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  »  New  Digital recorders: what the "big boys" use?..  Not that wild stuff...  Didital Things  Forum     13  78754  01-05-2005
  »  New  Recording options: Pacific Microsonics vs. Lavry Gold...  Pacific Microsonics vs. Lavry Gold in D/A mode....  Didital Things  Forum     24  181246  09-27-2007
  »  New  After-concert download – a truly phenomenal thing...  Excellent idea! nt...  Musical Discussions  Forum     1  13884  10-19-2007
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  »  New  The commercial music servers...  Touch screen remote...  Didital Things  Forum     37  228697  01-10-2008
  »  New  The UnipheyeMusic and Studio Master Reference.....  DSD converted to PCM really has poor objective performa...  Didital Things  Forum     5  32930  02-19-2009
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  »  New  The optimum Sampling Rate for bass...  Lynx can handle up to 200.000Khz...  Didital Things  Forum     3  26739  02-19-2008
  »  New  The LavryBlack DA11 Stereo DA Converter..  The Lavry DA10 and Berkeley DAC...  Didital Things  Forum     10  75147  04-07-2009
  »  New  Berkeley Audio Design's Alfa Reference DAC...  Well, it fits the pattern....  Didital Things  Forum     4  22772  09-02-2014
01-17-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,534
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 6382
Reply to: 6382
Reference Recordings “digital master” and Berkeley's new DAC

I have some “issues” with the 176.4kHz idea, particularly knowing the most of the RR recordings were not recorded in 176.4kHz. I am glad that they did not go for X48K format but stuck with X44 (I more like the Linn’s 88.2KHz “Studio Masters” idea). Still, I am glad that Keith Johnson's boys back with new DAC (with HDCD!!!)and that they try to market the “raw” files. I was told for a last year that Berkeley's DAC was “coming”, so it is out eventually. The “raw” files? It is what I always advocated. I still would prefer to have them not “mastered” but it would be too much to ask. Would it be?

Reference Recordings Aims At Your Hard Drive
By Jason Victor Serinus

January 5, 2008 — Reference Recordings, the Bay Area-based audiophile label founded by John T. "Tam" Henderson in 1976, has adopted a unique approach to computer and music server playback. Later this month, the company will begin to market what they call "HRx" discs. Incompatible with conventional optical disc players, these are data discs containing WAV files intended for playback on computer-based music servers. Each HRx is a digit-for-digit copy of an original Reference Recordings 24-bit/176.4kHz digital master. The format is slated for audition during this week's CES. It can be heard in the TAD, FIM, and Magico rooms at the Venetian, as well as in On a Higher Note's Vivid/Luxman suite at the Mirage. Actual HRx discs will be available soon thereafter.

"Like every record company, we have been frustrated knowing how wonderful our master tapes sound and what is lost when you transfer to CD," Reference Recordings Vice President Marcia Martin told Stereophile. "There are also losses when we transfer to LP, although those are different, and stem from mechanical issues you don't have with CDs.

"Now that computers have improved, and we have huge hard drives, lots of memory, fast downloads, and new servers, it has finally become possible and practical to offer the incredible sound we've been hearing all these years on the original masters. It may not be great for preamp manufacturers, but hard drive playback is the future of audio."

Reference Recordings has been at the forefront of high-quality sound ever since legendary audio designer and recording engineer "Prof." Keith O. Johnson came on board in 1978. Johnson, who co-developed the HDCD process, recorded the very first HDCD disc released by RR 16 years ago. He has also received no less than seven Grammy nominations for Best Engineered Album. The latest, for Garden Of Dreams from David Maslanka and the Dallas Wind Symphony (RR-108), could snatch Johnson and Reference Recordings a Grammy on February 10. RR has previously received Grammys for a recording of the Chicago Pro Musica and Domenic Argento's Casa Guidi with Frederica von Stade.

While some labels have opted to issue SACDs and/or DVD-As, Reference Recordings rejected that route some years back. "Everyone here thought DVD-A was the better format technically," says Martin. "It can sound close to our master tapes, which for about 10 years have been 24-bit/176.4 kHz. But the format never caught on because the DVD-A players that were being manufactured weren't really high-end. My husband Keith was asked to design a DVD-A player that would have done the format justice, but when the manufacturer, Spectral, was asked to sign an agreement that made the company liable should anyone successfully make a DVD-A copy from the player, Spectral and other high-end companies stayed away. As for SACD, our mastering engineer Paul Stubblebine felt the conversion to DSD changed the sound of our masters in a way we didn't like."

