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Gustard X16 Balanced MQA DAC Review

ArturoKiwi

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From outside the same, but inside... They said that AK4499 has better sound Stage.
Pay attention, you could be considered an Eretic to write something like this in this forum :D
 

catbb67

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A18 2nd Edition (MQA) has optical. But it has 6 different filters, so sounds like yours is an X16.

You should still ask for a swap, as this is clearly a mistake. Mistakes happen, but who knows which other mistakes might be inside.
Agreed! Plus there will always be a doubt that will forever bug you, diminishing you enjoyment.
 

manoy385

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I'm gonna be returning my X16 after chinese new year since they won't be able to ship me a replacement until then. After seeing the review of the Topping D30Pro though, I'm thinking of getting that instead of a replacement X16. The D30Pro will probably be significantly cheaper but I would lose MQA and bluetooth. I don't really care about MQA but bluetooth is nice. What do you guys think?
 

lizhuoyin

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I'm gonna be returning my X16 after chinese new year since they won't be able to ship me a replacement until then. After seeing the review of the Topping D30Pro though, I'm thinking of getting that instead of a replacement X16. The D30Pro will probably be significantly cheaper but I would lose MQA and bluetooth. I don't really care about MQA but bluetooth is nice. What do you guys think?
Both are transparent. Get the one you think fit your budget and brand you like.
 

jsm

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The connectivity is not exactly the same, for me it missed the AES/EBU I'm already using from my PUC2 to DEQ2496 (to DAC) ;). I must agree with the orange screen color, the nice button (but still SINAD/outputvoltage measurement :( ), it's a really good competitor for this class. Still waiting my X16...
 

A Surfer

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I'm gonna be returning my X16 after chinese new year since they won't be able to ship me a replacement until then. After seeing the review of the Topping D30Pro though, I'm thinking of getting that instead of a replacement X16. The D30Pro will probably be significantly cheaper but I would lose MQA and bluetooth. I don't really care about MQA but bluetooth is nice. What do you guys think?
I wouldn't give up Bluetooth, but each to their own.
 

Dannemand

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I wouldn't give up Bluetooth, but each to their own.
Personally I gave up on bluetooth and just put a Raspberry Pi on USB instead for streaming. Way more features, way more stability, significantly better sound quality. I was never able to keep a stable BT connection at max LDAC bitrate, and the difference was easily audible between BT and USB. Also saves a lot of battery on the phone.

I know you've had great experience with BT (I saw your posts) but for me it was just too much frustration, and I moved on. BTW this was on A18, maybe X16 has better BT radio.

This was my first RPi, and boy that was easy. I'm not a Linux person, and didn't have to with volumio. If only setting up new PCs were this quick - and that's without having to assemble them first. I could use a bit more configuration options in volumio, and it has some quirks. I might try some of the other player systems if I get spare time. But so far this is the best $80 I've spent in a while :)
 

A Surfer

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Not my experience at all and I have been using Bluetooth extensively for at least five years now. Blind listening I'll bet you couldn't tell USB from Bluetooth apart. And please, if you haven't done proper blind listening, multiple trial, level matched trials, don't tell me how you know you can hear the difference because without valid evidence it really doesn't mean anything. You seem like a very reasonable and nice person so I am not trying to be challenging, but unlike at head-fi, here we are allowed to talk about the gold standard of listening testing which is, level matched, multiple trial, blind listening. Again, nothing personal your post was not at all inflammatory, but novice users may come along and read a post like that and just assume it is true without considering what constitutes evidence.
 

Dannemand

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Not my experience at all and I have been using Bluetooth extensively for at least five years now. Blind listening I'll bet you couldn't tell USB from Bluetooth apart. And please, if you haven't done proper blind listening, multiple trial, level matched trials, don't tell me how you know you can hear the difference because without valid evidence it really doesn't mean anything. You seem like a very reasonable and nice person so I am not trying to be challenging, but unlike at head-fi, here we are allowed to talk about the gold standard of listening testing which is, level matched, multiple trial, blind listening. Again, nothing personal your post was not at all inflammatory, but novice users may come along and read a post like that and just assume it is true without considering what constitutes evidence.

There is plenty of SCIENTIFIC reason why BT is a degradation of sound quality: Resampling the stream (on Android usually to 16/48) and THEN transcoding it with a lossy codec. I can show you what that looks like in an audio-flinger dump.

And it's not difficult to hear. No need to conduct elaborate experiments to prove the obvious.

I do think you're taking this crusade a bit too far. This is AudioScienceReview.com, not NobodyCanHearAnything.com. We discuss audio gear based on facts, and we use measurements to facilitate that.

Why even bother looking for DACs that measure well and discuss their (often minute) differences if we weren't allowed to also discuss the source going into the DAC?

