GUSTARD H10 High-current Discrete Class A output Stage Headphone Amplifier
Jul 20, 2015 at 9:53 AM Post #2,776 of 5,513

lancevance117

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 1, 2015
Posts
28
Likes
11
Sorry guys for being a noob. Im so unfamiliar to balanced stuff.
While even the branded (Toxic, Hifiman itself) xlr to headphone cables are single xlr ended, how am I supposed to plug it properly to this amp?

nevermind, just plug the xlr cable in, nothing will blowup, the only demerit is that such cabling would not be balanced, but this wont affect or harm ur system
 
Jul 20, 2015 at 11:14 AM Post #2,777 of 5,513

railrus

New Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
Posts
37
Likes
13
Sorry guys for being a noob. Im so unfamiliar to balanced stuff.
While even the branded (Toxic, Hifiman itself) xlr to headphone cables are single xlr ended, how am I supposed to plug it properly to this amp?

xlr is for input; that is if you have for example DAC output via XLR. H10 output is via headphone jack which is single ended. for balanced output, you need for example Gustard's H20 
 
$_57.JPG

 
Jul 20, 2015 at 12:22 PM Post #2,778 of 5,513

sunneebear

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 29, 2002
Posts
1,626
Likes
156
Gone full Burson with my H10.
 

 
I have used Burson discrete solid state opamps before when they just came out.  They are on their 4th Gen version now.   I emailed them with some questions and they offered me 25% off for being a loyal customer.  So now my $300 H10 cost $450.
 
 

Two singles up front.
 
 

Two duals in the back.
 

My take on Burson discrete opamps is that they sound like nothing.  Like the old amplifier saying "wire with gain", that is what I think Burson opamps do for your amplifier.  They do not bring any color or character to the table like other opamps.  Not a bad thing if you are tuning the sound but I like the sound of the H10 so much from day one that I believe it should be in the spotlight.  Being neutral is great but where the Burson opamps shine is it's ability to magnify what is in the recording.  It sounds open or free of bottlenecks comes to mind.  Minute details sounds clear and focused, sometimes not a good thing.  Poor recordings are put in the spotlight becoming unbearable to listen to.  Effects and other processes in the recording is also magnified.  Most modern popular music become almost unlistenable because it sounds like the engineer was slacking or incompetent, or the music was made at home on a desktop.  I have very little high quality recordings and most are classical, instrumental with some jazz and vocals.  Being a child of the 80's I have a library of 80's recordings.  Many of which sound better than the recordings done today.  So if you are not rolling opamps in search of a certain flavor and you want to hear all that is in your music then I recommend trying these opamps.
 
Jul 21, 2015 at 1:07 AM Post #2,779 of 5,513

sunneebear

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 29, 2002
Posts
1,626
Likes
156
I just want to add one thing that I forgot to mention in my last post.
 
The Burson opamps come with socket risers.  With the riser on they will be too tall to close the cover.  No risers is the perfect height but the corners of the opamp will touch the two red rectangular caps beside the opamp sockets.  I used a Dremel tool to grind away the corners to make them fit.  I tried with a small jewelers or hobby file and that works too.  Just be careful and I guess a grinder or belt sander will also work.
 

 
Jul 21, 2015 at 1:45 AM Post #2,780 of 5,513

snellemin

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 6, 2015
Posts
800
Likes
609
  I just want to add one thing that I forgot to mention in my last post.
 
The Burson opamps come with socket risers.  With the riser on they will be too tall to close the cover.  No risers is the perfect height but the corners of the opamp will touch the two red rectangular caps beside the opamp sockets.  I used a Dremel tool to grind away the corners to make them fit.  I tried with a small jewelers or hobby file and that works too.  Just be careful and I guess a grinder or belt sander will also work.
 

Nice seeing someone using Burson's.
 
Jul 21, 2015 at 3:28 AM Post #2,781 of 5,513

lancevance117

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 1, 2015
Posts
28
Likes
11
  Gone full Burson with my H10.
 

 
I have used Burson discrete solid state opamps before when they just came out.  They are on their 4th Gen version now.   I emailed them with some questions and they offered me 25% off for being a loyal customer.  So now my $300 H10 cost $450.
 
 

Two singles up front.
 
 

Two duals in the back.
 

