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Gustard X16 VS X18 DACs

Reynaldo

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@flz I reached out to the manufacturer and they said the difference is very slight. If the X18 is in your budget, consider the Denafrips ARES II. There was quite a nice level of improvement from the X16.
I don't believe in any difference,
I think if there was, it would be in favor of the X16 for being a dual chip.
 

Roland68

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It is ridiculous to even say there is a slight difference. There is not a human being alive who could hear any difference between these DACs.
I myself listened to and compared both the X16 and the A18 about one ago, together with other current DACs up to € 1000,-.
The differences were definitely there, but we're not talking about worlds, but nuances. At that time, the € 200 surcharge for the A18 was definitely worth it to me.
But you also have to say very clearly that the X16 (then €425) and the Sabaj D5 (then €400) are unbeatable in terms of value for money and that you dig much deeper into your pocket for a little more got to.

I don't believe in any difference,
I think if there was, it would be in favor of the X16 for being a dual chip.
Please do not confuse the number of chips with the implemented technology and performance.
The ES9068A is a 2-channel DAC chip and is traded as the successor to the ES9038Q2M with MQA extension. It also costs only about 1/5 of the ES9038PRO.
The 8-channel ES9038PRO continues to be the flagship in the ESS range, with impressive performances in all areas.
This performance is even better in stereo mode (4 channels are combined into one channel) and as a mono chip it is even better.

But that alone shows what a great performance Gustard has delivered with the X16.
 
OP
D

Danddd

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@A Surfer @Reynaldo Glad to know you have more knowledge and expertise than the manufacturer and developer of the product. Being a vendor myself I am guessing Gustard added some improvements in overall design of the electronics and then added some things people wanted such as the off/on switch to the front and better display graphics. Then decided to move the price point up to fill what is a perceived hole in their line up of DACs as to not hurt X16 sales. But yes, I am thinking no one could really hear a difference unless one really had a revealing system and a pair of ears to match.
 

Reynaldo

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Please do not confuse the number of chips with the implemented technology and performance.
The ES9068A is a 2-channel DAC chip and is traded as the successor to the ES9038Q2M with MQA extension. It also costs only about 1/5 of the ES9038PRO.
The 8-channel ES9038PRO continues to be the flagship in the ESS range, with impressive performances in all areas.
This performance is even better in stereo mode (4 channels are combined into one channel) and as a mono chip it is even better.
At no time did I relate the quality of the device to the dac chip it is using.
What counts is the project as a whole and not just the dac chip.
When the X16 came out it was the second best DAC on the amirm list, leaving behind several DACs with the ES9038PRO.
What happens is that projects that use dual chip usually have excellent quality.
Today companies want to make devices to have a better measurement, pure marketing. It has reached a point where no one will notice these differences.
So I understand not paying twice as much on the X18 having the X16.
 

bkdc

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Are there none of the high DC issues on the X18 that are seen on the X16? I’m looking for a second DAC and this is on the list. It’s not about sound quality. I believe all DACs and modern amplifiers are transparent. It’s about build quality and problem-free longevity without short-cuts/quirks. I sometimes regret selling my Oppo UDP 205. Given the quality of audio equipment coming out of Shenzhen, I’m still bummed that a Chinese company doesn’t produce a universal player like the Oppo.
 
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Lupin

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This performance is even better in stereo mode (4 channels are combined into one channel) and as a mono chip it is even better.
Except that the single chip Topping D90SE performs objectively better then any dual (mono) chip design measured here.. :rolleyes:

Not that it matters anything, end of the day nobody is going to hear a difference between chip X vs. chip Y no matter single, dual or even quad design.
 

Roland68

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At no time did I relate the quality of the device to the dac chip it is using.
What counts is the project as a whole and not just the dac chip.
When the X16 came out it was the second best DAC on the amirm list, leaving behind several DACs with the ES9038PRO.
What happens is that projects that use dual chip usually have excellent quality.
Today companies want to make devices to have a better measurement, pure marketing. It has reached a point where no one will notice these differences.
So I understand not paying twice as much on the X18 having the X16.
Please don't get me wrong, my post only referred to the DAC chips and their theoretical performance.
On paper half an ES9038PRO would still put two ES9068A in mono mode in your pocket, but in reality I had devices with the ES9038PRO here that were no better than the X16 in terms of sound, or even worse.
 

Reynaldo

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Are there none of the high DC issues on the X18 that are seen on the X16? I’m looking for a second DAC and this is on the list. It’s not about sound quality. I believe all DACs and modern amplifiers are transparent. It’s about build quality and problem-free longevity without short-cuts/quirks. I sometimes regret selling my Oppo UDP 205. Given the quality of audio equipment coming out of Shenzhen, I’m still bummed that a Chinese company doesn’t produce a universal player like the Oppo.
I bought my Oppo 205 as soon as it came out and I don't sell it.
I ended up buying the X16 just so I wouldn't have to use the Oppo 205 for everything, movies and music.
The Oppo 205's stereo DAC is wonderful.
 

Roland68

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I bought my Oppo 205 as soon as it came out and I don't sell it.
I ended up buying the X16 just so I wouldn't have to use the Oppo 205 for everything, movies and music.
The Oppo 205's stereo DAC is wonderful.
Then you already have a dual ES9038PRO DAC;)
I would take the OPPO 205 immediately.
 

bkdc

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The build quality inside all the Oppos (103, 105, 203, 205) is just beautiful. When I look at the internals of the Gustard X22 or X26 as well as the high quality casing, I am reminded of the high quality beauty of the Oppo universal players.

I guess I’ll wait to see if there are any glaring issues with the X18. No hurry to buy for me.
 

A Surfer

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@A Surfer @Reynaldo Glad to know you have more knowledge and expertise than the manufacturer and developer of the product. Being a vendor myself I am guessing Gustard added some improvements in overall design of the electronics and then added some things people wanted such as the off/on switch to the front and better display graphics. Then decided to move the price point up to fill what is a perceived hole in their line up of DACs as to not hurt X16 sales. But yes, I am thinking no one could really hear a difference unless one really had a revealing system and a pair of ears to match.
You have heard of marketing I am sure. Shocking that a company would tell a consumer that there is a sight difference, absolutely shocking.
 

flz

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Are there none of the high DC issues on the X18 that are seen on the X16? I’m looking for a second DAC and this is on the list. It’s not about sound quality. I believe all DACs and modern amplifiers are transparent. It’s about build quality and problem-free longevity without short-cuts/quirks.
Do you mean the popping noise heard thru the speakers when turning on the X16 (reported by some)? That is indeed a concern with the X16. The X18 has a front panel power/standby button and I would hope that using that button does not have similar problems.
 
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