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Gustard X20 DAC

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by stuartmc, Sep 8, 2015.
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  1. prot

    The iDSDs are very smooth DACs and the Sabre chips are probably the sharpest. Some Sabre implementations are quite smooth (and Afaik the x20 should be too) but I doubt any of them has iDSD-like smoothness.
    There may be some changes after a few days but you should not expect wonders.
  2. Walderstorn
    Agree, at that time the real comparisson should begin, personally i love my D18 with my H10 and with my 600 and mainly my brothers T1, that sounded like a piece of heaven, but he is another country so no usb interface and no T1 for me :).
    What i find surprising  (in a good way) is that fortunately i dont find that harsh treble in my system, hope it stays that way when i have more time with my future T1 (one day...i dream now but one day eheh).
  3. conquerator2
  4. artsarkis33

    You have mentioned that you are using U18 with X20 dac, how would you compare X20’s sound without U18, with direct connection? Dose U18 makes a big improvement on sound qt of X20?...
    I found a download link of the manual (only in Chinese but better than nothing), in which Clock Mode was explained.
    在历时多年的研发之下,DAC-X20 被赋予了这个独特的功能,用以将ES9018S转换芯片设置在
    最佳的时钟环境当中,使其达到HI-END 级别的性能。当选择为AUTO 时,DAC-X20将进入自适
    时钟不再是常规模式下的异步方式,ES9018 数字滤波的插值将不会再产生微弱的误差,原本
    的数字信号会被精确的还原为模拟信号。当选择NORMAL 选项时,时钟模式为常规模式,也就
    ES9018 的官方设计方式。
    Under the multiyear research and development, DAC-X20 has been given this unique feature for the ES9018S converter chip set in
    Best of clock environment, to reach the HI-END level of performance. When you select the AUTO, DAC-X20 will enter the adaptive
    Should master clock mode, a master clock generated by the high-performance phase-locked loop will be directly supplied to the ES9018, since the main clock signal
    The clock is no longer a conventional asynchronous mode, ES9018 digital interpolation filter will no longer produce a weak error, the original
    The digital signal will be accurately restored to an analog signal. When selecting NORMAL option, the clock mode to normal mode, it
    ES9018 official design.
    * In AUTO mode, the main clock quality DAC-X20 will be more dependent on the quality of the front end of the clock sources is recommended in Front Audio equipment better situation turn this mode.
    It seems to be the same question as mine (#113).  Probably U12 is correct.
  7. stuartmc
    This makes sense to me now.  If you have a very good, low jitter front end, the sound  should be better in "auto" mode and in reality (my experience), it IS.   The Regen/Tanly combo is top notch and the built in ES9018S clock system would only add distortion.  I'm glad to get this confirmation because without knowing anything about its function, I had greatly preferred the "auto" setting from the start.
    Actually, now that I think about it, this feature of the X20 is HUGE.   For those of us using desktops/tablets/laptops as a source with usb output, this feature will multiply the importance and effects of a superb USB-DDC.  You are really going to hear how good your DDC is.  I might even say that comparisons/reviews of various DDC's will be quite compromised without this feature. This is of course the case with the ES9018 Dacs and any other DAC chip that re-clocks asynchronously.
    MINORISUKE likes this.
  8. Joong
    I have got x20 at last.
    Through U12 SQ is not very impressive, and after switched back to its own usb port that improves sound quality.
    Is it expected result?
    I have SMSL m8 connected to through U12 and compared each with x20, which is connected to the same u12 via HDMI, or IIS port.
    Therefore I can switched back and forth by the button of Soloist.
    Surprisingly there is no difference, and many time I repeated the same comparison. The result was the same.
    When I connected x20 to usb, and there is some difference, which was noticeable.
    Also I found that there was no noticeable difference to filter choice.
    Maybe there were some recording quality limitation or limitation U12.
    Question is X20 is scalable with improvement of source like usb ddc converter or cable, or balanced setup?
    I am replying also to my question (#113).  My U12 is the second one which came together with X20U five days ago.  I know U12 needs burn-in for more than 100 hours and mine has reached this goal.
    However, the sound of U12 via I2S to X20U is still very stiff both in NORMAL and AUTO clock mode.  As I changed to the internal USB-I2S board, I heard richer sound, although this internal board has not been burnt in yet.  The internal board is from the latest design, whereas U12 at least one year old.  It seems Gustard has fixed DSD channel swap issue in U12 without any official notice and its carton is now with a nice logo printed on it, but I do not think the internal circuit has been re-designed.
  10. Mashi-Maro
    After "burning in" the X20, things have improved a lot. I never used to believe in "burning in" but seems real so far.
    The tracks that I thought were sharp are ok now and the dynamic range/sound stage has improved heaps. It's so much more exciting than the iDSD now which feels a bit dull and less detailed now. 
    Re: which clock mode, if I'm using USB output from a intel NUC then should I use Auto or Normal?
    ckZA likes this.
  11. Wynnytsky
    ha, my post #133 was darn close to this!

    It's great that your Soloist amp has two inputs so that you can conduct this A/B test.  I intend to do the same via my speaker-fi preamp at the end of the month.
    yikes - from this statement I might conclude that the earphones (or the ears) aren't resolving enough.
    I assume your are doing playback via XMOS ASIO or WASAPI?
    And via the X20 USB input you also aren't hearing a difference between SLOW/SHARP?
    The transport shouldn't matter.  And if you're using the USB input on the X20 (or any input from a U12) then you can safely keep it on AUTO because both of these devices have demonstrated that they are good enough to skip the ES9018 asynch digital interpolation.  I suppose if anyone has a PC/laptop with optical out then that would be the crappiest digital source possible to see if NORMAL ever has an advantage.  I would expect the X20 would fail to handshake with a dirty source while on AUTO.
  12. Joong
    I have tested it via he-6 and lcd2.2.
  13. stuartmc
    The U12 is good, but certainly not great.  Not knowing your full system I couldn't say if the U12 was your limiting factor.  It certainly was in my system. The Tanly USB-DDC was far superior and this was particularly apparent in the "auto" clock mode.   The difference between the "slow" and "sharp" filter is very subtle and I wouldn't be surprised if many people can't hear the difference.  Everything else in the chain has to be highly resolving (mostly amplifier and headphones) to hear it.  I would suggest running your X20 for about 50 to 100  hours before making any conclusions in your comparison to the SMSL M8.  In my experience, the X20 really bloomed with the extra hours on it.  I would imagine that your M8 is very well broken in.
  14. Joong
    Thanks for your explanations and reasoning.
    Where can I buy Tanly USB-DDC?
    I could not find any information about it.
  15. Triplefun
    I've asked this before but can someone please confirm if the X20u will be a significant improvement on the X10 and is a justified upgrade.
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