BARTÓK

Headphone DAC

A New Paradigm

Our multi-award-winning all-in-one system combines a powerful network streaming DAC and Class A headphone amplifier in a single, elegant chassis.  Its innovative analogue design and state-of-the-art digital processing brings a new standard of performance to headphone playback

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Flexible, powerful and deeply musical

The Bartók Headphone DAC was created for a growing community of music lovers who enjoy listening on headphones. Inspired by the passion and enthusiasm of the headfi community, we set out to deliver a product that could serve both occasional and dedicated headphone listeners.

We began with the dCS Bartók Network DAC, a powerful and versatile single-box playback system with in-built upsampler, music streamer and preamp, and added a custom Class A headphone amplifier developed in-house by dCS engineers - a team with over 30 years’ experience in analogue design and amplification.

 

The resulting system combines renowned technologies from our world-leading hi-fi products - including the latest generation dCS Ring DAC™ and Digital Processing Platform - with a unique output stage that is every bit as innovative and meticulously crafted.

Each aspect of the Bartók Headphone DAC has been honed and refined to deliver the finest possible sound, with the lowest possible levels of distortion and noise. Its combination of world-class analogue design and proprietary technology provides a revelatory experience for headphone listeners.

The Bartók Headphone DAC delivers all the performance hallmarks you’d expect from a dCS system: transparency, neutrality, and a performance that is technically precise and deeply musical. Its crisp, clear playback renders even the finest details in sharp focus, uncovering subtleties that most systems fail to reveal.

Viewed through its transparent lens, music feels both raw and defined, with each strand of sound unearthed to present an image with a tangible sense of rhythmic movement and life. With its unrelenting precision and poise, it cuts straight to the heart and soul of a recording, revealing not just the craft and musicianship in a performance, but the emotion, drama and atmosphere, too.

Used as part of a traditional stereo setup, the Bartók delivers outstanding sound from any digital source, be it a streaming service, PC, tablet, DAP, NAS drive or networked device. Connected to headphones, it offers the same quality, clarity, ease of use and astounding fidelity, whatever your chosen genre or audio format.

Designed and hand-assembled at our headquarters in Cambridgeshire, England, it features a technical DNA that is unique to dCS, and a flexible architecture that can be updated to deliver new product features and performance enhancements via simple software updates. This novel approach allows us to ensure it delivers a state-of-the-art listening experience for years to come.

Each system is encased in aerospace grade aluminium, a material chosen for its acoustic properties, and fitted with internal acoustic damping panels to reduce mechanical vibration and magnetic effects. Panels are sculpted using state-of-the-art milling machines and treated with a smooth pearlescent coating for a durable and elegant finish.

Unique in its ability to serve both headphone and stereo playback, it is designed with equal focus on performance and ease of use. Playback is easily managed via the dCS Mosaic Control app, which allows you to access music from multiple sources and control the settings on your dCS system through a single, intuitive interface.

Key Features & Specifications

Bartók Headphone DAC Key Features

  • Latest generation dCS Digital Processing Platform brings state-of-the-art signal processing and flexibility
  • dCS Ring DAC™ fitted, as used in the dCS Vivaldi digital playback system
  • High-quality streaming from TIDAL, Qobuz, Deezer and internet radio via the dCS Mosaic Control app
  • Roon Ready, AirPlay, Spotify Connect and UPnP compatible
  • USB, AES, Dual AES and S/PDIF digital audio inputs
  • Headphone amplifier with balanced and unbalanced outputs, suitable for high and low impedance headphones
  • Accepts encrypted SACD data from dCS Transports via Dual AES inputs. Oversampling design with switchable DSD upsampling; user-selectable PCM and DSD filters
  • Multi-stage DXD oversampling design with switchable DSD upsampling; user-selectable PCM and DSD filters
  • Auto clocking system improves ease of use and minimises jitter
  • Multi-stage power regulation and twin mains transformers to isolate the DAC section from the headphone amplifier
  • Firmware-upgradeable for future functionality and performance upgrades

Specifications

  • Upsampling Network DAC with Headphone Amplifier
  • Silver or Black
  • 444mm / 17.5” x 430mm / 17.0” x 115mm / 4.6“. Allow extra depth for cable connectors
  • 16.7kg / 36.8lbs
  • dCS proprietary Ring DAC™ topology
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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
  • Full decoding and rendering of MQA data from the Network and USB2 inputs. Final rendering of unfolded MQA data only from the other inputs
  • 24-bit data: Better than –113dB0, 20Hz - 20kHz unweighted (6V output setting)
  • Better than -115dB0, 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Better than -105dB0, 20Hz – 20kHz
  • 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
  • DXD as standard or optional DSD upsampling
  • Download and update functionality available via dCS Mosaic Control app
  • 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
  • Factory set to either 100, 115/120, 220 or 230/240V AC 50/60Hz
  • 30 Watts typical / 50 Watts maximum

HeadFi Reimagined

The Bartók Headphone DAC’s custom headphone amplifier embodies our uncompromising approach to design. Starting with the dCS analogue output stage, benchmark performance is maintained with true Class A operation through its balanced and unbalanced outputs.

Engineered to deliver an extraordinary musical experience, it drives both high and low impedance headphones in balanced and unbalanced formats, and effortlessly handles a vast range of headphone models, regardless of their efficiency or impedance.

Its design features dedicated power supplies for analogue and digital processing, which are isolated from the DAC section of the system for enhanced precision with minimal crosstalk and noise. This architecture allows us to deliver a powerful and transparent performance that uncovers the unique character and potential of your chosen headphones.

Headphone use is simple: just plug in your chosen pair, switch the line output and adjust volume levels using the volume dial or our Mosaic control app (no need for a separate preamp). With a choice of four adjustable gain settings, you can adjust its performance to suit your setup, ensuring optimal sound across a vast range of systems.

Along with its groundbreaking amplifier, the Bartók Headphone DAC features a unique processing platform that reimagines how sound is optimised for headphones. Expanse is an optional feature that can be engaged with a wide range of stereo recordings to provide an even greater sense of realism, space and depth.

As with all dCS products, the Bartók Headphone DAC is engineered to exacting standards, and put through exhaustive performance tests prior to leaving our factory, so we can be confident it delivers the highest levels of quality and reliability.

Reviews

“The Bartók worked flawlessly, delivering hours of superb listening”

- The Audio Beat

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“An enormously detailed yet immersive sound that’s high on both emotion and entertainment”

- Hi-Fi News

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“The performance of the Bartók is nothing short of breathtaking. It is probably the most natural-sounding and detailed amp/DAC combo I have reviewed to date”

- Headfonics

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“The Bartók is in the top of its class…. This is a player than I can listen to for 12-16 hours a day (and have on many occasions) with zero fatigue”

- Tone Audio

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“Digitally streamed music through the Bartòk feels entirely joined-up and full of rhythmic transient movement and life”

- Hi-Fi Plus

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“Don’t buy a new car. Buy a dCS Bartòk”

- Darko Audio - YouTube

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“It was like being taken back to the day of the recording, with a vast soundstage that was truly holographic”

- Stereonet

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“A truly spectacular product”

- Ethan Opolion, Producer, CanJam Global

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“It has sprung surprises from the moment I started listening and redefined some elements of what I felt to be possible.”

- avforums

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Support

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