Berkeley Audio Alpha USB Interface

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Berkeley Audio Alpha USB Interface

Berkeley Audio Alpha USB Interface


Not available online, please call to order.
210-805-9927

Berkeley Audio Alpha USB Interface


Not available online, please call to order.
210-805-9927

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  • Description


     

    MY TAKE: A remarkable product and highly recommended any application where a USB output is connected to a DAC (whether or not the DAC is a Berkeley). The Berkeley Alpha USB isolates source noise from the DAC and re-clocks using very high-quality clocks to optimize performance.  - Galen Carol

     

    The Alpha USB is an asynchronous High-Speed USB-to-digital audio interface that provides the highest possible audio quality from computer audio sources. The Alpha USB features a High-Speed USB 2.0 input data connection and selectable audio output signal type – either coaxial SPDIF using a BNC connector or balanced AES using an XLR connector. Sampling rates up to 192 kHz and word lengths up to 24 bit are supported.


    Great care has been taken in the design of the Alpha USB to isolate the noisy computer/USB environment from the digital audio output. The USB receiver and processing are powered by the computer, while the output master clocks and line drivers are powered by a separate linear power supply.


    Two key factors account for the amazing audio performance of the Alpha USB: the unprecedented electrical isolation between USB input and audio output and the ultra-low noise/low jitter performance of the custom audio output master clocks.


    The Alpha USB is designed to work with both Apple Macintosh and Windows PC computers and also works with some versions of Linux. Apple Macintosh computers using Snow Leopard or later operating systems have a High-Speed USB Audio Driver that interfaces directly with the Alpha USB. It is not necessary to install a special driver. For optimum audio quality, use a high-resolution music server software such as Pure Music® is highly recommended.


    Microsoft Windows PC’s require the included Alpha USB Windows driver which works with Windows XP, Vista and 7. A User Guide, Windows driver CD, and 6’ power cord are included with the Alpha USB. A USB cable is not included.



    REVIEWS:
     

    The Absolute Sound: "The Alpha USB effectively isolates the DAC from the source component’s noise. Incidentally, I’ve tried the Alpha USB with many other brands of DACs, and it has always resulted in a significant sonic improvement over using the DAC’s integral USB input. In some cases, the Alpha USB has completely transformed the sound of a DAC, even a very expensive one." - Robert Harley

    "The Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB is a breakthrough product that not only overcomes the limitations of the USB interface but provides a state-of-the-art method of getting audio out of a computer. Moreover, the Alpha USB makes this reference-quality performance available to nontechnical music lovers who have a Macintosh and a DAC." - Robert Harley, Stereophile
     

    HiFi+: "Plugged between a MacBook Pro and an APL DSD-S DAC, the change was remarkable. This excellent DAC had a jump in performance. Sounds that were already extremely open and natural sounding became that bit more natural and open sounding. The timing of this good, but sometimes perhaps a little laid-back DAC snapped into greater focus, the already quiet DAC just got that bit more chilled out in background noise resolution. Using it with the Melco N10 also made a big difference, but one that is relatively minor next to the huge change it makes when with off-the-shelf computer.

    Those who hold out against USB-based audio because think it unfit for purpose. The Shunyata Research Alpha USB cable represents the last time that argument can be made with any validity. Put simply, it makes USB sound better!" - Alan Sircom - Full Review


    Audiophilestyle: "...At that point, I decided to stop the search for the ultimate USB/SPDIF converter. After trying 14 different designs from all price points, I simply felt that there is nothing that could surprise me anymore. As it later turned out - I was wrong!

    "During a dinner I had with Chris on his trip to Europe in November, Chris suggested me to try the Berkeley Alpha USB he reviewed for Computer Audio. He also offered me help in contacting Berkeley people, as my first attempts a few months earlier were unsuccessful (there is no Berkeley distributor in Poland).

