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  »  New  Reference Recordings “digital master” and Berkeley's ne..  The Berkeley Audio DAC’s processor....  Didital Things  Forum     13  136278  01-17-2008
  »  New  Pacific Microsonics Model 2..  This is very typical....  Didital Things  Forum     85  493935  05-28-2009
09-02-2014 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 21189
Reply to: 21189
Berkeley Audio Design's Alfa Reference DAC.
fiogf49gjkf0d

I am not well familiar with what Berkeley. Their voyage to the beginnings unit that the company started was irrelevant to me and then thinner USB version did not attract my attention. It is not that I feel that they were bad units. I never had them and I have no business to pass any voluble observation about them. I know quite a number of people who did get Berkeley's DAC and interpreting and extrapolating their feedback I concluded that Berkeley did not rise to the level of Pacific Microsonic and represent just hoi hoi polloi version of what those guys are capable off. Not the last evidence that the Berkeley DAC was for audio simpletons only was the tsunami of noise the audio whores of all caliber was created to trumpet the Berkeley's DAC. Observing juts one idiot Christopher Connaker, the guys who run The Computer Audiophile, was enough to develop a permanent vomiting reflex when Berkeley DAC was mentioned. The Computer Audiophile was publishing gloriously stretched disinformation about  the DAC when it was released, endlessly editing own site  and comments of other people in order crate an appearance of "universal positive acclaim". Ironically, when I just asked at the site (at that time the DAC was new) if the digital volume control at the DAC's output has any impact to sound the Computer Audiophile big time "reviewer" informed that unit has no  digital volume control... and ban me from his stupid site. Well, I guess it was too much not only for investigative journalism but for common scene...

In the end I decided that I would treat digital using Framer Sysndrom. It is know that any single product Mike Framer trumpet demonstrates great sales number but also for the people who have ears, hart and brain it is an indication that product has no interesting sound. Mike Framer is pretty much a pH indicator of worth in audio, sort of audio cancer metastases that if touches a company or a product that even was OK then after his Framerisation the company or a product are sonically impotent. In digital word Christopher Connaker to me is the very same guy as Framer with exception that Framer is generally is familiar with the subjects and rule of the game, he knows what he is doing and he is OK with it. Mr. Connaker aka Computer Audiophile in contrary is a Moron - culturally, technically, audio-wise and esthetically. If Framer go to bad laughing that he just BSed another group of people with a his "product of the week" then Connaker feels that spreading his ignorant stupidity he conducted a messianic duty. Well, The Computer Audiophile LOVED the Berkeley Audio Design's Alfa DAC - what more disgusting could be said about the product. It is almost like saying that a person N is a great person because an  Australian cannibals find that  the person was tasty.          

Hm..., that was a nice  introduction to  the fact the Berkeley Audio Design's introduced a new product Alpha DAC Reference. I do not know anything about it besides what I read at my local dealer site. 

http://goodwinshighend.com/#Berkeley Reference DAC

"Berkeley Audio Design is extremely pleased to announce the availability of the new Alpha DAC Reference Series.

The Alpha DAC Reference Series embodies everything we know about digital to analogue conversion taken to an unprecedented level – a level that requires new design concepts & new components at the edge of what is possible. The result is an immediacy and presence of music reproduction that is simply real.

We literally designed the Reference Series before is was possible to built it. Almost three years in development, the Alpha DAC Reference Series uses components designed to our specifications that were not commercially available. Several suppliers were not able to meet our requirements which delayed the release of the Reference Series by more than one year. But those obstacles were overcome and now the Alpha DAC Reference Series is a reality.

The presence & sonic reality of the Reference Series is the result of digital to analogue conversion at a new level of accuracy made possible by tremendous electrical & mechanical noise isolation coupled with extreme time domain stability. Ceramic circuit board materials are used in all critical areas and the enclosure is carefully engineered to minimize electrical noise while maximizing mechanical stability. The Reference Series weighs over 40 pounds and the entire enclosure is precision machined from a a solid billet of 6061 – T aluminum alloy.

A new high output, all metal IR remote control with direct input source selection is provided with the Reference Series.

Careful consideration was given to providing the highest possible reproduction of DSD files by the Alpha DAC Reference Series. 99% of modern DAC’s, including the Alpha Reference Series use mult-bit D/A converters because they provide better performance than 1-bit converters – even those who advertise “native” DSD compatibility. So, at some point, the 1-bit DSD stream must be converted to multi-bit for all of those DAC’s.

We could, like many other manufacturers, convert 1-bit DSD to multi-bit within the Alpha DAC Reference Series and show “DSD” in the front panel display. That would be the easiest approach from a marketing perspective. But that would also mean increasing the amount of processing in the DAC during playback which would degrade audio quality, and audio quality is the reason the Alpha Reference Series exists.

