Gustard A26 vs SMSL D400EX+Digi+ Pro

I’ve been considering the Gustard A26 DAC/streamer - my concerns being that it isn’t an ‘official’ Roon endpoing (Ready/Tested) and doesn’t appear to support volume control via the Roon client. As an alternative I’m considering the SMSL D400EX fed either by hooking my Mac Mini Roon server to the DAC via USB or using an RPi+HifiBerry Digi+ Pro to feed the D400EX via S/PDIF. I’m using Tidal, and making a lot of use of MQA content, so obviously need that full chain. Any thoughts, and does anyone know if the D400EX will allow non-DSP volume control via the Roon client?


I had my Mac Studio connected to SMSL DO200 MKII. This chain didn’t allow volume control via Roon client in Fixed volume mode.

I ordered the A26 in the end. I’m currently using it’s internal Proxmox’d Roon LAN client (like SMSL, it’s neither Roon Tested nor Roon Ready) and have the same issues - as expected there’s no volume control via Roon. I do think Shenzen are shooting themselves in the foot with their brands by not going for Roon certification. As to SQ of this DAC, it’s still bedding in and I haven’t yet got it in the balanced system that I bought it for (currently running via my Arcam AVR20) - I’m just waiting for some XLR cables to arrive

How would that even work with a DAC in fixed volume mode. If it’s fixed the DAC is at 100% output. And you need that for DSD to work for example.

Why? Surely the attentuator is downstream of the conversion, so why should DSD know or care what happens there?

I thought it achieved compatibility via Roon Bridge