Predictions for 2024

As the year draws to a close thoughts start drifting to 2024 and what it might bring. So I thought it would be fun to make our predictions for 2024. We can then look back at the end of next year and see who was closest. I will try to dream up a suitable prize. It may also provide a little bit of entertainment for Phil and James :wink:

I’ll start. So we know that Vivaldi has been Apexed and that brought a significant performance boost. However it is still the line that is longest in the tooth so I am guessing we might see the introduction of a new line next year at an even higher performance level.

As the global economy goes into a tailspin and “cost of living crisis” becomes the order of the day I am also expecting the trend of high-end brands seeking refuge in the least interest rate sensitive end of the market to accelerate rather than decelerate so there is a chance that this will be at a significantly higher price point.

So, my guess a new line of flagship products which just might be christened “Schubert”. First out could be a DAC of course, but could also be a “Schubert One” containing similar functionality to the current Rossini DAC, i.e. a Vivaldi One minus transport. Characteristics I am anticipating over-and-above what we see today:

  • DSD256 :rofl:
  • The first dCS unit with an external power supply/supplies?
  • A new fiber interconnection (either 802.3ae or something proprietary) to provide galvanic isolation between upsampler and DAC and finally pension off the double AES link?
  • Displays probably similar to Lina for parts sharing but possibly even better?

I expect you can guess where most of these ideas are coming from!

I am also wondering if we might see a music server type product from dCS for the first time?

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DSD256 :rofl:

Too late. This is the numbers game and DSD512 is already with us.

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Vivaldi II with build in Ethernet streaming board
Mosaic app that matches Roon (without sacrify SQ)
PV link like Playback Designs and Nagra (Nagra will announce a streamer bridge soon)

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Whenever a replacement for the Vivaldi APEX arrives my hope is that it is not more than the current 3 or 4 box solution. More than likely and added boxes will just take up too much space and too many additional connections.

that’s why I would love to see a Vivaldi with internal streaming board :wink: add a clock and you have a two box system.

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Why would you need to add a clock? The fundamental reason for using a wordclock is to ensure synchronicity by distributing the same clock reference to multiple connected units.In a one box system that need is removed.

That leaves the accuracy and stability of the clock reference. Does it require a separate box to deal with this aspect?

Even better Pete- then let’s wait for a Vivaldi II + streaming “one box stack”
:slight_smile:

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Isn’t that called Vivaldi One :wink:. ?

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don’t need a CD/SACD transport…

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I agree with the first sentence Pete, but not the second. There is a lot of stuff going on inside the DAC chassis with FGPAs running at MHz frequencies and a ton of other things generating EMI and loading the power supply which will affect the performance of the built-in clock. Just being in a separate quiet chassis with a dedicated power supply means the external clock can easily perform better than the internal one, even with only one slave and even though the VCXOs themselves are iiuc identical. In the diminishing returns race for incremental improvements we find ourselves in (“everything matters”) this is significant. This is one of the reasons I am surprised that dCS has never packaged their products with external power supplies. As far as I recall the BoM for my T2 is split almost evenly between the amp chassis and the PS chassis.

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folks- that is prediction- not technical reality :wink:

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I was about to say the same as Struts.

While manufacturers aren’t always in agreement, I thought another reason for an external clock is to help eliminate interference from other components (and the fact the cost of the more accurate clock can be offloaded to an optional component that can be purchased at a later date).

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Out of my league but i think what i read was the vivaldi dac for example has a very accurate clock but could be made less accurate by its inclusion in the vivaldi dac box so a more accurate clock is available (vivaldi clock) to clock the dac clock and of course all other components synched to the master clock as well, making all component onboard clocks, clocked in unison to the master clock.

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I have seen similar comments several times and I agree. But more boxes doesn’t need to mean more space. The components of the MSB Select line are packaged in identical chassis. While the ‘footprint’ is actually a bit bigger than the Vivaldi (a smidge deeper) they are much shorter/flatter which means from a volume perspective they actually take up less space.

The volume of the Vivaldi DAC is 29.2 liters, the Upsampler and Clock each ca 24.2 l and the Transport a portly (ahem) 34.4 l. By comparison, each of the MSB units is a fashionably skinny 18.1 l. So even the maxed out four-box MSB Select II (DAC, two Powerbases and a Digital Director) at 72.5 l consumes less space than the three-box Vivaldi equivalent (i.e. sans Transport) at 77.6 l.

My point is just that more boxes needn’t mean “too much space” if the boxes themselves can be shrunk. The MSB boxes also have proprietary connections that mean as little as one cord between each unit (fiber from Director-to-DAC and one custom umbilical from Powerbase(s) to DAC).

I think arguably MSB is showing the way in product packaging (I also personally think the Select line is quite good looking), and I predict that dCS will try to catch up in their next series per my original post.

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Yep! :+1:

A minimum of cabling would be lovely. When cables make a difference (not everywhere for me), they add up quickly.

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While it gives flexibility, I have to agree - a high-end mains, plus a couple (or more) of AES cables can easily range from an additional high four or five figures in cost. And that’s on top of the unit itself!

Of course, we do get to pick the cables :slight_smile:

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Haven’t red the thread but it would be nice to see

  • A Vivaldi One, sans transport
  • Airplay 2 in Bartok, Rossini and Vivaldi (please)
  • Enhanced software firmware update with a new mapper & DSD 256 would be nice
  • A new statement DAC (dual mono?) that pushes the state of of the art playback

Can I win a Vivaldi One if all my predictions are correct? :wink:

Seriously - a lot has changed since the launch of the current platform in 2012. Steaming has emerged as dominate playback method making whole home playback a goal for some. When music is playing on a smart speaker elsewhere in the house, the dCS is silent. I could fill pages here on UX ideas for both hardware and software…

Haha, like many here you seem to have interpreted the question as a wish list more than a prediction list. Or maybe for you the two are one-and-the-same?

Anyway, I find it interesting that to the degree they mention current lines here the majority of posts only reference the Vivaldi line. You are one of the few (only?) to mention Bartók and Rossini.

And it seems nobody is predicting that dCS will move downmarket and release a “trickle-down” line sub-Bartók that would help drive further economies of scale. Maybe they’re worried about brand dilution?

Actually I think the bulleted list is a real possibility based on feedback here. And yes you are correct - a prediction and a wish list all in one!

As for going down market - IMHO the best way to do that is to ensure that existing dCS solutions can better integrate with existing audio solutions throughout the home.

Right now the product lines cater to single users: either Headfiers at one extreme end and Man Cavers at the other. Most of us just don’t have the space to install a dCS stack and Speakers in our living rooms for all to enjoy (I’m envious of the ones who can!). BUT a few UX tweaks could make even our existing dCS dacs a little easier to integrate into multi room systems.

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From my recent experience I can say, that they seem to be making their distribution more exclusive and are pulling out from dealers with the Lina that are also selling more mass market products.

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