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Auralic Vega vs Berkeley Alpha Dac + Alpha USB


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I have a Berkeley Alpha DAC 1st Generation (not upgradable to mkII). I have been running Pure Music through an old Mac G5 with a Lynx sound card AES into the Berkeley Alpha DAC. Time and software upgrades have conspired to pretty much force me out of the G5. I bought a mac mini recently so no more AES out. My thought process was to get a Berkeley Alpha USB and problem solved. Then I started reading pretty good things about the Auralic Vega. My questions is whether to keep a 1st generation Alpha DAC and add the Alpha USB or just get an Auralic Vega. Any thoughts? Happy to provide any additional information required. Thanks.

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  • 4 months later...

I would wait I have heard the auralic . I think the Berkley without the usb is as good up to the file resolution limitations. But with the interface it will better the vega again up to a limited resolution. I would wait Berkeley know lumin and Vega amongst others are stealing the hi res streaming show.

They will respond its just a matter of when.

But when they do you should save money on upgrading plus you will be at an advantage by having matched digital front end.

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I have a Berkeley Alpha DAC 1st Generation (not upgradable to mkII). I have been running Pure Music through an old Mac G5 with a Lynx sound card AES into the Berkeley Alpha DAC. Time and software upgrades have conspired to pretty much force me out of the G5. I bought a mac mini recently so no more AES out. My thought process was to get a Berkeley Alpha USB and problem solved. Then I started reading pretty good things about the Auralic Vega. My questions is whether to keep a 1st generation Alpha DAC and add the Alpha USB or just get an Auralic Vega. Any thoughts? Happy to provide any additional information required. Thanks.

 

Sorry you have not gotten more of a response to your question. I had the Berkeley Alpha DAC 1st generation for a couple of years. To get the highest SQ out of it feeding from a Mac Mini you have to have a high quality USB/AES-SPDIF converter. This is why they developed their own Alpha USB. This remains true with their Alpha DAC 2nd generation, although it has an improved clock.

 

A new Vega is around $3k and a new Alpha USB is around $1.5K IIRC. I think its impossible for anyone to answer your question but you! I suspect the VEGA would outperform your Gen1 Alpha DAC with the Alpha USB, but that's just a guess. The Gen2 Alpha DAC with the Alpha USB is still CA head honcho's reference DAC and Robert Harley I believe so its no slouch and I suspect that combo bests the VEGA...but then we are talking $6.5K vs $3K plus/minus.

 

One approach would be to demo the Alpha USB and a VEGA and let your ears decide. But again, I can 100% assure you that you are not hearing your Gen1 Alpha DAC at its best until you use a high quality USB/AES-SPDIF convertor. When I had that DAC I was using a Lynx AES card in a silent PC and I remember when Scot Hull (part time audiophile) came to my house with his convertor and the difference was not subtle.

Mac Mini / Pure Music > Firewire & USB > Metric Halo LIO-8 > Hypex NCORE 400 > Geddes Abbey Speakers > Rythmik Servo & Geddes Band Pass Subs // DH Labs Cables, HRS MXR Isolation Rack, PurePower 2000, Elgar 6006B

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Gary and Ear,

Thanks for your replies. I ended up going the Vega route. I couldn't arrange to demo the two options head to head. Happy with the results so far. As fast as this technology evolves, if I keep the Vega as long as I had the Alpha, I will be happy... Now I just need to compare the Vega to a googlephonic with moonrock needle... Then I'll know.

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Gary and Ear,

Now I just need to compare the Vega to a googlephonic with moonrock needle... Then I'll know.

 

Well, you can't go wrong with the VEGA...but I think it will sound like s#$% compared to a googlephonic with moonrock needle system....unless....you add a plutonium power supply to that VEGA...hehe. Enjoy!

Mac Mini / Pure Music > Firewire & USB > Metric Halo LIO-8 > Hypex NCORE 400 > Geddes Abbey Speakers > Rythmik Servo & Geddes Band Pass Subs // DH Labs Cables, HRS MXR Isolation Rack, PurePower 2000, Elgar 6006B

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