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  #21  
Old 04-19-2019, 01:37 AM
BillK BillK is offline
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Any Wadia users extant?

I have a Wadia S7i, and for any bit rate it can handle (it maxes out at 24/96) I haven’t heard anything better (granted I haven’t heard a full Vivaldi stack.)

I’ve auditioned the Oppo UDP-205, PS Audio Directstream (though not with Snowmass), ARC Ref CD 9, Schiit Yggdrasil and Ayre QX-5 Twenty, and all failed to meet the soundstage thrown by the Wadia (though the Ayre was a tiny bit more detailed, the loss of left to right soundstage width compared to the Wadia wasn’t worth it for me.)

Since I don’t have a dCS dealer within a few states of me, I only get to hear them at RMAF.
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  #22  
Old 04-19-2019, 02:48 PM
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I went from Wadia 381i to dCS Rossini, Rossini betters the Wadia in everything IMO.
(no contest)
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  #23  
Old 04-21-2019, 03:40 PM
Alaska Dave Alaska Dave is offline
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Default Awaiting Bartok

Hi, All. Iím new to these forums, though Iíve been reading CA for a few years. I have a Bartok on order, delivery due in a couple weeks. I spent several months last year in the search for a DAC/streamer, did not consider dCS because the Rossini was their starting point ($$). Iíd like to share my experience.

At seven dealers on the West Coast I had demos of the top three (of four) Linn players, the top four (of five) Lumin players, the MSB Discrete and Reference players, and the dCS Rossini and Bartok. Interesting how all the big names came out with new units in the past year (including Naim, Sim, Auralic, Aurender, and others). I was especially taken with the new Lumin X1 at 14K, slightly more than the Bartok at 13.5K (without headphone). If you have not looked at Lumin, itís a sleeper, but a very solid company with outstanding new products, including at lower price points.

But then the Bartok popped up mid fall, and once I researched dCS, I could not ignore it. You could not design a better company for the purpose, with a better track record, though all of those mentioned make sterling products. Itís the new golden age!

The Bartok is so well thought out: streamer, server, renderer, digital processor, DAC, preamp, volume control, headphone, Roon, and MQA (implemented in software!). Have you picked up that it weighs 36.8 pounds, twice as much as most of the others?

Bartok, of course, uses the dCS ring DAC; MSB is a ladder DAC; Lumin uses ESS DACs; Linn uses AKM. With automatic firmware upgrades, Bartok has the most potential for future enhancements.

So I have a couple weeks to wait and then some settling-in time. I am especially interested in talking about environment, which I know can make a big difference: ethernet cables, supports, regen units, and other tweaks.

I welcome thoughts and questions.
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  #24  
Old 04-21-2019, 11:12 PM
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DVass13 DVass13 is online now
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I had the opportunity to demo the Bartok this past Friday and wanted to share my thoughts. I made the 4-ish hour drive down to Hifi Buys in Atlanta and survived the torrential downpours along the way.

Background
I split my listening time pretty evenly between headphones and speakers and use my system for anything from critical listening to watching YouTube videos to just providing background music while I'm in a different room. My DAC is fed through my computer and I have no network interface with it so any music or volume changes require me to be at my computer. This isn't generally a huge pain but it would be nice to be able to control my music via an iPad or mobile device. I am generally satisfied with my system as it is but I have two cross-country moves coming up in the next year so I am counting the number of boxes and thinking of ways to simplify to ease the pain of packing everything up and moving... twice.

My interest was piqued last fall when I first heard news of the Bartok. It seems like it is exactly what I'm looking for: a streaming DAC and pre-amp with a built in headphone output. There are a number of devices with similar features that have similar features (Auralic Vega G2, Ayre QX-5 Twenty, Mytek Manhattan II with network card, iFi Pro iDSD, and now the Aurender A30) but a few things make the Bartok stick out in my opinion. The first is that dCS has a great track record and doesn't spit out new models every year. There is no flavor of the week that will make the Bartok obsolete in a year's time. The fact that the DAC is FPGA-based and can be updated via download means that the unit can be upgraded over time to fix bugs/add features/improve sound quality. This is one of the features that led me to the DirectStream DAC. One other feature that makes the Bartok stand out is the attention they gave to the headphone output. The headphone output doesn't seem to be an afterthought or a feature to tick a box but a well thought out design that is a main selling point. There are several other reasons that I am interested in the Bartok over the other units listed above, but these are the big hitters.

