Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Berkeley Alpha DAC MK II opinions please..... NOW the Bricasti M1 experience.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Berkeley Alpha DAC MK II opinions please..... NOW the Bricasti M1 experience.

post #1 of 89
Thread Starter 

I have two speaker systems cobined with heandphone amplifiers in them too. In one of them I have a PS Audio PWD MK II with some upgrades and in the other one I have an original Wadia 27 DAC. Wadia does not offer the i and/or iX upgrades no more so this DAC only does Red Book CD (very well).

 

I am thinking if I should upgrade to a newer DAC that can also do Hi -Rez files. I have the oportunity to get a Berkeley Alpha DAC MKII in a very nice price but I have never listen to it. My only reference is the reviews I have read.

 

What is you opinion? Should I replace the Wadia (since it is older and no Hi-Rez capable) with the Berkeley?


Edited by musicman59 - 11/19/12 at 1:58pm
post #2 of 89
Do it for the experience. evil_smiley.gif
post #3 of 89

I auditioned the Berkeley Alpha 2 for a few days earlier this past summer, but have no knowledge of the Wadia. 

 

Straight up, it's pro-level gear.  Very neutral.  You will hear the digital source file with minimal editing or colorations.  For me though it was clean to the point of being sterile on some tracks, but I've found my tastes may run a touch warmer of neutral occasionally. Your tastes may vary.

 

It did a lot of things well, but IMO it didn't do anything spectacularly. But I was considering it at retail price(s) (including the Berkeley USB converter) and not at the discount you'd see.  Compared to the Weiss DAC2 (the generation before the current DAC202) which I auditioned over the same period in the same system, I thought the Weiss was smoother using the FireWire port.  I also didn't like the Berkeley enough to replace my AMR CD-77, which was my reference as both DAC and CD player.  Since I didn't like it better than the Weiss, and you can get those used for about $3k, that's about where's I'd place the Alpha 2; again, using my listening tastes and system as a value reference point.

post #4 of 89
Any decision?
post #5 of 89
Thread Starter 

Well, I read about some issue regarding slow communication and service from the company so I decided to go in a different way and ordered a Bricasti M1 USB DAC.

http://www.bricasti.com/m1.html

 

The company is own by a couple of guys that used to work for Mardigal. It was the parent company for Mark levinson and Lexicon before Harman bought them.

 

It has a good reviews as the BADA and IMO the construction seems more rubust.

 

I hope to be here in a couple of weeks.

post #6 of 89

You are in for a treat.  I have a Wadia 830 and added an Ayre QB9 to my system 18 months ago.  The Ayre was a clear step up with CD quality sources, but it was the higher resolution sources really took my system to a different level.  If I were in the market, the Bricasti would be one of my top choices.

 

If you wouldn't mind, post your impressions of the Bricasti after you've had it in your system for a while.

post #7 of 89
Thread Starter 

I hope so. I love my Wadia 27 DAC but it only does Red Book CD resolution and I want USB capabilities as well as Hi Rez capabilities. Those are the only reasons to change because otherwise I love the sound.

post #8 of 89

hi musicman,

 

i'm also in the market to upgrade from my wadia 27, which i've bought used many years ago (currently 'ix' version, don't have the later software algorithm mod).

 

i heard the bricasti at the NY audio show this year and it was fantastic under show conditions, but i never ever trust show conditions with all the unknown variables.

i'd be very interested to hear your opinion.

 

i'm also wondering about the Berkeley, the EMM labs DAC2 or DAC2X and the Meitner MA-1.  I heard the Berkeley at a shop in NYC, the sound was good but didn't blow me away

(magico V3 speakers and other stuff that I was uncalibrated on, so who knows what part the DAC had).

 

Have you (or anyone else) had a chance to hear the EMM or Meitner stuff?

 

Lastly, let me share  my Wadia 27ix experience.  I run my digital sources (primarily a logitech touch or oppo player) into a TACT RCS2.2XP room correction unit (in bypass for headphone) and the TACT gives me a choice of 44k or 96k digital output to the DAC.  I found little/no difference between the two rates when feeding the Wadia with a single ended digital cable.  However, when I (many years too late) experimented with a AES/EBU cable, I was shocked to hear how much better the Wadia sounded when fed by upsampled 96k............huge increase in soundstage and resolution!..............yet 96k over single ended cable did not have the improvement, so i have to assume it is jitter related on the part of either the TACT or Wadia.  I note also that the original reviews of the Wadia 27 said that the ONLY way the reviewer liked the sound was with the optical cable input (which I don't have the ability to use) and that the soundstage collapsed without it, the exact same effect I hear when going between AES/EBU and single ended cable at 96k.....yet neither cable does it right at 44k.

 

Of course, your mileage may vary.

 

I'm very interested in your view of Wadia 27 upgrade to Bricasti as well as anyone else who has heard the old (DAC2) or new (DAC2X) EMM labs stuff.

post #9 of 89
Thread Starter 

Hi, thanks for sharing your experiences. No, I have not heard those other DACs. Yes,, I do believe that the XLR and ST Glass inputs sound better in the 27 than the coax even at 44k.

