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Review and Measurements of Matrix Audio Element X DAC/Streamer/Amp

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#82
Well, at least we are seeing a handful of good manufacturers pushing the performance envelope of things. I hope the positive exposure from these measurements will bring purchase decisions in their direction and weed out the snake-oil peddlers in the longer term.
I couldn't agree more, the snake-oil peddlers have made a great living off the "hi-fi" market for years. They are the bottom feeders and sadly have held the industry back for decades.

As some of you know, I'm waiting for my JDS Labs 'Element' to arrive, and while it isn't spec'd as well as the 'element X', it is similarly named, so should have similar sound and performance. Lastly, I purchased Mini Brilliant Pebbles, from Machina Dynamica, which will bring the JDS in-line with this much more expensive product. My JDS will probably surpass this product once i add the Mikro pebbles onto my interconnects as this detailed engineering photo shows their proper use.
mikro-pebbles.jpg


So in essence, I spent 1/9th the money and got the same product, all by using science.
 

Tks

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#83
That's what I thought about my RME ADI-2 dac. Until now, dammit.
One problem all other device makers have VS the RME. Their DSP is literally in the Paleolithic age compared to what the RME DAC offers. And the RME has been out for quite a while, and using a 4490.

The amount of creature comforts on the RME cannot be overstated.

I still stick to my predictions, once we start seeing the newest/latest gen DAC chips start hitting devices, the performance metrics won't matter as much, but differentiating factors like build-quality, DSP, input types, and things of that nature is what will really matter.

While this thing has mopped everything that has been tested, you still have the Okto Stereo waiting with 8 channels that are going to be folded. And at half the price of this, it will get interesting to say the least. BUT! Again.. the non-performance metrics is what will begin to really start mattering. I don't even want to speculate what the RME DAC 2 might look like, I think if the price is right, that thing will shake up the landscape considerably.
 

Zog

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#84
I purchased Mini Brilliant Pebbles, from Machina Dynamica, which will bring the JDS in-line with this much more expensive product. My JDS will probably surpass this product once i add the Mikro pebbles onto my interconnects as this detailed engineering photo shows their proper use.
View attachment 27563
They should also be taped to pianist's fingers to improve performance.
 
Joined
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#85
Bravo. A great product proudly Designed and Made In China with excellent fit & finish and performance that matches its specifications.

The price, although high, is an example of what state of the art might cost.

I hope the consistency in quality and supply, product serviceability, warranty duration and customer service matches the high level of technical excellence displayed by this product.

And yes, it should also be available in black.
 
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#86
This is really great performance. I've been following Matrix for a while and have the X-PDIF-2 interface that I sent to Amir to test a while back. Their products are solid and now I am seriously considering getting this. For me it will reduce the amount of gear from 3 to 1 when listening to playback via roon. I will able to remove the streamer and the USB to i2S converter to get Native DSD.

Thanks for the tests
 

Veri

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#87
While this thing has mopped everything that has been tested, you still have the Okto Stereo waiting with 8 channels that are going to be folded. And at half the price of this, it will get interesting to say the least. BUT! Again.. the non-performance metrics is what will begin to really start mattering. I don't even want to speculate what the RME DAC 2 might look like, I think if the price is right, that thing will shake up the landscape considerably.
I wonder which will top the chart. Okto DAC8 STEREO, or matrix :D
 

anmpr1

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#88
Bravo. A great product proudly Designed and Made In China with excellent fit & finish and performance that matches its specifications.

The price, although high, is an example of what state of the art might cost.

I hope the consistency in quality and supply, product serviceability, warranty duration and customer service matches the high level of technical excellence displayed by this product.
A while ago, in another thread, we were discussing the idea that Chinese products generally hold the same status as Japanese products had, back in the '60s--that is, low priced junk that looks OK, but falls apart quickly. I am happy to see what I've known all along--what matters is not necessarily the country of origin, but the price point the gear is built to. Along with the quality of components and engineering acumen behind it.

My only hesitation with something this excellent is the current political-economic situation between the two countries. Also, dealer or manufacturer support. Will the company be in business down the road, and is support available without sending back to China? Certainly there is no guarantee that any product made in the US will have support, long term. McIntosh (1949) is, after all, the exception. And who can predict if Mac will be in business tomorrow?

All that said, I wish the company well, as they obviously know what they are doing.

Addendum: After a quick search, the company has evidently been in business 10 years, and has a US distributor with a Web presence, plus some US dealers. So all that is good, and inspires confidence.
 
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#89
It is total nonsense. It is classic faulty subjective review not worth the bits it takes to store it online. :) He hooks a distortion producing Audio-gd on the output and thinks it sounds warmer. No way. At best it would do nothing, at worse add harshness.

Please ignore such "reviews" for performance of audio gear. They are just random words and totally unreliable in this regard.
Tell us how your really feel...
 
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#90
So does anyone know what the MAX PCM and DSD you can get out of this via Ethernet and roon? The spec give numbers for the digital inputs but not for Ethernet, I assume the max values should be able to be attained via Ethernet. Also DSD, native or DoP via ethernet?
 

TKO

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#92
Good to see good engineering being done in China. I’d just like to see them work on the price in future models. I understand how well built this is but currently can not justify the price.
 

GrimSurfer

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#93
A while ago, in another thread, we were discussing the idea that Chinese products generally hold the same status as Japanese products had, back in the '60s--that is, low priced junk that looks OK, but falls apart quickly. I am happy to see what I've known all along--what matters is not necessarily the country of origin, but the price point the gear is built to. Along with the quality of components and engineering acumen behind it.

