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Gustard X26Pro Review (Balanced High-end DAC)

taner

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IMHO it's a little bit frustrating that such an evident fact hasn't been detected earlier (maybe Windows only testing?)

I agree. We are not living in the era of Windows PC + Foobar2000 + ASIO Driver setup anymore. Linux based PCs, embedded devices, streamers, especially Android ones are equally standard or more common today. Any competing company in DAC business can't avoid this fact.
 

yhl

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Hi all,
I own a nice X-26 Pro too, I don't know which firmware version, driven via USB with a sMS-200 ultra Neo + tX-USBUltra and sps-500, but I can confirm that also mine has three major issues (as reported by other users):

1) pop/very loud sound changing inputs
2) pop/very loud sound when it changes sampling rate/format (for example from 44.1 16 bit PCM to DSD or to MQA)
3) background rustle (not always, in particular from right channel but sometimes from both channels)


This is a really well sounding DAC in my chain but those bad sounds are terrible.


I have a full analogic preamp BAT VK5I and dac has volume set to 100 (fixed to the max), problem(s) are still current.
Please Gustard update firmware/fix the issue, otherwise a lot of users will replace it (only my mono poweramps are 5x times the value of the DAC)

Hi, I have been following the pop sound issue with Linux or streamer on this forum. I gather that @andyxx and @taner have reported issue no. 1 in @andyxx 's list above. Besides @andyxx , has anyone else encounted issue 2 pop/very loud sound when it changes sampling rate/format on Linux or a streamer or Windows 10 on USB ?
 

gustard

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After lot of testing, we addressed the Linux related issue, and it does not appear on every distro.
Right now, we already developed a new firmware which is verifying on different platforms. Later we will release a testing version to collect more feedbacks.
 

godmax

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@gustard would it be possible to add something like auto display off after some specified time with a firmware update to the X26Pro?
 
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taner

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Cuz there is only one toolchain for XMOS development. If anyone has better choices, pls tell us.

There is an open-source util named "xmosdfu" for operating systems like Linux and OSX. It is a command line util and you have to compile it in order to use it as an executable application.

This is the link of the actual source code (xmosdfu.cpp).
https://raw.githubusercontent.com/i...udio/module_dfu/host/xmos_dfu_osx/xmosdfu.cpp

This is the manual document of the application from official XMOS site:
https://www.xmos.ai/download/DFU-loader-for-XMOS-USB-Audio-devices(4).pdf

I modified the source code in order to make it work with X26 Pro by adding the line below (X26 Pro's Product ID):
#define XMOS_L1_AUDIO2_PID 0x3033

Then I compiled as a static executable which is going to be compatible with all modern Linux devices.
I'm attaching only the modified source code because I'm not sure that forum rules allow posting an executable application here.

I only tested it by getting actual firmware from the device. This procedure called as "Uploading existing firmware from the device" in the document above. So don't confuse it with "Downloading" which is used for flashing a new firmware.

I didn't test it for flashing new firmware because there is no reason forthat at this moment.

Here is an example session for getting (uploading) current firmware from the device:

First we are extracting (like unzip) the package then follows:
Code:
tar zxvf xmosdfu.tar.gz
Now, plug the device then acquire the current firmware from device to the current folder as "x26pro-current-firmware.bin".
Code:
sudo ./xmosdfu --upload x26pro-current-firmware.bin

VID = 0x1ea7, PID = 0x64
VID = 0x1d6b, PID = 0x3
VID = 0x1d6b, PID = 0x3
VID = 0x20b1, PID = 0x3033
XMOS DFU application started - Interface 2 claimed
Detaching device from application mode.
Waiting for device to restart and enter DFU mode...
VID = 0x20b1, PID = 0x3033
... DFU firmware upgrade device opened
... Uploading image (x26pro-current-firmware.bin) from device
... Returning device to application mode

If we are going to flash new firmware, command line would be as follows (in case of file name is "new-firmware.bin", so change it accordingly). This procedure is not tested by me yet.
Code:
sudo ./xmosdfu --download new-firmware.bin

I added the compile (build) options at the top of the source code. If you are not an experienced Linux user, compiling source code from scratch will be a mess and I don't recommend it. Anyone want to test the compiled application WITH HIS/HER OWN RESPONSIBILITY, can PM me in order to sending the application package (xmosdfu.tar.gz) via email. I suggest to use official supported Windows based application if you have a Windows installed PC around anyway.
 

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andyxx

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Hi, I have been following the pop sound issue with Linux or streamer on this forum. I gather that @andyxx and @taner have reported issue no. 1 in @andyxx 's list above. Besides @andyxx , has anyone else encounted issue 2 pop/very loud sound when it changes sampling rate/format on Linux or a streamer or Windows 10 on USB ?

Hi, thx for the quotation. For better understanding, I want to underline that, using the procedure described by Taner in Post #432, the situation improves, on my SOtM configuration, in this way:

1) pop/very loud sound changing inputs ---> Still present a small hiss and "click" but mostly reduced and less dangerous than starting the DAC with the USB input
2) pop/very loud sound when it changes sampling rate/format (for example from 44.1 16 bit PCM to DSD or to MQA) ---> exactly as point 1)
3) background rustle (not always, in particular from right channel but sometimes from both channels) -----> FIXED!

Never used the DAC with a generic Windows 10 PC, I can find great improvements using the SOtM chain and I don't want to invest on a dedicated PC hardware (using dedicated hardware like PSUs/USBs/etc.).

After lot of testing, we addressed the Linux related issue, and it does not appear on every distro.
Right now, we already developed a new firmware which is verifying on different platforms. Later we will release a testing version to collect more feedbacks.

