dCS Bartok
Sep 26, 2021 at 12:50 PM Post #1,006 of 1,102

llamaluv

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The best source/connection for dCS DACs is always going to be ethernet. You can use other inputs but the sound won't be as good. Try the preferred source and see what you think. You can have them load some songs on to their networked roon server or whatever they use.
Thanks, good to know!

So do you think opting for streaming over ethernet versus files on a USB stick is important enough to do for auditioning purposes?
 
Sep 26, 2021 at 3:08 PM Post #1,007 of 1,102

edwardsean

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My setup is Macbook to SRC-DX to Opto-DX to BNC to DAVE. Everything before the DAC is on batteries. I like this setup a lot compared to other things I've used.

I upsample using PGGB and sometimes HQPlayer. And highly prefer PGGB to MScaler. If I do go the Bartok route, I'd for sure experiment with it, though my decision to get one won't be conditional on how it responds to pre-DAC upsampling. Also, the thinness I heard thru the Bartok headphone-out was well beyond what any upsampling could affect. Good to know about Bartok having a non-OS mode though, for sure.
It is always such a fascinating thing, how differently we hear. If I understand you correctly, you find the Bartok (w/ headphone out) to have a tonal thinness compared to the Dave, which is the exact opposite of many other experiences including my own. I find dCS, including the Bartok, to have a fuller, even glamorous sound, esp. in the midband. It is Chord and Dave’s tendency toward a “thin/bright/analytic” sound that motivates people to either move to dCS or invest in solutions like the retrofit power supplies by Sean Jacobs. Even more so, your findings are with a MacBook as a source which only has a negative effect on any kind of tonal richness, density, and texture.

I am in no way devaluing what you’re hearing, and it may just be that we are describing different aspects of the sound in different terms. Also, comparisons with Dave and Bartok are so difficult to generalize. The Bartok’s design is self-contained (though you certainly don’t have to use it that way). Dave, as you well know, becomes a base to build upon in any number of directions, with radically transformative results. In any case, I really look forward to your upcoming impressions! I love my Dave setup, but I so enjoy exploring the similarities and differences between these world-class FPGA d/a gambits: Dave v. dCS v. Mola Mola.
 
Sep 26, 2021 at 4:58 PM Post #1,008 of 1,102

llamaluv

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I find dCS, including the Bartok, to have a fuller, even glamorous sound, esp. in the midband. It is Chord and Dave’s tendency toward a “thin/bright/analytic” sound that motivates people to either move to dCS
The DAVE in my setup is rich and tonally dense to my ears. If anything, it can be too much so, at the expense of some separation, nuance, and resolution in the treble.

The Bartok I heard at the shop was the opposite to that, for both the better and for the worse, but as I mentioned, I suspect something about the setup was off.

My impressions tend to line up fairly consistently with that of other audiophile pals when evaluating the same stuff, and I've never heard any credible criticisms of the Bartok sounding like what I heard the other day, so I'm suspecting the tonality issues were due to something particular. It was almost bleached sounding (lacking in color and low-end dynamics). I doubt this is a case of "we all hear different" and all that, but more like, something is actually off about the setup I heard. Though it it was nevertheless able to convey a lot of really interesting qualities that has me very much interested.

If this was a piece of gear in say the $2000-3000 range, I would totally just get it, and proceed on the assumption that I'd be able to set it up to my liking. But with the stakes this high... I totally have to revisit the DAC with the adjustments mentioned earlier (using my own external amp, asking for it to be taken off the power conditioner, possibly trying another headphone as well) to be sure of what I'm now only just assuming -- that it's a DAC that I'm going to like a lot, and more so that what I currently have.
 
Sep 26, 2021 at 5:21 PM Post #1,009 of 1,102

edwardsean

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The DAVE in my setup is rich and tonally dense to my ears. If anything, it can be too much so, at the expense of some separation, nuance, and resolution in the treble.

The Bartok I heard at the shop was the opposite to that, for both the better and for the worse, but as I mentioned, I suspect something about the setup was off.

