Close Up: Burl Audio


Founded by and Created for Recording Engineers: Launched in 2006 by Rich Williams, an electrical engineer and owner of Paradise Recording in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Burl Audio’s revolutionary line of pro audio gear is designed in a commercial recording studio by pro recording engineers, for recording engineers. His philosophy is to provide top of the line recording devices, in modular outboard units, to all levels of recording engineers at a reasonable price. Each of its products are designed to significantly improve recording, mix-down and mastering and to be a lifelong asset to the studio. Before Burl, Williams served as an engineer with Universal Audio, where he created the 2192 Dual AD/DA Converter—the first product to combine UA’s history of high-quality vintage analog gear with its advanced digital technology. “My goal was to create a multi-channel version of the 2912 and Universal Audio didn’t want to build one,” he says. “So I started my own company with a founding mission to create a multi-channel, high-quality AD/DA with high end components. The 2912 was hard to beat, but one day I decided to try a transformer on the front end and see what would happen. That ultimately turned into the B2 Bomber A-to-D, which evolved into The Mothership.” 

B80 MOTHERSHIP: Burl Audio’s flagship product is the B80 MOTHERSHIP, an 80-channel configurable interface that has been a foundational part of recordings by everyone from Willie Nelson, Chris Stapleton and the Raconteurs to The Black Keys, Green Day, Foo Fighters and the soundtrack to A Star is Born. Redefining digital recordings and building on the technology of the two-channel B2 Bombers, the B80 MOTHERSHIP was forged from the company’s deep dedication to analog class-A circuitry. The B80 MOTHERSHIP stands out from every other interface on the market because it does not sterilize the source. The AD/DA converter has up to 80 analog channel capability. Using a card-based system, the heavy duty 4U chassis, the B80 Mothership employs 10 card slots with 2, 4 and 8 channel AD/DA cards, all with the B2 quality signal path. 

Live System: With the introduction of the B4 Mic Pre, the B80 MOTHERSHIP can be used on stage as a “stagebox” unlike any other sonic solution in the world. Due to its simple circuit design, the B4 boasts the same no-compromise discrete, class-A design philosophy as all Burl Audio products and can bring the studio sound to live music venues, concert halls, stadiums, and festivals. Users can add BDA8 cards for eight channels of outputs as well as feeding monitors and mains with the BDA4 and BDA4M. “What the B80 MOTHERSHIP can do in your digital console is give you a better, more pleasing sound at the front end via the B4 mic pre,” Williams says. “It’s the daughter card for the mother ship that employs the same no compromise class A signal path and includes a gain stage for mic pre levels. We’ve found that not only does the MOTHERSHIP live solution improve front of house sound and make it easier for the engineer to mix, it also improves the onstage sound for the musician, leading to a much better sonic experience overall.”