GUSTARD - R26

R-2R DAC & Network Audio Streamer/Renderer

Sale price₹ 144,999 Regular priceMRP: ₹ 164,999
GET 18% GST INPUT

One of the reasons headphones and earphones in India are more expensive than overseas is because of the Goods & Services Tax in India.

Don't let the GST input go to waste especially if you can avail an offset.

All products sold on Headphone Zone carry a GST compliant invoice and all products sold include an 18% GST.

Simply enter your GST number at the time of checkout.

Browse EMI Plans

Low Cost EMI Options through Credit Cards


Other EMI Options through Credit Cards

Color: Silver

Talk to a Headphone Guru

DELIVERY
Ships in

7 Day Replacement Guarantee

In case you receive the GUSTARD - R26 with a manufacturing defect, please raise a return request within 7 days of delivery.

However, if you receive an incorrect / damaged / different product or one with missing accessories, please raise a return request within 24 hours of delivery. In case you receive a product with a missing, incorrect, or faulty accessory, you will be given a replacement accessory instead of the entire product.

Please make sure that the product is in the original packaging with all the accessories it came with. We'll also need an unboxing video and images of the parcel to investigate about the discrepancy. You may be asked to share images of the product and the packaging received for us to determine the damage or defect prior to approving the return request. The free replacement will be shipped only once the original order is returned.

A replacement will be issued only if:

- It is found to be defective
- It is determined that the product was not damaged while in your possession
- The product is not different from what was shipped to you
- The product is returned in original condition (with brand’s/manufacturer's box, MRP tag intact, user manual, warranty card and all the accessories therein)

READ MORE

Warranty & Services

Don't sweat it, this GUSTARD - R26 comes with a 2 Year warranty from GUSTARD that covers manufacturing defects. All products featured on Headphone Zone are backed by an original manufacturer's warranty.

Read more about GUSTARD's warranty in India.

Club Audiophile

Join Club Audiophile to begin your pursuit of great sound. Earn points and save on every purchase.

READ MORE

Why GUSTARD is Special

🇨🇳

Designed in China

Young Maverick Brand

New on the scene, but bringing seasoned expertise!


This headphone or gear might come from a fresh, up-and-coming brand, but it boasts the quality and innovation of a well-established name.


If you see a product marked as "🥊 Young Maverick Brand”, it means you're getting cutting-edge technology and top-notch performance from a brand that's already making waves in the industry.

Specialist

A masterpiece from the experts who know audio inside and out!


This headphone or gear is crafted by specialists who know their stuff, ensuring every detail is perfect.


If you see a product marked as “🌟 Specialist”, it means you're choosing a device designed by experts who specialize in creating this specific category of device.

Why we love this DAC/Amp

I Am Worth It

Only for the most passionate and discerning audiophiles who want the very best.


Audiophiles desire class-defining products that not only meet their needs but truly blows their expectation in quality and performance.


If you see a product marked with “👑 I Am Worth It," rest assured that it's a timeless investment. Its value cannot be measured with ordinary benchmarks and is an indulgence only for a select few.

Serious Audiophiles Only

Diving deeper into exploring the hobby is never enough.


If you're an audiophile on a hunt for a device that meets your high standards, this is one such headphone or gear designed for discerning audiophiles like you in mind.


If you see a product marked with “🦈 Serious Audiophiles Only" we assure you that this device can match your depth of knowledge and expertise to take your passion for audio to the next level.

Audiophile Community Favourite

This headphone or gear has a seal of approval from our audiophile community.


It is hit among the pickiest of audio enthusiasts. It comes with two thumbs up and is the community’s and one of our favourites.


If you see a product marked as “🦋 Audiophile Community Favourite”, you're in for a sonic treat with top-tier sound quality that will make your ears swoon and elevate your listening experience to new heights!

Our Team's Favourite

Cause after all, we are audiophiles first!


This headphone or gear has won the hearts of our team, standing out as a top pick among our gurus.


If you see products marked as “💙 Our Team’s Favourite”, you're choosing a product that’s been tested, loved, and enthusiastically recommended by our team, giving you confidence that it’s a standout choice!

Incredibly Popular

Some things deserve all the attention.


This headphone or gear is a crowd favourite, winning over fans everywhere with its undeniable audio quality.


If you see products marked as “🥇 Incredibly Popular”, you’re opting for a tried-and-true choice that’s loved by many, ensuring you're getting something that’s proven to be awesome and widely acclaimed.

