dCS Rossini Apex D/A processor Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Digital sources: dCS Rossini DAC 2.0 and Clock; EMM Labs DV2 Integrated DAC; Synology 5-bay 1019+ NAS, Uptone Audio EtherRegen with AfterDark Giesemann Emperor Double Crown Master Clock, Small Green Computer Sonore Deluxe opticalModule, Linksys mesh router and Arris modem, all powered by HDPlex 300 linear power supplies; Roon Nucleus+ music server and Nordost QNET Ethernet Switch, both powered by Nordost QSource linear power supply; Apple 2017 iPad Pro and 2017 MacBook Pro laptop with 2.8GHz Intel i7, SSD, 16GB RAM.
Preamplifier: Dan D'Agostino Momentum HD.
Power amplifiers: Dan D'Agostino Progression M550 monoblocks.
Loudspeakers: Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia 2 with Acoustic Diodes.
Cables: Digital: Nordost Odin 1, Odin 2, and Valhalla 2 (USB and Ethernet); Frey 2 (USB adapter); Wireworld Platinum Starlight Cat8 (Ethernet), OM1 62.5/125 multimode duplex (fiberoptic). Interconnect: Nordost Odin 2. Speaker: Nordost Odin 2. AC: Nordost Odin 2, Valhalla 2; AudioQuest Dragon and Dragon HC. Umbilical cords: Ghent Audio Canare for HDPlex LPSs and NAS; QSource Premium DC cables with Lemo terminations for QSource.
Accessories: Grand Prix Monza 8-shelf double rack & amp stands, 1.5" Formula platform, Apex footers; Nordost QB8, QX4 (2), QK1, and QV2 AC power accessories, QKore 1, 3, and 6 with QKore Wires, Titanium and Bronze Sort Kones, Sort Lifts; AudioQuest Niagara 5000 and Niagra 7000 power conditioners & NRG Edison outlets & JitterBugs; Tweek Geek Dark Matter Stealth power conditioner with High Fidelity and Furutech options; GreenWave AC filter; Ansuz Darkz T2S resonance support feet; Wilson Audio Pedestals; IsoAcoustics Orea footers; Stillpoints Aperture panels; Resolution Acoustics room treatment; Stein Music Super Naturals, Blue Suns/Diamonds, Quantum Organizer; Bybee Room Neutralizers; Absolare Stabilians; Symposium Ultra Platform; Marigo Aida CD mat; Stromtank S 1000 battery power source.
Room: Dedicated listening room 20' L × 16' W × 9'4" H.—Jason Victor Serinus

dCS (Data Conversion Systems), Ltd.
US distributor: Data Conversion Systems Americas, LLC
PNC Bank Bldg.
300 Delaware Ave., Suite 210, Wilmington, DE 19801
(302) 473-9050

georgehifi's picture

If someone showed that pcb to me
And said it was an R2R ladder dac, I'd believe them. Please enlighten me, is a RingDac dac, R2R based??? I never saw R2R dac chip or discrete in Arcam's DCS ring dac players when replacing laser.

Cheers George

Archimago's picture

Based on this (and also the article PDF):

The dcs RingDAC technology appears to be a multibit (5-bit) SDM system upsampled to rates like 2.8-6.1MHz depending on the model. There's a first step oversampling to 768kHz which is presumably also where the digital filtering options are applied.

With faster technology over time, these numbers can certainly increase with each generation. Not sure if necessarily needed or will imply better sound quality. Objective results look excellent already!

miguelito's picture


Long-time listener's picture

Given that DACs, such as the $700 Topping D90SE, routinely reach 21 bits of resolution (with one or two reviewed in Stereophile having 22), what is it about this particular DAC that justifies it being priced at more than ten times that amount?

windansea's picture

If it sounds better, even just a little, that might be worth the price to some.

I enjoyed this review, and I appreciated that Mr. Serinus did a comparison of DACs, but I just wish he'd go that extra step and make it double-blind. That would eliminate so much doubt and justified skepticism. It would really be an endorsement of the product and its technology. I would be more willing to BUY this product after a double-blind ABX.

georgehifi's picture

Would be real interesting to do a blind A/B with those two.
However I do with Redbook PCM CD replay believe in R2R dacs, they just sound more "fleshed out" to me.

