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Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC

218.250.154.154

Posted on October 10, 2009 at 23:44:31
CKKeung
Audiophile

Posts: 94
Location: Hong Kong
Joined: December 24, 2005
A very interesting RMAF report from Stereophile:
http://blog.stereophile.com/rmaf2009/bit-perfect_playback/#COMMENT

Auraliti website: http://auraliti.com/
If this Auraliti is good, expensive CD transports are dead!

Anyone visited it at RMAF? What's your comments?

Thanks!

 

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RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 11, 2009 at 02:45:34
Roseval
Audiophile

Posts: 1802
Joined: March 31, 2008
Looks like they have build a box
- Linux/ MPD
- Headless
- No moving parts (memory player)
- Sound card

More or less the John Swenson receipt.
Compared with other out of box offerings (music servers) a modest price tag: $ 800

The Well Tempered Computer

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 11, 2009 at 12:11:42
demianm
Manufacturer

Posts: 6
Location: San Francisco
Joined: April 12, 2004
You have a pretty complete picture of what it is. Its more of a Lotus 7 than a Bentley, stripped down for performance without a fancy touchscreen UI on the box. And we are trying to make a solution that is accessible to a larger audience. We will be adding more details to the web site as time permits. Orders before we start shipping with be at the $600 preship price.

Content can be on a USB drive/ USB stick or on a network server. We prefer Flac (metadata issues) and the difference we find between wave and flac is inaudible. Others may differ and the platform supports wave, flac, aiff and other formats you you can experiment.

We don't rip/transfer content in the box. Desktop/laptop PC's do that much better and are easier to use for editing the metadata and organizing the libraries.

You can use any MPD controller, we are focused on MPoD since it works pretty well and is easy to use. The sonic impact of having a laptop on your lap while listening should not be ignored either.

We are not supporting all of the MPD features since we feel some are not important or even useful for this audience. We are not positioning this as a replacement for a Squeezebox or Sonos for a distributed audio system or for internet radio. We are trying to do one thing well- play high resolution digital audio streams.

The planned server will also support Squeeze Center or Twonky UPNP/DLNA server so the same library can be available to other devices. That project is a few months off however.

Demian Martin
www.auraliti.com

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 11, 2009 at 12:28:17
Roseval
Audiophile

Posts: 1802
Joined: March 31, 2008
>> We will be adding more details to the web site as time permits. <<
Do as "Auto connect to Auraliti Player KIT and HR-MFP" makes one wonder what HR-MFP might be about.
The Well Tempered Computer

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 11, 2009 at 12:45:02
demianm
Manufacturer

Posts: 6
Location: San Francisco
Joined: April 12, 2004
HR-MFP (High Resolution Music File Player) is the name of the more finished -audiophile-esque product we are working on. Its similar but with a more optimized case, MB, soundcard and a special output interface that supports AES-EBU and I2S using the PS Audio interface format. Its still in planning so it may evolve from these specs.

 

USB DAC support? nt, posted on October 11, 2009 at 14:09:03
nt

 

How about WMA Lossless support?, posted on October 11, 2009 at 14:56:23
Jon L
Audiophile

Posts: 5900
Joined: April 6, 2000
WMA lossless file support would be neat.
Firewire port for those firewire DAC's and eSATA port for outboard eSata hard drive would seal the deal..

 

Stereophile already killed expensive CD transports, posted on October 11, 2009 at 16:12:49
audiozorro
Audiophile

Posts: 628
Location: VA-MD-DC
Joined: January 9, 2007
with the Class A+ ranking, its highest rating, given to the $499 Oppo BDP-83.

 

“flawless, bit-perfect form” - those who think that..., posted on October 11, 2009 at 18:06:09
carcass93
Audiophile

Posts: 7181
Location: NJ
Joined: September 20, 2006
... "bit-perfect" = "flawless", raise your hands.

I'm pretty sure most of the participants in this forum are way past kindergarden stuff like this. It doesn't mean new product can't sound good though.

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 11, 2009 at 19:45:26
cfmsp
Audiophile

Posts: 526
Joined: October 21, 2006


I wouldn't bother with an I2S interface.