My impressions tend to line up fairly consistently with that of other audiophile pals when evaluating the same stuff, and I've never heard any credible criticisms of the Bartok sounding like what I heard the other day, so I'm suspecting the tonality issues were due to something particular. It was almost bleached sounding (lacking in color and low-end dynamics). I doubt this is a case of "we all hear different" and all that, but more like, something is actually off about the setup I heard. Though it it was nevertheless able to convey a lot of really interesting qualities that has me very much interested.

If this was a piece of gear in say the $2000-3000 range, I would totally just get it, and proceed on the assumption that I'd be able to set it up to my liking. But with the stakes this high... I totally have to revisit the DAC with the adjustments mentioned earlier (using my own external amp, asking for it to be taken off the power conditioner, possibly trying another headphone as well) to be sure of what I'm now only just assuming -- that it's a DAC that I'm going to like a lot, and more so that what I currently have.

I think I see now. Right, it is not a matter of subjective differences in hearing.

You aren’t comparing [DAVE+headphone out] vs. [Bartok+headphone out]. You are comparing [DAVE+Amplifier out (Bakoon?) ] vs. [Bartok+headphone out]. Correct?

In that case, your impressions do line up completely with, at least, many many others.

It’s not the DAVE, in and of itself, that is too “rich and tonally dense… at the expense of some separation, nuance, and resolution in the treble.” This is the perfectly opposite description of DAVE+headphone out. This is often the description of those that use Dave with an external amplifier. This typically triggers everyone else on the Dave thread to chastise them for using the Dave “incorrectly.”

But, we’re all after the same thing, transparency/resolution AND tonal richness/density. To me, there are many roads to this whether you approach it from the Chord, dCS, or Mola Mola route. But, only those three. Everything else is trash (totally kidding!).
 
Sep 26, 2021 at 5:43 PM Post #1,010 of 1,102

edwardsean

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In regard to the Bartok setup being off, that is interesting. Could it be the effects of power conditioning, maybe right?

I think someone on this thread mentioned the importance of the power cable, however, I experimented with my SynRes Atmosphere Lvl 3 cable on the Bartok. It works beautifully on the Sean Jacobs supply for my Dave, but curiously the effect on the Bartok was something I could also describe as “bleaching.”

For what it’s worth I liked the Bartok best plugged straight into the wall.
 
Sep 26, 2021 at 6:37 PM Post #1,011 of 1,102

llamaluv

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For what it’s worth I liked the Bartok best plugged straight into the wall.
Oh good, that's also good to know.

I haven't followed too much about the Bartok up til this point, but this time around (if I do end up getting one), I'm going to pay more attention to other users' experiences and whatever coalesced, collective wisdom that exists. :D

But, we’re all after the same thing, transparency/resolution AND tonal richness/density.
Hehe yea, totally.
 
Sep 26, 2021 at 8:14 PM Post #1,012 of 1,102

SuperBurrito

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Thanks, good to know!

So do you think opting for streaming over ethernet versus files on a USB stick is important enough to do for auditioning purposes?
I can't say for sure, but definitely try the Bartok through the ethernet connection if you go to the dealer again. That way there is zero concern about the USB possibly degrading the sound.

To me one of the huge selling points of dCS vs Dave is that you don't have to deal with decrapifying the USB stream and all that additional cost and complexity. A $20 Bluejeans Cat 6 cable which is certified to be within spec will be perfect.

Same goes for clock cables if you go that route. $100 on 2 Geistnote clock cables is all you need. Much cheaper than $2k for the the recommended Wave Storm cables between the Dave and Mscaler.
 
Sep 26, 2021 at 9:44 PM Post #1,014 of 1,102

edwardsean

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I can't say for sure, but definitely try the Bartok through the ethernet connection if you go to the dealer again. That way there is zero concern about the USB possibly degrading the sound.

To me one of the huge selling points of dCS vs Dave is that you don't have to deal with decrapifying the USB stream and all that additional cost and complexity. A $20 Bluejeans Cat 6 cable which is certified to be within spec will be perfect.

Same goes for clock cables if you go that route. $100 on 2 Geistnote clock cables is all you need. Much cheaper than $2k for the the recommended Wave Storm cables between the Dave and Mscaler.
As someone who has made a huge investment into cleaning up their USB chain (optical isolation+LPS, Innuos Phoenix, Sablon 2020, SRC-DX into dual HFC-CT2, etc.) I totally get you.