Reference Recordings therefore stuck with HDCD. Unfortunately, after Microsoft bought the rights to HDCD from Pacific Microsonics a few years back, it dropped development and support for the format. Fortunately, two of Johnson's dear friends and associates from those days, Michael Ritter and Pflash Pflaumer (who co-invented HDCD with Johnson), have since launched Berkeley Audio Design Associates, and have developed an Alpha DAC that Martin claims sounds better in some ways than Pacific Microsonics' no-longer-produced Model 2 HDCD encoder.

The Alpha DAC, which does not infringe on the HDCD patents that Microsoft now owns, will debut at CES this week. Used with a PC equipped with an expensive Lynx sound card commonly capable of outputting digital data sampled at 176.4kHz, the DAC will be used to demonstrate RR's HRx files. I asked what program will be used to play the files.

"We're only working with Windows XP, because Windows Vista is currently a disaster for audio," says Martin. "Vista tries to control and play files its way, which is not what we want. . . .Meanwhile, one of the programs we've been using is a free one called Media Monkey. It goes up to 24/176.4 without messing up and changing the files and bits."

Manufacturing HRx discs is an interim step to the eventual goal of making Reference Recordings' high-resolution masters available for direct download and for pre-loading into music servers. The download option hinges in large part on download time. Martin estimates that downloading a single album at 176.4kHz sample rate and 24-bit word lengths will take several hours. Lossless compression with FLAC is a possibility, but Reference wants to ensure that decoding programs using FLAC decoding will optimally handle their files before proceeding. In the meantime, Reference will offer HRx WAV files on disc. Most will be encoded at 24/176.4, although a few of RR's older 24/88.2 masters will also be distributed in HRx format.

The price of HRx discs has yet to be set. "Discs are a bit more trouble to create and distribute than downloads," says Martin. "We're trying to keep it user-friendly, while ensuring we make a profit and stay in business."

As far as I can tell, Reference Recordings is releasing the files free from DRM (Digital Rights Management), but this writer is concerned that the financial losses associated with unauthorized copying and distribution of files would seriously impact such a small company. [It is fair to note that Linn’s decision to make its high-resolution music files available without DRM does not appear to have had a negative effect, according to Ivor Tiefenbrun, with whom I discussed this subject just after the Christmas break.—John Atkinson]

In other developments, Reference Recordings is preparing to issue its first LPs in many a year. Paul Stubblebine is currently completing a facility that will be used for mastering the LPs, which, tentatively, will be pressed in Germany. First off the presses will be several of Reference's analog recordings that were never issued on LP. Shorter compositions may also be issued in 45rpm format. And, despite Marcia's reservations, a few SACDs will also be issued at the request of the label's Chinese distributor.

The article source:   http://www.stereophile.com/news/010508ref/

The Keith Johnson’s assosiative  new company:   http://www.berkeleyaudiodesign.com/index.html

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-05-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,534
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 6557
Reply to: 6382
The Berkeley's new DAC
Well, it looks like the new Berkeley's DAC moved from development and prototype into production. I most likely will have a change to trying in a couple weeks but I do not know at this point if I will do it. The final version of Berkeley's Alfa DAC has some moments that I do not like. The 192K sampling rate means the presents of 48x clock – not a good sign to me. It also looks like it will have just one digital input- not good as well. The biggest thing to me is that they meant to sell this DAC apparently only to Morons who would use it as a preamp, driving directly the power amps. It means that DAC will have on-board digital attenuation – which is a colossal “no-way” in my books. I wonder if to max out all Berkeley's digital attenuators then how configurable would this processor be?

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-05-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
mark
Posts 20
Joined on 01-25-2008

Post #: 3
Post ID: 6558
Reply to: 6557
Berkeley dac 1 dig input?digital attenuation?
i checked out this product from your link(thanks).for digital inputs they show aes,spdif,toslink and bada,which i understand is for use with the rr hrx 24/176?.also there is no clear indication that the attenuation is achieved in the digital domain.there are analog resistor ladder attenuator chips available and many dac/preamp mfgrs use them, i believe crystal semiconductors make them.but yes i too have experienced and own several placette attenuators and they perform this function better than any chip or other method i have experienced.very interested to hear what this dac does for you.i talked to mr.ritter about this product and he claims it is in the same league of performance as the pacific microsonics.probably worth a listen,hey these guys do have a pretty solid track record.one thing i was trying to ascertain but did not seem to get a clear answer was regarding the adaptive type filter ala mietner bidat etc.
02-05-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Telstar
Posts 30
Joined on 02-06-2008

Post #: 4
Post ID: 6559
Reply to: 6558
Interesting
I also find it quite interesting. Considering their pedigree alone, it's worth a listening.

