Gustard X20 DAC

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by stuartmc, Sep 8, 2015.
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  1. Excellence 5
    Probably I explained bad my problem: selecting DSD 512 in my audio system, the sound becomes intermittent: I mean that it stops and goes, stops and goes, stops and goes about every 0.50 seconds or so, just like if the buffer level to be too low.
  2. wwmhf
    I have tried my X20U with different drivers and at least three players (foobar2000, JRiver MC, and Daphile). Under Windows 10 with foobar2000 and JRiver, X20U cannot updample my CD wave files to DSD256 and higher satisfactorily. Daphile behaves similarly, but some people suspect that my laptop might be the problem for my X20U not be able to upsample to
    DSD256. Foobar2000 and JRiver are used in a more powerful machine than the one uses Daphile.

    My SMSL M8 and SMSL M8A seem to be able to handle DSD upsampling at a higher frequency. With a good driver, M8 can upsample to DSD256 in foobar2000 and JRiver, but not
    DSD512. My M8A with the factory driver can upsample to DSD512 well in foobar2000, but not in JRiver. When used with JRiver, it can only upsample to DSD256 satisfactorily. These are for Windows 10. We should note that M8A uses a newer XMOS chip. I haven't used these SMSL DACs with Daphile yet.

    My experience makes me think that Gustard's adoption of XMOS in X20U (or even in its U12) is not good enough.

    Does Gustard's X20U pro use a newer XMOS? If so, then I hope it can handle DSD upsampling at a higher frequency satisfactorily.

    However, as it is, my Gustard X20U with Daphile is very enjoyable so much that I restarted buying CDs again!
  3. Quadman
    It is my understanding that the x20pro uses the same Ammara USB card with the same Xmos chip in it (as X20u), thus limiting it also to DSD256.
  4. Quadman
    What you have sounds exactly like I experienced when I first got my 3rd party USB card which was mounted internally on the digital board with wires from it into the I2S lines of the PCIe slot. When my cover was off or not fully covering the dac I would get this "white noise" as I called it. Music would start softly then the hiss would get really loud then slowly fade away and music would play just fine until it happened again. What I found was my cover had to be totally on the dac (since I had wire leads pushed into the I2S holes in the PCIe slot it made sense to have cover off). Once I had the cover fully on the noise pretty much went away although every few days or so I would have a brief episode of this noise, but it only occurred briefly and once per night. I then started thinking about RFI noise in the listening room and what I could do to minimize it. I moved my PC further away, I went from wifi to AC Line ethernet, made sure all my PSU's powering stuff where enclosed. It seemed to help and most was fine until the 3rd party USB card started to have dropout issues and then right after a dropout I would sometimes get a brief burst of white noise.

    What I found with DSD256 I never got white noise only with 512 would I get noise, for some reason 512 is very sensitive to any stray noise and the gustard probably does not do the best job internally isolating it or shielding it. I would look to your environment and see what you can do to minimize noise, but you use the Singxer, I believe, which itself is in a case. So noise should be shielded somewhat. Have you pulled your USB card out just to get that noise out of the way, even though it is not used it still is powered and I found as well as Rick and Simon that removing the USB actually improves sound. Good luck as it can be frustrating finding the culprit.

    @Excellence 5 your issue sounds like a buffer issue, pick the highest Asio Buffer rate you can do and then in HQPlayer try playing with the buffer time, start with 100ms and see what that does. Also what CPU are you using for DSD512 up sampling? Are you on the edge of its ability? Open Task manager and check performance tab and look at the each core view, any core approaching 70% utilization will cause playback issues. In that case go to a 2s filter or get a more powerful CPU.
  5. Excellence 5
    Thanks for your suggestions, Quadman.

    Some update: DSD 512 works fine with foobar2000 & its ASIO proxy driver, but the first track often (not always) starts with a terrible hiss that I mentioned before. Really ugly.

    I also mentioned that Jriver 22 runs well with DSD 256 at most, but I think that the sound is better than DSD 512 by foobar.

    The CPU could be the problem, but I’m not so sure: I have got an old Intel Core Duo E8400, 3.00GHz and the usage goes up to 70% or more; but I also tried with a laptop that has an i5 processor but I didn’t notice so much difference. But I don’t know, I’m still investigating…

    Question: what do you mean by “go to a 2s filter”? What filter?

  6. Quadman
    I assumed you used HQ Player, HQPlayer has a set of filters with 2s designations they use approximately 1/2 of the CPU processing power as the non-2s filters do. In my experience laptops are just awful for playback sound quality. If you are going to try to playback DSD512 then you seriously need a i7 processor, preferably the 6700K or 7700K even with those I still cannot playback every filter HQP has to offer. Any time your CPU usage goes to 70% or above in ANY core you will have playback issues. Your processors are not robust enough to playback 512. 512 uses a lot of processing, but it is by far the best sounding digital I have heard.
  7. Excellence 5
    Oh, yes I used QHPlayer just on the laptop since it doesn't start up on my desktop pc for some reason.

