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Question about Burl B2 Bomber DAW Software
Old 10th September 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Question about Burl B2 Bomber

Quick question about the Burl B2 bomber ADC:

I know there is an input attenuator on the front panel, but how does it work in practice?

What I mean is this:

If I am sending level X to the B2 and I wind the input back on the Burl to -16 dB, does that mean my tone will be the same but simply 16 dB lower?

If that's true, so I should then send a hotter level to the Burl to get the transformers doing their vibey stuff? (eg Level X + 16 dB?)

And can someone explain why the stepped attenuator starts at -12 dB? Does that mean that the input is always going to be reduced by 12 dB whatever? Wouldn't it make more sense to have a unity gain setting?

I suspect I've missed a meeting here somewhere coz I am well confused. Can someone please explain in words a dimwit like me can grasp?

Thanks all

Bond
Old 10th September 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
imacgreg's Avatar
The level's indicated on the attenuator are referring to the calibration level of your system. For example, if your Pro Tools system is calibrated at -18dBFS (standard) then a 0VU sine wave signal present on an analog input will result in a -18dBFS signal within Pro Tools.

So if your digital system is calibrated at -18dBFS and your Burl is set to -18dBFS, then a 0VU analog signal into the Burl will result in a -18dBFS signal in pro tools. The Burl then lets you increase or decrease the level on the analog side of things. This can be useful if you happen to be at a different calibration (-14dBFS, -22dBFS) or if a mix is printing a bit too loud or a bit too low.

I've heard some talk about using the attenuator to "drive" the Burl harder, but without knowing where the attenuator is placed in the signal path (directly before ADC or before some buffer analog stage) it's hard to know exactly how that is working.

Ian

Last edited by imacgreg; 10th September 2012 at 08:15 PM.. Reason: mixed up 0VU & 0dBu
Old 10th September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

I have a hybrid Metric Halo ULN8 and Burl system. I love both equally.

With regards to printing to the B2, my general approach is not to think about it too much. I just aim for getting a healthy print level and keep moving.

The B2 is a fantastic thing and worth every penny, but I find the effect of its tone is generally exaggerated on the internet.

I don't find it to be transfigurative. People compare it to a tape machine and I find that is overstating matters. It's just a really well-built, robust, 3D converter with a deep soundstage and a very faint, pleasing girth. But mostly what you put in is exactly what you get out.

I love the sound of it at higher sampling rates too.

I have moved to defaulting to 88.2kHz, not for any scientific reason, just based on feel.

My advice is enjoy it and don't think too much about it. Just get a nice level and keep moving.

- c
Old 10th September 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I have a hybrid Metric Halo ULN8 and Burl system. I love both equally.

With regards to printing to the B2, my general approach is not to think about it too much. I just aim for getting a healthy print level and keep moving.

The B2 is a fantastic thing and worth every penny, but I find the effect of its tone is generally exaggerated on the internet.

It's don't find it to be transfigurative. People compare it to a tape machine and I find that is overstating matters. It's just a really well-built, robust, 3D converter with a deep soundstage and a very faint, pleasing girth. But mostly what you get out is exactly what you get out.

I love the sound of it at higher sampling rates too.

I have moved to defaulting to 88.2kHz, not for any scientific reason, just based on feel.

My advice is enjoy it and don't think too much about it. Just get a nice level and keep moving.

- c
+1. I love my Bomber. It's been at the end of my 2bus on every mix since I've gotten it. - paul
Old 10th September 2012
  #5
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shelterr's Avatar
 

As a former B2 owner and now Mothership owner I will say that the attenuator has a lot do do with the sound of the unit.

Setting it to -22dBu my tracks sounded too compressed and kind of spitty. I thought -18dBu sounded a little boxy and lacked aggression for instrument tracking. I settled on -20 dBu for instrument tracking, and calibrated my Burl Mothership accordingly. For mastering, I though -16 dBu was the most soild for me. I even have two channels of my mothership calibrated this way just in case I feel the need to print a mix using the Burl. The setting of choice definitely affects the way the transformer saturates.
Old 11th September 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
I know there is a lot of hype about this unit but for my money it's every bit justified. Cream!
Old 11th September 2012
  #7
Gear Head
 

The attenuator setting and the program level coming into the converter are directly linked. It's not really that the attenuator's different settings have inherently different sounds, it's more like a gain knob in that the level you feed to the converter is paramount in the equation. If you want the converter to actually 'do' something to the signal, send it a hot signal first and then turn the knob counter-clockwise to just under clipping (or god forbid let it clip!) on the meter. I personally don't really like the way it sounds too hot, mixes feel sharp (not in a pitch way) or edgy after inevitably loud mastering. I think for the mothership or the B2 for tracking this pushing feature is more useful as doing it across individual tracks makes more sense from a recreating the tape machine perspective. But when converting full mixes from a board I've been tending toward peaks hitting -9 on the meters, maybe up to -7 sometimes. Whatever the setting on the atten knob it takes to get there is where I leave it. In the end, the genius of it for me is that it allows you to use your board at different levels of 'pushed' without having to recalibrate anything complicated. And of course it sounds very nice and is a totally wonderfully overbuilt machine.
Old 11th September 2012
  #8
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

That's kinda how I use it as well.

