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post #61 of 83

I'm relatively new to all this and having lots of fun

Using the USB output and X10 supplied XMOS XS1-L1 (ST) device driver

I was running MPC-HC with LAV codecs and fixed output 192k

The sound was excellent but I didn't think I was getting the full potential of the x10

 

So I downloaded JRiver (30 day trial) and discovered I have a lot of upsampling options.

Note I am using a Windows 8.1 notebook with i5 m480 @ 2.67Ghz

Average CPU usage is 15%

 

I started playing with the upsample rate settings

playing a 64bit mp3 file

384 sounded a bit confused

192 was a lot better but not as good as the MPC-HC

 

I then looked at the DSD options

2xDSD in native format did not work - maybe something to do with my ASIO driver - I installed ASIO 4ALL

2xDSD I n DoP format was OK but I noticed some distortion (showed as DSD128 on the x10)

DSD in DoP format sounded the best, especially when playing FLAC files  (DSD64 on the x10) - almost like being inside the recording studio - better dynamics than the LAV codecs.

 

I am still undecided whether to purchase JRiver (US$49)

JRiver has TOO MANY OPTIONS to process in a single sitting.

If someone could advise me on a better setting I shoud try please let me know.

post #62 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triplefun View Post
 

 

So I downloaded JRiver (30 day trial) and discovered I have a lot of upsampling options.

 

2xDSD in native format did not work - maybe something to do with my ASIO driver - I installed ASIO 4ALL

2xDSD I n DoP format was OK but I noticed some distortion (showed as DSD128 on the x10)

DSD in DoP format sounded the best, especially when playing FLAC files  (DSD64 on the x10) - almost like being inside the recording studio - better dynamics than the LAV codecs.

 

I am still undecided whether to purchase JRiver (US$49)

JRiver has TOO MANY OPTIONS to process in a single sitting.

If someone could advise me on a better setting I shoud try please let me know.

You should not be using asio 4all. You should only use the thesycon asio driver supplied with your X10. Asio 4 all is for those people that don't have any alternative supplied with their device. It will not be as good and may not work properly with DSD (but I have no direct experience with DSD).

post #63 of 83

Foobar2000 is free, but it is yet more complicated for a non technician person who wishes easy setup.

Try to install free AIMP player, it has to be easier for setup than Foobar2000 and compare it with JRiver.

I'm not using AIMP, but I know some people who are using it because they wanted something free and easier to setup than Foobar2000.

post #64 of 83

You can download some HiRes FLAC and DSD demos from http://www.2l.no/hires/

 

Try the ASIO driver without upsampling first, because bitperfect playback will show best how your DAC really sounds. Try some hires FLAC.

 

Then, if your SW player supports that (JRiver and Foobar yes, AIMP - I don't know), you can configure your player to output DSD stream (without converting it to PCM). That would be real test of DSD playback.

post #65 of 83


I've now connected the X10 XLR direct to my Audiolab monoblocks and the Magneplanar 1.7. The X10 volume control is adequate - shame they haven't included a remote. I also have a 10" Boston sub in the background which despite my original misgivings is working really well (currently running one channel off the X10 unbalanced). The magneplanars need a breakin and the quality of the output improves with every play. Likewise to a certain extent with the Gustard USB. For example, I now use JRiver DSD128 upscaling for all my audio. I have removed the ASIO4ALL driver which seemed to add a lot more options but did not add any value. Initially I was getting an occasional 'blip' from the Gustard (using the Gustard ASIO USB driver)  with the music getting a little confused - especially when playing low res mp3 files (the blips are not so apparent  when using DSD64). However, the X10 output seems to be improving and the interrupts are getting less frequent. I have also dropped the frequency to 50hz as opposed to an initial 70hz. I don't really know what this means! The DSD128 gives a wider stage and more dynamics than the DSD64. The 384khz upsampled playback seems flat by comparison.

