I think I am In Love (Lust?)

I am more than happy with the PSA DS DAC. But I guy can look can’t he?

Positive Feedback Bartok Review

With the Network Bridge built in, a tempting package for sure…


Still on my mind too

SSSSSHHHHHHHHHHH! Stop that! Stop that right now!
If you find a way to do a 30 day home trial please, keep that info to yourself.

EDIT: Oh crap, I read that review. I guess grandma may not get that Iron Lung I promised her. I hope I can make it through March without ordering one of these. Should probably just get the higher up models and be done with it.

These Grand Funk Railroad FLAC files deserve to be heard on great gear!



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Even better to hear Grand Funk “We’re an American Band” on original “urine colored” vinyl as it should be.

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I sold off my DSD and DMP in hopes of moving to the Bartok. I figured it would greatly simplify my headphone and 2-channel setup. I’m still in the process of trying to work out details and funding, but I think it will just be a matter of time before I end up with the Bartok.

Sound Quality is sublime says Darko as well.

It looks like a million dollar piece too, just love all features it has.

But, for well above 10 k I’d expect a DAC that can process DSD 256, Blue Coast Records kind of standardized on that format lately.

Perhaps not that big of a deal as you can buy that music also in DSD 128, but when spending that money I’d look for something playing better formats than my SGCD which is approx 1/10th of the price of the Bartók and that is a bit more future proof.

Nonetheless a great piece of equipment, when you get it enjoy it.

If you look for a cool headphone set here is another one:
T+A Solitaire Headphones and Headphone Amp/DAC

When you get on that page scroll down for the headphone amp/DAC it looks really good.
But, it can not function as a pre amp which is outright silly.

So back to the Bartók.

At $13,500 as a stand alone unit, and $16,250 with an integrated headphone amp, this is not an inexpensive investment.

Yikes, $2,750 for the optional Bartok built-in headphone amp … ouch. I assume the Bartok’s HPA sounds great, but I would be pleasantly surprised if it beat out a standalone/dedicated HPA in the $2K-to-$3K price range.

I am happy with the balanced output on my Monolith by Monoprice Liquid Platinum Balanced Headphone Amplifier by Alex Cavalli, which retails for $800 but is on sale currently for $627.42. If I were going to buy a Bartok, I would get it without the HPA and connect it to the Monolith. And if I were planning to spend the long green on a HPA, I would start by looking at the Violectric HPA V281 and the Benchmark HPA4.

If you didn’t know what this is/what it costs, would you think aesthetically…“Oooohhh - object of lust”? Say, for example, it was the new PS disc spinner. Or a Cambridge Audio streamer.

We can not argue about taste.

So below are my 2 cents on this more than 1.3 million cents device:

Yes, it looks like quality. Straight lines, I like these better than the wave shape milled Aluminum billets that present the front of the more expensive dCS components.

I like the looks of the T+A R-Series and Solitaire headphone amp better, but the Bartók breaths quality all over.

I like the PS Audio Stellar enclosures too.

I am not a big fan of 4 comparably thin wall extruded profiles, screwed together via 4 cast Aluminum, painted, round corners with 4 internal screws and covered with a high gloss lacquer MDF plate on top.

Oh, c’mon - give it a try ; )



To each his own…but I understand your point.

For example, I have a reaction similar to yours (I believe) every time I see a top of the line piece of Esoteric kit.


Yeah - visited my bro’s friend’s place who has the Full Stack. I generally don’t care about this sort of thing, but will admit to thinking, “THAT is the look of $100k worth of gear?” Sterile metal boxes with some sharp Sharpie drawn on it. His dual (mono and stereo) SME TT’s were better.

Elsewhere hereabouts, in the ‘PS Speaker Debacle’ Discussion (that’s a joke, BTW), Piega has recently been mentioned in similar breathless terms, aesthetically. Same feeling about that stuff. Which is to say, no feeling at all other than head-scratching.

So - sorry, just sorted out that you were saying you felt this image was, for you, lustworthy independent of Brand/Price/Function.

If I’ve got that straight, I’m curious what it is about it garners that response.

I kind of did😉

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I like the look off the Bartok and the reported price/performance ratio with the internal Ethernet Bridge. I did not care for the other “80’s Ford Taurus” -looking dCS aesthetic (like the current SOTA Esoteric stuff, which also has weird looking contours “carved” into the boxes).

It could be my ADHD but I want buttons, not “soft” buttons (especially if they change function dependent on the screen grrr!), displays, lots of information and lots of configuration. Has to be properly ergonomic and logically consistent too. Mild preference for silver rather than black at the moment. The box above presented for discussion looks dull, and would not make me consider purchase based on those looks.

Interesting to finally learn about the similarities and differences of the dCS technology compared to the DirectStream DAC. It makes sense that dCS stuff should sound pretty good.

Where the DS switches its output between two states (large positive and large negative voltage) using a 1-bit signal at 11.2896MHz, the dCS Ring DAC runs at a quarter or on newer models a half of that rate with 5-bit signals. I don’t know whether 5 bits means 16 positive levels and 16 negative, or 15 of each plus a zero value. Either way it means that the dCS has something like 24dB less quantization noise to shape and filter out, while the DS retains one or two octaves of additional room in which to shove its own noise.

I really love the DS clocking scheme and the way it samples and tracks incoming signals but I don’t know enough about dCS to really compare. I do know they use dual clocks instead of one, and while that’s normally a good thing, when you are up against the DS it might be a disadvantage.

In digital processing dCS has a lot of experience to draw on and their DACs offer a range of user-selectable filters. They also have fully embraced MQA for what that’s worth. Ted’s upsampling algorithm in the DS is genius in its own way, especially its ability to process PCM and DSD losslessly using the exact same code but we don’t know what his filters sound like because we don’t get to compare them with any other options.

Finally the component selection and build quality. Given that dCS is asking more than double the money of a DS for an entry level ring DAC, it’s not surprising that the product gives the impression of a step up in physical quality, at least in pics.

It’s going to be incredibly interesting to read reviews of the TSS DAC when it ships. The 1-bit strategy taken to extremes, still backed by the most innovative clock management strategy I’ve ever come across. In the meantime I’ll just hope to have a chance to hear one of these Bartok units for comparison.


Your brothers friend has the full DCS stack?
How does it sound to you??