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Berkeley Alpha USB still relevant?


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On 4/1/2018 at 8:20 AM, amir57bs said:

Romaz

you should pay 10000$ to me.

i have bought CAD GC3 ground control and ordered paul hynes SR7 upon your recommendation.

CAD GC3 sounds worse and paul hynes not refund my money after 8 month.

i think you should pay those lost money to me.

Please tell me you are joking. Seriously. If this wasn’t meant to be a joke, I have to ban your account. You were warned so many times not to keep talking about your SR7 that I’ve lost count. 

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  • 3 months later...
1 hour ago, LowMidHigh said:

 

Yep, right on. Converting USB to SPDIF is a straight forward process and like any other digitally-based process is a binary proposition: either is works or it doesn’t. 

 

Still, the notions that audiophile adhere to  are essentially correct: excessive rejection of data packs deteriorates the transmission and thus the sound quality. Excessive jitter follows a similar degrading route. Lack of re-clocking gives the transmitter an opportunity to introduce a poor implementation of the USB protocol.

 

However…the operative word is excessive. As it stands, all those converters are pretty much alike in terms of performance. And the rest is good ol’ snake oil: Clobber together some off-the-shelf electric circuits, follow sound engineering when connecting and placing said parts, pack it all up  in a nice-looking box and slap a high price tags for the audiofools to consider it TOTL. Of course, don’t forget to enclose marketing mambo-jumbo and never perform or encourage ABX. Thus, the gravy train chugs on…

 

Note that no audiofool would ever submit himself to a blind-test. Much safer to burry one’s head in the sand...And much more entertaining to babble on about dynamic ranges, clarity, controlled low end and other analog derived concepts in reference to purely digital processes. “Who cares about reality?” they scream as they squander their money. 

 

 

I must disagree with much of your post. Your confidence knows no bounds and your perception of audiophiles is a bit insulting and uninformed. 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, LowMidHigh said:

Your "book" seems quite thin... You faied to engage any of my points.

Since appeantly you skimmed through my post, let me highlight that I distinguished between audiophiles and audifools; I agreed with the latter and took  have a view of the former.

 

I don't believe he skimmed your post, as scholarly as it was. 

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6 minutes ago, LowMidHigh said:

You faied to engage any of my points.

 

That's an easy way out for you. I could claim the same thing with respect to anything on Earth and anyone who doesn't engage the points fails. 

 

The legitimacy of the points doesn't matter because anyone who fails to address them fails in your book.

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2 minutes ago, mansr said:

Anyone who pays hundreds of dollars for a piece of aluminium the size of a shirt button that costs pennies to make, believing it will enhance the sound if glued to a wall, deserves being called an audiophool. There's no other way about it.

 

You're overlooking many of the details that effect purchasing decisions and if the little aluminum does anything good or bad. If the aluminum rings at a certain frequency in the room, like some of the products currently available, there may be a difference heard by the consumer. In addition, if one makes a million dollars per week, is it really foolish to spend budget dust on one's own amusement in a hobby s/he loves?

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3 minutes ago, mansr said:

Why are you attacking LowMidHigh like this? Did he steal your lunch in high school?

S/He rubbed me the wrong way with his/her incredible confidence that glossed over facts. I have several devices about which s/he speaks and I have personal experience listening to them and talking to the people who make them and competitors who talk about all the devices. Not every engineer in audio peddles snake oil. Some of them are brilliant and capable of giving me an unbiased opinion about other products in the marketplace.

 

Perhaps I'll use a phrase that you used on me several months ago, this simplistic thinking is why we can't have nice stuff :~)

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3 minutes ago, mansr said:

No, there may not. There is simply no basis for this in our physical reality.

 

Yes, it is still foolish even if it is not reckless.

 

As an engineer, how can you say a Synergistic bell that audibly rings can't be heard? I'd never buy one, but facts are facts.

 

 

One man's foolish is another's entertainment or exploration. 

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3 minutes ago, LowMidHigh said:

Ops... It appears you now agree some of those consumer decisions are frivolous... Way to go! 

 

(I wander what it says about the companys behind those schemes) 

 

I don't understand the "Ops" comment. Can you explain it to me? Ops what? I did it again :~)

 

Consumer decisions are all over the place. I don't care to judge people or purchases or categorize all people who make purchases. Based on traveling the world and talking to thousands of people in the hobby, I think I have a bit better understanding of the people about which you speak so confidently. 

 

Some companies in this hobby peddle nothing but snake oil and some people peddling it are criminals (in more ways than their customers know). I have no problem calling them out and I also have no problem if people spend their own money on such products. I don't want to be the protector of all people's money. Based on the words of some, it's amazing "audiophools" make it to work on time in the morning. 

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2 minutes ago, mansr said:

But you tolerate far worse from others.

 

There's more to it than that. Much of it I don't see. I happened to see this one this morning and because the thread is short I was able to keep everything in context. I've been guilty in the past of rendering an opinion about a comment but found out later that I missed something 10 pages back that made it much more palatable. 

 

In addition, I can tolerate hie/her posts like this all day every day. I just disagree with the opinion. Not that big of a deal. I encourage people to leave opinions like this, but to also engage in a conversation when called out.

