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Gustard U16 - the first USB Interface featuring ESS USB chip

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by mtoc, Sep 15, 2018.
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  1. Sage Encore
    Thank you so much buddy, much appreciated.
  2. Sage Encore
    Thank you bud, will it be a good upgrade in terms of SQ or a side grade? Inputs are welcome before I pull the trigger.
  3. FredA
    From the f-1, it’s an upgrade and a clear one. Smoother. More resolved as well.
    Sage Encore and Albrecht like this.
  4. motberg
    +1 on the smoother comment (compared to modded SU-1 using Uptone LPS-1)

    So far (I have only been listening to the U16 seriously a couple days), I think U16's inner resolution and layering in the midrange bands is amazing, I have already had quite a few moments just shocked on the additional midrange information the U16 can pull out of the recording. Also the U16 bass overall quality seems to be superior to the SU-1.

    As of now, with only about 50 hours break-in time, the U16 seems not so "airy" (or maybe described as not so "grainy") in the highs yet.. ultimate soundstage depth and width seems maybe 90% of the SU-1, but I made some software adjustments (changed the AO OS processing filters from 4A to 4D) which expanded the image somewhat. My high-frequency hearing starts dropping off around 12K, so that may be cause for this observation.

    I am using the U16 feeding (via i2s - 0.5M Silversonic HDMI cable) an Audio-GD NOS7 DAC (both powered by HE-350). In my case the U16 was definitely an upgrade over the stock SU-1 (w/HE-350). Comparison to a modded SU-1 may be more dependent on personal preference and associated equipment, but if my initial observations are correct, it would be hard for someone to give up the U16 midrange, bass and darker background attributes once they have been experienced.
    allhifi, FredA and rafabro like this.
  5. rafabro
    Go ahead. It is worth to do it.
    Sage Encore likes this.
  6. FredA
    The soundstage will vastly improve between 100 and 200 hours and bass will go lower.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
    Sage Encore likes this.
  7. Sage Encore
    Thank you sir, will I need to adjust any setting on the Pontus DAC. I am not sure if you can help but it would be much appreciated.

    Looks like I will have one more item for an upcoming sale then. LOL
  8. Sage Encore
    Noted sir, thank you very much
  9. batfier
    depending on how golden your ears are and if you like to "tinker around" more than enjoing music :wink:

    The display of the sample rate is very nice.
    The "dip" less change for IIS setup for HDMI as well.
    Also ability to output 384khz over coax is pretty nice for upsampling and connection to Hugo2,
    additonal toslink output too.

    But, so far Gustard has not been able to provided a firmware for the U16, thats entirely works for all outputs and sample rates / bits. Really hope, it only about software not hardware issues.

    The SU-1 has no display, dip's to change IIS setup (not a big deal, as not changed often), coax output "limited" to (standard conform) 192khz (except for IIS/HDMI), no toslink. SU-1 has galvanic isolation for USB, not sure about the U16.

    But SU-1 simply works reliable and with no bad surprise, for all it's specified!!! Never ever had any problem.

    Differences in SQ are very subtle (if any), at least to "SU-1 magna edition" which I use for comparation.

    May be, feeding it from Aries (Femto Clocks) incl. upgraded LPS, already provides a pretty good USB signal in comparision to other some sources, which may be benefit from a DDC more.

    At least SU-1 and U16 (currently limited to the working sample rates) provides a bit-perfect transport to the DAC (Tested for RME ADI-2 Pro Fs). This even works with a "un-burned out" :wink: 10 EUR cordial 75 ohm digital coax cable, as well as with more expensive wireworld or viablue cables, e.g.

    When all bits are coming through it's a "solid foundation" and it's depends on your DAC, if he can benfit from a clock signal even more accurate then required, for "just" transfering the bits correctly.

    Also the effect of galvanic isolation depend on your other components and how well they e.g. manage HF influences already.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
    Alcophone likes this.
  10. rafabro
    Have your Pontus hdmi or RJ45 I2S input socket?
    Nothing to do on Pontus side. On U16 you will change I2S config, see latest firmware.
  11. FredA
    The su-1 magna version costs twice as much! I would go u16 all the way. They will fix the fw at some point.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  12. batfier
    right, when looking for the "first DDC", the pricepoint of the U16 is a big advantage.

    when considering an upgrade of an exstings DDC like SU-1, question is how big will be to improvement even to the standard SU-1 version.

    Regarding fixing the firmware, I have currently limited hope, if that will be soon. After exchanging several emails with the support, explaining the issue in detail and things done to isolated the problem, last message was, if it works with Apple system:

    "If the U16 working well with Apple system,perhaps the U16 is in good condition.
    And please you can change another USB port and try it again with Windows system."

    So just in case someone had tried latest fw with apple, pls let me know the results.


    p.s. unitl U16 fw is fixed, I will "survive", without any problems with the SU-1 :wink:
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
    FredA likes this.
  13. darren700
    So im really enjoying my U16 so far, still lots of burn in to go but sounds great, definitely a step up from the amanero in my R2R-7.

    I have noticed that sometimes it will stop in between tracks and i have to select a new one to start playing, but that may be due to my complex setup.
    (DLNA via Jriver to SMS-200, then Uptone ISOREGEN before U16)
    but note I never had this problem before the U16 was inserted into the chain, but its not a huge issue.

    Cant wait to play around with some other HDMI cables when they arrive. (1M Flat Ebay HDMI 2.1, 1M Yellowprice Black Mamba and 0.5m Audioquest Chocolate on the way)

    I listen to 99.9% 44khz PCM via I2S HDMI so the fact that 176khz or other outputs aren't working right for me hasn't bothered me at all, but im still hoping future firmware's solve these issues.

    I actually just placed an order for a second U16 to use in my headphone system with my Audio-GD R2R-1 (soon to be R1).
    im hoping to see the same improvements with my R2R1 that I am experienceing with my R2R-7
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
    HoloSpice and FredA like this.
  14. Thenewguy007
    Good news, looks like http://www.ghentaudio.com can make a DC adapter for the U16, so people can use a linear power supply like the Uptone LPS-1 to get a improvement in sound.

    They said this:

    "Basically, I think we could make this kit for Gustard U16, but we need to know something first.

    Do you have the detail picture inside the DAC, especially near the power inlet? Also the the detail picture once removing the power inlet from rear-plate.
    And, do you know the exact size of cut-hole for power inlet in rear-plate? "

    Unfortunately, my order from Shenzhen Audio still hasn't shipped (been over a week).
    Can anyone help with this? Can you guys open the case & take pics near the power inlet, maybe see what manufacture it is from & maybe a close up shot of the 5 pin connectior?

  15. Ludique
    Shenzhen audio seems to be out of stock, because they haven't shipped mine either, I ordered last Tuesday.

    Inputting dc won't help at all unless you remove the five pin regulator (and possibly some resistors) on board. So it's not just about an adapter.
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