Bartok-not so good things

I have it almost two months. Bought it new.

-when you switch off the LCD screen, sometimes it stays ON with a display OFF icon. You never know if it switches off display or not
-you can hear the relays in speakers. Sometimes can be loud, especially if connected directly to power amps. This is when one song is 16/44 other mqa 24/96 etc.

  • why when using ipad Mosaic app when you switch to other app and go back to Mosaic you have to wait a few seconds to reconnect? Linn Kazoo doesn’t have it. Works immediately when you go back to it.
  • why you can’t just program standby mode to switch off the unit not to consume 40W? Sometimes i have to do tricks in control app to enable total switch off mode in the ipad app. It is not responsive.


-can sound metalic on compressed and bad recordings. Very unforgiving. Requires very thick and relaxed sounding amplifiers/speakers. Maybe DCS should experiment with tantalum nitride resistors in some places to add more human/emotional presentation. I like the dynamics, super deep low frequencies and extended high frequencies but a bit too mechanical and cold tonally.

Hmm. Sounds like you have a fault there aside from your point about programming standby mode ( which I don’t understand - if you want it off then just switch it off. dCS have explained that there is no switch off mode in Mosaic because when switched off you cannot then switch it back on again from the same remote as the Bartok then has no power). I apologise if for some reason you are unable to operate the power switch on the component.

When I say fault that may be the Bartok ( unlikely though that is all I can think of to explain relay noises being heard via loudspeakers. An issue which I have never come across before as output should mute during this operation) but when you talk about sounding metallic and unforgiving then you may be using it wrongly or have unsuitable peripherals as that is contrary to the innate nature of the DAC or, indeed, for any dCS DAC. Full bodied and natural should be what you are hearing.

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My speakers are Audio Note AN-E lx sig real 94dB/1W sensitivity (declared 98dB). I tried my own made gm70 tube monoblocks with AN-M8 tube preamp and AN oto se phono sig tube integrated amp. AN is rather not lean sounding stuff, but speakers will show you all imperfections and sound character.

Still we have „reconnecting” Mosaic ios app topic and LCD screen issues and even had to once do a hard switch off due to unit freeze. A lot to do on software side…

Bartok can sound great. Should be kept warm, should be connected to full sounding amp and speakers and well recorded music played and you will get a superb music experience.

I noticed the LCD screen issue as well. Same as you have described.

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Just a small point for the record. All current dCS products with screens have OLED ones not LCD.

That suggest you possibly have a networking issue somewhere between your iPad and your Bartok. What are all the elements between your iPad and your Bartok? (WiFi Access Point, Ethernet Switch, etc)?

I use an iPad everyday and always alternate between listening with Mosaic and other activities on the iPad, there’s no delay in switching back to Mosaic to change tracks etc.

I have the same speakers. but going via a First Watt amplifier. I mirror your findings, it sounds phenomenal with great recordings, but can be a bit harsh on poor material. Don’t see this as a fault with the DAC, but with the recording. Want to torture your ears? Crank up “Soul Cake” from Sting’s “If on a Winter’s Night,” which by the way will sound even more atrocious on an early generation Senheiser HD800

As far as Mosaic sometimes taking a while to reconnect you can blame that on a mixture of app backgrounding and network discovery, not a real problem and will occur randomly. I’ve encountered this phenomenon albeit very seldom. More likely to manifest when switching away from the app and then back to it in quick succession.

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I must echo this. In fact I often play Mosaic and toggle from this to the i-pad " Books" app where I have pdfs of the CD booklets of several of my locally stored files. So I can read the booklet notes and move back and forth seamlessly between these and Mosaic playlist. I also have an SPL meter app which I also open and close without interruption to Mosaic’s connection. I am assuming that MaciekP is not referring to closing Mosaic, opening another app then closing that and reopening Mosaic?

