Bartok reliability

Bartók HA with about 1 1/2 years. Rock solid as well. Had the random self turn-on issue before the firmware upgrade, but solved since.

Surely dCS will get you sorted.

Oh dear, how frustrating.

No problems on my Bartók regarding artwork etc, totally rock solid although everything is streamed via Qobuz, non local.

Incidentally, my neighbour got a refund on his Auralic G2 because he couldn’t get all the track listings on his server to sync correctly. I’ll bet it was a problem that could have been sorted but he lost patience and I don’t blame him.

It seems crazy that there isn’t some sort of remote support for these issues given the costs involved.

Hope you get it sorted, I’m sure you will but might need to persevere.

Hi - thanks - very frustrating! Indeed. And I will persevere.

dCS say they can find nothing wrong with it, and have suggested mains or Internet/WiFi. issues But I’m afraid that doesn’t hold water at all, as the loaner Rossini I have had for several weeks now has been immaculate and totally glitch free. Plus no other systems or kit is affected (over 20 WiFi/Ethernet - connected kit in house, all -perfect.) Moreover, I have extensively tested my 250 mbps fibre Ethernet and 200 mbps Mesh Wifi system, and it’s as good as gold. This is becoming a real puzzler…

My sympathies to your mate with the Auralic. I must admit I had awful probs with my original Aries/Vega before they sorted Lightning DS and firmware, and I sorted the house Ethernet and WiFi. It’s now perfect - I use it for dedicated headphone listening.

Yep, I agree - remote diagnosis should be possible, everything is web-mediated isn’t it?

Very strange… if Rossini did work then….

I have my Bartok since early 2019 and works flawlessly ever since. My network at home is wifi5 Linksys velop mesh (so it’s last gen). I have one dedicated node for my Hi-Fi - this node feeds network to my Russ Andrew Switch and other peripherals are hard wired- Roon Core, Bartok, Naim Uniticore, NAS etc

Although occasionally I found in need to use the velop apps to reset the whole network manually for better network stability….about once in every 2-3 mths or so

Yes, it is definitely most unusual. Currently soak-testing an Oxford Audio dem Bartok to confirm whether it is just my Bartok or some specific interaction of Bartoks with my home environment/install. May also try bypassing my Power Wedge for mains powering the Bartok. We’ll get there!

My similar experience is in this thread. The replacement unit is fine after a few months of daily use.

Interesting. Many thanks! Mine is still with dCS, and I have an Oxford Audio dem unit to see if that parallels some of my fault conditions…


Honestly, I can’t say my Bartok is fully reliable.

It had to return dCS factory earlier this year due to this: Glitches and huge distorsion with RCA outputs on my Bartok

Now the glitch/sound issue is gone, but some instabilities on the streamer side remain: every two weeks I have either a front panel freeze, or a weird scrambled screen issue… (picture here below)

No issue at all if I stick to the USB1 input, though.



Erwan, re-reading your earlier postings and now seeing the image you have posted of a continuing fault I think this is unacceptable especially given it having been returned to dCS ( factory or your local distributor?). You appear to have suffered continuous serious issues for the 7 or 8 months that you have had it.

Personally I think that as it seems to be unfixable dCS should replace it. Anyone disagree with this?


Hello Peter,

My Bartok returned to the dCS factory in England in February this year, and was only sent back to me in late April. I live in France, and clearly the Brexit didn’t help with HUGE delays of transportations.
From what I’ve been told, given dCS already changed both the DAC board AND the Streamer board on my unit, I no longer have high expectations on the reliability side for what concerns the streamer…
I just got used rebooting the Bartok once a week…



Erwan, I am now hoping to see a posting here from Ben Bashcroft, James Cook or other dCS engineer asking you to contact him directly so that this can be sorted out finally. I do not believe that you should just accept what seems clearly to be a fundamentally faulty piece.

I undestand that cross channel transport had improved since Brexit in the first months of the year. There is now a shortage of available truck drivers here due to Covid-19 isolation. However I understand this is mainly an issue affecting internal UK logistics so fingers crossed.

Erwan, Hi. You have my sincere commiserations. I know what you are going through. Really. I have seen your scrambled screen, but only once, and never again. And never the RCA output distortion. Gee, these are certainly some serious issues, of the same order as those I seem to have experienced. Maybe even worse!

An update. My Bartok is still with dCS; they were going to return it as they said that initial tests showed there was nothing wrong but, to their credit, Oxford Audio has told them this situation is and remains unsatisfactory. They also reminded them that a replacement Rossini has worked flawlessly for several weeks when unit-for-unit replacing the Bartok - for two separate spells now - whilst the Bartok was at Oxford Audio and then dCS.

dCS then asked a raft of questions concerning my mains power, Internet and Wifi which I have comprehensively answered. Nothing since. And nothing as to why the Rossini, and every other internet or WiFi-mediated equipment in the house (18 at last count) works flawlessly in my domestic high-speed 250 mbps fibre and mesh system.

I have been very patient; these problems have been going on for a year, but now I am beginning to lose it. Frankly. I think we are now in a situation where they need to definitively fix it or replace it by a new unit. Or sort out a decent p/ex price on the immaculate dem Rossini which has been with me for several weeks.

What do folk think I should do?

Jon I agree wholeheartedly with your position :

dCS is a brand currently at the top of the tree - a position that many others have found hard to maintain in the long term. Part of the ability to do this is to maintain customer trust.

