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Gustard X16 Balanced MQA DAC Review

JohnYang1997

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So a dac with very good sinad measures like Topping E30 sounds the same as Gustard x16, D70, D90...?
Basically yes. But SINAD is not the full picture. There are frequency response, multitone, IMD vs Level, distortion vs frequency etc. In general and objectively, if all the distortion components under all conditions are under -115dB ref to 0dB, it's provably inaudible. The DACs that fall into this catagory will sound the same.
 

BDWoody

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So a dac with very good sinad measures like Topping E30 sounds the same as Gustard x16, D70, D90...?

I wouldn't just narrow it to simple SINAD, but that's pretty much the idea.

I would bet (a lot) that using music in any normal room, compared with listening controls (can't peek, volume matched) that those would all be indistinguishable. I'd throw the apple dongle into that mix as well.
 

ABall

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So a dac with very good sinad measures like Topping E30 sounds the same as Gustard x16, D70, D90...?
That is the entire ethos of this site. There is a level that it becomes indistinguishable and therefore you should choose on features/cost, I am very happy the x16 measures better than many many many DACs that cost WAY more money. The fact it uses high quality components is a bonus to Audiophiles, gustard have hit a home run with the x16 in my view.
 

Frio

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Since it is a dac it is not supposed to color the different tones. In an ideal setup the live guitar sounds the same as a recording of that same guitar. And to achieve that is the crux of Hifi.
 

gustard

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Folks,
Quick update: my x16 is going back. Tried on multiple systems. From super highend to entry level denon stereo and my yamaha avr. The sound is the same cr4p. No soundstage, no detail, singer waaaay in the back. The whole thing sounds as if I’ve thrown a curtain on the loudspeakers.
it can be a faulty unit for sure from audiophonics..but if not...I’d rather trust my ears va sinad.

asked an m2tech young mk3 in loan..the 2.5-3x the price of the gustard but oh booy that thing sound amazing.
And yup it is going through the analog inputs of the yamaha -which are measured as crap in case of the 1080 ;)..I digress here-

NOS mode, please select off to try.

NOS.jpg
 

dan kolov

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I have a Topping D30 with this mod. I also have a Gustard X16. Both sound almost the same.
I don't understand from measurements. I just trust my ears.
gf.jpg
 

ABall

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I have a Topping D30 with this mod. I also have a Gustard X16. Both sound almost the same.
I don't understand from measurements. I just trust my ears. View attachment 111260
Thats got me written all over it. :p Only trouble is you have probably ruined its measured response, all those legs from the oversize caps act as antennas not to mention hand soldered joints. I remember reading a manufacturers post on here who fixed the ESS hump, i forget who but the measurements elsewhere suffered and he said that would be fixed once the soldering was done properly..... But if you prefer the sound then stick with it and dont read too much on this forum. :)
 

dan kolov

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Thats got me written all over it. :p Only trouble is you have probably ruined its measured response, all those legs from the oversize caps act as antennas not to mention hand soldered joints. I remember reading a manufacturers post on here who fixed the ESS hump, i forget who but the measurements elsewhere suffered and he said that would be fixed once the soldering was done properly.....
What you mean? I don't understand you. The photo is of Topping D30.
 

ABall

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What you mean? I don't understand you. The photo is of Topping D30.
Is that how it comes from the factory? Of course I can guess its not. But I will eat my words if it is.

EDIT: sorry i will elaborate a little then. I have been doing those sort of mods for a very long time and one thing I picked up was using over size capacitors that leave the legs exposed like in your pic can have a potential to act as noise injection points, its just bad practice. Ive never been able to measure this to prove it because I do not have the equipment but people way cleverer than me have pointed it out, im just passing on what I have been told and believe to be correct. Also on a device like a DAC, using hand soldered joints as opposed to hot flowing can cause changes to its measured performance.
 
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dan kolov

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NOS MODE when turned on, cuts the high frequencies. At least that's what my ears hear.I prefer NOS MODE to be off.
 

Joaquinín

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NOS MODE when turned on, cuts the high frequencies. At least that's what my ears hear.I prefer NOS MODE to be off.
Yes, you are right: If you feed the X16 (in NOS mode) with 16/44.1 khz, the high frequencies collapse. But if you upsample that to 176.4 khz, 352.8 khz even 705,6 khz (as I am doing with Audirvana) before entering the X16, then the frequency extension is fine.
 

gustard

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You mean NOS MODE must be "ON" to deactivate the oversampling, right?
It's just a guess. I can't think of the reason for hearing such a bad sound. The only thing I think about is the low code (below 176.4K) to turn on NOS.
When it is less than 176.4K, please select NOS MODE as OFF.
 

Pankar0

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Hello I need an explanation because I am a nubby with the head fi...
My current set up is the ifi idsd signature and my source is my Samsung smartphone ,
I m listening mostly Tidal mqa via the UAPP app.
I m planning to order the x16 for a desktop use.
The question is...
The connection with my smartphone.
The right way is smartphone to otg cable to usb cable to x16 usb... am I correct..??
Then I must use the UAPP app or I can use the Tidal app..?? Because the x16 doing full decoding..?? Which is the better way.
Can someone help please.
Thanks for your help and sorry about my poor writing skills.
 

Frio

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Then I must use the UAPP app
It is a good option since it skips the android processing which usually does checks out with mqa. Bit perfect is here possible.

If you have a lg smartphone you are good to go since the mother company ownes mqa.


Mconnect is another app that renders mean, but a bit unreliable.

Qbuz is also a hi res service but doesn't use mqa.

To connect the phone I would use a adapter cable. Bluetooth is also an option but it doesn't support mqa
 

Pankar0

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It is a good option since it skips the android processing which usually does checks out with mqa. Bit perfect is here possible.

If you have a lg smartphone you are good to go since the mother company ownes mqa.


Mconnect is another app that renders mean, but a bit unreliable.

Qbuz is also a hi res service but doesn't use mqa.

To connect the phone I would use a adapter cable. Bluetooth is also an option but it doesn't support mqa
Thank you for your help, I have the ifi otg cable to use with the idsd signature... so I m use the same with an extra usb A to B for the dac.
I understand.. TIA
 

cyberthingy

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I have spent the last few days enjoying the crap out my X16/H16 stack. This combo sounds so good with my Planars and my TH-x00 Fostex dynamics. I don't mess with MQA but wanted to have that option if i decide its worth the effort. Honestly with all the discussion going on about how to make all this Sh!t work I think I'll steer clear of it for now. Bear in mind I have other excellent performing Dacs and HP amps such as THX 789, SMSL M300 Mk2, and Matrix Audio H3B. I also have a couple great sounding Tube amps that I really enjoy with the ZMF Aeolus but Gustard has hit a homerun with this product line.
 

Frio

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I have spent the last few days enjoying the crap out my X16/H16 stack. This combo sounds so good with my Planars and my TH-x00 Fostex dynamics. I don't mess with MQA but wanted to have that option if i decide its worth the effort. Honestly with all the discussion going on about how to make all this Sh!t work I think I'll steer clear of it for now. Bear in mind I have other excellent performing Dacs and HP amps such as THX 789, SMSL M300 Mk2, and Matrix Audio H3B. I also have a couple great sounding Tube amps that I really enjoy with the ZMF Aeolus but Gustard has hit a homerun with this product line.
Well it is actually not really complicated just a laptop or pc hooked up and the tidal app does the rest. I would look out I actually never paid for that there are plenty of rest months so you can try it for yourself and come to terms if it is worth it.


Here with a vpn service you can get 6 months.
 
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