According to Burmester’s sales manager, Thorsten Poenig, it has been almost impossible to make a successor to Burmester’s legendary 911 – not to be confused with the Porsche model of the same name.
In this context, for two decades the 911 has been perhaps Burmester’s most popular power amplifier. And the last step up the ladder before the 909, which, until the 159 was launched recently, was Burmester’s very best amplifier. Ever.
But for just as long there has been a price as well as a size gap between the 911 and the 909.
One of the reasons it has been so difficult to make a replacement for the 911, which is in its third and final edition, is that Dieter Burmester was convinced, while he was alive, that it was not possible to improve the amplifier. At all.
In that case, a complete redesign of the entire electronics would be necessary, and it was feared that the Burmester signature would disappear. In trying to recreate the legendary sound signature in a completely new circuit design, the baby could quickly be thrown out with the bath water.
But as Poenig also noted, the market very much wanted an amplifier that cost less than the 909 or 159, but in a cabinet that was about the same size as the 911 MK3. And that wish is now coming true.
The new Burmester 218 and 216 have slightly larger casings than the 911 MK3. However, because they have managed to make the feet under the amplifier smaller, the height is the same as on the 911.
Shown here is the 218, and it’s two power amplifiers driving the relatively new BC150 speakers in the top and bottom photos. The BC150 is also the result of a desire for a more compact version of the huge flagship BC150.
The 218 and 216 are more or less built as scaled-down versions of the 159, which cost over a quarter million euros. Each. Poenig says they are confident that the Burmester sound of the two new amplifiers has been successfully preserved. It’s also pretty much the only thing they have in common with the 911 MK3. Everything else, apart from the familiar cabinet design, is new. Larger capacitors, DC-coupled without capacitors in the signal path and with a fully balanced circuit.
The input section of the amps uses Burmester’s X-Amp, which is their variant of Class A operation, but so far they haven’t specified any output power for either the 218 or 216, both of which can be used as stereo or mono power amps.
On the other hand, we do know the price. At least on the Burmester 218, which stands at 35,000 euros, while the 216 costs somewhat less (the exact price is not clear). The BC150 speakers cost 99,000 euros per pair.