Bricasti M1 vs DCS Debussy

I am in the market for a new DAC. Could anyone offer up their experiences with these models? I am a fan of DCS but question the Debussy because of its vintage. What I am really asking, is the Debussy outdated for the price?

Also, please feel free to recommend similar competitors. I have also been looking at the Aqua products and am intrigued by their upgradability.

The DCS and the Brisciti have a similar sound which is very clean with low levels of coloration and good detail, both of these dacs are not particularly warm sounding.

The Aqua Hifi Dacs are much more liquid sounding with a much warmer fuller midrange, partcularly the Lavoice and the La Scala which both use tubes. 

In terms of upgradablity the Aqua products are the most up-gradable products on the market. The La Scala can be upgraded from the original to a mk II to a MK II XHD if so desired.

DCS has had a poor track record with real upgrades to a platform, they tend to replace an entire platform with a brand new one years later.

Briscati has had a power supply upgrade board swap, however, the company hasn't offered any upgrades to the main circuit boards, the design is very modular however. The chip is an older Analog Devices converter so in terms of processing the lastest higher resolution formats don't know what the Briscati can handle. 

If you look inside a La Scala you will see 8 individual circuit boards everything is changeable: the power supply, the analog board, the digital input board, the digital processing board, the front panel and there are a few additional boards, are all removable. 

With the Lascala XHD you also have a full FPGA board for software and firmware changes.

The Aqua sound is very warm and full bodied and tend to favor the tube warmth and dynamics over hyper detail. A lovely analog presentation.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Aqua Hifi dealers

To OP:
Audiotroy likes to denigrate the brands he does not carry and promote the brands he carries. Take all he says with a big helping of salt.
DCS implement many changes in software which is normally new board needed....
and of course they have been around for years and have a massive engineering just like KEF, they should be able to out innovate the little no name company....well

here are several other DAC to consider w analog sound and detail..


Yes Grgr4blu used to sell DCS at my Singer days.

Tomic please tell the DCS Verona word Clock owner, or DCS Delius owner of Purcell owner through the magic of a software update their products are now currrent,

Oh yes then there was the DCS Scarlatti, Paganini yes those are upgradable to the latest DCS technology through software? Don’t think so DCS is littered with good products that are fixed in the time of design and manufacturing.

MSB DAC 5 discontinued, new models which replaced that same with the analog dac. yes again through the magic of a software update you have the lastest technology, guess again only with their current line up have they embraced a modular up-gradable design.

Berkly is one of the few mentioned that have an upgrade program.

Metrum don’t think so.

Gentleman please get your facts straight. We are not saying the Aqua Dacs are the best sounding, they are very musical and analog like, if you are a detail freak they might not be your cup of tea, they are however one of the very few companies that have created a truly modular product and have created an upgrade path.

A MK II Lascala for example can be brought completely up to the current standards by swapping board for new parts, please regale us of the power of upgrades through software again from any of the companies you guys have mentioned?

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Aqua Hifi dealers

@audiotroy why do you constantly find fault with those products you do not support? Would not mind if you would give your thoughts on products you sell and what makes them great but putting products down you don't carry is a disgrace and why many on these forums will never buy from you.
Just saw an announcement on Mono&Stereo that Bricasti just released a less costly DAC called the M3. No idea of price but might be something to look into.
RS 507 you must have a problem reading, no where are we denegrating the Briscati or the DCS products 

We have summarized their sound quality vs the Aqua and the advantages of a fully modular design, not to mention we even mentioned the Berkly is also upgradable but do not have those details as we do not sell their products.

also note as quoted by us from the previous post:

"Gentleman please get your facts straight. We are not saying the Aqua Dacs are the best sounding, they are very musical and analog like, if you are a detail freak they might not be your cup of tea, they are however one of the very few companies that have created a truly modular product and have created an upgrade path. "

Doesn't sound like we are denegrating the other products, the issue of software upgrability is ridiculous there is only so far you can go with firmware or software updates, sooner of later a company will upgrade to a different platform and in the case of DCS and MSB as noted by the examples above have left existing clients out in the rain.

Your hostility is similar to what others who have also a beef with us. 

Don't think we are denegrating other products when we flat out state that the sound of the product we sell might not be a particular cup of tea either to a listener who is looking for a more detailed type of presenation kind of looks like we are summing up the strengths and weakness of what we sell doesn't it. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Aqua Hifi dealers

@audiotroy regarding your concern re dCS

 they are however one of the very few companies that have created a truly modular product and have created an upgrade path

On average dCS platforms are good for about ten years or so, which is a lifetime in digital years -- not sure we should expect a company to offer to bring all of their 10+ year old kit up to latest technology and so on -- transport suppliers change, standards for interfaces evolve etc etc

Anyway what dCS will do is offer very reasonable trade in on upgrading to newer tech, and they stand behind and support all of their older platforms including providing warranties on those traded in via an accredited dealer

All by way of saying to the OP -- don't be concerned about being left out in the lurch if you do choose to go in that direction and buy through a dCS dealer if at all possible
Yes Folkfreak used to sell DCS however a 10 year life cycle is not realistic for their products as they seem to come up with a new series way sooner than that.

In terms of trade ins all dealers generally offer them, remember sold DCS in the past, there never was a sanctioned trade up program through DCS the dealer made the trade in and so any other product would easily apply.

Facts are facts DCS has never offered to rebuild for a nominal cost one product and change it to a current series.

Aqua is one of the very few digital companies that makes 100% obosolence based fully modular designs. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Aqua Dealers

The dates below are the dates over which the product was actively being supported (i.e. via new software releases, in most cases it remained a sold product for a couple of years after that)

Elgar/Delius 1996 - 2007
Scarlatti 2007-2013 (still sold through 2015)
Puccini 2007-2013 (still sold through 2015)
Paganini 2007 - 2014 (still sold through 2015)
Debussy 2010 - 2018
Vivaldi 2012 - present
Rossini 2015 - present

Source: dCS website, software history

So seems that their life cycle is 8-10 years
Okay Folkfreak that still proves there products are still obsoleted.

Even so how can you compare a still obsoleted DCS product to one that is not, you are still tallking a company that is still not actively creating a true path to keeping the same product current as technology advances.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

Thanks all thus far! I take no offense to a dealer's opinion. I am just trying to get the best unit possible within that $10k price range and not having to worry about upgrading a whole unit in 3 years. The inclusion of streaming capability within the units is also a plus and an area I would like to head towards. It is nice to see that companies are embracing upgradability. 
Please keep the advice coming,

i personally would be pretty happy to have a dcs dac. i would think that the new bartok dac would be awesome but of course still expensive. generally in audio as in cars etc the top tier products/companies attract hyper criticism. the guys that don’t/can’t carry it really slam. 
4425 yes the Bartok does look awesome, in that same price range we have the Lumin X1 which also sounds awesome and the Lumin is one terrific sounding piece with a great feature set and series of strengths.

Had  a ton of experience with DCS in the past, and allways felt their products were on the more analytical side rather then musicality, if you want to hear every last bit of detail a DCS product is one of the best top notch build quality we hardly slam DCS but facts about platform to platform obsolesence is a good point if that matters to a potential buyer of one of these items.

The issues we raised before is platform evoluation, which Aqua is great a doing, vs DCS and a few others mentioned that did not offer real platform to plaform upgrades some of our products like the Lumin have a similar philosophy to DCS with an six to eight year life cycle. 

We have yet to do a shoot out between the DCS and the Lumin titans

We are going to be evaluating Rokna next it seems that they too make a very highly thought of dac for a somewhat sane price point for a reference grade dac.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Aqua Hif, Lumin dealers