Symphonic Line Kraft - Caesar's amps vs Burmester 911 on Magico, B&W

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morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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#2

bonzo75

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#3

spiritofmusic

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Is this the Kraft that has been discontinued for many years, w reviews from the mid-'00s?
 
Apr 26, 2012
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A friend of mine owned for a long time the Symphonic Line Kraft/Preamp Audio Research Reference 10 with his speakers Magico S5 and he loved so much the elegant way musical expression of such combo. Being I know well his very good listening room acustically treated, I listened his system several times and sound was really lovely, in the romantic side. Then, few months ago he demoed in his own system with Magico S5 (already he ordered Magico S7) and compared (after comparison he bought it) his power amp/preamp combination with Burmester 911/088 and the rest of set up similar. According his ears the overall sound quality improvement with Burmesters is huge in all regards. I've listened to his system too and the Burmester combo is a magnitude superior with his total absence of coloration, liquidity, detail, micro dynamics, clarity, purity, voicings clear, timbre, absolutely refined sound, great power were splendid even at low volume and/or high volume no crushing of the soundstage, no implosion, no harshness, no nothing. The width and depth of many recordings soundstage was really an education for the ears who truly love the classical music/chamber music/live jazz performance/explosive hard rock and is well familiarized with live music conveying the finest detail and airiness. In other systems of friends and mine we have compared with Burmester (911 mk3 monos or stereo / 909 Mk5 monos and stereo) a lot of power amps (Vitus 102, Jeff Rowland, Pass 600.5 monos/XA160.5/XA200.5, Audio Research 600/Preamp 10, Viola Bravo, Viola Simphony, Bat Rex II combo, Cary Audio Top, Dartzeel 108, Kondo Gaku on with preamp 1000, MBL 9011/6010D, Kr Kronzilla top and others maybe I'm forget) and the Burmester was always prefered for the overall musical performance expression.
My two cents....
 
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FrantzM

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Apr 20, 2010
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A friend of mine owned for a long time the Symphonic Line Kraft/Preamp Audio Research Reference 10 with his speakers Magico S5 and he loved so much the elegant way musical expression of such combo. Being I know well his very good listening room acustically treated, I listened his system several times and sound was really lovely, in the romantic side. Then, few months ago he demoed in his own system with Magico S5 (already he ordered Magico S7) and compared (after comparison he bought it) his power amp/preamp combination with Burmester 911/088 and the rest of set up similar. According his ears the overall sound quality improvement with Burmesters is huge in all regards. I've listened to his system too and the Burmester combo is a magnitude superior with his total absence of coloration, liquidity, detail, micro dynamics, clarity, purity, voicings clear, timbre, absolutely refined sound, great power were splendid even at low volume and/or high volume no crushing of the soundstage, no implosion, no harshness, no nothing. The width and depth of many recordings soundstage was really an education for the ears who truly love the classical music/chamber music/live jazz performance/explosive hard rock and is well familiarized with live music conveying the finest detail and airiness. In other systems of friends and mine we have compared with Burmester (911 mk3 monos or stereo / 909 Mk5 monos and stereo) a lot of power amps (Vitus 102, Jeff Rowland, Pass 600.5 monos/XA160.5/XA200.5, Audio Research 600/Preamp 10, Viola Bravo, Viola Simphony, Bat Rex II combo, Cary Audio Top, Dartzeel 108, Kondo Gaku on with preamp 1000, MBL 9011/6010D, Kr Kronzilla top and others maybe I'm forget) and the Burmester was always prefered for the overall musical performance expression.
My two cents....
FWIW... Back in the early 2000 a friend of mine had the Symphonic LInes too... INterestingly enough he had B&W speakers perhaps the 801 IIRC. We heard the SYmphonic Line and then compared them to the Burmester 878 a smallish 70 wpc Stereo amplifier. This Burmester amplifier came on top in our opinion. And it wasn't a one-time listening session. My friend lived with both amps for a few weeks, our initial impression did not change. My friend later moved up to the Burmester 911... He hasn't looked back since ...has no desire to acquire any other amp.. Up to then he was a card-carrying member of the amp of the month club :)... I've heard enough of the Symphonic Line amps to form an opinion and it mirrors Rocco's. While they're good they aren't to the Burmester 911 level. IMO, very few amps are... YMMV
 