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It is not always when you revert to Mosaic app but very often. As i said other apps doing the same doesn’t require that.
Looks like agressive time out settings.
BTW, one of the best 5th symphony interpretation i think


Yes, I have seen that message but infrequently. It doesn’t necessarily appear when going to and from another app but even after leaving Mosaic idle. As you say , could be a time out issue.

I agree with your comment on the Roth Beethoven 5. One of the best.

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Have the same issue here as well as the clicking sounds when switching songs but from the unit and not speakers

Hearing relays click quietly and mechanically when changing songs ( or more normally albums) is normal if it also involves changing between differing file resolutions e.g. 24/96 to DSD. No clicking should be heard if changing repertoire but not the resolution.


Just so. One of the things I loved most when I started demoing the dCS line, beginning with Bartok, was the completely organic and detailed sound, that are each parts of an unusual “wholeness.” The PSA DirectStream that my Vivaldi replaced had a somewhat similar tonality, but it lacked the authoritative resolution I wanted. The combination of accuracy, realism, and musicality was why I chose dCS. And with all due respect to the OP, I doubt that dCS’s choice of resistors has a whole lot to do with that.

I see that you are very active here and if someone is here, he rather bought DCS, and DCS has a good press and is expensive, so should be great. I have bought it also and like it, but high-end audio is not perfect sounding and not fit all systems and components. It fits yours, so you are lucky. I have listened to Bartok before buying it in the other system with less revealing, more classic speakers and other gm70 based tube amp and it was great. My speakers shows more and are less forgiving so i can hear more recording quality influance and it was also confirmed by the other AN-E owner.
Talking about resistors, it can do night and day change and all who are in DIY audio knows that. You can transform you systems from thick and muddy to lean and fast. Z-foil is in total opposition to tantalum. Even within tantalum type you have shinkoh, magnetic cap end, non magnetic, silver cap ends etc. You have carbon comp, carbon film, wirewound etc. All sounds different and resistor type change gives much more than changing digital filter characteristics in DCS or speaker or IC cables.
The same for capacitors. You can change totally sound character for your taste.

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I appreciate your comments. I’ve been building audio since I was a teenager many decades ago. I have designed and built SS and tube preamps & amps, ribbon and electrostatic speakers, my own turntables and tonearms. I believe that in design and engineering, all things can, but not always do, make a difference. I’ve learned not to succumb to audiophile hyperbole of “night & day” differences from small changes like resistors and capacitors, fuses and cables. Do I believe they can matter? Of course I do, but I don’t think they tend to make orders of magnitude differences in otherwise quality designs. I did not buy dCS because of its press or its price, and would have preferred to spend less.

My speaker system is the Legacy Valor. I suspect it is at least as resolving as your speakers. You can be dismissive of my point of view if you want. When someone tells me that, to their ears, a DAC sounds very good on some recordings, but not others, my first reaction is to think the DAC may be resolving, not that the DAC needs correction.


Yeah, looks like you definitely have something not quite right with your network between your iPad and the Bartok. In daily use, I don’t get such “Lost connection to dCS…” problems from Mosaic.

What networking component are you using between your iPad and the Bartok?

Replacing resistors and capacitors in my dcs is the last thing I’d want to do. Why spend the money on the product if I’m going to alter it materially?

And as I mentioned, mediocre or bad recordings will sound as such on my audio note speakers but never once did it cross my mind to blame the DAC. Also, I’m new here, and am not loyal to dcs or a fan of any brand. I only care about my ears and what makes them happy.

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You cant do that in Bartok as they are surface mount. It was just a commnet about choice of parts and how they influance sound

On a side note, that Roth recording of Beethoven’s 5th and the Gossec symphony, with which I wasn’t at all familiar but also very much enjoyed, was simply spectacular! A true 10/10.

Thank you for contributing that gem to the discourse.

I am fortunate to not have had your issues with the Bartok and not heard any metallicity (is that even a word?). Very much the opposite and I am thankful for that. Nothing would be worse for me than a metallic sound. As I type this I am listening to the 2nd movement andante of the Gossec and I hear lightness, air, … wonderful!

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