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Berkeley Alpha USB still relevant?


shaq

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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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1 minute ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

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?

When you wrote that review, the cheaper devices didn't exist. Are you saying that, today, the Berkeley Alpha is worth the 10x higher price over the Schiit Eitr? That would be an opinion you're entitled to, but I don't think it unreasonable to disagree.

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8 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

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. 

If a device has no clear mechanism for operation, it is not unreasonable to start by examining how the manufacturer claims it works rather than other equally implausible theories.

 

8 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

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

I was talking about their HFT devices.

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On 1/11/2017 at 11:54 PM, shaq said:

Is the Berkeley Alpha USB / Asynchronous USB to SPDIF and AES Converter still relevant for newer DACs such as the new Ayre QX5-Twenty?

 

Or are they unnecessary?

 

Do you own one ?

What do you use ?

 

In general are they relevant. Yes.

 

But you may find a very expensive DAC, where the implementation is very vell done. 

 

Personally i believe in endpoints.

And get rid of computer ?

 

As i usual say:

 

The best computer audio you get, is to get rid of the computer 

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18 minutes ago, Blake said:

 

I think the "worth" question is personal (subjective) and there is no black or white correct answer.  The better question is, whether Chris compared the Eitr to the Berkeley and: (a) could he detect a difference in sound quality, and (b) if so, which was the better sounding unit?

 

If Schiit was up on the test, I think it should be compared against the UltraDigital or the SU-1. And with LPS-1.2. 

 

Those are probably the best devices available present in that price range. 

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8 minutes ago, mansr said:

Right, and that's why I don't see any reason for Chris to get so worked up over it.

He must've had a bad morning. He wasn't too coherent throughout. 

 

Stereo

[Genelec 1032C x 2 + 7360 x 2] <== [MC3+USB x 3 <-- REF10 SE120] <== [AERIS G2] <== [EtherRegen x 3]
Chain switchable to [Genelec 8331 x 2 + 7350]


Surround

[Genelec 1032C x 3 + 8431 x 2  + 7360 x 2] <== [MiniDSP U-DIO8] <== [Mac Mini] 

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9 minutes ago, R1200CL said:

If Schiit was up on the test, I think it should be compared against the UltraDigital or the SU-1. And with LPS-1.2. 

 

Those are probably the best devices available present in that price range. 

The question was what difference, if any, is provided by the more expensive Berkeley device.

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This was the "epic" converter shootout thread from back in the day.  A number of years ago I bought several converters and posted my findings in this thread, but I have not kept up with the current crop of converters.  I have no doubt that things have advanced and that you can get a lot more bang for your buck these days.

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, mansr said:

The question was what difference, if any, is provided by the more expensive Berkeley device.

I did and ABX between the Eitr and Mutec MC3+USB ($179 vs $1,100),

I called it out right 8 out of 15 times...If at all, the Etir sounded more natural.

 

Stereo

[Genelec 1032C x 2 + 7360 x 2] <== [MC3+USB x 3 <-- REF10 SE120] <== [AERIS G2] <== [EtherRegen x 3]
Chain switchable to [Genelec 8331 x 2 + 7350]


Surround

[Genelec 1032C x 3 + 8431 x 2  + 7360 x 2] <== [MiniDSP U-DIO8] <== [Mac Mini] 

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1 minute ago, LowMidHigh said:

I did and ABX between the Eitr and Mutec MC3+USB ($179 vs $1,100),

I called it out right 8 out of 15 times...If at all, the Etir sounded more natural.

8/15 means you might as well have flipped a coin. It's the result I would have expected.

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1 hour ago, mansr said:

When you wrote that review, the cheaper devices didn't exist. Are you saying that, today, the Berkeley Alpha is worth the 10x higher price over the Schiit Eitr? That would be an opinion you're entitled to, but I don't think it unreasonable to disagree.

When he wrote that review, several cheaper devices existed. Berkeley was far from the first to market such a device, and theirs has always been one of the more expensive ones. 

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2 hours ago, LowMidHigh said:

I did and ABX between the Eitr and Mutec MC3+USB ($179 vs $1,100),

I called it out right 8 out of 15 times...If at all, the Etir sounded more natural.

 

 

I've used Mutec in my system for a bit. It worked wonders with an older, 20-year old DAC. It made no difference with any of the quality modern DACs I tried with it, so I sold it. I am using an SU-1 now, primarily because it gives me the ability to experiment with DSD512.

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5 hours ago, mansr said:

8/15 means you might as well have flipped a coin. It's the result I would have expected.

 

"I called it out right 8 out of 15 times...If at all, the Etir sounded more natural."

 

I read that as he know's it was guesswork. 

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6 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

 

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.

 

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.

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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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From the same blogger, an $89 DAC performs USB->SPDIF on par with RME $1,000 DAC

 

https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-topping-d10-as-usb-to-s-pdif-converter.2699/

 

 

Stereo

[Genelec 1032C x 2 + 7360 x 2] <== [MC3+USB x 3 <-- REF10 SE120] <== [AERIS G2] <== [EtherRegen x 3]
Chain switchable to [Genelec 8331 x 2 + 7350]


Surround

[Genelec 1032C x 3 + 8431 x 2  + 7360 x 2] <== [MiniDSP U-DIO8] <== [Mac Mini] 

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3 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

 

Makes zero sense to measure this product in 2018 given this sentence:

 

It is an older design and this review is based on a prototype unit prior to manufacturing. There is now a version 2 with better clocking, etc.”

 

The production version has been available for several years. Nobody can purchase the measured version or even repeat the measurements. 

 

It’s a very safe move to measure a product that doesn’t exist and has no effect on sales. 

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. 

Stereo

[Genelec 1032C x 2 + 7360 x 2] <== [MC3+USB x 3 <-- REF10 SE120] <== [AERIS G2] <== [EtherRegen x 3]
Chain switchable to [Genelec 8331 x 2 + 7350]


Surround

[Genelec 1032C x 3 + 8431 x 2  + 7360 x 2] <== [MiniDSP U-DIO8] <== [Mac Mini] 

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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. 

Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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