DCS: Vivaldi Version 2.0

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Jacob Heillbrun wrote...

Digital reproduction has long been the Achilles’ heel of the high end. The promise has always been there. A supernaturally low noise floor. No pops and ticks and cracks. Ease and convenience of use. But the actual execution has been another matter, which is a roundabout way of saying that “perfect sound forever” has suffered from more than its share of imperfections. The digital nasties, as they have come to be known, scarcely require enumeration.

One of the leading high-end companies that has been striving to relegate those nasties to the dustbin of history, if that’s not too grandiloquent a phrase, is dCS of England. For several decades, its team of engineers has been toiling in the digital vineyards to extract headier performance from CDs, servers, and streaming devices. My first real encounter with dCS came several years ago when its indefatigable North American representative John Quick dropped off its then-flagship Scarlatti system. Next came the dCS Vivaldi, which I first heard when it was premiered in 2012 at New York’s EarsNova with Rockport loudspeakers. Even in a system I was unfamiliar with I could tell that the dCS system constituted a considerable upgrade, particularly in image stability and overall musical coherence. Fast-forward to today, and the Vivaldi has itself experienced a major upgrade called Version 2.0 that offers exceptionally refined performance. (See Robert Harley’s extended review of the original Vivaldi in Issue 233.)

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