    And yes, I would really like to buy an entirely new dektop computer (thanks for suggesting the i7 7700K), that should be also really silent; for audio, but also for audio/video if possible. I’ll see a bit later this year.

  8. mr.dave
    Hello Everybody,

    I stumbled about that thread and have already read a lot, but 82 pages are a bit much. :)
    Anyway, the DAC caught my interest and now I'm looking for a final advice. I am studying in China now and could bring a pair of speakers and an amplifier. I couldn't bring my DAC though, because of some restrictions from the airline (it's fully battery powered and I was not allowed to put it in my luggage due to the massive battery pack inside). The equipment, however, is - even it's not my from my main stereo - what I consider very good (all handbuild by a small manufactory in Berlin). First I thought that I just buy a mobile Player (unfortunately I sold my Plenue S a couple of weeks ago), then I thought I'm going to buy an Ifi iDSD micro (which is still an option, though). When I listened for the first time to the stereo, it didn't satisfy me at all, knowing what the equipment is capable of (signal came from my computer via Dragonfly) and now I am concerned, that the iDSD isn't maybe enough either, even temporarily (problem is, that I never heard it by myself and just did some research online).
    However, I stumbled about the Gustard while looking for DACs at Taobao, googled it and found this thread and read so much about the necessity to tune it. I don't think that I can do it here. First, I am not good at things like that in general. Second, It's probably kinda hard to get the stuff here (and some proper help).

    So assuming, that I don't do any tuning at all - will the Gustard provide a generally a better signal as the Ifi iDSD micro (I think/hope so?!)?
    Who does it play out of the box?
    As I read that it can be a bit harsh, and that's not to my liking... Is there any other chinese DAC that can be recommended (like the Yu Long DA8 - how do they compare?)?
    Would it be "enough" to buy the Gustard by now and just add Singxer SU-1 later?

    And finally, is there a good & not to expensive USB Cable to recommend (I will get an handmade cable from Berlin at the end of september at the earliest)?

    I am looking for any advice/help/tips! Thank you very much in advance and please consider that I am not a native english speaker!!

    Thanks again & best regards from China,
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  9. mr.dave
    I just ordered an Denafrips Ares R2R Dac (after doing some further research).
  10. rafabro
    Is that quiet because everyone happy or switch to another DAC? :D

    My X20 still alive. Still makes me happy and I still continue work to improve SQ. I just like it :wink:

    Currently testing Abracon clock, same as Quadman used to use. It is hot beast but better then Crystek from SQ point of view. Sound stage is deeper and timing better. Bit sharp on very begin but getting better with time.
    Currently 4th day running so it's still many hours before settle down fully.

    Other changes pulsar voltage regulator for clock and different caps (&much more capacity) for digital section of DAC. It is just getting better :wink:
  11. brother love
    Does anyone have a copy of the DIYinhk USB audio driver v3.34 that you could be so kind to send my way? (DIYinhk now only offers a v3.38 version that is only good for their XMOS PCB: ).

    I currently have a dual boot Win 8.1/ Linux Ubuntu 16.04 PC server & use Ubuntu ALSA to get DSD256 HQPlayer upsampling on my Gustard X20u.

    I added a Network Audio Adapter (NAA) mini PC dual boot Win 10/ Ubuntu 16.04 & currently get DSD256 again thru Ubuntu.

    I wanted to try DSD256 thru Win10 w/ the updated driver if possible (I tried a JL Sounds XMOS-Stereo-USB-Audio-Class2-Driver-2023 v3.34.0, & it is recognized as the driver for the Gustard X20 xCore: "XMOS XS1-U8 MFA", but I can only get DSD128 & that is strangely DoP. HQ Player- Miska says that ethernet cable fed DSD256 data shouldn't care what OS is on NAA side).

    I'll forward an email address thru PM for anyone that can help.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  12. brother love
    Many thanks to Quadman for DIYinHK v3.34 driver! Listening to DSD256 thru the Win10 mini PC NAA & Gustard X20u as I type. :)
  13. wwmhf
    My X20U could not be turned on today. I immediately checked the fuse, and yes, the fuse was burned, but I was surprised to find that X20U came with a spare fuse in the fuse slot. I replaced the burnt fuse with the spare one, my X20U is producing music again now.

    However, while I appreciate the spare fuse, this also brings a question: Why a spare fuse? Does it this mean X20U is easy to get its fuse burnt? Hope not.

    A related question: How many of us have to replace the fuse in X20 because it was burnt?
  14. rafabro
    If your car has a spare wheel, mean your tires will explode often?..
    DjBobby likes this.
  15. wwmhf
    That is really a great answer!!!
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