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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 5:10 am 
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I've been doing some researching on upgrading my Teac UD-501 and recently came across this DAC. It seems to have generated a lot of favourable chatter on the audioasylum and computeraudiophile forums. Rick Schultz of EVS (TweakAudio) raves about it.

Apparently, bypassing its USB board with an external DDC (like the Singxer SU-1) turns it into a giant-killer?

I was considering the Lampizator Amber (~US$2,000) but am now intrigued by this combo. The only drawback with the Lampi Amber is that it only accepts a USB input?

The Gustard/Singxer combo seems like it would be a pretty good upgrade from my UD-501 for around US$1,230 [US$830 (Gustard) + US$399 (Singxer)].

I'm curious if anyone else here has taken a serious look at this DAC + DDC combo? Any downsides to consider?

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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 6:51 am 
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Quick Answer:

'Believe It or Not!' at your budget and price point...

The GUSTARD DAC-X20 Pro (2 x ES9028) is already 'Old News'. As of just a few days ago...
Ric is now concentrating on the new LKS MH-DA004 DAC (Dual ES9038 Pro).
--
According to him and his enthusiastic, hyperbole...

"This thing out of the box (L.K.S. Audio MH-DA004) is better than my all out modded Gustard Pro using two 9028s."

"The stock LKS is way, way better than a stock Gustard Pro... Not even in the same league (layering and finesse up the wazoo!). You have to hear this thing... With simple mods it is off the chain"!

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthrea ... post450065

Regards, -Tim.
_________


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 7:39 am 
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Hi-- There is a more recent Gustard DAC, which uses the Sabre 9038 chip, the Matrix X:
https://www.shenzhenaudio.com/matrix-x- ... o-dac.html

I have one--- it is quite good.... though I am starting to wonder whether one can really hear the differences between DAC chips close in a product range, such as the Sabre 9028 and the 9038.

A slightly less expensive option with the 9039 is the newish Oppo Dac.


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 7:46 am 
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I bought both the Gustard X20 Pro and a Singxer SU-1. I ordered my DAC with the optional onboard USB input, and it's really good. I'm just now beginning to experiment with the Singxer in the system. I've heard the LKS MH-DA004 is indeed better, but it is about 50% more money.

I bought my Gustard after hearing a friend's unit. One thing to note is that they don't seem to mute the output when no signal is locked, so they make subtle popping sounds sometimes when locking onto a USB signal. I don't consider it to be much of a problem, but it is an odd quirk.

Aside from sounding fantastic, the Gustard has a really amazing feature set; variable volume, selectable digital filters, balanced and single ended outs, many inputs. The unit is also very well made, much better than other Chinese audio components I've owned, as well as my old Lampizator.


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 7:57 am 
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The LKS isn't that much more than a Gustard and a Singxer

https://www.shenzhenaudio.com/l-k-s-aud ... coder.html


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 7:58 am 
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I meant to say.... the Opportunity features the Sabre 9038. ]There is no 9039..... slip of the typing.]


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 8:14 am 
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darcman wrote:
The LKS isn't that much more than a Gustard and a Singxer

https://www.shenzhenaudio.com/l-k-s-aud ... coder.html


No... This is not quite correct.

The LKS uses 2x (Dual) ESS ES9038PRO SABRE DAC Chipsets.
As of yet... None of the Gustard DAC's even use One (1) of the ESS 'Flagship' DAC Chips.
--
Whether or not this makes a difference to you... Is of course a different matter -- Altogether.
Thank-you!


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 8:30 am 
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Sorry Cammers.... I got my signals crossed. The Matrix X, a Sabre 9038 DAC, is not a Gustard product.... but from shenzhenaudio. Sorry for sowing unnecessary confusion.


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 9:42 am 
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Location: Hamilton, ON, CA
NordicNorm wrote:
I've been doing some researching on upgrading my Teac UD-501 and recently came across this DAC. It seems to have generated a lot of favourable chatter on the audioasylum and computeraudiophile forums. Rick Schultz of EVS (TweakAudio) raves about it.

Apparently, bypassing its USB board with an external DDC (like the Singxer SU-1) turns it into a giant-killer?

I was considering the Lampizator Amber (~US$2,000) but am now intrigued by this combo. The only drawback with the Lampi Amber is that it only accepts a USB input?

The Gustard/Singxer combo seems like it would be a pretty good upgrade from my UD-501 for around US$1,230 [US$830 (Gustard) + US$399 (Singxer)].

I'm curious if anyone else here has taken a serious look at this DAC + DDC combo? Any downsides to consider?


My brother has recently purchased the X-20PRO (with on-board USB board). He's just entering the Hi-Fi Streaming market. He plans to also purchase the Gustard U-12 (USB/SPDIF) Converter/Buffer.

