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Hong Kong High-End 2016: a beginner’s guide to dCS

  • Radar Audio are all about the big guns. One of Hong Kong’s largest hifi distributors their brand roster is a who’s who of high-end audio. Unsurprisingly, to their gargantuan 4th floor room at the Audiotechnique-run AV show in 2016 they brought some seriously heavy artillery.

    How heavy? Brands that would ordinarily loom large elsewhere – Mobile Fidelity, AudioQuest and Arcam – were reduced to mere sideshows in a space dominated by Naim Audio at one end and a combination of Magico loudspeakers, Constellation Audio amplifiers and a Continuum turntable at the other. The thirty minute demonstrations that rotated around the room drew BIG numbers of attendees.


    Joining the dots in this big rig was half a million American dollars worth of Nordost wire. The digital front end came from, who else, but dCS – arguably the emperor brand of digital’s über high-end.

    The many tens of thousands of dollars required for a complete Vivaldi treatment keeps dCS from featuring in DAR’s review pages but with the Cambridge company’s Export Sales Manager Raveen Bawa on hand, I thought it a good opportunity to ask our host for a beginner’s guide to dCS products.

    Take it away, Rav:

    We learn that the Vivaldi separates out the key components of digital playback into four boxes – disc transport, up-sampler, DAC and clock – presumably so that each may benefit from the greater cleanliness and lower noise of separate power supplies.

    Also note: 1) instead of using an off-the-shelf decoder chip, dCS build their own ‘Ring DAC’ and 2) the upsampler features a network input for full streaming functionality (Tidal, Spotify etc.)

    Further information: Radar Audio | dCS


    DAR 750 x 290






    John H. Darko

    Written by John H. Darko

    John is the editor of Darko.Audio, from whose ad revenues he derives an income. He is an occasional contributor to 6moons but has previously written pieces for TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile. John used to live in Sydney. Now he lives in Berlin.

    Follow John on YouTube or Twitter


    1. One would think if they really cared about wire having an effect on sound they would minimize wire lengths. Kind of looks like a mess to me.

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