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Matrix Audio X-SABRE 3 DAC/Streamer Official Thread

QuantumKat

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Cool.

Sounds like I'll go from my PC/Laptop USB to the X-SABRE 3 using RCA outs to the Feliks Euforia tube amp. If I decide to really splurge and get the Woo Audio WA33 then I can go out from X-SABRE 3's XLRs into the WA33.

Should sound lovely, I'm guessing.
 

applebees

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So after 2 days trying with different configurations, Wi-Fi/Ethernet, different render apps (mConnect, Bubble-UPnP), file formats.. etc. my X-Sabre 3 still has distorted sounds at the first 1 or 2 seconds of almost every song. I though mine is a defective unit and contacted Apos Audio for a replacement. Hope they will send a replacement soon.
 

Bombadil

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So after 2 days trying with different configurations, Wi-Fi/Ethernet, different render apps (mConnect, Bubble-UPnP), file formats.. etc. my X-Sabre 3 still has distorted sounds at the first 1 or 2 seconds of almost every song. I though mine is a defective unit and contacted Apos Audio for a replacement. Hope they will send a replacement soon.
Sorry to hear this, I just received a unit today and just completed hookup and brief listening (streaming Spotify) and there no obvious problems. My experience with Apos has been positive so I think worst case you'll have to wait for another unit.
In my case I bought the Sabre3 to replace a Node2i and Anthem STR preamp. I really enjoy the latter setup but I was curious to see if I'd notice a difference between a setup with all the digital bells/whistles (the STR) compared with a super quiet simple setup with the Sabre3. I have its XLR outputs going to a pair of AHB2 amps and the RCA outputs going to a pair of subs. I was never impressed by the sound of stereo subs but thought I'd give it another try.
Thanks to @enricoclaudio for this thread and all his effort sharing his experiences with this piece of gear.
cheers
 
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enricoclaudio

enricoclaudio

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So after 2 days trying with different configurations, Wi-Fi/Ethernet, different render apps (mConnect, Bubble-UPnP), file formats.. etc. my X-Sabre 3 still has distorted sounds at the first 1 or 2 seconds of almost every song. I though mine is a defective unit and contacted Apos Audio for a replacement. Hope they will send a replacement soon.

Could be possible you make a recording of the distorted sound so I can listen to it? I really doubt you got a defective unit. I thought mine was defective because all the bugs I had and the second unit had the same issues and got all of them fixed as soon I updated the firmware. Basically I lost 1 month between sending the unit back to APOS and getting the replacement just to find out that the issues were all firmware related.
 

Ra1zel

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I have a pretty harsh view on this device...

First problem is the existence of Okto Resarch DAC8, as a DAC it measures just as good and actually even better in multitone, it has way more input options, can stream too, build like a tank, much better screen and volume control (per-channel volume control). Then you can order it with custom output voltage up to 12V. Also fantastic headphone amp and Bluetooth - Sabre 3 has none of those two. All of this at half a price of Sabre 3.

Overall Okto is much better device in my view. Much more functionality at lower price with same performce DAC.

Second problem is the existence of Matrix Element X, for 400$ more you gain:
1. Fantastic headphone amplifier
2. Hybrid volume control
3. Bluetooth
4. Ability to play from USB drives and SD cards
5. Better bigger screen.

And I imagine if you buy Streaming DAC for 3000$ then 3400$ should not be much more for you.

And finally what matters for me but likely not for many is the lack of AES input which was present in the previous version of this device. I use AES input from my CD transport and from miniDSP DDRC-22D.
 
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enricoclaudio

enricoclaudio

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I have a pretty harsh view on this device...

First problem is the existence of Okto Resarch DAC8, as a DAC it measures just as good and actually even better in multitone, it has way more input options, can stream too, build like a tank, much better screen and volume control (per-channel volume control). Then you can order it with custom output voltage up to 12V. Also fantastic headphone amp and Bluetooth - Sabre 3 has none of those two. All of this at half a price of Sabre 3.

Overall Okto is much better device in my view. Much more functionality at lower price with same performce DAC.

Second problem is the existence of Matrix Element X, for 400$ more you gain:
1. Fantastic headphone amplifier
2. Hybrid volume control
3. Bluetooth
4. Ability to play from USB drives and SD cards
5. Better bigger screen.

And I imagine if you buy Streaming DAC for 3000$ then 3400$ should not be much more for you.

And finally what matters for me but likely not for many is the lack of AES input which was present in the previous version of this device. I use AES input from my CD transport and from miniDSP DDRC-22D.

