Gustard H16
Apr 16, 2021 at 11:36 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 143

kaushama

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This amp is not getting much attention here. I have got Gustard X16/H16 stack. The Gustard H16 is 399USD @ shenzhenaudio. The Topping A90 is 100USD more than H16 but does not have a remote. Singxer SA-1 is 599USD and does not have a remote.
Coupled with X16, this amp is a gem at this price. I have never listened to A90 but have listened to several THX AAA amps. THX amps are very neutral and analytical amps sometimes dry sounding to my taste as they sometimes lack musicality.
H16 is a warm amp with such musical sound. It does not color the music and has a peculiar quality of retaining neutrality and transparency while giving the sound some fun musicality and energy. It has layers of micro details and a wonderful soundstage. It packs some punch and oomph to music while keeping neutrality and transparency. A strange combination indeed!
I love what I hear after burning in the units. These are hefty units that show good build quality. They drive my Hifiman HE1000 V2 and Focal Clear Pro through 4.4mm Pentaconn with authority. I am very happy with the purchase.

X16.jpeg

 
Apr 18, 2021 at 4:20 AM Post #2 of 143

Cuthbert 80

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This amp is not getting much attention here.


Not much attention?! Haha....this amp has had practically ZERO attention here up until now so thanks very much for posting this thread @kaushama :thumbsup:

This is very useful for me personally as I have already ordered the Gustard H16 and have been awaiting it's arrival to pair with my iFi NEO.

Because the amp is fairly powerful, is it required to "warm it up" for, lets say 15-20 mins after first switching it on?

What a coincidence that I also have a Focal Clear Pro lol
 
Apr 18, 2021 at 9:26 AM Post #3 of 143

kaushama

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Not much attention?! Haha....this amp has had practically ZERO attention here up until now so thanks very much for posting this thread @kaushama :thumbsup:

This is very useful for me personally as I have already ordered the Gustard H16 and have been awaiting it's arrival to pair with my iFi NEO.

Because the amp is fairly powerful, is it required to "warm it up" for, lets say 15-20 mins after first switching it on?

What a coincidence that I also have a Focal Clear Pro lol
Yes, It sounds better after warming up. Specially treble and mids get a tiny bit refined. The bass of this amp is very impressive. Bass is not too much or boomy. The bass is more resolving and has more energy and attack! Sub-bass is very impressive too!
 
Apr 18, 2021 at 9:27 AM Post #4 of 143

kaushama

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But it is a very neutral amp with a ruler-flat frequency response! I find it a bit difficult to describe its sound signature. (after all these years of high-end headphone gear usage!) It is not analytical or clinical sounding while being very transparent and resolving. Very fun amp to listen to.
 
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Apr 18, 2021 at 12:15 PM Post #5 of 143

Cuthbert 80

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Yes, It sounds better after warming up. Specially treble and mids get a tiny bit refined. The bass of this amp is very impressive. Bass is not too much or boomy. The bass is more resolving and has more energy and attack! Sub-bass is very impressive too!

But it is a very neutral amp with a ruler-flat frequency response! I find it a bit difficult to describe its sound signature. (after all these years of high-end headphone gear usage!) It is not analytical or clinical sounding while being very transparent and resolving. Very fun amp to listen to.
@kaushama I'm liking these impressions buddy...especially regarding the bass/sub-bass...that's what I'm looking for while also retaining a neutral sound signature.

I also like how you're struggling to describe the overall sound signature of the H16 cause that suggests that it might sound slightly unique?!

I think what really got me interested in this amp is (looking at the specs) how the power increases when you go over 32 ohms balanced instead of the complete opposite like most other amps, heh.

Had my eye on the Singxer SA-1 but this Gustard amp is apparently a bit more powerful at 64 ohms which is roughly the baseline impedance for the Focal Clear Pros
 
Apr 18, 2021 at 8:39 PM Post #6 of 143

kaushama

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Yes, It has ample power to drive my Focal clears. I am using it with Mid gain setting and volume of around 30-40%. I do not listen to music at very high volumes. It matches Focal clear very well as they are somewhat efficient headphones. At this volume settings, it shows energy and impact across the frequency range and bass response is impressive without being just out of the frequency curve. No distortion at all. I think its power supply is impressive.
Another positive factor of this amp is its output impedance!