bonzo75

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#7
FWIW... Back in the early 2000 a friend of mine had the Symphonic LInes too... INterestingly enough he had B&W speakers perhaps the 801 IIRC. We heard the SYmphonic Line and then compared them to the Burmester 878 a smallish 70 wpc Stereo amplifier. This Burmester amplifier came on top in our opinion. And it wasn't a one-time listening session. My friend lived with both amps for a few weeks, our initial impression did not change. My friend later moved up to the Burmester 911... He hasn't looked back since ...has no desire to acquire any other amp.. Up to then he was a card-carrying member of the amp of the month club :)... I've heard enough of the Symphonic Line amps to form an opinion and it mirrors Rocco's. While they're good they aren't to the Burmester 911 level. IMO, very few amps are... YMMV
I have now heard Burm 911, 909, 956, and compared it to Nagra, Symphonic Line, Boulder 2160, Plinius, Adyton (from Norway), and Gryphon colosseum. They are fast, bassy, that's about it. Sound too negative hifi to me (over precise, not flowing images), not real, and I don't like the tone on acoustical classical at all. I like the Burm 100 phono. Not the pre and power.

And to Frantz's point...I know people who have gone the other way and recommend the other way. The ones that seem to like them are mostly into rock.

Anyway, this is good, there are those who like it, those who don't, and people can calibrate their ears to ours better now.
 
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Jan 23, 2011
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Bonzo what would be your favourite SS poweramp in the 10 k price range used ??
Apart from halcro , which nobody besides me and a couple of others seem to like .
I like a fast dynamic natural fluid sound , i dont need more then 20-50 watts really but more power doesnt hurt.
Dartzeel/ lamm solid state /hybrid ?


Ps And no noise /transformerhum please , other wise id rather keep the tubed cat ;), i think personally it should be a standard test besides S/N ratio , namely a test in for example a 15 db test environment and test how much the amp raises the noisefloor with the amp powered up but no music playing
 
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Apr 26, 2012
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I have now heard Burm 911, 909, 956, and compared it to Nagra, Symphonic Line, Boulder 2160, Plinius, Adyton (from Norway), and Gryphon colosseum. They are fast, bassy, that's about it. Sound too negative hifi to me (over precise, not flowing images), not real, and I don't like the tone on acoustical classical at all. I like the Burm 100 phono. Not the pre and power.

And to Frantz's point...I know people who have gone the other way and recommend the other way. The ones that seem to like them are mostly into rock.

Anyway, this is good, there are those who like it, those who don't, and people can calibrate their ears to ours better now.
Bonzo75, please be relaxed. Seems enough clear that you have listened these brands for the first time and in a different showroom where the conditions (as in photos posted) are unknown and uncontrolled. Burmester with its extreme neutrality if it is not well settled, even a wrong power cord could compromise the sound result. I personally respect your opinion even I (and many, many others music aficionados in audio circle, a lot of them are well renowned names) are totally disappointing with your impressions, but are yours and shall be respected. The music listened by me is mainly classical music, baroque and jazz, but phisically live around the world (in the most known theaters, jazz club, churches) since 22 years now and when I played with Burmester, the sound is so alive, correctly stunning in timbre and tone. Of course also rock music is played very well with Burmester, but it is not my favourite genre. I know very well and closely (listened all in controlled and well known situations) the respected brands mentioned by yours, but It is clear enough that we have different way and perception to intend the correct musical reproduction.

All the best.

p.s.: If i should report all uncontrolled listening sessions made around the world, in the showroom and audio shows I need maybe two years to write everything. Sorry, but said listenings could not give enough indications, at least for my personal approach to audio matters.
 
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Elberoth

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Dec 16, 2012
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#10
I had the 911 mk3 at home for over a month a while back, and agree with bonzo75 sound assesment vs other amps I had at home at the time (darTZeel 108, Jadis JS-120).





That said, I didn't have the matching Burmester preamp on hand to try and had to rely on the dCS variable output. It is still possible that it sounds better with one.
 

bonzo75

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#11
I had the 911 mk3 at home for over a month a while back, and agree with bonzo75 sound assesment vs other amps I had at home at the time (darTZeel 108, Jadis JS-120).