But mainly I want to emphasize the not-overthinking-it thing.

The chief advantage of the B2, as I see it, is it feels like a piece of musical gear, not a converter. As such, you should relax and address it musically and intuitively and in a relaxed manner. This is one of the nice things about stuff that's made as well as this thing is.

It's like the Lisson Grove: every setting is good.

- c
Old 12th September 2012
  #9
Gear Addict
 
Mr. Light's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I have a hybrid Metric Halo ULN8 and Burl system. I love both equally.

With regards to printing to the B2, my general approach is not to think about it too much. I just aim for getting a healthy print level and keep moving.

The B2 is a fantastic thing and worth every penny, but I find the effect of its tone is generally exaggerated on the internet.

It's don't find it to be transfigurative. People compare it to a tape machine and I find that is overstating matters. It's just a really well-built, robust, 3D converter with a deep soundstage and a very faint, pleasing girth. But mostly what you put in is exactly what you get out.

I love the sound of it at higher sampling rates too.

I have moved to defaulting to 88.2kHz, not for any scientific reason, just based on feel.

My advice is enjoy it and don't think too much about it. Just get a nice level and keep moving.

- c
Couldn't agree with this more.
Old 23rd April 2016
  #10
Gear Nut
Isn't the Level input knob after the transformers? So - when everyone talks about "driving the transformers" they're not understanding how the unit works...The Level input determines how loud the signal to the converter is...right? If you want to shave transients, you need to come into the B2 hotter. So, in essence, that would require one to turn the attenuator down...But really, I'm not sure why one would be using a convertor to drive into distortion.
Old 23rd April 2016
  #11
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hucklehound View Post
Isn't the Level input knob after the transformers? So - when everyone talks about "driving the transformers" they're not understanding how the unit works...The Level input determines how loud the signal to the converter is...right? If you want to shave transients, you need to come into the B2 hotter. So, in essence, that would require one to turn the attenuator down...But really, I'm not sure why one would be using a convertor to drive into distortion.
yeah after.
it doesn't distort per se.if you hit it hard it rounds transients a little w very light saturation.
as far as the "driving thing" for full mix I hit it very lightly and boost gain into the daw as needed with the knob.
Old 23rd April 2016
  #12
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hucklehound View Post
Isn't the Level input knob after the transformers? So - when everyone talks about "driving the transformers" they're not understanding how the unit works...The Level input determines how loud the signal to the converter is...right? If you want to shave transients, you need to come into the B2 hotter. So, in essence, that would require one to turn the attenuator down...But really, I'm not sure why one would be using a convertor to drive into distortion.
Yeah it's kinda shocking how many owners mistake that.

As Roundbadge said, it never distorts, just rounds transients. And it sounds good to the last dB, so for certain sources I'm pushing it well into Orange and occasionally clipping it. For mixes much lighter of course.
Old 2nd May 2016
  #13
Gear Nut
The B2 is a great AD, but man, it gets a massive amount of hype...I say that and I own one.
Old 2nd May 2016
  #14
Lives for gear
Tracking, it Sounds great the harder you hit it.

Last edited by Dayo; 2nd May 2016 at 11:54 AM..
Old 2nd May 2016
  #15
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayo View Post
Tracking, it Sounds great the harder you hit it.
For me it depends on the source.
some elements benefit from hitting it lighter.
Old 2nd May 2016
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hucklehound View Post
The B2 is a great AD, but man, it gets a massive amount of hype...I say that and I own one.
And as a user , do you feel that this hype is justified?
Thanks
Sergio
Old 2nd May 2016
  #17
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Don't care about Internet hype.
In capable hands it's a great unit.
Old 3rd May 2016
  #18
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
For me it depends on the source.
some elements benefit from hitting it lighter.
What I think I meant to say was that I prefer to keep the attenuation fully open and hit the unit hard. Sounds much better to my ears.
Old 3rd May 2016
  #19
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayo View Post
What I think I meant to say was that I prefer to keep the attenuation fully open and hit the unit hard. Sounds much better to my ears.
yeah it's always to ones taste.I typically don't like shaving transients at the AD.
Old 4th May 2016
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
The B2 is a fantastic thing and worth every penny, but I find the effect of its tone is generally exaggerated on the internet.
Agreed. It does sound fantastic but the "drive" effect is much more subtle than you'd believe by reading the forums and it really should be. You don't want your AD mucking things up
Old 4th May 2016
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I don't find it to be transfigurative. People compare it to a tape machine and I find that is overstating matters. It's just a really well-built, robust, 3D converter with a deep soundstage and a very faint, pleasing girth. But mostly what you put in is exactly what you get out

