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

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Veri,

thank you for your opinion i will speak with friend and will let you know the outcome. Some persons are just stubborn you know :)

regards Michal
 
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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".)
Totally forgot about that site, THANKS!
i assume that with an input of 24kohm I should use the 25k resistor values?
cheers
 
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I bet this has been answered before but I haven't been able to find it... Does Matrix Audio get regulatory approvals (i.e. FCC, CE) or do they not bother like most other chi-fi?
 

Olesno

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I am not sure if I'm allowed to do it here but I have one X-Sabre Pro MQA unit for sale (in black). The DAC is only few months old and in perfect condition. No issues of any kind. If you are interested, please pm me.
 

icenine

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I am not sure if I'm allowed to do it here but I have one X-Sabre Pro MQA unit for sale (in black). The DAC is only few months old and in perfect condition. No issues of any kind. If you are interested, please pm me.
Thanks for the heads up. I'm still in the exploring it right now but will be in touch if I reach a decision soon. What are you replacing it with?
 

Olesno

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Thanks for the heads up. I'm still in the exploring it right now but will be in touch if I reach a decision soon. What are you replacing it with?
I am using Roon Nucleus + which I connected directly via USB cable to my OPPO 205 cd player which uses the same Sabre DACs as the Matrix Audio unit. There is no reason for me to have another DAC with the same sound signature as the OPPO 205.
 
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Not home to check. From what I recall, Dither was On, Mode was Async.
What is the point of D/A converter adding dither? 99% of today's software, CD's, SACD's or Hi Res downloads has already been dithered on the mastering stage and also noise shaped. Adding dither to an already dithered signal adds noise.
 
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I'm having issues getting my Sabre Pro MQA running correctly on USB output on a Windows 10 1909 machine and Tidal. Is this correct?
I see MQA on the display but every time I pause or scroll a track it jumps back to PCM and goes back to MQA, correct?

Regarding foobar2000:
Is the Matrix driver supposed to say "ASIO not active" all the time when Foobar2000 is closed? I've installed the ASIO driver in Foobar2000, together with the SACD plugins.
 

majingotan

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AFAIK, WASAPI only works with PCM (that’s why you can only choose DoP if you’re using WASAPI) hence the PCM mode switch when scrubbing and pausing tracks. Have you tried outputting MQA using ASIO?
 

Veri

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I see MQA on the display but every time I pause or scroll a track it jumps back to PCM and goes back to MQA, correct?

Regarding foobar2000:
Is the Matrix driver supposed to say "ASIO not active" all the time when Foobar2000 is closed? I've installed the ASIO driver in Foobar2000, together with the SACD plugins.
Both are correct.
 

Cortes

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This gentleman thinks Shiit makes better

The Yggdrasil presents a significantly deeper soundstage than the XSP and an altogether more realistic timbre, though the Yggdrasil’s edge in the latter is much smaller than in the former. The XSP, in contrast, seems to pull ever-so-slightly more detail out of some recordings than the Yggdrasil. I’d hazard to stay that there are other differences between the Matrix and the Schiit when it comes to bass slam (advantage Schiit), left-to-right staging (advantage Matrix), macro-dynamics (advantage Schiit), and other characteristics, but no hands-down winner emerges. Overall, they’re both superb, balanced DACs. Whereas the XSP emerged as the clear winner against the RME, the choice of XSP or Yggdrasil is more one of tradeoffs and individual taste.

https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/reviews/matrix-x-sabre-pro-mqa-dac-review-r876/

Yokes are welcome. As usual the former CA has less credibility after any article is posted.
 

majingotan

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The XSP, in contrast, seems to pull ever-so-slightly more detail out of some recordings than the Yggdrasil
At least this proves that details gets lost over that bushy HF from Yggdrasil.
 

firedog

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This gentleman thinks Shiit makes better

