Gustard R26 vs hi end streamer


I have in plan to upgrade the source of my system:

Source: Newtork streamer Marantz NA8005
Amp: Arcam A32
Speakers: build to me
Headhone: Denon AH-D5000

Actually the options are:

1) Purchase a DAC like Gustard R26 or X26 or Schiit OG Yggdrsail (I’am bit undecided to choose one of these DACs).
2) Replace my Newtork streamer with a Hi end Streamers like: Auralyc, Cocktail Audio, Rose or coming soon new Marantz that replace ND8006.

I have a preference for a sound relaxed, warm, analog, with a deep bass, I listen only FLAC files with USB disk and no others, so I’am not interested to streamer services.

My actual Marantz match my sound preference, but lack of details, soundstage, etc...

The ideal is upgrade the Newtork streamer, but for what I read on many forums, an exterenal DAC like Gustard R26 or Schiit OG Yggdrsail sound better of every integrated streamer like: Auralyc, Cocktail Audio, Rose, etc.. and apart this is also a cheap option.

To match my sound preference do you suggest to wait the next Marantz models or consider directly an external DAC like Gustard or Schiit ?


Hi arafiq,

I do not use roon. An expense I don’t need.

Inuos pulse mini is fed from ethernet, with the long 25 ft run between router and mini converter to fiber, then back to ethernet.  I wanted strictly a streamer, it can send to many dacs. In the sense app, just choose setting standalone and choose mini out to another dac.. make sure the dac, if using as preamp, is turned down, before connecting.  On pulse mini, choose the dac you want to be playing, must set mini’s volume out to max, and enjoy (i have two dacs I switched between going into preamp..). I have an smsl su-10 for the electronica stuff.. for me some type of music sounds “better” on a delta sigma, while almost all of what I listen to sounds better on r2r.  By the way, you can really hear the difference twixt fast and slow if playing iron maiden or metallica at… unhealthy levels   ;-p   The dac included with the mini will be ok if I ever have an issue with the gustard, so it is a “decent” back up.

The only other “streamer” I’ve ever had was a bluesound node 2i and there is just no comparison there.

I am still exploring all the features of the mini though.  

but, I can for sure say that I am happy with the pulse mini and it doing what I wanted it to do… hardwired network streaming…. nothing else.

And I could not care less what places like asr say, I can hear the difference and I know what is pleasing to me.

Soix is correct (as usual), based on your preference for a warner, analog presentation; I'd highly recommend the Pontus II 12th anniversary R2R DAC. I have had the Pontus II (non 12th anniversary) in my system for a couple of years, and I am in no hurry to upgrade it.....the sound is sublime. Great punch and attack, beautiful vocals, wide and high soundstage (though not as deep), instrument clarity and separation, and not at all harsh or fatiguing. But there are other DACs that are more detailed on top, if that is your thing.

If you then want to take things to another level, you could always add the Denafrips Iris DDC between your streamer and Pontus II with an I2S cable.

Best of luck to you


Did you do the latest update on your Pontus ll?

What are your thoughts?


@curiousjim I have not updated my Pontus yet. I’m a little apprehensive after reading the experiences of some people as reported on the other thread here. Looks like some people disliked it so much that they reverted to the original state.

It sounds so damn good right now that I keep thinking why fix it if it ain’t broke. I’ll probably wait till the dust settles a bit.

The Gustard is a very detailed dac for a R2R I thought it should be much warmer ,natural sounding it was more neutral sounding then expected , the streamer side 

these guys suck at answering emails and slow on needed streamer updates 

the streamer side degraded the dacs performance a bit ,better to use the dacs features imo, my wife had me sell it,the latest blue sound node has a better streamer  just buy for the streamer ,dac not too good.