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Aune X1s GT Review (DAC & Amp)

Rate this product:

  • Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 7 4.4%
  • Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 40 25.2%
  • Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 101 63.5%
  • Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 11 6.9%

  • Total voters
    159

restorer-john

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What is that big red bulbous thing toward the back of the PCB? LED?

Tantalum cap.

It's not a tantalum cap.

It's a red boot cover for an SMA antenna jack. Note the RF stage and PCB mounted antenna jacks?

1635630855947.png

1635630989193.png


Either the PCB pictured is a different design or it has some B/T /WiFi option on another model. Who knows.
 

MadMan

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Jun 27, 2020
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Had to give this a "Not Terrible" because it simply doesn't measure up (pun intended) in today's market, especially not for > $300, and the only because I didn't want to completely shit on it. The only decent thing is SINAD which is only a high-level view: massive IMD hump, mediocre power (less than even older stuff like the Atom), awful filter options (why not just use the ESS default filter?), mediocre 50mV SNR. Nothing about this unit makes me feel it's worth near its asking price.
 

HenryZ0057

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Oct 24, 2021
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You can test the other fitler,it seems that at least filter4 has solved the ESS hump.
 

Azathoth

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Oct 18, 2020
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I saw the post about it on Head-fi, I knew it won't really measure that well, but will still sound great regardless because distortion figures are well below audibility. Well below audibility enough for people's imagination to run wild and create colorful sentences to describe what they are hearing out of it. Such subjective creatures we are.
 

PeteL

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Anybody can explain why this measurment has more distortion in the audible band than the first regular dashboard FFT?

1635647892577.png
 

somebodyelse

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Dec 5, 2018
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It's not a tantalum cap.

It's a red boot cover for an SMA antenna jack. Note the RF stage and PCB mounted antenna jacks?

View attachment 162274
View attachment 162275

Either the PCB pictured is a different design or it has some B/T /WiFi option on another model. Who knows.
I suspect it's for the external reference clock. The PCB has connectors in the same arrangement as the back panel, except for the BNC above the USB port. A short BNC to SMA pigtail would do that job.
 

PeteL

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I suspect it's for the external reference clock. The PCB has connectors in the same arrangement as the back panel, except for the BNC above the USB port. A short BNC to SMA pigtail would do that job.
Typically word clock is at 75 ohms, SMA is 50 ohms
 

Robbo99999

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I voted this as "Not Terrible", nearly voted it "Fine", but the combination of ESS Hump, less than stellar headphone amp performance (re THD) combined with pretty high output impedence and fairly high price (albeit a lot of connectivity & features) means that I didn't want to vote it "Fine", and it couldn't be voted "Great" as it wasn't perfect. If it was cheaper I'd vote it "Fine".
 

nyxnyxnyx

Active Member
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May 22, 2019
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another touch I want to mention is that the majority, or at least HALF of the amplifiers I saw that have 4.4mm output are always a bit pricier than what I expect? Does anyone here think the same?
Both their original X1S and the "X1S" 2020 version are cheaper, measured well enough (no SOTA but still high ranking), output power is identical, even the appearance is similar for most parts.
 

auneaudio

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Dec 23, 2019
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Thanks for your comment and all the discussions:)

About the issues mentioned, we would like to explain a little:

The filter mode design is probably what most of you are confused about. Here we’ll explain the meaning of redesigning the filter modes.

The filter modes are actually very different. It’s just that common frequency response measurement cannot tell that very well.

Let’s first compare ESS IMD Hump in filter mode 2 and filter mode 4:


IMD VS LEVEL2.png

Filter mode 2


IMD VS LEVEL4.png

Filter mode 4



You can see the big difference. And that will be reflected in listening. We reserve ESS DAC original features because for some music IMD will bring different listening experiences.

Let’s continue and compare filter mode 2 and 3. The difference shows in high frequencies harmonic:


模式2.JPG

Filter mode 2


模式3.JPG

Filter mode 3


The power distribution of high frequencies harmonic changed the performance of details at high frequencies. It’ll be more adaptive to different kinds of music.

The AP’s result is the same:

USB in 44k1 0dBFS 1K sine mode 2 FFT.png

Filter mode 2(the reference voltage is 1Vrms, so all level +6dB)


USB in 44k1 0dBFS 1K sine mode 3 FFT.png

Filter mode 3(the reference voltage is 1Vrms, so all level +6dB)


Actually there are a lot more differences of the filter modes of X1s GT. The differences are much more effective in listening than ESS original design. Some might wonder why we use Slow Roll-off. That’s because the sound will be more natural. When designing a DAC, we consider more about the actual listening, instead of merely pursuing numbers in measurement. We believe enjoying music is the ultimate thing.

We appreciate your comment, and everyone's. And we absolutely welcome all of you to share your opinions and advice.

Thanks:)
If it weren't for that IMD hump it would have been a near excellent execution (not considering SE almost not having enough juice).
 

Attachments

  • IMD VS LEVEL4.png
    IMD VS LEVEL4.png
    163.8 KB · Views: 38

GWolfman

Senior Member
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Thanks for your comment and all the discussions:)

About the issues mentioned, we would like to explain a little:

The filter mode design is probably what most of you are confused about. Here we’ll explain the meaning of redesigning the filter modes.

The filter modes are actually very different. It’s just that common frequency response measurement cannot tell that very well.

Let’s first compare ESS IMD Hump in filter mode 2 and filter mode 4:


View attachment 162534
Filter mode 2


View attachment 162536
Filter mode 4



You can see the big difference. And that will be reflected in listening. We reserve ESS DAC original features because for some music IMD will bring different listening experiences.

