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Matrix Audio X-SABRE Pro MQA: Best Audio DAC in the World?

NTomokawa

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both xlr and rca plugs into the dac at the same time
What could happen is that if the XLR and RCA inputs are connected (shorted) together, and you plug two different sources into them at the same time, some or all of the output from one of your sources will flow into the output jack of your other source. Stranger things could happen if you play both of those sources.

Otherwise there's no way that could have an impact on sound quality.
 
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Not with these DACs. I frequently connect both at the same time and measure that way.
Thanks, Amir! Going to reconnect the rca.
 

trl

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Just read on head-fi denafrips terminator thread; they don't recommend plugging in both xlr and rca plugs into the dac at the same time as it degrades sound quality.
I see indeed Alvin's post from here, but without actually checking the schematic nobody can be 100% sure. However, each output shoud be using it's own output buffer (op-amp or transistors), so there should be no issue.
So does this hold true for all dacs or only specific ones?
Technically, each output has it's own buffer that is usually connected to the Low-Pass Filter, so unless the LPF op-amp has only 5...10mA of max. output current, then there should be no issue.
What could happen is that if the XLR and RCA inputs are connected (shorted) together, and you plug two different sources into them at the same time, some or all of the output from one of your sources will flow into the output jack of your other source.
Like I said above, if the two outputs are not buffered at all (which makes no sense, because it's incorrect) then the volume might decrease with 0.5...1dB, but also the freq. response and linearity and THD+D could get affected on a very small margin. This is like connecting two subs from the same RCA plug via an Y-connector. But again, each DAC output should have it's own buffer, otherwise the design is incorrect. If there is no dedicated output buffer, the switch + relay should be installed (or software & LCD + relay) to prevent both outputs to be active.

However, some designs might differ bit, see below:


Hifiduino courtesy (it's basically taken from ESS datasheet)
I see that designer of the HifiDIY ES9018 DAC choose to add AD826 op-amps as buffers for the XLR outputs, even if the I/V chips (AD797B) had already enough output current to drive both stages at once: 50mA (full schematic drawings here: https://hifiduino.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/prometheus-mb-sche.pdf).
 

trl

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I had both plugged in to my x-sabre pro, then removed rca and listened with xlr, not sure if I can hear a difference (?)...
I see some new measurements here for this DAC coming from Wolf: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...easurements-of-matrix-audio-x-sabre-pro.9965/, so about identical performance with https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...bre-pro-mqa-best-audio-dac-in-the-world.8729/, but of course, without the MQA decoding and with a tiny ESS IMD thump; however the MQA ver. has a bit worse multi-tone measurement, although definitely inaudible in an A/B test.

It's difficult to spot, but on the below pic I think that each output RCA/XLR is buffered by a dedicated op-amp:

Courtesy of Soundnews
Given the above, I wouldn't be worried about leaving both RCA and XLR outputs inside this DAC. I actually do the same with my ASUS E1 that has each output buffered.
 
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I see some new measurements here for this DAC coming from Wolf: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...easurements-of-matrix-audio-x-sabre-pro.9965/, so about identical performance with https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...bre-pro-mqa-best-audio-dac-in-the-world.8729/, but of course, without the MQA decoding and with a tiny ESS IMD thump; however the MQA ver. has a bit worse multi-tone measurement, although definitely inaudible in an A/B test.

It's difficult to spot, but on the below pic I think that each output RCA/XLR is buffered by a dedicated op-amp:

Courtesy of Soundnews
Given the above, I wouldn't be worried about leaving both RCA and XLR outputs inside this DAC. I actually do the same with my ASUS E1 that has each output buffered.
Wow! Thank you for the amazing replies! Very much appreciated. I was already content with Amir's reply but yours just took it to the next level! Lol it must be nice having so much smarts!
 
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each DAC output should have it's own buffer, otherwise the design is incorrect
Hmm. I wouldn't necessarily use the word "incorrect." It really depends on the output topology. There's a transformer-output DAC where the xfmr is hard wired to both RCA and XLR. The manual suggests using only one output, not both. In a case like this, I would personally rather see a straight wire dual output rather than a relay selection (etc), assuming the manual offers a caveat on output structure.
 
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It's a dac. So shouldn't matter.
Does output impedance matter if you are using it as a preamp straight into an amp ?. My current amp (Denafrips Hyperion) doesn't list it's input impedance in its technical specifications. It only lists Gain (28dB). On that note, would it be worth experimenting with the output gain settings on the Sabre Pro ?
 

MPA1

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Does output impedance matter if you are using it as a preamp straight into an amp ?. My current amp (Denafrips Hyperion) doesn't list it's input impedance in its technical specifications. It only lists Gain (28dB). On that note, would it be worth experimenting with the output gain settings on the Sabre Pro ?
I am curious about output impedance too.
 
