Would you describe the Bartok as ‘sprightly’?

My reference for sheer speed, lightness of foot, and fun (what I am going to summarise as ‘sprightly’) is my CD player, a modified Pioneer laserdisc player from the mid-nineties. Unfortunately, as a disc player from that era, it is somewhat temperamental now, mostly limiting me to listening to a disc from the start, after a wait for it to decide it wants to read the disc.

I got close to it with a streaming solution, using a Network Bridge and Metrum Octave mkii. That felt suitably quick but ultimately I wanted more emotional engagement. I want a system that can make me dance and make me cry. I got to the dancing but the crying was harder to achieve.

Having read lots of reviews and been sucked in by Michael Lavorgnia’s enthusiasm for them, I got a used TotalDac d1 Dual, which I have been using for about 2 years now. On first play I knew it didn’t have the speed I need but I was so invested by that point, and it does so many other great things, that I ignored it. It can make me dance but it is just missing that last little bit of fun factor that my CD player can deliver.

So in an attempt to get that speed and fun factor into the mix, as well as reducing the box count, I am considering a used Bartok (the Mola Mola Tambaqui also looks like it should be in the mix). Reviews rarely seem to touch on the pace of a piece of equipment, with most reviewers focusing on imaging and timbre etc. Would the Bartok owners here consider it to be pacey and lively and make you want to get out of your seat?

For reference, I have found Chord DACs to be rather polite and boring when I have heard them and I had a home demo of a Naim NDX2 and XPS power supply not long after the Totaldac turned up, and i couldn’t notice much in the way of speed difference between them. In the shop, with the better 555 power supply, it was a very close call to the Totaldac, but at home with the XPS, the Totaldac won out and stayed.

Thanks for reading.

On the dCS Rossini APEX Dac:

It has that swing too

'Apart from quantitative tests,
extensive subjective listening
tests were run with music
professionals and listening
experts’, dCS says. It’s
paradigmatic that dCS does not
rely on measurements alone.
They listen too like the rest of us.

Whoever they are, they did a
good job. The first impression is
of a robust, tight, articulate, well-
defined bass with impressive
extension, half to one octave
lower than the average DAC.

Dynamics are explosive, and
Rossini APEX keeps perfect
tempo. Pace and rhythm freaks
will be utterly satisfied.

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