GUSTARD DAC-A18 Balanced DAC AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS MQA Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512

GUSTARD DAC-A18 Balanced DAC AK4499 Accuslicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512
The Gustard DAC-A18 is a symmetrical DAC that benefits from a particularly careful design to deliver a sound of great purity and incredible richness.

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Shipping date: 27-11-2020.

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Gustard DAC-A18

Balanced DAC AK4499 Accuslicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512

Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512

The Gustard DAC-A18 is a balanced DAC that benefits from a particularly careful design to deliver a sound of great purity and incredible richness.


Test by Audio Science Review

Looks like the A18 aims at very high level of performance, stopping just shy of heroic efforts to squeeze down the last bit of noise and distortion. In return if my memory is serving me correctly, you save money compared to the ones that do go that extra inch. So you more choice of pricing and performance in the top bracket.

I am happy to recommend the Gustard A18 DAC.

 test by the measurement forum Audio Science Review
Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512
Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512

AKM AK4499 DAC

At the heart of the device is the conversion circuit, based on a high-end DAC chip, the AKM AK4499. It is a 32bit digital/analogue converter with very low noise and distortion and supports high sample rates up to 32bit 768kHz PCM and up to DSD512. It is a major contributor to the Gustard DAC-A18's ability to deliver accurate, dense and vivid playback. This chip also offers a choice of 6 PCM filters and 2 DSD filters.

CPLD Altera Max II

This conversion chip is associated with an Altera Max II CPLD, which is in charge of clock management, second PLL, digital flow management and DoP decoding.

Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512

Connectivity

The DAC-A18 has connectors covering most requirements for integration into most audio systems. Inputs include USB-B (XMOS), I2S HDMI LVDS, AES/EBU, Coaxial and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. On the output side, the Gustard offers the choice between balanced XLR or unbalanced RCA.

Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512
Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512

XMOS USB & MQA

Behind the USB-B input is an XMOS XU216 interface for receiving the audio signal. This interface is particularly powerful and supports high-resolution files, all of which contribute to accurate sound reproduction.
It is also this chip that enables the Gustard DAC-A18 to support and decode MQA files, ensuring playback quality as close as possible to the original recording.

Bluetooth 5.0

Conveniently, the DAC-A18 includes a Qualcomm CSR8675 Bluetooth 5.0 chip, enabling music to be streamed directly from a smartphone or tablet. The chip supports a variety of codecs, some of which enable high-quality playback, such as aptX-HD or LDAC.

Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512

Accusilicon Clock

Two highly accurate Accusilicon As318-B femtosecond clocks provide perfect signal synchronization to drastically reduce jitter and consequently distortion and noise.

Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512

High quality circuit

The entire circuit benefits from a careful design, based on the use of high-performance components within an intelligent architecture. These include four high-performance LME49860 dual AOPs to meet the high current demand of the AK4499, an integrated linear power supply circuit to provide the various circuits with a clean electrical signal, a high-performance filtering system, high-precision resistors and TPS7A47 and TPS7A33 regulators.

Technical characteristics

Specifications
Product typeBalanced DAC
Conversion chipAKM AK4499
USB interfaceXMOS XU216
Bluetooth chipCSR8675
CPLDAltera Max II
Inputs1x I2S HDMI LVDS
1x USB-B XMOS
1x AES/EBU
1x Coaxial
Bluetooth
Outputs1x Balanced XLR
1x Single-ended RCA
Supported sampling ratesUSB : PCM up to 32bit 768kHz / Native DSD up to DSD512 / DSD DoP up to DSD256
I2S : PCM up to 32bit 768kHz / Native DSD up to DSD512 / DSD DoP up to DSD256
Coaxial, AES : PCM up to 24bit 192kHz / DSD DoP up to DSD64
Bluetooth : PCM up to 24bit 96kHz
Frequency response20Hz - 20kHz ±0.08dB
Output levelSingle-ended (RCA) : 3Vrms @ 0dBFS
Balanced (XLR) : 6Vrms @ 0dBFS
Bluetooth version5.0
Supported Bluetooth codecsAAC, SBC, aptX, aptX LL, aptX HD, LDAC
Clocks2x Accusilicon AS318-B
XLR Pinout1 : GND
2 : +
3 : -
PCM FiltersShort Delay Sharp Roll-Off
Short Delay Slow Roll-Off
Sharp Roll-Off
Slow Roll-Off
Super Slow Roll-Off
Low Dispersion Short Delay Filter
DSD FiltersL-BW
H-BW
General
Housing materialAluminium
ColorBlack
Dimensions220 x 170 x 50mm
Weight2.5kg
Package1x Gustard DAC-A18
1x Power cable
1x USB cable
1x Remote control
1x Bluetooth antenna

