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dCS Bartók APEX: The Next-Generation Bartók

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

The Bartók APEX is the newest offering from dCS - quite possibly the best DAC makers in the world. Check out the story of the APEX. Contact us today to upgrade your Bartók to the APEX or place your order of a new Bartók APEX.


When dCS releases new products, it marks the beginning of a journey that spans the product's life. The engineers at dCS continually research how to improve existing technologies and products, motivated by the goal of delivering unrivaled measured performance and musical experience.



Innovation often comes in the form of software, and the recent Bartók 2.0 software update is a prime example. With this update, dCS improved DSD upsampling and added new filter options, making Mappers originally designed for Vivaldi APEX and Rossini APEX available in Bartók. This update also includes three Mapper settings, DSD128 capability, and an additional filter setting for DSD.



dCS products feature a modular approach to construction, allowing for future upgradeability and offering new hardware to existing owners. This was the case with Vivaldi APEX and Rossini APEX. Units upgraded to Bartók APEX are identical to the new model in every way, including the APEX nameplate on the rear panel.


The new Bartók APEX elevates the listening experience, retaining the original's powerful and detailed soundscape and adding elements of resolution and refinement previously only achievable with Vivaldi or Rossini APEX. It reveals each aspect of a recording with effortless refinement and control, setting a new benchmark for transparency.



The dCS Ring DAC is integral to all dCS DACs and integrated music players and has earned global acclaim for its transparency and fidelity due to the unique combination of proprietary hardware and software, developed from the ground up by dCS engineers. In 2022, dCS released APEX, a significant update to the Ring DAC's hardware, allowing for further enhancement of the musical performance of Vivaldi, Rossini, and Rossini Player.



The latest-generation Ring DAC APEX hardware offers several benefits, including reduced noise and distortion, increased linearity by over 12dB, and improved dynamics, rhythm and timing, soundstage resolution, image focus, blacker backgrounds, and a heightened sense of realism.


The engineering team at dCS made extensive changes to the Ring DAC's hardware for APEX, resulting in a lower output impedance, enhanced filter, summing, and output stages, improved symmetry of summing stages, an all-new output stage, reconfigured main Ring DAC circuit board, and replaced individual transistors on the board with a compound pair.



Hand-assembled at dCS headquarters in Cambridgeshire, England, Bartók APEX is a result of meticulous craft and exhaustive development, inspired by the pursuit of musical purity.



Combining precision engineering with an elegant aesthetic, Bartók APEX offers standard-setting build quality and flexible and upgradeable software and hardware for a state-of-the-art listening experience for years to come.



The Bartók APEX upgrade program will commence in March of 2023 and existing Bartók owners are eligible to purchase upgrades to receive the latest generation hardware without purchasing a new system.



 

Specifications


Dimensions: 444mm / 17.5” x 430mm / 17.0” x 115mm / 4.6“. Allow extra depth for cable connectors


Weight: 16.7kg / 36.8lbs


Converter Type: dCS proprietary Ring DACTM topology


Digital Inputs: Ethernet network port on RJ45 connector, accepts 24-bit 44.1 – 384kS/s PCM, DSD/64 & DSD128 in DFF/DSF format; USB 2.0 interface on B-type connector, accepts 24-bit 44.1 – 384kS/s PCM, DSD/64 & DSD128 in DoP format; USB On-The-Go interface on A-type connector, accepts 24-bit 44.1 – 384kS/s PCM, DSD/64 & DSD128 in DFF/DSF format; 2 x AES/EBU inputs on 3-pin female XLR connectors, accepts 24-bit 44.1 – 192kS/s PCM, DSD/64 & DSD/128 in DoP format; 1 x Dual AES pair, accepts 24-bit 88.2 – 384kS/s PCM, DSD/64 & DSD/128 in DoP format; 1 x SPDIF on RCA Phono connector, accepts 24-bit 44.1 – 192kS/s PCM & DSD/64 in DoP format; 1 x SPDIF on BNC connector, accepts 24-bit 44.1 – 192kS/s PCM & DSD/64 in DoP format; 1 x SPDIF optical on TOSLINK connector, accepts 24-bit 44.1 – 96kS/s PCM


Analog Inputs: 1 x pair balanced outputs on 2 x XLR connectors. Output levels: 0.2V, 0.6V, 2V, 6V rms for a full-scale input, set in the menu. Output impedance: 3Ω. Maximum load: 600Ω (10k-100kΩ is recommended); 1 x pair unbalanced outputs on 2 x RCA connectors. Output levels: 0.2V, 0.6V, 2V, 6V rms for a full-scale input, set in the menu. Output impedance: 52Ω. Maximum load: 600Ω (10k-100kΩ is recommended)


Headphone Outputs: 1 x stereo balanced output 4-pin male XLR connector; 1 x stereo unbalanced output on 6.35mm (1/4”) 3-pole jack. Full-scale output levels: 1.4W rms into 33Ω, 0.15W rms into 300Ω. Minimum headphone impedance: 33Ω


Wordclock I/O: 2 x Word Clock Inputs on 2 x 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. 1 x Word Clock Output on 1x BNC connector. With Sync Mode set to Master, a TTL-compatible Word Clock is output


MQA: Full decoding and rendering of MQA data from the Network and USB2 inputs. Final rendering of unfolded MQA data only from the other inputs


Residual Noise: 24-bit data: Better than –113dB0, 20Hz - 20kHz unweighted (6V output setting)


Left Right Crosstalk: Better than -115dB0, 20Hz – 20kHz


Spurious Responses: Better than -105dB0, 20Hz – 20kHz


Filters: PCM 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

Conversions: DXD as standard or optional DSD upsampling

Software Updates: Download and update functionality available via dCS Mosaic Control app


Local control: dCS Mosaic Control app for unit configuration and playback. RS232 interface (controlled by a 3rd party automation system). dCS Universal Remote is available as an optional extra


Power Supply: Factory set to either 100, 115/120, 220 or 230/240V AC 50/60Hz


Power Consumption: 30 Watts typical / 50 Watts maximum


 

More information about the Ring DAC’s unique architecture, and the advantages this offers, can be found in dCS's digital resource paper, Understanding the dCS Ring DAC.

You can also learn more about dCS’s range of technologies via their online Innovation hub. See dcsaudio.com/innovation for more information.

Read dCS's in-depth article on the development of APEX here.

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