Burmester 001, comment please?

Admittedly, I am shameless as I can no way afford $13K. Nonetheless, looking into used market, it may be obtainable however long shot it might be.
I would like to hear those who have direct experience with this beauty as to how it compares with contenders in the class (or less expensive). I did hear it at my local dealer in all-Burmester system. While it is impossible to conclude about its sound character, I thought the "there (as in I could almost touch the performer)" sound image might be attributable to the CD player. Again, comparison with contenders would be very helpful, in context of classical or acoustical musics. My current CDP is Cary 306/200. While it sounds great, I have suspected something is missing. Delicacy or intimacy, and smoothness (liquidity?) or warmth in mid-high to high freq. My other equip are: Sonus Faber Signum and Berning ZH270. Maybe I am asking too much, but, hey, this is hobby! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Ken
I was encouraged when I read HP's piece in which he mentioned the 001 as a possible "poor man's" Burmester. I even inquired, through a friend whose son lives in Germany, about the possibility of buying one at less cost in Germany. I learned that new they go for about the equivalent of $7K, and used they can be found for a bit over $5K. The hitch is that they are configured for 220V/50Hz. Having lived in the UK back in the late 50s, i remember that the switch from 220v./50Hz. to 120v./60Hz. was simple, particularly with radios, but even with tape recorders. Most of the Blaupunkt/Telefunken/Grundig, etc. units were arranged so that the flip of a switch took care of the voltage, and a simple pulley swap took care of the frequency difference for devices involving motors. I don't know, however, if this still applies. Maybe someone on the Forum can address what would be involved in adapting a Euro-spec 001 for use over here.

I more or less forgot about the 001 anyhow when HP mentioned recently that the 001 doesn't use the belt-drive of the more expensive spread. I'm enjoying the closest thing to the big Burmesters to which I feel entitled--- the CEC TL1X--- and I'm convinced that at least some of its "magicks" is the result of belt-drive.
I have a 220V Burmester 877 mkII pre-amp. I have 'heard' that it will cost around $1250 to have it changed to 110V by the dealer. I am currently using a $20 step-up transformer that plugs into a 110V outlet and generates 220V with a European-type outlet. Works fine. Just cannot use an after-market power cord with it to 'soup-up' performance.
After I posted, I found several websites, including the Burmester site, in which reference was made to belt-drive on the 001. So it appears that HP's statement to the contrary may be incorrect.

Can anyone confirm, from actual experience, that it is a belt-drive unit?
The 001 uses the same belt drive topology that is found in the 979 and 969 tranports. The real difference between the drives in these 2 transports and the 001 drive is that the 001 has a CDM-12 as a base mechanism and the other 2 have the ultra-rare CDM-9 as the base mechanism. Both mechanisms are equally modified and elaborated but the CDM-12 drive costs far less to begin with and in the end is not that far off in performance from the modded CDM-9.

The DAC section is a simplified version of what is found in the 980 SRC DAC. It has the switchable digital filter, HDCD decoder(no one with a 980 uses this anyway) and the upsampling sutdown function removed. While these were nice features to have, they are not essential to the performance of the 980. Also gone are the host of outputs found on the 979 and the clock sync sections. None of this is needed as the 001 is a 1 box player. Same power supply and same chassis as the 979 transport.

Added to this machine is a proper high voltage variable output that is switchable between a high and low voltage range to allow this unit to direct drive the amps. It can also be used as a straight CD by selecting either a high or low voltage fixed output mode.

The bottom line is that you get most of the performance of the $25K 980/979 combo at a fraction of the cost. Also, in my experience(I have had both the 001 and 979/980 SRC combo, the 001 is the better all around performer if you are direct driving your amplifiers. Going through a suitable preamp such as the Boulder 2010 or 1012, the 980SRC/979 combo pulls well ahead of the 001. These are different machines for different applications. Anyone who is using their 001 through anything less than the best preamp or not going direct, has never really heard what the unit can do.

Also, the volume control is in the analog domain and the output stage is designed as a full preamp stage(it will only take digital inputs though) so this unit will PROPERLY direct drive an amplifier. This is unlike any of the other variable output CD players on the market.

This machine is a great value at full list let alone a good used price.

I use my Burmester front ends with a Boulder 2060 amplifier, MBL 101D speakers, Tara Labs "The Zero" interconnects and "The One" AC Cords and speaker cables although the later is soon to be replaced with their new flagship "Omega" which is a companion product to the Zero.

A quick note on the CEC which I have owned in the past. This is a very good transport and essentially a 1st generation Burmester transport design with the killer chassis and power supply and built by Sanyo. Burmester had originally contracted Sanyo to build the belt drive transport that they designed. This remained the case until the mid-late '90s when they started building their own tranports in-house. At this time, Sanyo licensed the original transport design from Burmester and start producing a finished product under the brand name of C.E.C. and will continue to do so if I am not mistaken.

As good as the CEC tranports are, even the TL-1X does not compare with the 001 used via its digital out as a tranport(you wouldn't do this with an 001 anyway but the comparison is valid).

