Re-imaging a system around Roon and the dCS Bartok

I’ve been a long time fan of Roon and I recently purchased a dCS Bartok with headphone amp - what a fantastic pair!

I have not yet connected the Bartok to my speaker-based system; I’ve only been headphone listening. But I’m starting to imagine what a new system might look like with the Bartok serving both headphones and speakers.

My current speaker system is the Resolution Audio Cantata system with Harbeth P3ESR speakers in a small room (the Roon Nucleus + and Bartok are in the same cabinet). I’ve had the RA system since 2007, but it has been updated over the years. I can start by running the Bartok to the RA Cantata amp. (I currently have the RA Cantata connected to the Nucleus via USB; the Bartok is via ethernet through the network.)

But I’m also a minimalist at heart and I’m imagining how one could simplify even further. Has anyone here used active speakers with the Bartok (or dCS in general)?

This is simply a discovery exercise at this point. I don’t have any immediate plans to make changes.

I had a dCS Bartók on loan, using it ethernet-connected to a Win10 Pro x64 PC with Roon and feeding the Bartók’s output via balanced connectors [corrected, thanks] to a Classé CA-2300 power amp, itself feeding Wilson Audio Sasha DAWs (passive speakers, of course). The sound was nicer than an alternative setup with Antipodes DS Edge and Classé CP-800 in place of the Bartók. The difference wasn’t huge to my hears, but it was enough that I’m considering buying a Bartók.

(For the record, I couldn’t tell a difference in sound quality with the Bartók feeding the pre-amp via USB or via ethernet in the alternative setup.)

I am guessing you mean “XLR” or “Balanced Connection”, not USB…

The frailties of memory.

Thanks. I’ve updated my post.

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I run a dCS Rossini + dCS Rossini Master Clock into an Audio Note Kondo Ongaku outputting to a pair of Avantgarde Duo Mezzos.

Ongaku does not have a remote so what I do is set the volume control midway up (that’s relatively loud) and use the digital volume control in Rossini to set the level. This works great.

Any thoughts about how much the Master Clock adds to the DAC’s performance? I’ve been wondering if adding a clock such as the Rossini would help the Bartók.

I also have a Bartók.

For me, upgrading a Bartók to a Rossini would make more sense (and sound quality difference) than adding an external master clock to the Bartók.
This is based in auditions I made when looking to purchase the Bartók, with the caveat of being made at dealers, with their system, in their room, so not in my known environment, but the impression I got at the time was that it would make more sense saving up for a Rossini DAC than investing in a Bartók + Master clock. Since both options were beyond my budget :grin: I went with just the Bartók and I’m loving it.

Not really, I have not listened to the Rossini without it.

Correct. The Rossini now uses the full software configuration of Vivaldi, including all filters and RingDAC speed (5.6MHz instead of 2.3MHz). I would think these are more meaningful that a master clock.

And the Bartok has the headphone amp, which is important to me. Just received the Meze Empyreans today and they are all I was led to believe - which is fantastic.

I would not want to complicate an otherwise simple system by inserting a headphone amp, plus I like the one in the Bartok.

I’ve read about adding the clock, and while many people claim it makes a positive difference I’m not sure it’s the investment in my system I want to make.