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Gustard X16 Balanced MQA DAC Review

oorensan

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Dec 31, 2020
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After 5 days I have received my X16 from China to Spain, I'm still testing it but so far so good, anyone needs anything feel free to ask. I think it is better than my other DAC the Topping D90.

Regards
13 Days update: After trying both X16 and D90 alongside with both Arya and Clear, RCA and XLR, etc etc...

I take back my words, I find no difference at all between the two of them, identical sound, transparent.
 

curiouspeter

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13 Days update: After trying both X16 and D90 alongside with both Arya and Clear, RCA and XLR, etc etc...

I take back my words, I find no difference at all between the two of them, identical sound, transparent.

This is why I think DAC manufacturers should now focus more on industrial design. In addition to listening, we also have to spend a lot of time looking at the DAC.

BTW, I chose the X16 over the D90 because it is $350 cheaper. :) Both are handsome enough, but I want to see more daring designs.
 

A Surfer

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13 Days update: After trying both X16 and D90 alongside with both Arya and Clear, RCA and XLR, etc etc...

I take back my words, I find no difference at all between the two of them, identical sound, transparent.
That is exactly as it should be. Both are perfectly audibly transparent and there would be no reason to expect otherwise. Glad that you found that out. As suggested early, at the current state of decent DACs coming out, it is about features, design and price.
 

domiji

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Hello :)

i will receive my X16 tomorrow and i'm really excited.

Can someone tell me which is the best way of connection the X16 to a source in terms of MQA rendering?
I saw that there might be a difference in MQA rendering wether you connect it via I2S/Coax or USB? Or is it the same?
 

JohnYang1997

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Hello :)

i will receive my X16 tomorrow and i'm really excited.

Can someone tell me which is the best way of connection the X16 to a source in terms of MQA rendering?
I saw that there might be a difference in MQA rendering wether you connect it via I2S/Coax or USB? Or is it the same?
There's no difference in the final result as long as you are able to decode it. The exception is that when you pass the complete intact MQA stream through spdif/coax where it needs full decoding in order to work at all.
 

curiouspeter

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Hello :)

i will receive my X16 tomorrow and i'm really excited.

Can someone tell me which is the best way of connection the X16 to a source in terms of MQA rendering?
I saw that there might be a difference in MQA rendering wether you connect it via I2S/Coax or USB? Or is it the same?
First of all, make sure the voltage switch is in the correction position before you plug it in. I thought my unit was DOA but it was user error...

USB gives you the most options in case you want to experiment with deciding vs rendering. I need to do DSP so I'm only using it to render.

Unless you have very dirty USB or ground loop issues I can't think of a reason not to use USB.
 

kopczas

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13 Days update: After trying both X16 and D90

I was struggling between them for few days. I found little differences. Keeping it short: X16 seen to do better when music gets busy it`s easier to follow each instrument. Also bass is different: for X16 it`s shorter, more precise; D90 has more impact but comparing to X16, sometimes it feels like mud.
I my opinion for some reason D90 has a little more pleasant presentation.
After week of struggle I`ve sold D90.
It`s all subjective, but I thought I need to share my observations in question for real life differences.

To make this "test" less my own subjective reaction I`ve invited another person, not informed if anything should happen. I`ve just ask to listen for a while, switching between sources (signals of both dacs went into A90, level matched, I did not say what is what. A90`s input switch for this person was just up or down position) and choose which position was preferred. Similar observation had been made to mine.
 

oorensan

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If you have D90 don't get crazy you, have a beast. Try different amps for perhaps, different sound. If you have X16 the same.

I am so very happy that I got into this beautiful hobby where you can get amazing performance at a very low price....

Just to think that I listen to music with a extremelly high quality that was produced by hundred of thousand of dollars worth equipment yet I paid only a few to taste it...
 

Anton De

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13 Days update: After trying both X16 and D90 alongside with both Arya and Clear, RCA and XLR, etc etc...

I take back my words, I find no difference at all between the two of them, identical sound, transparent.
How do you find the soundstage and 3d character in comparison? 2 chips usually have slightly more soundstage.
 
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