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Gustard X20 DAC

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by stuartmc, Sep 8, 2015.
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  1. stuartmc
    I was very happy with the X12 too.  At its price point, it is just ridiculously good.  
     
  2. stuartmc
    I'm looking forward to some new impressions of the X20-- especially when there are other well regarded dacs with which you can make direct comparisons.  I've been working on the source side of things lately, the addition of new usb cables, an Uptone Audio Regen and an Audioquest Jitterbug.   The X-20 has done a great job of revealing the differences to me.  It really is quite good at resolving the subtle details.  I suppose I also have to give credit to the Tanly USB-DDC.  It has been rock solid and equally as resolving.
     
  3. Wynnytsky
    I'm jonesing -- gripping an X20 tracking number like it's a winning lottery ticket that isn't quite translating into heroin.
    And Tanly said he'll be ready to build me something next week so I know my next fix isn't too far out.
     
    Today I got to hear the X12 vs Yulong D18 on a system that doesn't depend on the D18's attenuated treble.
    Because of the D18's recessed sparkle (those freq way up top), it's bass tended to own my attention.
    I was really feeling the X12 today so I'm eager to start dialing in a new sound around the X20.
     
    @Stuartmc
    what type+brand+length cables are you using between Tanly and X20?  Does I2S eclipse all else, or is there a time and place for AES?
     
  4. stuartmc

    The AES sounds pretty good to me, but the vast majority of my listening has been with I2S. I prefer I2S with the X20 set on "automatic" clock mode. I tried a number of hdmi cables and definitely had a preference for the Analysis Plus cable. It had better low-end and a warmer midrange. I have it in a 1m length. For me, that sort of killed the yarn about having the shortest possible cable for I2S. I preferred it over a Pangea silver in a .5m length. Supra makes some nice impedance matched cables at affordable prices. I just got one of their USB cables from Madisound and they make an equally nice hdmi cable https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/interconnects/supra-high-speed-hdmi-hdmi-cable-single/
    I think I may try one compared to the Analysis Plus.
     
  5. stuartmc
    Wynnytsky, man am I ever jazzed that you are going to have the Tanly and the X20. If I were a betting man, I would wager a rather large sum that you're going to wet yourself with this combo. I will anxiously await your commentary. Oh, and if you haven't heard, the Uptone Audio Regen is killer at the Tanly's input. I didn't know if it would be as effective in this application, but holy smokes it sure is. Tom (motberg) had it with his Tanly first and his comments gave me the impetus to buy my own Regen. Now I can't imagine listening without it.
     
  6. Walderstorn
    Weird not that i know much, but i liked when i heard the d18 vs the x12, tbh i prefered the D18, but im a newb and the system wasnt mine or did i set it up so i guess i missed something.
     
  7. GioF71
    Hello @Walderstorn, may I ask you how did you connect the DACs to your source?
     
    Thanks!
     
  8. Walderstorn
    Wasnt mine @GioF71 and it had the "*18 stack" and the x12 + h10 stack.
     
  9. Wynnytsky
    Since hearing PUC2 in my place I've refused to turn my system back on until something like that shows up again.  Give's me lot's of time to post on head-fi, though I've got little to say.
     
    A friend got himself the iFi regen and after it circulated through our systems the consensus was unanimous, and eventually I got it (7mo ago).  It's funny how fast I recognize the digital signature when I try removing these accoutrements.  I recall the adoption period taking longer, as though years of listening to digital has trained my brain to ignore it's signature.
     

    Quote:
    on my system I preferred the D18, but I've had it for quite some time so I've been busy dialing in a sound around it.  The D18 has been my first line of defense against a ruthless towers with aluminum tweeters and it's been so effective that there was still room to use an ultra revealing USB cable.  I've read so many accounts of how the D18 rolls off the top and yesterday I got a great demo of this on a system that was dialed around the X12 (odyssey lorelei, polestar usb).
     
  10. Mashi-Maro
    Has anyone had the chance to compare the X20 vs the ifi iDSD micro?
    I'm so close to pulling trigger but don't know if it's a worthwhile upgrade? Or should I just invest in a R2R DAC and use the iDSD for DSD playback.
     
  11. GioF71
     
    ah sure... thanks anyway!
    Can you describe why you liked more the D18? I always liked that unit, the only downside being it does not having usb connectivity. 
     
    Cheers
     
  12. Walderstorn
     
    Wish i could go more "technical" than this, but like i said im kind of a newb and i only have at home the h10 otherwise would make it easier.
     
    But i felt when listening to it, that i could "pinpoint" far better the instruments, i felt more "surrounded" with sound,  also its kind of a neutral but with a warmth to it, not 2 warm.
     
    Ofc i  heard stacks, not dacs so that makes my opinion almost pointless :X wish i could've have heard both with the h10. 
     
    Oh bass-wise the gustard stack was better, almost perfectly punchy.
     
  13. GioF71
     
    Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  14. stuartmc
    I would like to share some more of my listening notes on the X20 now that I have transferred over all of my tweaks from the X12.  In my prior listening sessions, the X12 had the advantage of black diamond cone feet and an extensive application of 3M AB5100S.  Probably the most significant use of the 5100S is to shield the transformers in a way that I think is nearly as effective as having an outboard power supply. The X20 already separates the digital and analog transformers from the rest of the dac to a much greater extent than the X12 does (which is very little), but there is still some better sheilding that can be done. These are some notes I made in a listening test using primarily Chesky's Jazz in the New Harmonic a Binaural recording at 192/24:
     
    - The X20 has a more full-bodied presentation of all instruments. The complete harmonic envelope - pluck of the string, propagation of the overtones (bloom) and the decay in the hall - were all more more easily heard on the X20 and accurately portrayed then the X-12.  
     
    -There is a much more realistic portrayal of the soundscape with the X20.  There is a greater sense of space and separation.
     
    -The sound of the piano on the X20 is more "bell" tone as compated to the X-12. I liken it to the difference in sound between a Bosendorfer (X20) and a Steinway (X-12). The former having a deeper richer palate and a bell like quality to the higher notes.
     
    - In comparison, the stock X-12 now has a considerably thinner sound, almost threadbare harmonics and  more ephemeral images - not as solid and locked in place.  The overall soundscape is smaller as is the individual space between images.
     
    I feel that the X20 benefited from the Black Diamond feet with its constrained layer damping and the AB5100S application- mainly in soundstage and imaging capabilities, but also in the presentation of a more full bodied and complete presentation of the entire harmonic envelope.  The X20 clearly did not benefit as much from these applications as did the X-12.  The differences between the two dacs - the performance gap, grew considerably in this listening session.
     
  15. Wynnytsky
    @stuartmc wrote on page one that the 3M was applied ...
    Did you apply it to the curved top of the toroid, or just that big black washer?
     
    Did the Tanly get any 3M AB5100S or Stabilant 22?
     
    How much warm up time do you give the X20, or is it always on?
     
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