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Gustard X16 Balanced MQA DAC Review

gvl

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#21
Impressive. My worry about Gustard is product support. Last time I checked, they didn’t have a website and were only sold through eBay. I guess they are sold some other places now but I’d still like to know a little more about the company.
You can source Gustard from Apos in the US, they back it up with 2year warranty, subject to them being in business that long of course.
 

digicidal

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#22
Aww crap... I already purchased the SMSL SU-9 and now I'm missing out on an entire decibel of SINAD... guess I'd better upgrade because I can totally hear that same difference between my DX7 Pro and the SU-9. (I'm sure you can hear it even more with MQA content - [insert evil grin here]) :rolleyes:

On the serious side of things - yet another amazing product for less than $500. Although I agree on the display with @amirm - actually that's what sold me on the SU-9 for my office, since I can see the level and input icon from 10ft away at my desk. Congratulations to Gustard for a great implementation however.
 

xup

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#23
This makes me want to see the Astell&Kern Kann Alpha measured, also an ES9068AS implementation. Interesting for a portable setup (though, more of a theoretical one for me, don't really do portable anymore).
 

firedog

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#25
When you feed it non-MQA material does it still get MQA filtering, or does it bypass that part of the chip?
 

Veri

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#26
For anyone wondering, the H-Fast filter looks identical to the brickwall filter on 9038Pro. The L-Fast filter looks identical to the apodising one. M-Slow looks identical to linear fase slow... Compare with link.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #27
When you feed it non-MQA material does it still get MQA filtering, or does it bypass that part of the chip?
MQA processing does not seem active seeing how you can select filters that are clearly not MQA compliant.
 
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#28
Really awesome performance for the price. I guess DACs are solved for stereo. Now we want this kind of performance in and AVR with good DSP.
Interesting that the M-Slow filter is the default one. Maybe it stands for MQA-Slow ;-)
 

Oklei

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#29
It's kind of sad to hear that MQA decoding starts to be included in the dac chip itself. If this is the future everyone buying a dac will have to pay mqa tax regardless if one wants it or not. :'(. Never thought they would win this thing.
 

Veri

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#31
Jitter and spurious tones are almost nonexistent (difficult in a low noise DAC) and this is even true of Coax input which these days is typically neglected
From Shenzhenaudio product detail, looks like they have an Altera FPGA chip on board to do re-clocking duties. Pretty sweet inclusion at this price, really good results too. On the other hand, this kind of thing can work badly with jittery coax/optical sources like smart TVs, sometimes losing lock etc.
 

Patrick1958

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#32
Stellar results.
Interesting we now have the choise on a ESS or AKM aesthetically similar based design with comparable results.
From the looks the X16, A18 are aesthetically a match for the upcoming H16 with probably less stellar performance. From Shenzhenaudio page THD+N <0.0004 (roughly 108 db or better?)
 

digicidal

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#34
It's kind of sad to hear that MQA decoding starts to be included in the dac chip itself. If this is the future everyone buying a dac will have to pay mqa tax regardless if one wants it or not. :'(. Never thought they would win this thing.
They just used the tried and true method for most protocols and codecs (except for the very few that actually do something dramatically different):
1) Give it away to a select few.
2) Advertise the crap out of it and pay for favorable reviews.
3) Price it as high as step 2 indicates you can.... and profit!

I hear you can boil live frogs the same way... although I still don't understand why that's desirable as I'm neither French, Chinese, nor from the southern US.
 

Veri

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#36
This or su-9? this or its brother A18?
SU-9 has around 1 bit of better multi-tone result, higher voltage output. X16 has ~1dB more SINAD. I would assume they are about equivalent.. buy what is cheaper or which you like the looks of :) X16 vs A18: the X16 is better in just about anything, objectively speaking? Unless you really want a collectible AK4499 DAC while AKM supplies still last, I'd opt for the newer X16, myself.
 
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