dCS Bartók APEX DAC Headphone Amplifier

dCS Bartók APEX DAC Headphone Amplifier launches which is an upgrade to the dCS Bartók available from February 7th 2023

dCS engineers continually research how to improve existing technologies and products, a discovery process fueled by our drive to deliver unmatched measured performance and the resulting music experience.

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

Additionally, our products feature a modular approach to construction. The design is future-proof, allowing us to offer new hardware to existing owners. Such was the case with the Vivaldi APEX and Rossini APEX, and now we are happy 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 back panel.

The new Bartók APEX further elevates the listening experience

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

APEX sets a new benchmark for transparency. Organically resolve the finest details and discover textures and subtleties that most systems miss. From the widest dynamic volume changes to the most subtle pitch shifts, Bartók APEX reveals every 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 craftsmanship, exhaustive development, and obsessive attention to detail, a search for 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 our pioneering Ring DAC™ APEX, clock architecture and digital processing platform, a unique combination of hardware and software unrivaled in sonic and technical performance.

Bartók APEX combines precision engineering with an elegant and timeless aesthetic. Standard configuration build quality means the Bartók APEX stands up to even the most intensive use and reliably delivers superior sound quality at all outputs and volume settings. With flexible and upgradeable software and hardware, Bartók can grow and evolve, delivering a cutting-edge listening experience for years to come.


The dCS Ring DAC is an integral part of 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 worldwide recognition for their transparency and fidelity.

Developed from the ground up by dCS engineers, it features a combination of proprietary hardware and software that have been carefully honed and refined over three decades to deliver world-leading sonic and technical performance.

In 2022, we released a major hardware upgrade to the Ring DAC, allowing us to further improve the musical performance of our Vivaldi DAC, Rossini DAC, and Rossini Player. Our obsession with staying at the forefront of measured and musical performance meant it was only a matter of time before we developed an APEX upgrade for Bartók owners.

The latest generation Ring DAC APEX hardware offers several benefits. Noise and distortion have been further reduced and linearity has been increased by more than 12 dB. Our subjective listening tests, in turn, have revealed a number of sonic improvements, with listeners noting improved dynamics, rhythm and timing, higher soundstage resolution and image focus, blacker backgrounds, and greater feeling of realism.

For APEX, the engineering team made extensive changes to the Ring DAC hardware. With the exception of the resistor matrix, which remains unchanged, the state-of-the-art Ring DAC hardware is brand new.

Improvements include:

  • Modified reference power that feeds the Ring DAC, resulting in a lower output impedance
  • Improved the filter, summing and output stages of the Ring DAC
  • Improved symmetry of summation stages
  • Created a whole new output stage
  • Ring DAC main circuit board reconfigured
  • Individual transistors replaced on the board with a compound pair

The Bartók APEX upgrade program will start in March 2023

In addition to the release of our next-generation Bartók APEX, we’re making our Ring DAC APEX hardware available to existing Bartók owners through a global upgrade program. dCS Bartók owners are free to purchase upgrades, allowing them to receive the latest generation of hardware without having to purchase a new system.

Customers who purchase an upgrade will receive new APEX hardware, plus a new APEX shield. dCS will also provide a one-year warranty on all upgraded units, free of charge. Contact your local dealer for pricing and details.