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Gustard X26Pro Review (Balanced High-end DAC)

IronPyrite

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Jul 13, 2021
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If anyone has their X26 connected to Windows via USB, and is having issues with the X26 being detected after resuming from Sleep mode, do the following:

Control Panel
-> Power Options
-> Change plan settings (for the one currently selected)
-> Change advanced power settings
-> USB Settings
-> USB selective suspend setting
-> Setting: Disabled
 

Cut-Throat

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Feb 15, 2020
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If you think that your preamp has an effect on sound quality, you just reveal that your preamp actually alters the original signal. Such a situation that a preamp should avoid in first place.

You can have Solid State distortion or Tube distortion. Your Choice. Most Guitar Player prefer tube distortion (The Good ones).
 

Cut-Throat

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Do they also prefer it - the good tube distortion - while listening piano music… and opera arias?
I know I do, when the piano music is amplified..... I'm not sure a tube amp could save the Opera for me however. : - )
 

IronPyrite

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You can have Solid State distortion or Tube distortion. Your Choice. Most Guitar Player prefer tube distortion (The Good ones).
ZZ Top famously used a lot of distortion with their guitar amps (RIP Dusty Hill). I like the tube sound with older analog recordings, but tend to prefer less distortion with more modern music. Some early folk music already has the tube sound, because tubes were used as part of the recording process.
 

Yama

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I suggest you to wait for @gustard comes up with a firmware solution for noise problem on Linux. If they couldn't fix the noise problem with firmware, there is a high chance for a hardware related problem that I hope not. If you are happy with SPDIF input and don't have a plan about using USB, you can get one again as you wish.
A new X26pro arrived last Saturday. I changed its color from silver to black. ( Sorry, Gustard ) Once I've heard its sound, I don't feel like using a former dac again.
I am happy with SPDIF input. It is only via SPDIF or AES/EBU that I can use DEQ2496. I prefer autoequalized 96kh to upsampled 768kh. As I rarely use usb input, I might not be accustomed to its sound. But I would like to make the most of its performance, so I'm going to try to make the sound via usb more comfortable to my ears.
As I've installed Jriver 27, I'm going to check the display and noise via USB until the playback starts.
Sorry about my poor Englsih. Thank you very much.
 

taner

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...I like the tube sound with older analog recordings, but tend to prefer less distortion with more modern music. Some early folk music already has the tube sound, because tubes were used as part of the recording process.

Same here. After more listening sessions with X26 Pro, I realized that I fooled with "modern" recordings with "Audiophile" brand sticked on it. These modern ones that I used for testing were sound pretty flat and less involving comparing to the ones from classic era (50s,60s,70s).

It's something like those old recordings are product of some forgotten technology. I think that the quality was coming from simplistic recording setup and short signal chain. Tube gear provides simplistic setup (despite using capacitors and transformers in signal path) but I won't use them when consuming audio because less distortion gear needed to re-construct the original "tube sound" of these recordings.

X26 Pro does something speacial with those recordings as well. I never experienced such lively vocals before. You can feel the tiny vibrations and micro harmonics from vocals if they are recorded properly.

I can name such recordings for instance:
Peggy Lee : Fever
Dinah Shore : It Had Yo Be You
Doris Day: Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps
 

taner

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wonder if X26 Pro has galvanic isolated USB ? mine X26 Pro have hum noise issue , ground loop problem .
my NAIM DAC doesn't have this issue , it has different implementation than X26 Pro , White paper is uploaded how it is build.
https://www.naimaudio.com/sites/default/files/products/downloads/files/naim_dac_august_2009.pdf

X26 Pro doesn't seem have a galvanic isolation and I didn't see that such thing on product specifications. Since that I can follow the USB ground on analog outputs via multimeter, I can make sure that there is no any galvanic isolation. But this doesn't mean that electronic filters didn't implemented to get clean ground.

I suggest you to test it via optical spdif input while disconnecting the USB cable to find out where the loop caused by. Then test it using different mains plug, different RCA cables, with only one RCA cable etc. During tests, make sure that all your gears connected to the same mains socket.

NAIM DAC doesn't seem have an isolation either.
 

Yama

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I've checked usb input.
1. I turn X26pro on. The display shows every input other than usb is unlocked. For only usb it shows 44.1khz. For a test, I choose optical input.
2. I turn Windows 10 on. I change X26pro's input from optical to usb. The display shows 44.1khz.
I put the the volume of X26pro and the amplifier at the highest level. No noise.
3. I start Jriver which is set to turn every PCM source to 768khz.
I play DSD11.2Mhz source. The display shows 11.2Mhz. After I stop playing, the display shows 24.5Mhz. I play DSD5.6Mhz. The display shows 5.6Mhz. After I stop playing, the display shows 24.5Mhz.
I play PCM source. The display shows 768khz. After I stop playing, the display still shows 768khz.
When playing a source, the display shows correct rate whether it is DSD or PCM.
 

