Two June FollowUp Reviews

The June 2021 issue of Stereophile included followup reviews of two recommended components, both which deserved further investigation of what they had to offer: the dCS Bartók D/A processor and the Schiit Audio Sol turntable.

Jim Austin reviewed the dCS Bartók in October 2019. The Bartók costs $14,500 plus $2750 for the headphone-amplifier option and is the most recent D/A processor to come from the UK company to feature its groundbreaking Ring DAC. "The Ring DAC is based on technically solid ideas, with clear, definite advantages over other DAC technologies." Jim concluded "There is value here-absolutely-but, even though this is dCS's least expensive component that can play music, it's still not inexpensive."

In his followup, Herb Reichert examined the sound quality of the Bartók's different reconstruction filters. He also auditioned the performance with his favorite headphones, as well as trying out the "Crossfeed" feature, which compensates for the fact that with typical stereo recordings, the soundstage with headphones is painted inside the listener's head.

Ken Micallef reviewed the Schiit Audio Sol turntable in March 2021. The Sol costs $799 with an Audio-Technica cartridge and no sooner than the ink had dried on Ken's review than Stereophile el Jefe Jim Austin asked him to investigate how well the Sol would perform when mated with better cartridges, and preamps, etc—equipment not often paired with an entry-level turntable. You can find his conclusions here.

No sooner than the ink had dried on KM's followup than it appeared that the Sol was going to be discontinued, due to supply problems with some of its parts, although at this point that's far from certain. See a reader's comment here and Jim Austin's response, following a conversation with Schiit's Denise Martin, here.

tonykaz's picture

No experienced listener has ever described any DAC with such wonderful reveals ( never, ever) .

I've been chasing DAC improved performance with the idea that they are Transducer Devices, in the same manner as/that Phono Cartridges are transducers. Surely, some transduce better than others. ( don't they? )

So , why is it difficult for me to hear meaningful DAC diferences when I can easily hear all manner of differences in Loudspeakers ?

That is until now :

Now , Mr.HR. is hearing things never before revealed!

Is it the Connecting Circuits ?

Is it the missing Apple Computer ?

is USB a serious problem ( like Schiit Claims it to be ? )

Is it a new strain of Wacky-tobaccy hitting NY ?

Is it nice sounding resistors instead of Chips ?

Is it modern recording techonolgy being revealed by circuits designed to reveal it ?

Is it a combination of careful designs not constrained by Chip pricing parities. ?

This Bartok device re-opens a range of important questions, especially that the Device's Retail Price isn't far from the price of a desirable Phono Cartridge. ( not even considering the outrageous prices for today's Arms & Turntables or the $100 Vinyl Re-Issues from Kansas )

Tyll did his 2015 Big Sound Comparison that featured the best of the then available DACs (or so I thought ), no-body noticed differences in any of the DACs. ( including Bob Katz, I think ).

This here little Review deserves ( or should've had ) a Photo on the Front Cover if DACs are getting this dam good !

Ten years ago we got the iPhone that changed the entire World, our next 10 Years will probably bring 16/44 to amazing performance levels.

God Bless the Joe Bussard Collectors out there, every-day Vinyl is still garage sale cheap.

Tony in Venice Florida