Gustard X26 Dual ES9038PRO DAC with ESS USB chip
Jun 13, 2019 at 3:31 PM Post #91 of 105

rafabro

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That's different story so. You have nice speakers, you should pair it with much better DAC than low budget :wink:
 
Jun 14, 2019 at 11:22 AM Post #92 of 105

jimmychan

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That's different story so. You have nice speakers, you should pair it with much better DAC than low budget :wink:

I just want to let you know with the similar budget, TEAC NT505 is a better choice.
 
Jun 14, 2019 at 12:39 PM Post #93 of 105

PitBul34

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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.
 
Jun 14, 2019 at 12:41 PM Post #94 of 105

jimmychan

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My experience is NT505 better than X26. That’s it good luck.
 
Jun 17, 2019 at 12:36 AM Post #95 of 105

sp0525

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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.
 
Jun 17, 2019 at 1:53 PM Post #97 of 105

sp0525

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When use AES there is double conversion to I2S anyway :D

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).
 
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Jun 18, 2019 at 12:51 AM Post #98 of 105

jimmychan

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I found I2S input is good for me in any cases including different sources and DACs.
 
Oct 16, 2019 at 12:08 PM Post #101 of 105

allhifi

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Their Taobao page says it bypasses the inbuilt filters and can only select from their new filters.


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
 
Oct 16, 2019 at 12:26 PM Post #102 of 105

allhifi

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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.

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 ?
 
Oct 16, 2019 at 12:33 PM Post #103 of 105

Xymordos

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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

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.
 
Oct 16, 2019 at 12:39 PM Post #104 of 105

Gizmoh

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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 ?

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.
 
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Jul 26, 2021 at 10:14 AM Post #105 of 105

Nostoi

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Has anyone compared the X26 Pro to the Hugo 2?
 

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