ARE DCS Dacs worth the high cost?


Looking at a new DCS Rossini and wonder if anyone has compared other Dacs to the DCS line and if they come close to the performance.
samgar2
Went to a guys house with my friend He had the so called DCS stack. Like 5 boxes. Brought my friends Audio-GD Master 7. We listened to music for about 4 hours. Everybody liked the Master 7 better. The guy eventually sold the DCS stuff and bought a Master 7. Don't get me wrong, the DCS sounded very very good, we just prefered the Master 7
Alan
A  +£23,000 DCS stack was beaten by a £2,300 Audio-GD Master 7?

Almost seems too good to be true.
I guess that question could address hi fi in general and if you are thinking to buy it new, even more.
But, if we put that aside, and continue to discuss it from relatively 'twisted' audiophile point of view, than its true that DCS gear will provide you 'more' of listening experience than most.
There is a 'catch' too. Your listening room and the rest of your system should be at equally high level, otherwise you could find other gear that cost less but gives you more of  the value, meaning that you have certain 'top' (yours listening conditions) that sometimes is reached before you need some hi end gear, or better, no matter how much money you spend, the 'improvment' may not be significant or even heard.
I saw many expensive sytems, that were placed in less than perfect suroundings and have given nothing but permanent disatisfaction to their owners.
Speaking from my experience with DCS Puccini and clock that replaced Burmester 001 player.
Note, I am not fan of the Dac and pc audio, imho high end dacs are always compromised with use of pc's,at least the ones I had a chance to hear
No.
Well I might as well essay a serious response ...

Answer is --- it depends, and all comes down to your system preferences. DCS DACs can perform superbly but they are hella sensitive to ancillaries -- this is more true of the multi part stacks and the one box Rossini is to many the ideal solution (if you don't need SACD) -- certainly my dealer felt it outperformed a full Paganini stack (which I used to own)

Some feel the DCS kit tends a little towards the etched/over detailed side -- it can, especially if you choose some of the conversion settings (for example I find the PCM to tend a bit this way in comparison with DSD). The good thing is that their are all sorts of adjustments for you to tailor the sound to your preferences.

On the plus side if purchased from an official dealer you get great after sales service and regular upgrades, and a nice path to trading up the line if desired

Nevertheless there are many other great DACs and systems -- MSB, Esoteric, Playback etc -- ideally if you have not already bought into a line get a few in your home system to compare -- at the end of the day you are the only one who can judge
NO is a simple Answer. Its more about a Bragging Right. Your friends will be jealious of you and everyone will think your super rich.
The Playback Design an excellent DAC!!!

Aqua Acoustic Formula
NO is a simple Answer. Its more about a Bragging Right. Your friends will be jealious of you and everyone will think your super rich.


So have you heard all DACs offered by dCS in your system or in another excellent system set up correctly?
No , I have not heard it in my system, but did hear the Rossini at the dealer. It sounded quite impressive especially after it was compared to Meiter DX 2 Dac. Night and day difference.
As folkfreak has commented, it depends on many variables.  I've owned many DACs which recently included a 4-box Paganini stack (DAC, Upsampler, Clock and SACD/CD player), a Lumin S1 single box music server/DAC and a Rossini single box music server/DAC.

IMO, the Rossini DAC is sonically better than a dCS Paganini stack. But there are many other extra feature considerations that may tip the scale to the Rossini depending on what you're looking for. The Rossini is the swiss army knife of digital front ends as it'll accept just about any type of digital cable and data format connectivity. 

I was able to streamline my system by using the Rossini as a pre-amp direct to my amp. I know many will claim pre-amps are needed for a variety of reasons. But I was able to get rid of a well regarded pre-amp as the Rossini connected directly to my amp sounded better to me. A couple years ago when I tried to use my Paganini direct to my amp it sounded a bit lifeless. I'm not sure what dCS did to the Rossini analog out but it sounds amazing.  And it supports use of an external clock in case you want to elevate the system a bit more. Not many DACs support an external clock.

I think a more important consideration is that the Paganini, being older technology, isn't TIDAL ready. I believe this will become a game changer, especially if TIDAL MQA adoption becomes a reality. I've been told that the Rossini MQA firmware is close and even today you can listen to TIDAL MQA tracks on the Rossini at 48kHz/24 bit, which sounds better than Redbook CD to me, perhaps due to the increased bit rate.

BTW, Lumin just released their ver 9.01 firmware which plays TIDAL MQA tracks all the way up to 352kHz/24 bit with MQA Studio Authentication. There's already hundreds of MQA albums on TIDAL at 96kHz/24-bit, many at 192kHz and some at 352kHz. Once you experience these higher resolution rates, you may find that you stop listening to CDs and perhaps even SACDs.
I heard the Rossini with MQA at Audio Salon a couple of weeks ago - the difference was impressive. I currently have a Rossini on loan ..but not with the MQA update. Nice bit of kit....
@davneinla, I know you can play MQA tracks on the Rossini but my understanding is that they won't fully unfold until dCS provides the MQA firmware. Does MQA firmware exist for the Rossini?