    "Berkeley Alpha USB showed up a few weeks later at my doorsteps, and literally – had blown me away, both with its sonics and quality of engineering behind this product." - Member, Elbroth

    Ratings of all 15 units:

    The final shootout score is as follows:

    Matrix 24/96 - 60
    Hegel HD2 - 65
    Musical Fidelity V-Link II - 75Stello CDT-100 - 7
    Bryston BDP-1 - 80
    Halide Design The Bridge – 80 (+5 when powered from SOtM USB card)
    M2Tech HiFace Evo - 80
    Stello U3 - 85
    JK SPDIF Mk3 - 90
    M2Tech HiFace Evo + Evo Supply - 90
    Soulution 590 – 90 (+5 when powered from SOtM USB card)
    Audiophilleo 1/2 - 95
    dCS U-Clock - 95 (+5 when used with dCS DAC and the Clock Link feature enabled)
    Empirical Audio Off Ramp Turbo 5 - 95
    AP1 with the PurePower battery PSU - 95 (borderline 100)
    M2Tech HiFace Evo + Evo Supply + Evo Clock - 100
    dCS Scarlatti CD/SACD transport - 100 (+5 when used with dCS DAC and the Clock Link feature enabled)
    Berkeley Audio Designs Alpha USB – 110

    Read the full review



    CUSTOMER COMMENTS:

    "Hi Galen,Just one word - INCREDIBLE!!! Worth every penny. Many thanks," - Paul
     

    CONTROLS & INDICATORS:
     

    • Output Select: switch selects SPDIF or AES type output
    • Status LED: Green indicates USB Lock, Amber indicates Standby


    SPECIFICATIONS:
     

    • Input: High Speed USB 2.0 connection - type B receptacle
    • Output: switch selectable, coaxial SPDIF - BNC, 75A or balanced AES type - XLR, 110A
    • Supported sampling rates: 44.1kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz,192kHz
    • Supported word lengths: up to 24 bit
    • Supported operating systems: Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows
    • Enclosure dimensions: 2.3”H X 10.5”W x 5”D, 2.55”H including feet
    • Mains power: 100 or 120 or 240VAC, 50/60Hz, IEC power input connector
    • Power consumption: 3 Watts line, 1.5 Watts USB, designed for continuous operation

Product Ratings

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Berkeley Audio Alpha USB Interface


Not available online, please call to order.
210-805-9927

Add Recommended Accessories

Shunyata Venom V14 Digital Power Cord
$345.00 Free Shipping!
Loading...

Description


 

MY TAKE: A remarkable product and highly recommended any application where a USB output is connected to a DAC (whether or not the DAC is a Berkeley). The Berkeley Alpha USB isolates source noise from the DAC and re-clocks using very high-quality clocks to optimize performance.  - Galen Carol

 

The Alpha USB is an asynchronous High-Speed USB-to-digital audio interface that provides the highest possible audio quality from computer audio sources. The Alpha USB features a High-Speed USB 2.0 input data connection and selectable audio output signal type – either coaxial SPDIF using a BNC connector or balanced AES using an XLR connector. Sampling rates up to 192 kHz and word lengths up to 24 bit are supported.


Great care has been taken in the design of the Alpha USB to isolate the noisy computer/USB environment from the digital audio output. The USB receiver and processing are powered by the computer, while the output master clocks and line drivers are powered by a separate linear power supply.


Two key factors account for the amazing audio performance of the Alpha USB: the unprecedented electrical isolation between USB input and audio output and the ultra-low noise/low jitter performance of the custom audio output master clocks.


The Alpha USB is designed to work with both Apple Macintosh and Windows PC computers and also works with some versions of Linux. Apple Macintosh computers using Snow Leopard or later operating systems have a High-Speed USB Audio Driver that interfaces directly with the Alpha USB. It is not necessary to install a special driver. For optimum audio quality, use a high-resolution music server software such as Pure Music® is highly recommended.


Microsoft Windows PC’s require the included Alpha USB Windows driver which works with Windows XP, Vista and 7. A User Guide, Windows driver CD, and 6’ power cord are included with the Alpha USB. A USB cable is not included.



