dCS has announced its Bartók network DAC and headphone amplifier – a single- box, digital-to-analogue converter with full network streaming functionality and Class A headphone amplifier.

Retailing at £9,999 for the streaming DAC and £11,999 for the streaming DAC with integrated headphone amplifier, the new dCS Bartók DAC brings together dCS’s past, present and future.

Replacing Debussy as the most affordable DAC in the dCS range Bartók shares the same DNA as its bigger Rossini brother, featuring the Rossini Ring DAC™, custom UPnP music streamer and dCS digital processing platform inside a simplified chassis that uses only one power supply.

Bartók plays music through an array of industry-standard USB, AES or S/PDIF digital inputs. It can stream over Ethernet from a NAS drive or online music services such as TIDAL™ or Spotify™, and from Apple devices via Airplay™. The network interface can perform full MQA™ decoding and rendering.

The DAC section is equipped with independent balanced and unbalanced line outputs that can drive power amplifiers directly, avoiding the need for a separate preamplifier.

The Bartók Headphone DAC features a custom designed headphone amplifier that dCS say 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 optimised for a range of headphone impedances.

Bartók supports all major codecs including high resolution PCM and DSD, with user- selectable upsampling. There is a suite of DSP filters to tailor the sound to suit individual taste, and dCs great care has been taken to minimise jitter at all stages with the dCS ‘auto clocking’ architecture. 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.

As with all dCS products, Bartók is designed and built in Great Britain, with aerospace-grade machined aluminium casework damped by internal sound deadening panels to reduce resonance. Multi-stage power regulation is employed, with twin mains transformers to isolate the DAC circuitry from the headphone amplifier. A choice of silver and black finishes is offered.

Firmware can be easily updated via CD, USB or the new automated download and update facility. This lets dCS add new features and improve the performance of Bartók over its lifetime – keeping it contemporary.

Availability: Late October 2018

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