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DAC suggestions for upgrading from Antelope Zodiac + (with Teddy Pardo psu), Berkeley Alpha Dac II + USB? Other suggestions are welcome!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi all,


I am looking around to replace my current DAC (Antelope Audio Zodiac +, with Teddy Pardo linear psu). Maybe other people on this forum had this DAC before, and I am wondering what your next DAC upgrade was. I am using the DAC with a Arcam AV9 so I can adjust the soundlevel with the remote. It would be a plus if my next DAC has a remote and build-in preamplifier function, however this is not a fixed requirement.


Since I have red a lot about the Berkeley Alpha DAC II and the USB converter (and also a lot of positive reviews) I was always interested in this piece of equipment. Unfortunately I live in Europe and it is not very common to see the Berkeley pop up at the secondhand market. The USB converter should be really good to from what I have red in reviews. I currently use a PPA Studio DDC which is also to my liking. Lateley I found a very good deal on a Berkely + USB converter and I was wondering if this would be a nice upgrade or more a side grade from the Zodiac+?


Anyone here who has heard both DAC's, are might have owned them and wants to comment? Also, other DAC suggestions in the price range of the Berkeley Alpha DAC II +USB are welcome.


Currentley I use a pair of Linkwitz LX521 speakers, but I am looking into getting a nice high-end pair of cans as well.


Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 8

Hi Ruben,

I did not had a chance to listen to a variety of different DAC's when I was in the market for one. I did a ton of research and finally settled for a e20 from exasound (with 82fs clock upgrade). They come with a 30 day money back guarantee, so a great chance to hear them in your home system. I am not sure how they will handle this for customers in Europe but you can figured that out. With the Eur so strong this might be a bargain.

My source is an old Krell CD-DSP that I connected via SPDF to the DAC and I couldn't believe the improvement which the e20 has made in all aspects. Before I start with details, just let me tell you that my wife turned the volume UP and not down, when I was listening. That says it all. Currently I am not yet into high rez file playing via USB. I am rediscovering my CD collection with the HD800 (with stock cable) hooked to the headphone output of the e20 and it sounds gorgeous ;-)).


What's the output on your TP psu? The e20 runs on 12V-, so you might be able to use the same psu instead of the standard wall plug that seems to work just fine. And yeah ... my avatar shows the e20 below my Stax.

Edited by icebear - 1/22/14 at 4:07pm
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi Icebear,


I appreciate your input.I have never heard of exasound before but I will look into it. It has to be a real bargain then to be a lot better then the Zodiac+ I think.

I am willing to spend about 5k in euro's on my next DAC so it has to be a big upgrade for me. I also red a lot about the Bricasti M1 lately. A new one is unfortunately

a little bit above budget new, but I might find one used for a nice price.

post #4 of 8

For me the e20 brought fun back into listening to music. I am not sure what's the trick in how this little box gets this accomplished but I'm lovin' it:D. Check out the jitter measurements for some 2-10k players or DAC's and then compare the 82fs (0.082ps) for the e20. Excellent galvanic isolation and built in volume control. You could drive a power amp directly. It will play all formats available.


There is plenty of info and reviews coming up if you google it. It doesn't look fancy, it's not a huge box but the sound is revealing, detailed as can be but this by at the same time being pleasant. It opens the sound stage, far better bass articulation and everything just seems to open up. I had a few CD's with piano music that I could not listen to when using the analog output from my CD player, just too aggressive, harsh, my ears started ringing. With the e20 all the negatives ... gone.


I also looked at the antelope range of products but then finally made the decision for the e20 and I am absolutely sure I made the right decision for me. Have fun exploring your options ;)

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi Icebear,


Thanks for your constructive reply. I will start compare the jitter measurements of the different DAC's I have my eye on. Where did you get all these specifications from? I never noticed any jitter figures from Antelope when I was doing my research on the Zodiac+. Galvanic isolation is less important for me because I use a digital to digtal converter (from PPAstudio) which converse the usb to aes.


Does the e20 does have a remote? (since you can use it as a preamp).

post #6 of 8

Hi Ruben,


when it comes to specs (actual numbers), some high end companies get rather fishy with descriptions like "really, incredibly, almost beyond measurable ... low jitter" LOL.

Some actual numbers you can find in test by the usual suspects (Absolute Sound, Stereophile, HiFi News etc).


With the exception of MSB and CDS's latest and greatest top tear (and top dollar) multi box combinations, most of the jitter values are between 10 and 100ps. I am not sure if this directly contributes to audible differences as I only have one DAC and never did a comparison.


And yes, the e20 DAC comes with the small Apple remote.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi Icebear,


Thanks again for all the information. I've got a better idea now where to look for and pay attention to. MSB and dCS is out of my budget.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

After a lot reading to night another DAC came to mind, the Weiss DAC202. Is there anyone out there, familiar with this DAC?

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