I don’t want to bury the lede, so let’s start with one basic fact: a pair Burwell & Sons Homage speakers costs $80,000. Let that sink in. Eighty thousand dollars. I wanted to get that out in the open right up front.
I’ll give you a minute to process.
Got it? Good. Because I’m going to spoil the review for you. I liked these speakers. I liked them a lot.
Kirsten and I ran into the Burwells, Gordon Sr. and Gordon Jr., at last year’s California Audio Show. They were exhibiting an earlier pair of their Homage speakers with a room full of borrowed gear and a closet loaded with a cooler of beer. That model, stuffed as it was with rebuilt Altec components, made me smile. At the time, I thought that it sounded a little boxy, a little shouty, seriously shy on the treble, and a little discombobulated. The bass bin was excellent, but the system clearly needed to exorcise some demons. The crossover seemed to be a particular weakness, keeping up the grand Altec tradition of fantastic drivers tied to complete junk. It was still pretty enough that I almost didn’t care. That carved wood horn left me basically speechless.
Still… the room was musical enough to make me want to hang out in it. We shoved some beer into the Burwells’ cooler, and then we sat and chatted with these two crazy guys for half an hour.
Please understand: I’m not using the word “crazy” lightly in this case. These guys are utterly crazy. They’re charming, decent folks. They’re great company. They seem well-adjusted. And then, as soon as someone talks about speakers, they get a weird kind of light in their eyes. It’s a little off-putting, really. You’d think that kind of zeal would be common enough at audio shows that you wouldn’t even notice it. You’d be right, except for one thing. The Burwells aren’t audiophiles.
The Burwells just love music. They love the experience of music. They’re obsessed with it. And they really think that we audiophiles have forgotten the basics. Burwell & Sons, bespoke manufacturer of heirloom quality speakers, was started because they think their old school tricks will change your life.
And they’re willing to race for pinks. Continue reading