My take on Burson discrete opamps is that they sound like nothing.  Like the old amplifier saying "wire with gain", that is what I think Burson opamps do for your amplifier.  They do not bring any color or character to the table like other opamps.  Not a bad thing if you are tuning the sound but I like the sound of the H10 so much from day one that I believe it should be in the spotlight.  Being neutral is great but where the Burson opamps shine is it's ability to magnify what is in the recording.  It sounds open or free of bottlenecks comes to mind.  Minute details sounds clear and focused, sometimes not a good thing.  Poor recordings are put in the spotlight becoming unbearable to listen to.  Effects and other processes in the recording is also magnified.  Most modern popular music become almost unlistenable because it sounds like the engineer was slacking or incompetent, or the music was made at home on a desktop.  I have very little high quality recordings and most are classical, instrumental with some jazz and vocals.  Being a child of the 80's I have a library of 80's recordings.  Many of which sound better than the recordings done today.  So if you are not rolling opamps in search of a certain flavor and you want to hear all that is in your music then I recommend trying these opamps.

actually i doubt why using discrete design for opamp, from what "the guy's name shall not be mentioned" said, these types of discrete opamps (audio-gd...etc) are just for marketing and exotic purposes and their performance dont even come close to those chip opamps from semiconductors makers 
 
Jul 21, 2015 at 11:41 PM Post #2,782 of 5,513

BassDigger

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Posts
530
Likes
95
Location
In at the deep end.
Good news! (for me
ksc75smile.gif
 ). My H10 has arrived and is fully functional (no rattles, ill-fitting cables, smoke or mis-behaving volume control).
 

 
 
Please join me in a celebratory "Aaaaaarrrrrrrrr M'laddy!!!", or two, courtesy of Captain Redbeard Rum.
 
Enjoy:
 
 
 
Just in case that wasn't enough "Aaaaaarrrrrrrrr M'laddy!!!", for you. Here's a bit more, (thanks to Vladimir the Inhaler).
(As it is possible to have too much of a good thing, I'd suggest playing this clip from around 1.40, so as not to overdo it.)
 
 
Permission to break out the rum?
 
I'll give my first impressions, of the H10, in a later post.
 
Jul 22, 2015 at 2:19 AM Post #2,783 of 5,513

DDDamian

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 2, 2013
Posts
1,176
Likes
389
Congrats! It rocks with the LCD's...

Rum, give me rum till I float! Aaaaaarrŕrr
 
Jul 22, 2015 at 2:53 AM Post #2,784 of 5,513

BassDigger

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Posts
530
Likes
95
Location
In at the deep end.
First impressions:
 
All comparisons are against the only hp amp I've used, a Beyerdynamic A1 clone (HLLY RMK5), that's only quoted at producing 170mw max. Undoubtedly not enough power for my planar headphones. The only phones I'm currently using are the Audeze LCD2 fazor.
 
Firstly, I guess I'll mention the dip (gain) setting. To begin with I used the 'thread default' setting of +6. I read (here) many recommendations that this is probably the best position (for planar phones). In the +6 position I found that most of my listening was with the volume set no higher that the '9.30' position, and usually lower (in the range of the indention in the face plate). I'll do more experimentation, in the future, but I thought that this seems a bit low in the usable range, so I've reset the dip to the all down '0' position, This has meant that volume is now using the '8.30' to '10 o'clock' range, so far.
I don't know if it's the size of the volume knob, but the adjust seems very fine; it takes some considerable turning movement to effect the desired change. This is a good thing; fine adjustments (small increments), in the volume level, are easily accomplished.
 
 
The sound-
 
Some positives:
 
I've already mentioned the power difference between the H10 and my other amp; at 2.7 watts, the H10 is getting on for 20x as powerful as the Beyer. I'm not suggesting that power is an all-encompassing factor. Just that any amplifier needs to be up to the task that it's set; it needs to match well with the transducers it's connected to. Some transducers require more power, to have the necessary reserves and control, than others. In the headphone world, planar headphones (and a few others), are notorious for needing 4 figure milliwatt power outputs to get the best out of them, regardless of other factors.
 
So, with this in mind, I was quite glad to get the immediate impression that there is better bass reproduction, with the H10. Bass is the most power dependent part of the frequency range; it takes more energy to get the drivers to 'shift the air', to produce a bass note, and to control the driver once it is moving. The H10 seems to be doing this, better. The bass has more visceral impact, a little more extension, less mid and upper warmth and more transient impact. Previously, I'd found the LCD2f bass to be just ever so slightly warm and lacking 'kick', especially when compared to the he400. They definitely seem to have found a little of that extension, that I've been looking for. But I'm sure that there's still plenty more to be found!
 
