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MBL, dCS, Goldmund, Gryphon etc Ultra High End Equipment

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  #31  
Old 05-28-2019, 09:03 PM
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Gfunk... Welcome to AA!
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MX136, MC1.2KW(10) MC2KW(2), MCD1100, MS750(2) MVP881, C1000C/P/T, MPC1500, HT-2 SUBS(2) HT3F(2) WS350(2) XRT2K, XCS2K, XR27(2) XCS350(2) JL GOTHAM v2 SUBS(2) LUMAGEN RADIANCE SCALER, SONY VPH-G90U PROJECTOR, STEWART 120" MOTORIZED SCREEN, CINEMA-TECH SEATING, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Reference System: ACCUPHASE A250 AMPS, C3850 PRE-AMP, DP950 CD/SACD TRANSPORT, DC950 DIGITAL PROCESSOR, DG-58 DIGITAL EQUALIZER, T1200 FM STEREO TUNER, PS1230 POWER SUPPLY, HRS-SXR CUSTOM RACK w/ M3X SHELVES, TAD REFERENCE ONE MK2 LOUDSPEAKERS, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
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MX150, MC501(2) MC1.2KW(10) MC2301(2) MR88, MVP881, MCD1100, MDA1000, C1000C/P/T, MPC1500, ESOTERIC K-01X 30th ANNIVERSARY (BLACK) SACD/CD PLAYER, G02-X CLOCK, HT3F(2) XRT2K, XCS2K, XR27(2) JL GOTHAM SUBS(2) JL FATHOM F113v2 SUBS(4) SOUND ANCHOR STANDS(2) KALEIDESCAPE STRATO & TERRA SERVERS, LUMAGEN RADIANCE SCALER, SONY VPH-G90U PROJECTOR, STEWART 120" SCREEN, SONUS FABER STRADIVARI, SILENZIO, FORTRESS SEATING, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Analog Rig: CLEARAUDIO INNOVATION WOOD, UNIVERSAL ARM w/ Da VINCI' CART, 2nd UNIVERSAL ARM w/ GOLDFINGER STATEMENT CART, HRS-MXR REFERENCE RACK-GLOSS BLACK w/ M3X SHELVES, AESTHETIX RHEA SIG PHONO-PRE, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Reference System: BURMESTER 911MK3 AMP(3), 088 PRE-AMP, 089 CD PLAYER, 100 PHONO PRE-AMP, 948 POWER CONDITIONER, AVID ACUTUS REFERENCE SP TT, GRAHAM PHANTOM II SUPREME ARM, BENZ MICRO LP-S CART, GRANDIOSO P1/D1 STACK, G01X RUBIDIUM MASTER CLOCK, N05 NETWORK PLAYER, SILENZIO, HRS-SXR CUSTOM RACK w/ M3X SHELVES, SONUS FABER AIDA SPEAKERS, JL FATHOM F113v2 SUBS(2) SOUND ANCHOR STANDS(2) WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES

Library System: GRANDIOSO M1 MONOBLOCK AMPS, C1 LINESTAGE PRE-AMP, K1 CD/SACD PLAYER, G1 MASTER RUBIDIUM CLOCK, E02 PHONO-PRE, SILENZIO, AERIAL ACOUSTICS 20T V2, AERIAL SW12 SUBS(2), CANTON REF K1’s, VPI HRX TT w/ SDS POWER SUPPLY, ORTOFON CADENZA BLACK CART, KLAUDIO RCM, SHUNYATA DENALI 6000/S v2, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Bryston/Esoteric System: ESOTERIC C02-X PRE-AMP, P-02X TRANSPORT, D02-X DAC, G02-X CLOCK, BRYSTON 28B3 CUBED MONOBLOCK AMPS, SHUNYATA DENALI 6000/S v2(2) AMR-DP777-SE DAC, SILENZIO, TAD REFERENCE ONE MK2 LOUDSPEAKERS, QUADRASPIRE RACK, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Accuphase/Canton System: ACCUPHASE E650 INTEGRATED, DP560 CD/SACD PLAYER, T1200 FM STEREO TUNER, PS530 POWER SUPPLY, CANTON REF K3’s, CANTON REF K5’s, SILENZIO, HRS MXR REFERENCE MAHOGHANY RACK w/ M3X2 SHELVES, WIREWORLD GOLD CABLES
Bryston Active System: BP26 PRE-AMP, MPS2 POWER SUPPLY, BAX-1 CROSSOVER, BDA-3 DAC, BDP-3 PLAYER, BCD-3 CD PLAYER, BIT15(2), MODEL T ACTIVE SPEAKERS, 21B3 CUBED AMPS, SILENZIO, TARGET RACK, WIREWORLD SILVER CABLES

