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Gustard X26 Dual ES9038PRO DAC with ESS USB chip

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by mtoc, Jan 23, 2019.
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  1. Ramrod152001
    Hey everyone! I got this DAC yesterday and have been playing around with it for a few hours. Am I really glad I checked the back of this amp before plugging it in! The sliders were set to 220V and not 110V. After searching for drivers I managed to get it working well with Foobar via Windows 10. I've gotten it to play DSD and all other resolution file types I've thrown at it. It is a fantastic sounding DAC, but there are a few issues I am having that may cause me to return it.

    Toslink does not work with 192khz files from my computer or my iBasso dx200. No matter what settings I put within the DAC, it will not play 192khz. (Meanwhile my SMSL SU-8 Version 2 plays 192khz via optical just fine.) I do not want to only depend on USB so I wonder if this DAC can even play 192khz via Toslink. I also cant seem to get DSD over PCM to work via optical either.

    Android (Galaxy Note 9 via USB) works well using USB Audio Player Pro and in other phone apps in general. However, I run into an odd issue.
    Whenever I play 192khz files, and I skip around within the song, or skip to the next track the songs severely glitch. The song slows down to about .25% percent speed, and then sounds like distorted 8-bit 1980's video-game music. Skipping around the track or even the album would give the same glitch. The only way to clear this is to exit the album. I can play any other high resolution PCM and I can't replicate this.

    The amplifier runs really warm, not hot, but close to it. Butter melting warm I'd describe it. I'm not sure if this is normal or not.
    wersuss and Alcophone like this.
  2. ccd79
    Just out of curiosity, does your Galaxy Note 9 via USB charging the phone battery while playing music?
  3. Ramrod152001
    Hi there, in fact it drains it. I need a long otg cable with no power connection built in.
  4. Gizmoh
    Mine runs hot too, it can slowly cook an egg.. Running Roon on linux, there is No Linux Drivers available for it to play anything above 192Khz.
  5. wersuss
    Hi, how does it sound? what dac you used before?
  6. Ramrod152001
    The DAC sounds fantastic. I have been using an SMSL SU-8 Version 2 which is also excellent. The amplifier is THX AAA 789. I also have a Gustard H20 amplifier (which is really excellent and a bit better than the THX, better more authoritative sound all across the frequency range, especially bottom end) which I've sent out to Audio Science Review forum for measurements by Amir.

    Despite the issues I've had, the high quality of the sound makes it so much harder to return. I still haven't decided yet.
  7. rafabro
    You wont hear full potential until 200h hours at least so no point to make decision now.
  8. Baten
    Thanks for sharing!!
  9. MarcinGD
    What kind of sound is that. Nos kind of sound like r2r or precise fast and cold.
  10. Ramrod152001
    It's hard to describe, but it gives better results than my SMSL SU-8 Version 2, iBasso dx200, and Sony TA-ZH1ES. I love all of these components; but the Gustard has superior stereo separation, as well as a smooth and detailed sound.
    To me, it's pushing it for how much a DAC should cost relative to performance. I would have been happy with the SU-8. The X26 is clearly better in my opinion, but not $1k better! It is a quality product, now if only mine had working 192khz and DSD over PCM via optical, I'd not bother to look for anything else! A guy on audio science posted a video where his has both of those working, just not on mine. I'm going to see if I get an exchange, maybe the exchange will work.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
    Viper Necklampy and Baten like this.
  11. rafabro
    Did you ever listen any hiend DAC or CD (or whole system) for comparison?
  12. Ramrod152001
    I have never tried a CD player to dac before. My experience is pretty limited in that regard.

    I have iBasso dx200 (dap with dual 9028 pro), Sony TA-ZH1ES (DAC/Amp ), THX-AAA 789 Amp, and Gustard H20 Amplifier.

    In the following order: Gustard X26 with Gustard H20 amp is the best combo I have, followed by Gustard X26 with THX. Sony is better than dx200, but not by much. I feel the ibasso DAC portion has superior stereo separation than Sony, but the Sony has a better Amp with overall better playback than Dx200. Overall, these differences are not really crazy big.
    My Dx200 could go into DAC mode using windows PC and android phone. If DAC mode worked on my Xbox and Playstation, I would not have had the desire to try any other amps or DACS. DX200 with Amp 8 4.4mm balanced is a real giant killer
    rafabro, Baten, Joong and 1 other person like this.
  13. Ramrod152001
    Smsl SU-8 with Amps come in close second to both my amps with gustard x26.
    Alcophone likes this.
  14. Ramrod152001
    For an update, I resolved my Android issues! In USB Audio Player Pro. I had to use USB Tweak 1, which disables clock info from the DAC.

    Regarding my being able to play 192khz by optical, Shenzhen audio wants to send me an optical cable to test it. But I doubt it's the cable, as the one I have allows 192 kHz from iBasso DX200 to smsl su-8 version 2. We'll see what happens.
  15. PitBul34
    Got mine 2 weeks ago. X26U sounds amazing! Those all technologies works pretty good!

    spacequeen7 and phthora like this.
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