dCS Bartok Sound Signature - some of my favorite albums • Presence and Spatial Accuracy Each instrument resides in aural space, both horizontally and in depth. I have spent many hours listening to live jazz in the club. The feeling of "being there" that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck is the elusive quality that I treasure. the dCS Bartok has it in spades. Chet - Chet Baker (Riverside 1959 - Keep-news Collection) The interplay between Chet’s trumpet, Pepper Adams baritone sax, Herbie Mann’s alto flute, Bill Evan’s piano, Paul Chamber’s bass and Philly Joe Jones drums ▾ Treble Many systems can deliver soaring and edgy treble, but it is the nuance and delicacy that the dCS Bartok brings to the listening experience that moves me emotionally - and that's what it is all about. Scheherazade- Fritz Reiner - Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1960 RCA) The opening track The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship starts with a violin solo which is so beautiful and delicate that it can get lost on other systems. The dCS Bartók brings out this solo with such clarity and precision, that it brought tears to my eyes. ▾ Midrange This DAC/AMP is nothing short of "delicious" in the way that it renders vocal presentation. The clarity and detail are so natural, it is as if they are singing right next to your ear, nothing forced or edgy. So clear you can hear every nuance of their voice and breath. Several great examples that I loved were: • Love Scenes: Diana Krall (1997 Impulse! Records) • Come Away with Me: Nora Jones (2002 Bluenote) • The Carpenters - Singles 1969-1981 - Karen Carpenter (2000 A&M Records) • Magnificat - Arenesen (2014 2L) ▾ Bass If there is one thing that I cannot stand, it is "muddy" bass. So many systems over-drive the bass presentation and ruins it in the process. The bass delivered by the dCS Bartok is crisp and clean and deep, without drawing attention to itself. The enhancement of bass can be a real distraction from the music - when you just want to hear the music being played as it would be in a club. Two excellent examples of this quality are: • Wood - Brian Bromberg (2002 A440 Music Group) • Cross-Platform Interchange - Misha Mullov-Abado (2017 Edition Records) MQA: The Bartok's ability to render MQA encoded streams on Tidal is a big plus for me, as I can appreciate the time correction that MQA can bring to the party, eliminating some of the "time-smearing" which was evident in the original release. MQA is not as good as well mastered DSD high resolution files, but the tradeoff of being able to discover and stream a huge number of songs is well worth it to me. ROON: I use the dCS Bartok with Roon Remote running on an iPad Pro 12.9; Roon Core running on a Roon Nucleus; and the Roon Ready dCS Bartok for rendering. I use a pair of Focal Utopia headphones with a balanced Transparent Ultra cable with mini XLR4 connections the Bartok. It is a great combination, and contributes to the overall quality of the music listening experience. Summary: the dCS Bartok gets just about everything very right IMHO. It is consistently a pleasure to listen to, and is non-fatiguing. Caveat: As is always the case, the original mike placement and mastering have a lot to do with the quality of the recording, and the Bartok cannot make up for substandard recording or mastering.