The 001 has a great DAC and surpasses almost all single box players at any price(read Linn CD12) and many very expensive DACs such as the mbl, DCS, Levinson, Krell, etc. The Boulder is the real competition for this unit and about the ultimate digital rig is a Burmester/Boulder combo which stands well beyond compare.

Good luck!
I had to sit down and imagine what your system could possibly sound like. It must be great.

BTW what speakers are you using?
914nut and Justacoder, thanks for your valuable input. Makes me wonder what Burmester has on its mind for marketing strategy in US.

Dinan, thanks for your complete response. I am impressed and even more intrigued by 001. I see you have a lot of experience and knowledge, which I envy. Makes me wonder though how many units have been actually sold in US. You are almost the only one who has come forward as an owner on those internet forums.

One note about CEC, which I know: CEC was spun off from Sanyo group (MBO, I guess), and has been independent ever since. They have reduced presence in US, but seem doing ok in Japan and Europe.

Thank you very much.
hi Dinan, i have been curious about the Burmeister 001 and appreciate your comments, thanks.

i do have a question as a Linn CD-12 owner. you comment "the 001 has a great DAC and surpasses almost all single box players (read CD-12)". do you mean that the 001 does surpass the CD-12?....if so, what single box players doesn't it surpass? i've not had the opportunity to compare the CD-12 to the 001 and would be curious what the differences are.

i agree, you have a great system.
Dinan said they are using MBL 101D speakers.

I'll have to say "Now that's a stereo".
After determining that the 001 is truly a belt-drive unit, and based on Dinan's glowing post, I have bought one.

It's too early to give my thoughts, other than to say that it's certainly equal to my CEC TL1X/Chord DAC64 combo (I only put it in service last night---I'm still sorting out the many available operating modes).

More later.

Wow, please please keep me posted! I am really looking forward to your impressions. Please elaborate the functionality also, easy to use or clumsy or ?. My presumption is that German-made is truely built like a tank.
First impressions:

Functionally, the 001 is similar to my CEC TL1X. Slide the cover back, remove the "puck", place the CD on the spindle, replace the puck, slide the cover back to closed position.
Burmester puck is small/lightweight compared to the CEC's (Evolution?). Burmester cover is magnetically (I assume---feels that way, anyhoo) pulled closed when within approx.1/4" of closed position. CEC cover closes a small switch at closing, with a satisfying "click". Don't see/can't hear a switch in the Burmester, although the unit obviously knows what's happening to the cover. Magnetic reed switch perhaps?

When removing a CD, sliding the Burmester cover back stops
the rotation dead in its tracks. CEC continues to freewheel, until momentum peters out, or until the puck's raised "handle" is grabbed.

For all southpaws: CEC has only two recessed areas for finger/thumb clearance at the CD edge, at upper right/lower left. Burmester has FOUR, at upper left and right, lower left and right (like a SACD jewel box). I'm righthanded, so the CEC has been no problem for me, but it would appear perhaps to be awkward for lefthanders. Burmester is more "user-friendly" in this regard. Inside the Burmester cover area looks like a fine German camera, all matte black, with Burmester logo in gold. Might as well say "Leica". They're proud of their products, as is made abundantly clear by the asking price! heh heh. "Und you vill LIKE it!"

Construction: CEC is made up of alum. extrusions and an alum. casting, all in anodized gold satin finish. Cover has a plate glass window so the spinning CD is easily observed. Burmester appears to be fabricated from thick machined plates. Faceplate and frame for the sliding cover are chrome plated. Matte silver finish elsewhere. Cover is solid metal. What happens underneath it is not observable. Burmester weighs a mere 11Kg., versus 17Kg. for the CEC. And this is for a transport/preamp/dac in the Burmester, vs. transport ONLY in the CEC! Burmester remote is heavy brushed stainless, weighing more than most portable CD players---perhaps even some non-portables!. CEC is plastic and anodized alum. Both are full-function units.

One concern for now: Dinan cautioned that best performance is obtained by feeding the analog output directly to the power amps, using the volume control of the Burmester. This is the only way I've listened so far, and the sound is truly glorious. Different from the CEC/Chord, but only time/listening will let me decide if it's "better". At this time, I'm inclined to say that it is, since I'm hearing minute details anew----I THINK! It's gonna be difficult to A/B, since cables will have to be swapped, etc. I digress:
my concern has to do with available gain from the Burmester. With my previous setup I was feeding the analog output from the Chord DAC64 single ended into my ARC LS2 preamp (it doesn't have XLR inputs). From there using XLR interconnects into a pair of bridged Bryston 4BST amps. For most chamber music, such as string quartets, piano trios, etc., comfortable listening levels required less than a quarter gain. Larger "power music", as HP is fond of saying, usually only required less than half gain. With the Burmester, with "hi" level selected, I'm running at approx. "40" (out of a possible "60" steps) on the gain control. Not a problem so far and I simply mention this as "curious". Only time will tell if I "run out of steam" with some music. If that happens, I guess I'll have to make another major "investment" (yeah, right!), this time in a better preamp.

Still more later-