Some not so positives:
 
I'm not panicking yet; it's only got about 3-4 hours of running; many posters have said that the H10 needs 10x that, to start showing it's true character.
The second thing I noticed was that the sound is a little......'tinny'. It's still full and weighty, as I've mentioned. But regarding the mid-range and treble, the treble just isn't quite right; sometimes something, a bit of percussion, sounds very 'there', very present, and then other, perhaps higher frequencies, sound very recessed and unresolved. And vocals are showing some exaggerated 'C' and 'T' tendencies (or should I write 'TTendencies'). I guess it's (currently) slightly emphasising perhaps the 10Khz region (I'm just guessing.)
 
Maybe it's this treble emphasis that's having the effect of upsetting the treble mid-range balance; the mids aren't quite as present as I'm used to; I'm not regularly having the "OMG; that sounds soooo real!!!" moments, that I'm used to. In fact, this combination of unruly treble and recessed mids is making my LCD2 sound a little reminsent of the he400, that I got rid of!
 
But as I say, it's not time to panic; I'm very much a 'believer' ("I belieeeeevvvve!!!") in burn-in, and the 3-4 hours of listening time is quickly turning into 8-9+ hours. As soon as I notice any change (apparently by around 40 hours, I should), I'll report back.
 
Jul 22, 2015 at 4:25 PM Post #2,785 of 5,513

Jhya

Head-Fier
Joined
May 20, 2015
Posts
51
Likes
15
First impressions:

All comparisons are against the only hp amp I've used, a Beyerdynamic A1 clone (HLLY RMK5), that's only quoted at producing 170mw max. Undoubtedly not enough power for my planar headphones. The only phones I'm currently using are the Audeze LCD2 fazor.

Firstly, I guess I'll mention the dip (gain) setting. To begin with I used the 'thread default' setting of +6. I read (here) many recommendations that this is probably the best position (for planar phones). In the +6 position I found that most of my listening was with the volume set no higher that the '9.30' position, and usually lower (in the range of the indention in the face plate). I'll do more experimentation, in the future, but I thought that this seems a bit low in the usable range, so I've reset the dip to the all down '0' position, This has meant that volume is now using the '8.30' to '10 o'clock' range, so far.
I don't know if it's the size of the volume knob, but the adjust seems very fine; it takes some considerable turning movement to effect the desired change. This is a good thing; fine adjustments (small increments), in the volume level, are easily accomplished.


The sound-

Some positives:

I've already mentioned the power difference between the H10 and my other amp; at 2.7 watts, the H10 is getting on for 20x as powerful as the Beyer. I'm not suggesting that power is an all-encompassing factor. Just that any amplifier needs to be up to the task that it's set; it needs to match well with the transducers it's connected to. Some transducers require more power, to have the necessary reserves and control, than others. In the headphone world, planar headphones (and a few others), are notorious for needing 4 figure milliwatt power outputs to get the best out of them, regardless of other factors.

So, with this in mind, I was quite glad to get the immediate impression that there is better bass reproduction, with the H10. Bass is the most power dependent part of the frequency range; it takes more energy to get the drivers to 'shift the air', to produce a bass note, and to control the driver once it is moving. The H10 seems to be doing this, better. The bass has more visceral impact, a little more extension, less mid and upper warmth and more transient impact. Previously, I'd found the LCD2f bass to be just ever so slightly warm and lacking 'kick', especially when compared to the he400. They definitely seem to have found a little of that extension, that I've been looking for. But I'm sure that there's still plenty more to be found!

Some not so positives:

I'm not panicking yet; it's only got about 3-4 hours of running; many posters have said that the H10 needs 10x that, to start showing it's true character.
The second thing I noticed was that the sound is a little......'tinny'. It's still full and weighty, as I've mentioned. But regarding the mid-range and treble, the treble just isn't quite right; sometimes something, a bit of percussion, sounds very 'there', very present, and then other, perhaps higher frequencies, sound very recessed and unresolved. And vocals are showing some exaggerated 'C' and 'T' tendencies (or should I write 'TTendencies'). I guess it's (currently) slightly emphasising perhaps the 10Khz region (I'm just guessing.)

Maybe it's this treble emphasis that's having the effect of upsetting the treble mid-range balance; the mids aren't quite as present as I'm used to; I'm not regularly having the "OMG; that sounds soooo real!!!" moments, that I'm used to. In fact, this combination of unruly treble and recessed mids is making my LCD2 sound a little reminsent of the he400, that I got rid of!

But as I say, it's not time to panic; I'm very much a 'believer' ("I belieeeeevvvve!!!") in burn-in, and the 3-4 hours of listening time is quickly turning into 8-9+ hours. As soon as I notice any change (apparently by around 40 hours, I should), I'll report back.


