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Matrix Audio Mini-i Pro 3 Review (Streamer & DAC)

muslhead

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You can't, simply as that. You need Roon to stream lossless to the mini-i Pro 3. If you want DLNA then you have to go with the Element-i, which BTW has a lesser DAC compared to the mini-i Pro 3 but you get DLNA and MA Player app.

https://www.matrix-digi.com/en/products/417.html
@enricoclaudio

is it possible to stream dlna via jriver and airplay (since jriver supports airplay and dlna) to the i3?
Love the i3 but in case roon goes tits up, i want to be able to stream my dlna library and desperately looking for a dlna solution to the i3 (not using their app but jriver). No interest or need for spot or tidal integration at all.
 

enricoclaudio

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@enricoclaudio

is it possible to stream dlna via jriver and airplay (since jriver supports airplay and dlna) to the i3?
Love the i3 but in case roon goes tits up, i want to be able to stream my dlna library and desperately looking for a dlna solution to the i3 (not using their app but jriver). No interest or need for spot or tidal integration at all.

I don’t use Jriver but I can try later today. The mini-i Pro 3 is Airplay 2 certified but dlna. The X-Sabre 3 is Airplay2, dlna, Tidal and Spotify Connect. I have a X-Sabre 3 coming tomorrow ;)
 

enricoclaudio

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An easy and cheap way to add dlna to the mini-i Pro 3 is getting a Raspberry Pi 4 running RoPieeeXL which is dlna certified and also Airplay. Then connect the mini-i Pro 3 via USB to the Raspberry Pi 4. I just did that and it works.
 

muslhead

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An easy and cheap way to add dlna to the mini-i Pro 3 is getting a Raspberry Pi 4 running RoPieeeXL which is dlna certified and also Airplay. Then connect the mini-i Pro 3 via USB to the Raspberry Pi 4. I just did that and it works.
Thanks, you just confirmed what i thought was my plan b
 

panther

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Anyone use this as a pre amp to powered speakers (and perhaps a powered sub to RCA)?
 

enricoclaudio

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Anyone use this as a pre amp to powered speakers (and perhaps a powered sub to RCA)?

Yes, I do. Dynaudio BM5 mkIII + Rythmik Audio L22. Sounds great!!
 

masonHsieh

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Hi guys,

I was thinking about upgrading my current setup and this device prom Matrix Audio came up - and boy I have to admit I am attracted to its display too, like a moth to a bulb (as one of our colleagues said in few comments before). But I am not convinced if it is really an update.

I have: SMSL M500 with SMSL SP200 for convenience with balanced output. I listen only to headphones, in particular Hifiman Sundara 2020 (balanced cable), Monoprice Monolith M1060C, AKG K702, AKG K361, occasionally IEMs, such as Tinhifi TinP2 and CCA C12. As a source I use Raspberry Pi4 with Volumio. For future sessions I will probably get some other planars, like Audeze or higher Hifiman tier.

What I want: Great value/performance ratio DAC/Amp or Combo for headphones around 1000 USD with balanced out. Since I have time to listen to the music on my gear like once a week I think that I don’t really need more expensive setup. I don’t mind cables (combo is optional) and like displays. It must have pre out (for future speakers) and would be good to have remote (remote is ideal, but not necessary). Support of MQA full decoding is a must (I like streaming because I have a small flat with no space for CDs or LPs – I plan to move to a bigger flat, hence the preout for speakers/amp). I do not use roon and I do not have an iPhone (although AirPlay is also possible with Android devices).

Questions:

  • Is this Matrix mini-I 3 pro step up from my SMSL M500 from the DAC perspective (I know that the chip might not be, but what about the clock)?
  • Is its headphone output impedance such an issue in real life, especially with my headphones? They’re quite low impedance and I am worried if the rule of 8s won’t screw my listening experience in this particular case.
  • What if I’d keep the SMLS M500 and go on with the Topping A90 instead? Wouldn’t it be a better choice from the sound quality standpoint than the Matrix? Franky I kind to tend to this solution but I am not sure and I would appreciate any input on this matter.
Thank you all for any inputs.

S


I had the same set up(SMSL M500 + SP200) as yours. My hps are SendyAiva and HD800s, and I just replaced my SMSL combo with matrix mini i pro3 early this May. I think it does provide what I want, so I sell my smsl combo to my friends.

For sound quality, I'd still go for SMSL combo, but it only got a tiny difference. Most of the time, I won't notice any difference unless I am concentrated on listening to the music. SMSL combo does provide more juice, thus the sound is brighter compared to matrix mini. Still, I felt the SMSL combo is too bright for my taste, and I get tired easily especially for a long listening session where I never have such an issue with mini i pro 3. Don't get me wrong, mini I pro 3 is also bright sounding, but it just doesn't feel like someone is shouting right in front of you.

I was worried about using it with my sendy aiva(32ohms), but it sounds great. I cannot tell if there's any distortion. Everything just sounds as neutral as it should be. Noted that I never tried it with iems, so I cannot guarantee you can get the same experience on it with iems.

Another advantage of mini i pro 3 is various filter modes. I can't really tell the difference of the sound b/w filter modes on M500, but I can easily notice the difference on mini i pro 3. Plus, it makes my desk cleaner. It's simple, just one cable connects to your computer, and that's pretty much all you need. Oh, you can even connect your device through Bluetooth.
 