Best of luck,
clay

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 11, 2009 at 20:54:46
demianm
Manufacturer

Posts: 6
Location: San Francisco
Joined: April 12, 2004
We do support USB and it works up to 96K. I have not tested it past that, not having access to a USB DAC that does support above 96K. There are questions about the driver I have not explored yet since its not a top priority.

We don't currently support firewire DAC's. When I can get one for a short while I'll see what can and cannot be done.

I2S is controversial. Done right it would be the best option (The USB and Firewire DAC's all convert internally to talk to an I2S interface or its equivalent). Not well known is that the clock can go either way on the I2S interface. That is an implementation issue, not a spec issue. Our goal is to enable as many options as we can. We are also looking at a word clock/super clock sync BUT that is very problematic for multiple sample rates.

 

RE: How about WMA Lossless support?, posted on October 12, 2009 at 09:03:58
Tony Lauck
Audiophile

Posts: 13629
Location: Vermont
Joined: November 12, 2007
Why? Just convert them to FLAC using DBpoweramp.

Tony Lauck

"Diversity is the law of nature; no two entities in this universe are uniform." - P.R. Sarkar

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 12, 2009 at 09:06:22
Tony Lauck
Audiophile

Posts: 13629
Location: Vermont
Joined: November 12, 2007
For minimum jitter, the transport clock should be slaved to the DAC clock, otherwise the DAC will be stuck with the residual jitter due to the poor design of SPDIF and AES/EBU.

Can your box be slaved to an external clock?


Tony Lauck

"Diversity is the law of nature; no two entities in this universe are uniform." - P.R. Sarkar

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 12, 2009 at 09:42:48
demianm
Manufacturer

Posts: 6
Location: San Francisco
Joined: April 12, 2004
The initial version won't support external clock. I'm looking at word clock and super clock support but those are not a good solution in practice. The core issue is controlling the clock to match the sample rate. The source knows the sample rate. If the clock originates at the DAC then the DAC somehow needs to know what sample rate to switch to. There is no standardized way to do this that I am aware of. The people I know who have tried this find its an interesting demo but don't use it for normal listening.

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 12, 2009 at 09:54:57
Tony Lauck
Audiophile

Posts: 13629
Location: Vermont
Joined: November 12, 2007
This is a classic trade off between quality and ease of use. :-(

I observe the following:

1. A user who bothers to set the DAC manually to the correct speed should get the best possible sound, i.e. bit perfect to the DAC and no transport jitter, only DAC master clock jitter.

2. A user who doesn't bother to set the DAC manually should still get very good sound, regardless of setting. This can be done by running the DAC at whatever speed it is set to and having the playback software make the necessary SRC. (The software will have all of the necessary information available to it.)

Tony Lauck

"Diversity is the law of nature; no two entities in this universe are uniform." - P.R. Sarkar

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 13, 2009 at 05:43:30
fmak
Audiophile

Posts: 13158
Location: Kent
Joined: June 1, 2002
I agree with you. This external clock to dac business isn't flexible and is just as affected by impedance matching and cabling issues. Yes, the clock cable can make a big audible difference.

Nobody seems to want to do it but it is much better having a good external clock with relocker. This way, you can actually feed a clock to the sound card, clean up the aes clock, discard the aes clock and generate your own, and compare the sonic results directly. (more or less)

In my experience, it is very important to have low jitter aes/spdif signal (into dac) which is symmetrical and has no impedance mismatch kinks (reflections)or high frequency oscillations. When fed to a good dac, this gives the best result regardless of clocking scheme. (provided that an excellent cable is used also).

It is not good enough to have a PC sound card aes output (most if not all are terrible irrespective of claims.)

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 13, 2009 at 05:45:55
fmak
Audiophile

Posts: 13158
Location: Kent
Joined: June 1, 2002
May be, but this is a theoretical statement not necessarilly reflected in practice.

Add

A user who sets his/her fs manually also risks having crashes and bangs from the LS.

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 13, 2009 at 06:14:26
Tony Lauck
Audiophile

Posts: 13629
Location: Vermont
Joined: November 12, 2007
What exactly is going to crash and bang?


