Gustard R26

Is anyone else looking forward to the reviews coming out on the Gustard R26 r2rDac? I am interested to see if it can compete with the Holo Spring at a lower price point. How will it stand up to the other r2r dac’s out there right now. It does present well and is feature rich right out of the box. Is it a true proprietary resistor board or is it off the shelf and tweaked? I know the other Gustard equipment is well received and liked so my hopes are high for this as well.


@jjss49 I ended up returning the R26 and kept the Pontus II in my second system. Honestly speaking, they were both excellent and I could have lived happily with either one. The R26 had a wider soundstage and better treble. But in the end, I preferred the slightly fuller, weightier sound signature of Pontus. It just sounded a bit more organic to me. But as I said, the differences were subtle at best. 

The streamer in R26 is just average in my opinion. If I was buying the R26, the streamer would not factor in my decision. But the DAC function is excellent and can compete with more expensive DACs. I can see someone preferring the R26 over Pontus depending on their preferences.

I know a few who have added a Leo Bodnar external clock to the Gustard R26, which makes a significant improvement.

@arafiq  did you allow for the two hundred hours of burn in for the r26? This is when it hits its stride. Also interesting with your streamer comment as a vast majority of owners have stated that the streamer function of the r26 is one of its top attributes. Most have built up the front end of the streaming chain along with Plato g with setting in HQ player and Jplay much better than mconnect. So interested in your chain when you say the streamer did not impress. Not doubting your ears as they are yours and not mine. What I love most about this hobby is nothing is a one size fits all. Enjoy the music!

@sgreg1 I kept the DAC for almost 3 weeks. I believe I put in excess of 150 hours on the DAC. Like I said, I really liked the DAC but the Pontus II just edged it out ever so slightly. 

As for streamers, I tried it with the built-in streamer, a Bluesound Node, and an Aavik streamer. The R26 streamer was about as good as the BS Node but not better. My point is that you're still better off with a separate streamer if you're trying to extract more performance out of your system. Having said that, it does compete well with sub $500 streamers. So for those looking for a great DAC and streamer combo under $2K, the R26 should be on the top of your list.

Just picked up a like new used R26.  Very nice easy to set up component.  (Sonic transporter roon-ethernet-Fmc-opt cable-Fmc-ethernet-R26-amp) Sound quality is fantastic no matter the price.  On my system I was finding it with the default settings too bright and not as real sounding as I am used to and prefer with prior DAC/Streamer.  Detail, separation  and soundstage were exceptional.  After playing with the settings and turning NOS and DSD settings on it improved considerably.  Also, switching from high quality silver plated OCC ethernet cables to nice quality basic copper CAT 8 made an additional improvement.  We’ll see how more time listening plays out.  Anyone else experience this minor brightness challenge?