I apologize for quoting your post. I posted my own experience with BT (and the alternative) for the benefit of others who might be interested, knowing that you like to use BT. But I went out of my way to acknowledge your experience, which I didn't invalidate or dispute.

I am happy to discuss the merits of BT, although prolly in another thread. LDAC really is a great improvement, and I agree that at the highest bitrate it's good enough for many situations. But please don't tell me I cannot post about it without conducting a blind test with a large control group, because we're not on head-fi. That's just abusing the word science to shut discussion down.

Now feel free to Report my post if you find it unscientific.
 
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A Surfer

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There is plenty of SCIENTIFIC reason why BT is a degradation of sound quality: Resampling the stream (on Android usually to 16/48) and THEN transcoding it with a lossy codec. I can show you what that looks like in an audio-flinger dump.

And it's not difficult to hear. No need to conduct elaborate experiments to prove the obvious.

I do think you're taking this crusade a bit too far. This is AudioScienceReview.com, not NobodyCanHearAnything.com. We discuss audio gear based on facts, and we use measurements to facilitate that.

Why even bother looking for DACs that measure well and discuss their (often minute) differences if we weren't allowed to also discuss the source going into the DAC?

I apologize for quoting your post. I posted my own experience with BT (and the alternative) for the benefit of others who might be interested, knowing that you like to use BT. But I went out of my way to acknowledge your experience, which I didn't invalidate or dispute.

I am happy to discuss the merits of BT, although prolly in another thread. LDAC really is a great improvement, and I agree that at the highest bitrate it's good enough for many situations. But please don't tell me I cannot post about it without conducting a blind test with a large control group, because we're not on head-fi. That's just abusing the word science to shut discussion down.

Now feel free to Report my post if you find it unscientific.
You can post about it all you wish, but that still doesn't constitute evidence. Opinion yes, completely fine to express your opinion, but fact, no. I am pretty sure the majority of the membership here would concur that claims such as you are making, absolutely fine to make, before they can really be taken seriously require more evidence than simply your insistence. Maybe you're right, so why not test your beliefs?
 

Dannemand

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You can post about it all you wish, but that still doesn't constitute evidence. Opinion yes, completely fine to express your opinion, but fact, no. I am pretty sure the majority of the membership here would concur that claims such as you are making, absolutely fine to make, before they can really be taken seriously require more evidence than simply your insistence. Maybe you're right, so why not test your beliefs?

Where is the measurement that shows that two VERY different sources are audibly indistinguishable?

Source (A) is bit-perfect, potentially HiRes. Source (B) is re-sampled to 48KHz (poorly done in the case of Android mixer), potentially reduced from 24 to 16 bits, then transcoded using a lossy codec.

All logic dictates that there should be some difference, possibly significant. Claims that there is no difference (or only inaudible difference) should be backed up with some evidence. Again otherwise we're just using claims of science to shut up an inconvenient truth.

Edit: In case it wasn't obvious, I am not really asking for such measurements. I never meant for this to be debate, I just wanted to share my experience with BT vs using an RPi USB streamer. But you insist the difference is inaudible and that I must prove otherwise in order to share my experience. Or not to post about it because this isn't head-fi. Why is it on me to conduct an elaborate experiment to disprove your claim of inaudibility between very different sources?
 
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Dannemand

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Does every audio discussion have to come down to something like this?

You are right, it shouldn't. And I apologize for my part in that. I normally go out of my way to avoid inflammatory posting on forums, but admittedly I got ticked off in this case :oops:
 

navin

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Not my experience at all and I have been using Bluetooth extensively for at least five years now.

Why even bother looking for DACs that measure well and discuss their (often minute) differences if we weren't allowed to also discuss the source going into the DAC?

LDAC really is a great improvement, and I agree that at the highest bitrate it's good enough for many situations.

Was BT 5.0 (LDAC) available 5 years ago?

Electronic measurements are great and they do tell you if the equipment is electronically well designed. Just like mechanical properties tell you that the equipment is well built. However in the end we listen to music not view it on an oscilloscope. We listen with our personal prejudices, preferences, room and equipment limitations, etc. I just came from a session where people could hear differences between 2 different 6SJ7 tubes (one new, one vintage). And many of the listeners were on the wrong side of 50, some were on the wrong side of 60.

Only our own experiences will change us. So it's best for everyone to enjoy what they think is best for them. Vive la difference.

I like the Gustard X16. I haven't even heard it but we have ordered 2 (in my group of friends). So how can we be sure sure?

Well, it measures well enough. It looks nice enough. And it costs enough. $500 is all I want to spend on a DAC because I believe that before I spent any more, I should invest more on the rest of my audio chain. $500 is a sweet spot for me and the X16 has LVDS, LDAC, and all the ABCD, MNOP, WXYZ acronyms I need.

It always helps if one listens to any component expecting the best.

My alternate to importing the X16 (I don't know what the customs and import duties will add to) would have been the D70s which is available for $800 locally.
 
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