Budget AUNE X8 DAC with Opamps rolling experience / review

Budget AUNE X8 DAC with Opamps rolling experience / review

#hifi #DACs #audiophile #stereo #audioreviews #highfidelity

Non-affiliated link to Hifigo
AUNE X8 HIFI DAC Audio Decoder ES9038Q2M USB DAC Amp DSD512

Non-affiliated link to Burson Opamps

Supreme Sound Opamp V6

Equipment used to evaluate AUNE X8

Audio Research LS25
Mcintosh C47

——–Integrated amps—————————————
Yamaha WXA50
Audio Refinement Integrated amp

——–Power amps———————————————
Mcintosh MC302
Lumin AMP
XTZ Edge

———–Speakers ———————————————-
Silverline Sonata speakers
Qacoustic 3050i
Focal 905
Wharfedale Elysian 4
Focal Sopra 2
PMC DB1 Gold

Track: Left Alone — Airixis [Audio Library Release] Music provided by Audio Library Plus
Watch: https://youtu.be/D_wNAbsr5Vs
Free Download / Stream: https://alplus.io/left-alone

Waited (instrumental) by RYYZN https://soundcloud.com/ryyzn
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
Free Download / Stream: http://bit.ly/al-waited
Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/jJg0_gG-nCc


  1. Lars Vedder on October 7, 2020 at 11:00 pm

    Hi Thomas, was the combination of Aune X8 and XTZ Edge, that you liked the best, without changing the standard opamp of the X8?

  2. Stanny1 on October 7, 2020 at 11:01 pm

    You need to compare with the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital DAC that sells for a similar price.. It does MQA and DSD.

  3. kuisin88 on October 7, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    Man… I love Wharfedale speakers behind you.

  4. Man tas on October 7, 2020 at 11:03 pm


  5. NosTubes58 on October 7, 2020 at 11:04 pm

    And it definitely felts the Focal’s even more…..

  6. Ace of Spades on October 7, 2020 at 11:11 pm

    Great review! If you’re looking for more budget friendly Dacs for review here is a short list: Soncoz LA-QXD1($200 & balanced) , SMSL SU-9 ($430), Schiit Modius ($200), Schiit Bifrost 2 ($700)… If you want to do a few R2R Dacs in the MidFi range then MHDT Orchid & Holo Spring 2 Lvl 2 or KTE would also be nice options. Even Holo Audio May KTE would be super awesome!

  7. De Buschauffeur on October 7, 2020 at 11:11 pm

    When you do a give away?

  8. Peter Masse on October 7, 2020 at 11:12 pm

    Hey Thomas do you like Bat products

  9. yaaa ta on October 7, 2020 at 11:13 pm

    Hi Thomas ACOUSTIC ENERGY AE509 vs B&W
    702 S2 Which speaker is better? Thank you

  10. NosTubes58 on October 7, 2020 at 11:13 pm

    Great one Thomas……., as I just sent several friends of mine a letter stating I was going to buy one of these, I’ll be pursuing the Burson V5 op amp for mine. Like minded as always.

    Thanks dude.

  11. bizyz on October 7, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    how do those new model wharfedale speakers sound?

  12. craoui on October 7, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    I own a topping D50s witsh come with LME49720NA/NOPB ans I replace it with BURSON AUDIO SUPREME SOUND OPAMP V5i AOP Double Hybride DIP8 and the result was:

    With the Burson we actually notice quite significant changes on certain instruments, in particular the bass drum or the snare drum, making them more percussive, more energetic, the strings are also transformed in the same way. Is it good or bad I am unable to say it, but it is sure that it "slams" a little more with the Burson and all the "effects" added to the music are a little more "marked"

    but too audiophile product, lack of openness, room ambiences, instruments are well reproduced but with a certain restraint, lack of readability in extremes, lack of naturalness, disappointing ……….
    The LME 49720 HA, is more exuberant (maybe too much ……), but much more realistic on the stamps and the restitution of the different recording places, more lively, faster.

