Vivaldi Apex DAC review

TAS came up with a Vivaldi Apex DAC review, ending with:

Is this the last word in digital playback? Heaven forbid. The blunt truth is that digital engineers keep chasing down the audio gremlins to provide better and better playback, and I’m told that dCS itself has some developments up its sleeve that may further rock the audio world. But to hear what the Vivaldi Apex can provide is mesmerizing. The British are known for their stiff upper lips, but I would wager that if managing director David Steven and his trusty corps of engineers were to hear what the dCS delivers on a big system such as the Wilson WAMM, even theirs might start to quiver. This isn’t a good DAC. It’s a great one.


Thanks Erno!

Virtually all of the audiophile media have long lost any real credibility in my personal opinion. That said, I’m still subscribed to Stereophile as cheap entertainment (and JA’s measurements are occasionally useful).

I was, until recently, also subscribed to TAS, but is mostly full of fluff and hyperbole, albeit Jacob is among the least egregious :laughing:

The development commentary is indeed intriguing :wink:


That was my sole reason to post this here :wink:

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Seems that they‘re already working on Vivaldi II :partying_face:

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If that’s a Roman 2 then I shall be pedantic and point out that we have had Vivaldi 2 since October 2018. However a replacement to Vivaldi , as with every other model in the range, is no doubt at some stage in dCS’ workload from concept to prototype. It has to be as they have to have products to sell in the future.

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I don’t see why there’s the need to trash the audiophile media here.

This is an excellent review, but then again many of the reviewers for both magazines are excellent.

The key is to find a reviewer whose opinions closely follow yours and use that as a guideline to choose which components and cables you should audition for yourself.

Exactly. Find someone who mirrors your opinion and then only read that! It’s much more enjoyable: “Do you agree?” “Yes, I agree!” Lol

I am just kidding… ; )



I think I know what we’re talking about - a reviewer whose preferences match yours. If you’re all about the beauty of music, a reviewer whose preferences lean to the hyper analytical probably won’t be a good match for you. :grin:

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I agree @Anupc. My “moment” was the Absolute Sound’s MQA review/love letter. Credibility out the door after that.


AndI feel your credibility goes with those comments.

Then again, the only thing that counts is the individuals thoughts on a product, not any magazine, not someone on a website and surely not someone in a Youtube video.

It is great that people are entitled to their own opinions.

Absolute Sound, 2016:

  • “Master Quality Authenticated (MQA), a new digital technology that delivers better-than-high-resolution sound quality at a bit rate comparable to that of CD.”
  • “Rather, MQA is a nearly-ground-up rethinking of how to best deliver to the listener as close a facsimile as possible of the original musical event”
  • "We ended up in this predicament because each improvement in digital audio was merely an incremental evolution of conventional ideas and models. No one had gone back to first principles and rethought how best to record and distribute music.
  • "Against this backdrop, Master Quality Authenticated emerged. In a single stroke, MQA solves all these problems, from the technical, to the business model, to the sound quality, to the easy accessibility of that sound quality, and to the communication between artist and listener.
  • “In addition to delivering unprecedented sound quality, MQA offers record companies a compelling solution to delivering to consumers the best possible sound while still protecting their archives.”
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That may have been published in Absolute Sound .it is also in many other magazines as it seems to be the oress release from MQA or a variant of it.

Exactly Pete, that is my point. The AS basically just took MQA talking points and unsubstantiated claims, and wrapped them into a massive PR boost for the technology. Hence my position on their credibility. These were the two main articles. Cheers, R



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Likewise with Stereophile, the turning point for me was JA’s blind insistence on MQA, and following that JA2 taking over as Editor where he seems to suggest they stand on the side of Vendors, and less so in the interest of the consumer. :man_shrugging:t2:

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Speaking of Stereophile, the cover review of the latest issue is the Vivaldi APEX. :heart:

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My dCS distributor published the new Vivaldi Apex review of Stereophile. Here it is:

If someone were to give me $100 for every review that extols “state-
of-the-art” equipment, I’d have enough money to buy a house on
the water with a music room fit for a queen. So, rather than falling
into that trap, let’s talk instead about music.
Recorded music has never sounded as full, rich, flowing, reward-
ing, and natural as with the Vivaldi Apex. It is rare, in a home lis-
tening room, to experience anew the full impact of great orchestral
music heard in a concert hall. But the Vivaldi Apex DAC, Vivaldi
Upsampler Plus, and Vivaldi Master Clock together have made that
possible, repeatedly. I haven’t heard every DAC on the market—
certainly not in my listening room, where all other variables are
known—but nothing I have encountered in stores or at shows has
come close to the Vivaldi Apex. Every listening experience has
been extraordinary. The finer and more concentrated an artist’s
focus, the finer the Vivaldi Apex system sounds. It conveys inspira-
tion and genius like no other equipment I’ve heard.
I hope that you get to hear and enjoy it, in a system worthy of
its company. If you’re fortunate enough to own one, you will have
read this review with a knowing smile.


so the main listening was done with USB attached Innuos or with the dCS Upsampler and streaming?
I wonder why he needed the Upsampper then…
…this review sounds like the Rossini Apex is broken :joy:

Nice review. Thanks for posting. I like the focus on music. Interesting distinctions drawn between the Vivaldi and Rossini; not very illuminating though. Also note the USB connection between Innuos Statement and Upsampler (while it may be Innuos’s preferred way, it’s not dCS’s, and I find that preference more compelling.)

This bit about the connections was a tad confusing, partly because he referred to both the “Upsampler Plus” and the “Upsampler.” I believe he is referring to the same box, the current Upsampler, and which is called simply the Upsampler over at

Lately, an Innuos Statement Next-Gen music server running Roon has been handling file playback on my system. I wanted to sample the Innuos proprietary playback software (which I’ll discuss in a future follow-up review), but it wasn’t yet equipped to work with the Vivaldi Apex DAC. Because Innuos prefers USB to Ethernet as its optimal way of sending files to DACs, we installed a USB cable between the Innuos Statement and the Vivaldi Upsampler and Ethernet cables between the Nordost QNet Ethernet switch, Innuos, and Vivaldi Upsampler Plus. Switching cables between the Vivaldi and Rossini Apex DACs and Clocks while maintaining distance between interconnects and power cables during comparisons was loads of fun.

And he’s a server-streamer guy. :wink:

P.S. I enjoyed getting some new and old music recommendations in this article. I’ve gone back to Roberta Flack with newfound appreciation, and I am enjoying trying out The Wheel and the Bach Trios.

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now I got it…the Upsampler has an USB port as well! I thought that this device would only provides LAN connection…

Oh yeah, the Upsampler is replete with inputs!