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Berkeley Alpha USB still relevant?


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On 2/7/2024 at 1:36 AM, Kevin M. said:

Well Berkeley is fast. I got the upgraded unit back. The sound certainly changed.

Joined to say this is cool news and thanks for your post. I'll check with Mr Ritter this week about sending my ver 1. I also have the Alpha DAC Series 3. Didn't know until now that the USB was upgradeable. Berkeley is a class act.

 

Cheers

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 2/11/2024 at 1:53 AM, XRS said:

Joined to say this is cool news and thanks for your post. I'll check with Mr Ritter this week about sending my ver 1. I also have the Alpha DAC Series 3. Didn't know until now that the USB was upgradeable. Berkeley is a class act.

 

Cheers

Do you have any experience with high-end music servers? I just use the Berkeley USB and it give me great sound from whatever PC or Laptop I have it connected. Thus, I've never worried about purchasing some of the better servers.

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5 hours ago, Kevin M. said:

Do you have any experience with high-end music servers? I just use the Berkeley USB and it give me great sound from whatever PC or Laptop I have it connected. Thus, I've never worried about purchasing some of the better servers.

 

Hi Kevin,

The only server I've tried and have in place is Lumin L2. That with the Lumin U2 streamer and Lumin app.

 

Audiophile Style has that recent review of the L2. I have to re-read it myself but the L2 server has a mirrored pair of SSD's. Once you setup/tweak the router and the PC (in my case, Mac) the L2 shows up as a server on the network - drag and drop files. Its not quite that easy, but close.

 

Rich

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4 hours ago, XRS said:

 

Hi Kevin,

The only server I've tried and have in place is Lumin L2. That with the Lumin U2 streamer and Lumin app.

 

I wonder how much of an upgrade it was for your U2.

 

I used a series 1 with a U2 mini and it was a night and day difference.

 

Speaks volumes about the Berkeley.

 

No way to go back to the USB/SPDIF output of the Lumin without the Berkeley now.

 

And I was using a wonderful sounding TotalDAC Gigafilter USB cable to connect to my DAC.

 

Waversa hub > Lumin S1 > Bakoon HPA-21

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On 3/10/2024 at 11:51 PM, skyline said:

 

I wonder how much of an upgrade it was for your U2.

 

I used a series 1 with a U2 mini and it was a night and day difference.

 

Speaks volumes about the Berkeley.

 

No way to go back to the USB/SPDIF output of the Lumin without the Berkeley now.

 

And I was using a wonderful sounding TotalDAC Gigafilter USB cable to connect to my DAC.

 

skyline, I wonder, too. Hah. I haven't tried the Berkeley with the U2 but will soon after I have it back from Berkeley for the USB Series 2 upgrade. They're sending an RMA this week.

 

I've been using the U2 via its s/pdif (into Marantz SA-KI Ruby...sounds smooth) until I get an AES and usb cable, which are coming. Will report back after playing around with the U2 and Berekely combos.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I received my Series 2 upgraded by Berkeley.

 

It’s more analog and higher resolution than Series 1.

 

It elevated the performance of my U2 mini in a way that I didn’t think was possible.

Waversa hub > Lumin S1 > Bakoon HPA-21

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I received my Series 2 upgraded by Berkeley.

 

It’s more analog and higher resolution than Series 1.

 

It elevated the performance of my U2 mini in a way that I didn’t think was possible.

 

It must be isolating the streamer from the DAC, because the noise floor is very low.

 

I can hear all of the background percussion and keyboards on electronic music now. It was muffled or inaudible before.

Waversa hub > Lumin S1 > Bakoon HPA-21

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One interesting thing I found is Berkeley recommends plugging the unit into an outlet used for analog, on a different circuit than the music server.

 

I found it sounded much better plugged into my dedicated line outlet used for analog components (rather than the dedicated line outlet for my digital components).

 

Waversa hub > Lumin S1 > Bakoon HPA-21

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34 minutes ago, skyline said:

One interesting thing I found is Berkeley recommends plugging the unit into an outlet used for analog, on a different circuit than the music server.

 

I found it sounded much better plugged into my dedicated line outlet used for analog components (rather than the dedicated line outlet for my digital components).

 

The amount of detail that is often missing is due to AC power quality affecting USB transmissions. It's a bit of experimentation as to which AC source is better, usually it's the 'lower impedance' afforded by dedicated lines. I think Berkeley are trying to optimise the SQ out of the Alpha, by assuming (with some justification) that connecting the Alpha to an analogue component system is better than an AC supply with a lot of digital gear emitting trash back to the line, such as music servers. switches, routers, typical IT gear.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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