Setup
The Bartok was feeding a D'Agostino Progression pre-amp and stereo amp and the speakers were the Monitor Audio Platinum PL500 II. AudioQuest cabling was used exclusively throughout. I'm not familiar with these speakers and I have only heard D'Agostino components a few times, so I spent most of my time listening to the headphone output. As my signature shows I currently use a PS Audio DirectStream DAC to power my HeadAmp GS-X mkii. I've had this combo for a bit over a year now so I'm pretty familiar with its sound.

Interface/Features
The Bartok was networked via ethernet cable and I used an iPad with Roon to interface with the Bartok. I didn't play much with the dCS app, unfortunately, but the interface through Roon seemed easy to navigate. I didn't change any filter settings but it looks like those options and several others were accessible through the Roon app. I was able to access some music stored on the network as well as Tidal and Qobuz. I was interested to see that the Bartok plays MQA files (which I have not had any prior experience with). I was sitting next to the Bartok and didn't think to check if I could switch between the headphone output and pre-amp output of the Bartok through the app which would be a nice feature. I guess I'll have to google that one. I was happy to see that the Bartok remembers the volume setting for each output - so switching to the pre-amp output set the volume to line level while switching back to the headphone output changes the volume back to whatever it was set at previously. Again, a very nice feature for me. There were no other inputs connected to the Bartok, but I was told that it also remembers the volumes for individual inputs. I guess this isn't as important in my book, but it would be a nice feature nonetheless. All in all, the Bartok really does seem

Impressions
*These impressions are geared toward the headphone output of the Bartok. I spent about an hour listening to my Utopias and only about thirty minutes to the speakers.

I have a few go-to tracks that I use to pick out specific qualities, but I generally listen to mostly classical and jazz with some folk, rock, rap, and other genres thrown in there. The first thing that struck me about the Bartok is how immersive the sound was. I found that even at lower levels I felt fully enveloped in the sound. The Reference Recording of Stravinsky's Firebird conducted by Eiji Oue filled the space around my head and presented a wider sound stage than I'm used to out of my Utopias. The next thing I noticed was how detailed and impactful the bass was. I was easily able to pick out individual plucks of a double bass in some of my favorite jazz recordings. I was able to get a sense (at least as much as you can get through headphones) of the impact of a kick drum. Again, even at low listening levels the bass was detailed. When I turned the volume up it only got better. This leads to the third thing I noticed about the Bartok. At high levels the highs weren't sharp or sibilant. High hats and horns that are sometimes fatiguing at higher levels were still very much present, but not as sharp as on some setups I've heard. One of my go-to tracks is Young Jeezy's Put On. Honestly, it's a terrible song that takes me back to my college football days when we would play this during pre-game warmups. The song has some low bass notes that are below the range of many headphones and speakers. It also has some rather sibilant "city"s in the first 30 seconds or so. On some setups it can be a bit piercing. It was very controlled on the Bartok.

I'm not all that great at describing sound or conveying my thoughts in this regard which is why I won't go into more detail than I wrote above. I will say that I very much enjoyed my time listening to the Bartok. I spent the first fifteen minutes or so working my way through some of my normal go-to tracks. But for the rest of the hour I just sat there listening to some of my favorite music with my eyes closed and a huge smile on my face. The sound was just that good. I quickly let go of making mental notes and trying to compare this unit to my home setup and just enjoyed playing one song after the next. The final half hour of my time spent listening to the Bartok in the two-channel setup was purely for enjoyment. I wasn't listening critically. I was just listening.

