Go for APEX upgrade and add master clock as your finances permits. The overall cost is more with external master clock but you will appreciate the latest DAC and SOTA performance with external clock. I cannot stress enough the importance of master clock with devices that allows you connect external master clock. Once you hear Bartok with external clock like Mutec Ref 10SE, you won’t be able to go back!
“Lina is a new DAC from DCS, basically a bartok without the preamp”
I believe Lina would be a step back from Bartok. Even though the Ring DAC design is the core dCS technology at the heart of their DACs, the Bartok and the Lina are aimed at different uses and as such have different places where they would excel. I do recall reading somewhere, in head to head comparison; Bartok by contrast has a slightly deeper, and wider soundstage. Not to mention, physical casework on the Bartok allows for better isolation of the various subsections of the DAC.
Many of the Lina DAC reviews compare to Bartok, but I have not seen any Bartok APEX reviews yet (Bartok APEX was only announced on Feb 7th).
Rossini APEX and Vivaldi APEX are supposedly very significant improvement over the non-APEX versions.
I have only heard Lina DAC in my system and like it very much.
In my opinion, putting more money on bright and veiled sounding DCS DAC or CDP is a bad investment. They all sound bright, veiled and glare with more money or not. The difference is small behind the veil/glare anyway?
Listen to DCSs
I like my Wavetouch modded Oppo BDP-95's sound better at the fraction of DCS prices.
Original music for reference.
Yes I heard the Rossini Apex it makes the old Bartok sound like a squishy toy.
Apex is 3 improvements. The processors are twice as fast, the software is sleeker and analog stage improvements. It’s night/day. It’s more natural and less digititus.
I would upgrade the Bartok or save 40k for the Rossini Apex and buy a better DAC.
don’t master clock anything until you can upgrade the fundamentals.
the Lina is a bauble for headphone children to upgrade from their Chinese made Holo May that isn’t as dynamic.
OR you can just buy a Mola Mola Tambaqui and sell your Bartok and save thousands and thousands and have a better DAC then the Bartok Apex will ever be!
Geez, some serious hate in the Bartok and dCS here. I have the Bartok (non-Apex) and Rossini Apex, and can assure you they both sound amazing, and definitely not bright. Is there more air and a little more detail in the Rossini, sure. But if you weren’t listening to them side by side, they’d both be incredible.
@designsfx we can only speculate, I suspect there’s something off putting about a company coming out with an upgrade option that expensive. Same thing happened with totaldac, saw an unusual number of those on the used market, when their latest upgrades were announced (bearing in mind it’s a boutique within a boutique in terms of size of customer base)…a “night/day” upgrade makes you think, was what I had before really not all that good in the first place? Let me try something else.
Grateful that my DAC hasn’t had any upgrades for 6 yrs, though if they did announce one, I couldn’t help but me curious. A dealer once told me digital is easy these days, it’s the analog output stage that really separates brands…get something with a killer output and you’ll quickly lose any interest you may once have had keeping up with the Joneses
I haven’t heard it personally but my dCS dealer told me that Apex upgrade was substantial and worth pursuing. I honestly don’t care for dCS as a brand, firstly its house sound and their policies for 2nd hand customers (upgrades and warranty).
I feel very fortunate to invest in a DAC that doesn’t do frequent upgrades and provides full support to all end users. 3 plus years, I haven’t felt the desire to upgrade to anything else out there.