The Burl Audio B16 Mothership is a 16-channel configurable AD/DA for smaller studios that closes the gap between analog and digital recording.
The Burl B16 Mothership is here for those who got left behind in the desert with their Pan Am flight bags and mirrors when the B80 Mothership arrived and abducted a select group of audio professionals—who found they could never return to life on earth without the sublime sound of Burl AD/DA to track and mix the music of the spheres. A more affordable version of the B80, the B16 Mothership offers smaller studios the amazing 3-dimensional sound of Burl conversion. The clarity, musicality, and depth of the Mothership become readily apparent when you switch between it and lesser converters. You won’t be able to un-hear the difference as the mid to low-mid frequencies come alive with dimension and clarity with the Burl, only to collapse and turn fuzzy and indistinct with other converters. If ever there was a button you could press that could turn a demo into a record, it’s the Burl B16 Mothership.
Burl Audio B16 Mothership—Just the Facts:
- Class-A analog circuitry and custom transformers
- 2U main chassis
- BMB1 (DigiLink) motherboard
- BMB2 (MADI) motherboard
- BMB3 (Dante) motherboard
- BMB4 (SoundGrid) Motherboard
- BMB5 USB motherboard
- 1 BNC Word Clock In
- 2 BNC Word Clock Out
- 2 daughter card slots
- Accepts AD/DA, AES and BCLK, 4- and 8-channel analog cards
Burl B16 Mothership—Under the Hood
The B16 Mothership is a 2U, 2-slot version of Burl Audio’s crown jewel, the B80 Mothership. A new benchmark for digital recording, the renowned sound of Burl AD/DA can be found in the smaller and more portable B16 Mothership. Using the technology developed for the B80, the B16 Mothership accepts the same I/O cards as the B80 Mothership. It also leverages Burl Audio’s devotion to analog, class-A circuitry (the real secret of great conversion). The results are dramatic, you can easily hear and feel the difference between the Mothership and other interfaces, not because it’s a “color” generator but because it does not sterilize the source material.
Using a card based system and a heavy-duty 2U chassis, the B16 Mothership has two daughter card slots with an internal power supply and your choice of Motherboard for Digilink, MADI, Dante, SoundGrid, or USB connectivity. Every ADC channel uses a proprietary BX1 transformer and every DAC channel has the latest Burl Audio discrete op-amp.
For anyone who has yearned for a Mothership in a smaller format, this is a dream come true. A typical setup is an 8-in, 8-out system, but it can also be configured as a 16-input tracking system or a 16-output portable mix rig. If needed, you can also use either the BAES4 card with 4 channels of AES in and out per card or the BCLK card, which distributes eight word- clock outputs per card.
Digital interconnect is also completely configurable and controlled by a swappable Motherboard. Burl Audio offers five digital motherboards for the B16: the BMB1 (DigiLink), BMB2 (MADI), BMB3 (Dante), BMB4 (SoundGrid), and BMB5 (USB). The BMB1 comes standard with two DigiLink connectors for direct hookup to Pro Tools. The BMB2 features two optical MADI ports for use with ASIO or Core Audio PCIe MADI cards. The BMB3 features two Ethernet ports for use with any Dante-enabled device, such as a DAW or digital mixing console. The BMB4 card allows for connectivity to any SoundGrid device, as well as low latency for a complete digital audio-networking solution. The BMB5 is a USB motherboard specially designed to give desktop producers access to Burl’s stunning audio capabilities.
The BMB1 comes standard with two DigiLink connectors for direct hookup to Pro Tools. However, instead of an expansion port, both are primary ports on the BMB1, which means you can play 64 DAC channels straight out of Pro Tools with one unit.
The BMB2 features two optical MADI ports for use with ASIO or Core Audio PCIe MADI cards. With two optical ports, the BMB2 supports 64 bi-directional channels at 44.1k, 48k, 88.2k, and 96k; and 32 bi-directional channels at 176.4k and 192k.
