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Gustard DAC-R26: R2R Ladder DAC with Ethernet


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The Gustard DAC-R26 looks like it could be a good option for someone with a  $2500 DAC budget. Id like to hear one. Here's some info:

 

  • Gustard seems to be an established company with past respected DAC designs. Now they have stepped up to a discrete R2R DAC.
  • R2R is for those who  are wanting that R2R timbral naturalness, depth and  micoodynamic liveliness e.g. for vocals and acoustic instruments
  • Ethernet port to stream music directly via UPnP servers. Have PC - good to go?
  • Gustard have published some  AP measurements that dont appear too bad for a resistor DAC: most artefacts  are likely below audibility
  • But I dont have any Gustard gear, its not known if it runs in true NOS mode and I still dont get why discrete resistors  are used when laser trimmed superb classic chips like the AD1862 are abundant.

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Specs:     http://www.gustard.cn/?post_type=products&page_id=14991

 

Quote

Review: https://soundnews.net/sources/dacs/a-new-point-of-reference-gustard-r26-discrete-r-2r-ladder-dac-review/

.....comparison between X26 PRO and R26  .........  I find them exactly as technical (clean, fast, noiseless, complete in terms of FR), with the exception that R26 will better render the timbre of each musical instrument. If you listen to a lot of acoustic stuff, then R26 will win you over in mere minutes. There's a higher mass / a heavier tone and everything that has to do with "vibration" and "decay" sounds real on the R26 and a little forced on X26 PRO. For goose bumps moments...R26 is winning me over much easier.

 

 

Edited by Nada
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  • 2 weeks later...

Mine arrived today.  Still to unbox and start running in it.    Hoping it gets close to my fav dac I’ve been fortunate to try so far, which is @rocky500’s holo spring 3 kte.    So detailed yet full/organic sounding.    
 

the built in volume control and stream functionality of the r26 was what swayed me enough to make me order one to try.

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18 hours ago, tuyen said:

Mine arrived today.  Still to unbox and start running in it.    Hoping it gets close to my fav dac I’ve been fortunate to try so far, which is @rocky500’s holo spring 3 kte.    So detailed yet full/organic sounding.    

Thats one helluva benchmark to meet with the Spring 3 KTE.  @tuyen please post your thoughts on it in a few weeks time.

Edited by MrBurns84
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Any opinion on this dac yet? Also I am a bit confused because it seems to do airplay but it does not have wifi capabilities. 
I was also wondering if the streaming using the LAN is stable.

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1 hour ago, pretender said:

Any opinion on this dac yet? Also I am a bit confused because it seems to do airplay but it does not have wifi capabilities. 
I was also wondering if the streaming using the LAN is stable.

 

I wonder if it might be like my last R2R dac, when it took ages and lot of reconfiguring my setup before it really started to work well with my system.

 

Also I see it has Bluetooth. Can airplay be used over Bluetooth instead of Wifi?

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10 minutes ago, rocky500 said:

 

I wonder if it might be like my last R2R dac, when it took ages and lot of reconfiguring my setup before it really started to work well with my system.

 

Also I see it has Bluetooth. Can airplay be used over Bluetooth instead of Wifi?


Mmmm, is that the Accurate or the Holo? The D1000 certainly can be a bit finicky but rewarding once you get it right. Would love someone in Brissie to bring a Holo by to compare in my system. Would be interesting I think. :)

 

Any way, sorry to go a bit off topic guys

Edited by MattyW
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1 minute ago, MattyW said:


Mmmm, is that the Accurate or the Holo? The D1000 certainly can be a bit finicky. :)

It was the Holo Dac. Coming from the previous model too. So was surprised.

Edited by rocky500
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I picked up an R26 a couple of weeks ago. Straight out of the box it had potential but needed some running in. After a few hours it sounded pretty much the same as my X26pro, in fact if I hadn’t read reviews that said the R26 was better  I wouldn’t have been able to pick the difference. The x26 is gone now so I can’t do any direct comparisons. I’ll assume that the R26 has improved with more running.

I’m using it as a dac only, I2S in via a U18 from a Lumin mini streamer.

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On 18/09/2022 at 8:07 PM, tuyen said:

Hoping it gets close to my fav dac ....... spring 3 kte.    So detailed yet full/organic sounding.    

Thats a great DAC benchmark.  The Holo Spring 3 KTE DAC is $5,190AUD and is arguable better engineered, as well as benefiting from time for iterative upgrades.

 

But what will the ears hear?  Is the Holo Spring 3 KTE still around for you to compare directly?

