May 24, 2018311 views

Gustard H20A vs other balance options...

I am looking for a balanced dac/amp combo. I’ve been eyeing the at Aune S6 and the Jotunheim+Dac module as well as the Gustard H20A. I’ve not managed to find anywhere to audition any of these so I am leaning heavily in reviews and the audiophile community for some help. I am leaning towards the H20A to power HD650s, AKG K702 and a few other cans. in terms of music, I have an eclectic collection from classical, to pop to metal [depending on the mood]. Any thoughts/ opinions?
I saw that MD dropped the H20 but I hope they can eventually get the H20A...

What's your use case, if you are aren't opposed to separates I'm thoroughly enjoying my Cayin IHA-6 that I pair with a Teac UD-501. As far as dac/amp combos I've been looking to the PS Audio Stellar GCD, the Benchmark DAC3 and Mytek Brooklyn+ for their pre-amp capabilities in addition to the DAC front. I don't see myself swapping SS amps for quite some time, this thing works wonders on the HE-500.
Use case is primarily to drive headphones (in OP) for music listening. I do have monitors I could drive (Audioengine A5+) but that is a ‘nice to have’. I’ve been looking at integrated DAC/AMPs primarily to keep things physically compact. The Questyle CMA600i looks nice but out of my Price range. I am in Canada so have to multiply the prices by ~1.3.
Any or any interest in planar magnetic headphones? Desktop or rack/shelf use? Questyle is a nice piece of kit as well. So more options for the list since the Questyle (and thus the ones I listed) are out of budget: Audeze Deckard TEAC UD/NT-503 Schiit Jotunheim THX x MD AAA Amplifier - if it comes back, still several months out from the ship date (this one leaves room in the budget for a DAC)
I honestly don't think you could go wrong with the Gustard or any of the options I've listed. I absolutely love my Cayin, it works well with my HE500, HD650 and Elex. The SE output is 10 ohms and there is no splitting/summing circuit so SE to SE and Bal to Bal only.
Given you're new to this (it sounds like you are?) getting an Aune S6 or Jot is definitely a better starting point. The Jot is a very good value product, you get a lot for the price you pay, my main issue with the Jot is when paired with the HD650 or K702, the forward treble is quite obvious and can be fatiguing. Forward treble isn't as much of an issue out of the Jot's SE output, but you lose all refinement with it.
My issue with Gustard is an ethical one (oh boy I'll probably get flamed for this), they seem to only copy other company's products. Companies like Violectric and Cavalli Audio spends all the money on R&D, and comes along Gustard just rips off those designs for a cheaper price. It's no wonder their value is hard to beat.
For the same reason I won't buy this clone (, if it sounds as good as the original, it will obliterate anything Gustard has to offer.
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This is the Chinese modus operandi, ie, wait for others to do the hard work, then steal it. It's disgusting, really.
Except they don't really 'rip' off the design. Gustard does seem to do things based on other units, but they do approach it in their own way. That clone you posted is a blatant rip off of a V281, something I would never consider buying. A Gustard H10 doesn't look like the V200 it is said to be inspired by: physically it's VERY different looking (would never be confused with a V200), it is only a Class A amp (no DAC), has 2 independant power supplies, and by all accounts (including owners of the V200) is the better sounding amp.
I have issue with blatant Chinese rip offs, but I have no issue with companies that may draw inspiration from other products but produce their own unique product. Gustard is the latter.
I see no blatant copy or rip off...unless being a box with a knob is a rip off:

Hi there
I have owned the a20h and thought it was a very nice sounding dac amp it seems a little on the warmer side than when I had the Burson conductor. In terms of driving them headphones it would easily do that I have the hd600 and they sounded very nice with the Gustard. I suspect for most people it's endgame.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I am ready to take the plunge at this point. It would be nice if Massdrop offered it at some point. I am in no rush.
Thanks again @Azamonde
No worries always best to wait for the best bargain :) hopefully they offer it soon.