I roam the halls looking for that next big innovation, that highly complex DSP controlled newfangled way of doing things. Sometimes I find it. Sometimes it’s good. However all too easily we can overlook the solutions of the past. Case in point, Burwell & Son’s which were demoing at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest their fabulous and no fuss Plain Jane horn speaker array. ($87,500 USD) An array so well focused to its duties, to hear Gordon Burwell give account to it’s design and hand-build process of production, you begin to understand the nuances and complexities of getting a horn system done right.
This is a familiar pairing of speakers and electronics. Burwell & Sons were one of the more memorable rooms at Axpona when teamed up with long time friends at Rogers High Fidelity. Albeit within this familiarity, something is different. For one, Roger’s national sales manager Robert Pleyer decided to power this system with their 65 V-1 ($4,000 USD) all Class A, 25 watts per channel (EL-34 and KT-88) integrated amplifier, with enough app control and wireless features to convince you quickly that “younger generations” can welcome this blend of classic technology into their already tech happy lifestyles. Bravo!
For two, this system’s sound is rocking. Here with less watts and headroom that what I’ve heard in previously, thoughts of doubt mingle. Ultimate control might suffer from lack of juice, but to my hearing, it is not. It should also be noted that friend and audio guru Jeremy Kipnis of Kipnis Studio Standard (KSS) was on hand to aid Gordon and Robert in the fine tuning and implementation of their exhibit. Whatever that costs, it was worth it.
When you add in the VPI Classic 4 ($15,000 USD), cables from Transparent, Oppo’s Sonica DAC ($800 USD), you can easily cherry pick from this room to compile a system of highly esoteric quality with considerable savings further up the chain.
As someone wise once said, put your money on the speakers.