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Berkeley. Why is it so dark ?


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My system: Computer with Antec case and power supply, Lynx AES 16 audio card, Berkeley alpha dac, Bryston 4Bsst2 amp and Usher Be 718 speakers.

 

The sound that come out is dark, muddy, too little airy, cymbals are not developed and seem non-existent, dynamics are short, bass intrusive. Generally veiled sound.

 

There is anyone that can advice anything from his experience? I am very disappointed because many persons and reviewers has written wonderful things about Berkeley - Lynx AES pairing. To my home they are not so. Thank you.

 

fenice9454

 

 

 

intel DG31PR - Windows 7 - Straightwire USB - Berkeley USB interface - Straightwire digital - Mytek 8x192 dac - ASI liveline interconnect - Bryston 4BSST2 - ASI liveline speaker cable - USHER Be 718 - Foobar 2000 WASAPI player

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I think you probably need to tell a bit more about your system if we're to help you...

 

Motherboard and processor? How much memory?

 

What OS? What playback software? WASAPI, KS or ASIO?

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Berkeley will have worked about 20 hours ? Is it enough ?

 

intel DG31PR - Windows 7 - Straightwire USB - Berkeley USB interface - Straightwire digital - Mytek 8x192 dac - ASI liveline interconnect - Bryston 4BSST2 - ASI liveline speaker cable - USHER Be 718 - Foobar 2000 WASAPI player

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Try a few more days continous play.

I`d like to add that IMO, the Berkeley is not the best dac in the world with regards to attributes like air and soundstage. Its qualities lies elsewhere.

 

 

 

CAPS > Berkeley USB+DAC > Sanders Magtech > Magnepan 3.7

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OS window xp full updated

players windows media player and foobar with asio

 

motherboard sorry i cannot answer for the moment because i am out, surely it is Intel

 

processor Intel 2core but for the exact model i reserve to answer you this evening when i will return to my home.

 

 

 

intel DG31PR - Windows 7 - Straightwire USB - Berkeley USB interface - Straightwire digital - Mytek 8x192 dac - ASI liveline interconnect - Bryston 4BSST2 - ASI liveline speaker cable - USHER Be 718 - Foobar 2000 WASAPI player

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Okay - motherboard and processor aren't that important, just general specs of them was all I wondered - certainly an Intel Core2Duo should be sufficient.

 

Players, Foobar is a good choice. You may want to check out J.River and try WASAPI rather than ASIO.

 

Have you checked out that you have the "recommended" Firmware and drivers for the Lynx card? I think there -- http://www.computeraudiophile.com/lynx-aes16-legacy-drivers -- are the files you need. You may want to post and check with Chris (P.S. Chris - any chance you can put a link to these from the C.A.S.H. list or somewhere handy?)

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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When the guy at computer shop built the machine he kept count of many things so i think that it was good under that profile even if old a bit.

 

I have already tried JRiver and i can say that it is worst than Foobar and Windows player. This last one seems to be clearer than Foobar but Foobar is fuller and wide with better bass. Even if the choice between these players doesn't do great difference. The heaviness remains.

 

I have just updated the firmware and drivers for my Lynx that it is not "e" version. No audible results.

 

Anyhow i thank you very much for the help and spent time with me. I will try to contact Chris and keep count of the recommend drivers.

 

 

intel DG31PR - Windows 7 - Straightwire USB - Berkeley USB interface - Straightwire digital - Mytek 8x192 dac - ASI liveline interconnect - Bryston 4BSST2 - ASI liveline speaker cable - USHER Be 718 - Foobar 2000 WASAPI player

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Of course this is not any mobo or (digital) soundcard issue. It can be about breaking in though, although I find this hard to believe. "Opening up" regarding airyness, yes, that can be, but being more fresh without it being gray first ? no.

 

So it depends a bit on the level of "grayness", but I don't think grayness belongs to dark.

 

As a developer of a DAC myself, I think I may be able to explain what is happening;

 

Usually, the most "beauty" sound (and I didn't say beautiful) comes from a DAC which just doesn't exhibit much highs. You could call this silky up to complete dark.

It is not so difficult to let a DAC behave like this, and it may be personal subjectiveness (of the designer) to do so. But :

 

What we must be aware of (or at least that is how I think) is that as soon as highs start to exhibit, they must be good. And, they are never good. They are only good when they equal reality, and assumed this can't happen it may be better to leave the highs out as much as is appreciated "acceptable" (again, by the designer).

 

So what is - or could be the matter here ? Well, you are just used to a more fresh DAC. Whether the highs from it were good or not, fresh = more fresh and once you are used to that it will be hard to do it with less.

 

Whether it really is the case that the Alpha solves the "highs" problem as I decribed it in this way, I can't know. On that matter, it also can be an impedance problem somehow. But for example, if the Alpha has a transformer output stage (which I don't know), it looks like I am right. And it will be muddy in the lows at the same time.