 

Classical and acoustic playback are exceptional as are vocals. I find the whole setup a bit too clinical for rock but it is still very listenable. Dire Straights Love over Gold works well but some of my old ELP tracks seem to get a bit muddled. 

 

I have found that if you drop the computer output volume less tah  90% then the X10 refuses to play on USB.

 

I am now awaiting some cables so I can connect my PS Audio 5 preamp (use pass through) and a Behringer active crossover for better control of the sub. Will post an update once all is connected.

post #66 of 83

About the blips: It is recommended to have only the DAC connected to one USB hub, if it is possible.

Your computer can have USB ports organized to more USB hubs. The USBview utility is used to display USB hubs and connected devices: http://www.highresolutiontechnologies.com/support/support.html

 

You can also try other USB ports.

 

Try to avoid too much USB devices, which use power from computer, like more USB disks.

 

Check your computer, if some drivers are causing those blips: http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml

 

It is recommended to have computer volume set on max.


Edited by bogi - 5/18/14 at 8:33am
post #67 of 83

So much useful information. yes, I have seen this issue. I am using a notebook which I run 'headless' Win 8.1.  I  only have one other USB device and that is an external CD drive. I have now disconnected it. My library is accessed across the network. The cable was Cat 5 100Mb/s. I have now ordered a Cat 6 1Gb/s replacement. Note my original intent was to use Logitech Media Server and a Transporter I was able to pick up. I thought I could get better value with the Gustard X10 and an old 'i5' gen 2 notebook. Nice to have the options. So far I have been most impressed.

 

I have downloaded some DSD content. One file played OK using JRiver with no 'blips' but I had trouble with the other DSD128 file. I'm now trying Foobar and will let you know how it goes.

post #68 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyra5 View Post
 

@Jeep as much as i like the netherlands more than my own country (and folk more often than i like to say) i dont get why you throw out so many racistic hints to "the German" since there is no such clishee thing in reality.

 

Sure i like precision and accuracy. And of course not being involved in trying to scam the customs of their taxes which these chinese sellers do when they declare it wrong. It can lead to alot of problems in this country here. And higher costs anyway as when everything is right. Im not speaking about 0.00x Euro but a few hundred Euro are a whole different story.

 

And i got this "Valab" DAC now after a long journey and a lot of problems with ebay / customs. The high praised Vintage Audio Seller didnt care anyway.

 

So this non labled Valab Dac has a big name on it on the front as expected which is "GUSTARD" and some other crap like "full balanced digital audio compress" and "Dac-X10". The Backside is also full of letters and the model name Dac-X.

 

So beside your racism to Germans cause of the 2nd worldwar as you said they sent the wrong unit and not the Valab DAC but the Gustard Version of it. Which means you are wrong with your pro Valab assumptions. ...I dont want to join the racism ride since i have nothing to do with that at all.

Not even my grandfather had may he RIP.

 

But i recommend you to read some books or try a psychologist since racism is often only a compensation of deeper problems.

(edit 24.11.13 : Did the admins remove some of your 2nd worldwar racistic statements or did you?)

 

Review starts here:

 

Anyway let me try to describe this Gustard aka Valab Dac X-10 for the people who are curious here.

 

After switching from 110 V to 220 V by a friend who knows about electronics more than me i have connected it with my XLR SC Galileo 238 cables to my Genelec Monitors.

Im using a double ferrit core USB cable to connect the DAC directly to an USB 3.0 port of my notebook. After easy installation of the drivers which were in the package i let it burn in the whole night.

 

Before i start my comparison let me tell you who are interested in this Dac that the Valab and the Gustard are slightly different from the quality. For example the non labled version shall be using a better masterclock with 100.000 Mhz while the Gustard only has a 80.000 Mhz one inside. The Gustard looks in reality a bit cheaper than on the pics not only cause the display is different and looks like a gameboy greyish display but black like on the pics. Also the rubber feet are not even. The Gustard Dac X-10 needs corrections to not drop to one or the other side (sry for my english).

