Pros: Updated DAC; Sound; Pre-amp; Improved cosmetics; Continues HPA-1 synergies with HD800, etc.
Cons: Unexpected change to fixed gain; Buzzing with IEMs; Increased heat output
Greetings, this review will be a comparison between both generations of M-Stage amps with optional DACs. It will be copied and posted to both products. First the HPA-1: Matrix M-Stage HPA-1 w/USB DAC This is the original M-Stage based on the Lehmann Black Cube Linear. It is a far cheaper version while still using high quality internal parts, and shares most of the sonic attributes of the Lehmann. It's become a popular economic amplifier that works well with all headphones, and has synergies with certain headphones that make it punch well above it's price point. As this amplifier is designed to run high impedance loads this comes as no surprise that it would favor some headphones over...(read more)