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Berkeley Alpha USB still relevant?


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20 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. 

 

I see this as a very self defensive post on your part Chris. What I think it actually speaks to is how well engineered products that are a few generations back measure. 

 

Do you believe the manufactured version of this would measure worse. 

 

In a nutshell you said Amir wasn't going to measure a product from a company he's established a commercial interest in. It's been proved otherwise. 

 

Just like when you accused Archimago of flogging his blog here, and then one of the best technical write ups I've seen about anywhere, hosted here by... Archimago.

 

You honestly confuse me sometimes. 

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16 minutes ago, Madra said:

One should be very careful with Amir and Audiosciencereview. Do a google search and you will get some perspective on the accuracy of his work and his motives.

 

I've yet to see Jude, or Atomic Bob, unseat Amir and his measurements. Now I've seen Atomicbob post graphs that are only good from 7500 to 14Khz. Hardly a ringing endorsement. 

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12 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

It isn’t cheap to get equipment measured. 

 

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. 

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6 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. 

God forbid! By no means! No measurements or ABX, lest the emperor is proven naked.
Instead, we should blather and on and on. Yes, that's the best! Chris knows what's best for us.

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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Wow ... quite a bit of emotion in this thread since the last time I was here! I’ll add that it definitely depends on your Dac and it’s particular USB implementation as to whether or not the Berkeley or any other converter will make it sound better. Best to listen for yourself with your equipment in your system and decide what works best for you. While in my system the Berkeley made a huge difference over the ARC Dac9 usb input ... on my new EMM Labs DA2 Reference the Berkeley nor any other device could make any improvement on the usb implementation of the Meitner Dac. Same goes for the DCS Dac. Top notch usb. The ARC dac9 used a less than optimal usb card in their Dac thereby leaving the door open for almost any of the aftermarket converters to improve upon. I know they are working on an update for the Dac9 but it’s not available yet. Again ... demo in your system and decide for yourself. Not sure why some are so hell bent on quantifying everything and if they can’t measure it it doesn’t exist. Ever stop to think we may have not figured out every single thing to measure that our ears can detect? So ... sit back, listen and just enjoy and trust what YOU hear. 

 

Take care!

 

George

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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?

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

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3 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I stand by my comment that he won’t publish measurements of a Berkeley product. That product was never sold, it clearly doesn’t count. 

 

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?

 

3 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

 

Your defensivism of Amir surprises me. He publishes a review of a product that’s never been sold to the public and it’s of a version of the product that no longer exists. Yet you applaude it, paying no attention to the clear bias. 

 

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. 

 

3 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

This measurement isn’t of a product from a few generations back. It never existed. Prototype means prototype. 

 

Don’t you see the old guard move of measuring a component that can’t get you in trouble, can’t cause you to lose money, and isn’t possible to duplicate?

 

It’s no different than reviewing with weasel words such as, “some may say xyz” or “it has been said...” 

 

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. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, gadawg58 said:

Wow ... quite a bit of emotion in this thread since the last time I was here! I’ll add that it definitely depends on your Dac and it’s particular USB implementation as to whether or not the Berkeley or any other converter will make it sound better. Best to listen for yourself with your equipment in your system and decide what works best for you. While in my system the Berkeley made a huge difference over the ARC Dac9 usb input ... on my new EMM Labs DA2 Reference the Berkeley nor any other device could make any improvement on the usb implementation of the Meitner Dac. Same goes for the DCS Dac. Top notch usb. The ARC dac9 used a less than optimal usb card in their Dac thereby leaving the door open for almost any of the aftermarket converters to improve upon. I know they are working on an update for the Dac9 but it’s not available yet. Again ... demo in your system and decide for yourself. Not sure why some are so hell bent on quantifying everything and if they can’t measure it it doesn’t exist. Ever stop to think we may have not figured out every single thing to measure that our ears can detect? So ... sit back, listen and just enjoy and trust what YOU hear. 

 

Take care!

 

George

 

I think a lot of us are on this page. Better to get a properly designed DAC in the first place. I also believe what you hear (as in proven in bias controlled testing) can certainly be measured. 

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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. 

 

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

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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. 

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

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32 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I just get annoyed when people hold him up to be the altruistic objective guy he isn’t. 

 

 

I believe, ultimately, in meritocracy. If people find Amir's objective measurements problematic then they are free to point it out to me. I'll listen. 

 

UpTone railed against Amir for MONTHS until Alex had to admit that Amir's measurements of their own LPS1 were correct and it pointed to high impedance leakage currents. 

 

Couple that with other engineers that have duplicated what Amir has measured, couple that with other engineers that have failed at discrediting Amir's measurements. At the end of that you have what you have. 

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1 minute ago, plissken said:

 

I believe, ultimately, in meritocracy. If people find Amir's objective measurements problematic then they are free to point it out to me. I'll listen. 

 

UpTone railed against Amir for MONTHS until Alex had to admit that Amir's measurements of their own LPS1 were correct and it pointed to high impedance leakage currents. 

 

Couple that with other engineers that have duplicated what Amir has measured, couple that with other engineers that have failed at discrediting Amir's measurements. At the end of that you have what you have. 

Worry not, that Chris will never concede. Shill is as shill does.

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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27 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

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

 

I'd take Ansel Adams with his choice of modern equipment if that was his prerogative. 

 

27 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

 

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.

 

He's no Lavorgna. 

27 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

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

 

Those I would love to get a long session on. 

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3 minutes ago, LowMidHigh said:

Worry not, that Chris will never concede. Shill is as shill does.

I don't think you're long for this board. Please tone it down and contribute more if you could. 

 

I like support like anyone else does but this isn't helping. 

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1 hour ago, plissken said:

 

I've yet to see Jude, or Atomic Bob, unseat Amir and his measurements. Now I've seen Atomicbob post graphs that are only good from 7500 to 14Khz. Hardly a ringing endorsement. 

I do not know about Jude as he is quite new to measurements, but Atomic bob has been at it for a long time, has written extensively about measurements methodology and pitfalls and is generally well respected in the community. He does not seem to have a high esteem of Amir and his work, at least from what I came across on SBAF and Head-fi. Add to this that Amir runs a site and is a dealer, so he has vested interests while Atomic bob does not. For me, the winner of the credibility game here is easy to determine, your mileage may obviously vary.

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28 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Is that a personal attack? 

 

You joined CA less than two months ago and have deduced that I’m a shill?

 

Evidence or you’re a liar. 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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). 

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

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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...

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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. 

 

 

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

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3 hours ago, plissken said:

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

Well, the iFi people basically implied he doesn't know how to use his measuring equipment properly. See their reaction to his measurements of their little PS. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protectors +>Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Strip/Protection>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three BXT (on their own electric circuit) >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three BXT

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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5 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

 

Absolutely. Fair and good point. 

 

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

 

 

I misread a reference you made to Amir being a dealer. Stand corrected.

 

Still, your subjective opinions of products peddled by your advertisers is tainted by definition. You have a stake in them, no two ways about it. 

 

Don’t misconstrue: I would consider any technically related input from you, or opinions shared on academic topics, but your endorsement of said products is beyond the pale. A person with integrity should recuse themselves from such discussion, or at the very lease offer a full disclosure.

 

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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