Hi Gustard, glad to read this, this is the kind of response everyone would like to receive from a manufacturer.
As I previoulsy wrote here, please contact me for any testing, I'm fully availabile and I can use use whatever OS you prefer for the update process.
As soon as you solve the problem , it will be my pleasure to invest on the c18 clock (a small gesture of reward to you and, I'm pretty sure, also a notable improvement for my ears!).
The dac, as I have already written, in my chain, sounds better than many other DACs, even very reputable ones, tested previously.
Kind regards,
Andrea
 
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Vhond

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Apr 22, 2021
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The dac, as I have already written, in my chain, sounds better than many other DACs, even very reputable ones, tested previously.
Couldn't find in your postings which DAC's you have tested in the past (comparing to the Gustard X26 Pro)
 

andyxx

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Couldn't find in your postings which DAC's you have tested in the past (comparing to the Gustard X26 Pro)

Hi, yes, I confirm you'll not find this since I never written about it :)
I can say that, my configuration is based on various amps (two Emotiva XPA-1L, one ML-27, a Daub D500A, Naim NAP100 ), speakers (Genelec 8050a active,Aliante Moda Pininfarina passive, B&W 705S2 passive, Monitor Audio Gold 100 passive), room (two) and, of course, tastes...
The X-26 Pro sounds better than my previous Emotiva DC-1, Topping D90 (MQA, AKM based), a custom 4 1704K per channel (reference) DAC and a Denafrips Pontus (first edition with upgraded board).
"Better" doesn't mean a lot, in my personal idea of a "good sound" is a sound as detailed as possible, without particular emphasis and with a good scene especially in the horizontal field.
Also, it's not warm but not cold either...I can use it on the "vivid" setting even with my active Genelec with great satisfaction.
I really enjoyed the sound of the Gustard as it has a lot of these characteristics and it's more "complete" than other dacs tested.
Obviously, and I repeat because it is never enough, my concept of good sound is only a personal idea not necessarily shareable ... also I am not an "expert" but only an audio "enthusiast".
 

Vhond

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@andyxx : Thanks for your post with your comparison to other DAC's, especially the Pontus DAC.

Can you please tell me the differences in sound?
 

Gerry E.

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@gustard - I would like to use the HDMI input of my X26 Pro for SACD playback. My playback system is:

Sony UDP-X800M2 ---> HDMI/I2S Converter Box ---> X26 Pro

When I play a SACD, the X26 Pro locks onto the DSD 2.82MHz signal and plays music but I also get a constant static-like noise which makes the HDMI input unusable for SACD playback. My current work-around is to use a coaxial S/PDIF connection between the converter box and the X26 Pro. Both CD and SACD playback work perfectly this way.

I understand that HDMI connection is not standard for all devices. However, I would still like to try the HDMI connection. I see that you sell an HDMI cable. Would this work for SACD in my system? If not, any other suggestions? Thank you!
 

godmax

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@gustard - I would like to use the HDMI input of my X26 Pro for SACD playback. My playback system is:

Sony UDP-X800M2 ---> HDMI/I2S Converter Box ---> X26 Pro

When I play a SACD, the X26 Pro locks onto the DSD 2.82MHz signal and plays music but I also get a constant static-like noise which makes the HDMI input unusable for SACD playback. My current work-around is to use a coaxial S/PDIF connection between the converter box and the X26 Pro. Both CD and SACD playback work perfectly this way.

I understand that HDMI connection is not standard for all devices. However, I would still like to try the HDMI connection. I see that you sell an HDMI cable. Would this work for SACD in my system? If not, any other suggestions? Thank you!
The cable from Gustard will probably not fix the issue, since the real problem is the obscure HDMI/I2S Converter Box and their pinout of the I2S port. There are tons manufacturer specific pinouts out there (I2S pinouts) and if your box does not match the I2S Gustard Specification 2 or is not configurable, you will get something like the static noise you describe (see also thread post onwards: I2S via HDMI pinout wiring)
 

linger63

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@gustard - I would like to use the HDMI input of my X26 Pro for SACD playback. My playback system is:

Sony UDP-X800M2 ---> HDMI/I2S Converter Box ---> X26 Pro

When I play a SACD, the X26 Pro locks onto the DSD 2.82MHz signal and plays music but I also get a constant static-like noise which makes the HDMI input unusable for SACD playback. My current work-around is to use a coaxial S/PDIF connection between the converter box and the X26 Pro. Both CD and SACD playback work perfectly this way.

Exact same thing happened to me.
If what I bolded is the case then you must have a converter box that does DoP like the one I use with my Oppo 205 and X26 Pro.
Why bother about using the I2S connection at all then?
 
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shakarone`

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I have had my x26 pro for a couple weeks now but while it sounds great i have an issue with audio randomly cutting out/ skipping for like half a second which is getting really annoying so i think my unit might be defective. I have it connected to my pc through usb included but my previous dac a schiit modius doesn't have this problem at all
 

taner

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I have had my x26 pro for a couple weeks now but while it sounds great i have an issue with audio randomly cutting out/ skipping for like half a second which is getting really annoying so i think my unit might be defective. I have it connected to my pc through usb included but my previous dac a schiit modius doesn't have this problem at all
Did you test USB with different sources and sample rates? I also suggest you to test it with other inputs like OPT, BT or COAX. If all have same issue, probably your unit is defective otherwise it can be a compatibility issue.
 

shakarone`

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Did you test USB with different sources and sample rates? I also suggest you to test it with other inputs like OPT, BT or COAX. If all have same issue, probably your unit is defective otherwise it can be a compatibility issue.
I have changed around sample rates and buffer size when i received it weeks ago which makes it happen less often i think but the problem still pops up. I dont have other cables on hand but ill head out to buy an optical cable and do some testing with that and Bluetooth.
edit: it definitely happens with bluetooth even more commonly
 
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