Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Review on Computer Audiophile

Friday, December 12, 2008

Computer Audiophile has reviewed the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC ($5,000). This is a slim (photo) and full-featured DAC capable of accepting hi-res, 24/192 input. It was designed by the same team who brought us HDCD, so it decodes that format too. Plus, it has a high quality digital volume control, so it can be connected directly to a power amp.

“Indispensable” is how reviewer Chris Connaker described its feature set. After connecting it to a variety of PC front ends, using a variety of connections, he remarked:

The single most recognizable and talked about characteristic of the Alpha DAC is its soundstage. I describe the soundstage as expansive, transparent, and three dimensional. The soundstage produced from the Alpha DAC is unlike anything else. It is perhaps what makes the music reproduced through the Alpha DAC sound live instead of recorded.

In comparison to the Weiss Engineering Minerva DAC ($4,950), Chris said it came down to personal preference:

The Minerva has a much more focused soundstage that may be narrow to some listeners. On the other hand this focused and tight soundstage is exactly what some listeners are seeking.

Read the entire review, and the Weiss review, then check out the Computer Audiophile Suggested Hardware (CASH) list for more well-regarded DACs, laptops, and external hard drives. I burned and boxed my CDs over a year ago. My only regret is not doing it sooner!

nunh December 13, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Keep up the great work!