CD transport options for Bartok

Im looking for a suitable CD transport for my new Bartok. During the Bartok’s initial audition, three things became abundantly clear to me…

  1. The Bartok killed my desire to listen to quality vinyl playback (credit to DCS and yes I was a serious vinyl listener - TT is now sold).
  2. My cheap Cambridge Audio Azur 350C CD player used as a transport sounded incredibly good through the Bartok (to my surprise) and to my ears overall, sounded a better than most Tidal streams.
  3. How much better would it sound through a dedicated transport with a word clock in sync? (the $$$ cost of a DCS transport is out of my reach).
    So yes, the biggest question being - how important is the clock sync function with alternative transports. Only three choices come to mind from my research - CEC, Esoteric and Aqua. Thoughts on this would be much appreciated.
    Current system: Bartok, Cambridge Cd, Modwright LS36.5DM/KWA150SE, Spendor D9.

You might want to look for a prior generation dCS transport (Paganini and Scarlatti are good candidates) as these are not only excellent transports but are both capable of transmitting DSD to a dCS transport via dual AES. No other transport will be able to do that with one of our products. It’s worth chatting with your dealer about this as there may be some certified pre-owned units available and those typically come with a warranty.

This is really going to come down to how the clocking circuit in the transport is implemented. Some are very good and some most certainly are not.

Andrew,
I’m a Bartok owner and new to the brand. Many of the Paganini players on the used market have been or are coupled to or available together with that matching clock or the Puccini clock.
If ones future aim is have this player and the Bartok together connected by a master clock, what should be considered in choosing a Paganini or Puccini clock or a Rossini clock to complete the system, besides cost ?

As a first step you can use the word clock output on the Bartók to sync with any dCS transport.

If your end goal is to use a master clock then I would strongly recommend the Rossini clock for the convenience that it offers. The older clocks only output one frequency at a time which means that when switching sample rates between those that are multiples of 44.1k and 48k you will need to manually switch the output frequency of the master clock. This can become a hassle when using the network and USB inputs. The Rossini clock has two separate outputs (it’s basically two clocks in the same box) and with those will supply both 44.1k and 48k simultaneously.

Thank you Andrew that’s helpful information. If I purchase a Paganini can I send it in to dCS for a checkup and if so are there limitations to maintenance beyond cosmetics in terms of functional parts or labor that dCS can perform, especially on the disk drive ?
What is the Certification of used gear and what impact does choosing to buy non certified dCS have on the buyer ? Should one avoid undocumented dCS gear if that is all that’s currently available ? I read the used gear page but it is lite on specifics.
I believe a serial number check has been submitted although it’s not clear to me how this helps and while I wait the unit in question remains on the market.
Thanks, John