I heard a Burmester hi-fi system bring Elvis back to life, and it blew me away

Burmester BX100 system on display at High End Munich 2024
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

When Burmester said it had something special lined up at the start of its demo at High End Munich 2024, it wasn’t kidding. Little did I know, but a legend was about to be brought back from the dead before my eyes.

But first, a bit of scene-setting. For those who haven’t been to Munich High End, it’s an audiophile’s dream. One of the best parts of the show is walking around and every so often taking a few minutes to listen to one of the systems being demoed at the show.

There must be hundreds of different set-ups on display – virtually every room you stumble into has music playing either on headphones or speakers – and before you know it, you’re in your listening groove and the whole day has flown by.

And there really is a system for everyone at the show from relatively affordable set-ups (at least by the standards of some of the brands there) to absolutely mind-blowing combinations that can cost a million or two.

Burmester brought the goods

Burmester BX100 AMT tweeter

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

In 2024, my personal highlight came courtesy of Burmester and its demo room. The German high-end hi-fi giant always has a significant presence at the show, and this year was no exception, with the company showcasing its brand new BX100 floorstanding speakers.

In the flesh, they look stunning, whether you’re lucky enough to be able to opt for one of the standard finishes (such as white, matte black or gloss black) at €75,700 per pair, or you can stretch that budget to €80,000 and one of the special paint options.

They are four-way speakers with a front-facing midrange driver, woofer, and two side-mounted woofers. An AMT (Air-Motion-Transformer) tweeter is mounted within its own dedicated, isolated section, which looks like an ‘X’.

The BX100 were driven by quite a collection of Burmester electronics and sources. The system comprised the 111 Music Centre (£14,500 / $55,000), which was ably assisted by the company’s 218 power amplifiers (£34,6000 / $50,000 each). The other source on display was Burmester’s 175 (approx €40,000 / $60,000) reference turntable.

I sat down and was introduced to the set-up by a Burmester representative who played five tracks to give the small audience a flavour of what it was capable of. It was a textbook demonstration with each one aimed at highlighting the strengths of the speakers. So far, so Munich.

Long live the King

Burmester 175 turntable on display at High End Munich

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

But it was the sixth and final track that blew me away. Our Burmester host switched playback duties from the 111 Music Centre to the 175 turntable and announced he had something special to play for us.

It was a record, but not just any old record – a direct-cut disc, created using a master tape of a recording of Fever by the King himself, Elvis Presley. 

And wow. From the first bass note and finger snap, I was captivated. The system oozed class and sophistication out of every polished pore. The sense of immersion was next-level and closing my eyes it felt like the King was giving us a private performance in his blue suede shoes.

The recording was very simple, but this just highlighted how good the system and speakers were at painting a believable picture. There was no room for error and Burmester didn’t miss a beat. The set-up created a fantastic atmosphere. The lack of background noise in the track helped give an unbelievable amount of space around the different elements. In turn, this gave the track a next-level feeling of intimacy and it felt like you were right there in the recording studio.

It peeled back the layers of detail in Elvis' voice and the finger clicks with impressive precision. The track’s swaggering bassline bounced along keeping the rhythm flowing. My fingers and feet couldn’t help but tap along in time.

Okay, so the stereo imaging was slightly trickier to get a feel for because I was sat behind several bodies that disrupted the sound waves on their way to my ears. However, I spent about 25 minutes in the demo, which left me wanting another 25 minutes. In fact, I could have stayed there all day listening to tracks from my own personal playlist. And that’s all you can ask for from any hi-fi system at any level, right?


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Andy Madden

Andy is Deputy Editor of What Hi-Fi? and a consumer electronics journalist with nearly 20 years of experience writing news, reviews and features. Over the years he's also contributed to a number of other outlets, including The Sunday Times, the BBC, Stuff, and BA High Life Magazine. Premium wireless earbuds are his passion but he's also keen on car tech and in-car audio systems and can often be found cruising the countryside testing the latest set-ups. In his spare time Andy is a keen golfer and gamer.

  • Davrid
    Elvis' version of Fever is often used at hifi shows, I have heard it various events several times. Recorded, April 3rd 1960, and the first track recorded at the monumental session which gave us Are You Lonesome Tonight?; It's Now of Never; Such A Night; The Girl Of My Best Friend; Reconsider Baby; Like A Baby et al, it is quite brilliantly recorded, by far the best of any Elvis session - even better than those a decade later - what RCA at the time described as 'Living Stereo'. The recording is crystal clear, showcasing Elvis' ineffable and peerless artistry, with the entire backing consisting of bass (Bob Moore) and two sets of drums (DJ Fontana and Buddy Harman). But as outstanding a performance as this is, even it is eclipsed by several other songs at the session.