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Gustard X18 Review (Stereo DAC)

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 7 2.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 2 0.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 21 8.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 211 87.6%

  • Total voters
    241

RHO

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How can it be that SMSL does such a shameful layout with the d1se, and with the D1 they deliver an exemplary layout:facepalm:

Please post pictures of the X18 board ...
What is bad about the layout if it doesn't influence the performance. If performance is good, why care about the layout? There may be factors at play that make performance worse if they didn't implement the layout as they did now.
 

Roland68

Senior Member
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Jan 31, 2020
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What is bad about the layout if it doesn't influence the performance. If performance is good, why care about the layout? There may be factors at play that make performance worse if they didn't implement the layout as they did now.
How do you know the sloppy layout won't affect performance?
Perhaps this device would then be in first place at ASR, ahead of the D90SE?
I have my own personal opinion about such layouts, based on over 30 years of experience in high-performance and high-availability IT systems and in the audio sector.

Since I also have a lot to do with industrial device development and measuring device manufacturers, I know the trends of recent years to make circuit board layouts more efficient and less prone to malfunctions.
And the display and control section in particular is very "dirty" and also scatters back into the power supply.

But as I said, it's just my personal opinion and experience, nobody has to share it.

What I like about Gustard is the structured, clean and recognizable layout.
 

RHO

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How do you know the sloppy layout won't affect performance?
Perhaps this device would then be in first place at ASR, ahead of the D90SE?
I have my own personal opinion about such layouts, based on over 30 years of experience in high-performance and high-availability IT systems and in the audio sector.

Since I also have a lot to do with industrial device development and measuring device manufacturers, I know the trends of recent years to make circuit board layouts more efficient and less prone to malfunctions.
And the display and control section in particular is very "dirty" and also scatters back into the power supply.

But as I said, it's just my personal opinion and experience, nobody has to share it.

What I like about Gustard is the structured, clean and recognizable layout.
If it shows up in the measurements it does matter, but we have no indication of that. Do you have measurements?
If the performance is stunning, does it matter if the layout is not exactly as you like to see it? 120dB SINAD or 121dB SINAD does not make an iota of difference. So if it is more convenient to make the layout as it is and get a 120dB SINAD instead of 121dB with a less practical layout ... go for the 120dB. If it was more convenient for SMSL to make a different layout and get better performance, don't you think they would have done it? You think they make the layout worse on purpose?

I have made many layouts in my life and sometimes (most of the time) you have to make compromises, whatever the reason. (time, size, cost, fit, ...) But you never make a layout that is on purpose worse then the goal (complying to the specifications) of the design.
 

dsnyder0cnn

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2019
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Not entirely true. My X16 manages to decode MQA from ripped MQA-CDs from USB input.
You have misread what I wrote. The X16 is only capable of MQA Rendering (not Decoding) for MQA content received via S/PDIF and I2S inputs. My point was that Decoding is is not supported on these inputs. Only Rendering.

This limitation does not apply to USB, of course.
 

Rover

Member
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Apr 21, 2020
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Why is x18 not on the official Gustard website ?:cool:
It's been almost 1 month since Gustard X18 appeared on this site.
Maybe Gustard forgot about the new x18?:)
 

RHO

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Why is x18 not on the official Gustard website ?:cool:
It's been almost 1 month since Gustard X18 appeared on this site.
Maybe Gustard forgot about the new x18?:)
Happens all the time with these brands. I usually look at the Shenzenaudio website for the latest products.
 

Gradius

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Iquique, Chile
Why is x18 not on the official Gustard website ?:cool:
It's been almost 1 month since Gustard X18 appeared on this site.
Maybe Gustard forgot about the new x18?:)
Very simple.

They want to get rid of older products first. :p
 
Joined
May 7, 2020
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I had a McCormack DNA 1 amp that I enjoyed for 17+ years before letting it go.

Your issue with the X16 could be a synergy thing, I guess. Input impedance on the VTL 2.5 is respectably high at 50kΩ, so that should not be an issue. Most X16 owners I've talked to love it.
Hi Snyder,
I use a x16 with a Parasound A21, which have a 66k balanced input.
Do you think is there a good synergy regarding impedance?
Thanks
 

dsnyder0cnn

Senior Member
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Dec 14, 2019
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I use a x16 with a Parasound A21, which have a 66k balanced input.
Do you think is there a good synergy regarding impedance?
In theory, 10:1 will work, but I prefer a ratio of at least 100:1. Yours is 220:1, which should be great. :)
 

FOB69

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2022
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6
Hi,

Does the unit starts if the suply is plugged (at the same state it was before i was unplugged), or does it needs a push on the remote or front panel "on" button ?
(i have a general switch for audio system).

Thank you

Bernard
 

FOB69

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Jan 5, 2022
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This information is not in the manual.

-> If the dac is in working mode, then unplugged, then replugged, does it starts in working mode or stand by mode ?
 
Last edited:

dsnyder0cnn

Senior Member
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Dec 14, 2019
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This information is not in the manual.

-> If the dac is in working mode, then unplugged, then replugged, does it starts in working mode or stand by mode ?
I don't know about the X18, but my X16 starts in working mode after being unplugged. I plugged it back in after being unplugged for several days last night. Came right up without me having to touch anything.
 

FOB69

Member
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Jan 5, 2022
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On the X18, as there is a on/off button on the panel it could be different.

Could someone do the test ?

Other practical question : Is it easy to read the selected input on the screen at 3/4m distance ?
 

kiyu

Active Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2021
Messages
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95
A bit surprised that still no owner pictures or pictures of the board.
only 1 review on the internet and the product is still not on Gustard website .. :O
 
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