Bartok break-in - dull sound on RCA

I am currently evaluation the Bartok.
My integrated primaluna amp don’t have balanced in so I am using RCA
The dealer has only used XLR and has been playing for around 200 hours.

Now to my question: Does the RCA circuit need break in when the XLR’s has been in use?
The reason I am asking is because the sound is dull. Missing air and attack.
I had the Chord Dave for a visit in my system using the same cables and setup and there was air and attack.

My dealer can not recognize my description of the Bartok sounding dull. Do I just need to break it in?

Break in? probably necessary as the RCA and XLR outputs,if as per usual dCS practice, do not share the same output circuit. I would just put on something as background music for a couple of days and defer any critical listening until the end of that period.

Also as it seems that the RCA connectors have been sitting unused for some time I would also unplug and plug back in the RCA cables a couple of times just to wipe the contacts,

Dull sound has never been a dCS characteristic as I am sure you will find in due course.

If the dealer has only used XLR then the RCA’s will require the standard 100 hour break-in.

The short time I had my BARTOK (changed for a Rossini+Clock) I used it exclusively via RCA as my two channel system and cabling (Naim & Linn) only run single ended with RCA’s.

The Bartok is definitely not dull. Even cold it is not dull. How are you using it?


Yes, the sound of the RCA outputs may well improve over a period of burn-in if they have not been used before. As the XLR and RCA outputs are completely separate, you’ll need to run in the RCA outputs for a while. The amps etc. don’t necessarily need to be on during this process, just connected so the RCA outputs have a load attached.

If you are finding the sound is dull, there could be some optimisation that can be done with the filter choice, or perhaps an incorrect sync mode. Your dealer will be able to provide reccomendations and advice on getting the Bartók properly optimised for your system. It would also be worthwhile taking a read of the filter and sync mode sections of the Bartók User Guide, here:

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I don’t know what I did yesterday, but today the sound is just good. Bass is tight and the top is nice

That’s what happened with my Rossini Player, too.

For the first few days it was OK, but not really special, and then on day five or so, it changed character immensely and became what I heard from the demo.