The Yggdrasil presents a significantly deeper soundstage than the XSP and an altogether more realistic timbre, though the Yggdrasil’s edge in the latter is much smaller than in the former. The XSP, in contrast, seems to pull ever-so-slightly more detail out of some recordings than the Yggdrasil. I’d hazard to stay that there are other differences between the Matrix and the Schiit when it comes to bass slam (advantage Schiit), left-to-right staging (advantage Matrix), macro-dynamics (advantage Schiit), and other characteristics, but no hands-down winner emerges. Overall, they’re both superb, balanced DACs. Whereas the XSP emerged as the clear winner against the RME, the choice of XSP or Yggdrasil is more one of tradeoffs and individual taste.

https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/reviews/matrix-x-sabre-pro-mqa-dac-review-r876/

Yokes are welcome. As usual the former CA has less credibility after any article is posted.
What is your point? He pointed out the measurements done here on the Matrix DAC, said it basically measured perfectly and then gave a subjective impression. Even Amir does that in some reviews. He thought the Matrix was an excellent DAC.

He didn't say the Yggy was better. He said is some aspects it was, and in other aspects it wasn't.

Have you compared them? How do you know it isn't? You can't tell some detail like that from the the raw measurements. Lots of people don't hear the measured defects in the Yggy, or perhaps they subjectively like the sound of them. Big deal. BTW, there've been at least 4 other sites do measurements of the Yggy, and none of them replicated Amir's bad results - or at least not all of them. So maybe the DAC is better than you think and Amir's measurements are, for whatever reason, an outlier.

Have you heard a Yggy in a blind comparison? I bet you wouldn't hear those measured defects and pick the Yggy out, either.
 
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KML

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How does the Matrix MQAdac perform as pre/volume control? Any pros/cons compared to a high end analog preamplifier?
 
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Daggyz

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Been on the fence between this DAC and just settling for less and getting the Element-I. I stream my music via tidal/spotify/qobuz/roon. Would the sabre-x mqa's DSD 512/1024 even be of use to me or would the Element-I's DSD256 be enough for my needs considering my music sources?
 

MPA1

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Been on the fence between this DAC and just settling for less and getting the Element-I. I stream my music via tidal/spotify/qobuz/roon. Would the sabre-x mqa's DSD 512/1024 even be of use to me or would the Element-I's DSD256 be enough for my needs considering my music sources?
I have been in the same position as you. But in the end I chose the XSP mqa. An all in one device is nice, but I’d like to have some options in the future.
the XSP MQA has a better dac chip, better clocks and a proper PSU.

and I upsample everything to 512dsd with HQPlayer.
 

firedog

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Been on the fence between this DAC and just settling for less and getting the Element-I. I stream my music via tidal/spotify/qobuz/roon. Would the sabre-x mqa's DSD 512/1024 even be of use to me or would the Element-I's DSD256 be enough for my needs considering my music sources?
I got the Element i as a secondary DAC, wasn't considering the top of the line X.

The Element i is a fine DAC. If you mostly stream from the internet, there isn't much use for DSD 512, unless you plan on upsampling your incoming streams to 512 for playback. There aren't any DSD 512 files being streamed, or really any DSD at all. It's all PCM.
The other question here would be does the full unfold of MQA matter to you? If it does, get the X. If you are willing to make do with just the first software unfold, get the i.

As far as the power supply for the i, if you think it matters, you can upgrade the PS of the i for a relatively small amount from a third party supplier.
 
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I reviewed the Matrix Element X streamer and DAC a few months ago which achieved the highest measured performance of any DAC I have yet measured. Will the X-Sabre Pro MQA match or possibly beat it? I am here to answer that question. Company was kind enough to send me a unit for testing. It is not cheap at US $1,999.

If there was a measure of weight per square inch in audio products, the X-Sabre Pro certainly is the champion of it. Despite being rather small, the thing weighs a ton, making it almost impossible to pick up with one hand! The industrial design as with Element X is excellent, being modern but have a bit of "retro" look to it with the circular display:


A set of touch controls flank the unit allowing instant selection of inputs and volume levels.

Unit configuration is a bit obscure though. You have to hold the power button down where it counts with one, two and three dashes and shuts down. Continue holding the button and you will be greeted with configuration menu. Volume + and - then control the option and the power button is your select button. I did not mess with much in there other than selecting the different audio filters, upon which the unit will power cycle. It does this quickly but does cause the player to complain that it has lost connection with the unit.

