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Gustard X16 Owners feedback...

wood634

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Tell us about your experiences with the Gustard X16...

Here’s mine -

My new Gustard X16 DAC arrived today. That’s got to be a record from Shenzhen China to my door in just less than 48 hours! Good on you DHL - outstanding service. £20 import fees were due before delivery.

The box itself is a solid feeling metal device with a (very) small mono display. Settings are fairly rudimentary - will tinker over the coming days and months. Left it all at defaults for initial testing. I quite like that you set the display to “auto off” and then pops up every track for 10 seconds or so and goes off again.

So I now run a Gustard X16, using a pi4 and VitOS as the Roon endpoint backed off to a NAS/Tidal Hifi account.

The Gustard is currently doing the full MQA decode - may change that later. Seems to work as advertised with test materials. I also get up to DSD512 playback now in addition to MQA full decode (my prior DAC didn’t support either). I can also send Bluetooth from the phone if needs be - bonus, if a somewhat crappy quality bonus... it supports Bluetooth protocols I’ve never heard of.

Externally this DAC feeds using RCA into a Cyrus XPd QX preamp (with outboard PSX-R) and then a Stereo200 hybrid class D amp hooked up to B&W 702S2 speakers... Interconnects and speaker cable are homemade 99.99 silver stranded (look up TweakerMan on YouTube).

I will try using the Gustard to drive the amp directly using balanced XLR in due course as I need to make a cable up to test that.

The DAC itself sounds “crispy”... (that’s good). The highs are delicate and articulate with the bass hitting the lows whilst retaining presence without getting stodgy and bogged down. The sound stage seems more focused with singers more upfront and stage center than before. I run B&W speakers and they don’t have a wide sound stage - this remained basically the same with no sudden amazing projection of sound further to the left or right than before.

Damn I sound like John Darko!!!!

First impressions very positive.

Pink Floyd sound ace and the neighbours love the new DAC ;-)
 

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curiouspeter

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Considering this and the Modius.

I am using a NEO iDSD for my integrated amp and I want it back for headphone duties. Need a pure DAC. I will never use the volume control on a DAC anyway.
 

Morla

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Mine is fed by an audinate AES Dante interface for transport to the homeoffice into a pair of Adam A5X on the desk. With smee foam underneath, ofc ;-) I have to agree the display should show Volume where it shows bitrate and not the other way around but since I activated display auto-off it doesn't bother me much.

For reasons unknown to me the display sometimes come up without me touching anything. Have not seen this happening on the A18 in my living room.

Boot times are fast in my opinion and from what I saw on pictures it looks like good quality even from the inside. Black PCB heh :cool:
 

Dannemand

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Mine is fed by an audinate AES Dante interface for transport to the homeoffice into a pair of Adam A5X on the desk. With smee foam underneath, ofc ;-) I have to agree the display should show Volume where it shows bitrate and not the other way around but since I activated display auto-off it doesn't bother me much.

For reasons unknown to me the display sometimes come up without me touching anything. Have not seen this happening on the A18 in my living room.

Boot times are fast in my opinion and from what I saw on pictures it looks like good quality even from the inside. Black PCB heh :cool:
Thank you for this!

I am curious if you have had the opportunity to compare the A18 to the X16 in your living room setup. I'll be very interested to hear if indeed they sound identical (despite very different DAC chips).

Thank you in advance for any observations you care to share about this.
 

Morla

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No proper A/B setup here @Dannemand. And I am convinced my memory of what I am hearing is way too short lived to just compare it by switching 2 xlr cables manually. I mean both are better than 115.. how could anyone tell a difference by listening only?

Or do you suspect the the AKM or ESS Chips have a hearable sound signature?
 

Dannemand

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No proper A/B setup here @Dannemand. And I am convinced my memory of what I am hearing is way too short lived to just compare it by switching 2 xlr cables manually. I mean both are better than 115.. how could anyone tell a difference by listening only?

Or do you suspect the the AKM or ESS Chips have a hearable sound signature?
Gosh no, suggesting that on ASR would be suicide!

No seriously, frequency response (signature) is of course flat for both. But implementations, output stage could vary. Filters too.

It's cool though. I just wondered if you had had the opportunity to compare them.

Thank you!
 
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Morla

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No seriously, frequency response (signature) is of course flat for both. But implementations, output stage could vary. Filters too

Mh you got me thinking but several challenges here. Living Room Setup has the DAC directly connected to the power amp which is in bypass (low gain) mode.
Because of the high voltage the A18 provides. While the x16 does not. I would at least have to level match hehe.

