March 16, 2006

Burwen Bobcat...

by Chris Randall

It took some reading to figure out what the fuck this is. As far as I can tell, you buy this package containing the Burwen Bobcat software and a USB D/A convertor. The software is a plugin for Windows Media Player, and the D/A convertor plugs in to your stereo. Apparently, this is the mythical Good Box.

People that don't usually talk shit (Mark Levinson, Rob Fraboni) are quoted on the site, waxing eloquent about the "amazing depth and clarity" of Burwen Bobcat. Quite frankly, this falls squarely in to the "I'll believe it when I hear it" catagory, and if I didn't even have Windows Media Player on my PC, I'd be a happier person for it. But that said, it sounds interesting. I can't figure out how much the software/hardware package costs, but go have a look and let me know what you think. Anyone have any experience with this?




Mar.16.2006 @ 2:17 PM
I think this is witchdoctor territory. It seems to be a "hgih end" DAC from what I can tell. Because all audio equipment eventually converts digital to analog.

I mean, I suppose you could take your sample points, and connect them together with a lot nicer curves, maybe even shape the curves between points based on some analysis of the sound - but I thought this is what audiophile grade equipment does already? That is why some people pay the big bucks for a CD player.

Seems to me you would be better off buying a good high quality pair of speakers, or really good headphone, and a high end USB sound card, than this thing.

Is it cheap?


Mar.16.2006 @ 3:32 PM
"The Burwen Bobcat, through its use of ultra-high-frequency reverberation and strategic equalization, overcomes the deleterious effects of PCM digital, Levinson claimed. He said he had proven this in tests using the Avatar Biofeedback Testing System. Because he did not have an Avatar system at Red Rose, he offered to test my responses to PCM digital and the Burwen Bobcat on the spot, employing the techniques of applied kinesiology."

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In other words, it has a filter inside.


Mar.16.2006 @ 5:11 PM
I'm of the opinion that DAC quality does make a difference. I recently upgraded to the RME fireface from a M-Audio firewire interface. There is far less noise, imaging is better and generally I have less ear fatigue. The difference in quality is even noticable with mp3 / aac files. This could of course be due to the entire signal chain in the box being of higher quality, but that is probably the case with these boxes as well (at least when compared to built-in sound or most consumer sound cards).

Mar.16.2006 @ 8:57 PM
Chris Randall
I think, if research was conducted, you'd find that the actual AD and DA convertors in the RME and the M-Audio are exactly the same. The improvements in imaging and depth are most likely due to better quality components.



Mar.17.2006 @ 12:58 AM
So this is a box made with nice bits + a WinAmp plugin that does voodoo and restores lost audio information to lossy compressed files. Great! If I run some wax cylinder recordings of Caruso through this, they.ll come out sounding like CDs. Or, to play on a popular meme, I could put this in the chain after a Mackie 1604...



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