REVIEWS:
 

The Absolute Sound: "The Alpha USB effectively isolates the DAC from the source component’s noise. Incidentally, I’ve tried the Alpha USB with many other brands of DACs, and it has always resulted in a significant sonic improvement over using the DAC’s integral USB input. In some cases, the Alpha USB has completely transformed the sound of a DAC, even a very expensive one." - Robert Harley

"The Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB is a breakthrough product that not only overcomes the limitations of the USB interface but provides a state-of-the-art method of getting audio out of a computer. Moreover, the Alpha USB makes this reference-quality performance available to nontechnical music lovers who have a Macintosh and a DAC." - Robert Harley, Stereophile
 

HiFi+: "Plugged between a MacBook Pro and an APL DSD-S DAC, the change was remarkable. This excellent DAC had a jump in performance. Sounds that were already extremely open and natural sounding became that bit more natural and open sounding. The timing of this good, but sometimes perhaps a little laid-back DAC snapped into greater focus, the already quiet DAC just got that bit more chilled out in background noise resolution. Using it with the Melco N10 also made a big difference, but one that is relatively minor next to the huge change it makes when with off-the-shelf computer.

Those who hold out against USB-based audio because think it unfit for purpose. The Shunyata Research Alpha USB cable represents the last time that argument can be made with any validity. Put simply, it makes USB sound better!" - Alan Sircom - Full Review


Audiophilestyle: "...At that point, I decided to stop the search for the ultimate USB/SPDIF converter. After trying 14 different designs from all price points, I simply felt that there is nothing that could surprise me anymore. As it later turned out - I was wrong!

"During a dinner I had with Chris on his trip to Europe in November, Chris suggested me to try the Berkeley Alpha USB he reviewed for Computer Audio. He also offered me help in contacting Berkeley people, as my first attempts a few months earlier were unsuccessful (there is no Berkeley distributor in Poland).

"Berkeley Alpha USB showed up a few weeks later at my doorsteps, and literally – had blown me away, both with its sonics and quality of engineering behind this product." - Member, Elbroth

Ratings of all 15 units:

The final shootout score is as follows:

Matrix 24/96 - 60
Hegel HD2 - 65
Musical Fidelity V-Link II - 75Stello CDT-100 - 7
Bryston BDP-1 - 80
Halide Design The Bridge – 80 (+5 when powered from SOtM USB card)
M2Tech HiFace Evo - 80
Stello U3 - 85
JK SPDIF Mk3 - 90
M2Tech HiFace Evo + Evo Supply - 90
Soulution 590 – 90 (+5 when powered from SOtM USB card)
Audiophilleo 1/2 - 95
dCS U-Clock - 95 (+5 when used with dCS DAC and the Clock Link feature enabled)
Empirical Audio Off Ramp Turbo 5 - 95
AP1 with the PurePower battery PSU - 95 (borderline 100)
M2Tech HiFace Evo + Evo Supply + Evo Clock - 100
dCS Scarlatti CD/SACD transport - 100 (+5 when used with dCS DAC and the Clock Link feature enabled)
Berkeley Audio Designs Alpha USB – 110

Read the full review



CUSTOMER COMMENTS:

"Hi Galen,Just one word - INCREDIBLE!!! Worth every penny. Many thanks," - Paul
 

CONTROLS & INDICATORS:
 

  • Output Select: switch selects SPDIF or AES type output
  • Status LED: Green indicates USB Lock, Amber indicates Standby


SPECIFICATIONS:
 

  • Input: High Speed USB 2.0 connection - type B receptacle
  • Output: switch selectable, coaxial SPDIF - BNC, 75A or balanced AES type - XLR, 110A
  • Supported sampling rates: 44.1kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz,192kHz
  • Supported word lengths: up to 24 bit
  • Supported operating systems: Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows
  • Enclosure dimensions: 2.3”H X 10.5”W x 5”D, 2.55”H including feet
  • Mains power: 100 or 120 or 240VAC, 50/60Hz, IEC power input connector
  • Power consumption: 3 Watts line, 1.5 Watts USB, designed for continuous operation