I will report back after I get the Bricasti.

post #10 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by cat6man View Post

hi musicman,

 

i'm also in the market to upgrade from my wadia 27, which i've bought used many years ago (currently 'ix' version, don't have the later software algorithm mod).

 

i heard the bricasti at the NY audio show this year and it was fantastic under show conditions, but i never ever trust show conditions with all the unknown variables.

i'd be very interested to hear your opinion.

 

i'm also wondering about the Berkeley, the EMM labs DAC2 or DAC2X and the Meitner MA-1.  I heard the Berkeley at a shop in NYC, the sound was good but didn't blow me away

(magico V3 speakers and other stuff that I was uncalibrated on, so who knows what part the DAC had).

 

Have you (or anyone else) had a chance to hear the EMM or Meitner stuff?

 

Lastly, let me share  my Wadia 27ix experience.  I run my digital sources (primarily a logitech touch or oppo player) into a TACT RCS2.2XP room correction unit (in bypass for headphone) and the TACT gives me a choice of 44k or 96k digital output to the DAC.  I found little/no difference between the two rates when feeding the Wadia with a single ended digital cable.  However, when I (many years too late) experimented with a AES/EBU cable, I was shocked to hear how much better the Wadia sounded when fed by upsampled 96k............huge increase in soundstage and resolution!..............yet 96k over single ended cable did not have the improvement, so i have to assume it is jitter related on the part of either the TACT or Wadia.  I note also that the original reviews of the Wadia 27 said that the ONLY way the reviewer liked the sound was with the optical cable input (which I don't have the ability to use) and that the soundstage collapsed without it, the exact same effect I hear when going between AES/EBU and single ended cable at 96k.....yet neither cable does it right at 44k.

 

Of course, your mileage may vary.

 

I'm very interested in your view of Wadia 27 upgrade to Bricasti as well as anyone else who has heard the old (DAC2) or new (DAC2X) EMM labs stuff.

 

I own the Meitner MA-1, and have heard the latest Berkeley in my system and briefly owned the previous iteration, and the Bricasti in a friends rig. Compared to the Meitner, the Berkeley just didn't make the music come alive for me. In other words, it didn't draw me into the music and make me forget I'm listening to hardware. The Meitner does this in spades for me.

 

My take having heard it several times at my buddies place is that the Bricasti is almsot as good as the Meitner with hi-rez material, but that I still prefer my dac on redbook stuff and overall. The Bricasti sounds closer to the Berkeley than it does the Meitner....as far as its sonic signature anyway. This was using filters 4 & 6 typically. I have found that you can get it sound poor or great, depending on which filter is used. The fact that the Bricasti doesn't do DSD playback is a big negative for me, as I have quite a 384khz collection going now. Another + for the MA-1.

 

The DAC2X I have heard, but only in show conditions, so I really don't have an opinion....and since it isn't in my current budget, I'm not really interested in it right now.


Edited by cAsE sEnSiTiVe - 12/2/12 at 12:09pm
post #11 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman59 View Post

Hi, thanks for sharing your experiences. No, I have not heard those other DACs. Yes,, I do believe that the XLR and ST Glass inputs sound better in the 27 than the coax even at 44k.

I will report back after I get the Bricasti.

I was going to suggest the Briscati and see you are getting it.  Congratulations!  It is definitely on my high-end DAC short list.  I'd love to hear the MSB's but they are huge $$

post #12 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icenine2 View Post

I was going to suggest the Briscati and see you are getting it.  Congratulations!  It is definitely on my high-end DAC short list.  I'd love to hear the MSB's but they are huge $$

Thanks. I actually just ordered it today. If it is as good as Brian Zolner's service and fast communications this DAC is going to be great.

 

Yes, that MSB is insanely expensive.

post #13 of 89

I like that whole past Levinson connection and that it looks a bit like the Levinson gear I used to own.  Please let us know how wonderful it is.  Haven't seen you here in a while since I sold my Woo(Your Black WA5LE was one of the reasons I bought mine-so nice looking) and bought the Cavalli Liquid Fire.

post #14 of 89
Thread Starter 

Yes, I like that too. I will report back when it well burned-in.

I still have my Woo and love it. I was close to buy a LF but end up buying a DS. and later a Stax SR-009/727II combo.

post #15 of 89
Thread Starter 

I got my Bricasti yesterday as promised by Brian. I let is sit for 24 hours to get to room temperature in order to avoid any condensation issues (it is cold up here!).

I installed it today and made a quick comparison with me PWD MkII with the Upgrade Company Statement mods. The M1 blew the PWD MkII out of the water so easy...

Yes it is double the price but it is worth it. I thought the PWD sounded very good but in comparison it sounded lean with a lot less body and with a defused soundstage. The M1 sounds real and with a very focus soundstage. You can pin point every instrument and voice in its own space. It just sounds a lot more analog and natural.

 

It is so good that I am going to sell my Wadia 27 and PWD MkII to buy a second unit for my other system.

 

In addition to the beautiful design and great performance dealing with Brian Zolner was a total pleasure. He was so quick in responding all my questions and a total gentleman. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Berkeley Alpha DAC MK II opinions please..... NOW the Bricasti M1 experience.