 

All together it doesnt look as valuable / elegant as on the pics but ok... The cheaper ES9018 i own looks better.

 

Comparing:  M-Dac vs Gustard aka Valab Dac X-10 vs No Name ES9018 from Minishow0328

 

Soundstage: First i like my M-Dac for its great soundstage and dont think any Dac but maybe the X-Sabre can reach that in a near pricerange. The Gustard X-10 cant compete in this theritory with my M-Dac at all and even lose slightly vs the cheap ES9018 from minishow0328 i bought before.

 

Neutrality: This on the other hand is a pure win for the Gustard Dac X-10. I never heard a more neutral Dac than this one. The M-Dac adds some kind of signature to every music no matter what source or quality it has while i feel the X-10 is as neutral as it can get. The No Name ES9018 also adds some kind of colouring to the sound but more subtile than the M-Dac id say.

 

Musical: Well this is hard to say even in a pure subjective perspective. The X-10 is so neutral it depends heavily on the record id say. If the record is good or very good the musicality of this Dac is "good". When i compare the same good record on my M-Dac it sounds more pleasing more living but less natural and less neutral. The cheap ES9018 is on the lose side here. Its musicality is still good but the other 2 are better by a decent amount (depending on record ofc).

 

Sound Spectrum (Mid/High/Low): No Name ES9018 is the loser here.

Highs can get a bit harsh, mids a bit dull and lows not as fast and accurate as the other 2. But i compare 3 ES9018 so its still better than most DACs with older chips like Wolfsons. The X-10 has near perfect highs while the M-Dac has a not too low colouring to make the highs sound pleasing. In some tracks and specially at classic music i prefer the M-Dac because the X-10 is for the price very good for Highs but can hurt depending on the tracks. For recordings it might be better to use the X-10 tho.

For pure Listening id say M-Dac wins in Highs.

 

Mids are best on the M-Dac too even with the slight colouring. Again for recording id say the X-10 might be better cause its more natural and non pleasing. No Name Dac is nearly the same as the X-10 in mids id say.

 

Lows are the thing for the X-10. The lows are more precice and faster than on both other Dacs. The deeper it gets on my Genelec Sub the better in favor for the X-10. The M-Dac sounds a bit dull on the lows the deeper it gets and the No Name ES9018 is not exactly as precise as the X-10 but surprisingly better than the M-Dac.

 

Stereo Imaging: This is where the M-Dac slightly wins vs the X-10 but only marginally or not to say they might be even. The No Name ES9018 is also slightly better than the X-10 and my measurements tell me my ears are still very good.

 

DSD / DXD: This cant be compared cause only the X-10 can do it (somehow). After installing the DSD plugin in foobar i tested some classics with 352khz (best i could find) and yes it is audible better than CD or even 192khz. Specially in classic music its very nice and makes the illusion of sitting in a room where the violins are on the right side and the trumpets on the left side even more realistic than on the other 2 DACs at ofc lower res.

 

Problem with the Gustard at higher than 96khz sample rates! When you set it to 192khz there are dropouts every now and then. It sounds like a hicup and is maybe caused by the lower masterclock contrary to the advertised 100.000 Mhz they offer. I can only think of the 80.000 Mhz clock of the Gustard Version has problems with that high sample rates. Any suggestions are welcome to fix that. I tried every buffer and latency setting and couldnt get rid of it.

 

Fazit: In neutrality and non-colouring the X-10 wins vs both Dacs hands down. But when it comes to pure listening the M-Dac is more pleasing my ears and the No Name ES9018 is somewhere in the middle. I think the biggest advantage of the X-10 vs many other Dacs specially for the price is not for Hi Fi listening but for the Studio where you need as neutral and precise output as possible specially in the low end.

