How do you partner your Bartok?

I am using a David Berning ZH230 valve amp with my Bartok with great results. Might need to reduce my box count at some point and go for an integrated.
Just wondered what members of DCS community use for amplification with the Bartok.

I have been using a Burmester 911 for the last 8 months and I am really enjoyng my music

straight into ATC actives


I had a ZH230 for many years but upgraded to the QZ monoblocks a couple of years ago. I still use the same David Berning Pre One preamp. Until I got the QZ’s I could not find something better (for me) than the ZH230. A really awsome amplifier.


I recently reintroduced my Berning Pre back into the my system, having been quite satisfied with the 2 box (Bartók and ZH230). I have gone on record here to recommend the direct route, but the combination of Bernings Pre and Power has an additive effect that has increased my listening sessions. So the Pre stays until the Bartók gets a firmware update.

For exactly that reason, my Pre One is a keeper!


ATC 50 Active + ATC SCA2 preamp + Bartok

I tried to connect the DAC directly as digital preamp, but with ATC’s preamplifier sound better for me.
Bartok digital preamp part much better than Debussy

Balanced out into MBL Corona preamp+power. Superb

I have my Bartok going in to a Naim NAC 282 pre amp (with a Hi Cap) and then a pair of recently serviced Naim 135 power amps using Shunyata Venom V10 power cables. Sounds terrific!

I am a headphones person, so i have my Bartok into a pair of Hifiman HE1000SE with ForzaAudioWorks balanced cable. Sounds superb :slight_smile:

  • Roon core on Win 10 PC
  • Tidal Master
  • Roon endpoint: dCS Bartók HDAC
  • dCS Rossini clock
  • Benchmark HPA4 line / headphones amp
  • Simaudio Moon 760 A power amp
  • Bowers & Wilkins 805 D3 speakers
  • IsoAcoustics Aperta 200 isolation stands
  • Focal Utopia headphones
  • Crystal Cable Dream Duet XLR headphones cable
  • AudioQuest Niagara 1000 Low-Z Power | Noise-Dissipation System
  • AudioQuest: all AC, XLR / ethernet / USB interconnect and speaker cables
  • Apogee Wyde Eye word clock cables
  • my old Marantz CD-80 cd player
  • MusicTools rack

I’m intrigued to know why you have a separate headphone amp when you have the Bartok HDAC?

The HPA4 came in last week, and I wanted it for:

  • being able to use the 6V out from the Bartók at unity gain
  • being able to upgrade to dCS Rossini later, and still being able to listen to my Focal Utopias

Result: Utopias ánd Moon 760A sound even better than directly out of the Bartók. Low level listening and bass response are way better. The HPA4 for me, as a line amp and as a headphone amp, is really taking the Bartók to the next level.


Where I said amp, I meant a ultra linear attenuator. The Bartók delivers 6V out, best definition highest SNR, and the Benchmark lets you attenuate that to the best level of SQ to both headphones and power amp.

Apart from the bla bla, it just sounds great, even better than without.

@Erno - Are you feeding your DAC direct from you PC using ethernet? If so then you will have some upside in sound quality from moving to a music server or even a NAS and a decent network switch.

I run my library from a NAS through an English Electric 8Switch and use a BlueJeansAudio ethernet cable. Definitely made a difference to my setup.

Also i saw you have a Crystal Cable Dream Duet XLR headphones cable and was wondering how you find that compared to your stock cable?


@JonD I mainly stream music over switch and ethernet, with switch and Bartók fed through AudioQuest Vodka, from Tidal Master. But I also have a music library residing on my Synology NAS.

The Crystal Cable Dream Duet XLR headphones cable is fantastic, compared with the stock cable, in two ways. Firstly it is extremely lightweight, and does not give any mechanical noise to the Utopia. Secondly its sound is more wide and unveiled. Dynamics are improved, but that could also be because of XLR instead of jack.

My pile:
dCS Puccini
dCS Bartók
Both fed by dCS Puccini u-clock
Naim 252 Supercap DR
Naim 300DR
Harbeth SHL5
Naim UC
Roon ROCK on NUC (now changed the NUC into an Akasa fanless case)
Entreq Tellus
All powered by PS P20

Picture tkn while working from home haha


Burmester 011 pre, kr or primare a32 power, burmestrer 001cd aw transport, clearaudio turntable, asr phono, nordost cables

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Ermos, I was interested to see your setup. I’m a long time headphone listener (Sennheiser HD800S, currently) and have an HPA-4 connected to my Puccini player (6 V output). I also use it as a pre-amp, and even make use of the mono subwoofer output. It could have been designed for me. My previous headphone amp was the Sennheiser model made to go with the HD800. The HPA-4 beats it by miles. I was curious as to whether the Bartok headphone amp was as good, and you’ve answered my question. I love the HPA-4 as a pre-amp too. Tremendous value.

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@Simon_C The Bartók headphones amp is very good, but I just recently found out that using the HPA4 both as a headphones and pre amp is even better, so I completely agree with you: it could have been designed for me!