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Gustard X20 DAC

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by stuartmc, Sep 8, 2015.
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  1. Walderstorn
    If it outperforms any of those (for some reason i really doubt it) i will be pleasently surprised, but we would need some1 that could do actual comparissons on the spot, i really dont trust the "i had a ... months/years ago and this one is better".
  2. guilders0
  3. JulioCat2
    Can some one please, explain this DAC-X20 feature
    "Automatic adaptation master clock technology and Asynchronous master clock technology。
    Two clock mode can be freely selected. "
  4. stuartmc
    I've been trying to get a handle on this too. The asynchronous part is I believe the rather ubiquitous feature that most dacs have. The automatic adaptation is something that is claimed to be new. How exactly this works and how it is actually implemented is a mystery to me. I do know that the Gustard engineers have taken full advantage of ESS's expertise and consultation on the best environment for their Sabre chip. It would not surprise me if the "automatic adaptation" was a feature born out of continued work with ESS and the Sabre chip in particular.

    I can confirm that there are two clock settings on their on screen menu. One is called "normal" and the other is called "auto." I presume the auto setting kicks in the automatic adaptation. I have switched between the two many times and it is a very quick A/B comparison activated by a simple press of the remote button. In my setup, the automatic setting consistently sounds better. It's just more "live." I hear more ambient and spacial cues that are very close to the noise floor.

    Of course this also begs the question of why have a "normal" setting if the "auto" is clearly superior? I think there may be some circumstances where the normal setting might be the better choice. It may be related to how good the clock signal is from your source and may even be related to the input you use. I use exclusively I2S and have not yet done the A/B test with coax or aes/ebu.
  5. JulioCat2
    The Clock settings in my just received DAC-X20 are Normal and Auto.
  6. stuartmc
    Right you are. I had a senior moment, so I went back and edited my response to "normal" and "auto." 
  7. Joong

    Please do not be offended.
    One of those reasons may be the cost which can be considered as proportional to the performance by simple market oriented reasoning.
    However there are many engineering product that cannot be measured by money, but by other principles.
    I am surprised at seeing the SMT process of manufacturing of X20 that is justified at large quantity production.
    This SMT allows the designer to shorten signal paths but discouraging component replacement by end-user, so that it improves production quality by setting the SMT machine settings.
    This tells me that Gustard may aim at large market that may not be North America but main land China or simply oriental market like Korean, Japanese, and Taiwan....or even beyond.
    Look at their discrete nonlinear electric element for their signal path rather than op-amp based design which is not so good compared to the discrete transistor-designed counter part ( in this reasoning Burson audio, Marantz, Audio GD and etc those companies producing large size unit; whereas smaller unit producers tending to adopting op-amps due to the size limit).
    They even partitioned into 3 areas for EMI consideration, which is overly emphasized at Matrix x-sabre of course.
    Because of these facts I chose X20U.
  8. Wynnytsky
    Got my first listen last night.  This thing feels awesome.  I love seeing sample rates on the display and when messing with DSD it's essential to see if your software is converting to PCM on the fly or if it's really sending DSD.  The PUC2 has no display so I have to trust that my computer is honoring the file's sample rate.  The X20 was showing me 44khz on everything coming from JRiver and it turns out since I upgraded JRiver from 20 to 21 this week, now JRiver is getting a truncated stream when connected to a library on a remote JRiver Media Server.  Pointing my client instance of JRiver directly to the UNC path (or adding that file to a local library) did not exhibit this issue.  Digital audio has too many variables to be trusted without all these visual queues.
    Two questions:
    1) Either the remote's lithium battery didn't come included or I lost it during my xmas morning unpacking frenzy.  Can someone post the codes on the battery that I should put in there?
    2) The 2.26 XMOS driver isn't working for me on Win10x64 (neither Professional nor Enterprise trial).  I tried the included disc and a copy provided online by DACLadder.  2.23 installs fine and it supports both the U12 and X20U.
    This is my first time playing with DSD and I did so via JRiver playing ISO and DSF files in local managed library.  I was able to choose "DSD in DoP" (which appears as DSD64 on the X20) for AES, USB, and IIS.  I was also able to choose "2xDSD in DoP" for USB and IIS (which appears as DSD128 on the X20).  Those are X20's documented limits for AES and USB, but IIS is supposed to reach 4x and 8x (DSD256 and DSD512).
    I've got too many variables to eval or troubleshoot DSD right now.  Will focus first on getting v2.26 drivers running and JRiver behaving.  As a side note, I strongly preferred PCM files played in their native sample rate over JRiver's PCM=>DSD conversion (1x or 2x).
  9. stuartmc
    Congrats Wynnytsky on the arrival of your X20!

    The battery you need is a lithium CR2025.

    I did an upgrade to Windows 10 yesterday and it screwed everything up. My Thysecon ASIO drivers wouldn't work at all. I went back to 8.1 today and everything is back to normal.
  10. Wynnytsky
    I just did the 2.26 install on a different Win10Pro and it went perfect.  But my other two computers (which had many prior versions of XMOS installed) still show this in the device manager after installing 2.26
    Also the JRiver Client=>Server 44khz-issue vanished when I tested from a Win10Pro client vs the Win10EnterpriseEval.  It's too easy to post my early obstacles when I should be conquering these IT issues first.  I have to reinstall windows anyway because the enterprise eval version will expire in a month, and when I do I expect the fresh install will take the 2.26 drivers as did my HTPC.
    detached, deleted, re-attached remote library fixed JRiver's 44khz issue
    so enterprise isn't to blame for that
  11. Mashi-Maro
    Ordered a X20!! When it arrives I can give a comparison with the ifi iDSD micro.
    Does the X20 plug and play with Daphile via USB? Hope I don't need to wait for a Daphile update to recognize this DAC.
    Gustard should update firmware to have a "direct" mode which bypasses the volume control to use as stand-alone DAC rather than preamp; doesn't feel "pure" having a volume stage in the signal path.
    However, I am still itching for a comparison of this DAC vs a R2R DAC with PCM1704UK or one of the Schiit Multibit DACs.
  12. stuartmc

    All these comparisons will be helpful to prospective purchasers. I've head the ifi dac is quite capable. I had the ifi Ican amp and the Gustard H10 was far superior. It wouldn't surprise me if you get the same results with the Dac comparison.

    The way the X20 volume attenuator works should mean that their are not the adverse effects of a volume pot in the signal path. The attenuation is all done in the digital domain. When you run it with zero attenuation, it is exactly the same as having nothing in the signal path. It is just as "pure" as having no volume control at all.
  13. GioF71
    @Mashi-Maro, you do not need any new driver.
    Linux and Mac support usb audio class 2 natively.

    hope this helps.
    ckZA likes this.
  14. guilders0
    I am also looking at the new schiit gungnir multibit.
    I wonder if someone will be able to make a comparison between the two.
  15. Mashi-Maro
    I wonder too. It was a big debate re: the hyped ES9018 vs R2R DAC.
    I already have a delta sigma DAC, maybe should have bought a R2R DAC. :)
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