BloatedToad

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Is there a way to connect headphones via bluetooth directly to the unit instead of having a phone or other device in the way?
 

enricoclaudio

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Is there a way to connect headphones via bluetooth directly to the unit instead of having a phone or other device in the way?
No you can’t. The mini-i Pro 3 Bluetooth acts as RX (receiver) not TX (transmitter).
 

tamasorosz

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Long-time lurker here. I bought a second-hand Mini-i Pro 3 a few weeks ago and I must say that I am quite happy with it.

Pros:
- All-in-one device, cleaner desk
- Great sound with my HD 6xx (volume usually around -31 dB with stock cable)
- I love the metal build and the nice remote
- Volume knob
- Colour display
- Variety of inputs
- Stable and reliable network connectivity with WiFi
- Roon sees the device even when it is in standby mode, how cool is that
- Customer service (had a small issue with the volume knob, support was kind a quick with their solution)

Negatives:
- Screen angle is not so great, especially during daylight (reviews don't mention this I think)
- Cranking up or turning down the volume very quickly is not easy with the remote as the device does not react immediately for the long button press on the remote (mentioned in the reviews, but still)
- Audible background noise with my IEM (Moondrop Aria)
- No direct connection to popular streaming services (not a really an issue being a Roon user)
- MQA logo

Overall, almost perfect, happy to recommend and good value for money! I can't find another device with the same specs (i.e. all-in-one, colour display, volume knob, remote, multiple inputs, line-out, Roon Ready) at this price point.

A solid four out of five for me :)
 

enricoclaudio

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I own the mini-i Pro 3 and the X-SABRE 3. Both are GREAT units that would make very happy any audiophile looking for a one box solution, well with the X-SABRE 3 you only need a headphone amp, in my case, I got a Topping A90 to pair with the X-SABRE 3.

B6120B04-6E6C-4773-950D-34DA4933C2FD.jpeg
 

BloatedToad

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Big fan of having one unit which does it all. Connects to Roon with no computer in the mix. Screen is a tad small though I rarely use it, controlling Roon via an iPad and the new lock screen control is awesome
 

MatrixAudio

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Thanks for sharing the special video review. I understand the reviewer does not love the mini-i Pro 3 and the element i. But I can't imagine that someone deletes honest comments in the free of speach world.

If someone who is/was a user of mini-i Pro 3 or some other gears from Matrix Audio would like to say something below his video, that would be good.
 

cmarsili

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I own the mini-i Pro 3 and the X-SABRE 3. Both are GREAT units that would make very happy any audiophile looking for a one box solution, well with the X-SABRE 3 you only need a headphone amp, in my case, I got a Topping A90 to pair with the X-SABRE 3.

View attachment 159277
I am actually in between those two. Regardless of each one I get I will be connecting to an amp. So with that in mind do you hear any different in DAC performance between those two? I’m having a hard time justifying getting the sabre 3 just because I don’t need or want the amp and headphone output and volume control on the mini, especially if DAC performance difference is negligible. Note I will connect it to audiovalve luminare and use stax sr007 mk2 and other planar headphones. Eagerly await for your reply before triggering any buy button.
 

enricoclaudio

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I am actually in between those two. Regardless of each one I get I will be connecting to an amp. So with that in mind do you hear any different in DAC performance between those two? I’m having a hard time justifying getting the sabre 3 just because I don’t need or want the amp and headphone output and volume control on the mini, especially if DAC performance difference is negligible. Note I will connect it to audiovalve luminare and use stax sr007 mk2 and other planar headphones. Eagerly await for your reply before triggering any buy button.
If you don’t need the extra bells and whistles from the X-SABRE 3, meaning TIDAL Connect, Spotify Connect and DLNA, then go with the mini-i Pro 3. 10dB SINAD difference above 110dB is not enough reason to get the X-SABRE 3 over the mini-i Pro 3.
 

cmarsili

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If you don’t need the extra bells and whistles from the X-SABRE 3, meaning TIDAL Connect, Spotify Connect and DLNA, then go with the mini-i Pro 3. 10dB SINAD difference above 110dB is not enough reason to get the X-SABRE 3 over the mini-i Pro 3.
Hi enrico, thanks for the reply. I definitely don't need Tidal. I just want to play the local songs that are on my NAS via the network. I just want a one in all solution streamer with a very good DAC. But one thing you mention concerns me. So the mini does not have DLNA? Would that be a problem if I want to play the FLAC songs storage on my NAS? Forgive me my ignorance, but I though DLNA is needed here for that. Cheer
 

enricoclaudio

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Hi enrico, thanks for the reply. I definitely don't need Tidal. I just want to play the local songs that are on my NAS via the network. I just want a one in all solution streamer with a very good DAC. But one thing you mention concerns me. So the mini does not have DLNA? Would that be a problem if I want to play the FLAC songs storage on my NAS? Forgive me my ignorance, but I though DLNA is needed here for that. Cheer

The mini-i Pro 3 does not support DLNA. You can play files stored in your NAS only through Roon. The X-SABRE 3 does support DLNA and you can play files stored in your NAS with third party apps like mConnect.
 

cmarsili

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The mini-i Pro 3 does not support DLNA. You can play files stored in your NAS only through Roon. The X-SABRE 3 does support DLNA and you can play files stored in your NAS with third party apps like mConnect.
Great, thanks a lot, that is clear now. On my research I also found miniDSP SHD for around the same price. Just going to compare the managing software with roon (the fact it has a monthly subscription puts me off a bit as it defeats the purpose of buying my music to avoid subs like Tidal and Qobux). And it has some nice software extras. I suppose those are better tools for speakers than headphones though.

I also saw the Shanling EM5 but not sure if their control app is very powerfull and I don't see any roon support.
 
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