Hello everyone, my first entry on this forum. I got my new Bartok in February and I’m still getting used to it. I’d really like to hear some comments from others about my experience so far, particularly when pairing with power amps.
This is my first significant upgrade for many years and things have moved on. I was using an Audio Research LS7 and 300.2 pre/power combination driving Quad ESL63 electrostatic speakers with a Copland CDA288 as source, all bought many years ago. In 2017 I bought a Cambridge Audio 851N to add internet radio and use of AirPlay and TV etc.
Since February it is Bartok with Tidal HIFI, ARC 300.2 using balance output, and ESL63. But also, I use the Bartok RCA output to a Cambridge Audio 651W and long cables to my study with Monitor Audio PL100 speakers.
I have to upgrade some cables, but so far things are already good. I am amazed by the sound in the study despite the relatively humble amp and small but good speakers, and this with 10 metre long cables; a real bonus for a second room. However, the main room has been a little disappointing. I love the ESL63s which I had since new in 1994 but I’m told they present a tough impedance. When running both power amps at the same time the volume in the study is way too high while the main room volume is just okay. And the sound in the main room lacks body. I switched out the ARC300.2 for my old Quad 606 (from 1994) and it is transformed with great weight and volume and about the same volume as the study. I then changed back to the ARC300.2 and changed the Bartok output from 2v to 6v. A real improvement in performance in my main room, but then of course the study volume is ridiculous.
So the preferred setup is ARC300.2 (better clarity that the Quad 606), with Bartok set to 6v.
Does the ARC 300.2 have a low input sensitivity? I’m wondering if I should look out for an ARC 100.2 on eBay to run the study setup to get a better match between the two power amps But the 100.2s are also getting old and apparently unrepairable now.
One final comment: the overall sound I’m getting now is great and I suspect will improve further with use and some cable upgrades.