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. Recordings used for the review: Depeche Mode, Enjoy The Silence, Sire/Reprise, 21490-2, MS CD (1990);  Depeche Mode, Personal Jesus/Dangerous, Sire/Reprise, 21328-2, MS CD (1989); Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, Ella and Louis, Verve/Lasting Impression Music, LIM UHD 045, UltraHD CD (2010); Eva Cassidy, Songbird, Blix Street Records/JVC, VICJ-010-0045, XRCD24 (2010); Glen Gould, Bach: The Art Of The Fugue, Sony Music/Sony Classical, SMK 52 595, The Glen Gould Edition, SBM CD (1997); Marc Copland & John Abercombie, Speak To Me, Pirouet Records, PIT3058, CD (2011); Pieter Nooten & Michael Brook, Sleeps With The Fishes, 4AD, GAD 710 CD, CD (1987); Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here, Experience Edition, EMI/EMI Music Japan, TOCP-71169-90, 2 x CD (2011); Project by Jarré for VIP Rooms, Geometry Of Love, Aero Prod, 4606932, CD; Lucrezia Vizzana, Componimenti Musicali (1623, Musica Secreta i Catherine King, Linn Records, CKD 071, CD (1998).

I will begin this review in a slightly atypical way although I would not like this to predetermine your perception of the Burmester. It’s the fact that in my headphone system the model 089 replaced the Transrotor Zet 1 with the Miyajima Kansui cartridge. I do not mean to suggest that this is a 'CD player for headphones', simply that its sound character so brilliantly fit the requirements posed by my headfi needs that only that analog system with the RCM Audio phonostage gave me similar joy and positive emotions. When the Burmester was in my home after the Transrotor had left, I did not listen to anything else with my headphones. Even my beloved Ancient Audio Air V-edition found itself unused.

The thing was based on the way the German player built up images; how it wove them together into a whole; and how it showed very big very saturated instruments. This was very palpable regardless of volume level. Even at low levels I had full-blooded events in front of me without holes or anaemic murmurs. Everything was very emotional and full of life! It was for this reason that headphone listening was so unusual. In such systems those two elements are normally missing regardless of the quality of the 'phones and amplifier. That’s the nature of headfi. When we do not perceive the sound with the skull bones or feel it with our whole body through the skin—which is mostly about bass—everything is automatically reduced to something smaller and less natural. This is how our brain functions. It’s mere psychoacoustics.

With the Burmester this tendency—that the less our whole body is influenced, the smaller and farther away the sound seems to be—can be countermanded to some extent. The German player breaks this rule by suggesting to our brain something other than reality - that in fact we are listening to big floorstanding loudspeakers, not headphones.

The most important element to build such a sound is a strong very strong fleshy low bass. This is key also for loudspeakers. And such a nice drive of such fleshy slightly soft low passages we do not often hear from digital players. Perhaps I did twice or thrice before. Two cases would be the Soulution players 745 and 540, the third the two-box TL1N+DX1N from C.E.C. also with belt drive. Was the Burmester’s showing due then to the belt instead of classic direct drive to generate such splendid bass?