That's the sound of the stock H10, warm and soft yet detailed. It's as if the sound are all there, but you're sitting slightly a few rows back. Very laid back.

I also got the lcd2f and had burned in the H10 more than 100 hours. The treble and mid range anomoly may disappear with burn in. But The warmth and softness will always be present with the stock ne5532 and opa134.
 
Jul 23, 2015 at 8:48 AM Post #2,786 of 5,513

DDDamian

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 2, 2013
Posts
1,176
Likes
389
That's the sound of the stock H10, warm and soft yet detailed. It's as if the sound are all there, but you're sitting slightly a few rows back. Very laid back.

I also got the lcd2f and had burned in the H10 more than 100 hours. The treble and mid range anomoly may disappear with burn in. But The warmth and softness will always be present with the stock ne5532 and opa134.

My thoughts as well.
 
Jul 23, 2015 at 10:10 PM Post #2,787 of 5,513

audiochubb

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 4, 2015
Posts
4
Likes
0
  Just picked up the Gustard h10 yesterday and I'm just now getting the chance to do some critical listening(the wife just walked in so reset).  I listened for a few hours last night where I was barely conscious after a long week. I let it play all night to help burn in if that really is a thing.  Before I go in to details about what I have heard thus far let me warn you that I have very limited experience with high end gear and I am **** at physics :wink:   Please excuse me if I miss use a term to describe what I am hearing.
 
My only other amp experience is with the schiit asgard 2 which sounds good to me me but  I wanted something  with more power for my demanding hifiman he-500 and AKG k702s(just incase i was missing something).  Here are my early impressions:
 
Holy crap...my AKG's are going to get some more use out of them! They really improved the low end and depth of what I was hearing.  Although I noticed a nice change when I first got the asgard2 with my AKG's, they still sounded a little lame(but with a nice wide sound stage)compared to my Hifiman's.  Now when I switch back and forth I cna further appreciate the differences in what I am hearing in both head phones.  Normally I just use them for classical and sometimes Old Jazz. I think they will see more playing time across multiple genres now with my new amp!  So yes I agree so far the AKG's sound great with the Gustard.
 
I'm going to spend more time with my 500's later today and I will be happy to post my impressions if anyone is interested. So far though the sound stage feels more open which was one of the improvements I was seeking. I'm also picking up subtle sounds or instruments that I did not notice earlier while using my asgard2. Some of this may be placebo so I will give it more listening time.

Ok, so here is my follow up with  2 weeks on the SS gustard. First of all, thank you for the welcome Stuart and others.  Also, thank you to so many posters on here that share their experience with details and an open mind.
Here is the equipment I use:
PC media server
Source: mostly bit perfect Flac in 96k 24 bit or 44k in 16bit...some mp3 if I must :frowning2:
genre: mostly folk, indie, rock, alt country,willie nelson(yes his own genre) some blues, some classical and some jazz
DAC: hrt music streamer II (waiting on a u12 to arrive)
amp: gustard 10
cans: 34dd please
or AKG 702(stock) and my go to's...hifiman he500's(canare cable, brain waves pleather ear pads and grill removal)
 
I've had about a 100 hours of burn in on the AMP and listened almost the entire time
 
First of all, it sounded great right out of the box and then some sputtering after a few days.   The sound got cloudy, real dark and some what muffled before opening up again with a tighter bass and better seperation. I would say that now the he 500's definitely have a slightly wider and deeper sound stage then they had on my asgard2.  They sound smooth and transparent to me and are definitely benefiting from 2 watts per channel according to my ears. To be fair, the asgard 2 is a fine amp and the clarity of the highs on certain tracks really tug at you. Back to the H10 though, I am extremely happy with the slight improvement with the hifiman and the strong improvement in the akg's.  Everything sounds so smooth but not dark(i think I prefer brighter sounds but not too bright).  I've never heard a dark amp or really dark headphones  but based on the commonly reported characteristics, I have always felt that the dark sound was not my pleasure dome. However,, after a year plus in the industry and my love for the he500's, I decided that maybe I should move a little closer to left of center.  Well, I think the gustard is that slight left of center sound that I was looking for. Clear, transparent, somewhat open but smooth. I am really enjoying listing to my set up for a good solid 4 hours a night the last two weeks.  I'm hoping that the gustard u12 will open up the sound stage just a tiny bit more than my HRT music streamer ii is capable of. we shall see! it's in my budget so I thought that I should give it a try. Any thoughts on the dac and possibly how it compares to the hrt music streamer or any recommendations for a dac under $200?
 
enjoy the sound of life folks!!
 
