Seeking lower cost alternatives to Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB converter

I am looking for a USB to optical audio converter.
The Alpha USB from Berkeley Audio Design is an external asynchronous USB to S/PDIF (or AES) interface. It's strictly a D to D converter accepting USB digital audio input and delivering digital audio output.
That's the type of product I'm looking for. However, at $1,895 the Berkeley Alpha USB is far more expensive than most similar products I've seen. Some of these products sell for less than $100.

I'm on a budget. Can anyone recommend one of the lower priced alternatives to the Alpha USB from Berkeley Audio Design?
I guess it depends on how critical performance is, but the Singxer SU-6 looks to be of good quality and is quite a bit cheaper than the Berkeley at $690.  Best of luck. 
Lots of them. 

If you can find them, one of the best budget DACs was the Parasound ZDAC which AFAIK is now out of production, but a fine DAC.
The Schiit Eitr does the same thing (USB > SPDIF coax and works very well.  

I bought one a couple of years ago but it’s now retired as I went to streamers and DACs that are better w/ USB.  I hadn’t planned on selling it - because i forgot about it, but can sell it if you’re interested. Or, you can probably by a new one from Schiit for very reasonable.  Mine is in like new condition.  Please PM me if you’re interested..  
> If you can find them, one of the best budget DACs was the Parasound ZDAC which AFAIK is now out of production, but a fine DAC.  

I am not really looking for another DAC. Most of the DAC’s I’ve seen do not have SPDIF or coax digital audio **outputs**. I want a USB converter that I can connect to the digital input on my DAC.
@mgrif104 I was looking at the Schiit Eitr. You are right -- that's the functionality I'm after. However, this review turned me off to that product:
It says

> The Topping D10 performs the same function at less than half the price.  The D10 has the same noise profile as the Schiit Eitr but is free of its power supply induced jitter around our main tone.
I looked at the D10s, which is about $110, but I was hoping to find something without the DAC functionality so I can get the best USB to optical components for my money without spending for functionality I don't need.

> the Singxer SU-6 looks to be of good quality and is quite a bit cheaper than the Berkeley at $690.  

Yes, that looks like an interesting choice.
From your tip, I also found: 

- GUSTARD U16 around $300 
- Singxer SU-2 around $430 
- Singxer SU-1 (used) around $225 
- MATRIX Audio X-SPDIF 2 around $440 
Anyone know of others I should consider? Is there any clear winner among these?

I'll be search for reviews myself while waiting for any replies.
The Matrix X-SPDIF 2 does an amazing job. I used it to convert the usb from my desktop prior to the DAC. Worked seamlessly, many connection options and sounded amazing.  There are some measurements of this unit on the web that show it to perform very well in this application.
@fuzztone - thanks. I just ordered that. At that price I had to give it a try. Have you used it (or know anyone who has)?
@bk12 - I ordered the Matrix X-SPDIF 2 as well. I'll give both a try.
@jgoldrick - as luck would have it, I just found a mint condition Singxer KTE SU-1 "Kitsune Tuned Edition" at a good price.
I have had good success with the Matrix Audio SPDIF. Thumbs up for build quality, SQ and value

good luck
A network bridge may be what you are looking for. Ethernet is inherently low noise and is the best way to get bits from a computer to a DAC. I have a Pi2AES on a Raspberry Pi which produces very low levels of both noise and jitter, spanking much more expensive DDCs.
This may be useful:
@pengun - the video you shared just turned everything I thought I knew upside down. Fortunately, I didn't know that much. 

However, I can't immediately go down the Ethernet, I2S path. As it stands now, my two best DACs do not have I2S inputs. 

In another post you said: 

> Just got a Denafrips Ares II. Its really good, a wonderful source for any digital system. 

That doesn't appear to have an I2S input either. Did you switch DACs? What are you using now? 

I learned a lot from the video you shared. GoldenSound makes a compelling case for using Ethernet and I2S instead of USB (or Bluetooth aptX HD). I'm also fortunate that my entire place is wired with cat-6.