Less is More
Telstar
02-05-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,534
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 5
Post ID: 6560
Reply to: 6558
The digital attenuation in the Berkeley's DAC

 mark wrote:
…for digital inputs they show aes,spdif,toslink and bada,which i understand is for use with the rr hrx 24/176?.

Which is just one line in, not multiple lines in. Also the have changed the 24/176 to 24/192

 mark wrote:
also there is no clear indication that the attenuation is achieved in the digital domain.

Digital attenuation and balance control: 0.1dB/step with .05dB/step trim, 60dB range

 mark wrote:
i talked to mr. ritter about this product and he claims it is in the same league of performance as the pacific microsonics.

Isn’t it what he suppose to be saying? Anyhow, the digital attenuation is something that I do not like in Pacific Microsonics I it just too auditable when I engage it. If the Moron broadcast a program with one level up or down for 2dB (as they frequently do) then what should I do on Pacific? It has gain change on ADC but it is via jumpers on the back of the unit – very inconvenient. Lavry AD122 – the save level ADC but it has small analog trimmers at front panel. Anyhow, I would like to learn if it is possible to defeat this digital attenuation in the Berkeley's DAC

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-06-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,534
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 6
Post ID: 6566
Reply to: 6559
A legend about the Berkeley DAC being a baby Pacific?

 Telstar wrote:
. Considering their pedigree alone, it's worth a listening.

Telstar, yes, you might be right. I do not know those peoples personally but I have opened my Pacific to serve the cooling fan and have seen HOW the unit was made. It is a quite astonishing how well, respectfully and I would say expensive the Pacific is done inside. Also, in a way unprecedented in history audio story how they stopped to produce those processors also encroaches respect.

PacificMicrosonics1.jpg

PacificMicrosonics2.jpg

PacificMicrosonics3.jpg

PacificMicrosonics4.jpg

However, being cynical jerk I know that there was no one known to me company who introduced any more or less worthy “follow up” product. Would the Berkeley’s new DAC be a mediocre quality “nothing special” that would juts cash out the team formers publicity? Would the Berkeley’s new DAC be an objectionable implementation that would utilize the newest components base? At this point no one knows as it was not know what was the objectives of the people who made the Berkeley’s new DAC.

I have heard 2 positive comments from a people who used the Berkeley Alfa DAC. One of them is in sales and obviously off any credentials. Another person is just a user who used reportedly the DAC at CES (prototype version), however I know that guy (Magico owner, Alon the Wolf ) and I know that he is a despiteful, shilling whore who enthusiastically would run his mouth about any subject.  So, there is a lot of unknowns…

Rgs, the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-12-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Telstar
Posts 30
Joined on 02-06-2008

Post #: 7
Post ID: 6618
Reply to: 6566
Thanks
 Romy the Cat wrote:

I have heard 2 positive comments from a people who used the Berkeley Alfa DAC. One of them is in sales and obviously off any credentials. Another person is just a user who used reportedly the DAC at CES (prototype version), however I know that guy (Magico owner, Alon the Wolf ) and I know that he is a despiteful, shilling whore who enthusiastically would run his mouth about any subject.  So, there is a lot of unknowns…Rgs, the Cat


Thanks for the pictures Smile
I will wait for your opinion.
04-08-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,534
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 8
Post ID: 7147
Reply to: 6382
The “digital masters” of my ass!
I was waiting someone last night in “Borders” and whale I was waiting I glanced through the current “Absolute Sound Magazine”. There was there a very short article with Prof. Johnson telling about his “new” HRx format. I smell some dead fish in what Mr. Johnson was telling and there were some factual problems in his story. I generally feel that the fairy-tale about the “digital masters” that industry tells to us, the consumers, annoys me. Recently the hysteria about the “masters” made industry very much loose sense of any trustfulness and lucidness… I am not prosing that HRx will be bad, they might be fine - I just do not like they stress the “RR masters” story as any more or less understanding person listening the assurances of the “digital masters” has his BS-meter maxed out.

