HiRez is the future. Go with the Berkeley.
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Fm540i, I too own a AA Tube Hybrid DAC and have compared its performance on redbook to the Berkley, the AA DAC for me was much more musical/natural sounding to my ear's. I own over 6000 redbook CD's and really don't care about HiRez and still have not found a better sounding DAC then the AA Tube DAC in my system.
Again, so many questions. Were you running redbook or hi-res into the Berkeley? What transport? What connection? What wire?
Pre-amp or direct? etc. etc.
I know the Berkeley is a fine unit but there are many variables that should be disclosed for some meaningful comparison.
Additionally, what were the variables with the AA when comparing? Obviously a pre-amp had to be used but how about everything else?
I bought a Berkley to hear for myself in my own set-up, I only play redbook and don't care about HiRez;
MBL 101E speakers
Bryston 28 Squared mono blocks
Audio Research Ref3
MBL Ref 1621a transport
Acustic Arts Tube Dac (not stock tubes or fuses or power cable)
Stealth Audio Sextet digital AES cable
Steath cables through out
I don't know what you guys are hearing but in my set-up I most definitely prefer the AA pce. and so did eight others, as Teajay said "much more musical/natural sounding to my ear's", I have to agree with Teajay so it's obvious that we prefer a different sound.
Glory: I just compared my very old Museatex DCC-1 to the Weiss Minerva and I can personally tell you not only did it fair well, it sounded better to these ears. More musical and more of the overall gestalt of the emotional content was present. I did play 2 hi-res files an HRX 176.4khz piece and a 96/24 file of lush life. Still the Museatex sounded better playing the redbook version of the 96/24 song. Did not have a low res version of the 176/24 file but it too lacked emotion.
It is worth mentioning that the DCC-1 can't touch the Bidat in terms of sound.
I think people are going to learn that high resolution is no Panacea for digital. I have another link on hear detailing the comparison.
Hi Tabl10s, some reviews are interesting but to me that's all they are, never purchased or got rid of something because of an review way too many other things going on.
Too bad the reviewer did not compare the dac with the MBL transport, would have been interesting. You referred to it being a lousy review, can you provide a little more detail outlining such.
I personally find with the two tubes changed along with the fuses makes a difference. Also using different digital cables, I use Stealth and have both AES and BNC and prefer the AES connected with my MBL Ref 1621a transport, I also make use of the Stealth Dream PC's which for me are great.
I have tried allot of different dacs costing substantially more in my set-up and find this AA to be a great pce, it's a keeper and not going anywhere.
That's the thing with a DAC review, so many variables. Power cords, digital interconnects, transports, preamp type (no preamp), music used, etc. etc. All the way down the line.
I'm sure, depending on the variables, many good DACs could be made to sound bad.
For me, the review in question didn't go deep enough into the possibilities. Maybe a bit narrow perspective for my tastes.