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Burmester 808 MK5 Reference Line Preamplifier

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SKU 808MK5ReferenceLine

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Burmester 808 MK5 Reference Line Preamplifier


Retail Price Starting from $49,000 Before Configuration

Since its introduction in August of 1980 the 808 preamplifier has garnered international acclaim. Now in its fifth generation, it has successfully defended its position as reference component in highly regarded audio magazines all over the world. This extraordinary preamplifier has now been in production for over 30 years and it has still no equal with respect to sound quality and the scope of its features. The modular design of the 808 MK5 was revolutionary at its introduction and it has lost none of its appeal more than 25 years later. On the basis of its original design later generations have incorporated the latest in technological innovation. This has not only kept this audiophile instrument on the cutting edge of development but it has helped to define new trends in musical reproduction.

When fully equipped the top of the preamp shows an impressive array of up to 20 special potentiometers and a number of toggle switches on top of chromed, engraved cover plates. This immediately points to the almost unlimited usability of the 808 as the control center of an audio system, whether at home or in a professional setting. Three large rotary dials for input selection and volume settings dominate the high-gloss chrome front. These stepped attenuators dial into every setting with a positive and pleasing click. With its latest-generation external power supply the 808 MK5 cements its status as an international icon in high-end audio.

Burmester originally developed the 808 not only to play music but as a top-notch instrument to directly compare the sound of different pickup systems. Thus, from the beginning new thinking, innovative engineering and hand-selected highest quality components went into this preamplifier. That has never changed. Each 808 MK5 is carefully assembled in the Berlin factory. Each single input and output module is built with the same precision and has to pass muster in a final multi-tiered quality control.

The modular concept, which connects the input and output modules by using a bus system, was newly optimized with great effort. A completely new addition is the IR remote control. Volume is set in 60 logarithmically tuned steps by a passive R-2R network consisting of precision resistors and gold-plated Reed relays. Only this extreme sophistication can guarantee the desired 100 per cent equal channel balance. In remote mode, the mechanical precision volume control functions to set a maximum volume limit. The new metal hand-held remote control 003 is supplied as standard. The complete internal circuitry for signal paths now consists of Burmester silver cable, which is shielded electrically as well as magnetically. The power supply of the 808 MK 5 has been completely reworked and is now housed in a casing as big as a Basic power amp. This power supply provides the DC necessary for the 808 MK 5 (and only DC is transferred into the preamp from the power supply via an 18- pin shielded cable). Two 50VA transformers with overall 163.000 F filtering capacitance provide an ultra-clean and stable power supply, and steep roll-off HF-filters provide an extremely clean DC-voltage. The individual audio amplification stages of the 808 are decoupled against the supply voltages. As with the 808 MK 3 XLR version, the four possible balanced inputs are now connected using gold-plated 3-pin Cannon (XLR) terminals located on the rear of the component. Depending on preference, six of the ten inputs can be equipped with balanced or unbalanced modules.

All modules of the 808 MK 5 are equipped with class-A X-amp amplification stages. Layout design of all modules is discrete, which means their components have been carefully selected and paired using a special colour code. The input and output modules are adjustable via proprietary potentiometers individually for each channel. If the controls are turned to their maximum level, they function as a switch and are shorted out of the signal path. Two 24-step precision volume controls for the seperately controlled outputs allow a direct comparison of two power amps, as well as independent access to different living areas. Like all Burmester Reference Line components, the 808 MK 5 now rests on a 15 mm thick bottom plate made of aluminum. In connection with the spiked feet, which rest on carbon fiber spring pucks, vibrations and footfall effects of any kind are effectively avoided. The MC2 module is a completely new design; its sophisticated circuitry was partially realized in SMD technology. The MC2 offers fully balanced signal processing and DC-coupling. The 808 MK 5 has remote facilities to switch up to four Burmester power amps on and off.


4 balanced XLR inputs, of which Tape 2 is a balanced tape loop, all with XLR 3-pin terminals
6 unbalanced AUX inputs (Aux module necessary)
1 unbalanced TAPE 2 input (cinch/RCA)
2 balanced XLR outputs (3-pin plug)
2 unbalanced outputs (cinch/RCA)
1 balanced Tape1 output (3-pin plug)
1 unbalanced Tape2 output (cinch/RCA)
4 10V outputs for remote on/off of other Burmester components
Minimum order with an 808 basic unit is 1 input and 1 output module of your choice (modules not included in the price of the basic component). Surcharge for gold-plated or custom
Width/Height/Depth (mm) Weight
808 MK 5: 483x170x385 (without plugs) 23 kg
Power supply: 483x95x385 (without plugs) 9 kg

Included: connecting cable from Power supply to basic unit, approx. 2 m
Recommended power cable: Burmester Power 2.5