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Berkeley Alpha USB vs Bel Canto uLink vs Audiophilleo - Random Musings


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A week or so ago I was happily listening to my Chord Hugo, being driven by my Audiophilleo interface and thought: “This sounds fantastic! I have never heard digital sound this good. I am finally ready to give away my LPs.”

 

Naturally, this sounded so good that I couldn’t leave it alone. I had to tinker with it, obsessively plug and unplug components for several hours playing the same few minutes of music, and spent several thousand more dollars, to arrive at the same conclusion.

 

Let me backtrack. Until recently I was using a Bel Canto DAC3.5VBS II with Reflink USB interface. This sounded very good and I was happy. Then I made some changes to the system – replaced my amps with Teddy Pardo amps and the speakers with Dynaudio C1 Mk IIs, and suddenly my system achieved a new level of transparency. Every minor change in the system was suddenly very obvious in a way I hadn’t heard before. I tried my Chord QuteHD with linear PSU in place of the Bel Canto DAC, and although the Chord did some things better, I still felt the BC had the edge. Then I bought the Hugo. The Hugo comprehensively beat the Bel Canto in key areas (though not all), at half the price, and added a killer headphone amp and portability at the same time. So I sold the Bel Canto along with the Reflink.

 

Now I happened to have a uLink as well that I had bought for another PC, and also an Audiophilleo 2 that I have had for a couple of years. I wasn’t too concerned about selling the Reflink because (1) I had briefly compared the Reflink and uLink and hadn’t heard much, if any, difference and (2) my guess is that the extra (double) cost of the Reflink compared to the uLink is more to do with the heavy faceplate, the display, additional AES/EBU output and the bigger box it comes in, rather than the minimal additional power supply circuitry. I suspected that adding a decent PSU to the uLink would produce identical, if not better results. And as it happened, I have a TeddyPardo USB PSU (actually a Squeezebox PSU converted to USB duty with Teddy’s USB “T” cable), as well as an ifi iUSB.

 

Having had the experience I described in the first paragraph, and having read many reviews of the Berkeley Alpha USB, I thought if the Audiophilleo sounded this good, the Berkeley must sound mind blowing. So I went to a local shop which happened to have a demo Berkeley unit that they sold to me for a good price (good for them, I mean).

 

So now I had three USB interfaces to compare – the AP2, Berkeley and BC uLink - with two USB power supplies – an iUSB and Teddy Pardo PSU – and a few different USB cables, since I also have on hand a Wireworld Ultraviolet, Furutech GT-2, Moon Audio Blue Dragon and a recently acquired ifi Gemini cable. In addition to this I was also able to listen using my Sennheiser HD800s and Moon Audio Blue Dragon cable, for a different perspective. I should add that these listening tests were done using only SPDIF, and using a DH Labs 75 ohm digital cable with RCAs (and an RCA/BNC adapter where required), or the “direct connection” adapter with the Audiophilleo.

 

I compared all of these combinations of interfaces, power supplies, and cables for hours and hours. I would play the same piece of music again and again, maybe a hundred times. You guys have all been there, you know what I am talking about. At times the differences seemed huge, at times I was struggling to hear any difference from the same change; at times I doubted my own hearing and sanity and was so traumatized by “analysis paralysis” that I couldn’t think straight and had to abandon the exercise for the day. Did I hear a difference? Was it big? Was I imagining it? Was it an improvement? Was it worse? It was killing me.

 

Eventually I have drawn some conclusions. These are not scientific, they are not double-blind tested, they are subjective and subject to expectation bias, placebo effect and the full range of neuroses that apply to people like us. They are not final and could change tomorrow. Anyway, here they are:

 

 

