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Matrix Mini-i Balanced DAC+HP amp - Page 10

post #136 of 1029

Matrix - Mini i

Quote:
Originally Posted by stang View Post
The Matrix mini looks like it is a damn good DAC for the price. Are there any noticably better DAC (don't need hp amp built in) when you get into the $300-$400 range? I think I may upgrade my Zero to a better DAC once I get some money. Either that or get a new graphics card for my comp or some more headphones to compare just for fun. I want balanced becausein the future I plan on buying a balanced SS amp ($400 or so as well) that I will use with other cans, not my Grado's. Needs to be 220v-240v. Might just go the DAC_I>MKVII+ if that is the best value for money setup.
I just want to confirm that this little chinese box is one of the most welcome pleasant surprises. I dare say it strongly overpasses the 300-400 $ range you mention ( I think it can easily put to shame some very expensive DACs , Weiss Minerva comes to mind ...). Very hard to believe ? I got one last week (idea being - using it for mobile purposes). It looks it is staying with my main system. I think I should get another one for on the move.
( I use M2tech Hiface USB/BNC coverter with it).

Almost forgot. Very nice HP amp, too. It drives Sennheiser HD 800 efortlessly, the sound just flows like a pure spring of water. I love it.

I always suspected, designing a DAC is not a rocket science (only ridiculous rocket science pricing for shiny boxes) - and Matrix confirms this big time.

WL
post #137 of 1029
Thread Starter 
I wish someone with a Benchmark or Grace Design would do a comparison. I have a feeling that the Matrix might put some names to shame. Like the person who returned the Bel Canto DAC3 and kept the Matrix. I know that's just one persons view but Bel Canto is close to $2500. That's close to eight Matrix's.
post #138 of 1029
Seriously, this thing is burning in ridiculously amazing. I would say the strongest point of this dac is soundstage and air to the instruments being played. It made my floorstander speakers which are known for not having soundstage depth, have a ton of depth, I'm VERY impressed.

I feel like the matrix is like the dark horse of dacs on these forums, very little reviewed or known - but those who do own it know it's a ridiculous value and most certainly a keeper. There is no way in hell I'm letting this dac get away from me.

In direct comparison to the udac (which sounds very good); the matrix just has more finesse / elegance and more realism to the instruments, definitely in 'air' and fuller sounding.
post #139 of 1029
It's a pity the OPAMPS aren't replaceable, as it looks like it would have some potential if they were. Certainly looks like good value for a balanced DAC otherwise.
post #140 of 1029
Quote:
Originally Posted by stang View Post
WHy not just get the EF-5?
I've got the EF5, and I am digging it right now with the Matrix/HE-5; it's my top setup.

But I still want to go balanced, and the HE-5s are included in that desire

I have a basement/office and an attic/bedroom with separate PC/Mac listening stations, and while the basement sounds great, the attic could use an upgrade along the lines of this combo for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stang View Post
Looking at the DAC_I a lot. People say it is more detailed and colder than the Matrix. The matrix has a warm, sightly less detailed sound to it. I am leaning toward the LD DAC_I, but I wonder if it is a noticable upgrade from my Zero.
That's good to make a note of; I had read that they were considered comparable, but it's nice to know that they sound somewhat different. I have read good things about the Zero's SQ, but I have never heard one. The build quality of the Matrix may set them apart if nothing else; the Matrix has a very good "pro-audio" kind of quality look and feel to it, IMO.
post #141 of 1029
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post
I've got the EF5, and I am digging it right now with the Matrix/HE-5; it's my top setup.

But I still want to go balanced, and the HE-5s are included in that desire

From what I've read about the HE-5 since it's intro, it could be my next headphone.

What balance amp are you considering for the HE-5? I just got the LD MK VII+ which is quite a monster that is one reason for my interest in the HE-5.

What are the connectors used on the removable cables of the HE-5? They look like SMAs. If so, DIY cables can be made easily and cheaply. All my headphones have SMA connectors.

The HE-5 looks quite large in pictures. Are the cups larger than Beyers?

Thanks
post #142 of 1029
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunneebear View Post
What balance amp are you considering for the HE-5? I just got the LD MK VII+ which is quite a monster that is one reason for my interest in the HE-5.

What are the connectors used on the removable cables of the HE-5? They look like SMAs. If so, DIY cables can be made easily and cheaply. All my headphones have SMA connectors.

The HE-5 looks quite large in pictures. Are the cups larger than Beyers?