There is a remote control but gives no filter setting controls. Wish they would add a button to it for that purpose for people who want to mess with it (not me). Or at least a setup button to get you into that mode rather than the long press on the power button.

For my testing, I focused on USB input as I always do. And unless noted, the main output I tested was XLR balanced output.

DAC Audio Measurements
OK, here is the moment of truth: the Element X garnered a SINAD (signal over noise and distortion) of 120 dB, pushing the limits of my Audio Precision APx555 analyzer. Let's see how X-Sabre Pro MQA does:

View attachment 32214

That's right! The previous record is shattered. With the output level reduced to 4 volt with -1 dBFS of input, we reach 121 dB. If you let it be at full level of nearly 4.4 volts, you lose 1 dB so still superb. Here is the official ranking graph:
View attachment 32215

Note that distortion products are at -126 dB or so. This means that the SINAD is actually more determined by noise level which includes my analyzer noise. In reality then, performance is even better than 121 dB! Wow!

Now we have to hold our breath through the rest of the measurements to see if anything else is a let down. How about linearity?

View attachment 32216

Nailed! Perfectly flat despite noise that impacts both the analyzer and DAC in this measurement. And it does this for both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA output.

Jitter test shows incredibly low noise floor which naturally reveals a few spikes here and there but they are utterly inconsequential:
View attachment 32218


How about intermodulation distortion versus level? Could we see the dreaded "ESS IMD Hump?"
View attachment 32219

Of course not. The Topping DX3 Pro is very tough to beat in this test yet, the Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro sails past it with significantly lower noise and intermodulation distortion.

Here is the intermodulation test with 32 tones instead of the two above:

View attachment 32220

We essentially clear the -120 dB mark meaning all distortions are below 20 bits (120 divided by 6).

Since some of you are in love with intermodulation tests of all sorts, here is the test of 19 and 20 kHz tones:

View attachment 32221

For grins, I left in there the TotalDAC d1-six dac measurements in red. You rather have your soup with a bunch of flies in it or bug-free?

Signal to noise ratio is spectacular:

View attachment 32222

It is actually 3 dB better than that of Element X.

THD+N versus frequency with a bandwidth of 90 kHz shows highly controlled distortion and ultrasonic junk:
View attachment 32223

Here is the response of the different reconstruction filters with #2 being the default:

View attachment 32224

I would probably go with filter 3.

Conclusions
The Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro MQA is beautifully made, putting to shame many products in its price range. It oozes class and quality.

That beauty runs deep when it comes to performance as Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro MQA unseats its own brother to take the crown of the best DAC I have ever measured. Considering that the list now includes nearly 160 DACs, this is an incredible achievement.

I met the team behind Matrix Audio at the last audio show and you have not seen a more soft-spoken, unassuming team of engineers than them. None of the ego that is so prevalent in high-end audio. The company is active here and on some other forums. And of course volunteers to have its products tested by us, rather than hiding in the bushes. So they score high on both product and customer service.

Needless to say, it is my absolute pleasure to recommend the Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro MQA. We are here to find the best engineered audio products and the Matrix Audio Proves that it is among a handful of companies to produce such trophy class products one after the other. It put a huge smile on my face after testing it, one that will be hard to erase!

-----

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Driving around Portland Oregon, enjoying the incredible beauty Dahlia flowers at an amazing farm here (we come every year). Had to board the Panthers and so when I get home, have to pay the bill for that. So please donate generously using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
I am a student and I am really interested in music. I have a question and I would be appreciated if you can reply me.Your intermodulation test with 32 tones make my friepuzzling
I reviewed the Matrix Element X streamer and DAC a few months ago which achieved the highest measured performance of any DAC I have yet measured. Will the X-Sabre Pro MQA match or possibly beat it? I am here to answer that question. Company was kind enough to send me a unit for testing. It is not cheap at US $1,999.

If there was a measure of weight per square inch in audio products, the X-Sabre Pro certainly is the champion of it. Despite being rather small, the thing weighs a ton, making it almost impossible to pick up with one hand! The industrial design as with Element X is excellent, being modern but have a bit of "retro" look to it with the circular display:


A set of touch controls flank the unit allowing instant selection of inputs and volume levels.