So where do I go from here?
I chatted with one of the sales reps for about an hour after my demo and he showed me around a few other rooms. I felt myself losing interest in the other setups and only thinking about the Bartok. How realistic is it that I could add this to my system? It's wayyy over budget for me. I'd have to sell off a lot of gear to help fund it. After thanking the staff for their time and their hospitality I got in the car and made my way back home. The severe weather left me with several hours of delay on the drive home to reflect on my listening and weigh my options. I am now seriously considering selling my DirectStream DAC, Memory Player, headphone amp, and maybe a few other items to put towards a Bartok. It would not only be a nice way to downsize and simplify my setup, but also be a noticeable step up in sound quality. Now I just need to find someone willing to give me a great deal on a brand new product that is selling faster that dealers can stock them...
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Headphone rig: PS Audio P10, [position available], HeadAmp GS-X mk2, Focal Utopia
2-Channel setup: PS Audio P10, [position available], Esoteric A-02, Wilson Sabrinas
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  #25  
Old 04-22-2019, 05:20 AM
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Jem666 Jem666 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVass13 View Post
I had the opportunity to demo the Bartok this past Friday and wanted to share my thoughts. I made the 4-ish hour drive down to Hifi Buys in Atlanta and survived the torrential downpours along the way.



Background

I split my listening time pretty evenly between headphones and speakers and use my system for anything from critical listening to watching YouTube videos to just providing background music while I'm in a different room. My DAC is fed through my computer and I have no network interface with it so any music or volume changes require me to be at my computer. This isn't generally a huge pain but it would be nice to be able to control my music via an iPad or mobile device. I am generally satisfied with my system as it is but I have two cross-country moves coming up in the next year so I am counting the number of boxes and thinking of ways to simplify to ease the pain of packing everything up and moving... twice.



My interest was piqued last fall when I first heard news of the Bartok. It seems like it is exactly what I'm looking for: a streaming DAC and pre-amp with a built in headphone output. There are a number of devices with similar features that have similar features (Auralic Vega G2, Ayre QX-5 Twenty, Mytek Manhattan II with network card, iFi Pro iDSD, and now the Aurender A30) but a few things make the Bartok stick out in my opinion. The first is that dCS has a great track record and doesn't spit out new models every year. There is no flavor of the week that will make the Bartok obsolete in a year's time. The fact that the DAC is FPGA-based and can be updated via download means that the unit can be upgraded over time to fix bugs/add features/improve sound quality. This is one of the features that led me to the DirectStream DAC. One other feature that makes the Bartok stand out is the attention they gave to the headphone output. The headphone output doesn't seem to be an afterthought or a feature to tick a box but a well thought out design that is a main selling point. There are several other reasons that I am interested in the Bartok over the other units listed above, but these are the big hitters.



Setup

The Bartok was feeding a D'Agostino Progression pre-amp and stereo amp and the speakers were the Monitor Audio Platinum PL500 II. AudioQuest cabling was used exclusively throughout. I'm not familiar with these speakers and I have only heard D'Agostino components a few times, so I spent most of my time listening to the headphone output. As my signature shows I currently use a PS Audio DirectStream DAC to power my HeadAmp GS-X mkii. I've had this combo for a bit over a year now so I'm pretty familiar with its sound.



Interface/Features

The Bartok was networked via ethernet cable and I used an iPad with Roon to interface with the Bartok. I didn't play much with the dCS app, unfortunately, but the interface through Roon seemed easy to navigate. I didn't change any filter settings but it looks like those options and several others were accessible through the Roon app. I was able to access some music stored on the network as well as Tidal and Qobuz. I was interested to see that the Bartok plays MQA files (which I have not had any prior experience with). I was sitting next to the Bartok and didn't think to check if I could switch between the headphone output and pre-amp output of the Bartok through the app which would be a nice feature. I guess I'll have to google that one. I was happy to see that the Bartok remembers the volume setting for each output - so switching to the pre-amp output set the volume to line level while switching back to the headphone output changes the volume back to whatever it was set at previously. Again, a very nice feature for me. There were no other inputs connected to the Bartok, but I was told that it also remembers the volumes for individual inputs. I guess this isn't as important in my book, but it would be a nice feature nonetheless. All in all, the Bartok really does seem



Impressions

*These impressions are geared toward the headphone output of the Bartok. I spent about an hour listening to my Utopias and only about thirty minutes to the speakers.



