Burl Audio B80 Mothership BMB1 - DigiLink by Trakworx
Since I was the first to get a Mothership, it's fitting that I'm the first to review it. This is the multi-channel version of Burl’s B2 Bomber ADC and DAC. It brings the naturally pleasing sonics that Burl is known for to all of your multitrack recordings and mixes.
Breaking it down:
Sound Quality - 10. It sounds just like the famous B2 ADCs and DACs. Need I say more? If yes, then: Flat frequency response with extended, "bottomless" lows, creamy mids and smooth clear highs are the hallmarks of Burl tone. IMO Burl makes the best-sounding converters out there, and I have auditioned quite a few. Burl's devotion to all-discrete, class-A, built-like-a-tank analog circuitry makes their converters sound so good. The ADCs can sound smooth, clear and natural when hit softly. When you drive them you can get subtle transformer saturation that "colors" the sound in a pleasing way. Finding the sweet spot when setting levels is the key, but you can't go wrong really; it always sounds great. The DACs are very accurate and uncolored with the sound of quality electronics - like monitoring through a high end console.
Ease of use - 10. Just plug it in and it works. Controls are simple and intuitive. Good metering. It takes commands from the DAW. You don't have to think about it.
Features - 10. It gets high marks for what it currently offers, but even more for what is to come. The Mothership will soon have MADI capability. An AES/EBU digital I/O card is coming. USB control, integrated summing mixer, control room monitor, mic pre's, time code sync, word clock card, and lower-cost ADC and DAC cards for film and broadcast use are planned. This thing is an entire platform that will be extremely versatile.
Bang for buck - 9. It's expensive, but awesome. The Mothership is definitely for the "high end" of the market. A lot of money to spend on converters, but if you're at the point where the rest of your recording chain is in place, then only the best converters will do. Once you take the plunge and get the chassis, then the cost per channel is actually quite reasonable.
The DACs are great - clear, accurate, open, and not fatiguing. But the ADCs are where the real magic lies. Burl ADCs are made for AEs who dislike the typical "digital sound" that has permeated recordings since the digital revolution. The "cold", "brittle" and "sterile" aspects of digital recording disappear with Burl ADCs. They don't sound like analog tape, but more like monitoring the source with no conversion at all. For me they have taken away the little shiver I used to get when passing audio through converters. And I am grateful for that!