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Berkeley Alpha USB still relevant?


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16 minutes ago, Ryan Berry said:

Hopkins, Roon's one of the players that has explicit digital processing I mentioned.  We were using it at the Munich show and playing with it quite a bit.  They're not trying to hide it, it's a feature for them.  Nothing wrong with that by any means if that's what you're looking for, but it does mean the software has an effect on what gets to the DAC.

 

You can deactivate all DSP in Roon... 

Correction - I did not check for "bit-perfect-ness" in Tonal because you cannot upload anything else than a complete CD, but I very much doubt it is not (will check with the developer).

 

Anyway, I was hoping someone could give a "rational" explanation (mine were obviously not relevant, and stand corrected). 

Not a big deal !

 

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8 minutes ago, barrows said:

As to software differences, I do not write code, so it is all just gibberish to me (mostly).  But clearly different player softwares sound different, even when bit perfect.  I had a fascinating discussion with one of the guys from Amarra at RMAF last year about this, he was the first person who really was able to explain to me some of the things which matter (not that I remember the specifics).  My take away was that there are a lot of very subtle things going on, each one of which may make a tiny (perhaps inaudible) difference, but when you add them all up, you can hear the differences.

Suffice it to say, it is worth trying different playback softwares in your own system to find the combination of features and sound quality which works for you.

 

Thanks - that is also the perspective of the person behind Tonal. I wish I could get more specifics and understand what is going on !

By the way, I had some "audiophile" friends over and switched between different players blinded (for them obviously) and they also felt there was a "significant" difference.

Perhaps someone like John Swenson could give us some insights ? I seem to remember that the processor's activity causes noise (bursts), and that there are ways to "stabilitze" it, but nothing more specific either.

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34 minutes ago, hopkins said:

I seem to remember that the processor's activity causes noise (bursts), and that there are ways to "stabilitze" it, but nothing more specific either.

An audio player uses less than 1% of the CPU time. Even if everything it does is managed to perfection (whatever that means), the remaining 99% of what the computer does is entirely beyond its control.

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That is what I would assume. 

Someone with a Mac Mini can test Tonal and let me know if I am delirious? 

Regardless of the specifics of my setup, the idea that the software can have an impact is relatively widespread (not only among vendors of those software) and it would be interesting to either get more technical explanations or some tests/measurements to prove or disprove it. 

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50 minutes ago, hopkins said:

 

You can deactivate all DSP in Roon... 

 

 

To clarify, I think DSP is deactivated by default with Roon, so you have to turn on DSP if you want to play with it.  At least that is what I recall at the moment.  

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Well, many in the pro audio field (generally considered to be less "insane" than audiophiles) believe in the sound quality differences between pro audio recording/mixing softwares (recall that Amarra comes to us from the developers of the pro audio software: Sound Blade).  Of course pro audio users are not using it in a generally bit perfect fashion most of the time.

 

Of course I use Audirvana Plus and oversample in it, generally to DSD 128 or 256, so not bit perfect at all anyway.  This also uses a great amount of processor resources with my preferred filter settings (just an I5 here as well).  HQPlayer users will of course use many times more processor resources with Jussi's complex algos (oversampling).  I keep that computer isolated from the system via Ethernet though.

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18 minutes ago, barrows said:

Well, many in the pro audio field (generally considered to be less "insane" than audiophiles) believe in the sound quality differences between pro audio recording/mixing softwares (recall that Amarra comes to us from the developers of the pro audio software: Sound Blade).  Of course pro audio users are not using it in a generally bit perfect fashion most of the time.

I have verified that Cubase is bit perfect with default settings. Obviously, a typical production workflow will involve some amount of processing, and this will for sure vary between software packages.

 

18 minutes ago, barrows said:

Of course I use Audirvana Plus and oversample in it, generally to DSD 128 or 256, so not bit perfect at all anyway.  This also uses a great amount of processor resources with my preferred filter settings (just an I5 here as well).

Upsampling, whether PCM or DSD, obviously alters the data (that's the point), and as such different algorithms might sound different.

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On 7/10/2018 at 1:57 PM, hopkins said:

i suspect the recipe to a good audio source from a PC just does not exist yet

 

Exactly. The best CA is to get of the computer. 

 

And use special designed devices , that may still be a computer depending how you like to define the computer part. 

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On 7/10/2018 at 3:29 PM, hopkins said:

Well then there is a lot of wasted time and effort from some people on this forum to try optimizing the source :)

 

Exactly. 

 

A client server approach (endpoint) is what is the people agree about. 

 

The only place i think “grouping” devices together has shown itself as a good solution  is for active speakers. 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi,

 

I need someone with a Berkeley Alpha USB to check their fuse type.

Mine blew this morning (2 years use) and it's labeled FS (fast blo).

I contacted Berkeley Audio and the part number they emailed me (it's not listed anywhere on the site/manual I could find) is for slow blo.

 

Real world verification would be appreciated  by checking your fuse holder (mine didn't have the usual spare).

 

Thanks so much,

 

 

Larry

 

Berkeley Audio: Description: 5mm x 20mm cartridge 250V .05A Time Lag (Slo-Blo)

Mine: F50mAL250V

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7 hours ago, seaharp1 said:

Hi,

 

I need someone with a Berkeley Alpha USB to check their fuse type.

Mine blew this morning (2 years use) and it's labeled FS (fast blo).

I contacted Berkeley Audio and the part number they emailed me (it's not listed anywhere on the site/manual I could find) is for slow blo.

 

Real world verification would be appreciated  by checking your fuse holder (mine didn't have the usual spare).

 

Thanks so much,

 

 

Larry

 

Berkeley Audio: Description: 5mm x 20mm cartridge 250V .05A Time Lag (Slo-Blo)

Mine: F50mAL250V

 

Hi,

I have also replaced fuses, but mine was 0,1A (100mA) slow-blow.

 

I use this replacement: https://www.elfa.se/sv/radiell-saekring-troeg-372-tr5-littelfuse-37201000411/p/13306818?queryFromSuggest=true

 

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On 7/11/2018 at 1:21 AM, Blake said:

 

To clarify, I think DSP is deactivated by default with Roon, so you have to turn on DSP if you want to play with it.  At least that is what I recall at the moment.  

Yes

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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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On 8/18/2018 at 4:30 PM, Tomslin said:

in my case it was the two internal fuses that had blow...

Hi,

 

So replacing the Alpha USB primary fuse didn't work.The old fast blow was good...just couldn't see the sliver of wire connecting the end caps.I tried slow blow too.

 

So how did you determine the secondary fuses were blown and how difficult is it to uninstall and replace?

I can handle a soldiering iron very well...built many hand wired tube amps.

 

Any advice would be appreciated.

I really don't want to send it to Berkeley audio repair and get gauged.

 

Thanks,

 

Larry

 

btw...your pics really helped.

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11 hours ago, seaharp1 said:

Hi,

 

So replacing the Alpha USB primary fuse didn't work.The old fast blow was good...just couldn't see the sliver of wire connecting the end caps.I tried slow blow too.

 

So how did you determine the secondary fuses were blown and how difficult is it to uninstall and replace?

I can handle a soldiering iron very well...built many hand wired tube amps.

 

Any advice would be appreciated.

I really don't want to send it to Berkeley audio repair and get gauged.

 

Thanks,

 

Larry

 

btw...your pics really helped.

PM sent :)

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  • 5 years later...

I would say it's still relevant. I just had my Berkeley USB upgraded to series 2. Cost was $220 plus shipping and $30 for new box if you don't have the old one. Berkeley promises improved audio quality. MIne should be back in a few days. I can't wait to try it.

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