dCS – Bartók Network DAC with Headphone Amplifier


August, 2018 – dCS proudly announces its Bartók network DAC and headphone amplifier – a singlebox, state-of-the-art digital-to-analogue converter with full network streaming functionality and Class A headphone amplifier.


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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 illustrious dCS range Bartók shares the same DNA as its bigger Rossini brother, featuring the Rossini Ring DAC™, custom high performance UPnP music streamer and dCS digital processing platform inside a simplified chassis that uses only one power supply. As with all dCS DACs Bartók measures best in class across all technical dimensions.

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 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 optimized for a range of headphone impedances.


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Bartók supports all major codecs including high resolution PCM and DSD, with userselectable upsampling. There is a suite of DSP filters to tailor the sound to suit individual taste, and 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 to the highest standards, 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 years after its rivals have become obsolete.

Bartók delivers an immersive experience with precision and detail captured inside a panoramic soundstage. Bartók plays music from any source in a vibrant and musically engaging way, with great dynamics and inky-black silences. This open window and faithfulness to the original recording is now available to headphone lovers too.


  • dCS Bartók network DAC with Class A headphone output (£11,999)
  • dCS Bartók network DAC (£9,999)
  • Latest generation dCS Digital Processing Platform and Ring DAC™
  • Supports UPnP™, asynchronous USB and Apple AirplayTM sources, plus AES and S/PDIF digital audio streams.
  • Class A headphone amplifier stage drives low and high impedance phones
  • Streaming services supported include TIDAL™ and Spotify Connect™.
  • Multi-stage oversampling design, optional DSD upsampling; selectable filters
  • Auto-clocking system improves ease of use and minimises jitter
  • Accepts encrypted SACD data from dCS Transports via Dual AES inputs.
  • Multi-stage power regulation and twin mains transformers
  • Firmware-upgradeable for future functionality and performance upgrades

Late October 2018


TypeUpsampling Network DAC with Headphone Amplifier
ColourSilver or Black
Dimensions444mm / 17.5” x 430mm / 17.0” x 115mm / 4.6“. Allow extra depth for cable connectors.
Weight16.7kg / 36.8lbs
Converter typedCS proprietary Ring DAC™ topology
Digital InputsNetwork interface on an RJ45 connector – acts as a UPnP™ renderer in Asynchronous mode, streaming digital music from a NAS or local computer over a standard Ethernet network, decoding all major lossless formats including FLAC, WAV & AIFF at up to 24 bit 384kS/s native sample rate, plus DSD/64 & DSD/128 in DFF/DSF format. Other formats include WMA, ALAC, MP3, AAC & OGG. Some formats are limited to lower sample rates. Supports Apple AirPlay at 44.1 or 48kS/s. Network Loop Out connector on a second RJ45 connector. USB 2.0 interface on a B-type connector operating in Asynchronous mode, will accept up to 24 bit PCM at up to 384kS/s plus DSD/64 & DSD/128 in DoP format. Operates in Class 1 or 2 mode. USB-on-the-go interface on type A connector operating in Asynchronous mode, streams digital music from a flash drive at up to 24 bit 384kS/s plus DSD/64. 2x AES/EBU on 3-pin female XLR connectors. Each will accept PCM at up to 24 bit 192kS/s or DSD/128 in DoP format. Used as a Dual AES pair, it will accept PCM at up to 384kS/s, DSD/64 & DSD/128 in DoP format or dCS-encrypted DSD. 2x SPDIF on 1x RCA Phono and 1x BNC connectors. Each will accept PCM at up to 24 bit 192kS/s or DSD/64 in DoP format. 1x SPDIF optical on a Toslink connector will accept PCM at up to 24 bit 96kS/s
Analogue OutputsOutput levels: 0.2, 0.6, 2 or 6V rms for full-scale input, set in the menu. Balanced outputs: 1 stereo pair on 2x 3-pin XLR male connectors. These outputs are electronically balanced and floating. Output impedance is 3Ω, maximum load is 600Ω (10k-100kΩ is recommended). Unbalanced outputs: 1 stereo pair on 2x RCA phono connectors. Output impedance is 52Ω, maximum load is 600Ω (10k-100kΩ is recommended).
Headphone Outputs1 stereo balanced pair on 1x 4-way male XLR connector. 1 stereo unbalanced pair on 1x 6.35mm (1/4”) 3-pole jack. Full-scale output levels are 1.4W rms into 33Ω, 0.15W rms into 300Ω. Output levels are 0, -10, -20, -30dB, set in the menu. Minimum headphone impedance is 33Ω.
Wordclock I/Oworldclock Io2x Word Clock Inputs on 2x BNC connectors, accept standard word clock at 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 or 192kHz. The data rate can be the same as the clock rate or an exact multiple of the clock rate. Sensitive to TTL levels. Word Clock Output on 1x BNC connector. In Master mode, a TTL-compatible word clock appears on this output.
MQAFull decoding and rendering of MQA data from the Network and USB2 inputs. Final rendering of unfolded MQA data only from the other inputs.
Residual Noise24-bit data: Better than –113dB0, 20Hz - 20kHz unweighted. (6V output setting)
L R CrosstalkBetter than -115dB0, 20Hz – 20kHz
Spurious ResponsesBetter than -105dB0, 20Hz – 20kHz
FiltersPCM mode: up to 6 filters give different trade-offs between the Nyquist image rejection and the phase response. DSD mode: 4 filters progressively reduce out-of-audio band noise level.
ConversionsDXD as standard or optional DSD upsampling
Software UpdatesDownload and update functionality available via Bartók App
Local ControldCS Bartók app for unit configuration and playback. RS232 interface (controlled by a 3rd party automation system). dCS Universal IR remote control is available as an optional extra.
Power SupplyFactory set to either 100, 115/120, 220 or 230/240V AC 50/60Hz.
Power Consumption30 Watts typical / 50 Watts maximum.


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