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Gustard X16 Owners feedback...

Doodski

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@King_Pin the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero motherboard apparently has a dual function optical S/PDIF output port. I have never used one but there it is in the manual.
asus dark.png
 

shwnwllms

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Yes you may be limited to 24/192 or 24/96 via optical (which is dependent on your OS and optical cable). USB on the X16 will get you full rendering capabilities for MQA and up to 24/768 PCM or 256 DSD (DoP) or 512 DSD (Native)
 
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shwnwllms

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There was a problem with the connector. There should be no way the connector damages the pins if it is to be removed for service.

Gustard didn’t really design the X16 with servicing in mind (otherwiwise they would have added a USB port for firmware upgrades). They designed it with the best sound quality in mind, expecting any servicing to be done in house by their technicians. I’m sorry this happened to you Dennis, but I would take it up with Gustard. These issues are bound to happen with the end user servicing a DAC. It’s still under warranty so they should just issue an RMA for replacement at this point. I wouldn’t even try to deal with Amazon if it’s within 30 days, you’re bound to get another X16 with the pre production firmware if you go that route.

good luck
 

dsnyder0cnn

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I hate to ask this question in fear of being laughed at but here goes.
My New computer has SPDIF(which looks like toslink to me) or USB.
Is it my understanding USB is better followed by SPDIF to connect to the X16?
I'm not a serious music listener on my computer but since I have the equipment I would like it to work to the best of it's abilities.
I have music mostly as FLAC or uncompressed WAV files.

View attachment 152678
USB will enable you to use more of the capabilities of the X16, but TOSLINK S/PDIF offers galvanic isolation. I'd try USB. If you hear ground noise or hum, you can always switch to TOSLINK.
 

dsnyder0cnn

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@shwnwllms - I just got my Gustard X16 MCU firmware upgrade kit. Hope to get to that later this weekend. Please let me know if you have any tips to share that will improve my chances for success. :)

20210911_112056.jpeg
 

shwnwllms

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@shwnwllms - I just got my Gustard X16 MCU firmware upgrade kit. Hope to get to that later this weekend. Please let me know if you have any tips to share that will improve my chances for success. :)

View attachment 152761
Nice!

Only tips I have is set aside some time (contrary to what Gustard claimed in an email to me, it takes longer than 5 min).

I did use a magnetic pad to keep track of which screws went where. This was helpful but not necessary (IIRC there are just 2 sizes of screws). There is one screw in the middle of the unit holding the TOSLINK S/PDIF port in place. I removed it , but I don’t think it’s necessary, it was a pain to get it to line up correctly. Everything else was smooth as butter upon reassembly.

When you go to flash the new firmware towards the end of the instructions, it should start right away. If it takes more than 30 seconds or so just unplug the 5V pin and plug it back in, this will kick off the firmware upgrade. This was the only part that tripped me up a bit and others have had similar experiences. Hopefully it will save you some time troubleshooting if it happens to you.

Good luck, see you on the other side!
 
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Dennis_FL

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@shwnwllms - I just got my Gustard X16 MCU firmware upgrade kit. Hope to get to that later this weekend. Please let me know if you have any tips to share that will improve my chances for success. :)

The unit comes apart with two different sized allen wrenches. I had to carefully look at the software instructions as the chinese portions and some areas were short on explanations. There are a couple of ground wires on the two right side corner posts that may come off and need to be reattached. Suggest you take photos along the way.

If the display connector is difficult to budge...I'd say stop there. Mine had a feel to it like it had been glued. I've handled many a circuit board in my days and have never come across a connector like this. Makes me think it may have been a reconditioned fix. I'm guessing mine was the exception.

One other part of the instructions had me troubled. There is a picture of the display with UNLOCKED on it. It had me wondering if I should plug it back in after disassembly. But no......that was not the case. Also...make sure you select English as I think the default is Chinese.

I have a Mac with the ability to run Windows 10 through Parallels and the software worked fine.
 

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Dennis_FL

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Gustard didn’t really design the X16 with servicing in mind (otherwiwise they would have added a USB port for firmware upgrades). They designed it with the best sound quality in mind, expecting any servicing to be done in house by their technicians. I’m sorry this happened to you Dennis, but I would take it up with Gustard. These issues are bound to happen with the end user servicing a DAC. It’s still under warranty so they should just issue an RMA for replacement at this point. I wouldn’t even try to deal with Amazon if it’s within 30 days, you’re bound to get another X16 with the pre production firmware if you go that route.

good luck

Yeah....I sent an Email to Gustard service on Friday......haven't got a response yet. If I have troubles with Gustard, I'm sure I can get a refund or replacement from Amazon. I also purchased additional (no hassle) warranty from Amazon.
 

