The dCS Bartok is a state-of-the-art, groundbreaking DAC/Streamer/Preamp combo, and the latest piece of magnificent audio gear from our friends across the pond at dCS. Borrowing heavily from the technology in the acclaimed dCS Rossini system, including the renowned dCS Ring DAC and signal processing platform, the new Bartok has the additional benefits of it’s own unique headphone amplification circuit, and a brand new high-performance UPnP music streamer. All of this acclaimed dCS technology is built into one sleek body, machined from military-grade aluminum. And that’s just what comes inside the box…
One of the best features dCS has to offer (on all of it’s current lineup of products) is periodic software updates. That means that you never have to worry about owning outdated technology. Each software update is designed to bring your dCS into the future, enabling it to support whatever type of format we’ll be listening to 5 years from now, and increasing the sonic performance of your favorite music.
dCS has become the de facto name when thinking of high-quality music playback in the digital realm. The Bartok only serves to add to that legacy. Whether you stream music from a service, or listen to music accessed from a computer, or even watch TV through your sound system, the Bartok is there to help it all sound more natural, more precise, and more engaging. The masters at dCS have yet again delivered an exceptional product to help us all appreciate our music better than ever before.
“Like every other dCS DAC I’ve owned or reviewed, they always manage to hit a perfect tonal balance, combined with wide dynamic range and a natural presentation that never feels digital at all. Good as their last entry-level piece the Debussy was ($11k about 8 years ago), the new Bartok at $13,500 (and $15,000 with a built-in headphone amp) offers quite a bit more. By comparison, many of your favorite automobiles have gone up in price by a much greater percentage”
Why does it cost so much? That’s a perfectly fair question to ask of a product that costs as much as dCS’s Bartók streaming DAC does.
The simple answer is that it’s a product of a small high-end digital specialist that refuses to cut corners when it comes to engineering and build. Economies of scale aren’t on the Bartók’s side either.
Yet it remains the cheapest way to get a digital-to-analogue converter with a dCS nameplate. The next model up, the Rossini DAC, costs significantly more and lacks the option of a dedicated headphone amplifier.