Thanks
I was considering the regular MK VII, as it is rated with more power than the VII+ and the HE-5s need all the juice they can get. I'm not sure if the MK VII is discontinued or not at this point but I will be waiting a few months anyways. I tried to get one over the holidays but ended up returning the same one to David twice as it had real problems. Now Audiophile China says they have one but I am afraid I would end up getting the same one again, lol. I also like the MKVI/VIII series but already have the EF5 and would like to go SS for balanced.

I want the original MK VII/DAC I combo, but by the time I am ready may have to find one used as both may be out of production already. If anyone wants to get rid of their combo, PM me!

HiFiMAN includes an extra set of connectors with the HE-5s, they are a smaller version of a coaxial TV wire connector.

I've never had the pleasure of having worn a pair of Beyers, but the HE-5s are indeed quite large and heavy. However, they do not feel so on the head; they feel well-balanced, secure and not burdensome at all. Having said that, my head is larger than average and I have them adjusted to the smallest position for myself.

I would be interested in hearing your impressions of the HE-5/MK VII+ combo if you go that way, but you should get the opinion of someone that has tried it first, if it is possible. My opinion is that the MK VII+ may be adequate to drive the HE-5s in balanced mode but would be unsatisfying in single-ended mode compared to the EF5.
post #143 of 1029
Ok, I just pulled the trigger on this one also based on Affordable Audio review and experiences here. I will compare it with the iBasso D10 Maxxed version with TopKit. I always want to try DAC chips other than Wolfson. Of course, it is more on the implementation but I want to see any signature difference here.
post #144 of 1029
I may pick one of these up and run as a 2nd aux DAC from my AES16. Will provide thoughts against the Antelope Gold.
post #145 of 1029
Sorry....got download of review...
post #146 of 1029
Hi, Just about to pull the trigger on this, but wonder if I (definitely a newb) am buying more than I need?

My NAD M15 has pretty good wolffson Dacs, but for some reason the little Turtle Beach Micro I am using to get data to it via toslink doesn't sound so good -- so I am assuming the Micro is sending analog pcm over fiber optic rather than digital?

So perhaps maybe I need a usb to toslink converter rather than a dac?

Or if this Dac is better, and I don't need balanced outputs, is there an equivalent in sound quality but without that feature?

Finally why would a Dac like this have a digital out? -- perhaps an obvious question, but like I said, I am pretty new to this!
post #147 of 1029
Quote:
Originally Posted by soulrider4ever View Post
Seriously, this thing is burning in ridiculously amazing. I would say the strongest point of this dac is soundstage and air to the instruments being played. It made my floorstander speakers which are known for not having soundstage depth, have a ton of depth, I'm VERY impressed.

I feel like the matrix is like the dark horse of dacs on these forums, very little reviewed or known - but those who do own it know it's a ridiculous value and most certainly a keeper. There is no way in hell I'm letting this dac get away from me.

In direct comparison to the udac (which sounds very good); the matrix just has more finesse / elegance and more realism to the instruments, definitely in 'air' and fuller sounding.
Great to hear you are enjoying it soulrider4ever. Funny, at the moment I'm messing with the Matrix and uDac. Using the uDac's coax out to the Matrix (usb to spdif converter)...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bilzebub View Post
Hi, Just about to pull the trigger on this, but wonder if I (definitely a newb) am buying more than I need?


Finally why would a Dac like this have a digital out? -- perhaps an obvious question, but like I said, I am pretty new to this!
See my post right above...Digital out is also used for recording devices.
post #148 of 1029
Thread Starter 
Again, very versatile DAC. Great sound for the price with extras that's already there one day when you may need it.
post #149 of 1029
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunneebear View Post
If you are asking about just the headphone out, then all I can say is that it sounds warm and smooth like a tube more than SS. I peeked inside and the headphone amp is nothing special. Doesn't look at all impressive, more like a after thought. It's sound though is unique.
The Matrix Mini-I is using TI TPA6120 amp chip. The amp section was designed to be great sounding from the beginning. More on this chip:

Stereophile: TI's New Headphone Chip
post #150 of 1029
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
It's a pity the OPAMPS aren't replaceable, as it looks like it would have some potential if they were.
Check what our French (or Belgian?) friends are doing here:

homecinema-fr.com • Voir le sujet - Tweak du DAC Matrix mini-i

They are using this adapter to replace the opamps! Looks like a good project to do:

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