Dennis_FL

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Update: Gustard's response was beyond my expectations. They not only are going to make good, they gave me a choice of a full refund or a new unit. I'm getting a new unit as I think the sound is great.
 

shwnwllms

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Update: Gustard's response was beyond my expectations. They not only are going to make good, they gave me a choice of a full refund or a new unit. I'm getting a new unit as I think the sound is great.
Nice! Good to hear. They have been pretty responsive throughout this whole process and seemed to have worked with the end user (or through the dealer) to make sure they made it right. They certainly stand behind their product.
 

dsnyder0cnn

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Ran out of time last weekend, but I finally got around to doing the MCU firmware update today. The faint ticking that I was hearing during very soft passages with DSD playback is gone. Definitely worth the effort. The instructions provided by Gustard were pretty good. If you decide to take this on, in addition to a Windows computer and the STC tool I mentioned here, you'll need 2mm and 2.5mm hex keys:

20210918_130454.jpeg


Also, a 5mm socket driver:

20210918_100029.jpeg


I removed the four screws in the corners using the 2mm hex key. I then removed the pairs of screws holding the XLR jacks in place and the remaining screws next to the RCA jacks.

20210918_125710.jpeg


The back was pretty easy to pull off. I just tugged on the BT antenna socket a bit. It only needs to slide back an inch or so to allow access to the brass nuts. The 5mm socket driver was up next to remove those from the ends of the threaded rods that hold the display in place.

20210918_125111.jpeg


With those free, the front panel pulled off easily. Just a slight tug.

20210918_124954.jpeg


Again, just had to pull this out about an inch so that I could unscrew the threaded rods from the corners of the display. The display is surprisingly heavy, so don't let it fall. I set a microfiber towel down to lay it flat without getting it scuffed up.

20210918_124751.jpeg


The ribbon cable connected to the display, as we've seen earlier in this thread is a bit fragile. There's a stiff plastic bit covering the part that slides into the back of the display. And, a little of that sticks out. I grasped both sides as close as I could to the green plastic and pulled with equal force until the ribbon cable came loose. Easy does it.

20210918_124551.jpeg


It's important to match the 5V pin into the J3 socket:

20210918_100121.jpeg


Gustard's instructions for installing the USB driver for the STC tool and getting things connected worked as advertised. It was interesting to see the detached display wake up after connecting the tool:

20210918_102115.jpeg

The rest of the software instructions worked fine as well. Resist the temptation to download the update for the STC tool. Not necessary, and it added a few minutes to the process.

03 - Gustard Update - Update Available.png


The firmware version did not seem to change after I did the update, but I definitely had clicking sounds during DSD playback before the update, and they are definitely gone now, so I'm happy. :)

06 - Gustard Update - MCU Download Complete.png


Assembly process was just everything in reverse. I made sure to return the two yellow ground wires next to the power inlet back to the rods on the right. The screws that hold the XLR and RCA jacks are going into plastic, so I had to take care not to strip them. I turned them counter-clockwise until I felt the threads line up, and then gently screwed them back in. Everything during reassembly should be finger tight.

I've shared this earlier, but all of the files and instructions that I used are zipped up here: Gustard_X16_MCU_Update.zip

Many thanks to @shwnwllms for sharing tips along the way. If you don't already have the required hex keys and socket driver, this set comes highly recommended: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZD3WSL4/

Good luck! Now, back to listening…
 
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Dennis_FL

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Ran out of time last weekend, but I finally got around to doing the MCU firmware update today. The faint ticking that I was hearing during very soft passages with DSD playback is gone. Definitely worth the effort. The instructions provided by Gustard were pretty good. If you decide to take this on, in addition to a Windows computer and the STC tool I mentioned here, you'll need 2mm and 2.5mm hex keys:


Glad it went well. I wish I had seen your pics before I went forward. I now see the error of my ways, I was assuming the white plastic ribbon connector was the female end connector on the ribbon. It was attached and was the female on the board not the ribbon.

I'm glad you took the time to take pics.
 

Chuckser

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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.
Do you have a surge protector and or power conditioner? A lot of the unreliability issues with Chi-Fi products are due to the lack of surge protection.
 

EastConcept

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Hi all, I've just got an x16 and struggling with the sound. To me, the treble sounds restrained and the midrange forward and a bit thick. Has anyone else experienced this before? I mean, the detail is all there, and it's an engaging enough listen, but something just seems off.

I have tested going back to my old Chrod 2Qute and suddenly everything sounds in place, a bit brighter with an open soundstage.

I got the X16 second hand so can't really send it back. I'm hoping it's not faulty. I'm hoping either there's something I can do to change it or maybe my ears need to adjust.
 

Pdxwayne

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Hi all, I've just got an x16 and struggling with the sound. To me, the treble sounds restrained and the midrange forward and a bit thick. Has anyone else experienced this before? I mean, the detail is all there, and it's an engaging enough listen, but something just seems off.

I have tested going back to my old Chrod 2Qute and suddenly everything sounds in place, a bit brighter with an open soundstage.

I got the X16 second hand so can't really send it back. I'm hoping it's not faulty. I'm hoping either there's something I can do to change it or maybe my ears need to adjust.
Did you already try all filters options and nos option?
 

Pdxwayne

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I have. I'm currently trying it on M-Slow with NOS option on. Not sure if it's an improvement, my ears probably need a rest.
I have read that typically you want NOS off, unless you are listening to certain very high res format.

Anyway, sorry to hear about your issue. Mine got channel imbalance issue and it caused slightly less highs impression as compared to my other dac.

Are you able to use REW to check your DAC channels?
 
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