very happy with it. If you are a reader of TONEAudio, you know we don't call components "the best" often, as a matter of fact, I've only used the B word once, in reference to the 911. Three years later I still stand behind that word as it applies to power amplifiers. In terms of all around performance and a product offering the best of all things in one package, I still find the 911 as the amp to beat. Sure, there are a couple of tube amps that provide a little more inner detail, but you have the tube thing to deal with, and the massive 2-box Pass Class A amps have not been auditioned yet, but I believe they are 40 and 70k a pair. (much like the enormous Vitus Monos, which will arrive soon for review)

So, whether this still remains "the world's best amplifier" even in my opinion, everything the Burmester 911 offers is tough to beat (and a pair in mono mode is even more spectacular) It has never had a problem driving any speaker I've used it with for review, does not get as warm as a class A amplifier and provides enough of the magic available from the world's finest tube amplifiers, that I don't feel the need to hunt for NOS tubes anymore.

I still use a handful of amplifiers as reference components for different things, but the 911 is still the go to amp in the stable.

Much like it's four wheeled counterpart from Porsche, the Burmester 911 does so many things so well, it's tough to want to go elsewhere. Sure a Ferrari offers an even higher level of ultimate performance, and an Aston Martin more luxury (though the current spec 911's are getting pretty close in that dept.) and maybe the Lambo a little more cache, but it's tough to find a car that does so many things right at this price that you actually can drive day in and day out. The same goes for the Burmester 911.

And for those needing a touch of tubey - ness, the ARC REF 5SE makes a brilliant match for the 911mk. 3. Not necessarily a better sound than going with all Burmester, but a nice variation on the theme.

I suspect this amplifier will be here three years down the road as well. Knowing Burmesters commitment to updating old models, should they ever produce a mk.4, it will just mean a trip to the factory for an update.
 
Apr 5, 2012
655
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#4
Jeff, thanks a lot for that, much appreciated! Very interesting to read your thoughts 3 years down the line of your original 911 review. As a 911 owner it is comforting to hear that your thoughts have not changed after exposure to so many top tier amplifier designs.

As tempted as I am to go for a second 911 ... my single 911 drives my standmount TAD CR1 speakers with such ease that I wonder if it will be a worthwhile upgrade. I'm sure it will be, and I suppose I can experiment with mono, vertical and horizontal bi-amping so it could be a fun exercise down the line when I get upgradeitis.

Thanks again!
 

Tonepub

New Member
Jun 3, 2011
116
0
0
#5
I had the privilege to borrow a 2nd 911 from the US importer for a while and the jump in performance was greater than I expected. It wasn't in the budget for me then, but I am still thinking about it! If you have a Burmester dealer nearby, see if you can arrange an in home demo, that is the best way to see if it makes the most sense. I just used them as mono blocks and was very satisfied with the changes. More dynamics, even more bass grunt, etc etc.
 
Mar 22, 2011
474
0
16
New York, NY
#6
... I suspect this amplifier will be here three years down the road as well. Knowing Burmesters commitment to updating old models, should they ever produce a mk.4, it will just mean a trip to the factory for an update.
I guess that, rather than having a Mk.IV, they'll jump directly to Mk.V :)
 

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,464
1
38
#7
HI

I feel somewhat vindicated.. I've been a Burmester fan for a very, very long time .. I have owned Burmester components and know for a fact how good the 911 is . I am now almost ready to go back to the game.
I have experienced the original 911 and it was as good as they get then and IMHO still would run circle around many current amps. A good friend of mine had these (still does) and was driving Genesis II with it .. He had to scale down and is now driving Genesis V with it (In his opinion not much of a scale down except for relative physical size ... Congrats Garry for resuscitating this superb line of speakers)... Burmester and I am never tired to repat it is almost unique in High End in the sense that their designs don't change that much .. Very similar to Magnepan in this regard .. Models come and stay in the lineup for decades (I read somewhere that watching Magnepan model changes was likely watching cactus grow, you noticed they're grown but it may take you a life :D ) The original 911 is 21 years old in that span other manufacturer would have come up with 150 different models seemingly one every week each of course better than the precedent