Fortunately, virtually all reproduction of DSD files using external DAC’s occurs with a computer based music server as the source. If the 1-bit DSD to multi-bit conversion is done first in the computer it can be performed with extremely high precision and superior filtering that preserves all of the content of the DSD file. Computer DSD to multi-bit conversion can be at least as good as that performed in a DAC and without adding processing noise near or in the D/A converter chip. Another advantage of computer based DSD to PCM conversion is that if higher performance DSD versions such as DSD 4x appear in the future they can easily be supported with a software upgrade.

For all of those reasons, DSD capability for the Alpha DAC Reference Series is provided by an included state of the art software application that provides either real time conversion of DSD 1x and DSD 2x to 176.4 kHz 24 bit PCM during playback or conversion to 176.4 kHz 24 bit AIFF or WAV files. The software application is included in the price of the Alpha DAC Reference Series and is compatible with either Windows OS or Mac OS based music servers.

The Alpha DAC Reference Series supports 32 kHz to 192 kHz 24-bit PCM through four input; Balanced AES, Coaxial SPDIF 1, Coaxial SPDIF 2 and Toslink Optical. Independent, single-ended and true balanced analog outputs are provided. Dimensions are 17.5 inches wide X 12.5 inches deep X 3.5 inches high."

Behind the regular Blah-Blah-Blah that those time of announcements usually goes with there is a few very interesting moments in it. The Berkeley  guys took a well-defined stand ageist the DSD insisting on PCM mult-bit possessing.  I say salute to it!!! This mean kind of war between Meitner's clan of DSD and Berkeley's PMC - a war long time due and I am very glad for it. I am very enthusiastically on PMC side and I am very glad that people of Berkeley's caliber look in the same direction.

I do not know as whole a lot about new DAC. I do not know if it is discreet or not, if it has the stupid digital volume control or not, if it allow to process 1X and 2X streams without conversion and what kind character of sound it has. I know that it is somewhere north of $15K - a tangible amount of money - not $5K anymore, so it shall be a different machine then a former Alfa DAC.

I still have no idea why people have interested in more than 44k DACs. There are plant of them out there but there are no recordings in 2X or 4X PCM. Those few that are available are mostly garbage ether recording quality wise or musically, so I wonder how a new great 4X PCM DAC would be able to make any diference.

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-04-2014 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
anthony
Posts 193
Joined on 08-18-2014

Post #: 2
Post ID: 21195
Reply to: 21189
You make it difficult to reply when you grind your axes
fiogf49gjkf0d
Hi Romy,

I have never had a particularly good listen to a Berkeley dac so I cannot comment there, but I do appreciate the steps they have taken to remove some processing from the dac itself and give the computer some more work to do.

Personally, I am a fan of NOS dacs that rely on the computer to do some of the heavy lifting such as upsampling and applying the digital filter.  This makes the dac itself much simpler and more likely a master of its intended task.  I've compared my Redbook specialist dac to a number of other well regarded dacs including some that are considered at or near the top of the DSD pile, and Redbook can certainly sound more correct and interesting than DSD.  My experience is that the quality of the dac is much more important than the music storage format.

I've not heard the PM2 but Mani who posts here from time to time has one which has been relegated to ADC duties only by his Redbook specialist dac (the same model as my dac).  

Cheers,

Anthony 

09-04-2014 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 21196
Reply to: 21195
A DAC as event or a State of Digital Union.
fiogf49gjkf0d
Well, leaving aside my "grinding axes", namely my habitual love to remind people and myself that there are plenty Morons in audio I do think that Berkeley's parley to Reference DAC is interesting. It is interesting not by the DAC as a unit but rather as DAC as event.

People who know me close know that I have a tendency for extrapolative abstraction and patterns generalization. Perhaps 20 years of acting in IT industry and career consultant did it to m, or perhaps it is my Jewishness is screaming in me, however it is what it is and I do see in the new Berkeley DAC a call for abstraction. Let me to explain.

When digital audio hit market in begin of 80s it was crap and most of what was done in 80s was not particularly good from good Sound perspective. They did have some phenomenal result at time but it was not due to the advance of digital but because the most barbaric digital techniques or today have not been developed or become a common practice and most of the editing at that time was done on analog domain. In the early 90s it was commonly understood but better digital designer and they went for drastic improvement of digital. In the beginning of 90s, pretty much at the same time different groups of the most potent digital designers come up with a new generation of digital possessors that never were seen in 80s and those devises did deliver very serious digital if it was handled properly. It is at that time  Pacific folks come with this first Micriosonic model 1, Ed Meitner came up with his adoptive algorithms and IDAT implementation, Don Lavry came with his multi-bit and AD line and former Studer's Daniel Weiss hit the market with his 102 Series. They were a very new level of digital - they were good and with proper digital hygiene they delivered a lot. There were other good movements but I mentioned just a few larger designing housed juts for sake of illustration.

