Stereophile just published a followup review of the dCS Bartók

Stereophile just published a followup review of the dCS Bartók:

Original review:


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He likes it? :rofl:

But seriously, lately I keep reading that using Mosaic to stream Qobuz is better that the app or Roon. Trying to remind myself to keep doing that.


That’s not said anywhere in that review. And there is little reason to believe it’s the case, especially with streams like Qobuz.


Absolutely. All Herb acknowledges is that Mosaic with ethernet connection sounds a whole lot better than what he has previously experienced with a USB connection from a computer to a different DAC and when using an ethernet connection to Bartok compared to USB .


Ah, I misinterpreted the remarks. I took it to mean if you remove the computer from the equation as an intermediary (by streaming Qobuz through Mosaic) then to him it sounded better. Or maybe we’re saying the same thing in different ways? What am I missing here?

Streaming over internet from Qobuz and Tidal sounds better than streaming locally from computer storage.

I think so :wink:

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Surprised he liked it considering he was using Zu Audio speakers.

About 10 years ago I had their statement speaker here with my Naim 500 system. Everyone who heard them walked away quite unimpressed.



It could be said in the review from the future, though:

Herb Reichert auditioned the dCS Bartók in June 2021 (Vol.44 No.6)

Joking aside, it’s good to see an article that looks at some slightly more real-world scenarios — someone plugging in a DAC and listening to some music. I’m not surprised they like it. It’s a lovely DAC.

Maybe I’ll go back to the joking again, though, just for fun…vs. the earlier article, which felt rather like plugging a $17,250 DAC into a fax machine, wired up to a record cutter, and outputting the result on a Studer A810. Then settling down to listen to the result.

FWIW, I thought the reviewer of that piece exhibited some confusion about what he was doing. Someone that unfamiliar with computer and network audio probably shouldn’t be making assessments about what is working how.

With regard to the first sentence, maybe. But that doesn’t mean Mosaic—and remember that Mosaic in dCS-land is an ecosystem, not a “thing”—is necessarily better than, or even different from, Roon. Also remember that the streams don’t go through the piece of Mosaic that you hold in your hand. He makes no mention of a listening comparison to Roon. Too many potential variables to list to explain how that could matter, and all he did was stop playing music through a computer. That doesn’t necessarily determine how the streams get to his DAC, and we have no real info about what a mess his network might be.

On your second question, no I don’t think we are saying the same thing at all. Comparing Mosaic to any other controller, versus comparing it to Roon, are not precisely apples to apples. Both deliver demonstrably bit-perfect streams to the DAC, so in that sense the same data is delivered, but there are folks who insist that Roon/RAAT sounds different from a UPnP system, both as to local file and stream playback. I am not one of those people. I can switch between the two with relative ease when it comes to streaming. No difference to these ears. And for that reason, if I didn’t play local files, I’m not sure I’d bother with Roon. But I do, so I do. [BTW, local file playback through Roon is audibly better than streamed Qobuz “through” Mosaic on my system. That’s not a scientific assessment; doe that, I’d want to take the time to verify that I am indeed listening to the same file. But I did it enough with consistent results to be satisfied that my assessment was correct and to stop worrying about it.]

P.S. “Vividosity” is not a real word. And some of the descriptions in that review are quite eye-rolling. I am glad he likes Bartok. But then, does anyone here really need a reviewer to tell them how good it is?


dCS Marketing department does.

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I know. Always good to rack ‘em up!

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While Herb wasn’t explicit, in his “Via USB” paragraphs, looks pretty clear he was streaming that Charles Mingus album via the Tidal App from his computer direct over USB to the Bartók (and the HoloAudio)

Playing my new favorite Charles Mingus recording, The Complete 1960 Nat Hentoff Sessions (16/44.1 FLAC Essential Jazz Classics/Tidal).

Whereas in the “Via Ethernet” paragraph, he was using Mosaic/Tidal instead, with no computer involved, just the same home network for Tidal steaming - hence his commentary about removing the computer from the chain.

Clearly there’s no Roon comparison involved. There’s not even any UPnP server involved :grin:

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I felt exactly the same when I heard one a couple of years ago. “Unimpressed” is putting it politely! :rofl:

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I was trying to be nice :wink:


deleted: redacted on request

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I like that he compared it to the HoloAudio May DAC (his reference DAC) and liked it more. Before I listened to the Bartók, I was seriously considering the HoloAudio DAC because of its glowing reviews (mostly by Herb). My local dealer lent me a Bartók to try out in my system. That night I forgot about all those other DACs and ordered a Bartók. Glad to see I wasn’t wrong :laughing:

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I’m a (former) linguist myself and have always liked the fact that Herb Reichert, much like poets from the past, occasionally makes up words, which I’m really quite sure he does on purpose.

And yes, of course a review from someone who’s known to listen, the opposite of a tech nerd, who until recently made no secret of the fact that he prefers analogue, has value. You’d not believe how many audiophile friends and acquaintances of mine keep wondering why I buy dCS and not “something musical”. It’s ironic because they keep referring to me as a “good listener”, inviting me over when they’re considering new equipment, or for that matter, compare rectifier tubes. It doesn’t appear to cross anyone’s mind that if even “good listeners” own dCS, that perhaps they’re prejudiced assuming it sounds analytical.

Greetings from Switzerland, David.

David, fair enough. Good listening is a valuable skill. And there is nothing wrong with fanciful language—if it facilitates understanding—though English already does not want for descriptive words of audio characteristics. I still believe Reichert exhibited a poor understanding of what is happening in the system he is reviewing, and his writing leaves much to be desired for this reader. I just don’t think he’s a very good reviewer.