Mostly agree with some of your points but still the DAC8 is NOT available for purchase and if you are lucky enough to order one, you have to wait almost a year to get it. Also, the DAC8 is NOT Roon Ready unless you install RoPieeeXL in the Pi which in this case, just get a RoPieeeXL Display + Topping D90ES and you get better performance than the DAC8 delivered in 1 week. Also, the DAC8 does not do TIDAL Connect and Spotify Connect. All those points mentioned by me are top on my list. You also have valid points that are top on your list, not in mine. The X-SABRE 3 may not be the right device for you but it is the right for me and many others.
 

Ra1zel

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Mostly agree with some of your points but still the DAC8 is NOT available for purchase and if you are lucky enough to order one, you have to wait almost a year to get it. Also, the DAC8 is NOT Roon Ready unless you install RoPieeeXL in the Pi which in this case, just get a RoPieeeXL Display + Topping D90ES and you get better performance than the DAC8 delivered in 1 week. Also, the DAC8 does not do TIDAL Connect and Spotify Connect. All those points mentioned by me are top on my list. You also have valid points that are top on your list, not in mine. The X-SABRE 3 may not be the right device for you but it is the right for me and many others.
I agree, at this performance point preference for features starts to dominate decision process, since let's be honest when it comes to performance okto, topping and matrix are all state of the art top of the top.
 

Bombadil

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I have a pretty harsh view on this device...

First problem is the existence of Okto Resarch DAC8, as a DAC it measures just as good and actually even better in multitone, it has way more input options, can stream too, build like a tank, much better screen and volume control (per-channel volume control). Then you can order it with custom output voltage up to 12V. Also fantastic headphone amp and Bluetooth - Sabre 3 has none of those two. All of this at half a price of Sabre 3.

Overall Okto is much better device in my view. Much more functionality at lower price with same performce DAC.

Second problem is the existence of Matrix Element X, for 400$ more you gain:
1. Fantastic headphone amplifier
2. Hybrid volume control
3. Bluetooth
4. Ability to play from USB drives and SD cards
5. Better bigger screen.

And I imagine if you buy Streaming DAC for 3000$ then 3400$ should not be much more for you.

And finally what matters for me but likely not for many is the lack of AES input which was present in the previous version of this device. I use AES input from my CD transport and from miniDSP DDRC-22D.
Have you seen measurements of the Sabre3? It is a completely new DAC based on the prior version and I have yet to see it tested/measured.
 

applebees

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Could be possible you make a recording of the distorted sound so I can listen to it? I really doubt you got a defective unit. I thought mine was defective because all the bugs I had and the second unit had the same issues and got all of them fixed as soon I updated the firmware. Basically I lost 1 month between sending the unit back to APOS and getting the replacement just to find out that the issues were all firmware related.
I've made recording and sent to APOS and Matrix, and I've just got a reply from Matrix Audio this morning confirming it's a firmware bug and they could easily reproduce the bug on their units.
So instead of returning the X-Sabre 3, I'll wait for the bug fix. Only one concern is what APOS will do if Matrix Audio could not fix the bug in the APOS 14 days returning window for my unit.
 
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enricoclaudio

enricoclaudio

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I've made recording and sent to APOS and Matrix, and I've just got a reply from Matrix Audio this morning confirming it's a firmware bug and they could easily reproduce the bug on their units.
So instead of returning the X-Sabre 3, I'll wait for the bug fix. Only one concern is what APOS will do if Matrix Audio could not fix the bug in the APOS 14 days returning window for my unit.

@MatrixAudio will get the bug fixed, trust me and in no time. Most likely by next week they will release a new firmware to fix the bug you have reported. If by any chance the bug can't be fixed by a firmware update and your unit is in fact defective, APOS will get a new one for you as well. What is weird is that I can't replicate the bug you have in my unit. Could you please explain in details what the bug looks like and if you can post the recording and the song that would be even better to see if we can replicate it in our X-SABRE 3s.
 

applebees

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@MatrixAudio will get the bug fixed, trust me and in no time. Most likely by next week they will release a new firmware to fix the bug you have reported. If by any chance the bug can't be fixed by a firmware update and your unit is in fact defective, APOS will get a new one for you as well. What is weird is that I can't replicate the bug you have in my unit. Could you please explain in details what the bug looks like and if you can post the recording and the song that would be even better to see if we can replicate it in our X-SABRE 3s.
Basically, my X-Sabre 3 always produce distorted sounds on the first 1 or 2 second of every song I played. It sounds fine for the rest of the song. I used mConnect and Bubble-UPnP app, streaming music from Synology NAS.
Here’s how it happens on my unit:
 
