Berkeley Audio Design was founded by Michael Ritter and Pflash Pflaumer—who were part of the original team at Pacific Microsonics. Pacific Microsonics was the company that designed and manufactured the famed Model One and Model Two.
The Pacific Microsonics Model Two was, and still is today, the finest A-D converter ever produced. (The Model One being the second best of course.) In addition it also contained a superb D-A converter. And we're not the only ones who know this. Even today, years after it was discontinued, we still get calls and emails from top Mastering Engineers and Recording Engineers from all over the world seeking to purchase either a Model Two or a Model One. [Note: We were the East Coast dealer for the Model Two and so we know a lot about it.]
Their prior experience from Pacific Microsonics has obviously facilitated Berkeley Audio Design in producing a superior DAC. Consequently their Alpha DAC has since become our best-selling digital-to-analog converter by far. Now this can be paired with the new Alpha USB as described below.
● "NEW" Berkeley Audio Design - Alpha USB
If your music server outputs USB then you will be interested in this: The Alpha USB converts USB to either AES-EBU (XLR digital) or SPDIF (BNC digital—which can be converted to RCA digital using an adaptor). There are two other fundamentally important aspects to know about: It isolates the music server from the DAC. And it reclocks in order to significantly reduce jitter, which is the term for digital timing errors.
Reducing jitter is extremely important in order to obtain the best possible sound from a digital source. And the Berkeley factory is very serious about trying to do that at a very high level of quality. For instance the custom oscillator chips that they are using are quite expensive and these are hand-tested to meet Berkeley's very tight specification requirements. And any chip that doesn't meet that spec is rejected. Going to such lengths with things like these custom oscillator chips and the extensive hand testing required, which by the way is done with a $90,000 piece of sophisticated Agilent test gear, you can start to understand how the Alpha USB is designed and built to be a more optimal solution—and certainly is not just another run-of-the-mill USB adaptor! For more info on the Berkeley USB click here.
Note: In terms of cable length it is recommended to use a 1.5 meter USB cable between the output of the music server computer and the Alpha USB. Then it is also recommended to use a 1.5 meter AES-EBU cable between the Alpha USB and your DAC. These recommendations are based upon factory testing/listening.
Note: This is only available in black.
For the highest quality audio USB output card for your computer click here.
If you would like to pair an Alpha DAC with a music server click here for info.
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