Use Wirelessly with Bluetooth

Enjoy the convenience of seamless wireless connectivity


This headphone or gear indicates that the product supports wireless connectivity via Bluetooth, freeing you from the tangles of cords and cables.


If you see products marked as “✂️ Use Wirelessly with Bluetooth”, enjoy the freedom to stream music, make calls, and more, all without being tethered to your device, giving you the flexibility to move around and multitask with ease.

Connect With Cable

This device comes with multiple connectivity options. Be sure to check if your source and output support these input and output options.

Built like a Tank

No need to worry about durability.


If you're seeking a headphone or gear with a strong, rugged build, this snapshot indicates that this is the one for you.


If you see a product marked with “🪖 Built like a Tank", it means this product is crafted with metal in its design, ensuring exceptional robustness and durability.

Why it Sounds Amazing

DAC Chip

Know the secret to your pristine audio.


This headphone or gear reveals the secret sauce behind superior audio quality, highlighting the presence of a high-performance DAC chip for pristine sound reproduction.


If you see products marked as “⚙️ DAC Chip”, expect to experience your music with unparalleled clarity, detail, and fidelity, ensuring that every note and nuance is faithfully reproduced for your listening pleasure.

Sampling Rate And Bit Depth

Ever wonder how those ones and zeros on your computer magically transform into the rich melodies that fill your room?


The secret lies in a tiny device called a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC). Think of it as a translator, taking the digital code of your music and meticulously sculpting it back into a smooth, analog wave that your speakers can understand. But just like a sculptor needs the right tools, achieving audio nirvana with a DAC depends on two key factors: sampling rate and bit depth.


Sampling Rate:

Imagine your favourite song as a complex rollercoaster track. The sampling rate refers to how often the DAC takes measurements of this digital track, measured in kHz (kilohertz) or thousands of times per second. A higher sampling rate, like 96 kHz, is like taking a ton of pictures of the track, capturing every twist and turn with incredible detail. Lower rates, like the standard 44.1 kHz used in CDs, are like taking snapshots at a theme park – fun, but you might miss some of the subtler details that make the ride truly exhilarating.


Bit Depth:

Now, think about the sculptor's tools. Bit depth refers to the precision of each measurement the DAC takes. Imagine the number of colours available to the sculptor. With higher bit depth (e.g., 24 bits compared to 16 bits), each measurement can capture a wider range of values. This allows the DAC to recreate subtler variations in the sound wave, resulting in richer and more nuanced audio. It's like having a broader colour palette for building a more detailed and lifelike sculpture of the sound.


INTRODUCING A FULLY DISCRETE FLAGSHIP R-2R DESKTOP DAC - THE GUSTARD R26

Gustard is a company with years of experience in the design of high-end and mid-fi level high-resolution audio equipment. They feature a sizable selection of headphone amplifiers, desktop decoders, etc. Gustard Audio is a Chi-HiFi company that focuses entirely on the digital side of Hi-Fi. Their products are well received by critics, audiophiles and casual listeners around the globe. Headquartered in one of China's leading tech hubs – the city of Shenzhen – Gustard is a company with research and development at its core. Its goal is to provide music fans with high-performance audio products at affordable prices. Gustard introduces their flagship R-2R desktop DAC Gustard R26 which is a streamer and renderer. With its most recent R26, a premium Discrete R-2R Desktop DAC, Gustard has entered the Discrete R-2R market. The R26 has a well-crafted R-2R resistor ladder array and a native 1-Bit DAC architecture that delivers a fantastic performance.

Headphone-Zone-Gustard-R26

SUPPORTS UPNP AND ROON INTERFACE WITH ADDED STREAMER AND RENDERER FUNCTIONALITY

Gustard R26 acts as a streamer or renderer. Currently, it supports UPnP and Roon interface. The audiophile community has taken notice of Roon, a music-playing software from Roon Labs that are available via monthly subscription. Given its support for high-resolution audio, gapless playback, and streaming protocols, it is one of the most complete music playback systems currently on the market. Additionally, it provides Tidal & Qobuz integration and assistance with networking audio devices. It is a music player that seeks to give you access to all of your music through an intuitive interface on your Mac, Windows, or mobile device. Media renderer is another Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) certification that is part of the home network streaming experience. It can play videos, photos and music that are sent to it from a media controller. Multiple protocols or standards known as UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) make it possible for networked hardware components and software programmes to cooperate and communicate without the need for; end-user configuration. For communication and compatibility between UPnP devices and other hardware, such as USB printers, device drivers are not required. The rest of the components can be added, starting with the audio streamer to create an entire audio system.

