dCS Bartók Reaches Its APEX

dCS’s engineers continually research how to improve existing technolo- gies and products, a discovery process motivated by our drive to deliver unrivalled measured performance and the resulting musical experience.

Often, innovation comes in the form of software. With the recent Bartók 2.0 software update, we improved DSD upsampling and added new filter options. Mappers originally designed for Vivaldi APEX and Rossini APEX are now available in Bartók. The Mappers control how data is presented to the Ring DACTM core. Bartók now includes three Mapper settings. It also includes DSD128 capability and an additional filter setting for DSD.

Additionally, our products feature a modular approach to construc- tion. The design allows for future upgradeability, which enables us

to offer new hardware to existing owners. Such was the case with the Vivaldi APEX and Rossini APEX. Now, we are excited to invite existing owners to upgrade their Bartóks. Units upgraded to Bartók APEX

are identical to the new model in every way, including the APEX nameplate on the rear panel.

The Bartók APEX retains the original’s powerful, dynamic and detailed soundscape and adds elements of resolution and refinement previously only achievable with the Rossini or Vivaldi APEX. dCS engineered Bartók APEX to inform and inspire.

APEX sets a new benchmark for transparency. It organically resolves the finest details and un- covers textures and subtleties that most systems overlook. From the broadest dynamic swings in volume to the subtlest shifts in tone, Bartók APEX reveals each aspect of a recording with a sense of effortless refinement and control.

Designed and hand-assembled at our headquarters in Cambridgeshire, England

Bartók APEX is born from meticulous craft, exhaustive development, and obsessive attention to detail—a pursuit of musical purity that has inspired us to reimagine the limits of sound reproduction. Sharing the same electronics as our Vivaldi and Rossini systems, it features the latest generations of the Ring DACTM APEX, clocking architecture, and digital processing platform—a unique combination of hardware and software unrivalled in its sonic and technical performance.

Bartók APEX combines precision engineering with an elegant and timeless aesthetic. Standard-setting build quality means Bartók APEX withstands even the most intensive use and reliably delivers superb sound quality at all volume settings and outputs. With flexible and upgradeable software and hardware, Bartók can grow and evolve, providing a state-of-the-art listening experience for years to come.


The dCS Ring DAC is integral to all dCS DACs and integrated music players. This novel invention—one of several bespoke technologies created by dCS—is one of the reasons our systems have earned global acclaim for their transparency and fidelity.

Developed from the ground up by dCS engineers, it features

a combination of proprietary hardware and software that has been carefully honed and refined over three decades to deliver a world-leading technical and sonic performance.

In 2022, we released APEX, a significant update to the Ring DAC’s hardware, which allowed us to enhance further the musical performance of our Vivaldi DAC, Rossini DAC, and Rossini Player. Our obsession with remaining at the forefront of measured and musical performance meant that it was only a matter of time before we developed an APEX upgrade for Bartók owners.

The latest-generation Ring DAC APEX hardware brings several benefits. Noise and distortion have been further reduced,

and linearity increased by over 12dB. Our subjective listening tests, in turn, have revealed a number of sonic improvements, with listeners noting enhanced dynamics, rhythm and timing, greater soundstage resolution and image focus, blacker backgrounds, and a heightened sense of realism.

More information about the Ring DAC’s unique architecture, and its advantages over other technologies, can be found in our digital resource paper: Understanding the dCS Ring DAC.

For APEX, the engineering team made extensive changes to the Ring DAC’s hardware. With the exception of the resistor array, which remains unchanged, the latest-generation Ring DAC hardware is all new.

Improvements Include:

• Modified reference supply that feeds the Ring DAC, resulting in

lower output impedance

• Enhanced the filter, summing and output stages of the Ring DAC

• Improved the symmetry of summing stages

• Created an all-new output stage

• Reconfigured the main Ring DAC circuit board

• Replaced individual transistors on the board with a compound pair

Prices and availability


The new APEX edition of the dCS Bartók replaces the previous version with immediate effect. UK RRPs are as follows:


  • dCS Bartók with integrated headphone amp: £21,500
  • dCS Bartók without integrated headphone amp: £19,000


The APEX upgrade programme for existing Bartók owners begins this spring via dCS distributors worldwide. For Bartók owners in the UK, the upgrade cost is £7,500 per unit and Absolute Sounds will begin taking bookings in March.



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