New Bartok - burn in menu setting - how to use?

My new BARTOK arrived today and it is plugged in and running . There is a burn in menu setting and, to quote Andrew with regards to the burn in option (from the extensive thread on the ROON forum)

“100 hours is reasonable. The built-in burn-in function is useful for this. There’s no need for the amp/preamp to be on for this function to work. You just need to have the Bartók’s outputs plugged into something.”

I have the headphone model. When he says “outputs plugged into something” it appears he wants a load connected to either the RCA or XLR outputs on the back panel. Running a headphone from the front panel will not suffice?


You are burning in the analogue output stages ( and the rest of your system in needed). The outlets on the rear panel to a pre or power amp use a different circuit to the headphone stage which has its own specialised headphone amplifier. So if you exclusively use the Bartok for headphones you need only burn in the headphone output by plugging in headphones. If you also use an amp to power speakers then both the rear panel outlets and the headphone outlets need to be plugged in. However if plugging in the headphones mutes the outputs to the amp then you cannot do them all simultaneously.

NB : I would be careful with the volume setting for the headphones to ensure that the burn in signal generated in the Bartok does not over drive them. Of course this is if dCS have allowed the burn in signal to be routed to the headphones. If not you will need to burn the headphone stage in using another source e.g. music.

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You beat me to it Pete! :wink:

You hit the nail on the head there. The output stages for the XLR / RCA outs and the headphone outs are completely separate, so if you are using the Bartók for headphone listening you only need to have some headphones connected for the burn in process.

If you plan on using the Bartók for any 2-channel listening on loudspeakers as well, it is worth connecting it up to an amplifier or something to create a load on the outputs for another burn in (although whatever it is connected to doesn’t need to be turned on).

As Pete said, just keep an eye on the volume to make sure you don’t overdrive the headphones.

Thanks guys for the answers. You both stated things the same as I understood so I guess I should rephrase my question.

In my particular case - yes the Bartok will be used exclusively in a stand alone headphone system (sorry however my Linn KDS will not be leaving my Naim 2 channel system :grin: ).

In reality my question for dCS needs to be as you both inquired above - is the included burn in functionality also available to the headphone amplifier circuitry?

Someone from dCS will have to chime in on this one.

Or you can just try it. Plug in the headphones and turn the volume down to lowish. Select the burn in generator from the menu. You should hear pink noise ( a kind of rushing sound) through the headphones. This will gradually cnange in level. That will tell you that it is working. Then reset the volume to a sensible level that your phones will be happy with. If you hear silence then it is not routed to that output.

Taking account of James’ answer above I would deduce from it that it will work in this mode . If it didn’t then he could not have advised to plug the headphones in ( see his first paragraph) :wink:

Burn In does work with the headphone output circuitry, yes. Just make sure your Bartók is set to Headphone Output Mode and not Line Mode.

… And that you start with the volume low and build it up to an acceptable level as Pete recommended!

Duh…silly me. Read the replies too fast. I did not realize James was part of dCS technical support :sweat_smile:

While your are here James - two more questions if I may.

The USB port on the back - USB2. I seem to recall CanJam NY demo speaking with Jesse Luna who mentioned that they were using this port to provide power to a iPad control point. Is this correct? I am obviously feeding the Bartok via ethernet and not using the USB input - however it would come in handy to keep my iPad (running ROON and Mosaic) charged up.

Question #2 - which you may not want to answer :wink: as I have asked it on a different thread.

Any recommendations for a particular brand of XLR interconnects? I have a Stax headphone amplifier which I will want to connect to the Bartok. I already understand that the XLR outs are preferable to RCA.
I use Chord Cable Co. interconnects with my Naim/Linn 2 channel system however I am not looking to go price crazy as I did there. My understanding is also that balanced XLR cables are more forgiving and do not require crazy expenditures. I do however want to use a better quality cable than the typical Mogami/Canare studio cable recommendations.

Care to name a few brands? I am in the States so they need to be readily available here. I can always go back and source a lower priced Chord cable. I have also been looking at Oyaide copper interconnects with their proprietary XLR connector (vs. the standard Neutrik). I am leery of using the Oyaide silver due to potential brightness with the Stax headphone. Other mentioned cables have been Shunyata, Cardas and Transparent

Finally (I know I originally said only 2 questions). I have the headphone output set at -10db for my Focal Utopia headphones. Considering that these are extremely popular totl headphones I wonder if you have heard what other Focal users have set the headphone output at.



Sounds like you’re settling in with your Bartok and Utopia. Congrats! Looking forward to your impressions. Bartok is actually still on my list for a stand-alone headphone listening station in our bedroom. I had originally pre-ordered Warwick’s APERIO for this purpose (network DAC/headphone amp), but I just canceled that order. I decided I did not need another electrostat in the stable (no matter how good), and in the bedroom, I would want the option for a closed can so I could listen without disturbing my wife (as much, anyway). I don’t own any closed cans, so I will have to start exploring that path.

Hi Greg

So far quite impressive cold out of the box. Lets see what happens after 50-100 hours.