  • The differences between USB interfaces – or indeed any of these combinations or interfaces, cables and PSUs - are really, really tiny. People who hear clear and immediate differences, or big and obvious improvements either have better hearing than I do (not impossible) or are perhaps overstating the magnitude of the effects compared to, say, a change of speaker or amp, which is easy to do after you have spent a lot of time focusing on small changes.
  • I could easily live with any combination of these interfaces, with or without a PSU, and any of the cables (with one exception, to be noted below), and would not feel I was missing anything important.
  • And the question you probably wanted answered in the first place as you skimmed through the tedious meanderings I have posted above – which sounds best? The Audiophilleo!
  • Adding an external PSU such as the iUSB or TeddyPardo to the Audiophilleo or uLink did make a noticeable difference and it was an improvement. There was a slight reduction in background hash, and the sound became smoother and had greater flow. Plugging the Berkeley into the PSU, as expected, did not result in an improvement – in fact it made it sound slightly flatter and duller. Given the Berkeley’s careful onboard power regulation, this was no surprise.
  • Between the iUSB and the Teddy PSU, the Teddy was better. The iUSB did reduce background hash, and improved both the Audiophilleo and uLink, but it also gave them a slightly “processed” sound that is difficult to describe, but was not as natural as the Teddy PSU. In contrast,the Teddy had a blacker background and notes had more depth and substance. Again, a reminder that these differences were tiny and we are talking about measuring bees’ dicks.
  • Between the uLink/Teddy and Berkeley, there was very little difference. I was struggling to differentiate them. I cannot conclusively say that one was better.
  • Between the uLink/Teddy and AP2/Teddy, the AP2 was the clear winner. It had a blacker background, notes stood out in sharper contrast, tonal colours were more saturated and dynamics were better. Again, tiny differences but noticeable.
  • Between the Berkeley and AP2/Teddy, you will have deduced from the previous two comments that the AP2/Teddy was the winner, for exactly the same reasons. The Berkeley still produced a certain amount of background hash (only noticeable in comparison to the AP2) and sounded slightly greyer, less colorful than the AP2.
  • AP2 without a PSU against the Berkeley was a tougher choice. The AP2 naked had slightly less musical “flow” and did not have quite the silent, black backgrounds, but still retained its saturated tonal colours, and for that reason I still preferred it to the Berkeley (and also the uLink).
  • Different output formats (using JRMC 19) sometimes produced bigger differences than changing interfaces. Kernel streaming sounded quite different to Wasapi and ASIO, although the latter two sounded similar. I thought the Berkeley sounded better with ASIO, the uLink with Wasapi, and the AP2 it was a toss-up between Wasapi and KS, with KS sounding more colourful, but having a more “digital” quality, if that makes sense. I tried all of the formats in these comparisons, although most often used Wasapi because it sounded good for all of them and it was a common, recommended format for all.
  • I struggled to hear any differences between the cables, with the exception of the Wireworld Ultraviolet, which sounded quite lightweight and thin compared to the others. At first I thought it was more resolving, but then realized it was the reverse. I need to do some more comparisons to verify that I wasn’t imagining this. Between the Blue Dragon and Furutech it was very close; I definitely couldn’t tell them apart in a blind test, but if pushed I would say that the Blue Dragon is slightly tighter, sweeter sounding. The Gemini, due to its construction, was not immediately comparable, but I think it sounded as good or a little better (ie lower noise) than the Blue Dragon when connected directly to the PC via its data cable and to the Teddy PSU via its power cable. Yet again, the differences were tiny, vanishingly small. If someone were to demonstrate that there is no audible difference between these cables and that I was experiencing expectation bias or some other imaginary phenomenon I wouldn’t be at all surprised.
  • The DH Labs digital cable sounded slightly brighter than the “direct connection” adapter for the Audiophilleo. The direct connection sounded warmer and fuller. I hesitate to say it, particularly in connection with digital cables, but it sounded like the difference I usually hear between copper cables and those with silver content (as I believe the DH Labs cable does), as I invariably prefer copper cables. Again, this could just be a case of expectation bias.

 

So the net result is that, in my system with my ears and preferences, the Audiophilleo is the winner and sounds better to me than the Berkeley Alpha USB. The AP2 with a USB PSU such as the Teddy Pardo combined with an outstanding DAC such as the Chord Hugo is to my ears a stunning sounding combination, which produces silky, silent black backgrounds and rich tonal colours. No other combination of Berkeley, uLink, cables, PSUs or output formats produced quite this combination to the same extent. However, it took a lot of listening to identify these differences, and any “normal” person would consider it crazy even to spend time (let alone money in large quantities) trying to do so.

 

It should be added that this test was limited to SPDIF. Berkeley claim that their AES/EBU output is better, and maybe it is.

 

I’m not convinced that USB cables make the big differences that have been claimed, if any. The differences that I heard could easily have been imaginary. I remain open minded, but with a slight nod towards skepticism on the subject of USB cables.

 

The PSUs do make a noticeable difference for USB powered interfaces, and I recommend the Teddy Pardo PSU. (I have no connection with Teddy but have bought quite a few things from him over the last few years and all have been excellent.)

