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I don’t know. But I have to say that I had similar impressions when listening to the RCM system with the TL0 drive and—if I am not mistaken—the Parasound of yore. The Transrotor turntable stands in for a representative of a bigger group of analog sources sounding like that. All these have one thing in common: unconstrained playing with large virtual images and a beautiful extended if slightly soft bass.

As you can see in this group there are two CD players with classic drives which in fact aren’t CD but DVD drives for playing SACDs. All SACD players use DVD drives. The differences between DVD and SACD formats occur on the signal coding/decoding side and in the setup of information on the disc. The drives are exactly the same. But even in this comparison the Burmester wins—by a hair but still—at least when we consider how it builds out the lower octaves on timbre and depth.

In general this was a very big sound. Playing the 089 and Transrotor side by side it was audible how they formed their sound in a similar way and how whoever modified this CD player listened to it and changed the values of individual parts and the parts themselves to achieve the desired result modeled on analogue sound. About this I have no doubt. And this designer (or team) had a powerful tool in the form of the digital belt drive to achieve this. I am assuming listening sessions and modifications because I believe that this type of sound can only be achieved by listening to a device many times and changing something; or modeling it after some other device in this way.

This sound is about showing real flesh and blood performers, not commas or points on stage but large shapes for a clear event. It’s probably why the midrange seems most important here founded upon this very strong bass. When you switch to the Burmester from any other source—with the exception perhaps of a few turntables—everything seems to be deeper, stronger, more massive and the center of gravity lower. Perhaps that’s why the sound of the Burmester—and I am talking also about their other electronics—is for many manufacturers and distributors 'sweet', 'warm' and/or 'dark'. I talked with many about it in Munich and the consensus was very clear. Now I fully appreciated where this opinion arose – from the lowering of the core accent and the strong bass. Due to that everything else seems presented less decisively.

Another element that helps shape this perception are the slightly rounded attacks heard with all percussive elements, not just cymbals but also bongos, snare drum etc. This results in the sound being a bit soft. Yet the treble is strong and full, even stronger than with my Air which is a very well-balanced player. This was apparent on recordings where vocals add a lot of reverb, say the acoustic versions of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy The Silence and Personal Jesus from the American maxi singles. The sibilants and their decays are long and with the Burmester they became more audible and stronger still. If the treble were cut, these sibilants and their reverb trails would have been shorter.

This is a very energetic sound with large images yet the soundstage itself is not very deep and individual performers do not have a clear 3D shape. This is simply not about that type of holography. Here vividness is achieved by the energy of the sustain, by the midrange, by the overall scale and its swing. This does not change with volume. It’s similar with low and high levels. It is full, big and mature.