Headphones - I first started playing around with the introduction of the first iPod back in 2001. I then left the Headfi forum in 2003 and did not return until 3 years ago. My how things have changed in the headphone world!

My current crop is the Focal Utopia (which I consider totl) and for closed back Sony’s flagship Z1R - which I highly recommend if you can find it. Focal also makes the Stellia which is their closed back headphone.

For electrostatic I have the Stax 009S and the 80th anniversary L300. Energizer is the 3rd party Mjolnir electrostatic amplifier from Iceland. If you are not familiar with it google Mjolinir and Dr. Kevin Gilmore.

The Bartok hit the mark as an all in one ROON ready box. I have not been overly impressed with the Chord offerings (TT2 and DAVE) and did not like the fact that they were not ROON ready and did not take ethernet inputs. Too fiddly with various cable interconnects - and like with my Linn (and dCS) I am convinced about the superiority of ethernet input vs. USB or optical.

(with TWO g’s !)

Yes, I know the Mjolnir product! I own three, no four, counting the Megatron, Birgir-built amps. The Megatron is a beast, easily heating my library in winter, where the headphone racks are set up. I’ve got my Stax 009 running on a Carbon CC, my 009S on a T2 built by George Parris, and my various 007 cans on a pre-CC Carbon. In my speaker system, I run a Carbon from the (PS-Audio-soon-ro-be-Vivaldi) DAC through the Carbon’s loop back to the preamp. I’ve also got an LTA Z10E that I will start running in once I am out of quarantine. I am very interested to hear how it sounds. For solid state, non-electrostat, I run a HeadAmp GS-X mk2 (another Gillmore derivative). That is about to be replaced by a Trafomatic Primavera. I will use that primarily for the Susvara and MySphere and ZMF Verité cans. All open back.

I wanted to love the Utopia, and while I like them much better than the Senn HD800, and somewhat better than the Audeze LCD-4, they’ve left me a bit flat. I just don’t get immersed in the emotion of the music with them. We know these are all intensely personal choices, so my reaction should not be read as casting any aspersions whatsoever on the Utopia (or the people who love them :wink:). Excellent build quality and fidelity. Just not my cup of Genmaicha. I am considering for closed back swapping my Verité for a closed-back version.

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The USB port is only designed for running flash drives. iPads will want to draw much more power than the USB port can provide, so using it longer term you will find some unpredictable behaviour. My advice is definitely to charge the iPad from a wall socket and the provided power adaptor.

In terms of cables, the effect that they have on your system will be entirely subjective. The fact of the matter is between good quality cables, I can’t tell you what sounds good to you! Provided they meet the electrical requirements of the relevant interface (AES, balanced analogue etc.) then it really is down to taste and preference. The best thing to do here would be to go with your dealer’s advice on cables that will best suit your system.

Admittedly I haven’t audited other Bartók users for their output level preference, personally when listening with the Focal Utopias I use it at -10dB as well. Seems to be a good balance if you’re listening to a dynamic range of music!

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Thank you for the kind replies.



Wow - it sounds like you are into your headphones!

That is quite a collection of Gilmore amps. When I returned to headphones 3 years ago I settled with the Utopia and Sony Z1R however I made the mistake of demoing a Stax 009 / BHSE at CanJam NY. I stayed in touch with the Headamp guys and visited and demoed at every CanJam since. Stax headphones are held in particularly high regard on the Naim forum so I knew it would only be a matter of time before I took the plunge. When the L300 LE 80th anniversary was announced I ordered the set (including the 353LE amp) and was totally blown away by what I was hearing. Of course it did hurt that the sources were the Linn KDS and LP12. From a value proposition a headphone/amplifier set at $1500 was, imho, one of the best values in headphone land.

I knew that I would ultimately take the next step and by some fortuitous timing the 009 successor was announced only a few months after I received my initial Stax setup. Since I have an aversion to the hassle involved with tubes I knew that the BHSE would be ruled out - even though it sounded so good. That led me to Birgir and the Carbon. When I purchased mine he was not able to get any ALPS pots. That led him to recommend I stay with the regular Carbon. Every now and then I question the decision however he stated there really is not much difference between the two. He builds them so I followed his advice :grin:

The Bartok came about from my desire to separate the entire headphone system from the Naim/Linn system which is located in its own listening room (together with 7000 lp’s and 3000 cd’s). In that system the Utopia and Sony headphones still used the Linn sources and a HeadAmp GSX mini as an amplifier. I had to wait for Justin to make the Mini as the GSX MK2 was ruled out due to the inability to run balanced out from my Naim preamp. The mini allowed a single ended input. An all in one box was simply too appealing for my bedroom system thus the introduction of the Bartok.


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Hey @glevethan ,

It sounds like you have (or have had) both the Bartok and the GSX mini. How would you compare the two? I have owned the GSX mk2 and really liked it paired with my Focal Utopias. It was a shame to sell it off, but I needed to downsize my setup a bit. I’ve been thinking about picking up the Bartok to drive my Utopias and feed my power amp, but am curious how the built-in headphone amp compares to one of the HeadAmps.


