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Gustard X26Pro Review (Balanced High-end DAC)

Mr.XO

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Reading a bit more into Gustard after realizing that APOS dropped them due to quality issues.
What's the consensus around here about buying these and dealing with defects? Do they fix most of the defects without having to ship the product back to China?

As much as I’m interested in this DAC, I wonder if there’s any truth in comments like this?
After going over 30 pages or so, it seems like there could be some truth in it, considering all the issues folks have struggled with and reported here.
Not sure if all issues have been resolved and if now it’s all different from what was measured as fixes and tweaks have piled up..?
 

catluck

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Is anyone having success connecting a CD Transport to the Gustard X26 Pro? Compatibility with CD Transports is an issue with multiple Topping DACs. I've read about issues which are making me avoid the Topping D90 (not sure if the SE is also at issue), and I'd like to connect my CEC TL-5 to a Chi-DAC.

Sound measurements quality aside, functional reliability with other components is the question.
Connected the XLR and IIS (which I'm now using) to the X26 with no issues whatsoever. But, harkening to earlier posts, the unit does run VERY HOT. Using it as a DAC/PRE so perhaps that's the issue... And to those who doubt the value of burn-in or claim a placebo effect, well, perhaps. But I distinctly noticed, upon first running the X26, a definite "spitchiness" or noticeable sibilant emphasis which made me SAD and thinking OH NO I hope this effect moderates or I've made a terrible mistake. Turns out after about 2 1/2 days of constant operation the spitchiness/sibilance has virtually disappeared (90%) to where it no longer rankles at all. Further, the spatial aspects, particularly depth (admittedly not the strongest suit of the X26 in my system) improved noticeably. Finally, upon first operation the unit seemed somewhat "disorganized." I know that's a tough description, i.e., vague, but that's the best I can do. In the days that followed, the unit has sorted itself out to the point where I can't see spending more $$ on a DAC. It's running directly into Manley Neo-Classic 300B's and the big Merlins. Sounds absolutely incredible. And I've been blessed to have good, if not exotic, DAC (Bel Canto 3.5VB, Mytek Manhattan, Auralic Vega, Weiss 502, Okto Research, etc.).

QUESTION: Is the consensus, even with the substantial heat generated, that it's OK to leave this unit operating all the time?
 

catluck

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As much as I’m interested in this DAC, I wonder if there’s any truth in comments like this?
After going over 30 pages or so, it seems like there could be some truth in it, considering all the issues folks have struggled with and reported here.
Not sure if all issues have been resolved and if now it’s all different from what was measured as fixes and tweaks have piled up..?
I did order and receive a Gustard from Apos. The unit sounded fantastic but every couple of days it would lapse into a phasey wierd presentation where music sounded as though it was coming from the side-walls opposite each speak. Very very strange. I never experienced such a phenomenon in 40 years of audio. Anyway, it would disappear if the unit was rebooted. But I felt that something was awry so I returned it to Apos. Apos then dropped Gustard (showing all Gustard products as "Sold Out") But it was a great sounding unit. I'm trying Gustard again with the X26 hoping.... And the X26 does sound outstanding in my system.
 

bkdc

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The reports of heat generated by this unit is preventing me from purchasing it… if it weren’t for the heat, it is really an ideally laid out DAC. I hope Gustard comes out with a model which throws out the class A portion and improves heat dissipation. I’m not sold on the benefits of class A anyway.
 

linger63

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The reports of heat generated by this unit is preventing me from purchasing it… if it weren’t for the heat, it is really an ideally laid out DAC. I hope Gustard comes out with a model which throws out the class A portion and improves heat dissipation. I’m not sold on the benefits of class A anyway.

Strange.......mine (DAC use only) doesn't get very hot at all.:cool:
I am a fan of Class A and also have Class A amplification which does put out some heat but well worth it for the SQ (IME):)
Hmmm........."fan of Class A"..........(joke in there somewhere!!!);)

Maybe other owner reports of hot ones are because they are leaving it on 24/7 and/or using it as a DAC/PRE and it's working hard!!!!!:confused:
 
Last edited:

Mr.XO

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I did order and receive a Gustard from Apos. The unit sounded fantastic but every couple of days it would lapse into a phasey wierd presentation where music sounded as though it was coming from the side-walls opposite each speak. Very very strange. I never experienced such a phenomenon in 40 years of audio. Anyway, it would disappear if the unit was rebooted. But I felt that something was awry so I returned it to Apos. Apos then dropped Gustard (showing all Gustard products as "Sold Out") But it was a great sounding unit. I'm trying Gustard again with the X26 hoping.... And the X26 does sound outstanding in my system.
Hey,
Thanks for sharing your experience..
 

