Gustard A26 Review By Euphoric Audio

Gustard A26 Review By Euphoric Audio

A titan in its price range.

What can I say, I love it when anything I buy punches above its price class when it comes to performance. I’m sure there are many out there who can agree. The price to performance ratio is not an easy thing to nail, let alone exceptionally deliver. Gustard has done a fantastic job in recent years when it comes to producing gear that competes with much more expensive options. They got it right with x18, x26 pro, r26, and now I’m happy to report the same for A26. Let’s now dive into what makes the A26 such a titan at its price, and what makes it special.

Build Quality and Features:

All I can say is that the A26 is built like a tank. It has a very sturdy construction, and it has a very nice matte finish in either the black or silver. The OLED screen featured is very clear and you can easily see everything on the screen. Text is sharp and very readable. I do wish the screen got a little brighter, but it’s fine, nonetheless. This is a balanced DAC, so you have the option to connect it to an amp via XLR, and of course RCA is an option as well. You can connect a digital source to the DAC either using IIS, USB, LAN, COAX, AES, or OPTICAL. You have 6 PCM filters, 2 DSD filters, and DSD Direct mode built into this unit. I would recommend trying out the 6 PCM modes, to tailor this DAC to your liking. Roon bridge is built in which is a nice quality of life feature, and I found this improved the sound quality further. The A26 features dual AK4499EX & AK4191 DAC Chips as well, and I prefer these to the ESS chips found in the X series of Gustard DAC’s. This unit also comes with a black remote, which is beneficial for the ease of operation of this DAC. Now let’s examine what makes the A26 really special in the sound portion.

Sound Quality:

It’s hard for me to pinpoint where to start because this DAC is so good, and it’s really showing Topping and SMSL how to properly do delta sigma.

Bass on the A26 is both fast and hard hitting. Low end sub bass is well extended and well rounded, and it’s very satisfying indeed. What is noticeable over cheaper DAC’s, is how good the bass positioning or imaging is. It has a fantastic stereo image in this department, and you can really tell exactly where the bass was mixed in a given track. Whether it was mixed left or right, and above or under you, it doesn’t matter it excels.

The Midrange performance of this DAC is perhaps my favorite element of it. Vocals on this unit are spectacular, because it’s natural and organic sounding. It doesn’t seem to suffer from sounding dry like some other delta sigma DAC’s. Vocals are not quite as smooth like some other R2R units, but it’s convincing. Vocals are presented accurately and with good texture. I don’t feel as though I’m missing any information when it comes to a singers vocals. Vocals have a very clear center image. Instruments sound engaging and dynamic, and the positioning of them is spectacular. I love how stringed instruments and synths in particular sound on A26, it’s a blast to listen to for sure. Soundstage on this unit is decently wide but with great depth, and the imaging is top class especially in this price bracket. This DAC at no point to me sounded congested and that is a plus, especially since separating midrange elements for me is so hard to nail. A lot of delta sigma DAC’s fall flat in the midrange for me and sound lifeless, but A26 just so happens to avoid that, which is great news for everyone.

The treble region is the area I tend to have the most issues with delta sigma DAC’s. The treble in most cases can be sterile and offensive in my experience. A26 may have slight sibilance in this region, but it is in no way offensive or sterile, rather it is energetic with plenty of details. Imaging when it comes to placing higher frequencies is spectacular, and high hats seem to appear from thin air.

All the little imperfections in a mix are present without being overwhelming, but it doesn’t smear over the information which is important. Static and ticks and pops in the mix really are displayed, but not in an annoying or off-putting manner. I will say that the treble region may slightly be this DAC’s weakness, but only if you pair it with a cool or bright amp. If you pair it with something on the neutral to neutral-warm side, it’s absolutely sublime.

Technical performance:

Ok the technical performance for the price of A26 is absolutely insane, simply put. It has incredibly resolving and transparent, so you can really dive deep into the mix. Imaging, layering, and soundstage are great. Timbre is good, it could be a tad better, but if you value that heavily, Gustard R26 is an option. Still I don’t have any major complaints with the timbre on A26, it’s still quite good, and on certain genres of music it’s great. Now let’s explore the best synergy for this DAC, in my honest opinion and experience.


Now I must say right off the bat, I prefer this DAC on a neutral to warmer amp. It sounds fine on brighter amps, but it can be a bit sibilant. It’s not horrible, but just something to note. I loved this unit with the Singxer SA1, Asgard 3, Jotunheim 2, GSX mini, and Holo Bliss. I would also like to mention that this DAC would be nice with some tube amps as well, to balance out the sound a bit.


Overall, I really love the A26. I can see it being a one of the best recommendations at this price point. It offers great build quality and features that can suit multiple types of user preferences. I love its balanced tonality, and the technical performance that it offers. This DAC can easily compete with other units in the 3-4k range, and I think it’s an amazing value. I would give this DAC a euphoric score of a 9 out 10 for sure. Thanks for tuning in.