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Gustard X16 Balanced MQA DAC Review

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I have owned x16 for about a month and am satisfied with roon usb. I rarely perceive when the next song has a different frequency but it's not a problem. Which cable to choose to use the iis port? Could this cable be cleaner than USB?
 
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MiLi

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I have owned x16 for about a month and am satisfied with roon usb. I rarely perceive when the next song has a different frequency but it's not a problem. Which cable to choose to use the iis port? Could this cable be cleaner than USB?
Yes, from nature of operation of the I2S protocol which is bitstream.
 
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Hi!
I have MQA (FLAC) releases on HDD, and a media player with USB output and SPDIF (Raspberry Pi + Hifidery Digi Pro + Volumio)
When I turn them on to play via USB, the label "MQA" appears on the X16 indicator"
And when I turn them on playback via SPDIF (Coax or Toslink) , there is no "MQA" label on the X16 indicator.
Is this how it should be?
 

MiLi

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Hi!
I have MQA (FLAC) releases on HDD, and a media player with USB output and SPDIF (Raspberry Pi + Hifidery Digi Pro + Volumio)
When I turn them on to play via USB, the label "MQA" appears on the X16 indicator"
And when I turn them on playback via SPDIF (Coax or Toslink) , there is no "MQA" label on the X16 indicator.
Is this how it should be?
Yes, MQA decoder is only connected to the USB input
 

AdamG247

MQA Fight Club Mgr. 1st rule of MQA fight club….
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Hi!
I have MQA (FLAC) releases on HDD, and a media player with USB output and SPDIF (Raspberry Pi + Hifidery Digi Pro + Volumio)
When I turn them on to play via USB, the label "MQA" appears on the X16 indicator"
And when I turn them on playback via SPDIF (Coax or Toslink) , there is no "MQA" label on the X16 indicator.
Is this how it should be?
Welcome Aboard @Progronom.
 
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Anybody can help me to check if the polarity of the X-16 outputs (both XLR and RCA) is working properly?
Some weeks ago I noticed, with Dirac Live measurements (to my Kh-80 monitors directly connected to the X-16 via XLRs), that the impulse reading was inverted (going "downwards" instead of "upwards"). This would mean that the polarity is reversed, right?
Then, using a digital multimeter and a 1 khz 0db test signal (streamed from Qobuz, but also available in Spotify:
) I checked the X-16 balanced output (red probe to pin 2, black probe to pin 1). The result was a negative Voltage reading. I understand that means inverted polarity, right? Notice that I obtained these results with "Phase invert Disabled", which according to the X-16´s user manual does not invert polarity ("When this function is DISABLEd, the RCA output of the DAC-X16 is positive phase, and the XLR
balanced output is the American standard polarity output, which is 1 ground, 2 hot, and 3 cold.").
I tried to check this issue with Gustard. I am not sure I understood their answer well, but I think they said their measurements don´t show any problem, and that I can´t check polarity unless I have an oscilloscope and some special test signals.
 

MiLi

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Anybody can help me to check if the polarity of the X-16 outputs (both XLR and RCA) is working properly?
Some weeks ago I noticed, with Dirac Live measurements (to my Kh-80 monitors directly connected to the X-16 via XLRs), that the impulse reading was inverted (going "downwards" instead of "upwards"). This would mean that the polarity is reversed, right?
Then, using a digital multimeter and a 1 khz 0db test signal (streamed from Qobuz, but also available in Spotify:
) I checked the X-16 balanced output (red probe to pin 2, black probe to pin 1). The result was a negative Voltage reading. I understand that means inverted polarity, right? Notice that I obtained these results with "Phase invert Disabled", which according to the X-16´s user manual does not invert polarity ("When this function is DISABLEd, the RCA output of the DAC-X16 is positive phase, and the XLR
balanced output is the American standard polarity output, which is 1 ground, 2 hot, and 3 cold.").
I tried to check this issue with Gustard. I am not sure I understood their answer well, but I think they said their measurements don´t show any problem, and that I can´t check polarity unless I have an oscilloscope and some special test signals.
On Spotify you can find numerous phase tests. Did you try them?
 
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Is it possible to activate the feature in yellow on this DAC? Is it just a firmware question? I think it's related to this (ESS datasheet):
Synchronous Mode (PCM mode only). The DPLL can be bypassed if the incoming PCM audio is synchronous to MCLK with the relationship MCLK=128FSR. This can be enabled via 128fs mode:
Bit[4]
128fs_mode
Enables operation of the DAC white in synchronous mode with a 128*FSR MCLK in PCM normal or OSF bypass mode only.
1'b1: enables MCLK = 128*FSR mode
1'b0: disables MCLK = 128*FSR mode (default)
ess_marq2.jpg
 
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I almost settled on the Cambridge 200M but after reading some negatives I switched to the X16 (and thereby lost the headphopne amp). I'm using the DAC as a preamp from my Mac desktop USB out (JRiver player) and to the DAC and then to my Marantz receiver.

I can plug my HD650 headphones into my Marantz 6013 but I thought I'd seek some advice on buying a seperate HP amp or is there little difference with the AVR receiver headphone amp?
 
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If
I almost settled on the Cambridge 200M but after reading some negatives I switched to the X16 (and thereby lost the headphopne amp). I'm using the DAC as a preamp from my Mac desktop USB out (JRiver player) and to the DAC and then to my Marantz receiver.

I can plug my HD650 headphones into my Marantz 6013 but I thought I'd seek some advice on buying a separate HP amp or is there little difference with the AVR receiver headphone amp?
If your headphones are using standard plug, not balanced one, than Marantz could provide standard quality output with no compromise.
Additional HA is advantage if you use balanced headphones or you don't want to switch on the Marantz beast to heat up your room while listening on headphones.
 
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Just bought the X16 and indeed, the sound and build quality are absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately it has 2 heavy drawbacks...
Plus one more, DC offset which one of our forum members measured at 200mV to 1V. 25mV would be more consistent with other DACs of interest here. I was ready to order one until I learned about that.
 

ABall

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Plus one more, DC offset which one of our forum members measured at 200mV to 1V. 25mV would be more consistent with other DACs of interest here. I was ready to order one until I learned about that.
Thats a shame, you need to make it clear that this was only at switch on and off, this DC caused speaker thumps due to the design of my amps, I contacted Benchmark and asked if there DAC would do the same as I was contemplating a change but they said it would so take from that what you will, I apologised in a post to Gustard for saying it was a bad design, maybe you missed that post and the one about the Benchmark DAC. I guess they could have employed a mute circuit but this may have affected the amazing performance and definitely the price which I think is a bargain for what you are getting.
 
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Thats a shame....
Thanks, yes agreed. DC bias in the output stage is a bigger concern when using DC coupled amps like Purifi or Hypex, and when replacement voice coils or drivers may no longer be available for your speakers. The good news is that the X26 Pro reportedly has very little DC offset and likewise for the Okto dac8 Stereo, nice.
 
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Massimo

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Thanks, yes agreed. DC bias in the output stage is a bigger concern when using DC coupled amps like Purifi or Hypex, and when replacement voice coils or drivers may no longer be available for your speakers. The good news is that the X26 Pro reportedly has very little DC offset and likewise for the Okto dac8 Stereo, nice.
Is DC offset is also an issue with the SMSL SU9? If not, this may be a better choice for use with DC coupled amps.
 

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