Accuphase E-800 inbound...
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  #32  
Old 05-30-2019, 05:13 AM
ktliao88 ktliao88 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gfunk View Post
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 $$$ to spend build a system around it, it's an amazing piece. I got the headphone amp too but haven't played with it...great excuse to shop! Anybody with one, what settings do you like? I'm experimenting with buffer off, DXd, and filters 3 and 4, all suggested by my dealer.
Gfunk, does your Bartok shipped with new remote controller?
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  #33  
Old 05-30-2019, 07:14 PM
Gfunk Gfunk is offline
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I didn't get the remote, I have various iPads all over and the dcs apps (there's a new one called Mosaic and one specific to Barrok) work very well. Not quite as handy as a remote, but I didn't feel like spending ca $500 to control the volume.
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  #34  
Old 05-31-2019, 12:00 PM
ktliao88 ktliao88 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gfunk View Post
I picked up a new Bartok over the weekend and am simply amazed. It replaced a McIntosh c2500 preamp with a DAC built in. I'm using the Bartok as a preamp, driving a McIntosh mc452 amp and Wilson Alexia 1 speakers. It's probably the single biggest upgrade I've ever experienced. I was a bit nervous about using it as a pre, but with less than 24 hours out of the box it sounds amazing...and sounded great right out of the box. So clear, clean, and impactful, with, cliched tho 'tis, so much detail that I've never heard before. I would recommend anybody with the $$$ 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.
My Rossini sounds more natural after one month run-in. However I have Rossini player/clock and cables been run-in at same time. I believe your Bartok will sound better after further run-in.

The "buffer off" is good for the sync while playing Youtube.
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  #35  
Old 06-01-2019, 11:16 PM
Gfunk Gfunk is offline
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I am still running it in and it does sound better, now that I'm hit with the upgrade bug, I just ordered a D'Agostino Progression stereo amp to replace my Mac 452. Amazing how one upgrade begets more upgrades! I will be break in that in along with the Bartok.
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  #36  
Old 06-02-2019, 07:35 AM
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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...

All you have to do is install roon on your computer and you can control your music with your ipad
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  #37  
Old 07-20-2019, 07:50 AM
BillK BillK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imprezap2 View Post
I went from Wadia 381i to dCS Rossini, Rossini betters the Wadia in everything IMO.
(no contest)
That's a good first point, though the 381 was decidedly not as good as older Wadia flagships like the S7i?

Anyone else?

I've heard a variety of DACs but no one other than Wadia seems to get that initial transient from a piano hammer right, too often reproducing it more like a metal-on-metal strike than a felt on metal one.
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  #38  
Old 07-21-2019, 04:28 AM
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Try a Rossini, it will outperform the S7i easily, I have listened to the S7i also, step from 381i to S7i is much smaller then S7i to Rossini.
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  #39  
Old 07-21-2019, 08:53 AM
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I owned the Wadia Series 9 and in its time was as good as anything available. It was limited to 24/96 material which is not a big deal but I decided to move on when Wadia decided not to upgrade the units. Those four large pieces did take up a lot of space.
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  #40  
Old 10-31-2019, 07:17 PM
saturdayboy saturdayboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinci92 View Post
I own the Lumin X1. I didn't audition the Bartok yet, but I have the quite the same impressions about my Lumin X1: Very detail mids, lowers to highers. The 3D / Holographic imaging is outstanding. I'm going to set an audition with a dealer soon and and let you know my impressions about the Bartok. My only worry: I'm pretty sure the dealer doesn't have my speakers (Focal Sacla), he uses some Sonus Faber for that kind of high end device.
Did you end up hearing the Bartok? I’d be interested in hearing your impressions.
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