Rgs, Romy The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-20-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,534
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 9
Post ID: 9216
Reply to: 6382
Berkeley Audio DAC Review
fiogf49gjkf0d

Here is for whoever interested a write up about Berkeley DAC

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/Berkeley-Audio-Design-Alpha-DAC-Review

I have to inform that the guy who wrote it kind of peculiar- he is one of those “industry dusk suckers” who brainlessly cheer up absolutely anything and have a perception of audio as he is a stupid used cars salesperson. In other words I call the people like him - the Idiots. I did not read the article carefully but in what I scanned I have found a number of factual errors. Anyhow, if you are interested about the Berkeley DAC then here is some information. The “review” gives a good illustration about the stupid hype is created by stupid people.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-20-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
coops
London, United Kingdom
Posts 115
Joined on 02-15-2007

Post #: 10
Post ID: 9217
Reply to: 9216
Berkeley Audio
fiogf49gjkf0d
It is also ben reviewed by Robert Harley , I am supposing that you would also condsider him an 'idiot' ?
12-20-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,534
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 11
Post ID: 9220
Reply to: 9216
My attitude toward to the Berkeley DAC
fiogf49gjkf0d

I admit that I had some interest to begin with when the Berkeley DAC was announced. I was told a year before Berkeley become available that thus guys are working on something new and I felt that whatever this team produces is worth to pay attention. When the Berkeley hit public I spoke with a person who I do respect (very few of them out there) who used both Berkeley and Pacific DAC about their differences. He was watchful, provided a positive feedback about Berkeley and claimed that they are different. Mind you that I am a big fun of Pacific DAC section. Pacific is exceptionally good 16 bit DAC but at higher rate and faster frequency I found the there are better sounding DACs.

I did not have and do not have any itch with digital and I am very comfortable with what it is but I use different DACs for CD transport and for DAW. Theoretically it would be nice to have just one DAC. The biggest motive for me was an ability to experiment with my DAW and USB connectors if the USB was properly done in Berkeley DAC. A few months ago, in August or July I believe, I packed up my Lavry 924 and my Digital cable and went to a person know who just got his new Berkeley DAC. I had opportunity to hear Lavry multibit and Berkeley side by side.

At that time I had two major intellectual disappointments with Berkeley DAC. Firs it had no USB connector a big blow. Second, it had digital volume control that instantaneously set the Berkeley DAC in the class of “good for idiots” category, putting all Berkeley’s demagogy about bit-perfect operation under doubts. Surely if to max out the Berkeley DAC attenuator then the digital volume would not be engaged and it might be a solution. However, Berkeley folks told me that they consider that the DAC sound its best a 5-6dB before the max out level and I founded is VERY suspicions.

How, the Berkeley DAC sounded relative to Lavry? I do not know. The playback I was playing it was horrendous and both of the DAC sound like crap. Which one was crappier? Who cares? Among anything the Berkeley DAC sound like it was a bit too new to list it – it was a week old. We had an agreement that is month of so what the DAC burn-in I would take it to my home. After a month past I decided not do it. I still had residual interest about the Berkeley DAC’s Sound but it was kind of minimized by a lock of USB and D-attenuator. I decided that even the majority of audio people who will be using the DAC are Morons (and the linked above Computer Audiophile is a wonderful illustration) but among them there is a few lucid individuals who might encourage the Berkeley people to work out their new DAC in better version. At that time I heard that Berkeley folks were working to address some bugs that were already found in this new DAC, so I would like to see Berkeley Audio Design Alpha MKII DAC with a properly implemented USB port. I would like also Berkeley people to have the digital volume control with some kind of internals jumper that would absolutely defeat it.

It is possible that Berkeley as is now a good sounding DAC but I think Berkeley folks need to work on it more to make it more making sense. I still watch what they do and when Berkeley MKII DAC with defeatable volume control and USB-like ability become available I will enthusiastically take another look at it.

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-26-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
manisandher
London
Posts 156
Joined on 09-05-2008

Post #: 12
Post ID: 10095
Reply to: 9220
Noise shaping... why on earth?
fiogf49gjkf0d
I received three Reference Recordings discs yesterday - 'Exotic Dances from the Opera', 'Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances' and 'Dick Hyman Thinking of Bix'. I'm surprised that I actually like these (musically speaking) more than I thought I would.

But playing around with RME's Digicheck again, I notice a steady rise in noise, with a -85dB peak at around 25KHz. This then drops quickly away.

I'm no expert, but it looks like noise shaping has been used when recording these. Now why would this be necessary, if they were being recorded at 24/176? Or is this an unavoidable result of using delta-sigma chips in the A/D?

I'm sure this has no effect on the sound... I'm just curious...

Mani.
04-21-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,534
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 13
Post ID: 10286
Reply to: 10095
Pacific and multibitism…
fiogf49gjkf0d
 manisandher wrote:
I received three Reference Recordings discs yesterday - 'Exotic Dances from the Opera', 'Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances' and 'Dick Hyman Thinking of Bix'. I'm surprised that I actually like these (musically speaking) more than I thought I would.

