Review: Burmester 217 Turntable

Review: Burmester 217 Turntable- The Burmester 217 Turntable embodies the pinnacle of audio craftsmanship, delivering exquisite sound and build quality with notable advantages and considerations.

Unveiling the Burmester 217

When you first encounter the Burmester 217, you’ll immediately notice its striking visual presence. While it may be smaller and more affordable than its larger sibling, the Burmester 175, it doesn’t compromise on aesthetics. The turntable exudes luxury and craftsmanship, showcasing Burmester’s commitment to design excellence. Its sleek and minimalistic chrome-plated front panel, devoid of unnecessary engravings, is a testament to the manufacturer’s perfectionism. The entire design is timeless and unobtrusive, seamlessly blending into any living space.


Weight31,5 kg
Height165 mm
Wide482 mm
Depth367 mm
Voltage range100 – 240 V~, 50/60 Hz
Power consumption OFF
(100 V/240 V)
0,05 W/0,07 W
Power consumption Standby
(100 V/240 V)
0,09 W/0,12 W
Power consumption ON
– 33 RPM – (100 V/240 V)
11,8 W/11,8 W
Power consumption ON
– 45 RPM – (100 V/240 V)
6,9 W/7,4 W

Effortless Setup and Impeccable Craftsmanship

The Burmester 217 not only impresses with its design but also with the ease of setup. Unpacking and assembling this turntable is a breeze, making it accessible to experienced audiophiles and newcomers to the world of high-end audio. Once placed on a stable surface and leveled using the three fine-threaded feet, the 217 is ready for wiring. The arm comes perfectly adjusted, and the cartridge is pre-mounted and calibrated, requiring minimal user intervention. This attention to detail and precision is a testament to Burmester’s commitment to delivering a hassle-free customer experience. Furthermore, using high-quality materials, such as Swiss aluminum and meticulous CNC machining, ensures that the Burmester 217 is visually appealing and mechanically robust.

Build Quality: A Showcase of Precision Engineering

The Burmester 217 turntable is a shining example of precision engineering and meticulous craftsmanship. From the moment you look at it, you’re greeted with a sense of solidity and robustness that leaves a lasting impression. The turntable’s primary chassis is crafted from the finest Swiss aluminum, known for its exceptional uniformity and durability. This choice of material ensures that the structure of the chassis remains perfectly even and resonates with minimal vibrations, contributing to the overall sound quality.

The manufacturing process itself is a testament to Burmester’s commitment to excellence. Each aluminum chassis spends hours in a CNC machine, meticulously carved to create various openings and cavities. This level of detail and precision is crucial in achieving the turntable’s remarkable performance. In the knock test, the chassis exhibits an almost inert behavior, behaving more like a solid metal block than a resonating structure.

The turntable’s overall weight and mass contribute to its impressive build quality. Weighing over 30 kilograms, the Burmester 217 exudes a sense of sturdiness and stability. However, it’s not just about being heavy; it’s about harnessing that mass for sonic benefits. The substantial weight aids in reducing vibrations and unwanted resonances, resulting in a cleaner and more accurate sound reproduction.

Design: An Elegant Blend of Form and Function

In terms of design, the Burmester 217 is a visual masterpiece. Its exterior is adorned with a highly polished and chrome-plated front panel, exuding sophistication and luxury. The chrome plating process is meticulous, ensuring the front panel has a mirror-like finish. The minimalist design philosophy is evident in the panel’s clean lines and uncluttered appearance, with only a few engravings and controls present.

A standout feature of the design is the chrome toggle switch on the front panel, which serves a dual purpose. When flipped downwards, it completely switches off the turntable, ensuring no power is consumed unnecessarily. In the middle position, it sets the turntable to standby mode. Moving the switch upwards activates the start/stop function, seamlessly controlling the platter’s rotation. This level of attention to detail in the design adds to the aesthetics and enhances the user experience.

The overall aesthetic of the Burmester 217 is one of understated elegance. Its chrome front panel reflects its surroundings, allowing it to blend into various interior settings seamlessly. While it may be a challenging subject to photograph due to its reflective nature, its discreet presence in everyday life is a testament to Burmester’s commitment to design that complements the user’s environment.

