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

FrantzM

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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 their unlicensed used, 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...

Country of manufacture shouldn't matter. But it does, in many cases.
I think you saw my point.. For each of those North Korea examples , I can cite you many in History books that are worse ... Let's leave it a that
 

anmpr1

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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?

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.
All those are good points. Anent IP, China is claimed to be an offender. But...and this is not a 'small but', you have plenty of this sort of thing going on in the West, and other Orient companies. It's called patent litigation. Samsung v Apple comes to mind, but there's many others. The question, I think, is not only whether just compensation can be made within a given country's legal system, but also whether the patent system in and of itself lends itself to frivolous claims that can be litigated endlessly.
 

GrimSurfer

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I think you saw my point.. For each of those North Korea examples , I can cite you many in History books that are worse ... Let's leave it a that
So we're quoting history now? Is the ignorance, starvation, injustice of the past any better than DPRK at the moment?

WRT countries, I'll work from the bottom and you can work from the top. We'll meet in the middle of the UN Development Programme list, which is one country above China at the moment.

So we each will have 86 examples of places to go/not go, which refutes the argument that country of manufacturer doesn't matter. In an ideal world, it shouldn't. But ours is not an ideal world. It is one that I've travelled, sometimes with a frag vest on and at other times in a business suit (sometimes both in the same day).
 

GrimSurfer

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But...and this is not a 'small but', you have plenty of this sort of thing going on in the West, and other Orient companies. It's called patent litigation. Samsung v Apple comes to mind, but there's many others. The question, I think, is not only whether just compensation can be made within a given country's legal system, but also whether the patent system in and of itself lends itself to frivolous claims that can be litigated endlessly.
Agreed... but patent litigation works best with big companies. It doesn't work so well against pop-up manufacturing facilities that shut down hours ahead of the police raid (because of inside tip offs)... before setting up business again in a matter of hours or days. Yet the damage to the IP holder is the same.

Nor does litigation reduce the risk when your supply chain becomes corrupted by knock-off components used in critical applications. Maybe you never find out, because the corrupted product is destroyed in your customer's house fire.

I would agree that corruption exists everywhere, and at all levels. The question is whether it is endemic to that country. When it is, nothing can be trusted. Checked and verified, but not trusted.
 

Xulonn

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Now just need to test the other digital inputs and unbalanced :p
Likely a CWOT. Unless there is a reason that you expect this superb product to be deficient in those areas, I would rather see Amir spend his time testing some of the many other pieces of hardware in his queue.

Unless, of course, you go to Patreon and contribute a couple of thousand dollars as incentive for superfluous testing.

Amir obviously spends a lot of time at this "hobby" of his, which I appreciate immensely.
 

Xulonn

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Rather than continue to pollute this hardware review thread with a generic discussion of international politics and manufacturing, can we stop it - or move it to its own discussion. (It is an interesting and worthwhile topic for ASR, and I would follow it in its own thread.)
 
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GrimSurfer

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Taken on balance (including performance, history, country of manufacture), Benchmark products are a bargain. This seems to be reflected by the fact that they can barely keep up to customer demand and their reputation remains high.

Assuming that they are making money along the way, their consumer products business model appears to be quite successful.
 
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Interesting to see how the Matrix X-Sabre Pro compares, seeing on their site better properties stated. Also it is half the price, since there is no headphones amplifier or streamer...
 

amirm

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Rather than continut to pollute this hardware review thread with a generic discussion of internation politics and manufacturing, can we stop it - or move it to its own discussion. (It is an interesting and worthwhile topic for ASR, and I would follow it in its own thread.)
Well said. No more off topic discussion.
 

amirm

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Here is the dashboard for RCA out:

Matrix Audio Element X streaming DAC RCA Audio Measurements.png


Noise level goes up by 1.5 to 2 dB, derating SINAD/THD+N by the same amount.

