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fjmcsu

Berkeley Alpha USB User Reports

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Good day all!

Having just received my Alpha DAC I would like to start a thread regarding users of the Alpha DAC by Berkeley Audio Design. Previous threads have been on the upcoming specifications and design as well as possible arrival. I know full well there are many variables to our perceived listening not just including software, computers, cabling, power, music et. al. I think one more variable is our background or foundation in the audio arena. Now that I am in the down slope of my life and career living the "Audiophile life" I have some time to now listen more attentively to my system having done the group gather on masked as well as unmasked testing of cables, amps etc. My audiophile life began with modified Hafler amplifiers and pre-amplifiers running at first JBL , then later Dahlquist DQ-10's. Eventually my yearnings took me to Audio Research SP-6, 7, 8, 9 & 10'S.Along the way Pass amplifiers and Infinity IRS beta towers,Thorens turntables & Dynevector cartridges. Certainly various CD players came and went with my last one being the Krell player and decoding computer which I still own. This eventually led me to computer servers and my joining this group for some expertise and guidance.

In comes the BADA DAC and Mac mini 2011. I have been using a Halide Bridge until the Alpha DAC & my comparisons will be to that interface as well as to my analogue system(SOTA Millenia, SME V , Palo Santos MC cartridge). I am using the Amarra Mini, Fidelia & Pure music under Lion OS X.

To say that the addition of the Alpha was a major change is an understatement. The immediate improvement I noticed was the amazing "spatial coherence" of the instruments; detail of the instrumental harmonics is much improvement with the noise floor astoundingly low. Both high resolution & CD recordings generally benefited from the improved detail. Bass was coherent with the leading edge of a bass slap very tight and crisp.Horizontal imaging was probably the second biggest improvement noted with maintenance of front to back imaging preserved.

I will end this note with a recommendation for those with a BAD DAC to give this USB converter a trial. I think you won't be disappointed. At least in my system it has made an major improvment in my enjoyment of the music I cherish.

Other component detail: using Purist Audi Design digital Dominus cable between DAC & Alpha via AES/EBU XLR connection. Wire World Silver starlight USB between Mini(OWC SSD,8GB RAM) and Alpha. Endpoint Krell KRC-HR pre-amp & Krell Audio Standards mono's Biamped , B & W 800's.

 


thanks

Francisco

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I think the big question is how the usb converter compares to the Lynx AES16 card for output. No doubt it is a great device in general! If you have a mac mini, how were you getting the sound out to the BADA previously?

 

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I used a Halide Bridge To BAD DAC. I would add at present my USB cable(Wire World Silver Starlight) is only 1/2 meter long & BA recommends 1.5 meters.Just received the 1.5m length Silver Stalight & did not notice much change but perhaps slightly more "air" surrounding instruments perhaps as a consequence of less noise(?). At any rate 2+ weeks into the Alpha USB has been extremely satisfying. I recently bypassed my pre-amp(Krell KRC-HR) and have been listening straight from the BADA. Amazing detail noted. Remarkably even through the pre-amp very little is lost, mainly noting changes in sound-stage imaging both(pre-amp or straight) of which are pleasing.

 


thanks

Francisco

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hi fjmcu

 

I know there is quite a difference between the Halide vs Bada USB, is the different night and day ?

Perhaps you can share some thoughts on the sonic improvement ?

 

Thanks in advance.

SLM

 

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SLM

Most of my comments on initial post refer to the improvements c/w the Halide bridge.Increase spaciousness,definition, imaging, soundstage, amazingly low noise floor-all seem amazingly improved. At this time I will be selling the Halide Bridge which I will no longer use. Not to disparage the bridge as I enjoyed it for what it did at the time but I cannot go back at this point(even if price were the same). I have found so much more detail(and enjoyment) in the regular redbook recordngs I thought i knew prior and the hi resolution downloads that I have to date just shine even more.

Hope this helps a bit!(no pun intended)

 


thanks

Francisco

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well, nothing is free, so i wouldn't be surprised if the BADA improves on a greater degree on the already excellent Halide.

 

Thanks again for your experiences.

 

 

 

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Mine should be shipping this week so I'll add my comments vs the Audiophileo converter (soon to be for sale) once I've had it running for a few days.

 

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Any update on this ?

 


Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, Jcat Femto USB card, UpTone Audio JS-2 + 2x LPS-1.2 combo, Jcat SSD battery PSU, Jcat SATA cable, TotalDAC D1 USB cable, SOtM sMS-200, W4S Recovery USB, Jcat USB Isolator, Win 2012, AO v2.10

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

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Oh you really shouldn't.

The wait is worth it.

I have also been running my Alpha USB and DAC Combo for a week or so now.

The Alpha USB is truly extraordinary. At first, I was very puzzled why Berkeley charges such a high price for it. But one listen, and you will be happy you waited and spent the amount on it.

The Alpha combo simply has no hint of it being digital. You simply forget and will sit back and enjoy music.

 


discless since 2005

 

Power: Equitech 5WQ-E | Primary Source: Mac Mini with Pure Music | USB Interface: Soulution 590 | Amps: Dual Devialet D-Premier in Dual Mono mode | Subwoofer: Wilson Benesch Torus + Torus Amp + DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core | Speakers: Magico Q1

 

Semi-Retired Equipment: AudioMachina Maestro S | Aurender S10 | Transporter | TacT 2.2XP | BADA USB | BADA Series 2

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what is the best usb cable to feed Berkeley USB converter (which is connected to Berkeley DAC via MIT oracle MA-X AES)

tx for your opinion, tw.

 

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Absolutely loving the sound of the Alpha USB + DAC Series 2.

I notice that the via the Alpha USB, the level is MUCH louder than any other transport I have used! Have you guys notice this?

 


discless since 2005

 

Power: Equitech 5WQ-E | Primary Source: Mac Mini with Pure Music | USB Interface: Soulution 590 | Amps: Dual Devialet D-Premier in Dual Mono mode | Subwoofer: Wilson Benesch Torus + Torus Amp + DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core | Speakers: Magico Q1

 

Semi-Retired Equipment: AudioMachina Maestro S | Aurender S10 | Transporter | TacT 2.2XP | BADA USB | BADA Series 2

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I have not noted a significant increase in volume having set it at the recommended level when played through a pre-amplifier(Krell KRC-HR). Thinking about it further when played straight out to my mono-amps(Krell Audo Standards) I still didn't notice a significant volume change!

As you stated, though, amazing improvement in sound quality and I "only" have series 1 BADA!! Unfortunaltely I bought mine just prior to the cutoff number for upgrade.

 


thanks

Francisco

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Interesting. On my setup, I use BADA as my preamp, and I am using a much lower volume setting with the Alpha USB in the chain. I am talking about a difference of 10 to 15 on the vol value!

 


discless since 2005

 

Power: Equitech 5WQ-E | Primary Source: Mac Mini with Pure Music | USB Interface: Soulution 590 | Amps: Dual Devialet D-Premier in Dual Mono mode | Subwoofer: Wilson Benesch Torus + Torus Amp + DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core | Speakers: Magico Q1

 

Semi-Retired Equipment: AudioMachina Maestro S | Aurender S10 | Transporter | TacT 2.2XP | BADA USB | BADA Series 2

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