Jul 23, 2015 at 11:03 PM Post #2,788 of 5,513

mandrake50

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 13, 2007
Posts
2,234
Likes
727

What is sputtering?
Curios. I have no frame of reference.  Admittedly, I listened for about an hour... was really impressed. I then let it run for about 90 hours, loaded and with music playing. I listened to the H10 ... guess what it still sounds good.
I think it has gotten a bit smoother... more laid back, but it is still very detailed. It is reminiscent of my Sunrise II with a nice Mullard  in it, but much more powerful, much more detailed.
 
In any case I am enjoying it immensely. I got the Pulse X infinity today. I listened to it for a bit. It too has its positives.  Once the Pulse has a few hours on it.. I will be very interested to hear how it sounds using its internal Dac and the H10, versus using its DAC balanced into the H10.
 
Jul 24, 2015 at 3:28 AM Post #2,789 of 5,513

BassDigger

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Posts
530
Likes
95
Location
In at the deep end.
20-30 hour report:
 
I've got 30+ hours of playing time on the H10 now, and I've believe I've noticed a few changes and re-enforced a couple of first impressions (all with no 'sputtering', yet!).
 
Most of my listening has been with freshly downloaded and unfamiliar tracks; I hope to be able to make a more definitive assessment, when revisiting more familiar tracks.
 
My first positive impression of the bass performance has not changed; right away, compared to my previous amp, this amp puts the 'Iron Fist' in what was previously a saw dust filled velvet glove. The bass immediately had much more of a solid, visceral impact, that was missing before.
I can now confirm that this is backed up with some genuine extension and power in the lowest registers. I think that I'm now getting about as much as the LCD2f will deliver. Playing an old favourite album on (Orbital- In Sides), shows that 'The Box-Pt 2' has virtually all the normal bass notes present. They slightly lack power, compared to the rest of the frequency spectrum. But I believe that this is a limitation of the phones, rather than the amp.
The most visceral (I like this word) bass is missing; there's what sounds like a front door being slammed, punctuated throughout this track. I describe it as such, because when listening through some proper full-range speakers, that's what it sounds like; someone slamming the front door, downstairs (It's always quite disconcerting!). I can't really expect headphones to reproduce this 'seismic event', but I did think that I just heard it, on one occasion. But overall the combination of H10 and LCD2f is delivering the kind of bass that I can live with; it has speed, power, texture, impact, weight and, at last, extension. It's both fast enough to properly reproduce the bass line, and powerful enough to do it without being drowned out by the rest of the spectrum. Until now, I've had to 'make do' with one or the other!
 
The mids are now frequently producing the "OMG; that's so real!" moments, that I've become accustomed to with the LCD2. So much so, that (listening to unfamiliar tracks) I'm really not sure if percussive events are real, and happening around me, or something that's on the recording. The best example of this is to be found on 'The Cowboy Junkies- binaurally recorded concert'; track 3 (the 1st interlude) has what sounds like a stack of boxes being knocked over. This is the most realistic recorded sound that I've ever heard! It defies my belief in both what I can see (no boxes, nothing happening here) and what I know is the reality (It's on the recording; it's not real)!!!
 
Another thing worth mentioning, is the sound stage; other posters have mentioned this; the H10 does seem to give a good wide spread from outside of one ear to the other. It was very driver located, in the first few hours. It sounded like the sound was coming directly from the left or right driver itself. But now the sound stage has spread out beyond the confines of the headphones, whilst still maintaining very focused performer placement, within the sound stage. I don't think that this is an easy task, with planar headphones!
 
Now, the not so good news; the treble is still less than perfect. I think that it's calmed down, a little. But it's still seems to be emphasising what I would describe as the mid treble frequencies. Vocals are better, now. But metal percussion, cymbals in particular, are splashy and unrefined. Whilst the upper treble, the 'tinkliest' of the 'tinklies', is decidedly rolled off; almost MIA!
 
I've got quite a few listening (burn-in) hours to go, before I can make a final conclusion. And then, it'll be interesting to find out what some op-amp swapping can achieve.
 
But, so far, I can honestly say that the Gustard H10 has not disappointed!
 
Jul 24, 2015 at 11:12 AM Post #2,790 of 5,513

DDDamian

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 2, 2013
Posts
1,176
Likes
389
^^^ Nice report! And that Cowboy Junkies binaural is wonderful - wish more live stuff was recorded that way.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top