 

Keep in mind, all is relative with audio, and what you call muddy, another may not notice just not being used to better.

And so it may be a good idea to tell what you used before, where the things you mentioned all were better.

 

Ok, under the notice that you are comparing players to solve your problem (and although I don't think that will help), may you end up with mine, use Quad Arc Prediction and filter #2 in the Alpha. I have quite some users who tell me that it is there where all starts happening. I can't confirm this myself.

 

All the best,

Peter

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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A quick question for you - did you demo the Berkeley DAC before buying it - if so what equipment did you demo it with and how did it sound to you then? It may just be that the Berkeley has a different "sound" than your expectations.

 

Having said that - if Windows player (I assume you mean Windows Media Player) sounds better there sounds to be something unexpected...

 

Eloise

 

PS. Peter: very sneaky of you there!!

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Eloise, why ? I don't think I provided one single bit of context here, and all I said is completely true. But of course the context is in *your* mind. Well, maybe don't start about it, or otherwise someone will start asking questions.

 

I guess it takes more context than you have at this moment in order to know how true all is what I wrote. I mean, I can't be sure whether you are in the leage of "every DAC sounds (about) the same", but since I can let my own DAC sound like 100 completely different ... such a statement wouldn't be true.

 

In either case - and in my honest opinion - it is better to squeeze down the "not good" highs, than making them profound while wrong. But of course there is a balance somewhere.

 

Oh ... I am reading your "sneaky" line again, and now think you may be referring to something else. Uhm ... yes, maybe it is quite impossible to look at this differently, but still I am honestly responding to someone's problems which I can't understand in the base. Here too, what I said is true (I won't link you to the threads involved, which I actually should in this case), but the stupid and unexpected here is that filter. I mean, really many posts have been spent on how it can happen that exactly this filter responds so good to ... (blahblahblah), with eventually some acceptable explanations found. "We" never rest until all is sorted out what can be sorted out (well, I think you know at least me for it), and things can be very exciting sometimes.

 

Anyway, if it helps it helps (assumed the DAC has been bought), and if it doesn't well, I predicted just that. Fact is that people oohhh and aaahhh at using that particular combination.

As said, not my own experience.

 

 

Fenice, sorry for this intermezzo, but Eloise tries to keep everything clear and sound in here, and most often (almost always :-) this is justified.

 

Peter

 

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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Sorry if you took it the wrong way Peter - language barrier. I was just kidding with you really with the "sneaky" comment ... referring to you commenting about using XXHighEnd at the end of your post. I should have added a smiley sorry!

 

I meant to say/ask earlier - are you running the Berkeley direct to the Bryston power amps?

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment

I meant to say/ask earlier - are you running the Berkeley direct to the Bryston power amps?

 

Haha, me too !

About impededance problems ...

Or drive issues.

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

Link to comment

Sorry Peter,

 

i am italian and my english is so and so. I have not understood much of what you have written. I only can affirm that the sound has those already described features but i still can add that it change when i connect the Berkeley to a cheap dvd (dynamics but less clarity) or to a Lynx TWO B (more clarity but less detail). So i think that mine is not a question of a feeling or sensation.

 

 

 

intel DG31PR - Windows 7 - Straightwire USB - Berkeley USB interface - Straightwire digital - Mytek 8x192 dac - ASI liveline interconnect - Bryston 4BSST2 - ASI liveline speaker cable - USHER Be 718 - Foobar 2000 WASAPI player

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Ha ! what about my english then !!

 

So i think that mine is not a question of a feeling or sensation.

 

About the wording :

I was not referring to feeling, mood, or sensation. Only to what you are used to. So, if you are used to a very fresh sounding DAC (never mind the highs being allright or not), a good sounding DAC may be the one with far less freshness, but you will appreciate it as dull sounding. No highs. You have that "fresh" reference.

 

Summarized, all I was referring about "you" was in a positive sense which goes as far as "you may have been used to a very fresh sounding DAC, and it may have been better than the Alpha, so how could it be your fault". So, not your fault, but possibly the wrong DAC.

 

when i connect the Berkeley to a cheap dvd (dynamics but less clarity)

 

I am not sure how I myself would be able to combine these two.

UNLESS you mean the UMPF (slam) in the bass. This is (I think) not more dynamical, but more power.

This *is* a PC (as a source) problem ... (jitter impeeded)

 

to a Lynx TWO B (more clarity but less detail).

 

IOW Gray.

 

If I may ... let me conclude that you have an over-average of judging audio, and the differences the PC sources bring, disturb you. This is a completely known phenomenon and the only places to look are your (digital) cabling and the real source (the player).

Notice that the experiences from other users I talked about are as far as I know always about the AES16. So it *can* be done ...