Dont get me wrong its not clinical or what people tend to say in other threads its just that what got recorded and how it can sound without colouring. Maybe cause its discrete and no opamps i dunno.

 

If you cant afford the X-Sabre and need higher res than the M-Dac at a higher neutrality the X-10 is good for you. I wouldnt buy it again and if anyone want to buy it for the price i paid im glad to get rid of it and buy the X-Sabre for not even double the price (including taxes).

 

Please no more stupid racism - questions about the DAC are welcome of course.


Thanks for the great review.

Please could you confirm the settings you used to get playback using Foobar2000.

I am using WIn 8.1 and the playback keeps stopping as soon as I start

I believe I have exhausted all the setting variations.

 

I have managed to get it working with JRiver except for playback of a native DSD128 file.

And yes, the DSD playback is very 'clean' despite the dropouts. I think this may be a power supply issue.

post #69 of 83

Dropouts are most commonly caused by latency or buffer settings too low. It can also be a problem if you are using a usb 3 port.

post #70 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chodi View Post
 

Dropouts are most commonly caused by latency or buffer settings too low. It can also be a problem if you are using a usb 3 port.


I increased the USB 2.0 buffer in Jriver from 50ms to 250ms and had no drop outs for 10 minutes.

post #71 of 83

One place to set buffer appears in the USB Audio Control Panel, but I don't know if your driver installation provides that.

 

 

The 2nd place is File | Preferences | Output menu in Foobar.

 

 

My pictures are for M2Tech hiFace Two, not your device.

You don't need extra powerful computer or network (but HiRes can have more demands).


Edited by bogi - 5/18/14 at 10:39pm
post #72 of 83

Hi, I'm owner of Gustard DAC-X10 about 10 days already. :) I needed that time to try all what's possible and to create my meaning about this DAC.

I ordered it from doukmall on ebay.co.uk, shipped from UK, no customs and delivery about 1 week to Slovakia.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lyra5 View Post

 

Before i start my comparison let me tell you who are interested in this Dac that the Valab and the Gustard are slightly different from the quality. For example the non labled version shall be using a better masterclock with 100.000 Mhz while the Gustard only has a 80.000 Mhz one inside. The Gustard looks in reality a bit cheaper than on the pics not only cause the display is different and looks like a gameboy greyish display but black like on the pics. Also the rubber feet are not even. The Gustard Dac X-10 needs corrections to not drop to one or the other side (sry for my english).

 

All together it doesnt look as valuable / elegant as on the pics but ok... The cheaper ES9018 i own looks better.

 

Mine has 100 MHz clock (I opened it) and is very nicely built.

The display is light blue like on ebay pictures.

The feets have correct lenght in my case, no such troubles. :)

It was delivered with Australian mains cable (I think). But that's not important for me.

What I miss is English manual. But I succeeded to do the PC setup using pictures from the manual found here:

http://pan.baidu.com/share/home?uk=842027555#category/type=0

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lyra5 View Post

 

Problem with the Gustard at higher than 96khz sample rates! When you set it to 192khz there are dropouts every now and then. It sounds like a hicup and is maybe caused by the lower masterclock contrary to the advertised 100.000 Mhz they offer. I can only think of the 80.000 Mhz clock of the Gustard Version has problems with that high sample rates. Any suggestions are welcome to fix that. I tried every buffer and latency setting and couldnt get rid of it.

 

 

No such problem in my case. I can upsample using SoX to 354.8 or 384k and I have no dropouts even in the Low Latency setting in the 2.19 driver Control Panel. I verified it in the TUSB Audio Spy Tool too. I have dropouts in the Low Latency and ocassionally also in the Standard latency setting only in the case of on the fly PCM to DSD conversion using ASIO proxy / Foobar SACD plugin, but that uses external SW / plugin which can yet improve. I can safely use PCM to DSD128 conversion with the Relaxed latency setting, no dropouts in that case.

 

If any X10 owner has interest I can describe my settings more in detail.