I was however not prepared to accept the improvement brought by the MkIII over the original ... As I have said I am intimately familiar with the 911 Mk1 and the MK III is that much better. In my book it has all of what we , audiophiles associate with the better Class designs yet runs barely hot albeit much warmer than the MK1... The midrange is luscious but not at the expense of extended treble.. if you think krell has serious low bass then listen to a 911, actually most any Burmester ... Meanwhile owners of the original 911 can upgrade to MK III..

A little anecdote. I had a very friendly relationship with a famous dealer in NY.. I told him about the then utterly unknown in the US Burmester brand and I proposed to him to bring one in his store for audition.. I brought a pair of smallish stereo Burmester amps the 878, rated at 70 watts per channel in stereo perhaps 150 watts when bridged monos and heard them (bridged monos) on an Avalon speaker then another speaker I can't recall ... The dealer (famous) simply shook his head and looked again at the amplifiers, took a bunch of CD and LP and we just went on listening to music for hours .. .. About 6 months later he was carrying the line ...

The 911 remains one of the best amps I have heard (SS or Tubes) . I have heard another amp which surpasses it in all aspects. This one is in dreamland territory right now ... but I did hear it ... and several times .. There was even a slight opportunity which quickly closed itself during which I could have snatched one, about 12 years ago.. I was waaaay too hesitant (and frankly could have paid for it but could not really afford it) one of the few times I wish I were financially foolish .... The amp? The mighty Burmester 909 :)
 

joeinid

Active Member
Mar 15, 2011
1,538
3
38
NY
#8
I had the privilege to borrow a 2nd 911 from the US importer for a while and the jump in performance was greater than I expected. It wasn't in the budget for me then, but I am still thinking about it! If you have a Burmester dealer nearby, see if you can arrange an in home demo, that is the best way to see if it makes the most sense. I just used them as mono blocks and was very satisfied with the changes. More dynamics, even more bass grunt, etc etc.
Jeff,

Awesome to read your posts again. Thanks for the update. I understand that factory mono 911's from the start are even better than the stereo amps with the Y-adapters and even bett than a 909mk5 stereo amp. I should see my pair mid next month. I can't wait to hear them on the TAD CR-1's.

Do you have any input/feelings on the 111 Reference Music Server? I hope to get more info on it.

Thanks!!!
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,434
23
38
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#9
The 911 remains one of the best amps I have heard (SS or Tubes) . I have heard another amp which surpasses it in all aspects. This one is in dreamland territory right now ... but I did hear it ... and several times .. There was even a slight opportunity which quickly closed itself during which I could have snatched one, about 12 years ago.. I was waaaay too hesitant (and frankly could have paid for it but could not really afford it) one of the few times I wish I were financially foolish .... The amp? The mighty Burmester 909 :)
Frantz, if you are in the region early May, come hear the mighty Burmester 909 Monos driving the legendary Genesis 1 ;) We will be burning-in the 10th Anniversary Genesis Dragons probably from 1st May to 9th May. In fact, all WBF members are welcome.

I also regard the Burmester 911 as one of the best amps of all time. The North America distributor of Burmester is a good friend of mine, but I'm pretty sure that I met him after I said on this forum that I loved the Burmester 911.
 
May 30, 2010
15,442
670
113
Portugal
#10
I(...) And for those needing a touch of tubey - ness, the ARC REF 5SE makes a brilliant match for the 911mk. 3. Not necessarily a better sound than going with all Burmester, but a nice variation on the theme.
Jeff,

Could you give us some details how you connected the ARC REF5 SE to the 911mk3?
 

joeinid

Active Member
Mar 15, 2011
1,538
3
38
NY
#11
Burmester 911mk3's only have balanced inputs. I assume the ARC has balanced outputs or else an adapter would be necessary. I think Jeff likes Cardas Clear cables as well.
 
