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OFF - DEALER AD: Berkeley Audio Reference DAC, Series 1 - with MQA UPGRADE!!!

Item #649359832
Info: Berkeley Audio Reference DAC, Series 1 - with MQA UPGRADE!!!

Asking Price:
USD $9995.00
Retail Price: USD $16000.00
Payment method: Cash, Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Cheque, Money Order, Money Wire
Ships to: Canada, United States
Shipping weight: 20.41 (kg) Calculate Shipping
Condition: 9 - Excellent (?)
Date Posted: Jun 08, 17 7:56am (PST)
Edited: Nov 15, 17 7:29am
About Seller: Galen Carol Audio
San Antonio, TX
United States
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This unit is already in line for the Series 2 Upgrade when that process resumes!

!!!!! MQA UPGRADE INSTALLED ($600 value) !!!!!
According to Berkeley Audio, the MQA upgrade significantly upgrades performance on Red Book CD, making the upgrade to Series 2 less important.


"The Berkeley Reference DAC has a well-earned reputation as a state of the art digital to analog converter.

"It almost goes without saying that the Alpha Reference’s resolution is simply stunning. This DAC reaches down into the finest micro-details of timbre, transients, spatial cues, inflection, and dynamic shading. Everything is right there, laid out in a completely natural way that doesn’t call attention to itself as detail. The treble is ultra-smooth, silky, and richly resolved. Even compared with other digital that could be considered as having a smooth treble, the Reference is lacking the metallic bite that has plagued digital audio since its inception. This combination of rich detailing, massive resolution, and timbral liquidity in the top end is simply unprecedented.

"The way in which the Reference portrayed dynamics is also unlike any other digital playback. Instrumental attacks jump to life with stunning speed and immediacy, much like one hears from a horn loudspeaker. Listen, for example, to the brass entrance in The Firebird, again from the HRx sampler, which will nearly lift you out of your seat. This quality just increases the Reference’s vivid realism, but again, without the slightest trace of etch or artificial edge.

"As if this embarrassment of riches weren’t enough, the Alpha Reference’s bass reproduction is in a league of its own. Believe me, no one has ever heard bass like this from digital. For starters, the overall bass balance is weighty, warm, and rich, but without the caveats that typically accompany those descriptors. “Warm” and “rich” often describe a softish bottom end that is pleasant, but that lacks dynamic agility and pitch definition. The Alpha Reference’s full-bodied bottom end not only provides a solid tonal foundation, it is also exquisitely textured and nuanced. The sound of plucked acoustic bass, for example, is infused with rich micro-texture and micro-dynamic details that, frankly, other digital simply smears. The attack of the string, the resonant body of the instrument, and the decay are all beautifully delineated in a way that sounds more like the instrument and less like a facsimile. I was surprised by how much more fine detail in the bottom end the Reference revealed. Despite the filigreed rendering, the bottom end has tremendous power and speed.

"This synergy of muscular authority, resolution of textural detail, and dynamic agility is sensational on a wide range of music. Orchestral music is big and full-bodied in a way that you rarely hear from reproduced music. The “oomph” in the midbass, richness and density of tone color, and that thrilling visceral involvement you hear from live music are abundant through the Reference. The sense of rhythmic propulsion on rock, blues, and some jazz is nothing short of addicting. The track “Trans-Island Skyway” from the 96/24 version of Donald Fagan’s Kamakiriad has an unusual meter that gives it a powerful propulsive groove. The Reference better resolved this track’s amazing bottom-end dynamics, and not just in pure impact but also in the lack of smearing of the closely spaced kick-drum attacks. The Reference takes this track up several notches in that powerful ability of music to involve your entire body.

"Perhaps not coincidentally, all the components in my current playback system share the specific quality of muscularity in the power range. The Magico Q7s, with their dual 12" woofers and 10" mid/woofer in a totally inert sealed enclosure, the mighty Soulution 701 monoblocks with their unprecedented bottom-end impact and resolution, and the MIT Oracle MA-X, known for its richly textured bass and midbass, teamed up to produce what is in my experience the most expressive presentation of what the British call pace and timing of any audio system I’ve heard. The Alpha Reference at the front end of these cost-no-object components revealed qualities in those components that had previously not been fully exploited.

"I found myself astonished that these characteristics are apparent not just in super-high-resolution audiophile spectaculars, but across a wide range of music in my digital library. Standard CDs of my favorite recordings that I’d thought sounded hard, flat, and relatively low in resolution were “unwoven” by the Reference to reveal a rich panorama of musicality. That’s a significant observation because it reveals that our CD libraries contain buried musical expression that can be released by improvements in digital-to-analog conversion technology.

"The Berkeley Alpha DAC Reference Series is not only the absolute state of the art in digital-to-analog conversion, it also goes far beyond even this superlative to redefine what’s possible in digital playback. This is a landmark product in that it crosses a threshold of sound quality and musical expressiveness that renders moot the idea that digital can only aspire to mimic analog rather than offer its own set of virtues.

"I won’t reiterate the Alpha Reference’s merits, but can guarantee that you’ve never heard digital audio sound like this. This is a product that you have to hear for yourself to believe just how far digital has traveled. I’m also heartened by the Reference’s price. Although not inexpensive, $16,000 for the unquestioned state of the art in digital playback makes it seem like a bargain.

"On a personal level, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to experience an entirely new and unexpected level of musical involvement from my library of standard-resolution CDs and files. After one particularly rewarding session, I reflected on how Berkeley Audio Design epitomizes the highest ideals of high-end audio.

"Ritter and Pflaumer toiled for years, researching the finest minutia of design details that affect sound quality to create a product that has allowed me to experience a deeper level of musical involvement and appreciation. Their single-minded pursuit of performance above all else exemplifies the ethos behind the landmark breakthroughs in the history of high-end audio.

"And breakthrough the Alpha Reference is. I’m confident in saying that the Alpha Reference will be remembered decades from now as a turning point in digital audio sound quality." - Robert Harley, The Absolute Sound


Input sampling rate: 32kHz-192kHz
Input word length: 24-bit
Inputs: AES /EBU, SPDIF on BNC (x2), TosLink
Outputs: Balanced on XLR jacks, unbalanced on RCA jacks
Output level: 6.15Vrms at 0dBFS (balanced); 3.25Vrms at 0dBFS (unbalanced)
Digital volume control and balance: 0.1dB steps, 0.05dB L/R balance, 60dB range
Remote control: Volume, balance, input selection, absolute polarity reversal
Digital filter: Custom, user selectable
THD+N: <–110dBFS at maximum output
Firmware: Upgradable through signal inputs
Dimensions: 17.5" x 3.5" x 12.5"

Additional Information:

Aug 06, 17 4:46am


Nov 09, 17 11:41am
Be sure and check out all our specials on new, demo and pre-owned gear: https://www.gcaudio.com/sound-bites/soundbites-fall-2017/

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