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Does output impedance matter if you are using it as a preamp straight into an amp ?. My current amp (Denafrips Hyperion) doesn't list it's input impedance in its technical specifications. It only lists Gain (28dB). On that note, would it be worth experimenting with the output gain settings on the Sabre Pro ?
I am curious about output impedance too.
Impedance matching is important but has seem to be properly designed for in the modern era so much so that it is not an issue consumers have to worry about much anymore. You want your DAC to have a very low output impedance and your amp to have a high input impedance. If proper impedance matching is not considered, you may see undesirable roll-off in the audio bandwidth and voltage loss. The typical rule of thumb is a 10x ratio between the amp and DAC/pre. Again, in most modern designs this is much higher- in my case I have a 1600:1 ratio.

It is also important to know the input sensitivity of your amplifier to make sure that the voltage output of the DAC can drive your amp properly. The input sensitivity of an amplifier is a measure of how many volts it takes to bring it to full power. Most consumer amplifiers today are fine when driven by a DAC output.
 
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MPA1

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Impedance matching is important but has seem to be properly designed for in the modern era so much so that it is not an issue consumers have to worry about much anymore. You want your DAC to have a very low output impedance and your amp to have a high input impedance. If proper impedance matching is not considered, you may see undesirable roll-off in the audio bandwidth and voltage loss. The typical rule of thumb is a 10x ratio between the amp and DAC/pre. Again, in most modern designs this is much higher- in my case I have a 1600:1 ratio.

It is also important to know the input sensitivity of your amplifier to make sure that the voltage output of the DAC can drive your amp properly. The input sensitivity of an amplifier is a measure of how many volts it takes to bring it to full power. Most consumer amplifiers today are fine when driven by a DAC output.
thank you for taking the time to explain!:)
I would like to place in line attenuators between my XSP MQA and my monoblocks, but im not sure about the impedance?
 

MPA1

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question asked (and answered) in Element I thread, about software volume control in Roon.

The volume control of X-SABRE Pro MQA and ROON volume control are separated, each of them can adjust volume indipendently.
Only when the device is ROON Ready, ROON software can control the hardware volume.
Hope this information is useful. Thank you!
@MatrixAudio I placed your answer to my question in the right thread, hope you don't mind?

@MatrixAudio isn't this driver dependable? for example exasound has managed to do this. is this something that could be added through a driver update?
 
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, [...]

As Per Rob Watts about Mojo upsampling:
"[...] This extensive filtering reduces
jitter sensitivity by a factor of 64, and allows the DAC to eliminate
noise floor modulation. Now this is a very important problem, as it
makes the DAC sound hard and less smooth and is a major problem with
DACs - all other DACs have very large noise floor modulation, Mojo has
zero measurable noise floor modulation (I have plots at home proving
this). This is a major reason why Mojo sounds so smooth and natural.”

Can we assume that every DAC having a linear behavior in the IMD vs output level test, has no noise floor modulation?
 

ElNino

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thank you for taking the time to explain!:)
I would like to place in line attenuators between my XSP MQA and my monoblocks, but im not sure about the impedance?
There's a handy reference here for what resistor values to use: https://www.goldpt.com/preattenuation.html (You can ignore the stuff about the stepped attenuator on that page if you just want to wire up a fixed in-line attenuator; basically your desired attenuation is what they refer to as "preattenuation".)
 

Veri

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hi guys,

Friend of mine want to buy an external i2s bridge (without extra clock) from pink faun (link below). The reason behind is to use DSD1024.

The question:

Is it worth to buy or is it only a marketing how to drug the money from wallet?

https://www.pinkfaun.com/shop/bridg...h/compatible_i2s_dac_s-please_select_your_dac

Thank you
Does he have a powerful PC to upsample to DSD1024?

In any case, when using HQPlayer to upsample. HQPlayer's author @Miska had this to say over at audiophilestyle forum about DSD rates, when converting to DSD.

Generally, regardless of modulators, I would say;

DSD64 -> DSD128 is a huge step

DSD128 -> DSD256 is still a big step

DSD256 -> DSD512 is medium to small step

DSD512 -> DSD1024 is small step
 
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to Veri:

thx for replay.

He wants to build a new pc for this work and i believe a native DSD1024 is a trigger for him not upsample.

Regards Michal
 

Veri

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to Veri:

thx for replay.

He wants to build a new pc for this work and i believe a native DSD1024 is a trigger for him not upsample.

Regards Michal
Where does one even find native DSD1024 :D I don't think it exists!
 
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Veri,

i have confirmation that he owns some tracks 1024DSD size apx 3GB a song native (perhaps upsample dunno). Lets assume that he will use it in future and DSD1024 tracks will be more common than nowadays. Back to question: Is it worth to buy?

Thank you.

Regards Michal
 

Veri

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Veri,

i have confirmation that he owns some tracks 1024DSD size apx 3GB a song native (perhaps upsample dunno). Lets assume that he will use it in future and DSD1024 tracks will be more common than nowadays. Back to question: Is it worth to buy?

Thank you.

Regards Michal
The step from DSD512 to DSD1024 is according to Miska who is knowledgeable about DSD formats, very small.
If the extension card is 300+ euro, it is up to your friend to pay for DSD1024 over I2S.

But I would personally stick to the out of the box DSD512 for sure. It's more than good enough.
 

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