 

No doubt many will disagree with some of my findings – particularly my preference for the Audiophilleo over the Berkeley – and also my comments on USB cables. To reiterate yet again, all of the differences I have noted are very, very small, and would probably not be noticed by most listeners at all. These are all good products and, knowing what I now know, if I owned one of them I would not - or at least, should not - spend time or money upgrading to another one, except possibly buying a PSU for a USB powered interface.

 

The next step will be to test again with a new DAC when I decide to waste some more money on an unnecessary “improvement”only to demonstrate that what I have is perfectly good. I think the PS AudioDirectstream DAC is probably just the thing for this …

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Rossb,

I love your writing style, and very much enjoyed reading this small diatribe. I am a Chord junkie as of late (wrote the Qute HD review and EX addendum here, and my Hugo arrives this weekend) and am looking forward to trying a few USB converters with the Hugo too....but your comments about it being miniscule in relation to other things in audio really hit home. Great job!

 

Slightly off topic (so PM me if more appropriate) but what were the areas that the Hugo beat the Bel Canto, and again those areas where it didn't (as per your "though not all" comment)?

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Hi Rossb!

 

Really workmanlike piece of work there, it was great to read. For what it is worth, I agree completely with your first two bullet points. :) I also agree that format conversions, at least from JRMC make one whale of a lot of difference. Much more than I would have imagined they ever should, especially when up converting to DSD!

 

I look forward to reading about your DAC adventures. I am finding that DACs seems to all sound very different to me, and it will be interesting to see what you decide from your evaluations. Keep posting!

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Rossb,

I love your writing style, and very much enjoyed reading this small diatribe. I am a Chord junkie as of late (wrote the Qute HD review and EX addendum here, and my Hugo arrives this weekend) and am looking forward to trying a few USB converters with the Hugo too....but your comments about it being miniscule in relation to other things in audio really hit home. Great job!

 

Slightly off topic (so PM me if more appropriate) but what were the areas that the Hugo beat the Bel Canto, and again those areas where it didn't (as per your "though not all" comment)?

 

Thanks, Ted.

 

The Hugo and Bel Canto are very different. The Bel Canto has a huge, enveloping, dense sound, but it is slightly unfocussed. I occasionally thought that I had connected the speakers out of phase while listening to it, the soundstage was so big and diffuse. In many ways it is a very addictive and enjoyable sound. The Hugo, in comparison, is much, much more focussed and tight sounding. It has better dynamics and better tonal colour. It reproduces transients, such as cymbols or a plucked guitar string with much more speed and accuracy than the Bel Canto - although to be fair, it does this better than any other DAC I have heard. It also sounds more "real" than any other DAC I have heard, it is quite uncanny. So the Bel Canto has some strengths and I really enjoyed owning it, but the Hugo and its newer technology seem to have taken a big step forward for digital reproduction that is hard to ignore. The more I listen to the Hugo - as both a DAC and a headphone amp - the more impressed with it I become, it is a truly stunning product.

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Hi Rossb!

 

Really workmanlike piece of work there, it was great to read. For what it is worth, I agree completely with your first two bullet points. :) I also agree that format conversions, at least from JRMC make one whale of a lot of difference. Much more than I would have imagined they ever should, especially when up converting to DSD!

 

I look forward to reading about your DAC adventures. I am finding that DACs seems to all sound very different to me, and it will be interesting to see what you decide from your evaluations. Keep posting!

 

-Paul

 

Thanks, Paul.

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Hi rossb,

 

Really great interesting read. Aside from the fact that your wallet must be bleeding, I found your comments about changing drivers inside JRiver of particular interest because I have the same experience. It seems to me that it should not matter so much which "direct connection" you select....but it does. I find changing from wasapi/asio/ks makes more difference than anything else. From a scientific standpoint I don't believe it should. Isn't direct really direct? Ks produces the biggest separation and widest soundfield but it is slightly more digital sounding. Asio and wasapi sound more similar but still not exactly the same.

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Hi rossb,

 

Really great interesting read. Aside from the fact that your wallet must be bleeding, I found your comments about changing drivers inside JRiver of particular interest because I have the same experience. It seems to me that it should not matter so much which "direct connection" you select....but it does. I find changing from wasapi/asio/ks makes more difference than anything else. From a scientific standpoint I don't believe it should. Isn't direct really direct? Ks produces the biggest separation and widest soundfield but it is slightly more digital sounding. Asio and wasapi sound more similar but still not exactly the same.

