A new dCS product... possibly :-)

Hello everyone,

While watching a flattering review of the Bartok, I noticed that the reviewer was happy with the DAC/streamer, nothing really surprising, but he was almost happier with the headphone amp inside the Bartok…Here is my suggestion for a new dCS product: a stand alone headphone amplifier in a box like the Network Bridge.
That way people like me, with a Vivaldi Dac and a Network Brigde would have an excellent and well matching (aesthetically) headphone amp :slight_smile:

Anyone else interested? As dCS doesn’t make bespoke products like John Lobb, I guess we need to be more than one to get them considering a customer suggestion :slight_smile:

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I’d like dCS to go mobile. Shrink their RingDAC to make a portable headphone/DAC amp. You can see how successful Chord have done in this field, so I hope it’s a path dCS will consider.

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OK, so give us a little more information on your use case. Would you connect this amplifier to the unused outputs on your Vivaldi or to an output on a preamp? Do you run your Vivaldi amp-direct?

A built in headphone amplifier is really a completely different product from a stand-alone one, which will in turn tempt people to request a full line of dCS amplification equipment…

But while we’re playing, a Stax-compatible headphone amp, matching the Rossini case, please. Balanced in and out. It might even be possible still to use the Rossini volume control for the whole system.

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Sorry I replied by mail…but the short version for sharing with forum members is: I use a preamplifier because I need a phono input. Therefore it would be a dCS headphone amp linked with the preamplifier for late night listening sessions.
Half width of a NB box would be great :slight_smile:
And if it is the first step of dCS in world class amplification…I can’t see that as an issue…Totaldac is now selling an amplifier…no one complained until now :slight_smile:

I like the idea of a dCS headphone amp. The driving capabilities of the Bartok implementation are very attractive.

However I would not want to lose the sophisticated crossfeed capabilities of my SPL Phonitor 2 headphone amp. Also many headphone enthusiasts like to EQ their cans.

As Andrew raised the point I would prefer to drive it from the unused outputs of my Vivaldi rather than needing to switch on my tube pre-amp. But then I couldn’t listen to my vinyl collection.

The more I think about such a product the more complex the brief for it becomes. There is also so much development happening in headphones at the moment a great deal of which means that in the future amplification will be installed within the cans themselves rather than relying on an external box. These prototype headphones are in the labs right now and will make their way to the market over the next few years. So a question also arises as to the commercial viability of such a product given its development time. The answer is of course beyond my pay grade :slight_smile:

It seems like Audeze already have class A amp in their headphones if we consider their weight :slight_smile: Not for me, my neck is not trained as those of Formula 1 drivers !

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Ha ha :smile:

Fortunately it is hoped that the existing onboard headphone amps ( think wireless 'phones) will be similar in weight terms to what they are developing.

The reason for this trend is that research has shown that the head related transfer function ( how a sound is transmitted to the ear) is more significant with headphone use compared to speakers and is also different for each individual. So ideally the frequency response etc. needs to be tailored for each listener. So the idea is to put a lot of processing power in the cans.

We already have conventional headphones that deliberately do not have flat responses for this reason. However the target responses used are related to an average listener ( who may or may not exist in real life), so whilst an improvement it does not meet the ideal. Onboard processing is the way to go.

So, the really innovative product would be a dCS headphone with an amp and dac/Upsampler in each can… might be interesting but development of such a product shall take some time…my initial suggestion had the benefit of a fast time to market product…as it seems dCS has managed to build a great headphone amplifier already…

My suggestion for 2020 is…an analogue phono input in the Vivaldi DAC or Upsampler and then digital processing more or less like Linn is doing with their Urika2/Exact…

That way, there is no need for a preamplifier when you have a turntable…

How does it sounds like ?

I would just remark that dCS already tried adding a phonostage + ADC with RIAA EQ in the digital domain to one of their earlier products ( I cannot remember the product name but it was a variant on the Delius DAC and used the same case) . I assume that it was unsuccessful as it was quickly withdrawn never to be mentioned again :wink:

As a generalisation high end vinyl enthusiasts tend to prefer their analogue enthusiasms not to be confused with their digital ones.

Ah…ok…but may be they were too early with that idea…When Linn is doing now, it gives some strengh to this approach to the vinyl lovers.
I have a Linn lp12, and you are right I was suspicious with the concept of introducing digital processing in an analog flow…but it seems that the end result is…better !!

Yes, a dCS analogue headphone amp with the same circuit as the Bartok headphone section would be a great product. Would look very nice in the Network Bridge casework. Not sure if cross-feed or EQ would be possible as it would be an all analogue design, but that could be done further up the chain in eg. Roon.