Headphone-Zone-Gustard-R26
Headphone-Zone-Gustard-R26

LET THE MUSIC FLOW WITH GUSTARD R26 FUSED WITH DISCRETE R-2R DAC ARCHITECTURE

A high-end desktop DAC with excellent performance, the Gustard R26 is intended to elevate your desktop stack to new heights. A discrete R-2R ladder DAC Gustard R26 claims high-performance thanks to a carefully planned R-2R ladder architecture. It is a native 1-Bit DAC that supports DSD signal decoding in its entirety; without converting it to PCM. Gustard R26 features a precisely crafted R-2R ladder DAC array. The R-2R ladder array converts the digital signal to analogue with precision. It offers a more natural sound where the vocals sound more pleasing, and notes sound; soft and well-defined. Gustard has professionally arranged the Resistors here with precision and precise adjustments. The DAC offers high-resolution performance with a native 1-Bit DAC. Gustard R26 has an R-2R resistor ladder array that covers the digital signal into the analogue with clarity and precision. Due to its R-2R architecture using discrete components of very high quality and perfectly optimised offers exceptional sound performance. R-2R architecture converts digital to an analogue signal by switching resistors' arrays. The Gustard R26 produces the same natural sound with precision resistors to reproduce full-range performance.

Headphone-Zone-Gustard-R26
Headphone-Zone-Gustard-R26

TOUCHING HEAVEN ON FREQUENCY RESPONSE AND DELIVERING SUPER-CLEAN PERFORMANCE WITH ULTRA-LOW-NOISE 10M K2 CLOCK SYNTHESISER AND FEMTO CLOCK

Gustard has equipped the R26 with an ultra-low-noise 10M K2 clock synthesiser resulting in a clean performance and eliminating interference from the input source. With clock synthesization, the input signal clock is replaced with precision Femto clock FS jitter oscillators that eliminate interference from the input source clock. LPF (Low Pass Filter) is a discrete device for D/A conversion. Unlike ICs, discrete circuits offer the opportunity to record every nuance of sound and performance. Gustard's engineers were focused solely on reproducing ultra-clean sound without using any additional colouration. The Gustard R26 underwent numerous prototype tests to achieve this goal, and as a result, the R26 was created, reproducing sound with clarity and accuracy.

Headphone-Zone-Gustard-R26
Headphone-Zone-Gustard-R26

PACKED WITH CPLD, NATIVE 1-BIT DAC, AND XMOS CHIP DELIVERING HIGH-RESOLUTION BLUETOOTH STREAMING

The Gustard R26 is a native 1-Bit DAC that supports high-resolution DSD512 natively through the USB input and native DSD1024 via the IIS input. IIS (Inter-IC Sound, pronounced "eye-squared-ess") is an electrical serial bus interface standard; used for connecting digital audio devices. PCM audio data is transmitted using IIS between integrated circuits in an electronic device. The Gustard R26 embedded with XMOS XU216 supports PCM768 (Pulse Code Modulation) and DSD512 (Direct Stream Digital). Without DSD to PCM conversion, a standalone 1-Bit DAC decodes the DSD stream. Gustard R26 features Wireless Bluetooth connectivity for Hi-Res audio signal input. It provides stable, lag-free Bluetooth V5.0 connectivity with high-resolution LDAC, aptX HD, aptX LL, AAC, and SBC wireless transmission codec support with a sampling rate up to 24bit/96kHz. The CPLD (Complex Programmable Logic Device) enables signal routing, clock management, 2nd order PLL, DOP (DSD over PCM) decoding, and Depop for PCM and DSD decoding. Depop, sometimes known as "pop-and-click protection/suppression", usually quantified by pop performance, is a circuit used to take out unwanted pops or click noises. The engineers at Gustard incorporated Depop for PCM in the circuitry, which is a great feature to have, especially if the input or output connection has to be switched during operation or in high-gain circuits, where simply turning the power ON or OFF will cause interference.
Note: The IIS over HDMI is different from the usual HDMI; Please do not connect to the usual HDMI as this is not an HDMI connection.
R26

