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Burl Audio B1 500-Series Preamp  From Burl

The nickel output transformer on the B1 adds the punch and warmth your music needs!

Burl Audio


Price:  $949.00

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What We Think

With the Burl Preamps (the B1 and B1D), it is really hard to talk about one without talking about both of them.  We aren't the first to approach it this way, but it is best.  Burl set out to make the highest quality 500 series preamp that they could.  With knobs that don't feel cheap, a visual cue for preamp level (the light that changes color as you push) and their own custom transformers; you are getting one hell of a product that isn't the most expensive on the market.

The B1 is the more versatile of the two.  It is more forward, tighter and more detailed than its sibling the B1D.  The B1 is our go-to when you want a preamp that can work just about anywhere, but isn't going to get overly heavy handed as you stack tracks.   For us, this is the sweet spot since most customers are building up 500 series modules over time.  The B1 is a great "first high end" preamp as you can do so much with it.  It isn't a clone of anything in particular, just a fantastic sounding, slightly colored transformer preamp.

The B1D is a bit more heavy-handed.  The output transformer in the "D" model gives it more of the vintage tone, more warmth, more color, but less detail.  This is great for being a secondary preamp that use on things like Vocals, lead guitar and overheads where you are trying to push into the color of the preamp to shape the sound.  The B1D does work on about everything you can throw at it, just keep in mind that it is more heavy handed.  

For us, these are a great one-two punch in that you get loads of versatility with the B1, and then a more heavy-handed approach with the B1D.  


Burl Audio 500 Series Preamp Comparison: B1 vs. B1D Quick n' Dirty

In this video, Sound Pure pro audio specialist David Barrett explains the differences between the Burl Audio B1 500 series preamp, and the Burl B1D, then plays some demo clips of each preamp in action on vocals.

Manufacturer's Description from Burl

B1 Mic Pres


Step Back – Here come the B1and B1D…

Introducing the B1 and B1D Microphone Pre Amps from Burl Audio. Based on the API 500 series form factor, the B1 was designed to compliment the B2 Bomber ADC, and give you multi-channel pleasure. With the proprietary BX3 input transformer and BX2 output transformer, the B1 Mic Pre delivers warmth with depth and clarity. 

The B1D is the same as the B1 except that it has an all iron BX4 output transformer giving it a more terrifying rock tone. An all discrete transistor, class-A, direct coupled, capacitor free circuit path, gives the B1 amazing punch on drums, beautiful tonality on guitars, and warmth with presence on vocals.

The B1 and B1D come complete with both Gain and Level controls. If you want that heavy, gainy tone, crank up the stepped gain control and offset that with the level control. If clean tone is your thing, turn the gain down and crank up the level. For ribbon mics and other low impedance sources, the B1 has a transformer coupled impedance select. The B1 was rigorously tested with the popular Royer R-121 in the low impedance setting, and we think it sounds pretty f***ing bitchin’’ on guitar amps. 

The B1 gets the best out of any microphone, whether it be dynamic, condenser or ribbon.Use the B1’s 1/4” instrument/line input on the front panel, plug in, crank up the gain and go. The PAD switch allows for hot signals and balanced line inputs through the mic XLR on the back panel. Run your tracks or mixes through the B1 for warmth and glue.

Burl Audio

About Manufacturer

Founded in 2006, BURL Audio is a pro audio gear engineering and manufacturing company based in Santa Cruz, California. Based out of Paradise Recording and spearheaded by Rich Williams, BURL Audio's gear is designed in a commercial recording studio, by professional recording engineers, for recording engineers. Our Philosophy The philosophy of BURL Audio is to provide the best possible recording devices, in modular, outboard units, to all levels of recording engineers at a reasonable price. All BURL Audio products are designed to improve your recording, mixdown, and mastering significantly. BURL Audio's products are designed to be a life-long asset to your studio. Our Plan BURL Audio is dedicated to bringing you ground breaking studio gear that will change your life. The B2 Bomber ADC will be followed by the B2 Bomber DAC for detailed monitoring. From these we will derive a modular line of multi-channel ADCs and DACs featuring the same audio path and love of the B2 series. On the heels of the converters, BURL Audio will begin offering tasty microphone preamps, such as the B1and B1D (now available), and outboard mix buses. Direct boxes and a clock source are also in the BURL Audio product plan. Webster on BURL Burl is the root of the word burly. Webster defines burly as follows: Main Entry: bur?ly Pronunciation: 'b&r-lE Function: adjective Inflected Form(s): bur?li?er; -est Etymology: Middle English : strongly and heavily built : HUSKY - bur?li?ly /-l&-lE/ adverb - bur?li?ness /-lE-n&s/ noun Burl is also defined as a tough, yet beautifully knotty base of 2000 year old redwood tree trunks. Burly is the heavy surf and fog that descends without warning over Santa Cruz, California. Burly is the dual rectified guitar and kick drum recorded through a BURL Audio B2 Bomber ADC and B1 Mic Pre. Burly is the toughness and heavy build quality of a BURL Audio unit. BURL is a creative state of mind. BURL is about music, grace, and power.