I have a few go-to tracks that I use to pick out specific qualities, but I generally listen to mostly classical and jazz with some folk, rock, rap, and other genres thrown in there. The first thing that struck me about the Bartok is how immersive the sound was. I found that even at lower levels I felt fully enveloped in the sound. The Reference Recording of Stravinsky's Firebird conducted by Eiji Oue filled the space around my head and presented a wider sound stage than I'm used to out of my Utopias. The next thing I noticed was how detailed and impactful the bass was. I was easily able to pick out individual plucks of a double bass in some of my favorite jazz recordings. I was able to get a sense (at least as much as you can get through headphones) of the impact of a kick drum. Again, even at low listening levels the bass was detailed. When I turned the volume up it only got better. This leads to the third thing I noticed about the Bartok. At high levels the highs weren't sharp or sibilant. High hats and horns that are sometimes fatiguing at higher levels were still very much present, but not as sharp as on some setups I've heard. One of my go-to tracks is Young Jeezy's Put On. Honestly, it's a terrible song that takes me back to my college football days when we would play this during pre-game warmups. The song has some low bass notes that are below the range of many headphones and speakers. It also has some rather sibilant "city"s in the first 30 seconds or so. On some setups it can be a bit piercing. It was very controlled on the Bartok.



I'm not all that great at describing sound or conveying my thoughts in this regard which is why I won't go into more detail than I wrote above. I will say that I very much enjoyed my time listening to the Bartok. I spent the first fifteen minutes or so working my way through some of my normal go-to tracks. But for the rest of the hour I just sat there listening to some of my favorite music with my eyes closed and a huge smile on my face. The sound was just that good. I quickly let go of making mental notes and trying to compare this unit to my home setup and just enjoyed playing one song after the next. The final half hour of my time spent listening to the Bartok in the two-channel setup was purely for enjoyment. I wasn't listening critically. I was just listening.



So where do I go from here?

I chatted with one of the sales reps for about an hour after my demo and he showed me around a few other rooms. I felt myself losing interest in the other setups and only thinking about the Bartok. How realistic is it that I could add this to my system? It's wayyy over budget for me. I'd have to sell off a lot of gear to help fund it. After thanking the staff for their time and their hospitality I got in the car and made my way back home. The severe weather left me with several hours of delay on the drive home to reflect on my listening and weigh my options. I am now seriously considering selling my DirectStream DAC, Memory Player, headphone amp, and maybe a few other items to put towards a Bartok. It would not only be a nice way to downsize and simplify my setup, but also be a noticeable step up in sound quality. Now I just need to find someone willing to give me a great deal on a brand new product that is selling faster that dealers can stock them...


Thx for this excellent report
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  #26  
Old 04-23-2019, 10:11 PM
Alaska Dave Alaska Dave is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 4
Default Awaiting Bartok

Hi, All. Iím new to these forums, though Iíve been reading CA for a few years. I have a Bartok on order, delivery due in a couple weeks. I spent several months last year in the search for a DAC/streamer, did not consider dCS because the Rossini was their starting point ($$). Iíd like to share my experience.

At seven dealers on the West Coast I had demos of the top three (of four) Linn players, the top four (of five) Lumin players, the MSB Discrete and Reference players, and the dCS Rossini and Bartok. Interesting how all the big names came out with new units in the past year (including Naim, Sim, Auralic, Aurender, and others). I was especially taken with the new Lumin X1 at 14K, slightly more than the Bartok at 13.5K (without headphone). If you have not looked at Lumin, itís a sleeper, but a very solid company with outstanding new products, including at lower price points.

But then the Bartok popped up mid fall, and once I researched dCS, I could not ignore it. You could not design a better company for the purpose, with a better track record, though all of those mentioned make sterling products. Itís the new golden age!

