Are There Audiophiles Willing to Spend $29,000 on the dCS LINA?

Jean J. Sanders

Indeed — there are. We suspect the dCS LINA will be a enormous strike.

Just like there are people today inclined to spend $100,000 on a Porsche or $200,000 on a Ferrari, there are headphone fanatics who will probably appear at the dCS LINA and assume it is a deal in comparison to other merchandise from Sennheiser and HiFiMAN.

There are incredibly few brands in substantial-finish audio that ought to have to be when compared to the world’s greatest vehicles (as opposed to highly-priced) but dCS is surely one of them.

The British manufacturer was established in the 1980s and bought its start out making sign converters for the British Navy the brand name remodeled itself into 1 of the most important brand names in superior-end audio digital playback you can uncover their solutions at practically just about every Head-Fi event or CanJam and you may possibly be fairly stunned by what you locate.

dCS pioneered the Ring DAC circuit in the early 1990s and has supplied it in their lineup ever considering that audiophiles have extensive praised the sonic and engineering excellence of their goods but the price tag of admission has remained extremely large.

When dCS introduced the Bartok, it was “affordable” by dCS expectations but continue to commanded nearly $20,000 USD when it was introduced in 2019 (inflation has not been form)

Even with the selling price, the Bartok has become well known in headphone circles as an conclude-game DAC and any rapid search of a headphone connected discussion board will very likely find reference to it.

The demand from customers for the Bartok has been quite high a quantity of high-conclude publications use it as their point of reference when examining DACs and headphone amplifiers and the company was quite chaotic throughout the pandemic satisfying orders — which is even more spectacular when you take into consideration how undesirable the economic climate was and how substantially money people experienced to devote on food stuff and other expenses.

It is because of that, that the new dCS LINA exists. When the Bartok strike the sector, it had the solution to increase a headphone amplifier and that option sold much more than predicted. Headphone end users were driving a superior part of their current market. Introducing to that, some had been introducing the dCS Rossini master clock to their Bartok and had been saying significant gains by accomplishing so. All over again, dCS was not unaware of what was occurring and programs for the LINA line took shape.

dCS LINA Headphone Amplifier, DAC, Master Clock System Stacked
Leading to base: Network DAC, Master Clock, Headphone Amplifier

The 1st thing to know is that the dCS LINA is not a single item the trio of products and solutions contains the Community DAC, ($12,750 USD), headphone amplifier ($9,100) and the master clock ($7,300). Just about every part is able of functioning independently which allows the purchaser to distribute the expense out over time if buying the full system or to cherry-decide only individuals factors they motivation somewhat than shelling out the $29,150 to obtain all the elements at as soon as. (There is no pre-buy price reduction for purchasing all-3 pieces as for each usual dCS income methods).

The DAC and headphone amplifier blend is around the value of the Bartok and for excellent explanation it utilizes all the identical elements in a smaller sized package.

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The comprehensive ring DAC and FPGA processing technique is there in the Network DAC only the engineers figured out how to break up it up on to multiple boards and make it a lot more compact.

This suggests the DAC is programmable and should make it possible for dCS to tweak it and make improvements to the provider everyday living of the product by means of computer software updates alternatively than necessitating the operator to ship back again to the manufacturing facility.

The other appealing issue I located in the notes is that the DAC is listed as supporting Roon,  Spotify, Deezer, Qobuz, and Tidal the DAC gives 32-bit/384kHz PCM support, DSD64 and 128, and MQA assist created in.   

dCS LINA Headphone Amplifier, DAC, Master Clock System Angle

The headphone amplifier is the same superb good-condition built amplifier made use of in the Bartok which dCS labels as a Super-A procedure. In actuality, this is a hybrid class A/AB style and design that delivers most of the advantages of course A with the effectiveness of an AB or B style amplifier for lessen heat generation. 

Some will turn up their nose at the reality it isn’t a genuine class A style and design but I wholly advocate listening to start with as it is astoundingly great quite possibly one of the finest readily available from any maker.

The learn clock is properly, a clock, but introducing it to the DAC does give it a fastened reference signal that can help lessen jitter and distortion. This is the exact technology again that we noticed in the Rossini Clock in a smaller sized box and once more at a decreased entry selling price.

To me, the significant announcement here is that all the parts of the Bartok system are now accessible as specific components and if your only fascination was the DAC (both because you previously have a fantastic head amp or since you want it for a 2 channel set up) the selling price of entry just got reduced from approximately $20k down to $13k for a dCS RING DAC.  Likewise, if you required a learn clock to include to your Bartok, the LINA clock is noticeably fewer than the Rossini choice that was available to date. The headphone amplifier is the new piece of the puzzle and isn’t a thing that dCS has marketed as a stand-on your own unit before so I hope to get a prospect to check out it out at T.H.E. Present coming up subsequent month.

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