    My next move is going to try a SPARKOS LABS SS3602 AOP Discret Double DIP8

    anybody have try it????

  13. killahtomata on October 7, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    Hey Thomas, maybe you review the Teac ud 301? Teac products are rare on youtube! Also the digital Amplifiers are interesting i think!

  14. Stoica Robert on October 7, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    Ideea! We all lisen ower sistems from 1000€ to multimilion $ sistem. The problem that i see is that i dont know how to navigate in cable optiona. I know that i need to spend around xxx€ at least but where is deminesing return and for wath tipe of sistems. With exemples critical with minutes etc. I know will be a lot of work tu i think a lot of audiophiles have this problem …. iven if they dont know . Sorry for my en

  15. Masterly L on October 7, 2020 at 11:16 pm

    Aune 8X is an Opamps tester.

  16. Doan Trinh on October 7, 2020 at 11:16 pm

    So just charge $400 with the better opamp and be done with it.

  17. Ruud Stet on October 7, 2020 at 11:18 pm

    Look at the exploding comment section. Bullseye! I fully agree. For a tube guy like me, rolling a dac that hasn’t even got tubes. HEAVEN! and an fpga as well. Oh dear, itching to hit the buy button.

  18. Precision Colors on October 7, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    Thomas, you are now starting to knock on the door of DIY HiFi. If you want to open that door, then you will discover that all things matter, PCB design and layout, the performance of the power supply, the implementation of the circuit and also the individual components used as well.
    When it comes to op amps, most of the newer better ones that are "off the shelf" cannot be purchased as fitting into the sockets provided. Three important popular ones that need to be considered by your viewers should be the LME49720 or identically the LM4562, the OPA1612 , and the OPA1656. All these are far better than the OPA2134 or the generic NE5532. To use these, you will need to have them mounted on small adapters which sometimes can detract from performance. Here is the future conundrum, better up to date circuits/products will not have the large sockets because these large sockets and traces are in themselves a compromise on performance. So essentially a modern circuit using a dual op amp socket is itself likely already compromised. Op amps circuits when implemented properly "generally" are OK for rolling. Some are better suited for certain applications than others. When you hear a distinct significant tonal change or too much high frequency, you should be concerned about instability of the new op amp in that circuit. Op amps DO sound different but NOT significantly so. Unstable circuits can sometimes lead to instability down the chain leading to burnt out tweeters that no longer tweet or even amplifiers burning up. Higher performing op amps tend to be more unstable when improperly implemented. Op amp rolling is fun, but pay attention to what you are doing and what to look out for.

  19. DH on October 7, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    Hi Thomas, I see you’ve been into tubes lately, and this speaker does extraordinarily well with tubes. I wrote a review. Perhaps you could try a pair? They’re an extraordinary value from a mensch maker.

  20. Hwirt Wirt on October 7, 2020 at 11:29 pm

    The Burson replacements are using discrete components mounted to a circuit board with a pin header that plugs into a conventional integrated circuit op-amp socket. That accounts for the difference in size and may be the reason there is a perceived difference in sound. It would be interesting to measure the characteristics of these discrete operational amplifiers to see if they deviate slightly from an ideal flat response.

  21. Venus Kuiya on October 7, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Thomas! Are the new Yamahas or Onkyo receivers faring better than the Marantz ? Are they missing new connectivity features..

  22. bvocal on October 7, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    Sparkos discrete opamps are very pure and clean, and will also stick out the bottom of this unit. Muses01 opamps are smooth and pure in their ‘Japanese sound’ way. Those are generally my two most used opamps here in my lodge. These two options are not cheap, good thing about this DAC is you only need one, which might mean the opamp is in the buffer position. In that case you might like a MUSES02, but it is very much it’s own beast, tonally speaking. I like some Burr Brown opamps, but there seems to always be something about each model I’ve got that isn’t to my liking.