In summary, the Burmester 217’s build quality and design are a harmonious fusion of precision engineering and aesthetic elegance. Its robust construction, meticulous craftsmanship, and attention to detail in design are evident in every aspect of the turntable. It stands as a symbol of Burmester’s dedication and passion to high-end audio, offering visual and auditory delight to discerning audiophiles.

The Heart of Sonic Excellence

The Burmester 217’s sonic excellence begins with its carefully designed drive system. The belt-driven mechanism is oversized and hermetically isolated from its surroundings, ensuring longevity and minimal interference. Using four belts to drive the eight-kilogram platter is a testament to Burmester’s dedication to smooth, low-wear operation. These belts are precisely controlled during startup, protecting the transmission components and guaranteeing long-term performance. The aluminum platter offers stability and resonance control with its internal copper cylinders and sound-damping casting compound, resulting in a remarkably stable and quiet playback platform. Combining these mechanical elements provides a solid foundation for the turntable’s exceptional sonic performance.

The Burmester 217 Tonearm and Cartridge

The Burmester 217 comes equipped with a carefully selected and pre-installed Burmester cartridge, eliminating the need for users to spend time deliberating over cartridge options. However, this doesn’t mean that the turntable lacks versatility. With its classic half-inch headshell and medium-heavy effective mass, the 217 is compatible with a wide range of cartridges, allowing users to explore their preferred options if desired. The Shibata diamond stylus mounted on a sapphire needle carrier excels at tracking high-frequency modulations with minimal background noise, contributing to the turntable’s exceptional sound quality.

Impeccable Setup and Precision

One of the standout features of the Burmester 217 is its factory setup. Every aspect of the turntable, from tonearm height to tracking force and azimuth, is meticulously calibrated at the factory, ensuring optimal performance right out of the box. This level of precision eliminates the need for users to fine-tune the setup themselves, making the 217 a true “plug and play” turntable. Including a well-thought-out overhang template, digital tonearm scale, and other essential tools would be welcome additions for enthusiasts who enjoy fine-tuning their setups. However, the turntable’s factory settings are already highly impressive.

Listening to the Burmester 217

Regarding sonic performance, the Burmester 217 lives up to its visual and mechanical excellence. The turntable balances power and finesse, delivering a sound that resonates with emotions and energy. Its focus on punchy and authoritative bass and a spacious and transparent soundstage create an immersive listening experience. Whether it’s the thunderous impact of drums or the warmth of guitar amps, the 217 reproduces music with astonishing richness and dynamism. Its wide tonal and dynamic range allows it to reveal nuances in recordings that might go unnoticed on other turntables.

Sound Test: A Sonic Journey of Excellence

The sound test of the Burmester 217 turntable is nothing short of an auditory journey into the realm of excellence. The first notes show that this turntable is engineered to deliver a sonic performance that transcends expectations. It excels in showcasing various musical genres, bringing out the intricacies and emotions embedded in every recording.

One of the standout qualities of the Burmester 217 is its ability to convey an impressive sense of space and dimensionality. When you close your eyes and listen to the music, you are transported to a virtual soundstage where each instrument and voice occupies a specific location. The soundstage is remarkably open and expansive, allowing you to discern the placement of individual performers and instruments with uncanny precision. This spatial presentation adds a layer of realism to the truly captivating listening experience.

Sound Quality: A Feast for Audiophile Ears

The sound quality delivered by the Burmester 217 is nothing short of a feast for audiophile ears. It excels in several key areas that audiophiles hold dear:

  1. Bass Authority: The turntable exhibits an unparalleled prowess in the lower frequencies. The bass response is powerful and authoritative, providing a solid foundation for the music. Whether listening to electronic beats, orchestral compositions, or rock anthems, the Burmester 217 ensures you hear and feel the bass notes with a visceral impact.
  2. Clarity and Detail: The level of clarity and detail retrieval is exceptional. The turntable effortlessly uncovers nuances in the music that might go unnoticed on lesser systems. Every subtle instrument texture, vocalist’s breath, or guitar string’s faintest pluck is rendered with precision, making it a joy to rediscover your favorite tracks.
  3. Dynamic Range: The Burmester 217 excels in its ability to handle dynamic shifts in music. Whether it’s the quietest whisper or the thunderous crescendo of a symphony, the turntable preserves the dynamic range with finesse. This dynamic prowess brings a sense of drama and life to your truly captivating music.
  4. Tonality and Balance: The turntable strikes an impeccable balance in tonality. The midrange is lush and expressive, allowing vocals to shine naturally and emotionally. High frequencies are rendered with finesse, avoiding any harshness or sibilance. This tonal balance ensures that you can enjoy a wide range of music genres without any listener fatigue.
  5. Background Noise: The Burmester 217’s sound quality benefits from its exceptionally low background noise. The silent backdrop allows the music to emerge with pristine clarity, ensuring that even the quietest musical passages are conveyed gracefully.

