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Burmester BC150 floorstanding loudspeaker

This scaleable sound and excellent dynamics have profound implications in the BC150s ability to handle the reproduction of well-recorded unamplified instruments recorded in a natural acoustic space; one of the most significant challenges of high-end audio. The instrument should approximate the real-world sound in terms of size, its more subtle sonic characteristics, its sense of being rooted in space rather than disembodied sound, and it should have much of the air and reverberation of the room reproduced and delineated from the sound of the instrument itself. In other words, the sound of the audio system should approximate the sound of the live thing playing in the room. Few get close, and in most cases there’s always something of a trade-off (better solidity, less ambience for example). Here, however, the BC150 is a loudspeaker of great balance. There’s no sense of sacrificing one aspect of the performance in favour of another. Instead, there’s an organic feel to the way the musicians ‘sit’ in the soundstage.

It’s time to sneak another of my favourite recordings in here; Joyce DiDonato singing the ‘Tu sola, o mia Giulietta…’ from Act 2 of Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecci [Stella de Napoli, Erato]. OK, so this is the sort of recording that would sound good on even the cheapest audio equipment, but it – like the BC150s – has an ability to scale, and through these loudspeakers it positively shone. If you hear these big, deep and massive loudspeakers, it’s going to be a continual source of amusement how they disappear sonically, but disappear they do. You can listen to Joyce DiDonato on any speaker and be impressed by her breath control and the dynamics of her voice, but through the BC150 you also get the feeling of a performance, to the point where you want to stand and applaud at the end.

A big part of this comes down to the vast amount of detail the BC150 can resolve. It doesn’t matter whether the recording is on vinyl, CD, or high-resolution download; the level of information imparted by these loudspeakers is substantial. In lesser hands, this might feel like drowning in data, but the BC150 is as musically organising as it is detail-packed. Meaning that any information in the recording is likely to be presented to the listener as accurately and honestly as possible.

I’m mindful here that this could sound like an ‘all detail, no fun’ loudspeaker. There are some high-end loudspeaker designs that make music a sterile, if detailed, event. There are others that go for the sense of occasion, at the expense of transparency, clarity and detail. Few manage to have feet in both camps, and the BC150 is one of those rare exceptions that are both musically communicative and musically analytical at the same time. That’s a heady mix, but might require some sensory readjustment on the part of the listener; we are used to having to make a choice in this trade-off, and the first time you get to experience both the detail and the musical intention that underpins that detail, it can be a daunting experience. Don’t be surprised if that doubles your listening energies at first, but you soon get past this and will find the sound just beguiling and inviting you to play further.

A sonic reevaluation could be short-hand for ‘it sounds so bright, you need to wait a little for your ears to be reprofiled’ in some cases, but not the BC150. This is a loudspeaker of great balance, remember. The BC150 is not bright, or boomy… it’s extremely neutral. There’s just so much neutrality on offer, it takes some time to process at first. Once you get over that hurdle, there’s no real going back however. It’s that good a loudspeaker.

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Tags: BURMESTER BC150 FLOORSTANDING LOUDSPEAKER

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