Single port output impedance(6.35mm): 0.1Ω
Balance port output impedance(XLR 4 PIN, TRS4.4,3.5PRO):0.2Ω

Those are very low values which could only be seen in very high-end amps. It gives a better damping factor on low impedance headphones like Focal Clear and HE1000 v2.

The impressive fact is all these are included in a 399USD package with remote works for both X16/H16, a digitally controlled relay volume control to have perfect channel balance, Pre-amp out and 4.4 mm balanced output.
The price-performance ratio is impressive with this amp. And it blends with X16 perfectly. I am happy that I took a chance without surrendering to my inner impulse to go for Topping A90 (100USD more) or Singxer SA-1 (200USD).

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Apr 23, 2021 at 1:02 AM Post #9 of 143

kaushama

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Other reviews. They more or less give the same opinion I had with it.

https://www.hifinext.com/gustard-h16-review/
Joshua Valour

It had been given a good recommendation by Amir of Audio Science Review with some good measurements! Those measurements are not as good as A90 or Singxer SA-1 but I think this sounds equal or better. It surely sound better than THX amps with the headphones I have specially Focal Clear.
 
Apr 23, 2021 at 8:13 AM Post #10 of 143

Firevortex

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Mine arrived today. After A/B with my Topping A50s the Gustard has lots more power and yes the Bass is deeper and has more slam, the over all sound is slightly warmer than the A50s which should sound similar to the A90. both running on the 4.4 balanced out.
 
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Apr 23, 2021 at 1:59 PM Post #12 of 143

kaushama

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That's a nice setup! :beerchug:
 
Apr 24, 2021 at 6:50 PM Post #13 of 143

Marlowe

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It's good to see this thread--when I did research on this amp, I was more than surprised that there was nothing on Head-Fi about it. Gustard seems to be a bit of a stealth brand (at least outside China; its website is fairly minimal and Chinese only) and there are a number of higher profile amps in this general price range--Schiit Jotunheim 2, Topping A90, several from SMSL and various THX amps. I've wanted a balanced amp for my TV/Blu-ray setup to replace a Drop THX 789 that bricked a few months ago. (It was out of warranty and will no longer turn on--the red protection light stays on forever and never turns white. I've been using the Drop CTH in the meantime.) Most of the other mentioned amps have more power and/or measure better. But the H16 has ample power for the headphones I'll be driving (Sennheiser HD700, ZMF Aeolus, Focal Elex) and the measuring differences are not even close to audible by the human ear (let alone my 67-year old pair). I decided to go with the H16 from a combination of aesthetics and features. Plus I am planning to stack it with nearly identical in appearance Gustard X16 DAC next month. I ordered it last week (from Shenzhenaudio; unfortunately I found that Apos Audio recently dropped Gustard). DHL has it now, but its still in Shenzhen with estimated delivery towards the end of this coming week.
 
Apr 24, 2021 at 8:51 PM Post #14 of 143

Firevortex

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It's good to see this thread--when I did research on this amp, I was more than surprised that there was nothing on Head-Fi about it. Gustard seems to be a bit of a stealth brand (at least outside China; its website is fairly minimal and Chinese only) and there are a number of higher profile amps in this general price range--Schiit Jotunheim 2, Topping A90, several from SMSL and various THX amps.

I think it might be due to marketing. the Gustard brand seems to sell better than the Topping stuff on Chinese ecommerce sites especially the higher end DACs. I don't think they are doing aggressive marketing here or paying more "shills" ;P than Topping.
 
Apr 24, 2021 at 9:22 PM Post #15 of 143

kaushama

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Gustard has a very good reputation at ASR (Audio Science Review). H16 is the amplifier by Gustard for their desktop stack 1 series. X16, balanced ES9068AS DAC is one of the matching DACs for the stack, and it is the best measuring DAC at the ASR currently. X16 has native MQA decoding capability and blends very well with H16. They have a matching streamer in the development called S16 with Roon support. The streamer is one reason I bought the stack. It is not out yet I guess due to Roon integration issues. The streamer does not have DAC inbuilt and designed to work with X16.

GUSTARD X26 PRO MQA one of the best full-sized DACs one could buy these days. I am planning to get one for my speaker set up later.

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