I listened to the new review by Darko Audio on the Dcs Bartok vs the Dave.
To my great surprise, and contrary of @Bluesfan recent feedback, the Bartok is more surfooted, has better prat vs the Dave. The Bartok is also sharper on percussions and have better, more nuanced and natural tonality vs the Dave.
Curious to have such opposite point of views.

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Well FR, I have only heard the Bartok fed by the £5k Melco HDD server and over an ethernet server with an Innuos Statement as the music library with Nucleus+ as the Roon Core. Amps were either 552/500 or 252/300 (all latest 2019 Naim spec). Speakers were either Wilson Sasha DAW or Kudos Titan 606. My impressions from both of these dealer demos were 100% consistent. The Bartok is certainly smooth, cultured and unruffled, so perhaps that is wht Mr Darko means by surefooted and nuanced. Sharper on percussion and better on timing though? No chance, really no.

Perhaps John Darko has found a different system configuration that works better. If so, I am delighted, as DCS is based quite close to where we live.

Best regards, BF

FR - I suppose it’s why you need to audition things yourself - your ears, your system.


you can see the youtube video , on the Darko Audio site. I don’t say you are wrong however Bluesfan. It’s just curious to have opposite listenings.

Bluesfan, could you explain more clearly what you perceive as timing?

when Martin Colloms reviewed the Dave, he found it very good. But, for him, his nds/555dr had better prat and involvement.

Well he does say that of nearly every (non Naim) product he reviews…

yes, but he used the same system for both the Dave and Bartok…

What I don’t get that people who don’t buy into the Naim streaming route mainly seem to talk about the Chord products, while there are arguably comparable or better products available as well. For instance the below quoted Brinkmann Nyquist (Review of Hifi+) or Meitner or T&A or many others…

Perhaps the big and consistent sonic positive about the Brinkmann Nyquist is the complete absence of a mechanical or artificial sound. Some digital devices strive to recreate the digital signal in its absolute finery, others try to mask the sound of digital by imposing their own signature on the performance. The Nyquist is one of the few that does both at the same time (notable others include the Kalista in this issue, and the Nagra HD DAC, both of which make the Nyquist seem cheap).

There’s another interesting comparison to make from below, in the guise of the Chord DAVE. This one is tougher because the two products go in very different directions sonically. The Chord is the more accurate reproducer of digital sounds. You get the feeling that you are listening to a direct feed from the mixing desk when listening through the DAVE. The Nyquist doesn’t do that, instead preferring to summon up the musicians and conductors in front of you, in a kind of holographic simulation of the live event. The comparison is one of head vs. heart if you like, with the Nyquist taking the ‘heart’ route all the way. That is not to say it’s lacking in cerebral qualities, that it’s an euphonic digital warmer-upper, or that it is somehow engineering music to sound ‘nice’, but the fact remains I found listening to the Nyquist a hugely enjoyable event each and every time I listened to it. Accurate? Accurate to what? The Nyquist is musically and temporally correct and it shows. Others might be more pitch perfect across the frequency domain, but if the Nyquist rings your bell, you probably won’t care one jot.


FWIW I’ve never understood utube “reviews” of audio equipment: what you hear is down to the microphone used, then the recording device’s DAC, then how it survives utibe’s compression etc. It then just becomes s person telling you what he or she thinks of it - which is much better done in print as you can read at your own speed etc.

Regardless, doubtless two DACs sound different to one another, whence all sorts of subjective preferences come into play. I will be interested in your own reaction when you get to hear Dave, with and without MScaker…

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very interesting feedback Bert. I am glad to read feedbacks on other components than always nd555 , ndx2 or Dave.

the review is on youtube only. You don’t listen through youtube. Donny Darko just speaks , not writes…

To add. The point I also wanted to make. There are many great DAC options if that’s your route. Do yourself the favor to listen to a couple of them and just make it a Chord Dave versus Naim Sound discussion…

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only @Bluesfan could compare different dacs as dcs bartok, dcs rossini, chord , nd555, and msb . The vast majority are only speaking of chord as the only alternative.

Oh and I thought YOU had heard these yourself FR.

I have heard the DCS full stack, and while interesting, it is not for me. I much prefer the Chord Dave.

no. But i am not referring only on Dave or Naim…I went recently to listen to dcs rossini ( alone) vs linn kdsm katalyst. The linn was less resolving and open, but better textured and more natural.
I preferred the linn.
My next step will be chord Dave or TT/ mscaler.
I heard also some months ago the Audiomat maestro 3, which i found specially good for the price.
I will not even try MSB, it’s too expensive.

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Hi StoogeMoe,
I have tried to capture my impressions of a number of streamer and dac auditions in this thread:
Music Streaming- It’s hard to find the right time

Hopefully there is an acceptable answer to your question there.

Best regards, BF

Please remember, this is one person’s impressions of 12-13 different high end streamers & dacs. It is in no way authoritative or universally applicable.

Yes, I have decided to go with a Chord dac. However, both DCS and MSB make streamers that were even more musically impressive but they are circa £10-15k more expensive and that is outside our budget until we win the lottery!

These comparisons often seem to be portrayed as Naim versus Chord, hence the decision to cast the net a little wider and include DCS, MSB, Sim Audio Moon and Dutch & Dutch. The only obvious omission has been Linn and that was on the recommendation of a dealer who is a Linn, Naim and Chord stockist.

As ever, the impressions of others who have been down a similar journey are greatly appreciated, whether they concur or contrast.

Best regards, BF

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No one has mentioned that Chord DACs look like they were knocked up out of bits and pieces they found in the shed…




They do tend to remind me of something I saw in Gerry Anderson programmes as a kid, e.g. Thunderbirds, Stingray.

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