:joy: Isn’t that always how it goes? Every time I say “enough!”, I make the mistake of _______ [fill in the blank]. I swore off tubes and now, well, look. I put my foot down on any new sources, and damn there’s a Vivaldi coming to my door next week. I said no more headphones, and now the RAAL SR1a consumes the vast majority of my listening time compared to all my others combined. As they say over at Head-Fi, “Welcome to Head-Fi; sorry for your wallet.” Well, dCS ain’t helping either . . … :wink:

Hi Dan
The GSX Mini is still in the house. I have had the opportunity to get to know the Headamp guys having attended CanJam NY the past 3 years. In addition to the Mini I have also purchased my Stax gear from them.

It is still early days with the Bartok as it only arrived and was set up yesterday. I believe 50-100 hours for burn in? It is also more difficult making judgements on just one part of the equation as the Bartok is an all in one box - so total performance is also due to synergy between the two internal components (DAC & Amp), no cables between DAC & Amp etc.

With that said my gut feeling based on two demos (dealer and CanJam) and now today at home is that the Bartoks amplifier drives the Utopias with more power and authority and a wider sound stage than the GSX Mini. Just like with good speakers the Utopias scale up when you throw better electronics at them. This seems to be the case with the Bartok’s amplifier as the Utopias shine even more. One of the “complaints” against them has been a touch lacking in bass and authority. Definitely not the case now.

My two channel preamp/amp is Naim. Their design philosophy is big external power supplies with large toroidal transformers. It definitely makes a difference IMHO. I think the same can be said with dCS and their internal power supplies. The GSX Mini not as much so.

I have the Bartok burning in as we speak and I am waiting to see how much more it will give once the process is complete. Memory and recollection from my two demos is that there should be more to come. Unfortunately the bar of comparison had already been set too high for me. The Bartok was purchased for an exclusive headphone system in my bedroom. It was never meant to go into my big system. Unfortunately while waiting for it to arrive I set up a Quadraspire rack in the bedroom with the GSX Mini and I removed my Linn Klimax DS from the main stereo and brought it into the bedroom and connected it to the GSX Mini. I do not expect the Bartok to equal that system. Nor should it considering that the Linn alone (without GSX amp) costs double. You gets what you pay for (usually).

Hope this is helpful. I will let you know how things progress.

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Thank you for the reply! I’ll be interested to hear your impressions as you get more time with the Bartok and it settles in. The Bartok has been at the top of my list since I heard it announced well over a year ago. I’m still toying with a few different ideas including the Bricasti M3h (which, unfortunately, really doesn’t have many reviews as of yet) and going with a different streaming DAC to feed a GSX Mini (which would probably come out a bit cheaper than the Bartok). The biggest issue is that I haven’t had any luck finding units for an in-home demo, so I’d be walking into any purchase somewhat blind.

That Bricasti is an interesting option, especially at roughly half the Bartok price. But you’re right: except for stuff at Moobn Audio—which is mostly some repurposed Bricasti marketing collateral with a brief comparison to the Chord Hugo TT2 toward the end—there seem to be few, if any, listening evaluations.There’s a very brief, favorable blurb by TAS from AXPONA 2019. I find Bricasti’s pricing a tad odd: essentially $500 for the headphone amp, but $1000 for the network card. Though $500 for a remote control is not exactly big news around here. Drew Baird usually has a 30-day return privilege. If it applies to the M3h, you could try it at home. Drew claims it can drive the Susvara satisfactorily, if not to ear-bleed levels.

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I reached out to Bricasti directly a few weeks ago about the M3h and the rep that I spoke to actually suggested I reach out to Drew an Moon Audio for specifics about the headphone variant of the M3. I called Drew and he was able to answer a number of questions, but left a few unanswered that I could only really answer through a home demo. I asked Drew about a demo and he mentioned that I could purchase a unit and return it within the window if it didn’t meet my expectations. The downside there is that it would be subject to a %10 restocking fee, which would come out to $700. I’m pretty hesitant to take a $700 chance on a unit that has basically no reviews.

I’ve also heard a bit about the Mola Mola Tambaqui which seems to offer similar functions - Roon ready DAC/pre-amp with headphone output. Again, though, not much in terms of reviews. And with Mola Mola being a rather boutique brand, I’m not sure about future support if issues should arise.

It seems like the Bartok makes the most sense right now given that I have demo’d it at a dealer with my own headphones. I would love to audition in home to make sure given the steep price tag, but I don’t have any dealers within several hundred miles and haven’t had luck finding any willing to ship a demo unit.

Yes, that risk of a $700 penalty is somewhat daunting, I agree. I’ve read a fair bit about the Mola Mola Tambaqui, a couple of reviews, and some comments on some audio boards. It seems well-regarded, though I find headphone jacks on the back of a unit very annoying. Still, the Stereo Times and hi-fi news reviews are exceptionally positive. But none I could find provided any detailed headphone listening evaluation.

Like you, I find comfort in the dCS approach, knowing what the “house sound” is like, the long history of product upgrades, and the long product shelf life. Since you have already demo’ed it at a dealer, and it sounds as if it’s primarily going to be a headphone unit for you, how critical is an in-home audition? I’m not suggesting it’s irrelevant, just asking.

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