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Review and Measurements of Gustard DAC-X26

Veri

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Its perhaps my Spidey senses ringing but why does it seem that every time @amirm picks a winner out of left field , all sorts weird conspiracies/ theories / doubt casting / nitpicking gets churned up ??
Except if the product only costs $99 ;) then we make cases for it

Well tbh I'm all for healthy scepticism as long as it's not full-fledged paranoia.
 

maxxevv

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You forgot the other end of the spectrum :

When its a $2000/- established brand item performing up to par.
 
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I would personally appreciate it if one of the skeptical yet well-to-do members here pick up another Gustard DAC-X26 as soon as possible and have it directly shipped to Amir for corroborative testing. Our more budget-focused members would be deeply grateful. Let's get to the bottom of this mystery!!! :cool:
 
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Its perhaps my Spidey senses ringing but why does it seem that every time @amirm picks a winner out of left field , all sorts weird conspiracies/ theories / doubt casting / nitpicking gets churned up ??
Yeah, maybe. ;)
But, after all we've seen in this forum so far I think that some scepticism is easily justified.

Think the other way round: If Amir measures an very expensive device and it turns out to be desastrous, he himself often has doubts about measurement procedure or a possible defective unit - and then compares it to a second one or another reference device.
 

sonci

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At that price for a chinese product from a chinese brand, they could put a small piece of gold inside and still profit somehow.. so I don't think the dac is modded, they all should have a similar performance..
With that said, still listening to my TDA 1541 cd player..:D
 

DuxServit

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Its perhaps my Spidey senses ringing but why does it seem that every time @amirm picks a winner out of left field , all sorts weird conspiracies/ theories / doubt casting / nitpicking gets churned up ??
Amir has been upfront in the preamble of his review, where he clearly states that it was kindly sent to him by Shenzen Audio for testing. He could have just said no and sent it back. So this is probably the easiest way to get new gear tested (without having Amir needing to shell out $1K to buy the X26).

I would personally appreciate it if one of the skeptical yet well-to-do members here pick up another Gustard DAC-X26 as soon as possible and have it directly shipped to Amir for corroborative testing.
I would go so far to say that for the 5 top-ranking DACs in the master SINAD graph/chart, we need to have multiple independent sources send Amir the same model device. (I've got to believe that the high number of sales on MassDrop of THX AAA 789 was partially spurred by Amir's review).
 
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oh boom!
 

Krunok

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I would go so far to say that for the 5 top-ranking DACs in the master SINAD graph/chart, we need to have multiple independent sources send Amir the same model device. (I've got to believe that the high number of sales on MassDrop of THX AAA 789 was partially spurred by Amir's review).
I don't think that is necessary. If company can manufacture a single DAC that falls into announced specs I believe they can produce more of them too. Sure, there will always be faulty units, this happens with all production processes in all branches of bussines, but generally speaking it is not that complicated to have QA with DAC manufacturing as series are not large.
 
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DuxServit,

I do really like the idea of the top 3 or 5 or whatever (currently available) top-ranking units be verified as well. I guess it really comes down to Amir's availability and the worthiness or desire of certain units to be confirmed/re-tested by the posters.
 
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I would go so far to say that for the 5 top-ranking DACs in the master SINAD graph/chart, we need to have multiple independent sources send Amir the same model device. (I've got to believe that the high number of sales on MassDrop of THX AAA 789 was partially spurred by Amir's review).
What do people think happened here? That they carefully tweaked one unit with all of its itty bitty little surface mount devices? That they sat there and measured the tiny little caps and resistors and swapped them out until they nailed it? Maybe Jimmy Hoffa is buried under their factory, too. The product uses two very expensive DACs and properly implemented them according to the datasheet. That's all. There's probably next to nothing in the case you could tweak to make a "ringer" if you wanted to.

And there's still no objective reason to buy it over an RME, which includes a superb headphone amp in the same case FOR LESS MONEY and performs just as well, for all practical purposes. Yawn.
 