Apr 5, 2012
655
1
0
#12
Francisco,

I'm sure Jeff will answer, but I suspect single ended, on paper its a perfect match (and conforming to ARC's interesting spec of a 20k min load- normally its min 10x the output impedance).

ARC REF5 SE (and REF40) output impedance: 600 ohms Balanced, 300 ohms SE main (2), 20K ohms minimum load.
Burmester 911mk3 input impedance: 22.9kOhms Unbalanced, 1.88kOhms Balanced
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,912
118
63
#13
Wow...this has been a great thread to read...ii undoubtedly will re-read it, and click on the links provided above for further details. Joe - good luck with your monos! Sounds like this might be end of the amp line for you! Wow!!!
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,912
118
63
#14
Frantz, if you are in the region early May, come hear the mighty Burmester 909 Monos driving the legendary Genesis 1 ;) We will be burning-in the 10th Anniversary Genesis Dragons probably from 1st May to 9th May. In fact, all WBF members are welcome.

I also regard the Burmester 911 as one of the best amps of all time. The North America distributor of Burmester is a good friend of mine, but I'm pretty sure that I met him after I said on this forum that I loved the Burmester 911.
Gary - I have never had the chance to hear Burmester, but i know you have heard the Gryphon Colosseum...how do they compare, if you can. Both in terms of sonic signature, but also in general which you prefer and why. Thanks for any guidance!
 

joeinid

Active Member
Mar 15, 2011
1,538
3
38
NY
#15
Wow...this has been a great thread to read...ii undoubtedly will re-read it, and click on the links provided above for further details. Joe - good luck with your monos! Sounds like this might be end of the amp line for you! Wow!!!
Lloyd,

Thanks. I can't wait to get them. I'll keep you updated. I know Jeff from Tonepub has great taste and reading his early reviews of the Burmester gear got me hooked.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,434
23
38
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#17
Gary - I have never had the chance to hear Burmester, but i know you have heard the Gryphon Colosseum...how do they compare, if you can. Both in terms of sonic signature, but also in general which you prefer and why. Thanks for any guidance!
At the risk of incurring the wrath of my wife - Gryphon blonde, Burmester brunette.
 
May 30, 2010
15,442
670
113
Portugal
#18
Francisco,

I'm sure Jeff will answer, but I suspect single ended, on paper its a perfect match (and conforming to ARC's interesting spec of a 20k min load- normally its min 10x the output impedance).

ARC REF5 SE (and REF40) output impedance: 600 ohms Balanced, 300 ohms SE main (2), 20K ohms minimum load.
Burmester 911mk3 input impedance: 22.9kOhms Unbalanced, 1.88kOhms Balanced
Thanks. But thinks do not seem so easy - I found in a french review of the 909 that an adapter is needed for this conversion and I am curious about this aspect. May be the 911 is similar.

Spécifications constructeur (909 mk3)

Puissance continue : 2 x 600 W/4 Ohms
2 x 300 W/8 Ohms
Entrées (impédance) : type symétrique (1 kOhms),
asymétrique avec adaptateur (22 kOhms)
 

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,464
1
38
#20
Hi
Jdebonth beat to the post, it was included in the package. I also had the mono adapter, that one doesn't come with the package I got it froma friend. Although I never heard Burmester monos in my system.. i did hear a pair of 911 on a good friend system, I had great experience with my friend bridged 878s (they are no longer made but if anyone find these and has appropriately sensitive speakers just grab them and be prepared to hear how good these little things were) ... I must say that although it was very impressive I didn't feel then feel the need to go there. His speakers were the Gen II and the owner of the other 911 wanted his amplifier back (for good reasons) so it was a good audition but not long term enough for me to form a definitive impression...
 

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