Following the release of its Network Bridge, dCS Limited has taken a further step into the world of network playback with the release of the Bartók, a streaming DAC that also includes a headphone amp.
Featuring technology developed for the Rossini range, the Bartók uses the firm’s proprietary Ring DAC, but links its D/A conversion and DSP capabilities to a UPnP music streamer. The headphone amplifier offers both balanced and single-ended outputs.
The Bartók’s multistage upsampling DAC upsamples to DXD by default, but can also perform DSD upsampling. A variety of DSP filters allow users to tailor the sound to suit personal preference or music style.
Digital inputs include single-ended and AES/EBU, as well as an asynchronous USB Type B. Streaming via Ethernet includes access to streaming services such as Tidal and Spotify, while UPnP compatibility allows access to NAS-based music libraries.
The Bartók features balanced and single-ended analogue outputs. The maximum output levels of all outputs can be set in four steps – 0.2, 0.6, 2 or 6Vrms for optimum system compatibility. The outputs are able to drive power amplifiers directly, making the use of a standalone pre-amplifier unnecessary in an all-digital source system.
The network interface supports PCM up to 384 kHz/24-bit and DSD128, and is compatible with all major lossless file formats, as well as DSD, either natively or via DoP. It unfolds MQA files sourced via the network, or the USB input. As the Network Bridge is also recognised as a Roon endpoint, the Bartók should feature the same capability, although there is no mention of it in the dCS release.
The Bartók employs the dCS-developed auto clocking feature first seen on the Vivaldi DAC. In addition, word clock inputs allow even more accurate clocking using a standalone word clock.
A new control interface and dedicated app allows for seamless control of the Bartók’s feature set, including accessing on-line radio channels, as well as digital and UPnP sources, selecting DSP filtering and updating firmware. Apple AirPlay is supported, too.
Under the all-aluminium casework, multi-stage power regulation features dual mains transformers to separate the DAC section from the headphone amplifier.