- c
exactly. lots of people think of it as some sort of sound altering piece. it isnt. what you say is absolutely true. have been working with it for some weeks now.
Old 21st May 2016
  #22
mpr
Lives for gear
 

After using the B2 ADC since 2012 on pretty much every mix and master since, here are my current conclusions and opinions:

1) it doesn't matter if you hit it hard at -22 or soft at -12, the conversion will most likely exhibit different shades of good. The extreme transformer sound is not that extreme sounding, but you can definitely feel it working as micro limiter when you lay into it and then trim down afterwards. If you are set at -22 with peaks near 0dBfs, you're definitely getting some thickening so be sure its constructive to the mix.

2) for mastering I generally like it at -18 or -20 and hit as close to clipping as possible. for tracking i sometimes like it wide open to preserve transients - depends on source.

3) aside from a few sample over, it is not a good clipper so I avoid it at all costs. standardclip or kclip are no doubt in my chain after it so no need to push the B2.

4) the unit clearly sounds better at higher sample rates: > 88khz. Lately I've been clocking it to the Dangerous Convert2 for what I feel is an even purer HF response.

All IMO of course
Old 21st May 2016
  #23
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpr3 View Post
After using the B2 ADC since 2012 on pretty much every mix and master since, here are my current conclusions and opinions:

1) it doesn't matter if you hit it hard at -22 or soft at -12, the conversion will most likely exhibit different shades of good. The extreme transformer sound is not that extreme sounding, but you can definitely feel it working as micro limiter when you lay into it and then trim down afterwards. If you are set at -22 with peaks near 0dBfs, you're definitely getting some thickening so be sure its constructive to the mix.

2) for mastering I generally like it at -18 or -20 and hit as close to clipping as possible. for tracking i sometimes like it wide open to preserve transients - depends on source.

3) aside from a few sample over, it is not a good clipper so I avoid it at all costs. standardclip or kclip are no doubt in my chain after it so no need to push the B2.

4) the unit clearly sounds better at higher sample rates: > 88khz. Lately I've been clocking it to the Dangerous Convert2 for what I feel is an even purer HF response.

All IMO of course
As has been said over and over in this thread, the attenuation knob is post-transformer and doesn't affect the tone.

I have 2 Convert-8s. While I enjoy the sound of them clocking the Burl, I find ultimately it's better to follow standard practice of letting the AD be the master. That's for my mix-summing setup. I've never "mastered" with it.
Old 21st May 2016
  #24
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
I find with that hitting it harder,thickening aspect also goes some of the highs and general air of the mix.
but yeah its all a taste thing imo.
Old 21st May 2016
  #25
mpr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
As has been said over and over in this thread, the attenuation knob is post-transformer and doesn't affect the tone.

I have 2 Convert-8s. While I enjoy the sound of them clocking the Burl, I find ultimately it's better to follow standard practice of letting the AD be the master. That's for my mix-summing setup. I've never "mastered" with it.
I've known the attenuation was post transformer since before I purchased. Not sure what made you think otherwise. Go in hot, trim down to avoid clipping. Or go in gently and open up the attenuator. Simple enough.

I use the Convert as the transfer DAC so the Burl is picking up clock from whatever source I send out. I really like the sound of the Burl chasing the Convert. I have tried A LOT of combos over the years and this one stands out.
Old 21st May 2016
  #26
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpr3 View Post
I've known the attenuation was post transformer since before I purchased. Not sure what made you think otherwise. Go in hot, trim down to avoid clipping. Or go in gently and open up the attenuator. Simple enough.

I use the Convert as the transfer DAC so the Burl is picking up clock from whatever source I send out. I really like the sound of the Burl chasing the Convert. I have tried A LOT of combos over the years and this one stands out.
Right on, I only meant to make it clear because it keeps getting confused in this thread. Didn't mean to question your knowledge.

I actually overstated by saying the attenuation knob doesn't affect tone. It does, I've tested, and several people in this thread have mentioned using it to affect tone. It's just that it doesn't affect the sound of how hard you hit the transformer, which is probably 95 percent of the unit's sound.

Yeah the Burl/Convert combo is so good I almost want to process OTB just for their tone! I agree with you that the Dangerous clock adds some nice HF response. With the Burl as master the lows seemed more solid to me.
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