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

Krunok

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Thanks, but I'm looking for test results. Would also be nice to have comparisons with non-hybrid volume control of Topping, SMSL, etc.
I don't think we should be any worried with volume control of modern ESS and AKM DACs as they perform volume calculations with 32 bit integer precision and have extremely low noise floor. Even the best analog volume controllers can't do it much better and lot of them are actually worse.
 

Daverz

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Thanks, but I'm looking for test results.
I don't think we should be any worried with volume control of modern ESS and AKM DACs as they perform volume calculations with 32 bit integer precision and have extremely low noise floor.
Why measure anything then? Just link the datasheet for the chip and call it a day.

Even the best analog volume controllers can't do it much better and lot of them are actually worse.
That's what I suspect. I'd like to see how they compare in practice. I don't have the equipment to test this myself.
 

Krunok

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Why measure anything then? Just link the datasheet for the chip and call it a day.
Did I say it shouldn't be measured? I believe I said we shouldn't worry about results because noise floor of these chips have been measured many times and it has been confirmed they use 32 bit integer float arithmetics to calculate volume levels.

Have you read this article? If you got how this works than you should realise there's no need to worry about it.
 

Daverz

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Did I say it shouldn't be measured? I believe I said we shouldn't worry about results because noise floor of these chips have been measured many times and it has been confirmed they use 32 bit integer float arithmetics to calculate volume levels.

Have you read this article? If you got how this works than you should realise there's no need to worry about it.
Yes, I read that one, you just don't understand the depths of my neurosis:eek:. I will try to get over it. There are still people (upthread) who say that analog controls are better, though I don't know whether that is supposed to include the average volume pot. I'm glad we are all in agreement that we should measure volume control quality and put numbers to this issue.
 

Krunok

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Yes, I read that one, you just don't understand the depths of my neurosis:eek:. I will try to get over it.
LOL You can't be a true audiophile without some kind of OCD! :D

P.S. There are still people on this forum who claim that "D70 has deeper and more natural bass than D50" or that upsampling 44.1 to 198 gives better sound, so of course some of them will think analog is better. Measurements of course tell quite a different story, but even after you do the measurements some of them will still say analog is better because they can "hear" it. :D
 

Nango

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Its a question of time until folks with Topping SMSL will also release gear with similar values around -118dB for a tenth of it's price and so, so I am not very keen for spending the 3 grands for X DAC ....let's wait!!
 

Krunok

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Its a question of time until folks with Topping SMSL will also release gear with similar values around -118dB for a tenth of it's price and so, so I am not very keen for spending the 3 grands for X DAC ....let's wait!!
And why would you want a DAC with 118dB SINAD when our ears cannot possibly hear a difference between any of the green and blue DACs?

The same is probably true for most of the orange DACs as well but for green and blue DACs it certainly is - we simply cannot hear the difference among them. ;)

Capture.JPG
 
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Tks

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@Krunok

Volume. While this is great to have in order to differentiate one DAC from another (pushing the envelope), having a lower noise floor helps when you aren't running max volume, and also with things like noisy or EMI plagued environments I would also presume by extension.
 

Krunok

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@Krunok

Volume. While this is great to have in order to differentiate one DAC from another (pushing the envelope), having a lower noise floor helps when you aren't running max volume, and also with things like noisy or EMI plagued environments I would also presume by extension.
I don't agree. When you listen music in a typical room at say 60dB the noise of your DAC is still burried deep within the environment noise floor. I also doubt you'll be able to hear it with the super isolated headphones as it would be burried in the noise floor of the amp.

Regarding the "EMI plagued" environment - I believe Amir tested that and found that even a cheap DAC like Topping D10 is immune to it.
 
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Tks

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Fair enough assessments. I only thought about it in theory, not actually any lived experience where such a thing was a problem for me.

Thanks for correcting me.
 