  23. SFG on October 7, 2020 at 11:33 pm

    Hi Thomas, I hope you are well, thanks for all the great content! I am in the market for a dac under $500. I believe is a dac has multiple imputs and volume control it’s a DAC and pre amp, whoever phono pre amps have neither. hahaha, HIFI is funny that way!

  24. Peter Masse on October 7, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    You should check out Aragon 8008mk3 it rocks

  25. paul kimura on October 7, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    I always look forward to your reviews, Thomas. I have some V6 Vivids on the way for my Gustard P26 PreAmp. I’m looking forward to see what effect it has!

  26. Eric Leport on October 7, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    I wonder if this is comparable to the DAC inside one of my Bluesound Node 2i?

  27. Tobbie Tsai on October 7, 2020 at 11:35 pm

    Great review, Thomas. Thanks.

  28. Chris Harper on October 7, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    Stuck in the dollars and cents rabbit hole I see. Interesting, the much less expensive Topping D30 uses the same OPA2134 op-amp as used in the X8. And instead of spending $85 for a discrete op-amp replacement, try something like the LME4920 from TI. They’re in stock at Digi-Key for $2.68 each. I think it improved my D30.

  29. Simon Irvine on October 7, 2020 at 11:37 pm

    Interesting Thomas……

  30. Doug G on October 7, 2020 at 11:37 pm

    Y’all getting all mad scientist over there:)

  31. Raphael Yen on October 7, 2020 at 11:38 pm

    1:23 …ok-lah! Lol

  32. carlos oliveira on October 7, 2020 at 11:38 pm

    Op amp rolling just demonstrates what real audiophiles have been saying all along in that everything changes the sound. Some parts even measure identically yet sound different.

  33. Thomas & Stereo on October 7, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    Non-affiliated link https://hifigo.com/collections/aune/products/aune-x8-hifi-dac-audio-decoder-es9038q2m-usb-dac-amp-dsd512
    Also if you plan to check out Burson’s opamps, make sure you get a Dual opamp for this unit and not single.

  34. a Mensch und ka Vich on October 7, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    …80eus on Ebay…dac box fl…with the Burmester Chips inside. .🤤😋

  35. HiFiGO Audio on October 7, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    Thank you for your well detailed review Thomas!!

    Loved your in-depth comparison with the Burson opamps too, from the comparison at the end of the video with Burson opamps the X8 sounds smooth to my ears as compared to the stock setup. In my opinion the X8 is a very capable DAC that produces an uncoloured raw sound output.

  36. Leo Lleiten on October 7, 2020 at 11:40 pm

    Have you hear about the Maverick Audio D1? Any of you? It’s a Dac-Tube preamp, you can swap opamps for the preamp and headphone amp. ALSO, you can change the tubes. Sold on eBay from China, about 200 bucks. Still the same company I bought mine from 19 years ago. I have 6 different opamps (stereo and mono, via adapters) and four different tubes… for now 😬
    Thing is, You can totally tell that you changed something in the system, it’s not better, it’s not worst, it’s different!!
    Please Thomas, if you can get one, for others to know that it exist.
    I don’t have the skills for a review..

  37. Gilad Kingsley on October 7, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    "I’d like to tell you a story"

  38. Doug G on October 7, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    Thomas! Get some Pink Floyd man

  39. Bunnyslippers on October 7, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    Oh man…Thomas. Now I got to buy this dac to pair with my tube headamp. Top end tilted up would make the imaging better on my Cayin Ha-1a.

    Dammit Thomas. I already have to many dacs. I only buy affordable dacs. I am already eyeing the Schiit Modius. I got the HRT music streamer3 for the bedroom. Dragonfly Black for on the go. Oehlbach usb Bridge at the office. PowerDac V2 for PS4.

    Stop it😭

  40. VickyLovesHeadphones on October 7, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    Thanks for another great review, Thomas!

