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Matrix-Digi Hi X USB card


zackthedog
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I've seen people post a few queries about this (relatively) inexpensive USB card but not much in the way of reviews or comments so far.  I recently purchased one on eBay for $150 plus free shipping.  It took three weeks to arrive and today I dropped it into my Win10-based server box.  First impressions are very positive--clean, open, wide soundstage, nice feeling of air and detail.  I'm powering it with my HDPlex 12v tap.  I'll break it in for a while, play around with various configurations and compare it to my SOtM tx-USBexp card.  I don't imagine it will sound as analogue as the SOtM but we'll see.  I'll do a follow-up in a bit.  I thought folks looking to build or upgrade a server on a budget might be interested to know how it compares to the SOtM.

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Well, I've been running the card for a day and a half straight now and doing intermittent listening.  It's definitely breaking in and getting smoother and more relaxed.  At this point it does not have the analogue-like air and spaciousness of the SOtM tx-USBexp.  But it's very clean and musical, with good delineation of instruments and voices.  In the Serkin/Horszowski/Laredo recording of Bach's three-keyboard concerti, a nice but slightly congested Columbia recording from the 70's, massed strings sounds like massed strings, and the position and character of each piano is distinct.  Jazz and pop do very nicely, with clean attacks and crisp, tuneful bass.  The energy and character of performances are conveyed well.  There's no thickness or sluggishness.  Overall the sound is lively, focused, involving and enjoyable to listen to.  Remove the HDPlex supply and there some loss of focus, and the slightly ragged nature of the SATA power is revealed, but it's not unpleasant.  It's definitely an improvement over onboard USB.  If I didn't have the SOtM I'd be pretty happy with this $150 card.  If you're building a budget server or want to upgrade an exisiting PC, I think you'd find this an affordable and worthwhile upgrade.  Now I'm curious as to how their DACs sound.

 

I'm going to give it a few more days and see what else happens.

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