 

1 hour ago, MattyW said:

Would love someone in Brissie to bring a Holo by to compare in my system. Would be interesting I think. :)

 

👍

 

3 hours ago, pretender said:

I am a bit confused because it seems to do airplay but it does not have wifi capabilities. 
I was also wondering if the streaming using the LAN is stable.

I dont have this DAC and dont use Airplay and never will,  but the product info says Airplay is over ethernet. In terms of LAN stability the review I linked to above tried Roon over ethernet with no reported issues.

 

On 18/09/2022 at 8:07 PM, tuyen said:

stream functionality of the r26 was what swayed me enough to make me order

 

Does this mean you are going to be using ethernet? Its what made me interested in this DAC too. Im sick of the whole USB noise saga. Then I saw all the complexities that ethernet users are getting with other DACs and piggybacking switches. Ethernet looks just as tricky as USB in terms of sound quality. If you get time in months ahead you might have fun comparing ethernet to USB to SPDIF.  Weirdly it might by TOSLINK is the best. Guaranteed total isolation and these modern DACs can wipe jitter out of TOSLINK.

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Hello Glen,

If you use this thing in your big ATC system, that gives me a lot of confidence. 

I am trying hard to remove the number of boxes because of room constrains (can't fit the phono preamp at the moment...). With the streamer and  the matrix usb/spdif converter having their own dedicate power supplies, this is just madness...

I was wondering if you have tried the LAN input of the R6 to see if it sounds decent. I am a big believer of the influence of a good streamer on sound quality but I am dreaming that the R6 can do it all...

Cheers

Laurent

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3 minutes ago, pretender said:

Hello Glen,

If you use this thing in your big ATC system, that gives me a lot of confidence. 

I am trying hard to remove the number of boxes because of room constrains (can't fit the phono preamp at the moment...). With the streamer and  the matrix usb/spdif converter having their own dedicate power supplies, this is just madness...

I was wondering if you have tried the LAN input of the R6 to see if it sounds decent. I am a big believer of the influence of a good streamer on sound quality but I am dreaming that the R6 can do it all...

Cheers

Laurent

Laurent,

Don’t take me using a $2500 dac with expensive speakers as any recommendation, it’s more to do with not wanting to over invest in tech that’s perishable. 
I haven’t tried the LAN input. The reason being I have no idea how to use it! 
I stream tidal from my Lumin. If someone can tell me how to get tidal working with the Lan input on the R26 I’ll give it a go.

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Glen,

I listened to your scm40 active a while back and it was already crazy resolving so what is it now?

You can install the Mconnect app (free version has adds) on your mobile phone/Ipad. From there you sign in into Tidal, you select the R26 as a source and you are good to go in 10 minutes.

Edited by pretender
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4 hours ago, gat474 said:

how to get tidal working with the Lan input on the R26 I’ll give it a go.

 

Hi Glen, thanks for trying to get ethernet to feed your DAC.  Any luck?

 

It looks like you have all the right  the gear to try I2S vs SPDIF coax/.OSLINK vs USB vs ethernet.  If you try all of this you will find you get lots of interest regarding how ethernet performs without a steamer and DDC.

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I was hoping that it was as easy as downloading the mconnect app, plugging the network cable to the dac and looking for the r26 on the app. Unfortunately it might not be that easy. I see the app looks for UPnP players, I have no idea what that is and where to go from here.

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Thanks for trying. The DAC works on UPnP protocol so thats looking promising.  Does the DAC show up on your PC in networking setting? Did you set the DAC to ethernet input?

 

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Hello Glen,

I am using a Zen Stream in Upnp mode. When I use Mconnect, the app indeed looks for Upnp devices and finds the Zen Stream. You are saying that in the app,  you can not find the R26. Hum not too sure what can be done here; any technical experts around?

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10 minutes ago, gat474 said:

the r26 is on the network.

 

You need Tidal right? If you are on your PC and open Tidal in a browser does the DAC show as an output option over the network ? If so is there a WASAPI option?

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In the process of moving house, but managed to setup a temp rig just to try the R26 DAC.   Using ifi Zen streamer with USB out into the R26.   TIDAL shows MQA on the R26.    If I put the Gustard U16 DDC in between the zen streamer and hook the U16 via I2S (HDMI) into the R26,  didn't hear an obvious improvement.       R26 only has 48hours on it.   initial impressions is promising, but feel it is a little 'sharp' sounding.   hopefully it smoothens out and bass opens up as it runs in.       Not using it's built in volume control or network streaming at present. just as a pure DAC.

 

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46 minutes ago, Nada said:

 

You need Tidal right? If you are on your PC and open Tidal in a browser does the DAC show as an output option over the network ? If so is there a WASAPI option?

I only ever use Tidal on my phone and Lumin mini.

Will changing settings on the tidal app make the Gustard visible in the mconnectLite app?

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