In conclusion, the Burmester 217 turntable’s sound test and sound quality are a testament to its uncompromising commitment to delivering an extraordinary auditory experience. Its ability to create an immersive soundstage, reproduce music with clarity and precision, and handle dynamic shifts with finesse makes it a coveted choice for audiophiles seeking sonic excellence. Whether you’re rediscovering your vinyl collection or exploring new musical horizons, the Burmester 217 sets a benchmark for what high-end analog playback can achieve.

Conclusion: The Burmester 217 – A Sonic Marvel

In conclusion, the Burmester 217 is not merely a turntable; it’s a sonic marvel that embodies the principles of precision engineering and uncompromising audio performance. While it carries a premium price tag, it offers a level of craftsmanship and musicality that justifies its cost. The turntable’s seamless setup, meticulous factory calibration, and compatibility with a wide range of cartridges make it accessible to a broad audience, from experienced audiophiles to newcomers. Its sonic character, characterized by powerful bass and a transparent soundstage, is sure to captivate music lovers seeking an emotionally engaging listening experience. The Burmester 217 is a testament to Burmester’s legacy of excellence in high-end audio, delivering both visual and auditory satisfaction.

Advantages of the Burmester 217 Turntable:

  1. Exceptional Sound Quality: The Burmester 217 offers an audiophile-grade listening experience with outstanding sound quality. It excels in reproducing music with clarity, precision, and a wide dynamic range, making it a top choice for discerning music enthusiasts.
  2. Impeccable Build Quality: Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, the turntable boasts impeccable build quality. Its Swiss aluminum chassis, precision engineering, and premium materials result in a robust and mechanically inert platform that enhances audio performance.
  3. Spatial Presentation: One of its standout features is its ability to create a captivating soundstage. The turntable delivers a sense of space and dimensionality that immerses the listener in the music, with instruments and voices occupying distinct locations on the stage.
  4. Ease of Setup: Setting up the Burmester 217 is straightforward and hassle-free. The turntable arrives pre-configured and calibrated, ensuring that users can start enjoying their vinyl collection without the need for extensive adjustments or technical expertise.
  5. Low Background Noise: The turntable’s design minimizes background noise, providing a silent backdrop for music playback. This low-noise floor enhances the listening experience, allowing the subtlest musical details to shine.

Disadvantages of the Burmester 217 Turntable:

  1. High Price Tag: The Burmester 217 falls into the high-end audio category and has a premium price tag. Its cost may be prohibitive for many music enthusiasts, making it accessible primarily to audiophiles with substantial budgets.
  2. Limited Compatibility: While the Burmester 217 comes with a pre-assembled and calibrated Burmester pickup system, it may not accommodate those who prefer to use their high-end cartridges. This limited compatibility could be a drawback for vinyl enthusiasts with specific cartridge preferences.
  3. Weight and Handling: The turntable’s substantial weight, while contributing to its stability, can pose challenges during initial setup or relocation. Users may require assistance when handling and placing the heavy components.
  4. Simplicity of Design: While the minimalist and chrome-plated design is a hallmark of Burmester’s aesthetics, some users may prefer more elaborate or customizable turntable designs. The simplicity of the design may not cater to those seeking a visually distinctive centerpiece.
  5. Availability and Support: Burmester products, including the 217 turntables, may have limited availability in certain regions, potentially leading to challenges in obtaining and servicing the product. Buyers should consider the availability of authorized service centers and support when purchasing.

The Burmester 217 Turntable offers exceptional sound quality and build, making it a top-tier choice for audiophiles. However, its high price, limited compatibility, substantial weight, minimalist design, and potential availability issues should be considered when evaluating its suitability for individual preferences and budgets.