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The brilliantly assembled B10 enclosure sports 22mm MDF mostly damped on the insides just at the walls. Stuffing the entire box with damping fill would steal from bass power explained Stark. To combat an 800Hz standing wave did warrant some damping in one specific spot. Around the mid/woofer the wall thickness doubles to nearly 5cm to create a solid non-resonant foundation. The front baffle sports a massive aluminium plate affixed to a decoupling felt layer which adds damping. The aluminium also adds a minimal tweeter wave guide to limit lateral dispersion. Though arguably not perfectly ideal for hifi applications where homogenous off-axis response is desirable, Berndt Stark explained that the studio roots of the B10 aimed it at predominantly direct forward radiation and minimal reflected or lateral sound.
Both aluminum super baffle and woofer use praiseworthy T nuts and machine screws. Only the tweeter which releases far lower mechanical forces mounts with wood screws.
The studio genes of the B10 appear in another room-adaptive features which occasionally also appears in other hifi models. Below the speaker terminals sits a toggle switch with plus and minus positions. This operates a 2nd-order high-pass which in the ‘+’ placement gets switched ahead of the crossover to affect the bass leg and in conjunction with the mid/woofer’s native resonance leads to a ca. 2-3dB lift of the upper bass whilst the response below this boost falls off faster. A similar effect is achieved with the included open-pore foam plug for the rear-facing bass reflex port. Partially inserted one can tune for a half/half result to make the bass response quite tunable.
Sound. Compact monitor. As soon as I hear this description, I associate a very specific sound with it. Small boxes are necessarily limited on macrodynamic and can render music a bit thin-blooded whilst they retaliate by opening up huge spatial vistas that can approach nearly hyper-realistic outline sharpness which is routinely exploiting with the earlier trick of running the tweeter a bit hot. Burmester’ B10 does not follow this cliché and sounds anything but anaemic.
One thing at a time though. Prince’s Parade includes one of this occasionally divine artist’s grand hits, "Kiss". It’s special because Prince’s voice lacks all added reverb. The B10 rendered this with superb timbre accuracy, clarity and an intelligibility of such immediacy that one would think more of a good horn than conventional dynamic box. The rhythmic interplay of bass, percussion and guitar locked in sharply. Cymbals had believable metal albeit without any artificial sheen. All manner of other transients down into the bass showed excellent attack. Bass extension contingent on placement and tuning of the box seemed unattenuated to about 55 to 60Hz.
Despite its compact dimensions the B10 sounded like a big speaker. The sonic imagery arose from a potent but exceptionally quick midband. Male voices like the somewhat struggling baritone on "16 Toneladas" from Brazilian band Funk Como le Gusta’s compilation "The Essential Guide to Brazil" had uncommon expressivity and directness. The beat on this number is first held by the bass and only later seamlessly hands over to additional instruments. With the B10 this came off nonchalantly but perfectly in the pocket. Double cream!
Ditto for Nina Simone’s "My Baby just cares for me" from the eponymous compilation whose voice was phenomenally natural. Mme Simone’s left piano hand plays a descending figure which gets shortly doubled by acoustic bass. Those paralleled timbres often congeal but the B10 differentiated them with aplomb to retain individual characters with the full woodiness of the upright intact as though visible. Even clearly bigger speakers have rarely shown this off so impressively before.
If this number suggested that the B10 veered tonally into a lightly fulsome sonorous direction, changing to another recording showed an iota of truth in that but more so a highly morph-happy response. There was very little personality as any self imprimatur on the music. Clara Haskil’s 1961 reading of Mozart’s Piano Concerto N°.13 with the Festival Strings of Lucerne had all the artist’s trademark litheness and illumination. Hammer falls were feathery to nearly dance. Here mostly costlier speakers might exhibit a tad more treble air for more upper-end freedom and perhaps enhanced spatial transparency. On this recording the strings seemed to exhibit a minor emphasis in the lower treble. With other classical recordings too I had the impressions that the violins were a bit more prominent than with other speakers.