Gustard R26 Review

Gustard R26 Review

---- UPDATE to review 28 October ----

I have recently had a number of customers requesting C2 clock cables and C18 Master clocks; and with the ongoing requests for my opinion on how good the R26 is I decided to find out by putting it to the test:

I run a few experiments in an attempt to extract the absolute most from R26 and find out what its capable of: 'Please note, this is a subjective based test and not measurement based'.

- In order to extract the most from the r26 the following criteria were meet.
1. supply digital front end with appropriate power quality
2. reduce vibration resonance (especially important for equipment with crystal oscillators)
3. Optimise the digital front end equipment and cabling 

Tests were carried out in a reference room/system comprising of a pair modified ANK SET Monoblock amplifiers with modified ANK mentor signature preamp and Kharma Speakers.

After trying every possible way to connect the R26 the best sound was obtained from the following digital front end configuration:

Optus Fastmile 5G mobile broadband router fed with LPS -> Furutech Lan 8 Network cable -> Optical transmitter TX fed with super capacitor / LPS and separately powered TXCO ->
Single mode fiber cable 15m run -> Optical receiver RX fed with LPS -> - Furutech Lan 8 Network cable-> Modified Silent Angle Bon 8 Pro Network switch -> Neotech OCC Silver network cable ->
Soundaware D2 ( Roon core ) -> Soundaware D2 (cleannet network out) -> Neotech OCC Silver network cable -> Lan input on R26 'R26 & Network switch were both connected to the 10mhz feed from the C18 Master clock using Gustard C2 BNC cables.

(Power supply to system comprised of Three 40 amp dedicated lines with an ultra low capacitance extreme isolation transformer feeding digital front end.
All supporting front end electronics are on limestone bases supported by Bocchino Technologies Mecado's, Pure Silver DC cables and Power cables.

Several ways of connecting the R26 were tested, including I2s from DDC, from dedicated transport, USB direct, Coax and Optical from DDC and from transport and so on.  the best result by far! was when using R26 as a roon endpoint via its Lan input fed from the second "Cleannet out" Ethernet port on the Soundaware D2. 

 - Comparisons were against a: Denafrips Terminator 2, Matrix S-Sabre Pro, SMSL SU10 & Musician Aquarius dacs with similar performance figures and price points.

The result?.. Absolutely astounding.....

------     Stay tuned for detailed results (coming soon)   ------


Gustard R26, C18 Clock, Soundaware D2

 ------- Previous Post --------

I sat down again today to listen to the Gustard r26 R2R DAC, it's been on 24/7 for over a week now since being taken out of box;

why?? Well It did not sound very good at first; being familiar with discrete components and associated burn in period I paitenty waited, well today, ohh my.. wow... it was worth it, several times I found myself going to check again that I wasn't listening to the Denafrips terminator II or Musician Aquerius that have both been set up to benchmark the r26 against as well as a Musician pegasus and, Denafrips Pontus 11 of which the Gustard r26 surpassed in tonal realism & clarity as well as 'complex layering and width of stage' most noticeable during playback of higher definition recordings. 

I will let this DAC burn in further and then run more tests So... if you thinking about getting this DAC stay tuned, more testing with updates are to come shortly! 

Gustard R26 review A+++
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Hi Aaron, I am curious why you are using the Soundaware D2 as effectively a network purifier “relay” and presumably using the R26 as the streamer (i.e. why not use the clean USB out from the Soundaware D2 – since it is a specialist tool)?
I am guessing that you are doing this maybe because the D2 needs a physical screen/keyboard and by using the D2 as a purified network relay you can then use a phone/tablet as the Roon “remote” on the R26 ?

Awesome support/engagement btw… I spoke to you some time ago about Little Dot valve amps and you gave generous advice. My interest is in the R26 now.



Hello, do you have an opinion after several weeks? Thanks !


Sorry “great” not “gray” comparisons — bottom line is very very favorable in terms of dynamics, tonality, resolution and stage after a significant period of burn-in, and a great development in particular as it can stream via LAN streaming services including Roon, BubbleUpNp etc. As well as the aforementioned capabilities to transmit I2S via a DDC and accept external clock input.


Hey down under pals,
There is a lengthy thread about this DAC on Head-Fi, while not formal reviews there are a number of gray A/B comparisons. Pls see


Heard good things about this dac all around. Hi Aaron, any chance to test and report on the R26 dac with the U18 DDC and the C18 10M Master clock connected up via i2s?


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