1kHz THD+N (Non-Weighted)

Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512

FFT

Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512

THD+N Specific Frequency

Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512

Dynamic range

Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512

Frequency response

Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512

SNR

Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512

HDMI Pinout

Gustard DAC-A18 DAC Symétrique AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512
 
Data sheet
InputSPDIF
InputI2S via HDMI
InputUSB 2.0
InputUSB XMOS
InputBluetooth
InputUSB-B
InputAES/EBU
OutputXLR
OutputRCA
DAC ChipAK4499
Max sampling rate768kHz
Max sampling rateDSD512
ColorBlack
NetworkingNo
Remote ControlYes
 
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Average votes
5.0 / 5
2 reviews
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Note :
 5/5
Date :
GUSTARD A18
BEAU DAC ET BON DAC TRES COMPLET, AVEC UNE ENTREE OPTIQUE CONTRAIREMENT AUX INFOS DONNEES DANS LA PAGE PRODUIT. TRESOUVERT ET BIEN PLUS DYNAMIQUE QUE MON D50S TOPPING, MAIS JE PENSE QU'UN BON RODAGE AU M.OINS TRENTE HEURES SERONT NECESSAIRE POUR BIEN L'APPRECIER.
LES AIGUES SONT VRAIMENT SURPRENANTES DE TOUTES FACONS LE RAPPORT QUALITE PRIX SEMBLE TRES BON.
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This review has been posted for GUSTARD DAC-A18 Balanced DAC AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS MQA Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512
Note :
 5/5
Date :
Revelation
This DAC replaces a Geek Pulse. Listening to it after letting it run for a few days was disturbing. DSD and hi-resolution PCM files sounded distorted! Nothing like my Geek, nor the Calyx M DAP I have. I wondered if I had blown my Audeze LCD2 headphones. And then I realized that what I was hearing was not distortion from the DAC or headphones, but sounds I had never before noticed. Audience sounds In classical recordings, maracas way to the left on Bob Marley LIVE (24-192), actual distortion from electric guitars. This DAC, especially mated via HDMI/I2Sto the RaspTouch I bought to go with it, delivers so much more from recordings than I am used to hearing. The jump in sound quality is similar to what I experienced moving from cassette tapes (metal on a 3-head Nakamichi, so pretty good) to CDs in the 80s. But from a much higher bar. There is NO noise that I can discern - similar to my Calyx M DAP. But the resolution is in another league. The Gustard is extremely well built, offers the “blackest” of backgrounds, delivers dynamics (micro and macro) with ease, and transports you to the musical performance beyond anything I have experienced in decades of being an audiophile. Just make sure the rest of your playback chain is up to the task! Highly recommended.
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This review has been posted for GUSTARD DAC-A18 Balanced DAC AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS MQA Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512
 
GUSTARD DAC-A18 Balanced DAC AK4499 Accusilicon XMOS MQA Bluetooth 5.0 32bit 768kHz DSD512
The Gustard DAC-A18 is a symmetrical DAC that benefits from a particularly careful design to deliver a sound of great purity and incredible richness.

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