Here at CNET we write about all sorts of gadgets and toys, but I've noticed that when I write about high-end gear I get the biggest reaction.
I like hearing about stuff I can't afford, like the recent road test of the $80,000 Jaguar XFR. The big sedan can hit 162 mph, can stop from 150 in 6 seconds, and it's a ball to drive fast. Funny, the road tester never mentioned fuel economy. There you go, people don't buy $80,000 cars for their practicality, they buy them to be seen in and for how well they perform.
High-end audio isn't so different, but it's more private. High-end buyers' families and friends are the only ones who'll ever get to be bowled over by the sound and looks of their spectacular audio systems. So while you've probably heard of Jaguar, chances are you're less familiar with high-end audio brands. I'm here to help raise awareness of quality audio.
I write about the world's best audio gear for "Home Entertainment" magazine, and I recently had the pleasure of testing the Burmester 032 integrated stereo amplifier ($22,495) and B25 speakers ($11,995/pair). Burmester is based in Berlin, Germany. The company builds the sort of hi-fis a Jaguar owner would buy.
The 032 amplifier's sculptured metalwork is drop-dead gorgeous. The amplifier's front and sides are covered by machined heat sinks. They provide optimal cooling for the stereo 240-watt-per-channel amplifier's output transistors, eliminating the need for noisy fans. Burmester components, fully decked out in chrome, are a startling sight to behold. … Read more