This is a great thread Russell......one that I eagerly await responses for, as these are the two I am very interested in as well!! CAN ANYONE INPUT THEIR EXPERIENCE WITH THESE TWO AWESOME PREAMPS??
19 responses Add your response
To put it short, I have auditioned both lines and I ended up with Burmester gear (069 ref cd and 077 ref pre so far). I find Burmester more analog and liquid/fuller sounding than MBL electronics. MBL is dryer and more clinical, works excellent with classical music, but I prefer Burmester for all other kinds of music.
Listened many years with the 808/MkV and was very satisfied. Also know the MBL stuff but always prefered Burmester. Than tested just for fun Manley Steelhead and Klyne LX5 in my system. Both outclassed the 808 in every aspect. Sold 808 few weeks later and kept LX5+PX3.5 combi, now cpmleted with Lamm LP2 for second pono in. The Burmester finish is outstanding; but if you'd like to enjoy music there are alternatives.
Can't say anything about the MBL 6010, but I just auditioned the MBL 5011, and compared it to the Nagra PLL. I bought the Nagra!! IMHO the Nagra was soooo much better. Much more information (detail) sound stage was bigger, imaging, and mid range was in a different league I thought. If fact after auditioning I was in the show room and could hear some of the music I was auditioning, still playing with the Nagra as the pre, and the detail was obvious from the show room, outside the listening room.
I have owned Lamm, MBL, and Burmester along with a variety of other products. There is absolutely no question for me. Burmester has better musicality, engineering, build, and ability to be future-ready. I think that Burmester is the only one that qualifies as an investment and offers the true o flong term ownership.
I have to offer an alternative viewpoint. I have a tube system, and have the MBL 6010D along with a VAC Phi 300 amp and Stealth interconnects. I also use the Accustic Arts tube Dac, and have Kharma speakers. A dealer told me that he did a comparison, and found the Burmester 011 Preamp more musical, and I took the unit on loan and did a direct comparison myself.
It was immediately apparent that the Burmester was more solid state, and some of the body and tube like quality was gone. I felt the high and low ends were compressed with the Burmester. For me the MBL was the clear winner, and has a much sweeter and lush sound, with better dynamics.
System compatability is the key, for sure. SmoothJazz's system running with Kharma speakers are a far cry from the type of full-range speakers that I run as well as most other buyers of Burmester/MBL choose to run. The velvety sound is great but after a short while you realize that you are sacrificing dynamics when the system is full-range. I will be trying this comparison again on SAturday to make sure that I am not crazy. I will report back soon.
SO, OBVIOUS DISCLOSURE: I own the 6010D - never heard the Burmester at home.
I auditioned the MBL 5011 and loved it, after directly comparing in my home with an ARC REF 3 and a Sonic Frontiers Line 3 (tricked out to them max by PCX) and the best NOS tubes. Let me add that these were not on demo units, but owned by by me for a couple of years each.
The 5011, was just closer to the "straight wire" sound notwithstanding I had never been able to bear the thought of parting with either the SF Line 3 or the Ref 3, because they both gave me so much musical pleasure and I could never say one was better than the other - just different.
The 5011 made a difference because it just had better 'texture' and while being the least 'flashy' it was so neutral.
I then had a chance to swop the 5011 for the 6010D. At first I was a bit disappointed because e I was looking for a step up of some kind in my system and it wasn't apparent to me that I was getting that. Nevertheless, I did like the imposing 'audio-jewelry' look of the 6010D, I did like the input / output choices that are second to none and so I persevered.
Well, this was an eye opener. After a week or so, my ears said "hey Steve, when did you ever hear in one package such a relaxing sound, such a fast and dynamic sound, and also so many layers and nuances'?
A few more weeks and no real massive shift, this is not a piece of audio 4X4 - it is subtle, it is sublime and it is the ultimate. My conclusion (thankfully) is why would you need any thing else?
So, there you have it. 30 years of audio amps ... preamps, power amps, integrated amps and after all that I have the utmost respect for the MBL 6010D. It is truly world class and it it is here to stay.
I compared in the my Burmester sound system both preamplifiers as well as 077 (standard version without external power supply unit) and the 808 MK5 with Top Line PSU. The cd plyer was the Burmester 069. I've to say the both preamplifiers, even if with different sound expression, are very superb and excellent. Personally I prefer the legendary 808 MK5.
With best regards,
P.S.: The amps were a mono-pair of Burmester 911 MK3.