Music1969

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If company can manufacture a single DAC that falls into announced specs I believe they can produce more of them too.
Yes I hope this isn’t being lost in all this skepticism. Whether hand picked or not, a Chinese designed, ESS based DAC has performed at the level of Rob Watts Chord Qutest, for less money.. this is not a trivial accomplishment.

And Gustard have us all scratching our head at how there is no ESS IMD hump..

There is Engineering talent at Gustard for sure. Kudos to the Engineer/s there.
 

BYRTT

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The filter response is zoomed into 20-24kHz. A "gentle" filter from ESS is even gentler than that....
Sharp eyes there : ) myself had to get them overlaid from a dirty quick tracing (take precision with a grant of salt) of those graphs and you right in it looks gentle Gustard is steeper than what SMSL SU-8 fast filter is about, cursor is at 22,05kHz and in general it looks they more or less gently so did throw in a more agressive light green curve for comparison.

1000b.png


That said below announce on subject.
I plan to do a deeper dive into its filters and PLL circuit at a later time.
...:)

I ordered one. Let's see what we can do.
Thanks that is constructive way forward for discussions that pop up and pinky can hope for more golf journeys...

1000.png
 

DuxServit

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What do people think happened here? That they carefully tweaked one unit with all of its itty bitty little surface mount devices? That they sat there and measured the tiny little caps and resistors and swapped them out until they nailed it? Maybe Jimmy Hoffa is buried under their factory, too. The product uses two very expensive DACs and properly implemented them according to the datasheet. That's all. There's probably next to nothing in the case you could tweak to make a "ringer" if you wanted to.
My point is that ASR is unique because Amir is providing actual valuable service to the community (versus a lot of chatter on other sites). As such, there is good reason to maintain transparency of the process (which is one of the values of ASR), and offer solutions if there is any doubt (e.g. re-measure different units of the same model).

This is orthogonal to the question of the cost of the device, whether it's a knock-off, whether is Chinese product or not, etc.
 

Krunok

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This is orthogonal to the question of the cost of the device, whether it's a knock-off, whether is Chinese product or not, etc.
If you want to check if vendors quality assurance works you would have to check multiple items of every vendor because IME cheap units with lower performance usually suffer from quality variations more than expensive units with better performance. Anyway, as there is absolutely no resources to perform QA assurance checks unless you provide technology to clone @amirm I really don't see a reason to brag on that subject. :D
 

frogmeat69

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Hello Amir,

As I have registered a few minutes ago, this is my first post - for a reason you can imagine.
Don't get me wrong. You are doing a GREAT, GREAT job here! Finally, someone who's beating up the "High-End" industry. :D
Because we can't trust this industry I've changed completely to studio gear (RME and Neumann).

I agree that it is better to have data than no data. And it is fully correct to mention the origin of the device.
But, I also have to agree to other members that this measurement has to be taken - at least - with a grain of salt.
We can't be really sure that this device represents the actual performance of serial production (besides the fact that "one measured unit is no unit measured"). Noone knows for sure how vendor and distributor are connected. And both would profit from increased sales caused by your review.
I also don't like the fact that they asked you to test.

Therefore, the review itself is great. But to include the unit in your charts, comparing it to other devices and giving it an unconditional recommendation? I don't like this idea. So, I would really love to see a second unit which was bought regularly by a random person.

Or maybe you simply have to differentiate between products provided by vendors/distributors and those by members/random buyers in the future.
Then buy one and send it to Amir, problem solved.
 

Jimster480

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Absolutely top tier performance!
But in terms of your linearity test.... that definitely ISN'T the BEST that you have recorded here.
I believe that the Topping D50 and the Chord 2Cute and I think maybe the DX7S also recorded basically flat to 20 bits.
 
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Amir, thank you once again for taking the time to educate us with your in-depth reviews. I think everyone here appreciates the amount of work that goes into this and understands your high-level of transparency.

I would like to emphasize that nobody, nowhere, is paying for full independent audits of home audio equipment. Whilst Amir has an extreme level of technical expertise, let's remember these essays are just a platform for Amir to kindly share his hobby with us. Let's appreciate the platform for what it is and keep positive.
 
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