Gustard/Audalytic AH90 Review

Audalytic AH90 review featured

In this post, I’m reviewing the Gustard/Audalytic AH90 Streamer, DAC and Headphone amp. The AH90 features an AK4191+AK4499 and it supports up to DSD512, PCM768 and MQA. It’s priced at $599.

Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Shenzhen Audio for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product.

Gustard/Audalytic AH90 Review
Verdict
Add your rating here!17 Votes
Pros
Rich and dynamic sound
Accuracy and clarity
Great headphone amp section
Cons
Display text could be larger
No native app
No wireless connectivity
4
Our Score

Gustard/Audalytic AH90

Audalytic AH90 in the box
In the Box
  • Gustard/Audalytic AH90
  • Remote control
  • Power cable
  • User manual
AH90 top view

Design

Like most Gustard products, the Audalytic AH90 has a robust and pragmatic exterior design. It’s available in either black or silver. The aluminium chassis has a smooth matte finish.

On the front panel are (from left to right): the capacitive Power/mute button, a display screen, a 6.35mm headphone output, a 4.4mm headphone output and a step-less volume knob/button.

At the back I/O panel there are (from left to right): balanced XLR outputs, RCA line outputs, coaxial inputs, an optical input, a USB-C input, a LAN input, a bridge input, a DC12V input and a power supply input.

The display shows information such as the current selected input method and volume. Again, like most Gustard devices, the screen text is tiny, making it a bit difficult to read unless you’re close to it. Users can access the system menu via the remote or by pressing the volume knob.

Internals & Features

Internally, the Audalytic AH90 boasts an AK4499EX DAC and AK4191 modulator combo plus XMOS XU316 that supports up to PCM 768kHz, DSD512 and MQA 8X. It utilizes a CK01 clock module for jitter reduction and 2 OPA1612 high-performance, dual-channel operational amplifier (op-amp).

AH90 has 2 gain modes and independent switches for the headphone and line outputs. Furthermore, it has an independent power supply and grounding for each channel. The SNR of the AH90 is an impressive 129dB.

When it comes to streaming, the AH90 supports Roon Bridge, UPnP and HQPlayer NAA with more protocols to be added in the future via firmware updates. However, it’s important to note that the Audalytic AH90 does not come with any built-in or mobile streaming app so you’ll need to use UPnP, DLNA or other software streaming services integration such as Tidal Connect and Spotify Connect.

My Test Setup

For testing, I had the AH90 plugged into my network via an ethernet cable. In addition, it was connected to my PC via the USB-C port for direct playback as a DAC/headphone amplifier. I also tested the line out with my Burson Funk and NHT C3s.

Rear I/O panel

Sound

AH90 provides a clean, noise-free signal. The SNR contributes to a wide dynamic range, allowing for both subtle nuances and powerful peaks in the music to be clearly articulated. The DAC prioritizes accuracy, detail, and clarity while maintaining a low noise floor, leading to captivating and high-fidelity audio.

The Audalytic AH90 delivers exceptional clarity and detail. This translates to nuanced and precise sound with intricate details across the frequency range and a captivating rendition of music across various genres.

In Ludovico Einaudi’s emotional composition, Nuvole Bianche, the AH90 presents an expansive and meticulously organized soundstage. It injects a sense of dynamism and rhythmic coherence into the mix.

Transitioning to Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, the AH90 effortlessly navigates between Pharrell Williams’ energetic vocals and the track’s infectious beats. It brings forth an engaging sense of groove and timing, allowing the song to pulsate with energy and movement, showcasing the AH90’s ability to capture the song’s essence.

Exploring diverse genres, the AH90 elevates Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb, unveiling layers of intricate details with dexterity and clarity. It handles the song’s intricate guitar work and ethereal vocals with flair, presenting a wide soundstage and tonal accuracy.

As the AH90 continues to reveal its multifaceted capabilities, it immerses me in a dynamic rendition of Kendrick Lamar’s King Kunta, effortlessly handling the track’s intricate mix of punchy beats and articulate vocals. Its ability to balance the song’s energy and musicality while maintaining precision and clarity is commendable.

Audalytic AH90 from behind

Verdict

Gustard has delivered another fantastic audio device with the Audalytic AH90. In terms of audio quality, it can go toe-to-toe with any other streamers in its price range. It has a rich, dynamic and detailed sound that will keep you coming back for more. That combined with the convenience of the built-in headphone amplifier makes it a compelling proposition for any audiophile’s desktop.

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