However, until I can acquire the hardware that will let me use I2S everywhere, GoldenSound's comments about using a Raspberry Pi 3b+ caught my attention. However, this video does not explain the basis for his recommendation. Is he saying to replace your PC with a Raspberry Pi 3b+? If so, is the reason simply to get rid of GPU and other noise from a complex system? I already have a simple but powerful headless PC running Linux. It uses a server mb without any GPU. I'm not sure a Raspberry Pi gives me any advantage, and the video doesn't explain things well enough for a beginner like me.

I’m going just to use RCA SPIDIF from the Pi2AES to my DAC. I should have my Cable in a day or two.

I’m building a SV-EQ1616D phono equalizer for my SKY 20, from Bob’s Devices, right now, because the damn Area II is kicking my analog’s butt right now. ;)
The output of your PC, via Ethernet, goes to the Raspberry Pi , which uses the Pi2AES to reclock and generate clean digital streams from the bits, that came over the Ethernet port.

It uses your PC and the Pi, this way, to feed your DAC this rather nice stream, rather than the much noisier USB stream which the DAC has to deal with normally.

You can if you want just hook a USB drive to the Pi and eliminate the PC entirely, but you will need a different OS on the Pi to handle that kind of setup.
@pengun - thanks. I have another question.

> The output of your PC, via Ethernet, goes to the Raspberry Pi

Is that part handled by mpd (Music Player Daemon,

What OS/software do you run on your Pi? Volumio?

Where are the instructions for setting this up as far as what software is running on the PC, etc.?
Thank you.

I dunno. The Pi2AES guy recommends RoPieee which runs headless, meaning no interface.

As I have not got my cable yet I have not set it up and figured it out. For me it should just be UPnP DLNA used with Foobar, or that is my intention anyway.

I don’t stream stuff, I just need to get my files off my NVMe drive, through the Pi Bridge, to the Pi2AES, which normally outputs on all outputs, to my DAC.

I have not seen detailed instructions but I was a Linux sysadmin for some years, so I expect I can get it all to do what I want. As I have not yet, I have no real useful advice, outside of searching. I did not look very hard once I figured out what was going on.

You could email the guy at Pi2AES and ask, he might have a good idea where to look for good instructions. I’ll know in a week or so, at present mail pace. ;(
The hardest part so far has been Win 10 networking. I had to find just the right Intel driver, and I have to trick that into giving me what I want.
@pengun - thanks. I hope to hear more from you in a week or so.

I don’t stream either. My intention is similar to yours except all my devices run Linux.

Here’s the list of Pi software I know about so far:

- [moOde™ audio player]( - seems to be completely free & open source. Good reviews. Some say it is superior to Volumio.
- [Volumio - The Audiophile Music Player]( - free version has limited features- [RoPieee | Software]( - seems to be free
- [RoPieee | XL]( - not sure if this is a premium feature
- MPD+Rompr
- [Mopidy]( - Mopidy plays music from local disk, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, and more. You can edit the playlist from any phone, tablet, or computer using a variety of MPD and web clients.
- [Pi MusicBox - A Spotify, SoundCloud, Google Music player for the Raspberry Pi, with remote control]( - based on Mopidy.- [musikcube]( [RuneAudio for Raspberry Pi]( [Patchbox OS - Raspberry Pi OS for Audio Projects]( [MinimServer features]( [GitHub - airsonic/airsonic: Airsonic, a Free and Open Source community driven media server (fork of Subsonic and Libresonic)](
- [openmediavault - The open network attached storage solution]( [Music Player Daemon]( - Raspbian version available. Works with tons of clients:

I should fire up a Slackware partition. It would be easier to network, certainly. ;)
Been playing games, and only installed the dose on my new machine. ;)
@pengun - I tried sending you a PM, but the site crashes when I try.
I have a Linux file server and I use NFS v4. All my clients (desktops, laptops) run Linux. Even my phone runs Manjaro Linux. Like you, I vastly prefer working with Linux networking and really everything else too.
Please keep me updated on your progress with your Pi2AES. This is the way I want to go in the future. A Pi will fit perfectly into my environment.