For several years I’ve used the dCS Scarlatti CD/SACD playback system. Then dCS announced the release of the somewhat higher-priced and more technologically advanced Vivaldi system. After recently hearing its debut at Joshua Cohn’s Ears Nova store in Manhattan on Rockport loudspeakers and a Constellation preamplifier and amplifiers, I was most curious to hear it in my own system. On Thursday dCS’ American representative John Quick, himself a most passionate audiophile (I sometimes have the feeling that Quick is scrutinizing my overall system as closely as I am the individual pieces of gear under review, and hope that the whole shebang met with his approval), visited me to set up the Vivaldi, which I will compare and contrast, as they used to say in college examinations, with the Scarlatti in an upcoming issue of TAS together with editor Robert Harley’s full review of this innovative new dCS system, which boasts a level of complexity that is impressively daunting.
Let me just say that cables are bristling everywhere in back of the unit which has multiple source input options and filters.The four-box Vivaldi system does not employ any firewire connections as did the Scarlatti. Instead, it uses AES/EBU connectors which are much more secure and, frankly, less of a hassle to use. The Vivaldi system does require some break-in. Its performance has audibly improved as it gets some playing time.
Quick also helped install a pair of Musical Fidelity M8 700 monoblock amplifiers, which I have played both on my main Wilson Alexandria XLF loudspeakers and Wilson Hammer of Thor subwoofers. They immediately seemed to provide another octave of refulgent bass on the subs and set up a large and spacious soundstage on the XLFs. I was quite surprised at how much of a potent difference they made in the nether regions and am looking forward to listening further to the excellent Musical Fidelity amplifiers together with dCS’ new flagship player.