At the same time, ethernet network connections are not without their own problems and noise to deal with. There are real differences in connection protocols, to be sure, but part of it also has to do with the quality of implementation.

I agree with Ken:
Why not try both.
 
Sep 26, 2021 at 11:44 PM Post #1,015 of 1,102

Lucky87

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The DAVE in my setup is rich and tonally dense to my ears. If anything, it can be too much so, at the expense of some separation, nuance, and resolution in the treble.

The Bartok I heard at the shop was the opposite to that, for both the better and for the worse, but as I mentioned, I suspect something about the setup was off.

My impressions tend to line up fairly consistently with that of other audiophile pals when evaluating the same stuff, and I've never heard any credible criticisms of the Bartok sounding like what I heard the other day, so I'm suspecting the tonality issues were due to something particular. It was almost bleached sounding (lacking in color and low-end dynamics). I doubt this is a case of "we all hear different" and all that, but more like, something is actually off about the setup I heard. Though it it was nevertheless able to convey a lot of really interesting qualities that has me very much interested.

If this was a piece of gear in say the $2000-3000 range, I would totally just get it, and proceed on the assumption that I'd be able to set it up to my liking. But with the stakes this high... I totally have to revisit the DAC with the adjustments mentioned earlier (using my own external amp, asking for it to be taken off the power conditioner, possibly trying another headphone as well) to be sure of what I'm now only just assuming -- that it's a DAC that I'm going to like a lot, and more so that what I currently have.
I have to agree with what you experienced because I felt the exact same way. First time was with the Bartok and the Utopia, Susvara, and the Arya out of the headphone amp of the Bartok. It was really good but it felt cold (dealer had it playing for 1 hour to warm up) and dry sounding compared to the Dave and my setup. But when I audition it my thought process was it has to play with my WA33 Elite with KR HP tubes setup. So I called my dealer for a second audition and brought the beast with me 60 pounds WA33 EE with the Susvara and 1266 Phi TC and it improved but it was still there the cold and dry sound like something was still off. I listened in a private room no distractions for at least 2 hours. Then I made the mistake of asking them to setup with the Rossini and it sounded amazing warmer and less dry from the Bartok. I understand when people say the Dave sounds like this as well it did for me tell I started using JPS Labs DIGITAL AC -X power cable for the Dave and it basically took it away completely. I really really wanted to upgrade to the Bartok for a all in one box solution but with the price increase I felt it was not worth the upgrade and I am not a fan of MQA. My biggest sound improvements have been with the Dave/MScaler, WA33 Elite with upgraded KR HP tubes was HUGE and the JPS Labs DIGITAL AC -X power cable and Kaptovator Lite for the WA33. And recently started listening via APPLE MUSIC lossless and another HUGE improvement compared to Roon, Tidal, and Qobuz.
I want to check out the Holo May, and Mola Mola.
 

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Sep 26, 2021 at 11:56 PM Post #1,016 of 1,102

tomwoo

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I have to agree with what you experienced because I felt the exact same way. First time was with the Bartok and the Utopia, Susvara, and the Arya out of the headphone amp of the Bartok. It was really good but it felt cold (dealer had it playing for 1 hour to warm up) and dry sounding compared to the Dave and my setup. But when I audition it my thought process was it has to play with my WA33 Elite with KR HP tubes setup. So I called my dealer for a second audition and brought the beast with me 60 pounds WA33 EE with the Susvara and 1266 Phi TC and it improved but it was still there the cold and dry sound like something was still off. I listened in a private room no distractions for at least 2 hours. Then I made the mistake of asking them to setup with the Rossini and it sounded amazing warmer and less dry from the Bartok. I understand when people say the Dave sounds like this as well it did for me tell I started using JPS Labs DIGITAL AC -X power cable for the Dave and it basically took it away completely. I really really wanted to upgrade to the Bartok for a all in one box solution but with the price increase I felt it was not worth the upgrade and I am not a fan of MQA. My biggest sound improvements have been with the Dave/MScaler, WA33 Elite with upgraded KR HP tubes was HUGE and the JPS Labs DIGITAL AC -X power cable and Kaptovator Lite for the WA33. And recently started listening via APPLE MUSIC lossless and another HUGE improvement compared to Roon, Tidal, and Qobuz.
I want to check out the Holo May, and Mola Mola.
Apple music is a HUGE improvement to Roon, Tidal and Qobuz? It's not even bit-perfect on PC/Mac...
 