Let’s continue and compare filter mode 2 and 3. The difference shows in high frequencies harmonic:


View attachment 162537
Filter mode 2


View attachment 162538
Filter mode 3


The power distribution of high frequencies harmonic changed the performance of details at high frequencies. It’ll be more adaptive to different kinds of music.

The AP’s result is the same:

View attachment 162539
Filter mode 2(the reference voltage is 1Vrms, so all level +6dB)


View attachment 162541
Filter mode 3(the reference voltage is 1Vrms, so all level +6dB)


Actually there are a lot more differences of the filter modes of X1s GT. The differences are much more effective in listening than ESS original design. Some might wonder why we use Slow Roll-off. That’s because the sound will be more natural. When designing a DAC, we consider more about the actual listening, instead of merely pursuing numbers in measurement. We believe enjoying music is the ultimate thing.

We appreciate your comment, and everyone's. And we absolutely welcome all of you to share your opinions and advice.

Thanks:)
Thanks kindly for your explanation/response.
 

PenguinMusic

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2019
Messages
486
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221
Hi,
Time ago, I was told on this very site that almost every device that will land in the "Excellent" catagroy would sound about the same and that the choice would be more about esthetics and functionality.
Well, if that is still true, I must say that I love the looks of the AUNE X1s GT for one and that having no balanced output except for the headphone is not a problem for me...
So if I'd have to spend in the 300$ area tomorrow, I'd probably give this device a thought...
Topping may have better measures. Will I be able to hear the difference ? It seems a common consensus here that it is mostly unlikely. And as I do not especially like the looks of Topping devices...
Personal opinion for which I'll mostly get flamed here (again).
Regards.
 

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
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Topping may have better measures. Will I be able to hear the difference ? It seems a common consensus here that it is mostly unlikely. And as I do not especially like the looks of Topping devices...
Personal opinion for which I'll mostly get flamed here (again).
Regards.
No flaming, aesthetics are definitely important. If you like the look of something then that's already a good reason to choose it over another :D
 

auneaudio

Member
Manufacturer
Joined
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
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37
Anybody can explain why this measurment has more distortion in the audible band than the first regular dashboard FFT?

View attachment 162302

Thanks for your question:)

About the high frequencies noise:
Different groundings might lead to differences in FFT interference and test result.

Below is from our development records:

扩展噪声.JPG

INPUT @1KHZ 10-96000HZ


It’s by dScope Series III. 10-96000HZ FFT, no interference at high frequencies. But once ground disconnected, obvious interference will occur, and it will be directly reflected in noise floor:

干扰.JPG

No signal


The test instrument is different in input circuit so the FFT result is different. The analog input of APx555 has higher CMRR, so interference above 10kHz becomes obvious. Grounding can reduce the influence of interference, so the measurement will be more accurate. X1s GT does not generate interference.

The result from AP when grounded in the best way:

1K 44.1 0DB.png

INPUT 1KHZ 0DB with no weighting


*The interference mentioned above won’t occur if you are simply using it to listen. So the actual listening won't be influenced. Grounding problems only occur in measurement.
 

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
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Anybody can explain why this measurment has more distortion in the audible band than the first regular dashboard FFT?
index.php
It's simply a different measurement. The main 20Hz-20kHz dashboard follows different parameters from the raw FFT alone which Amir tends to use in higher bandwidth to look for noise shaping or aliasing/images. Same thing for example with Topping D90:

Dashboard:
index.php


FFT
index.php
 

HenryZ0057

New Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2021
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It's simply a different measurement. The main 20Hz-20kHz dashboard follows different parameters from the raw FFT alone which Amir tends to use in higher bandwidth to look for noise shaping or aliasing/images. Same thing for example with Topping D90:

Dashboard:
index.php


FFT
index.php
Look at this picture provided by aune. I think 10-96000hz is indeed a wide bandwith.
 

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  • 扩展噪声.JPG
    扩展噪声.JPG
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PeteL

Major Contributor
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It's simply a different measurement. The main 20Hz-20kHz dashboard follows different parameters from the raw FFT alone which Amir tends to use in higher bandwidth to look for noise shaping or aliasing/images. Same thing for example with Topping D90:

Dashboard:
index.php


FFT
index.php
Thank you, Yes I assumed that it's a different measurment. So you say the high bandwith is using "RAW" FFT, and the audible band one is using different parameters. @amirm What are these different parameters, what changed in the process, does raw FFT is showing wrong numbers in the audible band and if so why? I get that we are not looking to show the same thing but my question was how analyzing a larger bandwidth changes the results in the audible bandwidth? Is this explained in one of your measurment video somewhere? The goal is not to make you repeat common knowledge in measurments, just to get the process.
 
Last edited:

PeteL

Major Contributor
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Thanks for your question:)

About the high frequencies noise:
Different groundings might lead to differences in FFT interference and test result.

Below is from our development records:

View attachment 162700
INPUT @1KHZ 10-96000HZ


It’s by dScope Series III. 10-96000HZ FFT, no interference at high frequencies. But once ground disconnected, obvious interference will occur, and it will be directly reflected in noise floor:

View attachment 162701
No signal


The test instrument is different in input circuit so the FFT result is different. The analog input of APx555 has higher CMRR, so interference above 10kHz becomes obvious. Grounding can reduce the influence of interference, so the measurement will be more accurate. X1s GT does not generate interference.

The result from AP when grounded in the best way:

View attachment 162702
INPUT 1KHZ 0DB with no weighting


*The interference mentioned above won’t occur if you are simply using it to listen. So the actual listening won't be influenced. Grounding problems only occur in measurement.
Thank you, but I think this can be applied to all the measurments, I doubt that the grounding scheme would have been changed from one measurment to another. What is in your opinion the correct way to connect the ground to have correct measurments? what is the fault that wold make interference appear that are not present in real life? It's interresting.
 

bravomail

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