Bartók or Rossini ... what is the MAJOR hardware differences?

So I have a Bartok on order but when I heard the Rossini (granted it was on much better speakers than I have) it sounded better to my ear… but when I look at the side by side comparisons on the dCS site, it doesn’t appear there are any real differences? Is it all software?

What does the Rossini have in terms of hardware specs that the Bartok not have?


PS. I no interest in headphones

I am sure that there will be numerous differences in regard to various components and, of course, the case. However all of the dCS DACS have essentially the same ring DAC and run similar code. It’s what makes them dCS :slight_smile:. So , if one of the dCS engineers responds, I am sure that you will find that the difference does not rely upon some MAJOR ( in caps) difference in either hardware or software but the cumulative effect of examining every single aspect of the DAC with a view to providing the best performance at a lower cost.

Philosophically the Rossini is not an expanded Bartok but rather a cut down Vivaldi. The Bartok is not really a cut down Rossini either as it comes from a different start point; a replacement for the previous generation Debussy DAC.

I suggest viewing the excellent interview from a few days ago by David Solomon ( Qobuz) with John Quick ( dCS Americas) and Andy McHarg (Technical Director dCS). This can be seen on the Qobuz channel on You Tube. Andy touches upon the differences between the three dCS ranges.


I watched that video… very good. I love when you see the minds behind something talking about it…

That said, I did find one difference in the spec’s for the two DACS…

The Rossini has: * Converter Type dCS proprietary Ring DACTM topology. Operates at 6MHz (Map 1 or 3) or 3MHz (Map 2). in the specs on the Ring DAC…

the Bartòk just says: dCS proprietary Ring DAC™ topology. listed, with no mention of the MHz mapping …

could that be a significant hardware difference? Would be nice if we got an answer that explains a)why it sounded better, because it did to my ears at least… and b) where the additional $10,000 worth of electronics are… just from a curiosity standpoint.

Dual transformers and more advanced code in the FPGA’s, that makes the Rossini more powerful.

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The Bartok certainly has “MHz mapping”. If it didn’t then the RingDAC could not function. Mapping is how the data are applied to the DAC’s latches (current sources) It isn’t mentioned in the Bartok spec as it is fixed and the choice between three selectable algorithms on the Rossini and Vivaldi is not available on Bartok. Is this a just a feature or a major difference?

NB: not all of the price difference between the Rossini and Bartok is down to electronics. The Rossini and Vivaldi cases are significantly more costly to produce than that of the Bartok. Andy McHarg touches on this in that interview.

I like Beolab’s answer.

I got a response from dCS on some key differences but it’s not as much focused on the electronics as I’d excepted… for example I had assumed maybe the choice of capacitors or resisters would be different, or that the FPGA might be a larger / more powerful version…

But there are hardware differences such as two separate transformers to isolate digital and analogue, as well as fully isolated chassis, and apparently the software is more powerful (the mapper) and capable on the Rossini as well.

In either case, I heard a notable difference and it didn’t take a lot of arm twisting for me to upgrade my order.

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Congratulations. Something that I know you won’t regret.

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