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Gustard X20 DAC

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by stuartmc, Sep 8, 2015.
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  1. guilders0
    from a sound quality perspective, wouldn't it be better to use some windows-tablet working on its battery instead of being plugged to the wall socket ?
  2. GioF71
    Uhm, I don't think that would be better than a dedicated box built for the purpouse.
    The reasons are pretty much the same....
    the tablet is not meant for this. It runs lots of unnecessary (for audio at least) processes.
    Its power supply (even batteries) are not on par with a good linear psu.
    software is limited, I don't know if it can support all DAC and, more, high resolution.
  3. guilders0
    so back on the main thread :)
    Any more feedback with the Gustard X20 ?
    Any comparison with MHDT devices, which are in the same price league? Like the Stokholm v2 or Atlantis models ?
    Do we know where it stands within competition?
    Can we speak about it as a high end DAC or just as some middle one ?
    For example would it compare to the famous Calmyx Femto that also runs with the same two ESS Sabre chips, even if it costs a lot more (is it justified?) ?
  4. Wynnytsky
    four years ago I'd agree with Guilder -- this was the simple circuit I started with
    sound blaster xfi velcro'd to the back of a netbook (1st-gen atom).  The kilowatt is showing the the amp's idle draw (213 watts)
    I figured the digital volume on the xfi would be a "safe" way to attenuate a line signal going into a 115lbs amp.
    Then I rolled preamps which got me into mid-fi territory.
    Then I wanted all the "ugly" computer stuff behind the couch with a decent sized screen in front of my toes looking up at me.  The USB connections on the side of the monitor is where I plug the keyboard's wireless receiver and thumb drives when friends bring music.  The monitor has 3 cables going under the couch (power, usb, hdmi).  Initially I used a 4m USB cable to connect couch and stereo, and that presented issues as you'd expect.  I think I read that coax was good for 10m and AES 30m.  So I got a USB interface to be a better bridge between couch and stereo, and hearing the sound improvement (regardless of cable length) was an unintended surprise for me.  Now that the DAC is connected to an always-on source there are fewer handshake issues to deal with (especially when computer is coming out of sleep).
    I still want to browse the web and the occasional streaming site with my media PC so I'm not eager to try the atom CPU again.
    If I2S trumps my AES connection then I'll likely do I2S over a short HDMI cable and the computer will once again sit with my stereo (and I suppose I'll be use JRemote on an iPad).
    And now that my source is far better than four years ago, I might have better success with a passive pre (transformer volume control) and it will be back-to-basics for me (full circle).
    One thing that hasn't changed for me is that the desktop computer (JRiver media server) and Synology NAS remained in the computer room on a different floor.

    and elaborate you certainly did -- nothing was missed!
  5. GioF71
    eheh thanks!
  6. GioF71
    btw what amp is that? :-o
  7. Wynnytsky
    The CJ EV2000 stays in class-a up to 50wpc, before switching class-b (they call this design class-ab).  It has 4 caps that carry 240,000 farads in total -- I recently had them replaced with caps that make it 320,000
  8. GioF71

  9. vince741
    The X20 is now available on Kidult.
  10. stuartmc

    That's good news. The more established vendors, the better.
  11. GioF71
    Hello, does anyone know if an amanero usb option will be offered? This could be a nice upgrade.

    @stuartmc: did you try the x20 with the u12 interface or only with the Tanly?
    I would also like to know how would you rate the internal usb interface.
    Also if you don't mind, would you describe you computer setup?
    EDIT: reading first post again, I saw you use a tablet for the bedside setup.

  12. stuartmc
    Greetings GioF71. I had the U12 for quite some time before the Tanly made its appearance. It's an outstanding DDC for the price, being a little more warm and forgiving than the Tanly. I very much enjoyed the U12 with the X12 and didn't really know I was missing anything until I got the Tanly. The Tanly has a more neutral tonal balance and higher resolution that really shows up in the soundstage and imaging departments.

    My X12 didn't have the onboard USB card so I couldn't couldn't make direct comparisons to the U12. I took The Gustard boys at their word that the U12 was superior mainly because of the power supply implementation and using the I2S interface. Quite a few X12 users reached the same conclusion, but I do remember at least one user who said he preferred the sound of the onboard USB card. In that regard, I think it is safe to assume that the two are pretty close in sound, but I can't personally vouch for this, accept for the following:

    My X20 does have the onboard USB card and I have tried it instead of the Tanly. The sound from the onboard USB reminded me a lot of the U12. It seemed to have a very similar sonic signature. I again preferred the sound I got from the Tanly for the same reasons - more neutral tone and greater resolution.
  13. stuartmc
    Gustard only uses Xmos chips in their onboard and outboard USB interfaces. If you have a preference for Amenaro, you will have to find a USB-DDC that uses it.
  14. GioF71
    Hello @stuartmc, thank you very much for your impressions.
    I prefer the U12 over the integrated USB of the X12 too.
    AFAIK at this time there are no DDC with the Amanero chip.
    I read around it might be the current best option, but of course I never heard it. Audio-GD for example recently switched to Amanero.
    You are really intriguing me with the Tanly idea for my next DAC. I am a believer of the effects of different implementations of USB since I tried some interfaces and compared them with the built-in.
    I started with a M2Tech HiFace2 but the first really worth the price has been the Audiophonics interface (XMOS interface digitale USB 24/192khz Alimentation linéaire Black: http://www.audiophonics.fr/en/appareils-hifi-interfaces-digitales/xmos-interface-digitale-usb-24192khz-alimentation-lineaire-black-p-8892.html).
    I used on the Peachtree DAC-It and it is a considerable upgrade in comparison with the built-in usb (capable only up to 96kHz by the way) and even with the HiFace2.
  15. Wynnytsky
    you meant DDC right?  Tanly didn't respond to my last inquiry and now I see that it's on aliexpress for $570.  It used to be priced the same as the German made PUC2, which sounded so good that my stereo has been dark since the day I returned it to it's owner (and I think that uses neither XMOS or Amanerro).  The good news is that I got a text from DHL that my X20U should arrive today, and that gives me the opportunity to get to know the U12's I2S output which I only heard once before.  I'll be moving in a couple weeks so I'd rather reacclimate to what I have under different accoustics so I can best quantify my next DDC upgrade.  The new room might call for a change of speakers!  Hopefully a headfi approved DDC will come to market with the usb port on the back and a sample rate display on the front.  Pumping the brakes!
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