Unit configuration is a bit obscure though. You have to hold the power button down where it counts with one, two and three dashes and shuts down. Continue holding the button and you will be greeted with configuration menu. Volume + and - then control the option and the power button is your select button. I did not mess with much in there other than selecting the different audio filters, upon which the unit will power cycle. It does this quickly but does cause the player to complain that it has lost connection with the unit.

There is a remote control but gives no filter setting controls. Wish they would add a button to it for that purpose for people who want to mess with it (not me). Or at least a setup button to get you into that mode rather than the long press on the power button.

For my testing, I focused on USB input as I always do. And unless noted, the main output I tested was XLR balanced output.

DAC Audio Measurements
OK, here is the moment of truth: the Element X garnered a SINAD (signal over noise and distortion) of 120 dB, pushing the limits of my Audio Precision APx555 analyzer. Let's see how X-Sabre Pro MQA does:

View attachment 32214

That's right! The previous record is shattered. With the output level reduced to 4 volt with -1 dBFS of input, we reach 121 dB. If you let it be at full level of nearly 4.4 volts, you lose 1 dB so still superb. Here is the official ranking graph:
View attachment 32215

Note that distortion products are at -126 dB or so. This means that the SINAD is actually more determined by noise level which includes my analyzer noise. In reality then, performance is even better than 121 dB! Wow!

Now we have to hold our breath through the rest of the measurements to see if anything else is a let down. How about linearity?

View attachment 32216

Nailed! Perfectly flat despite noise that impacts both the analyzer and DAC in this measurement. And it does this for both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA output.

Jitter test shows incredibly low noise floor which naturally reveals a few spikes here and there but they are utterly inconsequential:
View attachment 32218


How about intermodulation distortion versus level? Could we see the dreaded "ESS IMD Hump?"
View attachment 32219

Of course not. The Topping DX3 Pro is very tough to beat in this test yet, the Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro sails past it with significantly lower noise and intermodulation distortion.

Here is the intermodulation test with 32 tones instead of the two above:

View attachment 32220

We essentially clear the -120 dB mark meaning all distortions are below 20 bits (120 divided by 6).

Since some of you are in love with intermodulation tests of all sorts, here is the test of 19 and 20 kHz tones:

View attachment 32221

For grins, I left in there the TotalDAC d1-six dac measurements in red. You rather have your soup with a bunch of flies in it or bug-free?

Signal to noise ratio is spectacular:

View attachment 32222

It is actually 3 dB better than that of Element X.

THD+N versus frequency with a bandwidth of 90 kHz shows highly controlled distortion and ultrasonic junk:
View attachment 32223

Here is the response of the different reconstruction filters with #2 being the default:

View attachment 32224

I would probably go with filter 3.

Conclusions
The Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro MQA is beautifully made, putting to shame many products in its price range. It oozes class and quality.

That beauty runs deep when it comes to performance as Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro MQA unseats its own brother to take the crown of the best DAC I have ever measured. Considering that the list now includes nearly 160 DACs, this is an incredible achievement.

I met the team behind Matrix Audio at the last audio show and you have not seen a more soft-spoken, unassuming team of engineers than them. None of the ego that is so prevalent in high-end audio. The company is active here and on some other forums. And of course volunteers to have its products tested by us, rather than hiding in the bushes. So they score high on both product and customer service.

Needless to say, it is my absolute pleasure to recommend the Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro MQA. We are here to find the best engineered audio products and the Matrix Audio Proves that it is among a handful of companies to produce such trophy class products one after the other. It put a huge smile on my face after testing it, one that will be hard to erase!

-----

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Driving around Portland Oregon, enjoying the incredible beauty Dahlia flowers at an amazing farm here (we come every year). Had to board the Panthers and so when I get home, have to pay the bill for that. So please donate generously using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
I am a student and I am really interested in music. I have a question and I would be appreciated if you can reply me.Your intermodulation test with 32 tones make my friend puzzled is that it semms to have a law. my red circle. I mean, he think maybe your testing have something wrong. xsp maybe is better than the picture showed to us.would you like to test it again? I can not use english very well. if I have something wrong. I hope you can forgive me
 

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