Matias

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Mariokingkong

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Hi all, I been followed up this forum quite sometime. Just bought this x26pro direct from China & received it yesterday.
I only play cdp for past 25 yrs. My current cdp is cd94, 34yrs old, still can spin.
This is my first usb dac. SQ for most online audio download seem normal acceptable, may be those are being compress file. Has not try truth high resolition.
In meantime, I tried my own cd copy, previously extract with slowest speed loseless file. Play with pc usb to this dac seem quite ok. SQ consider close to orig cdp play.
I dont have expensive gears. My mono tube preamp & amp are all diy by my fren last time, each units weight more than 20kg.
I do noticed the dac run hot as some of you observed.
Will give it 2 weeks burn in to review again
 

BDWoody

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Hi all, I been followed up this forum quite sometime. Just bought this x26pro direct from China & received it yesterday.
I only play cdp for past 25 yrs. My current cdp is cd94, 34yrs old, still can spin.
This is my first usb dac. SQ for most online audio download seem normal acceptable, may be those are being compress file. Has not try truth high resolition.
In meantime, I tried my own cd copy, previously extract with slowest speed loseless file. Play with pc usb to this dac seem quite ok. SQ consider close to orig cdp play.
I dont have expensive gears. My mono tube preamp & amp are all diy by my fren last time, each units weight more than 20kg.
I do noticed the dac run hot as some of you observed.
Will give it 2 weeks burn in to review again

Welcome!

Glad you are happy with it so far.
 

Mariokingkong

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Welcome!

Glad you are happy with it so far.
My diy fren very against hi resolution file. He still think orig cdp with mod, separate ps for clk, output, display, dac produce best sound. His cd94 top cover not able to cover as too many caps added.
Anyhow, today I quite happy as I managed to fix the hum noise as need to move away this x26pro. Finally find a sweet spot.
The gears I own mostly diy by him, he can drill the holes of the alumunium casing and solder each caps, resistors. The cdp also has extra ps, all items need 2x ps cables.
 

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dmidu

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In my experience you can increase the quality over USB input if you use oversampling to 384000Hz, 32 bit. In Foobar2000 it's done by applying a Secret Rabbit resampling plug-in and selecting Best Quality there. In DACs menu select NOS as well. Try to give it a try when the burn-in period is finished.

I did compare it in A-B test to an Accuphase DP-65 cd-player on a hi-end gear and I and one more person couldn't tell the difference.

In case you're on Linux, there are other ways depending on the player.


Would be nice to know if someone else tried oversampling and the results.
 

axyoung9022

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@dmidu X26pro can run at 705.6kHz with NOS. If your music player has non-ringing filter, then X26pro can output square wave without any ringing as I measured it. This is the way to get the original sound.
 

dmidu

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@axyoung9022 Yes, it's true. It's just that Secret Rabbit Resampler for Windows doesn't allow more than 384KHz sample rate.
However, in Linux using Soxr-vhq resampler in MPD (mpd.conf) I did manage to upsample to 768KHz. If using Volumio it can be set in general menu.

Have you tried measuring it at 768KHz? I could've done it, but don't have measuring equipment.
In general I'm really curious how you did the measurements. Would appreciate if you could tell.

At the moment I'm using Musetech MH-DA005 DAC that has only 384KHz upsample limit. Currently my system is not so hi-end, so I'm not able to compare two DACs properly. But even so, the Musetech MH-DA005 is a little bit better. However, I must say that Gustard x26pro is a very fine DAC and I really like it, especially when upsampled.
 

UCrazyKid

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@dmidu You can order an ADC with high-precision & Ultra low noise and distortion to measure audio gears including DAC, and power amplifier. Please refer to: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003391728199.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.24c34c4dK5doZQ.

Actually I did measure X26pro at 768KHz. It outputs non-ringing square wave only with NOC. Then it became an excellent DAC.
View attachment 207090
How do I know if my audio player filter has no ring? I’m using a Mac with JRiver. I can set the DSP to upsample all files to 768khz. Will this do it? Will there be better sound then doing my upsample in s/w and run the x26 pro in NOS?
 

axyoung9022

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@UCrazyKid, you just playback a digital sampled square wave file in JRiver with upsampling, and then observe the SCOPE outputted from X26pro set with NOS mode (See my picture above). The time needs to last for a minute. It is enough to observe a stable wave. If the filter is linear phase (lp) with ringing property, you can see the difference in Time-Domaine:
1653147269843.png
 

gvl

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@UCrazyKid, you just playback a digital sampled square wave file in JRiver with upsampling, and then observe the SCOPE outputted from X26pro set with NOS mode (See my picture above). The time needs to last for a minute. It is enough to observe a stable wave. If the filter is linear phase (lp) with ringing property, you can see the difference in Time-Domaine:
View attachment 207996

Why is ringing an issue you think?
 

UCrazyKid

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@UCrazyKid, you just playback a digital sampled square wave file in JRiver with upsampling, and then observe the SCOPE outputted from X26pro set with NOS mode (See my picture above). The time needs to last for a minute. It is enough to observe a stable wave. If the filter is linear phase (lp) with ringing property, you can see the difference in Time-Domaine:
View attachment 207996
I really appreciate your answer but I must admit 90% of it is over my head. I guess I need to ask if the JRiver MC filters are any good by someone that can test it for me. Thanks!
 
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