    From all the DACs you’ve been reviewing lately, I have personal experience only with TOPPING D90 and Burson Composer.

    According to AudioScienceReview, the best measuring DAC currently on the market is Matrix Audio X-SABRE Pro. It is being sold on Apos Audio and Shenzhen Audio for $1,999, which for me is the next step above a budget DAC. Measurements aside, I am actually really interested to know if paying twice the price of TOPPING D90 will result in a significant audible difference.

    Would you like to review the Matrix Audio X-SABRE Pro and compare it to TOPPING D90? I’d be happy to send a few emails to the retail stores mentioned above, to see if they can send you a review sample. Please let me know.

  41. wassim alouach on October 7, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    Another great review Thomas. If you tried Aune x8 (299 $) + Aune xp2 (99$ linear power supply ) + sparkos ss3602 op amp ( 79 $ it’s better that burson vivid opamp ) ==> you will feel the magic of this dac (For me is better than topping d90)

  42. Vincent Chen on October 7, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    Interesting in audio means many things to many people. When we hear interesting usually in life it means potentially bad news. But interesting audio usually means possibilities and compromises. Op Amp tinkering is fun. If you can get a variety so you can Op Amp "rolling". LOL. Geez, I am daft. I think it is fun to do. I wonder about thermals with the unit running upside down if there are any issues for reliability in the long term. I have been watching Aune for some time. Never pulled the trigger. I may someday just for fun. $300.00 doesn’t scare too many people away either.

  43. Michael Mityok on October 7, 2020 at 11:45 pm

    Wow, think about it, $300 for this DAC plus $200 for op-amps, $500 for the XTZ amp, and $500 for these Q-Acoustics or maybe the new ELAC Un-Fi 2.0s, and say $800-1000 for a high quality bridge with power supply and a Tidal account AND YOU ARE DONE FOR UNDER $2500! Shit my DAC alone cost me 5K! We are living in a fantastic time for hifi enthusiasts when you also consider the plethora of high quality YouTube hifi gear reviewers like Thomas or Sean or Ron etc. so that you can buy with confidence. I just wish I hadn’t fallen down the rabbit hole of the "high end" gear addiction, I could have saved my marriage!

  44. Matías Paul on October 7, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    Thomas, will you do a review of the smsl m500 mqa dac??? It has a headphone amp too! Great value and great sound apparently

  45. Tee-Jay The Stereo-Bargain-File on October 7, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    Nice Job Thomas !! And your correct the Aune X8 paired very well with me Lsim703 and Yammy AS-1100.
    Me sound demo and review is up and the sound demo is pretty good for the generic microphones i have for now 😃 and I compared to the Schiit Modius and hands down I prefer the x8 . Thanks Thomas 😃 I have 5 budget dacs now and i love the x8 to me its very smooth for the price and not edgy like the Modius dac

  46. AJ WINTER on October 7, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    Thom, I was looking way back at some of your old videos! I"m proud to announce i’m picking up a pair of Dynaudio Focus 140 tomorrow. Was able to get them shipping and tax free. I’m mentioning these because I know you do or (used to) own a pair of Focus 160. I was wondering what your recommendation is for the best positioning: Toe-In, Distance from back wall, etc., Hope all is well,


  47. Gary Edwards on October 7, 2020 at 11:54 pm

    Its pronounced Warf Dale as in a fishing warf, dale as in a wide open meadow.;) we get it you pronounce English a good as you possibly can and I appreciate your concern but I can always ignore " mispronunciation" you are good enough!

  48. TuiCatNZ on October 7, 2020 at 11:55 pm

    It’s quite compelling to be able to upgrade a piece of equipment in the future rather than outright replacing it.

  49. Snow Rang3r on October 7, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    You’ve been testing a lot of DACs lately. Schiit should send you a Bifrost 2 (or even a Yggdrasil) for you to test :p

  50. linandy1 on October 7, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    What is this music? I like it.

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