Cheers George

Archimago's picture

Or even just a direct recording from the outputs in 24/96 using a hi-res ADC and listen to the difference. (I've done this over the years accompanying DAC measurements/reviews - do a search on "Archimago AMPT" if you haven't heard these.)

I would be very surprised to hear a big difference comparing the Topping D90SE/LE vs. this DAC in a volume-controlled set-up.

windansea's picture

There is not much excuse to avoid blind ABX when it comes to DACs. It's not so easy to do with speakers or amps or preamps or cables. But with DACs, it's the same source feeding two DACs, into a single pre. Someone else does the switching (ideally the switching is done randomly by a machine-- these exist) and then the listener aims to identify which DAC is delivering the music. I can't see how anyone could object to this, except for the manufacturer and/or reviewer who realizes that there's no detectable difference. Come on Stereophile, how about for DACs, let's use the scientific method!

PS: I forgot to add, for ABX, the two DACs would need to be level matched, so it's more complicated than I stated at first. The path to knowledge is NOT EASY.

ok's picture

the analog stage - which is the sole object of the apex update - is the most important part of a dac; thankfully dcs realized it at last.

miguelito's picture

I am told the upgrade involved three things:
1- Better current sources to the Ring DAC
2- Improved trace locations in the Ring DAC board
3- Improved analog output stage

miguelito's picture

Best I can say is just go for a listen. If you cannot tell the difference, then you can save a lot of money. I just upgraded my Rossini to Apex and can very much tell the difference. YMMV.

David Harper's picture

Or at least you imagine that you can. Placebo is a powerful thing.

ChrisS's picture

...skills, a highly resolving stereo system, a nice room, and great music!

The Tinkerer's picture

I ask because, if you do not, your comment immediately presents as breathtakingly pretentious. But if you do know him, I will gladly retract my observation.

miguelito's picture

Also, I do not respond to such comments, which are based on nothing else but prejudice.

rwwear's picture

For all of the expense DCS could have at least added an HDMI input for high resolution playback from Blu-ray and SACD players. It is a severely limited product. I suppose they couldn't afford the licensing fee.

miguelito's picture

You can buy a dCS transport, or do what I do and rip the SACDs to DSD files and play them directly - you can use Roon, Audirvana, or the internal player either with a connected hard drive or over UPnP. I have done all of the above.

If you really want to use something like a BluRay player to play both SACDs and BluRay discs (eg with an Oppo or similar), you can get one of those little $100 boxes on eBay that will produce a digital stream from the HDMI signal into a SPDIF signal - it works with BluRay hi res audio (PCM) and with SACDs (over DoP, which by the way dCS invented). I have one such box and works great (but I don't really use it).

I should add that playing from a consumer BluRay player is not really the market segment for this product.

rwwear's picture

Better yet would be for DCS to have HDMI like Bryston, T+A, McIntosh and a few other notable high end companies. There's many audio only Blu-Ray discs out there.

hb72's picture

how can I do that? tx in advance


John Atkinson's picture
hb72 wrote:
how can I do that?

See https://www.stereophile.com/content/music-round-93-minidsp-ripping-sacds-page-2.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

miguelito's picture

About 7yrs ago I purchased an old Sony PS3 with a specific firmware that allowed me to run a piece of software to rip SACDs to ISO files, then convert those to DSD files. Recently my PS3 started flaking out so I seeked other means.

I looked into the Oppos I had heard about but as you might know the Oppos are not made anymore and the few that would do this ripping and are in good shape sell for inordinate amounts of money.

Turns out today you can use a large number of DVD players, most of which you can easily get on eBay for $20-$30, and by putting together a USB drive to initialize the DVD player and using some software on your computer, you can very easily rip SACDs directly into DSD files.

Follow this thread: https://www.psaudio.com/copper/article/down-the-rabbit-hole-of-sacd-ripping-and-dsd-extraction/

I use a Sony BDP-S5100, which I got basically brand new on eBay for about $30. Works amazingly well.

litle Ben's picture

I don't know why they are lying, nothing has changed compared to the original version, and the technology used is some old stocks of xilinx chips that are more than 10 years old, completely ridiculous, so I guess everyone understands what it means to be 10 or more years behind in digital technology