 

 

 

2 minutes ago, mansr said:

I don't see a single product or manufacturer mentioned by name in the post you responded to.

 

There's no need to mention a product or manufacture when one says "all those converters are pretty much alike." All means all.

 

 

 

 

3 minutes ago, mansr said:

Nobody is suggesting otherwise. All LowMidHigh said was that many moderately priced products perform equally well to much more expensive ones. I really don't see why that should "rub you the wrong way."

 

If that's all s/he said, I would've agreed 100%. What I read in the original post was that a Kia Is equal to a Ferrari if one only uses off the shelf parts and solid engineering (as defined by Kia).

 

I'm more than willing to admit when I'm wrong or overreact, but I don't see either in this case. 

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8 minutes ago, mansr said:

Yes, the topic was USB to S/PDIF converters and whether a $1900 device is worth the premium compared to the functionally similar $179 Schiit Eitr, for instance. I see now that your glowing praise for the Berkeley Alpha is quoted on their website. Perhaps this has something to do with your unusually defensive posture.

 

The quote on Berkeley's website has nothing to do with my comments. I couldn't care less if that quote was on its site or the Great Wall of China. 

 

Take step back. The reasons for that quote are that the device is spectacular. I have first hand experience with the device over several years. Can you see this through non-colored glasses and understand that my personal experience is contradictory to that of lowmidhigh and that's the reason for my disagreement?

 

Follow the chain of events. It didn't start with a quote on the Berkeley site. It started with me using the device for years.

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6 minutes ago, mansr said:

That's not what SR says they do. Besides, a piece of aluminium that shape and size doesn't ring audibly. If it did, I don't see how those devices could be anything other than annoying.

 

You are trying to have it both ways. 

 

You say Synergistic is nothing but snake oil, now you want to believe them and tell me, "That's not what SR says." Hmmmm. 

 

Maybe we are talking about different products. I'm talking about this one - http://www.synergisticresearch.com/acoustics/passive/acoustic-art/

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2 hours ago, plissken said:

 

Would you be willing to let Amir put the Alpha USB on the bench and get a baseline from the Audio Precision analyzer? Or maybe Archimago?

 

Also do you think this only works for some DAC's and not others? (We know that Schiit benefited when the Modi2 was used with a USB decrapifier)?

 

Amir benched, and owns, the RME ADI-2, and it looks like it's set the standard to measure everyone else buy, I wonder what it's performance would be with the Alpha USB. Given that the ADI-1 cost almost half the Alpha USB does I would be interested in seeing the A/B.

 

I’m glad you asked. As a dealer for Berkeley Audio Design Amir will never test anything the company makes. You can decide the reasons for that. 

 

I’d love to see these converters tested. I’d also like to see an agreed upon methodology for these converters to make sure everything that’s claimed to happen actually happens etc...

 

So far I’ve found that DACs are different. Some benefit from a D to D converter rather than using the native USB input. Also, some DACs handle the AES input differently and may benefit from different converters. 

 

Bring on the testing. More information can’t hurt as long as it’s not misleading information. 

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6 minutes ago, LowMidHigh said:

One way to remedy that problem is by submitting your converter for testing. If Amir is an abomination, contact Archimago. He's thorough and transparent, ready to compliment and commend when credit is due. 

 

The onus is on you: you claim the Berkeley is over and above other fractionally costly products. Let's see a proof. 

Give me a break. Amir is a dealer for these products. Access isn’t an issue. 

 

I reviewed the Alpha USB and now there’s an onus on me to prove its better, several years later, than some low cost options. Um yeah, in your world perhaps. Not in my world. 

 

I encourage testing of everything, but I can’t measure everything. It isn’t cheap to get equipment measured. 

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22 minutes ago, plissken said:

 

We'll as a matter of fact it's free. And Amir just purchased Audio Precisions flagship at $28,000. Reach out to him and set up a slot to get the Alpha USB bench-marked. 

 

1. You ever ship something across the country with insurance on thousands of dollars for free? 

 

2. The guy who can afford the best camera isn’t the guy you want taking pictures. It’s the guy with the best skills. 

 

3. I disagree with the way Amir talks about products from companies he doesn’t like. Measurements is one thing, but bad-mouthing other aspects of products from company A, when company B does the same thing, isn’t cool with me. I don’t judge him, I just disagree with his writings. 

 

4. I don’t believe any manufacturer is going to be OK with me sending its gear to an audio dealer for measurements. 

 

 

Thus, nothing in life is free and you know it. Submitting equipment for measurements to an independent third party costs money. 

 

 

P.S. You could easily ask Amir to grab his Alpha USB and test it. Have you asked him?

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31 minutes ago, plissken said:

 

I think you are missing the bigger picture: He's showing excellent output of a prototype model. What exactly is your complaint?

Can you expand on your thinking for me on this one?

 

 

He's also shown measurements of a lot of products that are clearly competitive to what he sells. Also he seems quite enamored of a $999 RME that he seems to think redefines the bar. 

 

Your logic is circular on this one. 

