Burmester 069 Belt-Drive CD Player

When I first heard about the flagship 069 CD player from German high-end manufacturer Burmester Audio, I was surprised to learn that it is belt driven. Of course, many LP turntables use belt drives, but I'd never heard of a CD player with such a mechanism, which is said to decouple the platter from the rest of the chassis, eliminating vibrations and allowing the data to be read with considerably higher precision and less jitter.

In addition to providing one balanced XLR output, two unbalanced RCA outputs, and two digital outputs (one coax, one optical), the 069 provides three digital inputs (two coax, one optical) and one balanced XLR analog input, allowing the device to serve as a preamp as well as a CD player. Along with the internal CD data, all inputs are upsampled to 96 or 192kHz with 24-bit resolution before being converted to analog. And an MMI (Multi Media Interface) expansion slot lets you add more inputs or outputs and integrate future hardware enhancements, though no such modules are currently available.

If you think that CD players have become strictly commodity products, think again. The 069 is available in two versions—one with an external power supply for $65,000 and one with an internal supply that shaves $5000 off the price. If you're going to spend that kind of money, I'd go with the external power supply to make sure no AC grunge sullies the pristine audio coming from the belt-driven disc.