dCS: Vivaldi digital playback system – test review

DCS Vivaldi

More than a decade ago, Data Conversion Systems, aka dCS, released the Elgar Plus DAC, Purcell upsampler, and Verdi SACD/CD transport, for a total price of $34,000. In 2009 came the Scarlatti—a stack of four components for $80,000, also available individually (see my August 2009 review). The latest variation on the English company's theme are the four Vivaldi components, launched at the end of 2012 for a total price of $108,496.

The Scarlattis improved on the Elgar Pluses in cosmetics and, more important, technical and sonic performance that, in the opinion of many, put it at the top of the digital audio heap. It will be obvious to those familiar with the Scarlatti stack that the Vivaldis take visual appearance and fit'n'finish to new heights. These sculpted boxes in a silver matte finish, each with a unique, flowing wave pattern machined into its front panel, are pleasing to the eye and silky-smooth to the touch. Who said engineering geeks aren't sensual?

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