 

 

It's completely different. It was a prototype of a release product. I would say, in general release products are better then beta and alpha products. I know that's the way it generally works. 

 

 

 

I’m happy to explain my thinking. I know you’re always good for a real conversation and I always enjoy reading your thoughts. Seriously. 

 

My my complaint is this: You Guys hold Amir up to be this good altruistic guy only seeking the truth even if it doesn’t benefit him. I see it differently, but I place no blame in Amir because he can do what he wants. 

 

I’ll start thinking otherwise when he publishes measurements of a Berkeley product that’s in production and compared it to the $99 DAC. That takes guts and shows altruism. He has easy access to the products. My guess is that he has to walk a few feet to get one. 

 

I love that he applaudes cheap products. I published an article about using a $7 Roon endpoint. This stuff is cool. 

 

Prototype products are all over the board. One example is where the manufacturer uses excellent but expensive parts inside. Then finds out he needs to cut costs when the bean counters look at the final bom. 

 

Perhaps my biggest issue with publishing a review of a prototype of a product that hasn’t been available for several years, especially when he has easy access to the current production model, is that it gives the appearance of altruism when in fact it’s hiding behind the words “prototype” and “out of production.” You can’t piss off a manufacturer or potential customer because it’s only a prototype and the model hasn’t been made for years. 

 

Do you think Amir would dig up an old MicroRendu that was a prototype and has been out of production for several years, and publish measurements? No chance. This is essentially what he did for the Berkeley. He’d buy the mR himself just to measure it. Berkeley? Nah. 

 

It rubs me the wrong way. But again, it’s his business and I don’t judge. I just get annoyed when people hold him up to be the altruistic objective guy he isn’t. 

 

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23 minutes ago, plissken said:

 

I've yet to even send a postcard for free... You're a journalist, paid, in this space. At least it's a write off. 

 

By the way I ship about $12,000 in POS hardware every month. I've had 3 claims in 15 years. 

 

I've never seen a professional photo shoot with a cell phone. Amir is a degreed EE, VP at Microsoft that oversaw ~1000 person team, including other engineers, is an authority in signal processing. His Curriculum Vitae clearly speaks for itself. 

 

Do you have a shred of evidence that he's not on sound footing. Remember even Alex and John Swenson had to admit he was correct on the LPS1 issues. 

 

Fair enough. None of us are perfect. 

 

Sorry, I thought you owned the Alpha USB.

 

Hell my curiosity costs me money. I keep hearing this particular drum beaten and always leaves me with the impression that people are in it for the wrong reasons then. 

 

Yes it’s a write off but where does it stop. I’d love to send all gear I have here for measurements but it just isn’t practical. Plus, in the long run I don’t like getting something for free when I’m going to make money off of it. If I had a way to get stuff measured for a reasonable cost, I’d do it. It’s good for business. 

 

I have a standing offer from someone in Europe to measure everything, but it isn’t economical to do it. 

 

I’d take Ansel Adams with a disposable camera over an amateur with a gigapixel digital back any day. 

 

Amir’s CV and experience have been discussed here before. Looks good on paper, but I disagree with your conclusions. No worries. He also seems like a very nice guy when we’ve exchanged emails. 

 

I purchased my original Alpha DAC Series 2, but not the Alpha USB. It’s hard to justify purchasing many products when I have a basement full of this stuff. Plus, as we all know, it ain’t cheap. 

 

P.S. After purchasing my TAD CR1 loudspeakers I’ve had to take it easy on the HiFi purchases. 

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15 minutes ago, LowMidHigh said:

 

imageproxy.php?img=&key=d2060de9cb713f96

Sorry, please accept my apology. I could make the same point without resorting to harsh words.

 

So here it is:

Every time that I raised the concept of ABX you ignored it.

You have a long list of reasons as why you can’t measure the product, although you welcome measuring it. But not by Amir. When I brought up the name Archimao, you also ignored it.

 

Then, to my surprise, I learn you’re a reseller of that product. So what conclusion should I reach when a party with vested interest insists its product is superior to others without any way to back it up?

 

Now, is it also possible that you attacked me so ferociously yesterday after I wrote that digital processes yielded the same results, given sound engineering, because it went against your financial interests?

 

BTW, if you could show empirically that your product was superior, I would get one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am NOT a reseller of any product whatsoever. 

 

I welcome the product being being measured by Amir. It just that I’m not sending him one because he is a dealer for the product. He has one. 

 

I’m not ignoring your ABX or Archimago comments. I found the others more egregious and felt the need to address them. 

 

I really trust Archimago after exchanging several emails with him and publishing his great MQA article. Sending equipment to him isn’t going to work for several reasons,  one of which is his location (I won’t mention due to confidentiality reasons). 

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11 minutes ago, hopkins said:

You are not a reseller, but ComputerAudiophile does have sponsors and your marketplace Superphonica does host a number of brands.

I would not say you are completely "independant" in that respect. 

Pointing this out in no way implies you have shown "bias" in your reviews or what you post on the forum, both of these contributions I enjoy...

 

Absolutely. Fair and good point. 

 

If I could make another business model work, one without ads, I’d do it in a heartbeat. 

 

 

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