But playing around with RME's Digicheck again, I notice a steady rise in noise, with a -85dB peak at around 25KHz. This then drops quickly away.

I'm no expert, but it looks like noise shaping has been used when recording these. Now why would this be necessary, if they were being recorded at 24/176? Or is this an unavoidable result of using delta-sigma chips in the A/D?

I'm sure this has no effect on the sound... I'm just curious...

Yes, it is funny - the assholes from The Tape Project trade their tapes as Reference Recordings master dobs claiming that they were analog records and that those ridicules tapes has some kind of superior values. The fact that entire progress of Reference Recordings was very much anti-analog and was very much concentrated on Digital using Pacific Possessors is kind of in shadow.

I have no down that 24/176 files will be fine from Reference Recordings but come on – all those recording are well know and everyone know them by hart. It reminds me those assholes from Tape Project who for 2 years are drooling about the same tape of the “girl with a banjo”…

Regarding the sores – it is hard to say. The Reference Recordings record with Pacific and it is multibit A/D processor, I mean not the delta-sigma multibit but the true SAR multibit, at least it is what I was told by them. However, of you analogize the Pacific stream then it does not look like multibit as it has some strange wide bandwidth noise (like delta-sigmas) a many other not multibit-like features. I was explained that it is still a pure multibit but Pacific does a lot of additional actions with signal. I did not go to the bottom to it and I am not so competent to understand. I am not sure why they need to do in at 24 bit but regardless what I think this AD does sound incredibly good. I even was not able to make it better using the Pacific ordinal gathering options. This processor has a functionality that allow to inject dither during A/D and then what you read the files with D/A it will recognize own dither signature and will inject an exact the same dither in opposite phases. Very cool idea for 16Bit but absolutely not necessary for 24 bit.
Yep, it would be fun to found out what Pacific does. The Pacific’s DA is also multibit but it does not look like multibit. Thos like sticks at minis 95dB are all spread and covered with very heavy noise. So, go figure what they do…

Rgs, Romy The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-13-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,534
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 14
Post ID: 12262
Reply to: 6557
The Berkeley Audio DAC’s processor.
fiogf49gjkf0d

To whom it might be interested.

The Berkeley Audio DAC reportedly uses the Delta-Sigma Analog Devices’ DAC AD1955A. It is SACD compatible, with attenuation in the chip. I guess it might be obvious what might be the next revision of Berkeley DAC…  From another point of view the Berkeley folks are not the SACD promoters and they are more pure PCM fans, so they might not sell the soils to the devil…

Anyhow, to whoever cares - here is the datasheet.

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/pdf/AD1955A_DAC.pdf

The DAC is around $20-%25 and it looks like is being used by a few hi-hi companies.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
Page 1 of 1 (14 items) Select Pages: 
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  »  New  Digital recorders: what the "big boys" use?..  Not that wild stuff...  Didital Things  Forum     13  78754  01-05-2005
  »  New  Recording options: Pacific Microsonics vs. Lavry Gold...  Pacific Microsonics vs. Lavry Gold in D/A mode....  Didital Things  Forum     24  181246  09-27-2007
  »  New  After-concert download – a truly phenomenal thing...  Excellent idea! nt...  Musical Discussions  Forum     1  13884  10-19-2007
  »  New  Reel-to-Reel Tape vs. Raw Better Digital..  So, the "format" and sub-generational stages/...  Didital Things  Forum     13  132233  11-16-2007
  »  New  The commercial music servers...  Touch screen remote...  Didital Things  Forum     37  228697  01-10-2008
  »  New  The UnipheyeMusic and Studio Master Reference.....  DSD converted to PCM really has poor objective performa...  Didital Things  Forum     5  32930  02-19-2009
  »  New  Chesky Records went "raw files"...  Chesky Records went "raw files"....  Didital Things  Forum     0  12870  04-16-2009
  »  New  Yarlung Records at 24 bit...  Yarlung Records at 24 bit....  Didital Things  Forum     0  13740  06-18-2009
  »  New  The optimum Sampling Rate for bass...  Lynx can handle up to 200.000Khz...  Didital Things  Forum     3  26739  02-19-2008
  »  New  The LavryBlack DA11 Stereo DA Converter..  The Lavry DA10 and Berkeley DAC...  Didital Things  Forum     10  75147  04-07-2009
  »  New  Berkeley Audio Design's Alfa Reference DAC...  Well, it fits the pattern....  Didital Things  Forum     4  22772  09-02-2014
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