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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. rafabro
    That's different story so. You have nice speakers, you should pair it with much better DAC than low budget :wink:
     
  2. jimmychan
    I just want to let you know with the similar budget, TEAC NT505 is a better choice.
     
  3. PitBul34
    I don't think so. X26 proprietary technologies are used to avoide the internal filters of ESS Sabre chips. The result is analog-like high-resolution signature of ESS chips. The sound is deep, dynamic and natural, without any fatique and oversaturation.
     
    thuanb likes this.
  4. jimmychan
    My experience is NT505 better than X26. That’s it good luck.
     
  5. sp0525
    upload_2019-6-16_23-19-35.png

    I've been using this dac almost for three months. This is actually where I finally settled down after a long quest (including lots of auditions, loaners, purchases&sales, etc etc)

    My digital sound reference is Schiit Yggdrasil (Analog ver 2), which I believe the best sounding dac on the planet (ymmv). I heard it multiple times with a lot of different configurations. There were always something lovable in common. Unfortunately, while Schiit multibit dacs nailed in terms of sound, I couldn't tolerate weeks of warm-up. In the end, I sold my Gungnir MB and started to look for delta-sigma substitutes.

    Through a good amount of first-hand experience, I could nail my final shortlist down as below:
    • Chord Qutest
    • Cranesong Solaris DAC
    • Dangerous Music Convert-2
    • Gustard DAC X-26
    • Matrix X-Sabre Pro (MQA)
    • RME ADI-2 DAC
    (sorted by name)

    All of these sound different, and have their own strengths and weaknesses. Honestly I like all the above.

    Brief summary of comparative impressions of X-26 (tested with EC Black Widow and Ether 2/HD600)
    • Pretty good transient (particularly for low-freq instruments). Leading edge is rounder than X-Sabre Pro. To my liking, X-26 is only bested by DM Convert-2.
    • The blackest background. Tied with DM Convert-2. Qutest did somewhat similar things, but to me it slightly oversimplified things to do so.
    • Staging is decently holographic. Not so much as CS Solaris or Matrix X-Sabre Pro though.
    • Warmer than anything else listed. Still a little colder than Yggdrasil A2 (my favorite). I don't like anything overly warm either.
    • Textured and articulated bass. Tied with Matrix X-Sabre Pro. Edged out by DM Convert-2.
    • Timbre feels a little artificial (indeed the most artificial among the list) and plastic-ish on treble.
    • USB input is the worst. Tied with CS Solaris.
    Overall X26 nearly meets all my requirements and excels where I consider important.

    PS.
    1. For your reference, I didn't like Gustard's previous sabre dacs (x20 and x22) at all.
    2. While I dislike X26's usb input, I like U16 DDC (the same usb conversion chip). Strange.
    3. Currently my X26 is fed by U16 via AES (photo was taken two months ago). I am not a big fan of IIS.
     
    nishan99, thuanb, motberg and 3 others like this.
  6. rafabro
    When use AES there is double conversion to I2S anyway :D
     
    motberg likes this.
  7. sp0525
    Yeah that's true. But at the same time, i2s transmission is extremely subject to surrounding emi. After a few experiments, I decided to opt for double conversions, which didn't show meaningful degradation to me. I found the opposite. My environment favors isolation -- either via galvanic one (optical) or transformer (xlr).
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
    thuanb likes this.
  8. jimmychan
    I found I2S input is good for me in any cases including different sources and DACs.
     
    thuanb likes this.
  9. PitBul34
  10. allhifi
    ccd: Did you receive/listening to your X-26 ... and ... ?

    peter
     
  11. allhifi

    Xymordos: Thanks for that -reply. I should have known better; the 'limitation' with on-chip filtering was elucidated by Gustard in
    their X-26 product introduction 'blurb. Instead, they Sharc'd 'off-chip' for greater computational processing/filtering capability.

    I suspect that is where the considerable heat emanates within the X-26; unless a specific high-temperature must be maintained
    for this sharp processor, it's strange that Gustard didn't see to offering up some top-plate ventilation in effort to give the L-R chassis
    flow some air differential -thus reducing heat build-up considerably.
    (Has anybody tried heat-sinking that processor in the X-26 -if that's the heat generator?- and or operating/listening sans/removed
    top plate. OR, are the "high" temp's a bit exaggerated ?

    pj
     
  12. allhifi
    Hi Gizmoh: How is your X-26 performing/sounding ?

    I'm considering a X-22/X-26 Gustard; but the high-heat of X-26 is concerning.

    BY CHANCE, have you ever tried one of the following (?) :
    (My own Cut/Paste -sorry bou't that)

    I should have known better; the 'limitation' with on-chip filtering was elucidated by Gustard in
    their X-26 product introduction 'blurb. Instead, they Sharc'd 'off-chip' for greater computational
    processing/filtering capability.

    I suspect that is where the considerable heat emanates within the X-26; unless a specific high-
    temperature must be maintained for this sharp processor, it's strange that Gustard didn't see to
    offering up some top-plate ventilation in effort to give the L-R chassis
    flow some air differential -thus reducing heat build-up considerably.

    (Has anybody tried heat-sinking that processor in the X-26 -if that's the heat generator?- and or
    operating/listening sans/removed top plate. OR, are the "high" temp's a bit exaggerated ?
     
  13. Xymordos
    I don't have the unit so I don't know exactly. But my guess is that the heat is from the class A output stage.
     
    thuanb likes this.
  14. Gizmoh
    Heat is not a deal breaker,as an AB amp. I would guess the source of heat to be the 2 toroidal transformers to power the unit.
    The issue is USB implementation on x26 which has ZERO support(no driver update on native DSD support) and delivers sub-optimal Sound Quality compared to Coax and optical.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
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