 

Thanks, Chodi. You description of the differences between Wasapi, ASIO and KS matches my experience exactly. I am also at a loss as to why three versions of "bit perfect" output should sound so different.

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I have foobar on my system but I haven't used it lately. I am going to try it and see if I get the same difference with the different outputs as I do in JRiver. If they are different then the results with JRiver, then that would throw a wrench into this entire subject.

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I will be very interested to hear your results, Chodi.

 

I just did this experiment between JRiver and foobar. I'm rather surprised at the results. First, I will say that with any of the drivers I get better results overall with JRiver. Doesn't make much sense since bit perfect should be the same. Secondly, and more interesting, with foobar all three drivers asio, wasapi and ks sound virtually the same (as I would expect they should). This is not the case with JRiver. As I already pointed out all three drivers sound different in JRiver. I have no idea why this is? I will only say that JRiver maintains a level of transparency that I do not get with foobar. Also no rational reason for that. I would point out that I am doing this experiment with my HD800"s which tend to easily show up any change in the system. I am using the driver set 2.19 that is provided directly from xmos so I can't blame it on the drivers.

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wow wow.. Ross. this is what I call as service to humanity .. I mean to the miniscule minority afflicted with a OCD disorder called ..audiophila :-) Seriously speaking these are very good data points. As a bel Canto uLink and iUSB owner and suffering from the same paranoia (but not the fat wallet :-) ) it was very helpful to me.

In my case, I was going straight from my squeeezebox touch to my TACT . Adding the uLink and iUSB, the major change was sense ot 'quietness'. I like the Audiophileo for its 'direct connection' but construction wise I prefer the uLink or BADA or RefLink. Now that you have ruined the RefLink for me, only way I can spend with my thin wallet :-) is go for the Audiophileo (looks like you did not the battery/purepower ?) .

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Terrific read .. thanks for sharing.

 

When I've done my own obsessive testing with somewhat similar components (iUSBPower, Gemini DH cable, Teddy 12/2, mLink, and the QuteHD among others), I've wondered how many of us here do just this. If my non-audiophool friends had any idea they would certainly insist on a therapy session or 2 :)

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...Now that you have ruined the RefLink for me, only way I can spend with my thin wallet :-) is go for the Audiophileo (looks like you did not the battery/purepower ?) .

 

Seriously, if you have the uLink and iUSB and like it, why change? You may not find the Audiophilleo to be better, and if you do, it won't be by much.

 

I didn't get the Purepower for the Audiophilleo because I already had the Teddy PSU and iUSB so didn't think I needed to try another power supply. Even I have limits!

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Seriously, if you have the uLink and iUSB and like it, why change? You may not find the Audiophilleo to be better, and if you do, it won't be by much.

 

I didn't get the Purepower for the Audiophilleo because I already had the Teddy PSU and iUSB so didn't think I needed to try another power supply. Even I have limits!

 

ha.. we had Ritchie Rich image of you :-) feel better now and a little less envious.. do you know how much money you saved us all.. "differences are subtle".. statements like this are a great anti-dote to audiophile nervosa ..

 

Yes, I like the uLink .. even though I am running with iUSB, I am waiting for some USB cables to squeeze more performance out of it.. the ifi guys and many others think that the DC to the converter is compromised being next to the the high frequency data lines. I have stuck with my TACT (pure digital integrate amp) because I wanted to ensure I got a perfect digital input going before I did anything else. I still wanted my Squeezebox Touch and only recently with the advent of async USB converters I got an opportunity to get a better digital out of my SBT (after Linear PS and Touch toolbox software tweaks).

 

Again. thanks for your experiments.. fantastic .. (BTW, could you pl weight in on digital cables and AP 'direct-connect a little more ?)

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Nice write up rossb! I went through a similar process myself last year (bought the uLink, RefLink, BADA and Ar-T Legato II), and also conducted endless experiments with the iUSB and boatloads of usb cables. So, your post brought back many memories of my experience.

 

I agree with many of your findings, with some exceptions, but we all have different ears/systems/preferences. Good job.

