What happened to Berkeley Audio Design

Just wondering if this company has ceased to exist as an engineering firm? 

They don't really seem to have released any new products (the Reference isn't one IMHO) in 4 years, with little news, announcements, trickle down or added features, and a quick search on LinkedIn did not find them. 

Does anyone have an inside scoop?


The Berkeley Alpha DAC Reference Series was introduced in 2014.  A Series 2 Update was announced on May 31, 2016.  The original Series 1 has been discontinued and replaced as a result. 

I am curious why you think the original and completely unique Series 1 was not a new product.
I’m curious what you think made products introduced in 2014 or this year new.

I have no evidence of a truly vibrant engineering effort at BAD. I see more effort on marketing materials and cases. Out of many features that could have been added, or trickled down for more affordable products, or trickled up from the USB converter, I see little.

If I’m missing the boat, please enlighten me.

I’m really curious if the original engineering team is still there and focused on BAD or has moved onto other jobs or products.

Like i said, they’re locals to me so I hope they are doing well, I just hope they haven’t been turned into a Zombie company run by marketers who are just trying to keep the lights on before they jump ship, like Theta Digital was for several years.

Also, it's kind of weird no one on LinkedIn seems to work for them. That's another bad sign. 
Erik, your "questions" come off as accusations.  If you have any solid information to offer, then please do.  Otherwise your speculations makes me wonder about your motives.  It just doesn't seem like curiosity on your part.
I'm really OK with you taking my questions as accusations.  It's kind of irrelevant and impossible to refute. 

I'm however much more interested in facts about how they are doing that comes from outside of their web site.  Being unable to find them on LinkedIn I'm also now curious if they are "real" or a brand without any engineering employees of it's own.  Is that an accusation ? No, but if you feel better take it that way. 

Mostly this is my own ignorance hoping to connect with people who know something. 

If this company is real and involved in innovative new products then the proof will come along soon enough and I'll go "yeay! They're alive!" 

None of this affects their products however, which in my mind stand on their own, for better or worse. I honestly would love to hear they are working on something, like a cool digital streamer that finally makes me want to get off my Logitech Squeezebox infrastructure, a digital preamp with built in DSP, something, anything like that would be wonderful to hear about them. 


Well Erik, if the current status and direction of the company is so very important to you and they are locals to you as you say why don't you just pay them a visit and ask them all these questions instead of us?
Geese, legitimate questions treated as accusations? Most vibrant companies are offering yearly updates if not brand new products. BAD has a good rep but does anyone know anything about the company and its prospects? 
Does sound like Erik could just pop over for an enlightening conversation, and he seems to care, so why not?
Erik,why would you say yea, they're alive. Do you own any of their products? Since they're in your area and you could presumably drive over; but haven't bothered-- I don't understand your reason for this post.??? Why 'concerned' ??
Agree, so much not right with the first post........
That's actually not a bad idea if I can get their street address. :) I meant that Berkeley, CA was a neighboring town, well across the bay, not that they are literally next door. 

Look, let's say these are all accusations and I have it "in" for BAD.  This is something easily defused/disarmed by information.  I really was hoping some one would say "yes, they're in the middle of some very cool product development you'll see at...." or something like that. New product introductions would of course eliminate any "accusations." which they aren't. 

Like, very cool from BAD might be a six-channel USB DAC or streamer or BADA junior for under $500. 


Erik!  It might be worth your time and trouble to look up that address and take a drive.  Berkeley may be encouraged to retain your services as a consultant once they hear your ideas personally.
They might appreciate your input on new products;;did you give them the idea for the Alpha Dac, Reference 2 ?
I'm sure the folks at BAD are smarter than I am and perfectly aware of the market.

I have tried looking their office up, no dice.  Mind you, I don't really care if BAD is in fact a virtual company, this is the 21st Century after all and I may do just that sometime soon. BAD can stand on their products and reputation. 

By the way, I'm pretty surprised this thread hasn't blown up with input on new products, new directions, designers who work at BAD, dealer input, etc.

Honestly I thought there was a 90% chance the problem was I was completely disconnected (often true) and I was missing a lot of new information.  Perhaps all those with knowledge of this subject are busy at the convention or glued to CNN right now.

Of course, it's only been a couple of days since I posted, I should still be hopeful that new info will be unearthed speaking of BAD's dynamic present and future.  My posting, and the lack of data in this forum is no evidence really of anything at all. 

I do apologize for any BAD fans who may have felt I was attacking BAD, but I can't prove intention.  As I wrote before, data washes any such perceived accusations away like a tsunami.


erik_squires "I have tried looking their office up, no dice."

