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Gustard X20 DAC

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by stuartmc, Sep 8, 2015.
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  1. Wynnytsky
    I recommend you keep it on SLOW.  I imagine you would need a very muddy system to justify the SHARP setting.
    The X20 got a few days of breakin before it reached me, but so far this is the least fatiguing Sabre DAC I've heard yet (and I recall Stu saying treble fatigue was absent as well).  I always thought my Yulong D18 deliberately rolled off the top in an effort to mitigate treble fatigue common in Sabre DAC implementations.  The whole first week I was bracing myself for a pitchy note in a rough recording that would rip my ear drum.  It just isn't happening, and I'm using the U18 over AES (not the PUC2).  I'm not sure how it's achieved but the X20 has been far "safer" [for lack of a better word] to listen to than my D18.  The D18 always reminded me I had aluminum tweeters and the X20 has been in great form with both aluminum and RAAL.  I've always wanted to try speakers with beryllium tweets but my front end couldn't even tame aluminum until now.
    Other first impressions it made on me was sick channel separation, instrument/vocal layering, and depth.  Just put the battery into the remote today.  Having all those buttons on the remote is way faster to work with than the single clickable dial.
  2. PiteCZek
    I use sharp on my HD650s. I find it more sparkly and detailed than on slow settings, but that could be just me :)
  3. Mashi-Maro
    Do you find the Normal clock is warmer and fuller than the Auto clock? Auto clock is wider sound stage but thinner and sharper highs.
  4. Wynnytsky
    haven't played with clock setting yet.  I read some strong recommendations here to for AUTO and I left it there.
    hmm, from Mashi and Pite's descriptions I think there are two recipes for achieving a neutral balance...
    -SLOW + AUTO (what I've been using)
    -SHARP + NORMAL (what I'll try next)
    and if your system is already leaning off neutral...
    -SLOW + NORMAL (relaxed)
    -SHARP + AUTO (pronounced edges and digital excitement)
    I'll start critical listening when my Hydra-Z arrives.  Going to determine which of the above settings sound best with a 1.5ft Kimber Orchid AES vs a 1ft Wireworld silver starlight 5.2 IIS.
  5. GioF71
    Hello, you might want to try upsampling (which player do you use?) and mantain the Slow filter, in my case with the X12 I noticed a considerable improvement.
  6. PiteCZek
    Hey :) I mostly use foobar but I also started to experiment with jriver for dsd playback.
  7. GioF71
    With foobar you could try the sox resampler (including the modded version that allow you to treat specific sampling rates).
    See here:
    For example with the mods you could add two DSPs, one for frequency 44100Hz (and its multiples) to be upsampled to 352000 and another for the frequency 48000Hz (and its multiples) to be upsampled to 384000 so achieving symmetric upsampling.
    I have modded (3 files to edit) the source code of mpd to do the same with Linux :)
    Might be worth trying! [​IMG]
  8. Mashi-Maro
    I use Daphile which is limited compared to Foobar/JRiver Media etc. and doesn't do upsampling or DSD conversion..
    How do you remotely control the more fully featured players.
    My second DAC DAC-X20U arrived today with U12.  As other members may review PC source, I am going to describe my first impression about AES/EBU.
    I have been using Soundaware D100 Pro Deluxe with Musical Paradise rubidium clock in these two years.  D100 is set to be used as a DLNA renderer, which I found of the highest sound quality among SD card, direct USB HDD and NFS file mount.
    It is also the first time for me to play DSD64 files controlled by the rubidium clock, as my current DAC does not accept DoP input through S/PDIF or AES/EBU.
    Switching NORMAL and AUTO mode of the clock made me convince that AUTO inherits the benefit of the rubidium clock.
    With NORMAL, where the internal 100MHz TCXO is used, the sound is still stiff, very likely due to almost no burn-in time.
    The AUTO mode brings a huge stage with silky smoothness from the beginning, probably thanks to keeping the power on to the rubidium clock in these two years.
    In case your digital input to X20 is managed by a clock of extremely high quality, the AUTO mode is the one you should choose.
  10. GioF71
    well in reality Daphile is based on Squeezebox so you can definitely upsample with sox.
    For some pointers, google: upsample squeezebox sox
    I use mpd instead, so I have different output configurations set. I can remotely control mpd with android apps (there are also apps for iPad/iPhone).
    On the PC I use GMPC or Cantata to control the MPD linux dedicated server. 
    I can post portions of mpd config files if needed.
  11. Wynnytsky
    combining these two statements can one conclude that...
    AUTO uses an "audio clock" (and what is that?).  Does that mean it's not clocking on the USB interface (ie: X20 will be the master clock)?  If so, should we expect equal performance regardless of how good the USB interface is?
    NORMAL [using it's asynch 100M crystal] would make the X20 slave to the USB interface clock?
    So on this setting one get's to know just how good his USB interface is?

    I don't know enough about clocks to even frame these questions.  Be kind!
  12. b0bb
    The Sabre32 has a jitter eliminator a type of reclocking circuit running at 100MHz. (NORMAL Mode)
    Redbook audio at 44.1kHz has a bitstream rate at 1.411MHz (44.1k sampling x 16bits x 2channels)
    From the math, 100M will not divide cleanly into 1.411MHz so the DAC has to make constant adjustments, this is the job of the Digital PLL , you may have heard the term DPLL , this it is.
    It is a type of negative feedback circuit, the adjustment is never instantaneous.
    The theory goes that it might be better to eliminate the complexity by not using this at all and process the raw bitsteam directly. (AUTO Mode)
    In order for this to work the incoming bitstream has to be very low jitter, hence MINORISUKE's comment about needing a very high quality external clock generating the input stream.
    Gustard is providing 2 different methods that deals with the compromises in different ways.
    MINORISUKE likes this.
  13. Wynnytsky
    got it - I interpreted minorisuke's statement backward
    he wrote "in case ..." and I read "unless ..."
    So AUTO skips the default Sabre reclocking step and trusts the USB Transport to set pace.  Therefore it's AUTO that is more dependent on the quality of the USB Interface.  And from what I'm hearing on AUTO I'd say the U12 is doing a very good job.  Using the name "AUTO" instead of "DIRECT" suggests to me that if the DDC clock isn't "up to snuff" then the X20 could automatically make this determination and reroute the signal through the 100M crystal for scrubbing, no?
  14. Walderstorn
    What are your thought between d18 and x20 regarding headphones, not speakers? I ask because i have d18 and i never felt anything "unsafe" using 598, hd 600 or my brothers T1 and HD700 (with a gustard h10).
  15. Wynnytsky
    I don't own phones :frowning2:
    A friend pointed out that my tube preamp is very dialed back up top, but this balanced well with D18 + Thiels (aluminum tweeters).  At times I used silver cables here-and-there but when my other components improved I eventually retreated to copper.  I feel the X20 keeps a safe distance from the edge where excitement becomes painful treble, but I'm sure I'll be able to reclaim that territory when I switch from a 4m AES to a 0.3m IIS (silver at that).  In the end I'm so glad I got this X20 because a much greater percentage of my music library is now enjoyable on my big system (where just about everything sounds good on my computer speakers).  I would actually be upset had the X20 been around for a while and I was just now upgrading.
    I'm still several weeks away from stacking these two DACs to do real-time A/B comparisons and I'm trying to defer my critique til then.
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