Mrgoogle

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Jul 26, 2021
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NAIM DAC has USB GND to Analog GND isolation , if you look closely , I have measured it too and verified too .
1627999142001.png
 

IronPyrite

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I wonder how much cooler the inside of a silver vs. black cased Gustard runs? Black body radiation applies to both infrared absorption AND emission; this is the reason the SR-71 Blackbird was painted black, despite intuition it would get hotter due to the absorption of solar radiation (the SR-71 actually emits more IR thermal radiation via matt black paint than it absorbs).

If we don't account for the side vents, I'm guessing maybe 4 degrees F? We'd expect the side vents to help, since there's a 6 degree delta across the 2 sides of the case (measured via Fluke 62 Max IR thermometer), and there's bound to be convective air currents within the case (air drawn in the cool side, exiting the hotter side).

Calling on @amirm to test and compare temperature deltas of a black vs silver cased component (any component would do, but preferably something which operates on the hot side). I've yet to see such a comparison, the results would be interesting. Context: folks are concerned about the longevity of components due to internal heat, namely capacitors.
 

godmax

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Jul 31, 2020
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I was torn between the Topping D90SE, SMSL VMV D1se and the Gustard X26Pro. Finally opted for the X26Pro since I have a fable for unnecessary over-engineering within reasonable price difference and must say I don't regret my decision.
Transparency-wise they probably are all most likely identical, but I also appreciate build and usability factors and one of the biggest for me is:
a dedicated front power-on/off button, not just pseudo-standby mode like many offer.
Yes, the downside of this is, the Gustard has no auto-standby mode for inactivity or so, its either off or on.

Easy navigation on the device itself (up/down = input switch, left/right volume control) and by included remote.
All settings are correctly saved/stored when powered-off and unplugged.
And yes, the unit runs warm/hot after some hours, but that is expected by its design, so I turn it off when not used for longer time.

Nice-to-have features in the future (maybe with firmware update possible):
  • display auto-off after some minutes to prevent screen burn-in in the long run
  • additional filters/EQ presets to make more use of the extra DSP chip
All-in-all very well done Gustard!
 
Last edited:

linger63

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I was torn between the Topping D90SE, SMSL VMV D1se and the Gustard X26Pro. Finally opted for the X26Pro since I have a fable for unnecessary over-engineering within reasonable price difference and must say I don't regret my decision.
Transparency-wise they probably are all most likely identical, but I also appreciate build and usability factors and one of the biggest for me is:
a dedicated front power-on/off button, not just pseudo-standby mode like many offer.
Yes, the downside of this is, the Gustard has no auto-standby mode for inactivity or so, its either off or on.

Easy navigation on the device itself (up/down = input switch, left/right volume control) and by included remote.
All settings are correctly saved/stored when powered-off and unplugged.
And yes, the unit runs warm/hot after some hours, but that is expected by its design, so I turn it off when not used for longer time.

Nice-to-have features in the future (maybe with firmware update possible):
  • display auto-off after some minutes to prevent screen burn-in in the long run
  • additional filters/EQ presets to make more use of the extra DSP chip
All-in-all very well done Gustard!

Moved up to this from a D90 and very happy.
 

Sonil Mone

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Feb 11, 2018
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Just looking at this dac on Shenzenaudio I noticed the K2 Ultra Low Noise Clock, which really reminds of the original K2, which was actually a filter for lowering jitter on this monster amplifier and other JVC cd players..


ax-z1010-wes-1.JPG



ef468db8edec85f2ae7f538926f96cf7.jpg


Knowing the sound quality those JVC devices with the K2 interface, I wouldn't be surprised if this is some kind of reverse engineering, but of course it can be a kind of joke from Gustard..
 
Last edited:

gustard

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This has nothing to do with JVC K2, the function is completely different. There are many things in the same model in the world, but it does not mean that they are all related. South Korea has a car called K2, which does not mean that Gustard has a relationship with Kia Motors.
 

MiRaGe_BG

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Jul 2, 2021
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This has nothing to do with JVC K2, the function is completely different. There are many things in the same model in the world, but it does not mean that they are all related. South Korea has a car called K2, which does not mean that Gustard has a relationship with Kia Motors.

Will be a firmware update anytime soon, @gustard ?
 

Sonil Mone

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This has nothing to do with JVC K2, the function is completely different. There are many things in the same model in the world, but it does not mean that they are all related. South Korea has a car called K2, which does not mean that Gustard has a relationship with Kia Motors.
I cannot find the Jvc pdf which explains K2 filter, what is found online about the Jvc K2 master is totally a different thing..
It may be a coincidence but the concept of lowering input jitter is the same thing, it could have been B3, X7 or K7, but really K2..
 
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