The company phone number is on its website.
(510) 277-0512
Why don't you just call them?
Call them and have a discussion?  No, it's much easier speculating on an on-line forum that they're a zombie company with no actual engineering talent.  It's the 21st century!
So, good news! 

I got an e-mail back from them within minutes. There IS active product development, including MQA decoding coming "before the end of the year."

They did say they were "small" though, so I think I'm going to have to get used to a more modest and hopefully high quality rate of new product introductions.

So, my bad! :)  I just have to be more patient.


If you have a question about a given audio manufacturer in the future, I'd have a couple suggestions:

1.  Don't make your headline sound like the company's dead.  Most audio manufacturers -- even the good ones -- are operating on a very low margin budget, so even the suggestion of a company's viability on a site like this can have a significant negative impact. 

2.  While you have every right to ask this question to this site's members, why follow it up with a question like "Just wondering if this company has ceased to exist as an engineering firm?"  Make an effort to at least contact them before you throw something like that out there. 

You may have very valid questions here, but the way you ask them is in such a negative tone it raises questions as to your motivations.  And that doesn't need to be the case here at all.  Most of the people who work very hard to produce honestly good niche products for us and our hobby and who so rarely get paid commensurately are unfortunately largely operating on a shoestring budget.  Especially when good high-end dealers are a cherished and vanishing breed, let's not shoot hard-working and well-intentioned manufacturers in the foot unnecessarily or unintentionally.  In any event, good to know BAD is still out there innovating and bringing products to market.  
My bad, but to be honest I thought with all the positive press and seeing BAD products used by top tier speaker makers I was sure it would be moments before there were half a dozen posts talking about BAD activities I did not know about.

I'll be more careful in the future.



Obviously an angry author for whatever reason responding back to the above post. The original question was asked about a vendor who was stripped his dealership of a few brands including Berkeley then in a very rare appearance which was kind of cool in of itself the vendor comes on crying gloom and doom with this big story looking for sympathy about how he didn't sell any Berkeley nunits in six months and how his rents are sky high and how it is all about sales and costs to him. Typical answer of most dealers.... Blah blah blah, first of all, if you take on a brand you need to give it a heck of a lot more time than 6 months and secondly if your rent is too high, tough luck brother, move! You make the decisions as to where to operate, not Berkeley... If you can't sell a single Berkeley unit operating in NYC, it is not the fault of the brand or your high costs, it is only a product of your failure as a salesperson. Ciamara is selling Berkeley DACs like pancakes, yet Rhapsody cannot sell one in six months and they get dumped and it is the brand's fault even though it sounds great, to quote him. Kind of strange but this is classic dealer behavior. Then he comes back kisssing another member's you know what inviting him to his store. Again, LOL!! Look what happened to Rhapsody's other brands like EMM Labs, Proclain, Avantegarde, etc, etc all in and out like a thunderstorm. The author to this thread is angry for whatever reason at Berkeley and should post his own thread with his own voice not copy another member in similarity.  How can anybody say this crap about a manufacturer at the cutting edge of technology? I don't believe Rhapsody at all..the guy is a charmer, just have a look at this thread


Guess I opened a can of worms but never imtended to. I'm not knocking Rhapsody, after all, like Berkeley as he owned up to, his products sound good!! Sorry Rhapsody if I hit a nerve and had you come out of your dark cave...
I applaud you for receiving the feedback in such an open a gracious manner. This thread could have easily devolved into a mean one. Thanks everyone for responding - I have been interested in BAD Reference but was holding off to see what happens with MQA. Glad to hear they are incorporating it.

Well, personally I get the idea that no one can keep a brick and mortar store open without making money, it's that simple.

I'm happy to hear BAD is doing so well in NY too.

It makes me wonder though, you can't keep a store open making all the wrong moves either. You would think that after getting a high end brand like BAD the owners would be motivated to sell it.


I have no information about the store. I do know that many things effect what brands carried including margins. I was referring in my previous email to you being able to receive the feedback that it is fair and gentlemanly to be very careful in how questions are posed so as to not cast doubt upon anyone’s or company’s reputation without clear evidence to back up and before vigorously checking with them first to allow clarification of question. In other words I find it wisest to assume good motives and performance unless proven otherwise. That said, before I buy a piece of equipment I do very vigorous due diligence because I want to be long term happy. Following this dictum, I have been fortunate to have terrific relationships with people in this business that span decades.
And I made yet another mistake!

I meant to ask that of @ukeleleplayer

My bad again!!

Erik, a quick phone-number lookup yielded this: http://www.buzzfile.com/business/Berkeley-Audio-Design,-LLC-510-277-0512. Their office appears to be in El Cerrito (practically in my front yard) according to this link.