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Berkeley, oh Berkeley


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On this site there is a certain liking on Berkeley dac Alpha. But is there another dac that could be better than it in a computer system based ? I mean a device in the same money range.

Thank you.

 

 

 

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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If you read through it's really quite diverse. The other options are:

 

- Prism Orpheus

- Metric Halo LIO or ULN-8

- PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC

- Audio Research DAC8

 

And some others a little more expensive:

- Weiss DAC202

- Resolution Audio Cantata

 

Personally my favorite is the Chord QFB76 which hasn't been discussed much. I consider this and the Berkeley to be relatively on par, except they have different characters and hence suit different systems.

 

The only reason I've held back from buying is because it only sounds really great with the buffer on (not so good for watching video clips), hence I'm also looking for more options at this price range. Haven't heard the DAC8 or Cantata yet though.

 

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...and Mytek 8x192 ADDA ? It seems to have a good reputation around.

 

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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Empirical Audio Overdrive. Newest version (may not be on Website yet) does full 24/192 USB

 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Kii Three .

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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Bel Canto DAC 3 with VBS1 virtual battery supply.

 

Very little mention of this DAC here but I have found it absolutely superb: transparent, tonally accurate, fast and always 'musical'.

 

David

 

ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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David is absolutely right. This bel canto dac makes cd's sound like high end analog (fluid, natural, very, very nuanced). It makes me wonder if we need more then 16 bits and 44,1 kHz. Maybe we had to wait for mature technology, to convert the information stored on a cd.

(I didn't try out higher bit rates, I never heard the Berkely Alpha).

One word of caution though:

I upgraded from a dac-3.

There are two ways:

- an upgrade with vb-powering only

- vb-upgrade + replacement of the motherboard by the new dac-3.5 motherboard

 

In my case the first upgrade didn't work out as well. It may be related to the version of dac-3 (mine was an early one), because I tried out a very good dac-3vb before.

The second upgrade is called 'dac-3.3vb', and sounds exactly like the new dac-3.5vb. This is the one I'm raving about.

 

 

Johan

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Love the Alpha!

 

Anyway, the Bel Canto w/ battery is apparently very nice, but you're still in the Alpha price point, and still need a converter of some kind.

 

Note about the Berkeley Alpha Converter, or whatever it's going to be called. It's not just hardware, it's software (think: Amarra), so be prepared to see that price well over $1k when it hits. Which will put the all-Berkeley solution squarely in Weiss DAC202 territory -- which doesn't need a converter of any kind as it's a Firewire DAC.

 

Which brings up a related (counter-) point. Of course, this is just one man's opinion, but if I were looking to buy a new DAC right now, I'd be looking at where the market is going. And it isn't Firewire. Just something to keep in mind when shopping the high end.

 

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As noted in my reply to Eloise's recent question, I agree that firewire connectivity to a computer is not the future.

 

I suggest that ethernet / wireless is the future, and to get this connectivity one means is to use the PS Audio bridge. I'm waiting to see the PS Audio Lens product (due end of 2010??) which can incorporate the bridge board and hence allow ethernet / wireless connection to any existing DAC that has SPDIF, AES/EBU, USB inputs.

 

ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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Can be very sketchy for high resolution audio. AFAIK PS Audio is hesitant on recommending running the Bridge wireless. Is anyone out there using the Bridge with a wireless network and having success playing high res audio?

I agree that networked Audio can be a great way to go with the right hardware.

 

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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More and more mainstream audio companies have introduced or are readying stand-alone DACs, the sample rate wars are just beginning, and the market for USB-to-SPDIF (or AES) converters has grown considerably over the apst 2 years.

 

Personally, I'm very excited about, at one end, the quality of DACs being produced under $3k (Antelope, Wyred, Eastern Electric, etc.) and the other end, new higher-than-24/192 capabilities being readied ...although software will be slow to release; some insiders speculating that there are lots of 32 bit, 384-756k and/or DSD/DXD "master" files being stockpiled during mastering..and that the higher end labels and distributors are waiting for faster download speeds to release them. Case in point, as was mentioned here earlier, and confirmed on Audiogon posts (and a personal chat with Jonathan Tinn), Playback Designs is a high end DAC manufacturer that is attempting to break the 24/192k barrier with USB (something MSB has announced as well), and PD is ready to announce up to 5.6Mhz at CES! (I will report back from CES) That could mean DSD quality file decoding. They also are including this capability in a DAC priced nearly half of their current Series 5 products. Owners of the vaunted Series 5 will get these USB improvements over time, via firmware and/or hardware upgrades.

 

Net/net, there are lots of good new DACs out there to try. Competition is good.

 

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Good to see that you are optomistic regarding the future availability of 352.8/384 kHz sample rates, I hope that you are right! But even with the best internet connection, I suspect it will be more practical to distribute these files on DVDs or flash memory, otherwise download times could be pushing 12 hours.

Lots of DACs mentioned here, but I would add the Aesthetix Pandora as a very interesting prospect. USB2 capable (to 24/192 with Gordon R's Async code), high quality build, sophisticated power supplies, custom digital filters, and a very nice, balanced tube output stage-this DAC could really be a winner.

 

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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"I'd be looking at where the market is going. And it isn't Firewire."

 

hmmm... two of the best sounding premium DACs released in the past 6 months are Firewire-based - the Weiss DAC202 and the Metric Halo LIO-8.

 

Three of the DACs listed in Quest's first response sound best via Firewire! And another one (DAC8) is reported to sound better with a (Weiss) Firewire converter feeding it!

 

clay

 

PS, with apologies for mangling someone else's quote:

Audiophiles are the only consumers in the world who act as if they will own the product forever, when they actually will replace it in a year or two. ;0

 

 

 

 

 

 

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interface device. Just connecting the MB Pro via optical would not suffice (doesn't support high resolution). Among the "best" for you to audition would be Wavelength's Wavelink, Weiss's INT202 and M2Tech's EVO to name a few. Others will have opinions on "best".

 

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not want to risk anything here... So I will not say it is the "best", but the Wavelength Audio Wavelink is the first computer to SPDIF link I have used that provides what I would consider excellent sound.

I suspect the Weiss INT 202 would also work well, at a fair amount more money. I have not heard the M2 Tech Evo, which is another one to try.

I like the Wavelink though, 24/192 capable, no drivers to install, no power cabling needed, just plug and play with superb sound.

 

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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The Naim DAC that I used to have supports 384k files from USB sticks. I tried playing so called DXD sample files thru them and they played fine. Can't say if they are better than 24/192 since my ears are probably not hi-res enough.

 

Re DSD files I thought most SACD were mastered/edited using PCM and converted back to DSD. And as a result there are hardly any pure DSD music out there. Is that true?

 

Macbook Pro/MacMini/dCS Debussy/Cambridge 650BD[br]Vitus Audio SS-010/Living Voice OBX-R2 Speakers/Ultrasone Edition 8 phones[br]Airport Express/Meridian AD88[br]

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