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

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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.

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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):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup and a RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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were the listening comparisons done sighted or blind?

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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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Amazing review. Thank you very much! My Matrix X-Sabre has been running flawlessly since 2014. Great piece of metal.

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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):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup and a RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee 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 --> AQ Vodka --> microRendu 1.4 / CI Audio LPS --> USPCB --> Schiit Eitr --> AQ Coffee --> Hegel HD25 --> 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>J River 23>Curious USB>Wyred4Sound DAC2v2 SE>Moon Audio Blue Dragon IC>Cavalli Liquid Fire>Q French Silk Headphone cable>Audeze LCD2rev2>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 --> AQ Vodka --> microRendu 1.4 / CI Audio LPS --> USPCB --> Schiit Eitr --> AQ Coffee --> Hegel HD25 --> 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>J River 23>Curious USB>Wyred4Sound DAC2v2 SE>Moon Audio Blue Dragon IC>Cavalli Liquid Fire>Q French Silk Headphone cable>Audeze LCD2rev2>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 

 

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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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