The BMB3 features two Ethernet ports for use with Dante-enabled DAWs or any Dante-enabled device, such as a digital mixing console. With two Dante ports, the BMB3 supports 64 bi-directional channels at 44.1k, 48k, 88.2k, and 96k; and 32 bi-directional channels at 176.4k and 192k.
SoundGrid is an Audio-over-Ethernet networking and processing technology developed by Waves. The BMB4 features an Ethernet port for 64 bi-directional channels, one BNC word clock input, and two word-clock outputs. SoundGrid provides extremely low-latency, high-channel-count audio processing using standard Intel CPUs and 1Gbps Ethernet for the studio, live sound, and other real-time professional audio applications. Real-time audio processing is performed on standard Intel-based plugin servers running a Waves-customized real-time version of Linux. Waves SoundGrid audio over Ethernet technology is a robust, proven system for audio-over-IP networking.
Designed exclusively for the B16, the BMB5 provides an easy interface to any computer via USB. If you don’t need high channel count, the B16 with a BAD8 and BDA8 plus the BMB5 is a great way to go.
B4 Mic Pre
The B4 boasts the new BX6 input transformer designed for true mic/line input impedance. The B4 maintains a no compromise, class-A analog circuit, followed by the same ADC we use in the BAD8. Using a single B80 chassis, 40 input channels of audiophile MIC/LINE inputs can be realized. With digital control and SoundGrid or Dante, the B80 Mothership with the B4Mic/Line daughter card is the ultimate studio-grade stage box.
The BAD4 is a 4-channel analog-to-digital daughter card for the B80 and B16 Mothership. This is a no-compromise design using an all class-A, discrete transistor circuit path and the legendary BX1 transformer coupled input.
The BDA4, transformer coupled, 4-channel digital-to-analog converter Daughter Card for the B80 and B16 Mothership is the result of over 25 years of R&D experience in pro audio digital and analog design. Following on the success of the B2 Bomber DAC and the BDA8 for the Mothership, the BDA4 uses the newly developed BOPA14 with BURL Audio’s NextGen Analog. The BOPA14 is followed by the renowned BX5 output transformer used in the B32 Vancouver Mix Bus.
The BAD8 is an 8-channel analog-to-digital daughter card for the B80 and B16 Mothership. It has a next-generation analog circuit path and the latest in analog to digital conversion. The BAD8 boasts great tone with even greater detail and amazing low latency.
The BDA8 is an 8-channel digital-to-analog daughter card for the B80 and B16 Mothership. It features the same digital-to-analog conversion as the B2 Bomber DAC coupled with the Burl Audio proprietary BOPA2 discrete, class-A op-amp. The combination is a sound that is real, open, and huge.
The BCLK card features 8 BNC-style word clock outputs plus an AES/EBU clock output. An extremely low jitter, high-quality clock is generated by the BMBx card (Burl Motherboard) and passed along the BBB (Burl BackBone) to each B80 and B16 daughter card slot. With the BCLK card, a word clock distribution of 92 total outputs can be achieved with one B80 MOTHERSHIP. An added feature of the BCLK card is that it can output multiples of the system word clock. For instance, if you are running a 96kHz session, you can output 48kHz, 96kHz or 192kHz from each BCLK word clock bank.
The BAES4 card features 4 channels of AES/EBU IO and the ability to recover and sync to the incoming AES stream.
Who’s piloting the Mothership?
Burl founder, Rich Williams, known throughout the industry for designing the UA 2192 converter (an instant hit with mastering engineers) devoted over 20 years of tireless research and development to land the Mothership on earth. The no-compromise design strategy is immediately apparent in both build quality and sonics. All circuits are tested in real recording situations and on all instruments. As such, the Mothership shines in any music, broadcast, or film-recording application, revolutionizing pro audio as we mere earthlings have known it. As tracking with analog tape becomes a lost art, many engineers, producers, and listeners yearn for the missing tones of records past—it’s aboard the Mothership. When it lands, take the B16 Mothership to your leader tape and help usher in a new era analog sound for digital recordings (oh yeah, and peace on earth.)