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New Matrix Audio Element X2, M2 and i2 Music Streamers - Headphones Amps!!

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enricoclaudio

enricoclaudio

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Just when I'm looking for an all in one box (streamer, DAC, headphone amp) and set on Element I, the 2 series is almost out. How come only the element I is discontinued from the previous generation?

Is it just me who thinks the 2 series Elements is a slight regression spec-wise on the headphone amp? Not that the difference is audible in most situations. But just surprising to see the latest generation of an audio gear takes a bit of a step back in some of the objective performance from a company which is known for engineering high quality products objectively.

Speaking of the I series the latest generation is an improvement design-wise and as far as UI goes it looks much better. In the end, the Element I, I think would be a better choice for me as it can do basically anything I can think of for my use case, the assurance that it will not have any issue with a variety of headphones/iem and then there is a price difference.

I contacted my local retailer that carries MA products and they will check if they can get an Element I for me. Otherwise, the I2 will have to wait until it is measured and review here before I consider it. Unfortunately, there is not much of an option out there for an all-in-one streamer like the MA audio offers that ticks many boxes objectively/quality-wise.

If you are looking for a more powerful headphone amp then the best choice for you from Matrix Audio would be the mini-i Pro 3. However, the mini-i Pro 3 has limited streaming capabilities as it works basically with Roon or Airplay or as a DAC. The i2 has all the streaming capabilities you can think of, including DLNA, Tidal and Spotify Connect, Airplay, Roon Ready and Qobuz. It has less power in the headphone section but it should be enough to drive very demanding headphones. The mini-i Pro 3 that I had, used to drive my DCA AEON 2 Noires without any effort at ear bleeding levels. The mini-i Pro 3 has about 25% more power @ 33Ohms compared to the i2. At 300Ohms and 600Ohms both have the same output.
 

headwhacker

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If you are looking for a more powerful headphone amp then the best choice for you from Matrix Audio would be the mini-i Pro 3. However, the mini-i Pro 3 has limited streaming capabilities as it works basically with Roon or Airplay or as a DAC. The i2 has all the streaming capabilities you can think of, including DLNA, Tidal and Spotify Connect, Airplay, Roon Ready and Qobuz. It has less power in the headphone section but it should be enough to drive very demanding headphones. The mini-i Pro 3 that I had, used to drive my DCA AEON 2 Noires without any effort at ear bleeding levels. The mini-i Pro 3 has about 25% more power @ 33Ohms compared to the i2. At 300Ohms and 600Ohms both have the same output.
I'm not looking for more power, I actually looked at mini-i Pro3 and it looks similar to Element 2 series except that it has limited streaming capabilities and as you said has a bit more powerful headphone amp and objectively almost similar (output impedance, etc). Unfortunately it is not ideal for highly sensitive iems as I see multiple reports that it hiss on some iems. I have a few of those very sensitive low impedance iems.

What I plan for using an all-in-one streamer is that I can bring it anywhere in my house sit back and listen to music. The headphones in use range from iems up to full size closed-back headphones (DCA Aeon). Open backs/hard to drive ones (HE-6) will only see getting used on a dedicated room where I already have a very capable DAC/AMP combo attached to a mac mini. The all-in-one is a great flexibility with minimum clutter.

Actually, as a streamer I care most about roon only, but other streaming options is sure nice to have. Hence, the Element I is perfect for me. If only the Element I2 has the same headphone amp as the Element I or better, I would go for it without second thought considering the price bump.
 

Wunderphones

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I'm not looking for more power, I actually looked at mini-i Pro3 and it looks similar to Element 2 series except that it has limited streaming capabilities and as you said has a bit more powerful headphone amp and objectively almost similar (output impedance, etc). Unfortunately it is not ideal for highly sensitive iems as I see multiple reports that it hiss on some iems. I have a few of those very sensitive low impedance iems.

What I plan for using an all-in-one streamer is that I can bring it anywhere in my house sit back and listen to music. The headphones in use range from iems up to full size closed-back headphones (DCA Aeon). Open backs/hard to drive ones (HE-6) will only see getting used on a dedicated room where I already have a very capable DAC/AMP combo attached to a mac mini. The all-in-one is a great flexibility with minimum clutter.

Actually, as a streamer I care most about roon only, but other streaming options is sure nice to have. Hence, the Element I is perfect for me. If only the Element I2 has the same headphone amp as the Element I or better, I would go for it without second thought considering the price bump.