Nah sorry not going that route :)
 

Dannemand

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Mh you got me thinking but several challenges here. Living Room Setup has the DAC directly connected to the power amp which is in bypass (low gain) mode.
Because of the high voltage the A18 provides. While the x16 does not. I would at least have to level match hehe.

Nah sorry not going that route :)

LOL :D

Yes, you would have to volume match. I have an A18 also going straight into a power amp (with dual gain POTS) and I compared it to an SMSL M200 last year (AK4497 V-out vs AK4499 I-out). Volume matched, blindfolded (with my wife, not kinky), 12x4 tracks in random order, swapping XLR cables all the time. It IS a hassle, I agree, but interesting.

I thought there would be much bigger volume difference due to A18's high voltage, but strangely there wasn't (using Sound Meter on a 1KHz test tone). Mine is the 2nd Edition A18, and I wondered if Gustard might have adjusted its max voltage.

So yes, I can understand you not wanting to go through the hassle! Thanks again. I hope you enjoy BOTH your Gustard DACs.
 
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isploit

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Yes, you would have to volume match. I have an A18 also going straight into a power amp (with dual gain POTS) and I compared it to an SMSL M200 last year (AK4497 V-out vs AK4499 I-out). Volume matched, blindfolded (with my wife, not kinky), 12x4 tracks in random order, swapping XLR cables all the time. It IS a hassle, I agree, but interesting.
What was your result? Do you plan on doing a blind test with this unit as well?
 

jim33

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'Good on you DHL - outstanding service. £20 import fees were due before delivery.' -Did you import into the UK ? I've been wondering about import duties on units from China.
 

lizhuoyin

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Got mine yesterday. I connected a dap to DAC(thru usb) to integrated amp(thru rca). After changing display to 'auto off', X16 display will be turned off if dap paused. The display will be turned on once dap resumed. Also MQA, dsd output from dap can be recognized in X16.
So far so good.
BTW, I heard low pop sound when turned the DAC off with amp on. Pop sound when turning it on is a bit louder but not too dramatic. I guess I need to keep it on all the time. Standby @ 6.2W and play @ 6.8W.
Regarding DAC's volume control, initial ly I put DAC at 0dB and int amp at -30dB which is adequate volume to my taste. After that, I can adjust DAC's volume to -20dB and it's almost silent.
 

Pdxwayne

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Really liking how it is making my subs sing!

Although my subs combined have 2550 RMS watts, with my previous setups I don't recall I could get good clean shakes of my sofa. X16 is giving me that nice clean sub bass shakes. Having funs listening to Hans Zimmer's Live in Prague!
 

A Surfer

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Considering this and the Modius.

I am using a NEO iDSD for my integrated amp and I want it back for headphone duties. Need a pure DAC. I will never use the volume control on a DAC anyway.
Bluetooth is the real deal. I haven't even bothered using USB because the sound quality from the X16 with Bluetooth is just that good. I may never bother with USB at all. The lack of Bluetooth with the Modius is one major reason I didn't seriously consider it and I have bought several Schiit products in the past.
 

curiouspeter

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Bluetooth is the real deal. I haven't even bothered using USB because the sound quality from the X16 with Bluetooth is just that good. I may never bother with USB at all. The lack of Bluetooth with the Modius is one major reason I didn't seriously consider it and I have bought several Schiit products in the past.

Bluetooth may be good enough but it is not better than USB unless the implementation is particularly bad.

The USB on the NEO iDSD works just fine. I heard the Unison USB on the newer Schiit is pretty good too. Not so sure about their older USB implementations.

I think the best way to get music into the DAC is Ethernet, but I don't want to pay for a Roon Ready streaming DAC. Pi 4 with Ropieee using USB is the deal.
 

BHazard

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Loving the X16 so far. After a delay of about 3 days due to snow, it arrived Friday.

I upgraded from the Topping DX7s and there is a slightly noticeable difference in SQ. It seems to be noticeable in clarity, separation, and soundstage, and I like that I don't have to drop the X16 -6db like I had to do with the DX7s running balanced.

LDAC Bluetooth is a substantial upgrade over apt-X. My music and conference calls can now be much clearer and I don't have to rely on Android to listen via LDAC anymore. It was a huge pain switching from wired to wireless headsets every 30 min to an hour to take calls. Much easier on one connection and headset during the day.

MQA works great from Tidal, although sometimes I feel like the software decode sounds better than the HW decode? They sound different.
 

curiouspeter

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How is the long-term reliability of Gustard products in general? I rather not have to deal with warranty at all.

Are there quirks or is the X16 pretty straight-forward? $499 is such a great price.
 
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