 

BADA, using AES/EBU shines for me and was definitely an improvement over using spdif. The improvement was absolutely worth it (as compared to using no converter). I have zero interest in trying any other converters. In retrospect I am glad I did go through the trial process, but I would not want to go through the big expense and mental exhaustion of that exercise again :)

Speakers: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen/URendu | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus/Lampizator Golden Gate | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | Revel B112 subs  

Headphones: Lampizator Golden Atlantic/Holo Spring 3 KTE | Blue Circle Audio SBT pre|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE/Arya Stealth/Audeze LCD-4z

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Nice write up rossb! I went through a similar process myself last year (bought the uLink, RefLink, BADA and Ar-T Legato II), and also conducted endless experiments with the iUSB and boatloads of usb cables. So, your post brought back many memories of my experience.

 

I agree with many of your findings, with some exceptions, but we all have different ears/systems/preferences. Good job.

 

BADA, using AES/EBU shines for me and was definitely an improvement over using spdif. The improvement was absolutely worth it (as compared to using no converter). I have zero interest in trying any other converters. In retrospect I am glad I did go through the trial process, but I would not want to go through the big expense and mental exhaustion of that exercise again :)

 

Blake,

 

On Redbook recordings, how did Ar-T Legato II compare to the BADA?

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Blake,

 

On Redbook recordings, how did Ar-T Legato II compare to the BADA?

 

 

My memory is a bit foggy now. I posted my thoughts on all of these usb converters in member Elberoth's epic usb converter shootout thread here on CA, which is the finest usb converter shootout thread in existence, thanks to Elberoth's detailed commentary (no thanks to my amateur-hour postings). I will see if I can dig up that thread.....

 

My *foggy* memory is that the Ar-T (which operates on a battery recharging system) could absolutely hold its own with any of the converters, including the BADA on redbook. I recall preferring the BADA via spdif to the Legato via spdif, but it was purely subjective and it was close enough that others hearing the same setup could disagree. I just like what I like....

 

With AES/EBU, the BADA definitely moved ahead of the others. Of course, only the RefLink and BADA have AES/EBU connections so it was unfair to the uLink and Legato. I listen almost exclusively to redbook as my favored music is almost never released in anything higher than redbook.

 

 

P.S. I do think rossb makes a good point. I would imagine that others hearing the benefit of a good usb converter might view the improvements as being relatively minor. However, having said that, those relatively minor differences are massively important to me and worth every penny and then some.

Speakers: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen/URendu | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus/Lampizator Golden Gate | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | Revel B112 subs  

Headphones: Lampizator Golden Atlantic/Holo Spring 3 KTE | Blue Circle Audio SBT pre|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE/Arya Stealth/Audeze LCD-4z

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ha.. we had Ritchie Rich image of you :-) feel better now and a little less envious.. .. (BTW, could you pl weight in on digital cables and AP 'direct-connect a little more ?)

 

Believe, me this little experiment has pushed my credit card to the max and this stuff hurts my wallet as much as anyone!

 

On the digital cables and AP direct connect, I'm not sure I can add much more. I generally don't hear much difference between digital cables, and most of my cables are generic Belden or Canare digital cables I get from ebay, apart from the DH Labs cable. I can't honestly say that the DH Labs cable sounds better than the others, having it just gives me one less thing to obsess about.

 

You are probably aware that Audiophilleo provide adapter plugs that are either a short BNC female-female plug or a BNC female-RCA male plug that enables you to connect the AP directly to the SPDIF input of your DAC without using a cable. They call this "direct connection". Some people seem to prefer using a cable with the Audiophilleo anyway, and think it sounds better.

 

I have generally found (despite my comments above) that digital cables have similar characteristics to other audio cables - ie silver ones sound brighter, copper sounds warmer, and the cable often conveys the same tonal characteristics it would if it is an analog audio cable, although perhaps to a lesser degree. This is counter-intuitive, since this shouldn't really apply to digital cables. As with my comments above, it is possible I may be imagining the whole thing, so take my comments with a grain of salt.

 

The DH Labs cable is, I believe, made of silver coated copper strands, which in my experience has tended to sound slightly bright and metallic compared with pure copper (although less so than pure silver). The same appears to have been true of the DH Labs cable, which sounds brighter than the direct connection plug. Whether this is just the old copper vs silver debate, or that the shorter connection sounds better, I don't know. At some point I might compare my Belden cable against the DH Labs and see if this changes the results.

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Hi rossb,

 

Thanks for sharing. How did you use a PSU for the Berkeley? Did you have a Teddy 9v for that? Where did you get that small plug and cable to link the PCB to the external PSU from? The iUSB you mentioned is the IFI unit, correct, as that will only provide 5v. The IFI wall wart also spits back a lot of noise into the A/C and benefits from an LPSU.