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LOL You can't be a true audiophile without some kind of OCD! :D

P.S. There are still people on this forum who claim that "D70 has deeper and more natural bass than D50" or that upsampling 44.1 to 198 gives better sound, so of course some of them will think analog is better. Measurements of course tell quite a different story, but even after you do the measurements some of them will still say analog is better because they can "hear" it. :D
Miska has proven though that measurements gets objectively better by sending upsampled 768khz, with the RME 44.1khz images being in lower amplitude etc, and there is no perfect reconstruction filter yet if there will be one...
The filter brewing thread on diyaudio really opened my eyes that the frequency response of a filter is not enough to find out how it behaves, we need to also look at the ,phase, log squared impulse response, time smear, and there's stuff like stop band attenuation, pass-band ripple, it's all a matter of trade-offs.

But I think ESS sabre chips upsample to 7xx/1.5mhz rates unlike the AKM which only does 3xx, so images should be lower in amplitude.
 

Krunok

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Miska has proven though that measurements gets objectively better by sending upsampled 768khz, with the RME 44.1khz images being in lower amplitude etc, and there is no perfect reconstruction filter yet if there will be one...
The filter brewing thread on diyaudio really opened my eyes that the frequency response of a filter is not enough to find out how it behaves, we need to also look at the ,phase, log squared impulse response, time smear, and there's stuff like stop band attenuation, pass-band ripple, it's all a matter of trade-offs.

But I think ESS sabre chips upsample to 7xx/1.5mhz rates unlike the AKM which only does 3xx, so images should be lower in amplitude.
I really can't see what is stopping you to realise from the measurements of the analog output of the DACs that we have entered the "overkill" zone at least a decade ago?

Let me come with the brutal analogy here.. Let's assume we have a technology to produce shoes that last 150 years for $150. Would you buy shoes that last 250 years for $1000? My guesss would be that nobody would. And yet people are readilly paying $1000 or more for DAC with THD 0.0001% and SINAD of 118dB over a $200 DAC with THD of 0.0006 and SINAD of "only" 102. Frankly, I don't get it, and I doubt I ever will.

P.S. I have no idea who Miska is but you can post his proof and his measurements here so we can discuss it. Btw, is it Miska or Mishka (Miška)? :D
 
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FrantzM

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And why would you want a DAC with 118dB SINAD when our ears cannot possibly hear a difference between any of the green and blue DACs?

The same is probably true for most of the orange DACs as well but for green and blue DACs it certainly is - we simply cannot hear the difference among them. ;)

View attachment 27636
A simple pleasure, intellectual and perhaps lasting. I am in the camp of getting one of those superlative products, knowing they wipe the floor with products costing multiple of their prices. There is a satisfaction in possessing the SOTA. Especially at a price that is not so dear...
 
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I really can't see what is stopping you to realise from the measurements of the analog output of the DACs that we have entered the "overkill" zone at least a decade ago?

Let me come with the brutal analogy here.. Let's assume we have atechnology to produce shoes that last 150 years for $150. Would you buy shoes that last 250 years for $1000? My guesss would be that nobody would. And yet people are readilly paying mroe for DAC that with THD 0.0001% and SINAD of 118dB over a $200 DAC with THD of 0.0006 and SINAD of "only" 102. Frankly, I don't get it, and I doubt I ever will.

P.S. I have no idea who Miska is but you can post his proof and his measurements so we can discuss it. Btw, is it Miska or Mishka (Miška)? :D
I never said it was audible but objectively at least the RME one does measure better https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/...-rme-adi-2-dac/?do=findComment&comment=926151
 

Krunok

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A simple pleasure, intellectual and perhaps lasting. I am in the camp of getting one of those superlative products, knowing they wipe the floor with products costing multiple of their prices. There is a satisfaction in possessing the SOTA. Especially at a price that is not so dear...
Well, ok - I can understand pleasure of owning, but mainly when it comes to art, not technology products. And although SOTA buzzword is frequently used for audio electronic products trust me there's nothing artistic in them. Except for loudspeakers, only they can be to some point considered to be art. IMHO, of course..
 
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