My only hesitation with something this excellent is the current political-economic situation between the two countries. Also, dealer or manufacturer support. Will the company be in business down the road, and is support available without sending back to China? Certainly there is no guarantee that any product made in the US will have support, long term. McIntosh (1949) is, after all, the exception. And who can predict if Mac will be in business tomorrow?

All that said, I wish the company well, as they obviously know what they are doing.

Addendum: After a quick search, the company has evidently been in business 10 years, and has a US distributor with a Web presence, plus some US dealers. So all that is good, and inspires confidence.
In the audio business, price is as poor a predictor of quality as country of manufacture. As this site demonstrates time and time again, quality of engineering is quality of engineering.

While I tend to agree with your views on country of manufacturing being irrelevant, there are a lot of qualifiers to consider. Has sufficient investment been made in plant infrastructure? Is the workforce educated (what is the quality of the country's education system?), skilled (effective trades programmes?), motivated (culture, use of force) and incentivized (paid a slave wage, given opportunities for rest, etc.) for the tasks at hand? Are quality control measures in place? Are these self administered, overseen independently, or overseen by the entity contracting the work? Are company representatives on site? 24/7, 8/5, or periodically? It makes a difference.

What is the country's stance on intellectual property protection? Companies are unlikely to transfer valuable or cutting edge IP to manufacturers that reside in states with poor protection measures. Where does the country sit wrt corruption? It matters on issues of supply chain integrity, where phoney parts may be injected into the manufacturing business by corrupt individuals.

So, while I don't care about country of manufacture, I do care about processes and principles. These are the things that allow great designs to become great products.
 
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Veri

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#94
So does anyone know what the MAX PCM and DSD you can get out of this via Ethernet and roon? The spec give numbers for the digital inputs but not for Ethernet, I assume the max values should be able to be attained via Ethernet. Also DSD, native or DoP via ethernet?
According to audiophonics specs page, 768kHz DSD512 over USB/ethernet, 768kHz DSD1024 over I2S HDMI.
 
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#95
Superb piece of hardware. Now if we could get an amp "anywhere close" to not ruining this level of performance, at a more reasonable cost than the Benchmark's that would be a great. I find very interesting, as far as quality dac go, for about 100$ you get the Khadas, at 1000 the Okto research for example and now this one at 3000, this is the exponential scaling we should expect ideally.
 
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#96
I understand how well built this is but currently can not justify the price.
As well as the Benchmark AHB2 is a State Of The Art power amp,

This (which, by the way, reach the limit measurable of a 30K$ AP) is a State Of The Art digital combo unit: Stellar DAC, excellent headamp, great streamer...

In my book, it WORTH the price.
 

gvl

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#97
I think it is worth the price but for the "end game" kind of unit it needs to drop the streamer option as they tend to become obsolete or limited in several years as manufacturers inevitably drop software support but the standards evolve. The X-Sabre Pro is more like it if the numbers prove it.
 

FrantzM

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#98
In the audio business, price is as poor a predictor of quality as country of manufacture. As this site demonstrates time and time again, quality of engineering is quality of engineering.

While I tend to agree with your views on country of manufacturing being irrelevant, there are a lot of qualifiers to consider. Has sufficient investment been made in plant infrastructure? Is the workforce educated (what is the quality of the country's education system?), skilled (effective trades programmes?), motivated (culture, use of force) and incentivized (paid a slave wage, given opportunities for rest, etc.) for the tasks at hand? Are quality control measures in place? Are these self administered, overseen independently, or overseen by the entity contracting the work? Are company representatives on site? 24/7, 8/5, or periodically? It makes a difference.

What is the country's stance on intellectual property protection? Companies are unlikely to transfer valuable or cutting edge IP to companies that reside in states with poor protection measures. Where does the country sit wrt corruption? It matters on issues of supply chain integrity, where phoney parts may be injected into the manufacturing business by corrupt individuals.

So, while I don't care about country of manufacture, I do care about processes and principles. These are the things that allow great designs to become great products.
Country of manufacturing has become irrelevant. It wasn't always the case. The Internet has seen to that...
The best Universities classes are online for free ... There are high quality free courses/classes on any subject . Khan Academy (most famous, there are others) can teach you anything if you are disciplined and persistent: From Arts & Craft to Advanced Mathematics, Artificial Intelligence or Zoology...
It was before the Internet difficult to get the knowledge.. Today the proverbial Ink will not dry before, Knowledge is online, readable and available to tablets. the world over :)

A new World people.
 
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GrimSurfer

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#99
North Korea is having a sale on slave labour at the moment. Granted, they have rotating power outages, their workforce is starving, they'd enjoy diverting any military-related technology for unlicensed use, and you'd need to find a plant engineer or QC supervisor stupid enough to go to a place where they risk imprisonment for espionage for asking a solider for directions...

But hey, the price of labour is competitive and you don't need to offer benefits beyond a scrap of bread. Environmental law? Nope. Use CFCs, mercury, and cadmium to your heart's content. Just dump it in the Yalu when you're done.

Gee, a company might be able to reach the nirvana that TKO wrote about (getting that cost model down) simply by moving to the third world.

Country of manufacture shouldn't matter. But it actually does, in many cases.
 
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anmpr1

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Good to see good engineering being done in China. I’d just like to see them work on the price in future models. I understand how well built this is but currently can not justify the price.
If something is 'the best', then price is what they say it is...until something better comes along. However that is, like Benchmark products, this does not appear overpriced in the scheme of things.
 
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