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Gustard X20 DAC

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by stuartmc, Sep 8, 2015.
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  1. PiteCZek
    I also ordered X-20U but it is stuck in customs right now :/ cannot wait to try it out!
  2. Wynnytsky
    I'd like to add that there is the +6db and +12db options to increase the gain above what it's doing already (though I wonder if the documented 2.3v output is for 0db or +12db).  Has anyone tried driving headphones with +12db w/o an amp?
    The +6/12db may be helpful when using a passive pre if I ever get my hands on one of those again.
    BTW I recall these units were originally delayed because they wanted to beef up the power switch, as the old version would have had a short life.  The current switch sounds pretty serious when flipped but I leave it on and power things up/down through a PS Audio P3.
  3. stuartmc
    As stated in their specs:
    RCA Output level: 2.3 Vrms @ 0dBFS 
    XLR output level: 4.6 Vrms @ 0dBFS  
    Since the volume control is an attenuator, these ratings are at maximum output which is 0db of gain.  I'm puzzled by your "options" of +6db and +12db of gain.  Did I miss something on my early version of the X20U?  
  4. Wynnytsky
    So it wasn't just the power switch that changed.  The "gain" setting is definitely not digital because you hear a click when you switch between the settings.  I don't know anything about hardware, but I wonder if there is one true gain (12db) and both 0db and 6db are just discrete resisters in front of it.
    I'm in the middle of boxing up for a move and I'm trying to keep the audio system intact till the very end.  Last night I got in some listening and after about 2 hours I noticed one of my KT88s was glowing way more than the others.  Wish this amp had external dials for biasing.  Glad I have my hybrid amp to stand in for this one.
  5. stuartmc
    Where is the gain switch located? Does the new power knob now also have gain settings, like off, on, 6db, 12db?
  6. Wynnytsky
    no buttons - they put it in the menu, IIRC just before the digital volume
    I haven't used the remote yet so don't know if it's on there
  7. JulioCat2
    HQPlayer, Poly-sinc Filters converting to DSD 128, Player and tracks in RAM Disc on Gustard X20 is an amazing sounding Combo!!!!!!!!!! 
    I may have overlooked a review, but has anybody tried to compare X20U USB input vs. U12 --> HDMI cable --> X20(U)?
    A review with Tanly DDC cannot be a reference, as it costs 4 times as U12.
  9. stuartmc
    I tried my best to give an explanation of this earlier in this thread --
    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.
  10. stuartmc
    I made contact with Seoyoon Kim of seowon-audio.com, who is working with Gustard and is an authorized direct seller of their products. I asked him about the difference between the "normal" and "auto" clock modes and how they are implemented, his response was as follows:
    "Normal" uses a 100M crystal which is asynchronous. ES9018 requires a 100M oscillator to work, so this is the "official" implementation. "Auto" uses audio clock, not the crystal, and is Gustard's implementation.
    I would like to know more about "Gustard's implementation," but this information is a step in the right direction.  I think they are on to something, because in my setup, the "auto" mode definitely sounds better.
    I also asked about the gain switch and got this answer -
    As for the gain switch, 6DB and 12DB are meant to be used with active monitor speakers, and only when if the volume is too low with 0DB. It's analog circuit gain.

    So, if you use this, you are definitely adding a gain stage in the signal path.  It still holds that using the 0db setting, you have nothing extra in the signal path and have what we have called a "pure" design.  I don't think there is any down side to this feature.  It just gives options to the active monitor guys who might need the gain.
  11. PiteCZek
    Finally my X-20U arrived! :)
    Everything works flawlessly but - is it possible to use the dac while playing games or when browsing the net? I have no difficulties with playing music and video files but I just can't get it to work for games.
  12. Wynnytsky
    perhaps you are allowing your music player (ex: fubar, jriver) to take exclusive control of your audio driver.  If so you need only close the media player to release the lock.  I think you have the option of using ASIO/WASAPI without taking exclusive control.  But if that doesn't work (and you don't mind hearing the occasional web page audio interrupting your music) then just make sure your media player is set to Direct Sound.
    If you're sharing the audio with windows then you should turn off the chirps so you don't here clicks/errors/warnings/etc through the speakers.
    ckZA likes this.
  13. PiteCZek
    That's odd. When I first tried to set it as a native device for audio an hour ago, the computer ignored it. Now it works....but thank you :)
    Thank you for your quotation about U12+X20(U).  I was aware of this post by you.
    Regarding this "Auto" mode, I wonder if an external clock (either 44.1kHz or 48kHz series, not 10MHz) can be fed to ES9018 through MCLK in I2S.
    As X20's I2S is LVDS, MCLK must be created first from MCLK+ and MCLK-.
  15. Mashi-Maro
    My X20 arrived today!! YAY!!!
    First impressions compared to iDSD Micro are:
    - much more and deeper bass (like I bought a sub)
    - highs quite sharp
    - mids more recessed and not as sweet/analogue but more detailed
    - more fatiguing after about 1h
    DSD differences more obvious than PCM.
    This is on a brand new X20 unit not run in. 
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