Me, too. I think I would be all over the A&K ACRO, if it weren't so expensive.
 

radix

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What do people with a Matrix Audio do for room correction, if anything? I use Roon, Spotify, CD, and vinyl, so I really prefer a hardware solution. Right now, I have an SHD, but am looking for an improved UX. I guess I could leave the SHD on all the time and fixed at +0db and XLR in, but that's 20W in idle mode.
 
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enricoclaudio

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What do people with a Matrix Audio do for room correction, if anything? I use Roon, Spotify, CD, and vinyl, so I really prefer a hardware solution. Right now, I have an SHD, but am looking for an improved UX. I guess I could leave the SHD on all the time and fixed at +0db and XLR in, but that's 20W in idle mode.
I have a MA X-SABRE 3 and I use it exclusively with Roon so I use Roon DSP with it.
 

JoetheLion

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Headphone output impedance of the Element I 2 is the same as the Mini I Pro 3 and not the Element I. So is the device rather an update of the Mini I Pro 3?
 

Wunderphones

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Headphone output impedance of the Element I 2 is the same as the Mini I Pro 3 and not the Element I. So is the device rather an update of the Mini I Pro 3?
Not an update, but it's got similar guts to the Mini I Pro 3. If you don't see yourself using the touchscreen (i.e., if you're just going to be using the remote), the Mini seems like the way to go.
 

JoetheLion

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Not an update, but it's got similar guts to the Mini I Pro 3. If you don't see yourself using the touchscreen (i.e., if you're just going to be using the remote), the Mini seems like the way to go.
I used to have the Mini I 3 pro, but sold it because the headphone part is not really good in my opinion. If it is the same in the Element I2, it would be better to buy the Element I, right?
 

Burki

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I used to have the Mini I 3 pro, but sold it because the headphone part is not really good in my opinion. If it is the same in the Element I2, it would be better to buy the Element I, right?
Tomorrow I'll get my Element i2 and try to connect with the Mini i-3 Pro, primarily using it as headphone amp and Roon endpoint.
For me the the headphone amp in the Mini isn't bad (compared with many other in a much higher price area), but it surely depends, which headphones are you using.
 
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enricoclaudio

enricoclaudio

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Tomorrow I'll get my Element i2 and try to connect with the Mini i-3 Pro, primarily using it as headphone amp and Roon endpoint.
For me the the headphone amp in the Mini isn't bad (compared with many other in a much higher price area), but it surely depends, which headphones are you using.

The mini-i Pro 3 used to drive my HD660s and Sundaras effortless. It used to struggles just a bit with my DCA AEON 2 Noires and that's why I have a Topping A90. I sold my mini-i Pro 3 as I found myself not using it too much after I got the X-SABRE 3 + A90 combo but most definitely for not hungry headphones, the mini-i Pro 3 is a great headphone amp.
 

JoetheLion

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Tomorrow I'll get my Element i2 and try to connect with the Mini i-3 Pro, primarily using it as headphone amp and Roon endpoint.
For me the the headphone amp in the Mini isn't bad (compared with many other in a much higher price area), but it surely depends, which headphones are you using.
My headphones are the Focal Clear. I also had the Topping A90, DX3pro and now have the Topping DX5 and a Burson Conductor 3 Performance. In my impression, they all sound better than the Matrix Mini I 3 pro. This is a pity, because the Matrix is a great device in terms of functionality, and look and feel. With the Toppings annoys me a bit the quality impression (all devices are warm even in standby or idle and obviously not built for eternity), but the sound is for me clearly better than the Matrix.

I honestly don't understand why the I2 has an output impedance of 6/12 ohms. That's a clear step backwards.
 

headwhacker

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I used to have the Mini I 3 pro, but sold it because the headphone part is not really good in my opinion. If it is the same in the Element I2, it would be better to buy the Element I, right?

For the same reason I got the Element I. Managed to get the demo unit from my local audio shop at a good discounted price. IMO if you can still get the Element I it's the way to go instead of element I2. Unless you want the newer look and the bigger,nicer LCD screen of the I2. Sonically speaking, there may be no difference in the headphone amp for majority of use case between the 2. But The headphone amp on Element-I would be slightly better imo. Or maybe not once I2 gets tested and measured by Amir.

But if the I2 resembles the same performance as the Mini I 3 Pro. I would still stick to Element I.
 
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