 

I have always wanted to try to put distance between the converter boards and the PSU in the Berkeley, as it throws a big EMI field, which can not benefit the sound. Using an external LPSU for the Berkeley seems like a good idea.

 

I have found that sticking the IFI iUSB in front of anything helped calm the noisy USB, imcl the Berkeley. Btw I did find that the XLR output does sound better in the Berkeley, likely due to the balanced nature of the cable run.

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Hi rossb,

 

Thanks for sharing. How did you use a PSU for the Berkeley? Did you have a Teddy 9v for that? Where did you get that small plug and cable to link the PCB to the external PSU from?

 

I have always wanted to try to put distance between the converter boards and the PSU in the Berkeley, as it throws a big EMI field, which can not benefit the sound. Using an external LPSU for the Berkeley seems like a good idea.

 

I have found that sticking the IFI iUSB in front of anything helped calm the noisy USB, imcl the Berkeley. Btw I did find that the XLR output does sound better in the Berkeley, likely due to the balanced nature of the cable run.

 

Hi tranz, I used the Teddy 5v PSU from my Squeezebox and then used a "T" cable that Teddy provided for a small cost (and which he sold with the first version of his USB PSU). The T cable plugs into the 5v DC output of the PSU, and has one male usb plug which goes into the PC and a female usb socket into which you connect the usb cable from your interface. I could also have used the iUSB, but didn't bother after hearing what the Teddy PSU did to it. I might have to re-think using the iUSB with the Berkeley and add it to my list of future experiments.

 

I am going to keep the Berkeley around to test with the AES/EBU input of my next DAC. There are only two DACs I want to try - the PS Audio Directstream and the replacement for the Chord QBD76, the prototype of which Rob Watts admitted he was working on in a post on head-fi. I'd love to try a Meitner or the new Berkeley, but they are way out of my price range.

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Hi tranz, I used the Teddy 5v PSU from my Squeezebox and then used a "T" cable that Teddy provided for a small cost (and which he sold with the first version of his USB PSU). The T cable plugs into the 5v DC output of the PSU, and has one male usb plug which goes into the PC and a female usb socket into which you connect the usb cable from your interface. I could also have used the iUSB, but didn't bother after hearing what the Teddy PSU did to it. I might have to re-think using the iUSB with the Berkeley and add it to my list of future experiments.

 

I am going to keep the Berkeley around to test with the AES/EBU input of my next DAC. There are only two DACs I want to try - the PS Audio Directstream and the replacement for the Chord QBD76, the prototype of which Rob Watts admitted he was working on in a post on head-fi. I'd love to try a Meitner or the new Berkeley, but they are way out of my price range.

 

Thanks. I have heard good things about the IFi DAC too.

 

Sorry, but I may have missed something. Did you use a 5v Teddy to actually power a 9v Berkeley? Or did you stick a Teddy in between the computer USB output and the Berkeley USB input to just provide the Berkeley with a cleaner 5v USB connection.

 

Cheers

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Sorry, but I may have missed something. Did you use a 5v Teddy to actually power a 9v Berkeley? Or did you stick a Teddy in between the computer USB output and the Berkeley USB input to just provide the Berkeley with a cleaner 5v USB connection.

 

The latter.

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The latter.

 

Ah okay. Guess it is time for another coffee. :)

 

It is amazing, though logical, how much impact clean PSUs and breaking the USB noise from the computer impact the listening experience. The IFI also breaks the ground connection from the computer, which is another backdoor through which common mode noise can enter. Curious how Teddy's unit handles that. I have looked at his gear a while ago, but you have piqued my interest again. Perhaps he can even do a linear PSU to power the Berkeley.

 

Cheers

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Ah okay. Guess it is time for another coffee. :)

 

It is amazing, though logical, how much impact clean PSUs and breaking the USB noise from the computer impact the listening experience. The IFI also breaks the ground connection from the computer, which is another backdoor through which common mode noise can enter. Curious how Teddy's unit handles that. I have looked at his gear a while ago, but you have piqued my interest again. Perhaps he can even do a linear PSU to power the Berkeley.

 

Hmm, that is something I hadn't considered. I have just looked at a picture of the inside of a BADA and see what you mean about connecting a 9V PSU directly to the PCB. I'm sure Teddy could make a cable to connect one of his 9V PSUs... must ... resist ...

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