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Article: Matrix X-SABRE Pro (MQA) DAC Review


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Since this DAC measures as state of the art and Josh says it also sounds really good, it seems like a good buy at it's price point. You'd probably have to spend a lot more to beat it in a significant way.

I'm actually thinking of buying it's little brother, the Element i, which has a streamer built in.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protectors +>Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Strip/Protection>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three BXT (on their own electric circuit) >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three BXT

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Thank you very much for the review. I have this DAC, too and additionally the X-SPDIF 2 and the Element H. The predecessor X-Sabre was my very first DSD-ready DAC years ago. I am pretty happy with the X-Sabre Pro (MQA) also with its volume control but I would like to try it with a "right" preamp. Interesting that you have the Ragnarok. I plan to replace my semi-broken Freya (the first version) by a Freya + (or a Denafrips Hestia? 🤔).

 

Btw, there is a newer USB driver from January 2020 https://www.matrix-digi.com/drivers/Matrix_Audio_All_Driver.rar

Euphony (NUC7DNKE: Roon or Stylus) --> Euphony EP (NUC7CJYH: Roon Bridge or NAA or StylusEP) --> Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2 --> Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro (MQA) (I2S) -->

Euphony (NUC7DNKE: Roon) --> WS 2019 Core (i7-8700: HQPlayer, JPLAY Femto, Roon Bridge, MinorityClean) / Matrix Audio Element H --> Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro (MQA) (USB) --> B & M Prime 6

Synology DS 112+ (LMS) --> pi3B+/HifiBerry Digi + Pro (PiCorePlayer) --> Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro (MQA) (SPDIF) -->  

bedroom: pi3/DigiOne (RoPieee) --> S.M.S.L M500 --> KRK Rokit 5 or AKG 712 Pro

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9 hours ago, JoeWhip said:

Hi Josh. You may want to compare this DAC with the Yggy with the Unison USB installed. We added it last night and it is an improvement in detail, tone and dynamics. Not a ton but enough to make a nice improvement. Cheers.

 

I'm interested in the Unison based on what I've read. But I'm also happy with the Gen 5 and have various USB->SPDIF converter options. So I might wait until my Yggy's warranty lapses and then upgrade to the Unison to get the warranty refresh.

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3 hours ago, JoshM said:

From the No Good Deeds... category, the folks at ASR are mad that, in the context of my rave review of the Matrix, I suggested that the hated (by them) Yggrasil may be better in some areas than the Matrix. 

The Yggy was measured there several times and did really badly (https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-schiit-yggdrasil-v2-dac.3607/)

so even if they haven't heard it, the people there get offended if anyone likes it. To them it proves you are lacking listening skills and are fooled by expectation bias. Because you must have tin ears if you like such a poorly measuring unit. Of course, they probably also couldn't "hear the measurements" in a non-sighted test. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protectors +>Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Strip/Protection>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three BXT (on their own electric circuit) >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three BXT

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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The new flavor of the month at AS is Soncoz.  They have two models - one priced < $500, the other about half that amount.  Both models measure more of less 'perfectly' and use the 9038 Sabre chip.  People are falling over themselves to order based on Amir's lab results. 

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> Fiber--> opticalRendu / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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I own all three DACs in your article.

My ranking differs to yours. I have the RME on first place. RME has a feature I need: DSD direct.

When used with HQ Player the RME ADI 2 Dac with DSD direct makes the first place.

The Yggdrasil is my oldest DAC and my emotional favorite. It has the sound signature I am used to since many years.

Drawback for me is the limitation to PCM 192.

The Matrix is my newest purchase for SACD and DSD playback up to 512 without HQP. Plus it decodes MQA.

First impressions are very good, but too new for final judgement. Might replace the Yggdrasil.

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I am fascinated by this DAC. First because the casing is like and MSB DAC. I'm Audio-antsy with my DAC(Wyred 4 Sound DAC 2v2SE) and my brain can't get past the Audio Science rating of best of all DAC's they've tested. Lest we forget the Audeze LCD-4 debacle which is still believe is the "emperor has no clothes" syndrome: That is more $$=BETTER. That being said I'd LOVE to listen to a DCS Bartok.

Of course the only way is to buy one and find out for myself!

Furutech GTX-D, GTX Wall Plate,106-D Cover > NCF Clearline >Custom Computer>J River [Current] > Curious Cable Evolved USB > Chord Hugo MScaler > WAVE Storm Dual BNC> Chord DAVE>DCA Stealth>my ears > audiophile brain

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23 hours ago, firedog said:

I think this place is AS and Amir's site is ASR.....

 

You are correct of - thanks for clarification

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> Fiber--> opticalRendu / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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15 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

it's been 3 hours - did you buy them both yet?

I just read what I typed. Of course I worded it wrong. Only the Matrix is on the list. Still on the fence. An audio buddy of mine tells me that I do this every two years or so and I always am disappointed with the results. Unfortunately I’m not listening to him.

Furutech GTX-D, GTX Wall Plate,106-D Cover > NCF Clearline >Custom Computer>J River [Current] > Curious Cable Evolved USB > Chord Hugo MScaler > WAVE Storm Dual BNC> Chord DAVE>DCA Stealth>my ears > audiophile brain

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On 2/5/2020 at 8:31 AM, JoshM said:

Amir is the outlier. (I've also measured that on mine, and it doesn't exist, FWIW.)


I had never saw that thread, interesting read for sure. 
 

People REALLY need to think for themselves and do their own do diligence.  Every forum has “that” group but the asr site is just disturbing on so many levels.  I’m sure a lot of intelligent and good individuals exists there (as well as the reverse) but man the extreme level is off the charts.  
 

Not sure what the draw is, but like anything else / any hobby, some just have to feel like they have to belong and follow - at any cost.  
 

It’s just audio!!  Interesting psychology study.  Sorry I digress 

 

My rig

 

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An affordable DAC, with comparators. Great stuff, looking forward to more from @JoshM

Main System: QNAP TS-451+ > Silent Angel Bonn N8 > Sonore opticalModule Deluxe v2 > Corning SMF with Finisar FTLF1318P3BTL SFPs > Uptone EtherREGEN > exaSound PlayPoint and e32 Mk-II DAC > Meitner MTR-101 Plus monoblocks > Bamberg S5-MTM sealed standmount speakers. 

Crown XLi 1500 powering  AV123 Rocket UFW10 stereo subwoofers

Upgraded power on all switches, renderer and DAC.

 

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On 2/6/2020 at 5:55 PM, Foggie said:


I had never saw that thread, interesting read for sure. 
 

People REALLY need to think for themselves and do their own do diligence.  Every forum has “that” group but the asr site is just disturbing on so many levels.  I’m sure a lot of intelligent and good individuals exists there (as well as the reverse) but man the extreme level is off the charts.  
 

Not sure what the draw is, but like anything else / any hobby, some just have to feel like they have to belong and follow - at any cost.  
 

It’s just audio!!  Interesting psychology study.  Sorry I digress 

 

 

same can be said for this forum.. lets just be happy there are different flavours.

 

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