Edited by bogi - 6/25/14 at 10:23am
post #73 of 83

See photos in my gallery: http://www.head-fi.org/g/a/886805/gustard-dac-x10


Edited by bogi - 6/15/14 at 8:17am
post #74 of 83


Hi Bogi

 

How are you finding the X10? What gets me is the extent to which this remarkable $500 device competes with DAC offerings costing 3 to 4 times that price. I can only compare it to my Logitech transporter and find it superior in every way - definition, staging, dynamics, transparency to name a few. Using this DAC it's easy to hear the differences between a low sample rate recording, lossless and DSD - I use DSD128/SLOW as my default USB output - quite different from 384k. So why aren't there more reviews? And the few reviews I have seen just scratch the surface on the capabilities and functionality of this DAC.

post #75 of 83

Hi Triplefun, currently I cannot compare X10 with any DACs of $1000 category, but later in summer I plan to do some comparisons, at least with Yulong DA8.

 

X10 means clear improvement for me in comparison with my previous DAC solution hiface2 > Harman Kardon HD 970. X10 sound is similarily little bit on brighter side. It makes very good pairing with my more relaxed and little bit darker HE-500 and quite neutral, for sure not bright DIY preamp SPX2010TA. X10 presents details in a gentler, finer way than my previous combo. The same small details sound roughly, and more nervously on hiface2 > HD970.

 

The following comparisons are related to Foobar2000. RedBook material sounds me best upsampled by SoX to 352.8, or converted on the fly to DSD128. The 1st method brings maybe more finest detail, more dry bass, but sounds flatter and less dynamic. RedBook to DSD128 sounds me best when I combine it with upsampling by SoX to 352.8 at first. It seems Foobar at first applies DSP plugins (SoX in this case) and after that it performs PCM to DSD conversion via ASIO Proxy / SACD plugin. This solution brings more bass volume, more dynamics and feeling of deeper soundstage.

 

For HiRes material I prefer PCM with upsampling to 352.8 or 384k over PCM->DSD. I tried PCM->DSD on the fly, DSD128 sounded me little bit better, but I prefer PCM in this case. SACD ISOs sound amazingly through DSD.

 

I succeeded to add TUSBAudioCplApp and TUSBAudioSpy to the 2.19 driver. I am able to run the finest "Low Latency" buffer setting in PCM mode with no dropouts. With on the fly PCM to DSD conversion, I am able to run the 2nd finest "Standard" setting. Overall, X10 is more stable than hiFace2 on Low Latency setting.

 

X10 sounds me very naturally and adds no coloration to sound. It's not type of warm, weighty sounding DAC. But I also didn't find it as too analytic. You can set the sound how you like to more analytic or more relaxed via latency setting in the driver control panel. Using SoX upsampling the sound is quiet, clear, has no agresivity, is fine also on higher volumes with HE-500. Sometimes I would prefer more body to the sound, but it is in the case of "light" type of production/mastering.

 

I found that X10 uses power from computer USB port for the USB receiver part. When I used a USB cable without +5V wire, X10 wasn't recognized. External power to X10 USB input makes sound more detailed and dynamic. So I am using my Y type USB cable, which I made for hiFace2.

 

All the previous text is about using USB input. I tried X10 also through coax S/PDIF input via Gustard U10 USB converter. What I can say is that U10 is also an amazing device, much better than it's price range. It is clearly better than hiFace2. It is very hard to say what I found better, USB or SPDIF input. USB sounds more relaxed, SPDIF in this configuration sounds maybe yet more detailed, less flat and more dynamic than USB in PCM mode. But it can be also little bit fatiguing. Sometimes I found for example that louder voice filled too much the space of recording and the same passage sounded comfortable using USB. So I don't have clear standing, which one is better.

 

Overall, I am very satisfied with DAC-X10, I mean I spent very well my 450 EUR.


Edited by bogi - 6/25/14 at 10:17am
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