Have I Made a Terrible Mistake?

My 15 year old daughter spends a significant portion of her days listening to Tidal from her iPhone using apple air pods. I asked her to listen to my new Bartok with hd800. Now she wants her own Bartok.

Am I a bad parent if I give her a Bartok or am I a bad parent for asking her to listen to mine? Kind of in uncharted territory on this issue.


The answer depends largely on how significant a financial outlay a second Bartók represents for you. If it’s going to stretch your finances, then you’re well within your rights to ask her to listen to yours instead. Even if the new Bartók is within your means, I’d link it to some kind of achievement on her part – such as a reward for getting excellent results in her GCSEs or their equivalent in your country. This will also give you some breathing space and more chance for her to explore your Bartók in case this is a passing whim on her part – the worst thing would be to buy a second unit and for her not to use it.

1 Like

I’ve been buying my own audio gear since I was 13. It’s great that your daughter is interested in better audio quality, can discern it. But I would not start with a Bartok. It should be a journey, learning along the way. Starting with a Bartok also sets the bar too high, as a starting point.

I’d suggest either she starts by doing some research and buying something simpler herself (less expensive) or alternatively you surprise her at her birthday or Christmas with a gift (same, not expensive). Or I like Richard’s idea of a reward earned.

It might be a phase. She may lose interest at some point. Best not to have too much invested if that happens.

Or she could get the AirPods Max headphones, which are very good. Definite improvement over the “pod” earbuds. There’s also the Audioquest Dragonflys.



You still have a chance to be a good parent. You must teach your daughter how to save the planet and therefore how to recycle pieces of equipment.
So, you buy yourself a Vivaldi set up, DaC + upsmpler and you give the Bartok to your daughter :joy:


I’d suggest for your daughter try as first step with something as the new THX Onyx , is a incredibly small dac and amplifier she can carry in the pocket and sounds incredibly good with any headphones. I bought one to walk and for running and is really good! At home I share my Bartok with the family.

I’ve found a reasonable solution. My daughter will soon have a new Naim Atom Headphone Edition which is what I would’ve purchased for myself had it been available when I bought the Bartok.


I’d have divorced my parents if they had fobbed me one of those.


Well… it’s her money I’m just the trustee

I would have been thrilled if my parents had taken interest in my nascent audio hobby and gifted me a device they chose after deliberation and input from others (including myself). They were solely writing a cheque for the first steps (entry level Thorens record player with Denon integrated amplifier). And beyond that, their stance was ‘yeah whatever’.

1 Like

Great choice!!!

Let us know how it goes for your daughter. I’m genuinely interested in this combo product too.

For its Headphone amp + preamp functions, mostly.

Would be very interesting to compare head to head in streaming mode with your Bartok.

The Atom HE is in the house. Just set it up and playing some Billie Eilish. Don’t have it on a proper stand, using stock power cord, and plugged into a power strip shared with a bunch of crap. After listening for 10 minutes I became a bit depressed. Obviously needs couple of weeks to run before I hand it over to my daughter. Pretty sure it’s not a Bartok killer.

Takes me back to when I used Naim amplification ( 1974 - 1997) . If the modern stuff is similar it always started to sound worse after a few minutes than when initially plugged in and took several days thereafter to come round after going through periods of improvement then regressing/improving until it became stable. Burn-in is not always a linear incremental process but often a series of step changes.

Remember to let us know how you end up as even if I am not in the market for an Atom I am curious as to you and your daughter’s opinion. Makes for a fresh perspective compared to those of the professional reviewers.

The first minutes means nothing especially for a DAC.

Cristal oscillators needs to stabilise over temperature inside the cabinet.
Of course the general burn-in period is also mandatory.
It is sometimes beneficial not to leave the equipment On for 24/7. But also switch it off completely (take power cord out) during 1 night. And re-start the burn-in process. Do this 2 or 3 times as it should speed up the improvements.

For dCS, even when fully burnt-in I consider 72 hours switched On is what’s needed to attain its best performance.

Influence of other components connected to the same power strip is not to be neglected as well.

Support too. So many variables that will lead to an overall improvement over the next 3-4 weeks.

Yes YOU ARE A HORRIBLE PARENT. You should buy her a Vivaldi stack to redeem yourself.