New Bartok Apex vs. Bartok Apex Upgrade

I own a one year old Bartok. I am making a decision this week to upgrade my Bartok to Apex, or save for a Rossini Apex.
I was talking with someone today who told me he has both a brand new Bartok Apex and an upgraded Bartok Apex.
He told me that although the Apex boards of both units are identical… the circuit board layout of the rest of a new Bartok Apex (not the Apex board) looks different than a used Bartok with an Apex board. He told me the noise floor is lower and a brand new Bartok APEX sounds better than a Bartok that is upgraded to Apex.
Is this true?
Can someone from DCS please verfy this? is everything 100% identical between the inside of an upgraded Bartok Apex and a brand new Bartok Apex?
Thank you in advance for your help.
I am sorry if this is a repeat question in this forum.

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This has been a hypothesis as to why older Bartok owners are being asked to pay more for the APEX upgrade, because other changes were made over time and possibly their upgrades include more components to bring them up to current spec. But I’ve never heard about that and it’s only a hypothesis.

I’m sure there is continual improvement in products over time. Also, parts shortages may have forced dCS (and other manufacturers) to reconsider some aspects of component designs.

I suppose it’s also possible that new APEX Bartok designs were modified to better enable APEX.

If a new APEX Bartok is that different, one can always trade in their older Bartok for a new APEX Bartok, but it’s unclear the value prop difference this makes over the upgrade; I’ve never heard of anyone doing this.

I thought (I could be wrong) that the upgrade price for the APEX board was the same regardless of the unit being upgraded, which makes sense as it’s the same board used (in this section of the chassis) for all three.

The only difference, I thought, was that those who had recently bought a Bartók in the year before its launch got a better price than those who had the unit longer.

PS There may be differences in circuit design elsewhere in the chassis that get changed over time, but I’d be surprised if these were significant given the Bartók is still quite young.

Morning all…

This is an interesting thread to find in my morning scan of the forums … OK … so the easiest way for me to put this one to bed is to tell you all what an APEX upgrade kit for a Bartok consists of, yes?

An APEX upgrade kit for a Bartok consists of an APEX DAC board, nothing else.

The same APEX upgrade kit is used for ANY Bartok of any age.

There are no other modifications or alterations made to anything else in the Bartok during the upgrade or over the life of the Bartok, control board, power supply, display board … all remain the same as they were before the APEX upgrade.

…and regarding…

Nope … there have been no running upgrades or changes made to the boards in the current Bartok compared to an “original” (early) Bartok. Wherever that information came from you can - if you wish - go back with a knowing smile and say “no there hasn’t”… :slight_smile:

I hope that clears up any confusion there.




As far as I an aware that two price differential only applies in N. America. If so it is just that the distributor (who sets the price to the dealer, not dCS) has decided to give a discount to recent purchasers of a non- Apex Bartok.

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Read this:

The Apex upgrade applies to Vivaldi, Rossini and Bartok. You can read user reports in other threads here of all three Apex upgrades.



Thank you Phil.
Thank you for the clear facts. VERY helpful!
This is another clear example of the value of this forum/audio community of caring people.
No further questions.

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…corrected it for you !

As far as I an aware that two price differential only applies in N. America. If so it is just that the distributor (who sets the price to the dealer, not dCS, but surely dCS has some level of influence on the final pricing) has decided to double the price for older purchasers to capture the price increases which have occurred since the Bartok’s first release.

Thanks but the facts do not fit.

Bartok Apex has not seen a price increase as yet. It cane out in February in its home country priced at £7500. That is roughly 7$9000. The price has not changed since AFAIK.

However the first Apex ipgrade to Vivaldi in 2022 did subsequently show a price increase when the next tranche lof boards were made available. This was some months defore Bartok Apex was announced in February 2023.

Further the two level price offer is unique to N. America AFIK. I raised this point some time ago and nobody has advised me to the contrary so far.

I committed to mine in March as the later entry price was a non starter. I don’t really understand the two tiers of charges other than an opportunity to charge more. You get a newest spec device for an older value entry point so they felt they could charge more.

Is the lower tier price point only in the US and everywhere else they pay only the higher price (the $9k USD comparable price)?

I was unaware distributors have so much leeway with pricing and pricing structures.

In this case the true client for the manufacturer is their dealer network. We are further down that chain. Nevertheless, it is absurd to suggest/imagine the dealer freely has this much latitude. To charge one group a price and the second a higher price for the identical product in the same market (in this case NA) is dodgy at best and, I suspect, a form of “price fixing”. Price can easily change market to market as is the case in various countries as each has a unique set of conditions but the only condition made for the two tier price in NA is arbitrary and capricious.

I totally get that it sucks to be in the “gah — that feels unfair” group, but I genuinely can’t imagine an approach that would be perfect for everyone.

Some customers who bought a non-Apex the day before Apex launched might be miffed. Maybe they deserve a reduced upgrade price. Or maybe the cost should be the same for everyone, since it’s the same board and work involved.

Some customers who have been loyal since day 1 might feel they deserve a reduced upgrade price. Or maybe the cost should be the same for everyone.

Some dealers might offer upgrades at a loss to make one of their customers happy. Happy customer, sad dealer. (Short term, anyway.)

What would your approach be, Warren? And would absolutely everyone be happy with your proposal?

I think dCS are trying to do the right thing by offering customers who bought their Bartóks relatively recently the chance to upgrade at a lower price.

This has inevitably upset those that didn’t get the reduced pricing, but but it’s difficult to know where they should they draw the line.

Maybe the alternative is that it could have been tapered based on how many months ago the Bartók was purchased, but I don’t know what their financial model looks like. After all, they have to make a profit or no one gets any upgrades!

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The upgrade is optional, not required. The original Bartok is still an amazing machine!

I agree it’s complicated. And I like that a current component can be updated without the need for a whole new component. My Resolution Audio DAC was updated 3 times in the same chassis (in their case there was one price for all).

But there is something hard to swallow about paying twice what others pay for the exact same thing only because you bought the exact same component at a different time.

Perhaps an alternative approach would be to upgrade owners who bought in the 3 months before APEX at a reduced cost. That timing was close. Everybody else pays full fare. But the tiered pricing goes back two years, during which the price increased.

Anyway, it is what it is. I still love my non-APEX Bartok. It’s a keeper!

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