Sep 27, 2021 at 12:09 AM Post #1,017 of 1,102

Ciggavelli

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I have to agree with what you experienced because I felt the exact same way. First time was with the Bartok and the Utopia, Susvara, and the Arya out of the headphone amp of the Bartok. It was really good but it felt cold (dealer had it playing for 1 hour to warm up) and dry sounding compared to the Dave and my setup. But when I audition it my thought process was it has to play with my WA33 Elite with KR HP tubes setup. So I called my dealer for a second audition and brought the beast with me 60 pounds WA33 EE with the Susvara and 1266 Phi TC and it improved but it was still there the cold and dry sound like something was still off. I listened in a private room no distractions for at least 2 hours. Then I made the mistake of asking them to setup with the Rossini and it sounded amazing warmer and less dry from the Bartok. I understand when people say the Dave sounds like this as well it did for me tell I started using JPS Labs DIGITAL AC -X power cable for the Dave and it basically took it away completely. I really really wanted to upgrade to the Bartok for a all in one box solution but with the price increase I felt it was not worth the upgrade and I am not a fan of MQA. My biggest sound improvements have been with the Dave/MScaler, WA33 Elite with upgraded KR HP tubes was HUGE and the JPS Labs DIGITAL AC -X power cable and Kaptovator Lite for the WA33. And recently started listening via APPLE MUSIC lossless and another HUGE improvement compared to Roon, Tidal, and Qobuz.
I want to check out the Holo May, and Mola Mola.
I was debating between the Rossini and clock or getting the Sean Jacobs DC4 psu for my DAVE and M-Scaler. I decided upon the DC4 PSUs. It’s a big improvement from the stock DAVE and M-Scaler power supplies. I highly recommend it
 
Sep 27, 2021 at 12:52 AM Post #1,018 of 1,102

edwardsean

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I was debating between the Rossini and clock or getting the Sean Jacobs DC4 psu for my DAVE and M-Scaler. I decided upon the DC4 PSUs. It’s a big improvement from the stock DAVE and M-Scaler power supplies. I highly recommend it
Hey, curious, did you try the Rossini before you made your decision or was it just working it out in your head?
 
Sep 27, 2021 at 1:02 AM Post #1,019 of 1,102

Ciggavelli

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Hey, curious, did you try the Rossini before you made your decision or was it just working it out in your head?
Just working it out in my head. There are no HiFi stores around me unfortunately
 
Sep 27, 2021 at 1:50 AM Post #1,020 of 1,102

DJJEZ

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I have to agree with what you experienced because I felt the exact same way. First time was with the Bartok and the Utopia, Susvara, and the Arya out of the headphone amp of the Bartok. It was really good but it felt cold (dealer had it playing for 1 hour to warm up) and dry sounding compared to the Dave and my setup. But when I audition it my thought process was it has to play with my WA33 Elite with KR HP tubes setup. So I called my dealer for a second audition and brought the beast with me 60 pounds WA33 EE with the Susvara and 1266 Phi TC and it improved but it was still there the cold and dry sound like something was still off. I listened in a private room no distractions for at least 2 hours. Then I made the mistake of asking them to setup with the Rossini and it sounded amazing warmer and less dry from the Bartok. I understand when people say the Dave sounds like this as well it did for me tell I started using JPS Labs DIGITAL AC -X power cable for the Dave and it basically took it away completely. I really really wanted to upgrade to the Bartok for a all in one box solution but with the price increase I felt it was not worth the upgrade and I am not a fan of MQA. My biggest sound improvements have been with the Dave/MScaler, WA33 Elite with upgraded KR HP tubes was HUGE and the JPS Labs DIGITAL AC -X power cable and Kaptovator Lite for the WA33. And recently started listening via APPLE MUSIC lossless and another HUGE improvement compared to Roon, Tidal, and Qobuz.
I want to check out the Holo May, and Mola Mola.
What did the JPS digital AC-X add to your dave compared to stock?
 

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