Is dCS reliable or what?

I was about to purchase a Chord Dave DAC when I heard about dCS ; apparently, the Bartok, and even more the Rossini are way beyond the Dave when it comes to musicality. But considering all the feedbacks from the ‘support’ topic about various failures, I am having a second thought : is it worth spending a heck of a lot of money on a device that can fail at any time? What do you think? I would like to get a proper review of Dcs’ customer service. Thank you.

Hi Diego,

Welcome to the dCS community.

You can read about my own experience with dCS customer service here:


Hi Diego, I think you have to take into account that folks who don’t have any problems generally don’t post on the forum, unless they’ve got something else to share or other query they want help with. So the problems you see are (I believe) from a tiny minority and from what I’ve seen, the issues are generally resolved to their satisfaction. Granted there may still be a few unhappy customers.

I’ve had a Bartok and now a Rossini, both of which have performed perfectly and the only bug I’ve experienced (DSD files skipping) has been fixed.

So I wouldn’t hesitate buying DCS or recommending them.

Regards, Mike.


Well I’ve moved from Bartok to Rossini between April an September and so far no significant issues. Was originally looking for a $2k solution but Bartok was amazing. Now Rossini makes Bartok sound ummm less amazing. Being a frugal person, also a long term investor in Alibaba, it was a significant expense in my current circumstances but it is the best money I’ve ever spent. (On a discretionary luxury item. My house is the best money I’ve ever spent since it’s a work of art and got it way below value. Also the $15 for marriage license is up there. Dang… forgot my daughter’s violin lessons and violin… but you get the point.)

It sounds much better than my brother in law’s Klimax LP12 which is really all that matters.

Obviously only you know the value of money vs sound quality. Can’t imagine anybody feeling disappointed by Bartok or Rossini. Be warned that it appears the interval between Bartok an Rossini upgrade is averaging about six months.

My dealer, whom I’ve know for nine years, indicated they’ve had very few problems with the current dCS products they’ve sold. Fortunately I’ve only ever had one hifi box fail (Naim streamer) and was likely due to lightning strike. Knock on wood.


No problems for me. I moved from Dave to dCS and would never go back.

Dave is a great product for sure but to get the best out of it you need the mscaler, external power supplies, the Wave Storm BNC cables ($2k). And for your source you either need to spend a bunch on cleaning up the USB signal or invest in a network streamer.

So the simplicity and cost of the Bartok is IMO way better than the Dave. Not to mention the sound quality of the Bartok will improve when a firmware update is released, and the Dave is not updatable.


Hi Diego and welcome to the forum - I hope that you will find it a friendly place and one where a lot of good advice is available.

I bought my first DCS product in around about 1998 ( Elgar/Purcell). That was a used item but gave me the way into what is certainly one of the two or three best digital brands on the planet if not the best. It was later upgraded by dCS to Elgar+ and Purcell+ which introduced DSD processing. Later the Verdi transport and Verona system clock joined the show. If you are unfamiliar with the brand then you may like to look around the internet and read reviews dating back to those early days, for example in the archives of Stereophile. You may also find out that various standard digital protocols ( e.g. DoP, dual AES) were dCS inventions.

That dCS system that I bought at around the turn of the century was replaced by their second generation of products in 2010 and , in turn, they were eventually replaced with the third generation by me from 2017 ( Vivaldi). Yes devices do go wrong from time to time. This is true for any brand. But, as already pointed out, a forum like this is not representative of failure rates as people will only post here when there is a problem. Those who have no issues do not post, Incidentally I would guess that if you read the archive threads in detail the majority of reported faults are not caused by the dCS equipment itself but by external equipment ( networks in particular) being used in an incompatible manner.

If dCS were not something special and reliable then you can bet that I would not have been a returning customer for 23 years. Yes there have been odd issues given the complexity of the four box systems but dCS service has always been immaculate. That continues with products that have long been out of manufacture. If you read down the latest threads you will see an example where a dCS engineer is taking ownership of an issue that has occurred with an old DAC/transport.

If you have the wherewithal to buy dCS then just do it.



I have a Vivaldi Dac and Network Bridge, it works flawlessly since day one, and it plays music every days.
It is not a statistic, it is a customer experience.

You are right, the sound is one thing but the reliability is also key in the customer experience, there is nothing more frustrating than returning broken gear to the shop and waiting days or weeks to get it repaired.

Do the right choice :laughing:

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Hi. As others have already pointed out there will be many people, myself included, who have had nothing but sterling service from dCS equipment.

Our Rossini and clock have performed faultlessly since they arrived in late 2017. You will also find reports from members who have had any issues efficiently dealt with by dCS.

The V2 software was a major leap forward in sound quality for Rossini and was provided free so all things considered dCS is a reliable company whose products are very much worth your consideration.

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Thank you for responding in such a sensitive way. I am not an audiophile, in a way that I am not keen on changing gears very frequently ; I can’t afford it. Thus I cannot afford to make mistakes. I definitely prefer to wait and save a lot more in order to get what I really need to fully enjoy my passion. A few months ago I bought my very last pair of high-end speakers; it was a real bargain, half of its 13 799 € (11900 £) retail price, and of course I want to fully take the best of them with proper source and amplification. So far I’ve had the Chord Hugo 2 and its dedicated streamer. But the emotion is not really there; I can hear a lot of things going on in the stage, I usually feel atuned to the music but I feel rarely connected to the musicians. That is what I am looking for: a presence. I am hoping that the Bartok (or the Rossini) could bring me that… Besides their reliability :slight_smile:

The Bartók, and certainly the Rossini, exactly did that to me, both with the Clock.

