At High End Munich, Burmester is unveiling the latest addition to its Classic Line. The 232 integrated amplifier – named after the year and month of its developmental breakthrough, February 2023 – epitomises the modern-day amplifier with everything from built-in network streaming and a futureproof-friendly modular design to a contemporary new aesthetic that includes a touchscreen and an “innovative” control dial that we bet will elicit a few “oohs” and “aahs” in its lifetime. And all while realising “the sonic ideal of a Burmester amplifier”? Apparently so.
So, on to the details we have so far. The 232 offers a broad suite of digital and analogue connectivity and, thanks to its modularity, can be configured to customer preferences. There’s a new DAC module that includes eARC HDMI and USB socketry and can handle native DSD512 and PCM up to 32-bit/768kHz, while a phono module for MC cartridge-fitted turntables is based on the phono signal processing from the Burmester 077 Reference preamplifier and 100 phono preamplifier. The 232’s central interface delivers network streaming via Gigabit LAN or Wi-Fi in addition to Bluetooth (5.4) connectivity, with a module slot available to cater to any new standards when they come along the track.
A new control app has been designed with simplicity in mind, too, though Burmester has seemingly spent a lot of effort on on-unit control as well. A monochrome display sits behind mirrored spy-glass, allowing the display to be discrete when not in use, and the accompanying touch sensors are also only visible when necessary. We’re quite excited about the multi-purpose rotary dial, however, which features an “innovative” haptic-feedback system that allows users to control different functions depending on, say, the resistance to rotation and the number and spacing of ticks.
These all help make up the new Burmester design aesthetic, which the 232 integrated amplifier is the first product to adopt. Burmester says the concept is based on “the effect of lightness and suggests a floating appearance”. The biggest adaptation is probably the heat sink profile, which has been thermally optimised for improved performance and extends radially from the centre of the cabinet.
The 232 might be a bit of a Swiss Army knife of an integrated, but the German company doesn’t appear to have compromised on engineering, with the sound still, it says, determined by the analogue circuit technology. Burmester states it has chosen operational amplifiers of the “highest quality” for the 232’s Class A/B power amp design. And because the two amps in the power supply and transformer are dual-mono, electrical and magnetic coupling between the channels is minimized. New input transistors for the power amps supposedly have almost perfect pair equality (NPN, PNP) for minimal distortion, too, while the signal paths are extra short and low noise.
That’s it for Burmester’s teaser info so far, though we hope to find out more – including pricing and availability – over the next day or so. And I know what you're thinking – some better pictures would be nice too!
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