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Gustard X20 DAC

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by stuartmc, Sep 8, 2015.
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  1. Joong
    It is encouraging news.
  2. gulakpi
    I've been reading this thread with great interests!
    I probably will place my order in the next few days.
    I'm a newbie on this and would like to find out the following:
    1.   If I buy the X20U, can I connect it to my PC's USB port directly, without going through a DDC such as the U12?  My understanding is, I can connect it to the USB port, and choose the Auto clock, and will not need the DDC. Am I correct?
    2.   Does the X20U come standard with a remote control?  The sellers do not put any emphasis on the remote, I found nothing mentioning the remote control.
  3. Triplefun
    Provided you purchase the X20 with the XMOS module included (DAC X20U) then you can connect the PC to the Gustard using a USB cable. Depending on what you are looking for you may also consider getting a Regen to tidy up the USB interface. And yes, the Gustard X20 does indeed have a remote.
    ckZA likes this.
  4. hyperdanny
    yes..,it comes with a little tiny remote...cute, but unfortunately easy to misplace, which would be a drag, because as far as I can tell the most advanced options (change inputs, clock etc) are operable only via remote....of the 2 knobs, one does on/off, and the other the volume.
  5. scontin
    Hi to all from Italy!
    According to you, is it better Gustard X20U or Audio-gd NFB-7(2015) ?
    They seem use different solutions..........
  6. hyperdanny
    does anybody know what's exactly the difference between the "sharp" and "slow" filter setting?
    I am asking because for me the x-20 is really coming into its own since I switched it to "slow" .
    When I turned it on first time it was preset on sharp, and tha's the way I used at first... and I wasn't  overly impressed, kind of harsh-ish sound......but now, even if it's not yet properly burned in it sounds  MUCH more musical in "slow" (in my system at least)
  7. stuartmc
    The "sharp" setting is more of a brick wall filter. If you look at the frequency response charts, the sharp filter gives you slightly more extended and flat high and low frequencies.  The price you pay for this is a little  more ringing/distortion that shows up in the audible range.  The slow filter has much less of this ringing and I think it sounds better even though you are giving up a little frequency extension.
  8. stuartmc
    Here's a little more on the subject that I posted in the H10 thread when talking about these two filters on the Gustard X12 ----
    I think you are referring to the two switchable filters that you can access from the front panel buttons.  The two filters are designated "Sharp" and "Slow." These are built into the ES9018 chip and everyone seems to think that the ESS boys did a good job with them.
    filter2.jpg filter1.jpg
    Stereophile tested these and produced these graphs. The one on the left is the "Slow" filter and you can see that high frequency response is slightly rolled off as compared to the "Sharp" filter on the right.  The Sharp, or "brick wall" filter does have more "pre-ringing" than does the Slow and some people think this pre-ringing sounds somewhat unnatural.  The slow filter has much less pre-ringing at the price of letting a more aliased signal image through and theoretically increasing harmonic distortion.  In my experience, the difference between these filters on the X12 is pretty subtle and very music dependent to really identify the differences. Generally speaking, I find the Sharp filter to set the stage a little further back, provides a slightly more dynamic and tighter bass and a more airy, extended treble.  The Slow filter warms things up a bit, giving what some would call a "darker" sound. It loses some of the top end air and detail in favor of a slightly more relaxed, forgiving sound.  
    By the way, for those of you asking about the smoothness of the X12 and how well it eschews the apparently ubiquitous Sabre glare, I can tell you that I do most of my listening with the Sharp filter with no problems whatsoever with glare or harshness.  I'm a soundstage/imaging freak, so I want the lowest possible noise floor to let the ambient cues rise above the surface (think draining lake analogy again) and the best possible high frequency extension and resolution.   I'm getting this with the X12 on Sharp and I'm very satisfied.  So much so, that I already sent the Aune S16 packing. Yep, it's on its way to France to another head-fier.  I also have the Rega Apollo R with the Wolfson 8742.  So many have commented about Wolfson dacs sounding more relaxed and musical than sabre dacs, that I of course had to do a lot of A-B listening between the two. I concluded that the X12 outperforms the Apollo R's dac in almost every parameter.  In fact, when I run the X12 with the Slow filter, they are surprisingly close in overall sound signature with the X12 having a little more dynamic punch and still revealing a little more low level information.  
    FlySweep, I couldn't be happier with the HE-560's (thanks for the encouragement) and I would thoroughly enjoy your take on the X12.  If you are interested in an affordable Sabre dac that sounds very sweet, like a Wolfson with  a little more air and detail, I think this is the one.
  9. stuartmc
    With the X20 set on "Slow" filter and "Auto" clock mode, my opinion has changed somewhat from when I had posted the above about the X12.  The X20 seems to retrieve much more high frequency information with the "Slow" filter than what I heard with the X12.  I'm not sure how much of that has to do with the "Auto" clock mode, but I would no longer characterize it as a "darker sound."  
  10. Liu Junyuan
    This is indeed an intriguing. claim. Do you own both? How do you feel after another week has passed? 
  11. hyperdanny
    Thanks very much stuartmc for the explanations..
    What you say about the sonic signatures resulting from the 2 different filters reflects pretty much what I am hearing.
    It will take time for break-in and so forth (my X-20 is just a week old) but right now the most satisfying sound comes from a slow filter plus auto clock setting.
    Truth be told, I didn't detect a marked difference between the 2 clocks, but I did, and pretty big time, between the 2 filters.
    With "slow": more bloom, airier soundstage ( I'm a soundstage freak too!) :)) I would not call it "darker" either (agreed with yout post 174) , just more musical and mellower. No real loss of detail.
    With "sharp": maybe a tad more detail, but the price was a general slight harshness, a certain glare in the highs.
    I would say that with the kind of music I listen to , orchestral classical and soundstracks, I have a definite preference. (again: so far)
  12. nc42acc
    Yes I do own both and I tend to favor a detailed open airy soundstage which in my system the X20U does a better job. I am not saying the Gungnir is bad, it is very musical and analog sounding, it just doesn't excel in the areas I look for in a DAC. Hope this helps.
  13. nc42acc
    I have an Auralic Vega hopefully coming to me next week. I look forward to a comparison of the Vega and the X20U. I believe the Vega is also a ES Sabre chip based DAC. Has anyone here made this comparison yet?
  14. Liu Junyuan

    Thank you for the reply!
  15. stuartmc
    This is interesting and reflects my own experience.  I have had a few old school R2R dacs at my place and I'm convinced that D/S done right does have some advantages and perhaps some disadvantages, depending on your musical tastes.   I told the guys in the R2R dac thread that I was not of the opinion that R2R is inherently better.  The better iterations of each type will do some things very well and may perhaps show weaknesses in others.  It's really a question of what sonic attributes you hold most dear and perhaps also your preferred musical genre.  I prize soundstaging/imaging  above all else and I too find the X20 an over-achiever in this regard.  When I play the live recorded stuff, like most of Chesky's catalog, the X20 shines like a well-polished diamond. I really don't think it gives up too much in the smooth, analog-like musicality.  The Gustard boys know how to use power supplies, isolation and ground planes to eliminate what some have called the "Sabre glare."
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