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Matrix Mini-i Balanced DAC+HP amp

post #1 of 1027
Thread Starter 
Just got this in today.

First introduced to head-fi here http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/mat...ed-dac-438499/

Bought on ebay Matrix mini-i 24/192 Balanced DAC + Headphone Amp - eBay (item 350235725907 end time Sep-02-09 20:13:10 PDT)

Specs:
* D/A DAC chip AD1955 x 2
* Full balanced stereo design
* Up to 24Bit/192kHz sampling
* Low jitter receiver chips and seperate clock
* Built-in headphone amplifier, for up to 600 ohm headphones
* OP275/OPA2604 opamps
* Balanced/Unbalanced outputs
* Various inputs
* Large screen VFD
* Designed and tuned for audiophile


* Digital Input:
- Optical: toslink, 44.1-192kHz
- Coaxial: 75 ohm RCA/BNC, 44.1-192kHz
- USB: USB-B, 44.1-48kHz
- AES/EBU: Standard XLR balanced, 44.1-192kHz
* Digital Output:
- Coaxial RCA
- 44.1-192kHz
- Support AC3, DTS
* Analog Interface:
- RCA/XLR
- Frequency Response: 20-20kHz
- Signal to Noise Ratio: 120dB
- Dynamic Range: 118dB
- Distortion 0.0002% (1kHz)
- Stereo Separation: 110dB
* Power Support: AC 220-240V/100-120V (Please specify)
* Front Panel Color: Silver
* Case Color: Black/Silver (Please specify)
* Weight: 2 kg
* Dimension: 205 x 155 x 48mm (L x W x H)



As a dac. Fostex CR200/Harmon Kardon HD7600/Sony JA3ES --> Matrix Mini-i --> Rudistor NX-03 --> SA5000/HD600/CD3000/A1000X. Out of the box new so SQ impressions should change. Very clean, quite. Overall I like the sound and presentation. Better than the 707 SuperPro DAC I was using.

Built in headphone is also very quiet. At first sounds a little lush and sizzle-ish. Smoothed out in just a few hours. Bass was lean but also improved.

Multiple inputs is great. Selector/volume knob is push button/infinity dial style. Display of track info on screen is cool. When played from DAT and MD. Just track counter from CDP.

USB -->Mini-i HP out. At first the same lush sizzle sound but soon became more detail and dynamic. There are many sonic qualities in the Rudi that out shine this amp but for some reason I enjoy this amp more. I can listen louder longer without fatigue. It could be the lush/sizzle that I think I hear. Kind of like listening to a electrostatic. Maybe. Has balanced out for future upgrade. I was using the Rudi+707DAC as a desktop system. This with just a few hours has been quit impressive so the Rudi may have to go soon. Its smaller, lighter, doesn't have the bold hi-fi aficionado looks of the Rudi but the small setup suits me and man can I enjoy the music. Best yet, I think I am the first U.S. buyer and since no one dared to try it, I got it for the starting bid of $299.
post #2 of 1027
Bel canto clone?
post #3 of 1027
Nice sunneebear....

You beat me by a few days....Mine is on the way...So, you were the one that took that one with the starting bid?...

I purchased the Musiland 01 USD USB to SPDIF from Jeffrey (coolfungadget) and when I saw this, I have been communicating with him with a bunch of questions and always quick to respond and very helpful....There is a large thread on the 01 USD in the computer sub-forum. Great little converter and does 24/96 via usb...

Great to hear the sound is clean and dynamic...

Congrats....
post #4 of 1027
Thread Starter 
For me this was like the LD you just got. I wanted to get my feet wet with balance and it was a plus that this dac has a headphone amp. I figured the headphone amp was a after thought but it really surprised me. So far it is the best sounding dac/amp that I have heard. Especially at that price.

For a SS setup it sounds almost tubey or electrostatic. I reminds me of my Xin Reference but hopped up on power.

One day, maybe the LD MKVII to go with this.
post #5 of 1027
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatFan12 View Post
Nice sunneebear....

You beat me by a few days....Mine is on the way...So, you were the one that took that one with the starting bid?...

I purchased the Musiland 01 USD USB to SPDIF from Jeffrey (coolfungadget) and when I saw this, I have been communicating with him with a bunch of questions and always quick to respond and very helpful....There is a large thread on the 01 USD in the computer sub-forum. Great little converter and does 24/96 via usb...

Great to hear the sound is clean and dynamic...

Congrats....
Your unit just got out of the custom office with a "Cleared" stamp on it
post #6 of 1027
Very interesting... this could be a rival to DacMagic, DAC-19MK3, Little Dot DAC I or Opus DAC, maybe?
post #7 of 1027
Thread Starter 
The DAC-19MKIII may just trump all the others but the Mini-i is the only one with a headphone amp and it's sound sig is just wonderful in some aspects.
post #8 of 1027
God I really want to give this one a go now. Balanced, great aesthetics, and apparently good SQ all at such a reasonable price.
post #9 of 1027
Thread Starter 
I took a chance with this because I usually listen out of itunes on my laptop. From the very first listen I've decided to keep this and sell off my other stuff. Not just because I like the sound but also for future upgrades. I'm thinking of building a balance amp.

My Rudistor NX-03 has to go. Not that it doesn't sound good but it's size and lack of a dac is inconvenient. It will fund a balanced home amp which I can use as a home set-up. The size of the Mini-i makes it easily transportable for both of my set-ups.
post #10 of 1027
Has anyone compared this unit to the Zero '09?

Perhaps Jeffrey could chime in...?

In which position is it using OPA275 (I/V?) and OPA2604 (as according to the ebay listing...or is it actually OPA2134 as it says in the manual)?
post #11 of 1027
Are there socketed opamps for rolling?
post #12 of 1027
Thread Starter 
I truly cannot tell because of the security sticker on mine. Opening will most likely void the warranty.

I have not listen to any of the other Chinese dac/amps so I cannot compare the sound. I think Jeffrey can tell you that. My only close reference would be calling it's headphone out very tubey sounding, like a home version of the Xin Reference.
post #13 of 1027
Quote:
Originally Posted by NiToNi View Post
Has anyone compared this unit to the Zero '09?

Perhaps Jeffrey could chime in...?

In which position is it using OPA275 (I/V?) and OPA2604 (as according to the ebay listing...or is it actually OPA2134 as it says in the manual)?
This mini-i is $200 more expensive than the Zero (Tianyun) 09'. I can say the improvement in sound is worth the $200.
post #14 of 1027
You are right, it should be better at that premium. The question is whether it is better than a Zero modded with a HDAM Earth module and LT1364?

Another better comparison would of course be the Audio-GD Compass.
post #15 of 1027
Any news on the sound?

I'm really interested in this.
Yesterday I received my first 'proper' headphones; AKG k601's and i've been listening to them straight from my 1980's Yamaha R-500 amp. Sounds great, but there's a considerable amount of static at low volumes.

Also, since i'll be using ALAC coming from my Mac mini, I'm looking for a proper DAC/HP amp (max $ 350). Will this be a good first step for me, or would you advise something more like the Zero '09 DAC or Aune mini usb DAC (which also looks very interesting, and a lot cheaper!).

Thanks!
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