Tony Lauck

"Diversity is the law of nature; no two entities in this universe are uniform." - P.R. Sarkar

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 13, 2009 at 06:50:18
Telstar
Audiophile

Posts: 250
Joined: November 17, 2007
i would.
_

Bass is the foundation fof music - Anonymous

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 13, 2009 at 07:07:31
fmak
Audiophile

Posts: 13158
Location: Kent
Joined: June 1, 2002
It depends on the dac/clock combination. Some dacs don't like abrupt fs changes. Also dangerous in direct coupled playback systems (for the LS)

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 13, 2009 at 08:20:40
Tony Lauck
Audiophile

Posts: 13629
Location: Vermont
Joined: November 12, 2007
Are you saying that some DACs output a glitch when the SR changes, even if the digital input is silent at this point? Which DACs? What is the amplitude of this glitch (e.g. compared to a 0 dBFS digital signal)? Is it greater? If so, then such a DAC is dangerous, IMO.

I can see damage to speakers if the analog gain is too high. I wouldn't think this would happen if the analog gain has been adjusted so that 0 dBFS is within the limits of the amplifier and speaker. But perhaps not with real high power stuff. I can see blowing drivers if there is sustained DC or high power ultrasonic signals, both of which can persist for some time with no audible sign, but for a short transient it seems to me that something is seriously wrong with a system if a brief glitch can do permanent damage. I know there are people who like to run this way, drive cars at 180 MPH on the highway, etc., and I've blown my share of LS drivers over the years, melted KT88 and EL34 plates, etc...

Apart from the more youthful enthusiasts, I should think most of us value a system that operates consistently and dependably more than one that puts out the best possible sound on a few occasions in between repairs. I prefer my audio system to be more like a Mercedes than a Ferrari, or a Lotus Elan (the latter causing me to have to take the bus to work for an entire winter in my more youthful days after I blew the engine on a track).

But yes, a warning is definitely in order. (Worse would be if headphones are used, as damage to hearing is more serious than to equipment.)


Tony Lauck

"Diversity is the law of nature; no two entities in this universe are uniform." - P.R. Sarkar

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 13, 2009 at 08:38:07
fmak
Audiophile

Posts: 13158
Location: Kent
Joined: June 1, 2002
As I said, some dacs are prone.

No, I don't go round measuring amplitudes of thuds; I usually mute my system before making changes. This doesn't mean that I don't (nor others) occasiobnally do something untowards.

I don't go around setting 0dB levels either; this kind of thing I used to do years ago. Now, I make sure L&R are matched; phase is correct; digital level not over etc etc.

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 13, 2009 at 09:29:00
fmak
Audiophile

Posts: 13158
Location: Kent
Joined: June 1, 2002
Buy a Musiland USD01 on the web for $80. This works well up to 192k Assync.

Not the best sounding compared with pci cards but much better than EMU0404 on digital output. Improves with 5V well regulated supply and break in Vd at usb input. Improves further relocked.

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 13, 2009 at 10:22:40
cfmsp
Audiophile

Posts: 526
Joined: October 21, 2006

I'd be interested if there was a Firewire option, or perhaps even convinced that Firewire is not necessary, but I"m a definite believer in use of the clock in the DAC as master.

 

F3, posted on October 13, 2009 at 11:39:22
cfmsp
Audiophile

Posts: 526
Joined: October 21, 2006

How do you like the F3?

I have an F5 on home loan, and also just received (yesterday) the new J2 to audition. Still needs break-in, but sounds quite promising thus far.

cheers,
clay

 

RE: F3, posted on October 13, 2009 at 12:08:19
Telstar
Audiophile

Posts: 250
Joined: November 17, 2007
I Like my F3 very much. You are lucky to have the chance to listen to the J2 and in your own setup!

Please tell me the differences that you find between the two, in particular regarding the midrange and the HF.

(sending this also by mail)
_

Bass is the foundation fof music - Anonymous

 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 13, 2009 at 13:46:16
demianm
Manufacturer

Posts: 6
Location: San Francisco
Joined: April 12, 2004
And some systems merrily play the content at the wrong speed when driven from an external clock. Different DAC's handle the sample rate changes differently. Most of the pro market devices I have been near do it gracefully. Some consumer stuff generates ticks and pops until it realizes that the sample rate changed.

One intrepid high end dealer I know fried several sets of really expensive tweeters trying the external clock stuff.

I really don't want to prescribe or dictate the best way to do any of this. However I also only want to support stuff I know will work on the platform. As we figure out how to support alternative ways to use the Auraliti platform we will be happy to share as much as possible. We recognize that this is a rapidly evolving environment.