Headphone-Zone-Gustard-R26
Headphone-Zone-Gustard-R26

ISOLATED DIGITAL AND ANALOG POWER SUPPLY WITH TWO TOROIDAL TRANSFORMERS REDUCING MAGNETIC FLUX LEAKAGE

R26 gets two independent toroidal transformers for the power supply on the device. The analogue and digital circuits get their separate power supply resulting in cleaner performance. The Gustard R26 is equipped with; two audio-dedicated toroidal transformers for audio applications isolating the digital and analogue power supply. Also, independent regulators with various stages of bypass capacitors can avoid all interference. The Gustard R26 was specifically designed; with two audio-dedicated toroidal transformers usually found in power supply systems. This type of transformer is highly efficient and quiet while generating minimal heat. The primary and secondary windings around the core are separated by insulation material. This design minimises magnetic flux leakage. Toroidal transformers provide significant benefits over the traditional square and rectangular-shaped transformers.

Headphone-Zone-Gustard-R26
Headphone-Zone-Gustard-R26
Headphone-Zone-Gustard-R26

EQUIPPED WITH A REMOTE CONTROL FOR EASY OPERABILITY AND THOUGHTFUL INPUT OUTPUTS FOR EASY CONNECTIVITY

The Gustard R26 features USB, Optical, Coaxial, Bluetooth, and AES, an Ethernet port for updating the firmware, IIS HDMI inputs, and clock inputs. AES is generally used to transmit PCM and Dolby Digital 5.1 but is unrelated to any sampling rate or audio standard. Gustard R26 has RCA (Single-ended) and XLR (Balanced) capability for outputs. Support LVDS level differential IIS reception (HDMI interface); it can accept the lowest jitter digital audio! Gustard R26 supports up to 7 input modes, compatible with most audio sources! The Gustard R26 also comes with a fully functional remote for easy operability. The Gustard R26 has a sandblasted aluminium alloy case which makes it sturdy.

Headphone-Zone-Gustard-R26
2 Year Warranty

Don't sweat it, this GUSTARD - R26 comes with a 2 Year warranty from GUSTARD that covers manufacturing defects. All products featured on Headphone Zone are backed by an original manufacturer's warranty.

Read more about GUSTARD's warranty in India.

Affordable Excellence in Audio: The Shenzhen Revelation

Headquartered in one of China's leading tech hubs – the city of Shenzhen – GUSTARD is a company with research and development at its core. Its goal is to provide music fans with high-performance audio products at affordable prices.

GUSTARD is one of those names that has had a strong pull in the audiophile world and are known for their desktop audio solutions, with a particular focus on headphones. Their line-up of products primarily includes headphone amplifiers, DACs, clocks, and recently integrated streaming devices.Gustard is one of the most secretive and mysterious audio equipment manufacturers out there. But GUSTARD sure knows what they are doing when it comes to digital audio. They are known for utilising high-quality components like toroidal transformers, embedding dual DAC chips in a dual-mono configuration and equipping a fully discrete class-A output stage in their gear.

Explore Collection
Headfonics

GOLD AWARD

SoundNews
Aug, 2022

SoundNews

"The best looking Gustard unit to date, it has the perfect size, weight and style, Noise and distortion free unit, it’s dead-silent unit it any situation, A wide selection of digital inputs, including a 10Mhz clock input and an Ethernet port."

Read More



Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
83%
(5)
17%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
Amit Kudchadkar (Mumbai)
Design and Comfort:
Great
Poor
Sound Quality:
Awesome
Awful
Value for Money:
Bang On!
Not at all
Gustard R26, an amazing dac...

One of the best R2R dacs in the market right now, punches way above its price range, a very holographic and detailed sound, great bass impact, a very easy, enjoyable treble, no harshness and great soundstage.

Hey Amit, thank you so much for the awesome review!

Reviewer avatar
Prateek Saini (New Delhi)
DDC is mandatory

The R26 on its own is decent but nothing amazing. As compared to Burson Composer or even a Topping D30 Pro. It does the job well. And an issue is soft sibilance. Especially with dynamic driver headphones. For an R2R DAC, it does not roll off high treble at all. Its ultra revealing. You don’t feel you are lacking anything with this DAC but at the same time its not wowing you. Especially when the Burson DAC has such a crispness to it and no soft sibilance.

However when you plug in the Gustard U18 DDC, not just the R26 but also the Burson DAC are massively upgraded. Instead of buying a new DAC, I would strongly suggest look into a DDC. I am getting lot more definition of notes. It feels I am going down to the surface of the instruments. Bass definition and oomph has come on leaps and bounds. This DDC (I don’t know if other DDCs will have same effect) just seems to enhance the music and sounds. I can literally feel it has super charged the audio signal and everything is bolder & more vivid, and the point where you would hear distortion is pushed higher in the volume range.