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enricoclaudio

enricoclaudio

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Basically, my X-Sabre 3 always produce distorted sounds on the first 1 or 2 second of every song I played. It sounds fine for the rest of the song. I used mConnect and Bubble-UPnP app, streaming music from Synology NAS.
Here’s how it happens on my unit:
Can you share any of those songs so I can play it with my X-SABRE 3? I just checked and none of my FLAC files does that noise but my FLAC files are all 16bits. Could it be a bug with 24bit FLAC files?
 

applebees

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Can you share any of those songs so I can play it with my X-SABRE 3? I just checked and none of my FLAC files does that noise but my FLAC files are all 16bits. Could it be a bug with 24bit FLAC files?
Sure, I'll send you the file. However, it happens to most of the music I played, from dsd64, dsd126, dsd256, flac, wav... etc.
 

Bombadil

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I have a minor connection issue; I'm using the Matrix RCA outputs directly to my two subs which are in auto mode. Apparently the voltage output of the RCA outs is insufficient to "wake up" the subs until the volume is pretty high. I did not have this issue with the Anthem pre amp.
I know the Matrix XLR outputs have a higher voltage and I'm thinking if i use two Y connectors from the Matrix XLR outputs I could send the signal to my amps and the subs from the XLR outs. My amps (AHB2) do not have an RCA input otherwise I'd try that. Thoughts?
 
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enricoclaudio

enricoclaudio

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Sure, I'll send you the file. However, it happens to most of the music I played, from dsd64, dsd126, dsd256, flac, wav... etc.
All the files you sent me play totally fine in my X-SABRE 3 with mConnect app and files stored in my Synology DS1019+ NAS.
 
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enricoclaudio

enricoclaudio

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I have a minor connection issue; I'm using the Matrix RCA outputs directly to my two subs which are in auto mode. Apparently the voltage output of the RCA outs is insufficient to "wake up" the subs until the volume is pretty high. I did not have this issue with the Anthem pre amp.
I know the Matrix XLR outputs have a higher voltage and I'm thinking if i use two Y connectors from the Matrix XLR outputs I could send the signal to my amps and the subs from the XLR outs. My amps (AHB2) do not have an RCA input otherwise I'd try that. Thoughts?
The X-SABRE 3 RCA outs have 2V which should be more than enough to wake up any subwoofer. If your subwoofers have Dual RCA inputs (L + R), you can use a RCA "Y" adapter to use both inputs so that way you will increase the input gain by +6dB. The X-SABRE 3 has no problem waking up my Rythmik Audio L22 using RCA outs.
 

applebees

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All the files you sent me play totally fine in my X-SABRE 3 with mConnect app and files stored in my Synology DS1019+ NAS.
Interesting, so there's must be something wrong with my unit. My files stored on my DS1520+ and I have no issue playing them on my Cambridge Audio Azur 851N.
 
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enricoclaudio

enricoclaudio

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Interesting, so there's must be something wrong with my unit. My files stored on my DS1520+ and I have no issue playing them on my Cambridge Audio Azur 851N.

Just wait for the new firmware. Could be a bad flashed firmware in your unit which should get fixed with the new firmware update.
 

eyes-on-you

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Sorry to hear this, I just received a unit today and just completed hookup and brief listening (streaming Spotify) and there no obvious problems. My experience with Apos has been positive so I think worst case you'll have to wait for another unit.
In my case I bought the Sabre3 to replace a Node2i and Anthem STR preamp. I really enjoy the latter setup but I was curious to see if I'd notice a difference between a setup with all the digital bells/whistles (the STR) compared with a super quiet simple setup with the Sabre3. I have its XLR outputs going to a pair of AHB2 amps and the RCA outputs going to a pair of subs. I was never impressed by the sound of stereo subs but thought I'd give it another try.
Thanks to @enricoclaudio for this thread and all his effort sharing his experiences with this piece of gear.
cheers
Which gain settings using with x-sabre 3 on AHB2?

Can X-Sabre drive AHB2 full output?
 
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Ra1zel

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Have you seen measurements of the Sabre3? It is a completely new DAC based on the prior version and I have yet to see it tested/measured.
Basing on manufacturer specs I assume it should measure nearly identical. Matrix doesn't lie with specs.
 
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