dCS Industrial Design

I admit that one of the things that made it easy to take the plunge with dCS is their gorgeous case design. What was very interesting to me when I finally got Vivaldi DAC and Clock into my home system was noticing how different each was from the other. Rossini likewise. Yes, they look more similar than different, but in detail, each is quite distinct from the other. I had never really appreciated the differences until the unboxing and placement in my cabinet. Has anyone here visited the factory and learned, or spoken or corresponded with anyone at dCS, as to the origins of the fascia designs, and the creativity and logic that went into them?

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One thing that I have often been made aware of is that one cannot get the real impact of the superb industrial design of the Vivaldi or Rossini products from photographs. Not only is the scale difficult to judge but the amazing surface finish of the aluminium has to be seen in real life to appreciate ( silver version) or, likewise, the black anodising on the alternative colourway.

AFAIK dCS have developed the design of their products in association with partner specialist industrial designers. As is typical of dCS partner companies they tend to be situated relatively close to dCS’ location.

The original domestic dCS products ( the Elgar or Classic range) were designed in association with Alan Boothroyd. Thereon dCS have worked with a design consultancy from Cambridge, Special Agent. Of course where the input of dCS or Special Agent begins or ends is unknown.

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Agreed Pete. It was in person, in the unboxing, and in shelf placement, that the jewel-like design truly came through, when I noticed just how different my first two pieces are; how much they are like sculptures, rather than boxes. Anyway, I am a sucker for good design [this sits on a coffee table here]. This doesn’t affect the SQ, but maybe, OTOH, just maybe it does. If we are visually seduced, does it add to the pleasure of listening?

They are just stunning to look at and much better than the normal flat face box

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Agreed, though even the flat-faced base model (the Bartók) is gorgeous in a way that I’d not expected. I got the black one and the finish just glows in a way that most black gear doesn’t. (Nod to Douglas Adams.)

Now that I’m selling on my three-box preamp it would be only right to replace the Bartók with a three-box Vivaldi, no? No…?

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Yes indeed. :wink:

Only right? It’s essential :grin:.

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Well, don’t rush, if you do want 3 new boxes…you might try a 3 boxes dac from Totaldac and compare it to 3 boxes from dCS and report us your findings :laughing:

Well, been there, done some of that. When I was deciding what to put in my headphone rack, I started at TotalDAC to replace my Merging NADAC and Lumin A1. I liked the TotalDAC (not the top end units, but second from the top). And I truly enjoyed working with Vincent. But then I auditioned the MSB. No going back. Sold the TotalDAC. Never did a head to head between the Vivaldi and TotalDAC, because they were separated by a few years. But the Vivaldi is the only thing I have listened to—including Meitner, CH, and Esoteric—that makes my ears, and heart and soul feel like they are experiencing something as good as the MSB, though different. Just my $.02.


In my opinion the second gen. Puccini / Paganini / U-Clock front facia is the most beautiful design in the line up.

When it comes to sound i have listen to or owned most of the top tier like Chord Dave , MSB Select II , the new MSB Premiere with 33 Femto , Vivaldi stack , Total DAC stack , Mola-Mola , CH , Berkely Alpha II , Nagra HD Dac , etc etc

I like the analog almost vinyl sound of the new MSB Premiere very pleasant calm sound, almost as the tracks was played in slow-motion.

The MSB Select II dac with Dual power is slightly cleaner and got even more vivid detail and calmness, it is on another level.

The Total DAC is also god but in a different way , it is not as refined, but is very rhythmic and almost musical.

The Mola-Mola is the most cost-effective dac i have heard with is unique DSM technology, and sounds very much like a Vivaldi in my opinion, it also measure slightly better.

The Vivaldi is always the king but it got a few competitors with different tonality and flavour👍

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To each their own. I think, at the time, those designs were quite attractive. But they now seem dated to me. Which, of course, may one day be said about the Vivaldi.

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