The Bartok is so well thought out: streamer, server, renderer, digital processor, DAC, preamp, volume control, headphone, Roon, and MQA (implemented in software!). Have you picked up that it weighs 36.8 pounds, twice as much as most of the others?

Bartok, of course, uses the dCS ring DAC; MSB is a ladder DAC; Lumin uses ESS DACs; Linn uses AKM. With automatic firmware upgrades, Bartok has the most potential for future enhancements.

So I have a couple weeks to wait and then some settling-in time. I am especially interested in talking about environment, which I know can make a big difference: ethernet cables, supports, regen units, and other tweaks.

I welcome thoughts and questions.
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  #27  
Old 05-09-2019, 04:33 PM
thyname thyname is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaska Dave View Post
Hi, All. Iím new to these forums, though Iíve been reading CA for a few years. I have a Bartok on order, delivery due in a couple weeks. I spent several months last year in the search for a DAC/streamer, did not consider dCS because the Rossini was their starting point ($$). Iíd like to share my experience.

At seven dealers on the West Coast I had demos of the top three (of four) Linn players, the top four (of five) Lumin players, the MSB Discrete and Reference players, and the dCS Rossini and Bartok. Interesting how all the big names came out with new units in the past year (including Naim, Sim, Auralic, Aurender, and others). I was especially taken with the new Lumin X1 at 14K, slightly more than the Bartok at 13.5K (without headphone). If you have not looked at Lumin, itís a sleeper, but a very solid company with outstanding new products, including at lower price points.

But then the Bartok popped up mid fall, and once I researched dCS, I could not ignore it. You could not design a better company for the purpose, with a better track record, though all of those mentioned make sterling products. Itís the new golden age!

The Bartok is so well thought out: streamer, server, renderer, digital processor, DAC, preamp, volume control, headphone, Roon, and MQA (implemented in software!). Have you picked up that it weighs 36.8 pounds, twice as much as most of the others?

Bartok, of course, uses the dCS ring DAC; MSB is a ladder DAC; Lumin uses ESS DACs; Linn uses AKM. With automatic firmware upgrades, Bartok has the most potential for future enhancements.

So I have a couple weeks to wait and then some settling-in time. I am especially interested in talking about environment, which I know can make a big difference: ethernet cables, supports, regen units, and other tweaks.

I welcome thoughts and questions.
Hi,

Did you receive the Bartok already? What are your impressions? Thanks
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  #28  
Old 05-13-2019, 02:51 AM
Alaska Dave Alaska Dave is offline
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My Bartok is due to arrive May 14. It will take a few days to get set up and some listening time. Also waiting for ethernet cable. I will describe config, initially just ethernet cable from Apple Time Capsule router to Bartok and RCAs to a tube amplifier. Other interests are pending Uptone EtherREGEN switch and Innuos server/Roon host.
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  #29  
Old 05-13-2019, 11:15 AM
thyname thyname is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaska Dave View Post
.. Other interests are pending Uptone EtherREGEN switch and Innuos server/Roon host.
I am waiting forever for the etherRegen. Most recent post on Audiophile Style from Alex mentioned July as the potential launch date. We'll see...

On another note, I have the Innuos ZENith MK3 and I am extremely happy with it.
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  #30  
Old 05-28-2019, 08:12 PM
Gfunk Gfunk is offline
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I picked up a new Bartok over the weekend and am simply amazed. It replaced a McIntosh c2500 preamp with a DAC built in. I'm using the Bartok as a preamp, driving a McIntosh mc452 amp and Wilson Alexia 1 speakers. It's probably the single biggest upgrade I've ever experienced. I was a bit nervous about using it as a pre, but with less than 24 hours out of the box it sounds amazing...and sounded great right out of the box. So clear, clean, and impactful, with, cliched tho 'tis, so much detail that I've never heard before. I would recommend anybody with the $$$ to spend build a system around it, it's an amazing piece. I got the headphone amp too but haven't played with it...great excuse to shop! Anybody with one, what settings do you like? I'm experimenting with buffer off, DXd, and filters 3 and 4, all suggested by my dealer.
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