 

Peter

 

 

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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If your cymbals are not developed I think that you may have a problem somewhere. When I had a BADA here, the rendering of the cymbal was one of it's assets. The BADA lent a nicely rounded shape to the cymbals, almost as if you could see the cymbal curling backward in the sound stage. Have you tried the different filter settings?

 

My only other thought (and I mean no disrespect), is that as I have moved up the ladder in DACs, the less jitter, the less sound but it is tighter and more solid. The jitter seams to add a smear or haze (greyness) that might be interpreted as additional highs.

 

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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Doh! (as the greek poet would say). Yes of course WASAPI is Vista / Windows 7.

 

Eloise

 

 

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment

things:

First, let the Alpha run in for at least a couple hundred hours before evaluating it. Then listen. With a new component you may need to re-evaluate speaker positions, so once the Alpha is really broken in, try playing with speaker toe in to get a good balance between high frequency reproduction and imaging precision.

Next: what cables are you using (analog and digital)? If you are using "darker" cables (like Cardas, or Tara Labs) you might want to work with your dealer to try something a little more lit up. Also, as mentioned above, be sure to try the different filters on the Alpha, one is going to give more emphasis to the high frequencies.

 

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888 speakers-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Purple Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.  ISOAcoustics Oreas footers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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Dear Forrest,

 

i am an ignorant. What is the BADA ? and then how can make to modify the jitter ?

I don't manage to understand what do you mean with "I have moved up the ladder in DACs".

 

Sorry.

 

intel DG31PR - Windows 7 - Straightwire USB - Berkeley USB interface - Straightwire digital - Mytek 8x192 dac - ASI liveline interconnect - Bryston 4BSST2 - ASI liveline speaker cable - USHER Be 718 - Foobar 2000 WASAPI player

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Sorry for the delay in answer but i have come back at home just now.

 

I drive the Bryston directly from Berkeley because i have realized that a preamp obscure the sound more than without it.

 

intel DG31PR - Windows 7 - Straightwire USB - Berkeley USB interface - Straightwire digital - Mytek 8x192 dac - ASI liveline interconnect - Bryston 4BSST2 - ASI liveline speaker cable - USHER Be 718 - Foobar 2000 WASAPI player

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My interconnects are Mogami professional and speaker cables are CAT 5 DIY. I know they are poor but i can assure you that are honest cables. Certainly Nordost Valhalla are better....:-)

 

intel DG31PR - Windows 7 - Straightwire USB - Berkeley USB interface - Straightwire digital - Mytek 8x192 dac - ASI liveline interconnect - Bryston 4BSST2 - ASI liveline speaker cable - USHER Be 718 - Foobar 2000 WASAPI player

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a dealer to help you? Once the Alpha is burned in, and you have experimented with speaker positioning, consider trying some more transparent cabling. Your system is very good, and neither the Bryston or the Usher speakers are dark. I would try some Nordost cables (I use Frey, not nearly as $ as Valhalla) or some of the ASI Livelines, for both speaker and interconnect. I believe Mogami is stranded wire, this will smear sound somewhat, and I am not sure about CAT 5 DIY either. Your system is of a quality level that should have very good cabling.

 

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888 speakers-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Purple Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.  ISOAcoustics Oreas footers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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Barrows

 

i have spent much money on cables in these last years but all those i have tried were increasing the bass and softening the highs or attenuating the dynamics. I have never found a cable that make justice. And so ....

 

intel DG31PR - Windows 7 - Straightwire USB - Berkeley USB interface - Straightwire digital - Mytek 8x192 dac - ASI liveline interconnect - Bryston 4BSST2 - ASI liveline speaker cable - USHER Be 718 - Foobar 2000 WASAPI player

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Generally I have found that airy DACs sound a bit hard and overly dynamic when they are not broken-in, certainly not dark. Break-in usually tames them. Darkness can be easily be caused by op-amps and the regulators/caps that power them.

 

Also, jitter may be a problem with your setup, however it will generally only diffuse the detail, it will not cause darkness. Darkness is usually caused by a DAC or preamp IME. For instance my Mark Levinson #38 preamp was very dark sounding prior to my modding it.

 

As for the Jitter, even though it is not your principal problem, I would recommend NOT using a PCI card and a desktop PC. You will get better results using an outboard converter or USB DAC and a laptop or Mac Mini. It is best to get the critical Digital Conversions out of the PC chassis and on separate high-quality power.

 

Also, even with Win7, the latest Foobar2K and Kernel Streaming will be good, as good as iTunes with Amarra on a Mac.

 

Finally, your CD rips are critical. Make sure that you are using dbpoweramp with Accurate-Rip enabled. I only rip to .wav files. The ripping drive also makes a difference. See:

 

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=68223.0

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

 

 

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