 

RE: Listening to J2, posted on October 13, 2009 at 19:35:58
cfmsp
Audiophile

Posts: 526
Joined: October 21, 2006

Actually, anyone can listen to a J2 in their own system, pending availability of the amp from Nelson. Mark at Reno Hifi is the primary supplier for First Watt amps, and offers home trial for basically the cost of return postage (for a heavy amp, mind you, so you're still talking $50 to $75).

Straight from the Reno Hifi- site:

"First Watt J2 ALL NEW! Now Shipping. MSRP $4000 -- Special promo offers for a very limited time including 30 day in-home demo... you'll be Thrilled!"

I already had an F-5 on in-home demo when the J-2 was announced. I ordered it the next day. Mark offered a generous allowance for my Aleph 30 as trade-in credit - claims he has a waiting list of clients asking for it. The F-5 improved on the Aleph in some areas, but the top end on the F-5 was a bit too hot for my tastes. Thus far, the J2 seems an improvement over the F-5 in many ways, but esp. with 'natural' detail and ambience/decay (there's more 'there' there), but with a treble more like the Aleph 30.

For my tastes/system, it's sound great, and it's just breakin' in.

clay




 

RE: Auraliti & Berkeley Audio Alpha-1 DAC, posted on October 13, 2009 at 22:01:32
fmak
Audiophile

Posts: 13158
Location: Kent
Joined: June 1, 2002
And dCS and Lynx won't work together, each quoting specs at the user. I think it's mostly Lynx's problem.

 

RE: Listening to J2, posted on October 13, 2009 at 23:14:43
Telstar
Audiophile

Posts: 250
Joined: November 17, 2007
Not so easy if you live in Europe ;)
_

Bass is the foundation fof music - Anonymous

 

RE: Listening to J2, posted on October 14, 2009 at 05:15:54
cfmsp
Audiophile

Posts: 526
Joined: October 21, 2006


Touche'

As an American, I exercize my inalienable right to consider myself at the center of the universe. :0


You still might want to talk to Mark at Reno. It's a 32 lb package, so postage would be quite high.

 

Please, in the future...., posted on October 14, 2009 at 13:39:57
Chris Garrett
Bored Member

Posts: 16551
Location: Miami, Florida
Joined: October 9, 1999
Contributor
  Since:
June 19, 2000
repond only to direct questions about your product, or to clear up any misinformation.

Also, remove your website addy from your signature line, as that info should be included in your Industry Member profile, already. We prefer to not see it included in your post proper, or say in your moniker.

Thanks, Chris



 

RE: Please, in the future...., posted on October 14, 2009 at 14:54:32
demianm
Manufacturer

Posts: 6
Location: San Francisco
Joined: April 12, 2004
I thought I had been compliant. I don't have a signature line. I'll add some details about my many manufacturer affiliations to my profile, is that enough for me to be legit (and not seem like a shill)?

Also, am I constrained from offering advise and experience with audio technology in general?

 

Kind of...., posted on October 14, 2009 at 21:56:48
Chris Garrett
Bored Member

Posts: 16551
Location: Miami, Florida
Joined: October 9, 1999
Contributor
  Since:
June 19, 2000
generally, unsolicited and wholesale commentary by MMDs (manufacturers, marketers and dealers) is not allowed at AudioAsylum, as a fundemental, core philosophy.

As I said above, you can answer direct questions and/or post to clear up misinformation discussed here, about your products.

However (and this is a big 'but'), there is some leeway given to me, as dictated by the regulars frequenting the various fora here at AA. Some asylum regulars like to and enjoy hearing from the designers and manufacturers, but there's a fine line.

The quandry I face here in Computer Audio, is twofold. First, it's a new facet in HiFi that is rapidly expanding and there's a lot of cash to be made by people like you. This, in turn, leads to shilling, under the guise of 'participating'. Shilling can be obvious, or it can be subtle. Secondly, the key is to participate without highlighting your specific products, which kind of defeats the point of posting here to drum up business and make money.

I'd love for you to ease on in and enlighten the people visiting this place, but I also can't let it be a free and blatant 'FOR SALE' forum, either.

Anyhow, best to leave your products out of the discussion and stick to design theories or overall HiFi experiences, if you want to discuss the hobby, here.

Take care, Chris







 

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