RMAF 2016: Burwell & Sons goes solid state with PS Audio, VPi and creates soul

Gordon Sr. at the helm of the digital front end.

Gordon Burwell Sr. is one mellow dude. He’s always kicked back in his room at hi-fi shows, usually with his glasses tipped up on his head, a smile on his face, and some sweet tunes emitting their soothing sonic waves suggestively courtesy of his gorgeous, high-efficiency loudspeakers. In this case it was his signature Mother of Burl three-ways with their Single Jack subwoofers in place (prototypes, expected cost $80,000 USD). I’ve heaped high praise on these bespoke, vintage-Altec equipped beauties at past shows, and I’m sorry to say that this time, I’m going to do it again. So, if you’re sick of me telling you how emotionally engaging these tranducers are, too bad.

VPi Avenger adds some serious muscle to this front end.
Rocky Mountain Audio festival coverage provided by Noble Audio: https://nobleaudio.com/en

Burwell was running a front end, and amplification that I’d not heard previously with his designs, and the results were very pleasing indeed. Having the heavy grunt, and sinewy muscle of a VPi Avenger ($9,500 USD) with 3D-Printed tonearm ($1,800 USD), and an Ortofon Cadenza Bronze ($2,300 USD) fronting the analog side of this rig was a wise choice indeed.

Typically Ortofon: neutral, and emotionally provoking.

The very neutral PS Audio gear – BHK 250 Stereo Power amplifier ($7,499 USD), Direct Stream Jr. ($3,999 USD), NuWave Phono ($999 USD), and the venerable, and highly coveted (by me) P10 AC Power Plant ($4,999 USD) –  juicing the Mother of Burls had headroom to spare. Even though in my mind these speakers should only ever be fed by the loving watts supplied by a Single-Ended Triode tube amplifier, the combo of the VPi, (and the computer-based source) with the PS Audio kit was once again deeply satisfying, and ultimately both emotionally, and mentally engaging; it not only elicited a wash of feelings that makes my lizard brain squirm, it had my mind racing through complex thought patterns regarding my life without me even noticing until the music stopped, and the needle squawked in protest.

Digital dirty work being handled by PS Audio.

It doesn’t seem to matter what you put in front of Gordon Burwell Sr.’s loudspeaker designs, they just take it in all stride, and translate what they’re being given with finesse, honesty, and a simple equation of emotions that will leave you smiling time, and again.


About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream


    • Everyone’s reality is different, just as they’re tastes are too. Thanks for such an enlightening comment.

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