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The Bartók streaming headphone DAC is a new low for dCS

  • Low? At £9,999, the all-new Bartók from dCS is the UK manufacturer’s most affordable D/A converter to date, inheriting the Ring DAC™ circuit and digital processing platform from the Rossini DAC to add network streaming and a suite of traditional digital inputs: AES/EBU, S/PDIF and asynchronous USB.

    From its Ethernet port, the Bartók will offer support for Apple AirPlay, Spotify Connect, Tidal and UPnP. It will also be Roon Ready.

    Sayeth the press release: “Bartók supports all major codecs including high-resolution PCM and DSD, with user-selectable upsampling. The network streaming section currently runs at up to 24-bit, 384kS/s and DSD128, supporting all major lossless codecs, plus DSD in DoP format and native DSD.”

    The Bartók will also decode and render MQA, obviating the need for upstream decoding (unfolding).

    Also showing up on the back panel are single-ended and balanced analogue outputs for a direct connection to a power amplifier. That high-end pre-amplifier just became a little less essential.

    However, it’s what’s on the front panel that is likely to get tongues a-waggin’.

    For an extra £2000, the Bartók DAC becomes the Bartók Headphone DAC with single-ended and balanced headphone socketry fronting a Class A amplification circuit.

    Back to the press release: “The Bartók Headphone DAC features a custom designed headphone amplifier that works extremely well with both high and low impedance headphones in balanced or unbalanced formats. Taking the dCS analogue output stage as a starting point Bartók maintains that level of analogue performance at the same time as being optimized for a range of headphone impedances.”

    Other features include firmware upgradability, an internally-damped machined aluminium, multi-stage power regulation from two mains transformers — one for the DAC circuitry and one for the headphone amplifier.

    Both versions of the dCS Bartók – with or without headphone amplifier – will be available in silver or black finishes. Shipping is scheduled for October 2018.

    Revisit our introduction to dCS, shot at Hong Kong High-End 2016, here.

    Further information: dCS

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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