US hardware manufacturers Burl make big claims about their latest product, an analogue-to-digital converter called the B2 Bomber. Firstly, it’s named after one of the most deadly aircraft in the world: the B2 ‘stealth’ bomber, which is capable of carrying 16 nuclear bombs, and sneaking undetected past enemy radar to deploy its payload. Thankfully, Burl’s B2 can’t do this, but the company claim it will “give you the ultimate in recording tone”, thanks to the use of high-quality analogue components all the way up to the converter chip. Burl even use a proprietary transformer, the BX1, as part of a discrete class-A analogue signal path.
As you can see from the picture, the B2 is rackmountable, standing 1U tall, and it has numerous front-panel controls, plus generous 30-segment LED metering. A stepped knob attenuates the analogue input signal by between -12dB and -24dB, allowing the user to, in Burl’s words, “hit the front end hotter or colder depending on what the material calls for”. Intriguingly, Burl even say that the B2 will sound better if the input level is high (but obviously not clipping), thanks to the bespoke analogue circuitry on the front end.
The Bomber can sample at the common rates between 44.1kHz and 192kHz (using a dual-wire configuration at the highest rates), with the desired setting selected using a large knob on the device’s front face, and highlighted on the display beside the LED array. There are AES and S/PDIF connections on XLR and RCA ports respectively, with line inputs on XLR; three BNC connections provide one-in and two-out word clock connectivity. In the UK, the B2 is set to retail for £2695 including VAT.