Linearity is just as perfect as with XLR:

Matrix Audio Element X streaming DAC Linearity With RCA Audio Measurements.png
 

amirm

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GrimSurfer

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Interesting results on the 20 and 1000Hz signals. On the 20 Hz signal, the 3rd order harmonic is higher than the 2nd order whereas it is the second harmonic that is higher on the 1000 Hz signal.

Is there any explanation for this?
 

amirm

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Interesting results on the 20 and 1000Hz signals. On the 20 Hz signal, the 3rd order harmonic is higher than the 2nd order whereas it is the second harmonic that is higher on the 1000 Hz signal.

Is there any explanation for this?
The third harmonic is landing on 60 Hz mains frequency here so that is probably not the right harmonic distortion level.
 

Soniclife

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I did a quick test of having Roon decode MQA versus the Element X and was surprised that the latter had a bit more highs and different tonality. It is a difficult test because you have a 5 second or so switchover time in Roon. I should capture the output both ways and compare.
Please do. You might want to try setting Roon to up-sample in a similar to MQA way and see if that changes anything.
 

amirm

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Please do. You might want to try setting Roon to up-sample in a similar to MQA way and see if that changes anything.
I can do the capture but don't want to go through the work of post processing (matching them in time, level, etc.) If someone wants to volunteer for that, I could do that with a few clips.
 

Soniclife

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I can do the capture but don't want to go through the work of post processing (matching them in time, level, etc.) If someone wants to volunteer for that, I could do that with a few clips.
Delta wave will be perfect for this, if you put the clips somewhere I'll have a go.
 

FrantzM

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The X DAC/Streamer/Amp is is a superlative product. The Reference for now when it comes to DACs ... This company is now on the radar. I would like to see measurements of their other products. I, for one, am interested in their Mini-i-Amp @ U$519.00

Those are the specs..
SE Mode
RCA Input Impedance: 47 kΩ
Input Sensitivity: 0.775V at 4Ω 120W
Voltage Gain: 39dB at 1kHz
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz ±0.15dB
Output Power: 2 x 120W at 1% THD+N, 20Hz – 20kHz
Dynamic Range: 117dB
THD+NTHD+N = 0.002% at 1W
Output Impedance<25mΩ

BTL Mode
XLR Input Impedance: 47 kΩ
Input Sensitivity: 0.775V at 4Ω 450W
Voltage Gain: 58dB at 1kHz
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz ±0.3dB
Output Power: 1 x 450W at 1% THD+N, 20Hz – 20kHz
Dynamic Range: 121dB
THD+NTHD+N = 0.002% at 1W
Output Impedance<25mΩ
 
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The X DAC/Streamer/Amp is is a superlative product. The Reference for now when it comes to DACs ... This company is now on the radar. I would like to see measurements of their other products. I, for one, am interested in their Mini-i-Amp @ U$519.00

Those are the specs..
SE Mode
RCA Input Impedance: 47 kΩ
Input Sensitivity: 0.775V at 4Ω 120W
Voltage Gain: 39dB at 1kHz
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz ±0.15dB
Output Power: 2 x 120W at 1% THD+N, 20Hz – 20kHz
Dynamic Range: 117dB
THD+NTHD+N = 0.002% at 1W
Output Impedance<25mΩ

BTL Mode
XLR Input Impedance: 47 kΩ
Input Sensitivity: 0.775V at 4Ω 450W
Voltage Gain: 58dB at 1kHz
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz ±0.3dB
Output Power: 1 x 450W at 1% THD+N, 20Hz – 20kHz
Dynamic Range: 121dB
THD+NTHD+N = 0.002% at 1W
Output Impedance<25mΩ
Is that 95db SINAD or 110ish?
 

jasonq997

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So I guess Matrix Audio achieves what fellow Chinese audiophile company Audio-GD pretends to accomplish, and adds modern tech like Roon streaming to the mix. A bit too expensive for me, but of course this is all relative. Great work.
 
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