Alpha DAC Reference Series 3

Audire

VIP/Donor
Jan 19, 2019
727
728
215
S. FL
I've been told that the Alpha DAC Reference Series 3 is a sleeper, that's it plays well above its price point.

How does it compare to MSB - Ref and Select? I won't be able to listen to either prior to a purchase. I know people rave about MSB is general - esp Ref and Select.

Has anyone here made any comparisons?

Thanks in advance.
 

docvale

Well-Known Member
Mar 22, 2011
531
48
420
Briarcliff Manor, NY
I cannot help with a direct comparison, but I can tell that when I attended the demo of the Wilson Chronosonic XVX speakers, the showroom, that sells both MSB and Berkeley, put the Reference Alpha upstream of the D'Agostino amplification that was used for the demo.

I can only think of the following:
- sound wise, you can expect "the best" from both brands (I quoted because the term per se is questionable, and I'm sure that nobody would be upset with their sound)
- Berkeley is less expensive and MSB offers way more configuration flexibility for the inputs
 

Audire

VIP/Donor
Jan 19, 2019
727
728
215
S. FL
Thanks, this is very helpful. I have enough $ for the Select but don’t desire to spend it if the Berkeley will do app. the same thing for a lot less. Thanks again.
I cannot help with a direct comparison, but I can tell that when I attended the demo of the Wilson Chronosonic XVX speakers, the showroom, that sells both MSB and Berkeley, put the Reference Alpha upstream of the D'Agostino amplification that was used for the demo.

I can only think of the following:
- sound wise, you can expect "the best" from both brands (I quoted because the term per se is questionable, and I'm sure that nobody would be upset with their sound)
- Berkeley is less expensive and MSB offers way more configuration flexibility for the inputs
 

dan31

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2010
939
289
453
SF Bay
If you cannot listen to these products don’t buy them. Get something you can audition at a dealer or a friend. Too much money to take a flyer. MSB tends to win these comparisons.
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
7,311
2,914
688
Greater Boston
If you cannot listen to these products don’t buy them. Get something you can audition at a dealer or a friend. Too much money to take a flyer.

+ 1000

Often products don't sound as advertised, and it depends on both your system context and your personal taste if a component works for you.
 

docvale

Well-Known Member
Mar 22, 2011
531
48
420
Briarcliff Manor, NY
+ 1000

Often products don't sound as advertised, and it depends on both your system context and your personal taste if a component works for you.
Completely agreed.
And, to clarify my comment, I wanted to point out that regardless of the price point, a dealer that had the chance to pick either DAC used the least expensive of the two.
Might have the MSB performed better? Maybe yes, maybe no. And I agree that testing is the king if someone puts so much money there.
The sure thing is that the Berkeley would not disappoint.
And I’m also sure that our friend would not do a blind purchase.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Al M.

gds7368

VIP/Donor
Jan 9, 2015
172
132
320
Thanks for all the replies. I finally was able to hear the Berkeley at a person's home. It was very, very good. It's difficult to think anything could sound better than what I just finished hearing.
What was the rest of the system?
 

Audire

VIP/Donor
Jan 19, 2019
727
728
215
S. FL
Thanks for everyone's comments. A closer examination of the Berkeley and MSB has eliminated Berkeley from any further consideration. IMO, even the MSB Discrete wins over the more expensive Berkeley ... Berkeley can't do DSD and doesn't have any Ethernet or USB inputs. Berkeley have paved their own path, that I'm sure works for some people, but it's not the path I desire to walk in ....
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. This is THE place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss vintage, contemporary and new audio products, music servers, music streamers, computer audio, digital-to-analog converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel-to-reel tape machines, speakers, headphones and tube and solid-state amplification. Founded in 2010 What’s Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals, we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people, and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing