The presence and sonic reality of the Reference Series is the result of digital to analog conversion at a new level of accuracy made possible by tremendous electrical and mechanical noise isolation coupled with extreme time domain stability. Ceramic aerospace circuit board materials are used in all critical areas and the enclosure is carefully engineered to minimize electrical noise and maximize mechanical and thermal stability. The Reference Series weighs 30 pounds and the entire enclosure is precision machined from solid billet 6061-T6 aluminum alloy.
A new high output metal IR remote control with direct input source selection is provided with the Reference Series.
Careful consideration was also given to providing the highest possible fidelity reproduction of DSD files by the Alpha DAC Reference Series. 99+% of modern DAC’s, including the Alpha DAC Reference Series, use multi-bit D/A converters because they provide better performance than 1-bit converters – even DAC’s who advertise “native” DSD compatibility. So, at some point, the 1-bit DSD stream must be converted to multi-bit for all of those DAC’s.
DSD capability for the Alpha DAC Reference Series is provided by a state of the art software application, JRiver Media Center, that provides either real time conversion of DSD 1X and DSD 2X to 176.4 kHz, 24 bit PCM during playback or, for the best possible audio fidelity, easy conversion to 176.4 kHz, 24 bit AIFF or WAV files prior to playback. The JRiver Media Center software application is included in the price of the Alpha DAC Reference Series and either Windows OS or Mac OS versions are available.
“Rarely do I hear a component that’s truly a game changer, a component that’s so good I can’t stop listening through it, and a component that’s so good it renders much of the competition irrelevant. I can’t remember, off the top of my head, the last time I heard such a component. That is, before the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference Series arrived. The Alpha DAC RS, every bit a true game changer, blew me away from the first listen in my system. Since its arrival I’ve listened to more complete albums and heard more new sounds from old albums than any time in my life. The Alpha DAC RS is so good and such a game changer it may force consumers to reconsider their desire for high resolution music. Sure the Alpha DAC RS can reproduce high resolution music better than any DAC I’ve heard in my system, but its absolute magic can be heard with standard CD quality 16 bit / 44.1 kHz material. The Alpha DAC RS is without question the best DAC I’ve heard anywhere when it comes to 16/44.1 playback. I’ve never heard detail, delicacy, and transparency with my favorite music like I have when listening through this DAC. The Alpha DAC RS is so outstanding that I equate its presence in my system to that of a new pair of loudspeakers. That’s correct; the Alpha DAC RS had an impact on my system equivalent to a new pair of loudspeakers. In fact, the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference Series is the most remarkable sounding product I’ve ever reviewed.” — by The Computer Audiophile
Input sampling rate: 32kHz to 192kHz
Input word length: 24-bit
Ultra low phase noise Precision Clocking at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz and 192kHz sampling rates ± 100 ppm
Two channel analog stereo outputs: XLR balanced with pin 2 positive and RCA unbalanced
Digital Inputs: AES – XLR, 110Ω; SPDIF1 – BNC, 75Ω; SPDIF2 – BNC, 75Ω; TOSLINK – Toslink optical connector
HDCD decoding detects 16-bit flag at 44.1kHz or 24-bit flag at all sampling rates
Multiple digital filter options
Balanced analog output level: +18dBu (6.15Vrms) maximum, +12dBu (3.1Vrms) or lower recommended
Unbalanced analog output level: 3.25Vrms maximum, 2Vrms or lower recommended
Digital volume & balance control: 0.1dB/step with .05dB/step L/R gain trim, 60dB range
Frequency response at ≥ 88.2kHz sampling rates: ± 0.1dB from < 0.1Hz to 35 kHz, – 3dB at 59kHz for 176.4kHz and 192kHz sampling rates
Distortion at recommended levels: all products ≤ -120dBFS
THD+N at maximum level: < -110dBFS
Firmware upgradeable through signal inputs
Enclosure dimensions: 3.5”H X 17.5”W x 12.5”D
Weight: 30 lbs.
Mains power: 100/120/240VAC, 50/60Hz
Power consumption: 25W