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Audiocontrol Maestro X9 v Maestro X7

RJ248842

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We'd appreciate some advice as to whether there would be any perceptible differences between the Audiocontrol Maestro X9 and Maestro X7, and whether the extra $3,000 retail, is worth paying for the X9, in the following use case:

• The primary use is for a room that will serve as a home-theater 90% of the time.
• The acoustic goal is to produce an excellent, highly immersive audio experience with clear movie dialogue.
• The room is approximately 25'L x 15'W x 8.5'H and has acoustic panels on the front and rear walls.
• The room has a tile floor with a throw rug, a large window, and tall cabinets.
• The speaker setups is 5.2.4 Atmos.
• The X9 and X7 appear to be identical except in the following respects (see links for more):

X9:
ES9038PRO SABRE audiophile DACs (140 dB of dynamic range)
• 16 channel XLR outputs with OPA1612 HiFi Audio op-amps
• Price: $9,600

X7:
ES9026PRO SABRE DACs (124 dB of dynamic range)
• 16 channel XLR outputs
• Price: $6,600

Given the less-than-perfect acoustics, we're wondering whether, and to what extent, a discriminating, but not necessarily an audiophile, listener could detect the X9's extra acoustical nuances.

If you've got some personal experience hearing both of these units, it would be helpful to know that.

Thanks.
 

pozz

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The specs on the Audiocontrol product pages are pretty meagre. The difference between the two is not likely to be audible. As with other AVRs/AVPs the issue is that so many features and so forth are crammed inside these units that they are unlikely to produce competitive or consistent performance. Going by DAC chip and op-amp doesn't mean much. It's the overall design that matters.

Sometime back I put together a list of high-end AVRs for fun: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...high-end-high-performance-avr-examples.14265/ But other members would know more about the arcane HT realm.
 

Krobar

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The X9 has a quite different DAC stage with different opamps and DACS and likely a quite different layout. The big question as you've alluded to is will you hear a difference. Keep in mind the Audiocontrols are functionally identical to the Arcam HDAs and JBL SDP-55/SDR-35 (They use the exact same DSP boards).
 

lashto

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We'd appreciate some advice as to whether there would be any perceptible differences between the Audiocontrol Maestro X9 and Maestro X7, and whether the extra $3,000 retail, is worth paying for the X9, in the following use case:
May I ask why do you think that those AudioControl processors are worth the price premium? (similar ones from Monoprice/Marantz/Emotiva/etc cost ~$4000).
Here's a review & measurements for a 2017 M9. Solid performance but I do not see anything special.
 

Krobar

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May I ask why do you think that those AudioControl processors are worth the price premium? (similar ones from Monoprice/Marantz/Emotiva/etc cost ~$4000).
Here's a review & measurements for a 2017 M9. Solid performance but I do not see anything special.

Interesting. 102dB SINAD at 2V would put it at the top of the ASR charts I think, not bad for a 2016 design (Albeit an expensive one).
 

lashto

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Interesting. 102dB SINAD at 2V would put it at the top of the ASR charts I think, not bad for a 2016 design (Albeit an expensive one).
The measurements are very good for an avr/p, but those $4000 alternatives also measure in the same ~100db range. So the question remains: why would anyone pay 2x for an AudioControl?
Is there any reason to believe that the new series measures much better? Do they have some special features? Or better warranty? Or are they known for particularly reliable builds? Or really good support/service? Or...
 

Krobar

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The measurements are very good for an avr/p, but those $4000 alternatives also measure in the same ~100db range. So the question remains: why would anyone pay 2x for an AudioControl?
Is there any reason to believe that the new series measures much better? Do they have some special features? Or better warranty? Or are they known for particularly reliable builds? Or really good support/service? Or...

If you need XLRs for active speakers or subwoofers that would be important. Also getting Dirac, XLR stereo inputs, 16 channel decode, 5 subwoofer support and yes a better warranty. This of course assumes the X9 preforms as well as the M9.
 

lashto

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All good features and the monoprice/emotiva devices have them all at ~$4000.
Unless the X9 measures waaay better, cant see any reason to justify the price premium
 

Krobar

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All good features and the monoprice/emotiva devices have them all at ~$4000.
Unless the X9 measures waaay better, cant see any reason to justify the price premium

Monoprice is indeed pretty good match features wise, Emotiva is way short.

If you want a prepro that double as an analogue Preamp for stereo use and offers a good set of surround features then the X9 might be a good choice. Monoprice do not offer any stereo passthrough whilst the X9 offer extremely good specs for this use. Value is partly in the eye of the beholder but factor in a 20% discount on the X9 and the cost of preamp with HT passthrough and it may be good value for some users.

I have mentioned it before but would be really interesting if @amirm could get an X9 for review at some point.
 
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Flak

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All good features and the monoprice/emotiva devices have them all at ~$4000.
Unless the X9 measures waaay better, cant see any reason to justify the price premium

I cannot comment about other differences but I can say that Dirac Live Bass Control for multiple subwoofers ($500) is included at no cost while it's available at additional cost for the Monoprice and it's not available for Emotiva (Marantz doesn't even support Dirac Live)
 

Jerry Sobel

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We'd appreciate some advice as to whether there would be any perceptible differences between the Audiocontrol Maestro X9 and Maestro X7, and whether the extra $3,000 retail, is worth paying for the X9, in the following use case:

• The primary use is for a room that will serve as a home-theater 90% of the time.
• The acoustic goal is to produce an excellent, highly immersive audio experience with clear movie dialogue.
• The room is approximately 25'L x 15'W x 8.5'H and has acoustic panels on the front and rear walls.
• The room has a tile floor with a throw rug, a large window, and tall cabinets.
• The speaker setups is 5.2.4 Atmos.
• The X9 and X7 appear to be identical except in the following respects (see links for more):

X9:
ES9038PRO SABRE audiophile DACs (140 dB of dynamic range)
• 16 channel XLR outputs with OPA1612 HiFi Audio op-amps
• Price: $9,600

X7:
ES9026PRO SABRE DACs (124 dB of dynamic range)
• 16 channel XLR outputs
• Price: $6,600

Given the less-than-perfect acoustics, we're wondering whether, and to what extent, a discriminating, but not necessarily an audiophile, listener could detect the X9's extra acoustical nuances.

If you've got some personal experience hearing both of these units, it would be helpful to know that.

Thanks.
So, what did you get? I am looking at the X9 myself.
 
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