The long-awaited Berkeley Audio Designs off-box USB-S/PDIF converters have finally been completed. These units will allow computer audio users to plug their Macs (and PCs, with an included driver) directly into their high end music systems for a full 24bit/192kHz experience over USB.
The form factor is something like 10.5″x5″x2.5″ — quite a bit bigger than the SOTA boxes from Analog Research Technologies and Wavelength. I’m gonna need another shelf … and no, they’re not stackable. The farther apart these units sit from everything, the better.
Software will be required — Pure Music is recommended; Amarra is perfectly fine. Based on the context of the suggestion, I’m guessing this means that auto sample-rate switching software will not be included (it was on the table last year), so this will need to be accomplished by whatever player-du-jour you’re into. And yes, Mac support is driverless with the latest version of OS X. Sounds to me like that Berkeley went ahead and just licensed Wavelength’s asynchronous Streamlength software. Why not? It’s a winner.
The Berkeley Converters are going to be far more expensive, too. I’m guessing ~$1800, plus/minus a couple hundred. Yeah, that’s gonna leave a mark.
The reason for the sky-high price? Well, it’s supposed to be insanely over-built. There will be options for transport via both S/PDIF via BNC and AES, BTW. We’ll have to wait and see how the all the other technical details shake out, but the Berkeley folks certainly have never been known for doing anything half-assed, so I’m very curious. Sign me up for a first run unit!