The world of high-end audio can really take you by surprise. In an era of ear buds and MP3s, there are still amplifiers that sell for over $100,000, speaker towers at $270,000 for the pair, and turntables that require $300,000 for ownership. So, yes, you can spend upwards of a million dollars on a home entertainment sound system. These are extreme examples, certainly, but they underline the fact that the audiophile is not a person of the past. And in the audiophile’s heart, Burmester must occupy a special place.
The company was founded in 1977 by Dieter Burmester. He was a highly respected sound technician, and then became an electrical engineer, and built himself a set of studio monitors for his own professional use. But it didn’t take long before associates and friends were clamouring for speakers of their own, hand-built by Burmester. To this day, much of the company’s product is still handmade, and still over-delivers in both aesthetics and sound quality.
What does this really mean? Listening to music with a set of Burmester speakers can be a bit of a giddy experience; you hear a familiar old record, and the clarity, precision, and ambience of the sound make it seem as if Jennifer Warnes is singing “First We Take Manhattan” for the very first time. Stevie Ray Vaughn’s guitar work makes you think he’s actually standing right there, strumming some rhythm chords until his solo. Even something as sparse and stark as the late, great Leonard Cohen’s “The Stranger Song” takes on a whole new tone palette, right down to fingers on frets. But this kind of equipment is friendly to any genre of music you prefer.
Burmester entered the automobile sound market with a patented sound system in 2005, when it was invited to create something special for that year’s Bugatti EB 16.4 Veyron. The brand then went on to work with Porsche, and in 2009 the Panamera offered a Burmester High-End Surround Sound System. These days, that system is available in virtually every Porsche model. And, in 2013, Burmester became the luxury sound purveyor for Mercedes-Benz; the Mercedes-AMG GT even offers two different options to its clients.
You can indulge yourself in a complete home entertainment array, complete with large screen and internet access (hello, YouTube). Or content yourself with an integrated amplifier, CD player, and speaker towers, maybe a turntable, if you wish. These are investments that repay, both short- and long-term, every time you turn them on.
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