First post. Waiting for Bartok

Good morning. This is my first post. I have a Bartok on order - a long six weeks to wait!! I am part exchanging my Naim NDX2 + Chord Qutest. I will be using the Bartok with a Bel canto Pre3VBS pre amp (retained because needed for vinyl) into a David Berning ZH230 valve amp and then into Focal Diablos. The biggest improvement to my current Naim set up came with the Qutest. Really looking forward to hearing the Bartok in action. Any advice about whether to use the Bartok with the Bel Canto pre or go straight into the power amp would be appreciated.
Strangely the dCS community site looks just like the Naim forum. Hopefully without the constant nudging to upgrade!! Thanks for any help and advice.

1 Like

I have a similar setup to yours (Bernings and Focal). I’ve always had the Berning Pre and 230 paired when I owned the Debussy. Once I moved onto the Bartók I went direct and never looked back. That does mean I have a 7.5k preamp (with Telefunkens) sitting unused.
If you need to listen to your vinyl on your Diablos and Berning, you will have to have your Bel canto pre amp in place.


The UpTone EtherREGEN was a positive improvement for me, and I’m debating whether to upgrade its power supply from stock. If audiophile switches aren’t your thing, then consider FMCs to have some optical isolation in place.
Otherwise, I’m very happy with my main components for the next 8-10 years :checkered_flag:

1 Like

I believe that such a choice will vary from user to user and their personal preferences. Although the direct connection route seems logically better I have never found that, beyond a few hours of admiring the general clarity and transparency, I have come away feeling satisfied musically. That applies just as much to my Vivaldi as to the earlier dCS DACs I have owned.

So Kevin L ,rightly for him, prefers direct, I do not for my reasons. This is a " suck it and see" answer. Remember that in the end recorded music in the home relies upon an illusion and sometimes what ought to be best isn’t necessarily preferable in practice.

1 Like

+1. It’s a great position to experiment with. I better explain that it was very close between them. While sound quality is the most important aspect, the advantage is component removal and controlling volume and playback via Mosaic.

1 Like

Many thanks for your helpful and positive comments. I have the feeling that I might be making use of that little Behringer analogue to usb that I bought sometime ago and record my vinyl to digital!,

1 Like

Welcome! I’m another Berning user with Focal Diablo’s! For many years the Pre One and ZH230 but most recently QZ mono power amps. I think you will be pleasantly shocked by the Bartok. Be open to repositioning your speakers when the Bartok comes. I needed to move them a little further apart.

I have a Rossini and tried it direct into the power amps and it was excellent. I then tried it into the Pre amp at 6v output utilising the Pre One attenuation controls and was happier so my Pre One will stay. By the way, I contacted David Berning to check the Pre One was ok with 6v in and he said no problem.

Just to tempt you have you seen this … £1350, …

If that is real, that is an amazing steal!


1 Like

Oh, but yes, you’ll need to retain the Bel canto / get a new phono stage to retain vinyl. I did see a Pre one with a built in phono stage (rare but they are supposed to be legendary) which was about £3k.

I was intrigued by the EtherREGEN so took a punt. Suffice to say, it’s a keeper!

If I can find QZ power amps as cheap as that ad for the Pre One, I’d jump in a heartbeat. It’s a crying shame to see the distributor of the Bernings disappear.

Thanks Paul. Really like the sound of the Bel Canto pre with the NDX2 so hope it will work well with the Bartok.

1 Like

Thanks Paul. Wow that’s a bargain. If only I hadn’t spent every penny I have on the Bartok!!

@Kelvin_L Forgive me for going off topic a little but the Qz’s were an unexpected purchase. Something I wanted but resigned myself to never being able to afford. Then nearly 3 years ago it happened out of the blue. I’ll never buy another amp again. Life changing.

1 Like

Fascinating to hear. I get the part about life changing :slight_smile:. I wonder if I will come across that chance for the Quads later hehe.