In 90s, even those good tools were available, the industry was  descending into own digital infection disease state, still with good tools the people with proper digital hygiene and some skills were able to get very good results from digital. In my view, and if to look only at Redbook CD the mid of 90 was the best vintage of CD production.

In the end of 90s and over the bend of the century a paranoia to make higher sampling rate available for wide consumers become spreading. The consumer 2X and 4X possessors become to pop up like mushrooms after rain  but there was no advance in Sound with it. In addition Sony/Philips were fighting the 2001 expiration of CD patent and they were desperate to bring a new digital media to the market. Meitner give them DSD and SACD that was compromised half-measure and even a lot of people of music industry do unfortunately use DSD it still failed to become a new standard. The higher sampling rate PCM never was ratified for consumers...

So, now we have mid of the 2000 teens. What the old big digital warhorses do? The Pacific folks former Berkeley and after making cheap 5K consumer-level toy, good enough to entertain idiots-reviewers they presumably come up with new pure PCM Berkeley Dereference DAC that should be labeled "25 years after PM1". Meitner clan keep breeding DSD unit and companies, milking his favorite SACD cow. Nowadays he is at 8bit and 4 time of original DSD sampling.  It should be good. If it was original 4bit DSD as Meitner did in 2000 but that never seen a commercial light then DSD might won the war then... Lavry and the Co. released last year a new Reference DAC that he feel shell be "25 years after DA924", it is very little know about it and Lavry, who was in past always very prolific and descriptive about his vision and idea keeps the new secrets of the new implementation under the wraps. Weiss got his new 4X product line in 2003-2006 and still holds it.

For sure during the last 25 years many thing change, the parts, the technologies and the design ideas and many other aspects. To me the most interesting thing is that all thus guys are 25 years older and this might be a problem. 25 years back they were adult experience people, very much the leader of own field. They still are, even there were many talented newcomers. However, the spent 25 years of boiling in the spiritually highly toxic  and gratification-wise-ugly environment of audio industry. I have seen so many brilliant designers who were grinded by the stupid industry and who with time start produce very cynically sounding audio garbage or some questionably acceptable products but the nowhere near what might be expected from their  former talent. So, would the vintage of "25 years after" to sound in the way how we presumably expect them to be? I have no answer and at this time I did not even was looking to find it.

Rgs, Romy The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-13-2014 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
scooter
Posts 161
Joined on 07-17-2008

Post #: 4
Post ID: 21216
Reply to: 21196
New Berkeley DAC review from the computer audiophile
fiogf49gjkf0d
New review by the computer audiophile at

 http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/599-berkeley-audio-design-alpha-dac-reference-series-review/

The review is what it is. There is a lot of history behind the company and it appears to be a site sponsor. The comments include some not-so subtle digs from the competition. I'll drop by Goodwins to check out one day and sit in that comfortable sofa in the nice big room.  
09-13-2014 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 5
Post ID: 21219
Reply to: 21216
Well, it fits the pattern.
fiogf49gjkf0d
There is an interesting and predictable pattern: the pattern of the idiot-reviewer above universal stupidity. Those people are so uninformed about themselves and about world that they do not even feel where they expose own incompetence and short mildness.

The idiot-reviewer above suggested that new Berkeley DAC is some kind of hugely superior DAC to the old Berkeley DAC, presumably the fool do not know any other DACs or know the definition of world “better”. Why people like me shall laugh about the comment like this even though I did not hear the Berkeley?  
Well, a few years back the very same person expressed the very same sentiment about the old Berkeley DAC. Since then the old Berkeley DAC has a few revisions and become even better. So, was the old Berkeley DAC was in fact so bad that today the idiot-reviewer have realized it? No, not really. There was no problem with neither or new Berkeley DACs. I am pretty sure that bother of them are fine DACs, very compatible with top flying DACs of today. The truth is that if you compare two of very-very good devises of identical class, let say two very good tuners, or two good very turntables, or two good amplifiers then the different between them will be very minor and the difference will exist ONLY for the people with very highly discriminative reference points and refine preferences.  That is the definition of a “very good devises of identical class”.  If you have two very good tonearms then they will perform near identical with very slight deference that will not make one better and another worse but rather it would make them different.  If it does not happen then you have one good tonearm and another bad one.

In case of the Moron above he clearly does not have a refine taste or discriminative reference points in DAC . He brainlessly trumpet whatever is given to him and his reviews remind me the old joke when a patron complains to a waiter that he just saw a piece of shit in his plate with soup. “That was a reflection” - the waiter responded.
 


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
Page 1 of 1 (5 items) Select Pages: 
   Target    Threads for related reading   Most recent post in related threads   Forum  Replies   Views   Started 
  »  New  Reference Recordings “digital master” and Berkeley's ne..  The Berkeley Audio DAC’s processor....  Didital Things  Forum     13  136278  01-17-2008
  »  New  Pacific Microsonics Model 2..  This is very typical....  Didital Things  Forum     85  493935  05-28-2009
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