DXD, DSD, DSDX2, filters and maps

I’m new to dCS having now the Bartok Apex.

Love the sound but it remembers me like an BMW M3 i had that with so many options for steering well, gearbox, suspension, sometimes I didn’t know what combo to use. From 4 years to now Porsche client and much simple, want Normal? Sport? Sport +? And Porsche already did things for me.

Here in the dCS we have so many filters and maps and formats that confuses me a little, i confess i would like them to just present the best sound or with 3 options max.

So, with so many options i would like to know what combinations of decoding, filters and Maps people most like.
I know that the system can have diferent results, but i would like to ear from the users opinions and recommendations.

By the way, my system is the DartZeel CTH-8550 amp, Wilson Alexia 2 and Metronome T5 Transport all connect by Nordost Tyr 2 cables.

Thanks and good listenings wishes.

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Firstly we need to decide exactly what “best” means. The filters and map options do not result in a clearly measurable improvement , at least to us consumers. Perhaps dCS’ unique measuring equipment might reveal something but otherwise all you are left with is preference. Preference is a personal matter not only dependent upon the system, room and programme material, but importantly the hierarchy of musical and sonic events to the listener.

I will go back to your sports car metaphor. If you move from one Porsche to a different model there may be a 0-62 mph of 4.2 secs specification for one model, the other slower. This shows a clearly better performance for one in this respect compared to the other. When talking about filters or mapping there is no equivalent. In fact the whole point of dCS offering a choice rather than giving fixed filters is that there is no answer.

The user manuals for some units provide a choice guide which should be regarded as a starting point only, though I am unsure if this aspect is contained in the Bartok manual.I have been using dCS units and , therefore, filters for 25 years. I do check my selection from time to time but am pretty sure that for me what I choose is optimum. However there are deviations from the dCS recommendations. I am not telling you what I use as that would imply a recommendation which I am anxious to avoid.

It is a PITA but you may well find that what seems to you to be preferable initially may not strike you as such with some further weeks familiarity. Just take time making your choices slowly over a period. When you have experience then you will find that you probably have no need to think about them further. Just remember when setting it all up that each resolution may involve choice of a different filter. Although the filter numbers remain the same , from file resolution to resolution the actual filter technology may change. Please read your user manual regarding this p.36.

Also note that filters for Upsampling and the DAC section are separate.

To conclude the filters are subtle. None will sound “bad” whatever you choose. just relax and as the whim takes you try different combinations. You will quickly find what you prefer and what you ( not me) prefer is important.


Not to detract from anything Pete has posted here…it’s wise advice. That said, when I was new to dCS, I found it helpful to hear a few general characterizations of what others hear when listening to the filters’ and mappers’ effects.

For me (personal, subjective opinion, insert appropriate disclaimer here), I found it easier to navigate by starting with what the manual describes the various purposes and general sonic characteristics might be. For example, I tend to agree with the manual that Filters 2, 3 and 4 for PCM may appeal to those who favor rock/jazz, pop, etc. I’m not claiming this is TRUE. It’s merely in keeping with my preferences and experience.

Next, if you’ve developed a preference for PCM versus DSD, follow your taste. I prefer DSD and use that as the default setting. I know the Ring DAC default setting is DXD. It’s not my preference in my system and with the majority of my recordings. I have friends who use the DXD setting exclusively. Pick your own elixir.

For me, the mappers are critically important and yield the most obviously noticeable sonic effects. I prefer Filters 3 for both PCM and DSD and Mapper 3 in my system. I’m about to upgrade my speakers, so all of this may change. That’s the fun or curse of this hobby.

Enjoy the journey!


@Vray I’m listening to the system for about 2 hours. I was already using the same config but with MAP1. Now with the MAP3 increase the soundstage and the speakers disappear even more.
So far this is the best setting for the Bartók I’ve try.

Thanks :pray:t3:


There are (too) many variables. Depending on your system and kind of music you listen to.
In your system @Lima MAP 3 will probably perform better. In a tube system go for MAP 1, no need for more second harmonic distortion (MAP 3).
DXD or DSD? For me the less conversions the better, so I use DXD. Strings sound more natural (in my system, to my ears).
If you listen to electronic music, then it is just a matter of taste. If you are into classical, then things go more complex, you will need a violin sound like a violin.
My settings today (may be different tomorrow) are:
DXD upsampling
F2 for all sample rates except 176.4, 192 and DXD on which I use F5 (a linear filter)
I listen mainly to “classical”.
By the way @PAR, on Vivaldi One, Rossini and Bartok Upsampling and DAC sections are not separate (setup options), so @Lima will have half the options, fiuuuu!!! :slight_smile:
Hope it helps.


@Manelus Obrigado Manuel.