To what point would you consider that the Clock contributes to this? If you only had 20.000 £, would you buy the Rossini, or the Bartok with the Clock?

This is quite a personal issue as there is no metric for musical communication :smiley:. However one of the most dispiriting experiences I have had is wandering through the halls of the vast audio show Munich High End and listening to endless sonically adequate systems without the slightest indication that there is a higher purpose to them than bass that flaps your trousers :wink:

I ws thinking about this after I wrote earlier. I was listening to a couple of new releases, the superb new recording of the Haydn " Times of Day" symphonies by Antonini and Giardino Armonico ( thanks to Charlotte Gardiner and her monthly Classical Choices column over on dCS Edit ) and to the latest recording from that great artist Dame Imogen Cooper :

Playing from a lifetime’s experience with every phrase seemingly having its own interior message.

So what you can get with dCS is not just what the musician is playing but why they are playing it. At least that is my experience albeit with the very expensive Vivaldi system. I have never been fortunate to hear Bartok but Rossini can get you there though in both cases I would probably go along with Erno’s point " both with the Clock.".

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To me, the Clock is essential. It brings out the best, of both Bartók and Rossini. I started with Bartók, added the Clock soon, and then swapped Bartók for Rossini, keeping the Clock. I do not like Bartók and Rossini so much without the Clock. It is an easy test: just listen to a combination for some time, and then, in the middle of the music, just switch off the Clock. You will loose more presence than the Clock costs. Some here find that Rossini alone sounds better than Bartók + Clock. Indeed, the music has more meat with Rossini.

My best advice is to start saving, if you want to achieve what you are looking for :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Thank you for your sound answer Erno :slight_smile:

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You have a point ; this is why I never go to such event, I prefer visiting some music lover friends and discuss about what they feel about their own system…

Diego, as so many on this forum have mentioned, there are so many of us that have never had an issue with dCS products. I myself used to own a complete 4-box Paganini stack and I currently own a Rossini DAC/Streamer and have never had a support issue. I think that’s due to the extensive testing dCS performs on their product releases.

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Rossini sounds so much better than any other dac I’ve owned that the clock is still in the shipping box. I’m primarily an audiophile yet probably wouldn’t have purchased the clock had I demoed Rossini prior to purchase. Even though I’ve already purchased the clock and could set it up in 20 minutes it just isn’t necessary. No doubt the clock will provide a substantial improvement but I don’t feel anything is currently lacking. Which is nuts for a degenerate audiophile.

Originally purchased a Bartok for headphones but wasn’t completely satisfied when I moved it to my speaker system. It was still vast improvement vs Hugo and Berkeley Reference but my audiophile brain wanted better.

My circumstances are such that my health has made impossible the practice of my profession and been have been largely bed/home bound since 2016. Listening to music is about the only thing I do. If I were still focused on my career and kids, the Bartok would’ve been more than enough. The Rossini is clearly end game for me. No longer need to know what “better” is. Vivaldi would be massive overkill considering I’m unwilling to do appropriate acoustic treatment of my room and unable to buy $100k speakers.

Glad my dealer turned me on to dCS. That prompted me to contact my hifi dealer about his opinion. Yeah it’s relatively expensive but it’ll hold its value better than my massive overweight in Alibaba stock.

Slight disclaimer… I’ve only had the Rossini for two weeks. However I’d have no reservations recommending it to complete strangers on the internet , subway, or the random passerby at the street corner where I might be shouting it’s virtues through a megaphone.


What else is in your system?

I listen to a very wide variety of music, but my first love is classical music, especially the romantic period (eastern and French music) and anything with full range of dynamics (ex: Paul Dukas, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice). I am very keen on male or female voices too (pop/rock, vocal jazz, world music). You did not ask but I felt compelled to tell…

I first bought the Focal utopia headphones with the Chord hugo 2, then as I moved to a bigger place I decided to go for speakers.

So what is my system now ? Well, my first gear is a 37 square meter room with 3.5 m floor to ceiling height, made of wood (I live in a log house); I would not buy anything high-end if I had not the place nor the acoustic potiential for it. I have seen so many 2 meter speakers in 2,4m ceiling and a full window pane wall, everywhere over the Internet…

As I said, I got the opportunity to acquire the Triangle Magellan Quatuor for half its price. I originally planned to go for B&W 804D. I bought them on the spur without listening to them (which I would never advise to anyone to do the same). But I don’t think I will regret my choice, as the Magellan Quatuor are really really full of promises…

As for the amplifier, I have a class A 80w BC Acoustique EX-362 D. The company is based in France; it is not very well known at the other side of the Channel I think (I am French if you have not guessed…) ; I bought it second-hand at a good price so I can take time now to consider something exceptionnal to my ears.

Thanks to the bargain I made, I still can go as high as 40000 € (34400 £) for the source and the amplification (but not all in a row).

There are so many possibilities, it is so hard to consider everything… Finding a retailer who has the gears that interest you and who can lend them for you to listen at your place is very very hard, if not impossible to find…

That is why I am trying to get the most of the Internet to guide my search. So far I have not been disapointed nor misguided into something I did not want.

Now my next question is: would I die for a Rossini, but at the expense of not having the DanAgostino I am longing for, or would a Bartok suffice? Or…

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Rossini, I am afraid :wink:

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