Honestly it was difficult to appreciate the R26 on its own, but after U18, its best qualities are very apparent. The sound stage is wide but more importantly, it is arranged in a detailed and precise manner. Sounds which earlier appeared to come from a general area, or even one channel, seem like they are emanating from precise points within each channel. The soundscape is very sprawling and nothing is bleeding onto another. This is apparent in all tracks but on tracks which are well recorded, this is absolutely wonderful. Also a fun headphone like Stellia gives a good resolution with this, but a proper audiophile headphone like Audio Technica R70X is where all these above qualities of R26 are easily apparent. (Re R70X, I would say not only is it miles better than HD650, it deserves to be where HD800S is).

The R26 now has a crispy timbre to it, which is close to Burson’s timbre. The kind of timbre that usually comes from Planar Magnetics & Beryllium drivers, which Dynamic drivers like HD800S or even R70X, cannot produce.
Whereas earlier there was soft sibilance which sounds fuzzy, now there is a slight brightness. Of course a planar will sound even more incredible & crispy on it. I cannot wait to pair this DDC enhanced DAC with the Susvara.

Regarding the Burson’s upgrade because of U18 - the bass is phenomenally taut, which it struggled with earlier. (So much so it made me doubt the Susvara’s bass performance). The clarity & definition are also enhanced in the same manner for the Burson DAC too. Crispness is off the charts. There is zero sibilance. The soundstage is still blurred as compared to R26.

All my headphones & speakers are genuinely upgraded with the Gustard U18 DDC.

I would not say I agree with the theory behind why DDCs improve sound - timing information & jitter reduction etc. (I am playing 256kbps AAC at 44.1 khz Apple Music on Windows PC) I just feel that the DDC is boosting the signal and giving you a level of clarity which you don’t expect to hear. Simply increasing the volume of a DAC or Amp, sans DDC DOES NOT give this feeling of enhanced clarity and definition. Doing so increases volume but also noise & distortion. Which is not apparent on its own originally, but as compared to DDC, it certainly is!

The 1 thing in audio that wowed me the most and had the biggest impact on me is Hifiman Susvara (सुस्वरा). Gustard U18 is definitely the second best.

I still strongly feel, its the job of the DAC which the DDC is doing. Companies want to make multiple products so they can charge high for each one, rather than an all in DAC(source). But there has got to be some DACs which already have this mechanism built in and don’t need DDC. Maybe the Chord or Holo Audio DACs. But for most others, this is absolutely brilliant.

M
Murali Jothi (Chennai)
Excellent R2R DAC

Superb DAC at this price point with good sound stage and instruments isolation.It’s an all rounder R2R DAC which can beat even pricey DACs with its built in streaming capability

Hey Murali, thanks a lot for your amazing review!

S
Santosh Kumar (Delhi)
Gustard R26

On initial listen the DAC appeared to be very dynamic and transparent. The is my first R2R DAC and the sound quality appears to be much different and more analog type compared to my earlier DACs. Will get final impressions after using 100 to 150 hours. But on initial listen appears to be a very good DAC
Thanks to Headphone Zone for a quick and efficient delivery.

Hey Santosh, thank you so much for the amazing feedback! It means a lot to us. We are so happy to hear that you are loving our products and services.

A
Aditya Bharadwaj (Bengaluru)
Design and Comfort:
Great
Poor
Sound Quality:
Awesome
Awful
Value for Money:
Bang On!
Not at all
Great tone and immense detail

Elevates listening experience, excellent detail with good source material. Movie experience is fabulous too.

Coming from a Denafrips Ares 2, I feel this was a worthy buy. The Gustard R26 is very musical, has refined treble and loads of detail that Ares 2 does not have, but the Ares 2 has lifelike tone and timbre.

Of course, the Gustard R26 may very well develop a lifelike tone and timbre after a couple of hundred hours of “burn-in” but I may not be able to post a review then as there is limited time to post reviews here. :|

PS: Gustard Support team have sent me a new firmware which supposedly supports Spotify connect, haven’t tested yet. On the existing firmware dates 15th Nov 2022, Airplay and DLNA playback working very well.

Hey Aditya, thank you so much for the awesome review!

You may also like