Hi microstrip, what is your conclusion about Apex ?
Definitively worth getting our units upgraded. None of the fundamental aspects of the dCS Vivaldi have been compromised - it will not sound like vinyl - but surely an improvement.
I have always paired the Vivaldi with what I found adequate preamplifiers to please my preferences - in fact I stay loyal to the Audio Research Anniversary (REF40) to complement it. At this level of performance I want my source to have the full information and be neutral - whichever this really can mean .
Envelopment, timbre accuracy and a correct large soundstage where I can locate performers and realize their dimensions and relative power - this is a short summary of what I get with the Vivaldi. The APEX is surely more rich in nuance and detail, may be it is why people refer they find it more rhythmic - we feel the performer intentions more easily.
The Vivaldi APEX was now returned to the distributor, fortunately the old version has excellence enough to keep my music flowing without excessive regrets ...