That said, I didn't have the matching Burmester preamp on hand to try and had to rely on the dCS variable output. It is still possible that it sounds better with one.
If you didn't like it then you wouldn't like it with one. I did all those experiments with and without in different systems
 

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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#12
Objective stimuli create subjective experiences inside our skulls. What someone finds to sound "real", "natural", and "disappear", another finds to stick out as colored and snap them out of the state of flow - just think of the feud between magico and Wilson fans both of whom use live music as a reference but come to different conclusions.

Also, our tastes in music, other components we already have in the system, and our rooms all differ. Furthermore, design and technology of some (especially hard-to-drive) speakers will respond better to tubes or solid state. No matter the hype, no reference amp will beat out another on all criteria and in all situations ...

There is no BEST out there! (Despite monthly claims from "audio journalists"/ marketing representatives.

With technology and subjective disclaimers out of the way, on a personal level, I have listened to A LOT of AMPLIFIERS in my life. I have F*ED up my back, cut my fingers, slashed my forearms, crushed my finger nails, smashed my shins, so many times, I can't count them. In late night sessions , I have even tripped over amps and have broken my toes several times.

What I find is that the newest SS like solution, and the like have more resolution than these amps, something like spectral may be a tad faster, but hard core tube lovers would never consider them. Honest tube lovers would find these newer ss creations better than the older ss stuff. Yet relatively speaking, tube guys would still reject these new ss designs as analytical, harsh, and thread bare. "Features" such as a slight speed improvement or more resolution are not noticeable during a state of musical bliss...

Yet If you crave the experience of RICH TONALITY, and flow of tubes, but like the power and speed of solid state, a rich midbass that makes a baritone saxophone and the like sound like itself, you will be hard pressed to find something that beats these amps.

So if your speakers require a lot of power and you need to have SS, yet you value and find realism in harmonic integrity and continuous flow of music, give these amps a listen. No, they are not the BEST, but you may find them as BEST for you.
 

bonzo75

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#14
Yet If you crave the experience of RICH TONALITY, and flow of tubes, but like the power and speed of solid state, a rich midbass that makes a baritone saxophone and the like sound like itself, you will be hard pressed to find something that beats these amps.
Good summary of my findings exactly.
 

caesar

Active Member
May 31, 2010
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#16
Quote ceasar :

There is no BEST out there! (Despite monthly claims from "audio journalists"/ marketing representatives.


Okay i know enough , i rest my case :p;), but its part of the hobby isnt it switching gear once in a while


Ps nice room elberoth
Absolutely is a big part of the hobby. I have found 2 main types of gear swappers. The first kind is the lost soul - they keep searching, often careening from one extreme to another. The second kind is a guy who knows what his taste is, and is looking for better than what he has. With that said, I know guys who have moved / changed rooms to get better sound, and swapped every piece of gear/ cable more than a dozen times, yet have kept these particular amps...
 

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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#17
Interesting, that both the Burmesters and the Symphonic Lines are designs from the 1990s (small tweaks, apart)...

Over the last 20 years, the amps have gotten smaller, but not necessarily better...
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#18
I think we all have, to a certain degree, a reference in our aural memories which guides us toward our own sonic nirvana.

and so with amplifiers there is simply no one vision we all agree on.

for me that reference is my recollection (now 14 years old) of the 'good parts' of the Tenor 75 watt OTL's......which morphed into the dart 108's, and then morphed into the dart 458's. all other amplifiers have to compete in my head with my idealized viewpoint of this amp. "why can't you all hear what I hear?"

for some it's the big Boulders, for others maybe the Burmester 911's.

or particular SET's, or whatever.

we don't always understand how others don't 'get' what we 'get' with our preference. and that's ok.

amplifiers, above other pieces of the reproduction chain, are like that. it's the type of blood in our listening veins.
 

caesar

Active Member
May 31, 2010
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#19
Another thought is that if Magico M and Q speakers were showed with Symphonic Line instead of Soulution, Spectral, Constellation, etc., they would attract a lot more people to their brand...
 

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