• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Gustard X16 Balanced MQA DAC Review

gvl

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 16, 2018
Messages
2,832
Likes
2,991
Location
SoCal
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

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
1,472
Likes
2,470
Location
Sin City, NV
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

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2020
Messages
32
Likes
61
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

Active Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2016
Messages
289
Likes
483
When you feed it non-MQA material does it still get MQA filtering, or does it bypass that part of the chip?
 

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
7,918
Likes
9,587
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

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
34,993
Likes
130,409
Location
Seattle Area
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.
 

LoyK

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2020
Messages
35
Likes
86
Location
Ludwigsburg, Germany
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

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 21, 2020
Messages
78
Likes
107
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.
 

maxxevv

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 12, 2018
Messages
1,775
Likes
1,835
Is the 9068 a revamped 9038q2c?

ES9068AS vs. ES9038Q2M:
- SNR: 130dBA vs. N.S.
- DNR: +126dBA vs. +129dBA (I wonder if the tests for 9038q2m were done in dual-mono)
- THD+N: 120dB for both


It should be. The Gustard X-16 configuration is a dual chip one
.
 

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
7,918
Likes
9,587
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

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 28, 2018
Messages
482
Likes
373
Location
Belgium
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?)
 

pavuol

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 2, 2019
Messages
1,161
Likes
2,786
Location
heart of EU
tumblr_mb49p4hSl01qikcuzo1_500.gif
 

digicidal

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
1,472
Likes
2,470
Location
Sin City, NV
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

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
7,918
Likes
9,587
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.
 
Top Bottom