Full support from me, (although my support is of no worth of course). These products are very expensive. You can buy a very acceptable alternative unit for 10% of the price of a Bartok and although clearly we have all decided to spend the extra for the small incremental benefits, dCS need to deliver faultless performance (or first class service to sort things out) if they are to retain their position.

There are already a number of shortcomings to the Bartok design in my opinion but I’m prepared to overlook them while I enjoy the sound. If it becomes unreliable, I will lose interest very quickly indeed. I’ve had my Bartok 5 months and so far so good (apart from those design shortcomings). I hope it remains so.

I think dCS are well aware of their role in the audio industry, and the level of service that is associated with it. They maintain a very good relation with their supply and sales lines (distributors, dealers) and are keeping their staff at required level. They are currently hiring, so if you can, and want:

Folks, Hi. Thank you for your kind support. I will let you into two secrets:

  1. One of the main reasons I went to the extra expense to buy the Bartok (apart from the great sound, of course!) was the dCS reputation and immaculate standard of reliability. That’s what you pay the big bucks for! Much of my previous hi res digital streaming and playback high end gear has been not been so reliable, and I was definitely looking to change this. But I have been disappointed by my experiences thus far.

As an aside, it is my experience that high end digital is actually less reliable and predictable than high end analog - which I have used with great pleasure for over 40 years. There are many reasons for this, I suspect - but time is too short to go into them here. Maybe a new topic, later?

  1. For several months, I didn’t register my new Bartok or post here because of its continuing problems. Right or wrong, I didn’t want to make a fuss. That was probably a mistake!

Anyway, I will of course advise of any developments. I am sure dCS will sort it out in the end. As several folk have pointed out, they are top of the pile and their support is a given. And they seem like nice people.

Thank you, again, for your support and comments.

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They’re lovely people. But even lovely people need a prod sometimes :slight_smile:

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Hi Jon,

Well, I’m kind of disappointed as well.
I’ve also encountered more or less severe issues with other brands (Chord Electronics, Mezze Audio, Micromega…), so I wasn’t expecting dCS to be totally fault free either.
(Note that I’ve never encountered any issue with McIntosh or Moon products for now; crossing fingers).

I’m actually kind of bitter over dCS support because:

  1. its distributor found my issue neglectable, and ddin’t even report it to dCS
  2. I ended up contacting dCS myself directly, through the support contact form and via this forum as well, and I then had to demonstrate them the issue, after 3 days, they even asked me to make a video showing the problem… Overall it lasted a week of discussion and trials, before they finally take the decision to have my unit returned back to their factory.
    And when my Bartok was eventually analyzed there, despite all my previous written explanations and the video on how to reproduce the problem, I had to tell them again what the problem was and how to get it… Well, well… Just as an example, when I contacted Mezze about a sudden buzzing earcup on my Empyrean, they contacted me the next day to set me an appointment with a transporter to have the headphones return to their facilities. The Empyrean was fixed and sent back to me in less than 10 days…
  3. Some issues remain…

One thing people should be aware of, and not fall into here, is the “AUDI syndrome”:
AUDI makes premium cars, with high prices.
AUDI is known NOT to be a (very) reliable car manufacturer (there are a lot of reliability surveys showing AUDI’s cars reliability is barely average).
BUT, as an AUDI is expensive, AUDI enthusiasts just can’t admit AUDIs not to be perfect, and others to have major issues with their AUDIs. Therefore enthusiasts will minimize troubles others (or sometimes even themselves) can encounter with their cars. This tends to make even the support behave sometimes with arrogant manners, not acknowledging easily their cars’ issues.
One of my colleague totally faced this a few years ago, when he evoked on dedicated forums and with the official support the numerous troubles he was having with his A8.

So, high price doesn’t necessarily imply high reliability, but people are uncomfortable thinking all the money they invested in a premium/luxury brand could be eventually wasted in an unreliable product.
Yet, technical problems exist, and they exist everywhere, at every level…
And this is where, I think, the reputation of a brand can be judged: the quality of their support team; their ability to acknowledge and to quickly overcome their customers’ problems.

So guys, the Bartok isn’t perfect.
If you have no issue with yours, glad for you!
But when one complains about a problem with his unit, telling here “hey, mine works like a charm !” really doesn’t help, and can even make people facing an issue hesitant to share it on this forum.

My two cents,


Edits: tried to fix most of my English typos/spelling mistakes.


Erwan Hi

Many thanks for this - IMHO worth a lot more than two cents!
I agree with nearly all of what you say. And I had an Audi TT for many years, and know firsthand where you’re coming from on this. The Audi syndrome LIVES.

I’m sorry you’ve become bitter, as I’m trying hard not to do this. And it doesn’t help. I reserve anger, bitterness and my infamous attack-mode for mindless money-grubbing conglomerates like Sky TV and Virgin, with shockingly incompetent call centres and next-to-zero tech support. If you have any problems with those guys, you are seriously out of luck.

dCS does not fall into this category. And I have a phone call booked with James Cook to discuss the way forward.

On a broader note, I never expect bespoke, low production-run expensive kit to be more reliable than mega-products like smartphones, TVs and so on. I think we all know that, in fact, the converse is true. I bet you Maseratis go wrong more often than Toyotas. Anyone care to take that bet on that?

This whole topic of digital system reliability is one that I have been musing during my dialy jogging. For a strictly philosophical and personal perspective on this, I have opened a new thread, which I controversially entitle:- why does digital reliability suck?

I’d let dCS take several years, if necessary, to find and fix the problem. This assumes the dealer continues to allow you to use the demo Rossini.

These things aren’t low margin products. The dealer could take your Bartok in on trade for a new Bartok.