The combination (under $1K US$) is a very reasonable investment for the up-to-date design, architecture, features and honest build quality.

Since he is beginning to invest in some premium Audioquest cables, SQ must be reserved until the final pieces are gathered.
I have no doubt it will equal (and surpass) any known 'name' offerings at this price point.

With respect to the ESS 9038-PRO chip, I'm certain (concerned) manufacturers are all too familiar with the necessity for a near all-out circuit redesign when new chip pin/architecture is introduced --as is the case with the 9038 --as opposed to the "drop-in" replacement 9028-PRO for the (outdated) 9018 ESS chip.

Company's such as Audiolab and Mytek still use the older 9018, when I suspect they could have easily dropped in the 9028. Why didn't they ?

Secondly, the fabled (before earned, really) 9038 chip is in fact used in the current Oppo 'Sonica' DAC to basically bland, if not shitty reviews, while the old 9018 (Audiolab 'M-DAC'+, Mytek 'Brooklyn' have earned far more favorable recognition !

Stick with the excellent Gustard X-20PRO, purchase a 300-watt AC regenerator (to power your digital) a couple decent cables and you should remain comfortably under $2K total.

The AC Re-generator and cables are keepers should you decide to 'move' the DAC when and if you should decide on a MQA-based DAC, the Gustard pieces would be easy to sell --and not at any great loss.

pj


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 10:07 am 
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Takira71A wrote:
Quick Answer:

'Believe It or Not!' at your budget and price point...

The GUSTARD DAC-X20 Pro (2 x ES9028) is already 'Old News'. As of just a few days ago...
Ric is now concentrating on the new LKS MH-DA004 DAC (Dual ES9038 Pro).


Well, at $1,600 (LKS) vs $830 (X20), they are hardly at the same price point. Although, when you tack a DDC on to an X20, you're getting closer in price ($1,230).

I'd be more impressed if Rick found a better DAC that was cheaper than the X20...

Thanks for all the replies folks! Keep 'em coming!

cheers,

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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 10:19 am 
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allhifi wrote:
Secondly, the fabled (before earned, really) 9038 chip is in fact used in the current Oppo 'Sonica' DAC to basically bland, if not shitty reviews, while the old 9018 (Audiolab 'M-DAC'+, Mytek 'Brooklyn' have earned far more favorable recognition

I recently brought in the Sonica DAC to try something affordable with the 9038 chip out of curiosity more than anything else. The Gustard X20 Pro was my first choice but I found the Sonica DAC for cheaper. It is as good as I've heard a DAC sound anywhere near the price and it has a staggering amount of detail. For reference my last 2 DAC's were the Chord Hugo TT and Bryston BDA-3. In comparison to previous DAC's I find it is a better performer than the MOON 280D if you have gear capable of high amounts of detail. My Martin Logan ESL 15A's show weaknesses in a source sometimes to a fault and I have yet to hear any. The Luxman 590 II currently used to power them is even less forgiving. If any Cammer is passing through to Vancouver or Calgary while I have it stop by for a demo to hear something with the 9038. It certainly took me by surprise.


Last edited by James_W on Sun May 21, 2017 10:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 10:31 am 
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James_W wrote:
... If the cheap offerings sound this good I can only imagine what a good 9038 based DAC like the Benchmark DAC3 is going to sound like. I would buy the Gustard X20 Pro without hesitation.


The Benchmark DAC3 and Gustard DAC-X20 PRO do not use the ESS ES9038.
They both use the older ES9028 DAC Chip.


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 10:35 am 
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Takira71A wrote:
James_W wrote:
... If the cheap offerings sound this good I can only imagine what a good 9038 based DAC like the Benchmark DAC3 is going to sound like. I would buy the Gustard X20 Pro without hesitation.


The Benchmark DAC3 and Gustard DAC-X20 PRO do not use the ESS ES9038.
They both use the older ES9028 DAC Chip.


Sorry the GUSTARD DAC-X20 Pro Super Ultimate 2. I was reading about Benchmark developing a 9038 based DAC last year so it must be for something coming out in the future and not the DAC3.


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 10:42 am 
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James_W wrote:
... Sorry the GUSTARD DAC-X20 Pro Super Ultimate 2


No. As per previous... It still uses the older ES9028.
Thank-you!

https://www.shenzhenaudio.com/gustard-d ... coder.html


Last edited by Takira71A on Sun May 21, 2017 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 10:45 am 
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Takira71A wrote:
https://www.shenzhenaudio.com/gustard-dac-x20-pro-super-ultimate-2-x-es9028-xmos-hifi-dac-384khz-dsd-dop-decoder.html

Ahh crap I didn't realize it was all on the same site. I was looking at this before I got the Sonica DAC.

https://www.shenzhenaudio.com/matrix-x- ... o-dac.html


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