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Matrix M-Stage amp review: simple, cheap, and excellent. - Page 303

post #4531 of 4904
So is there any real difference between the 2013 and 2012 versions?
I know the build quality looks more luxurious but is there any amp or DAC advantage?
Thanks
post #4532 of 4904
New version with DAC has to be better than the older version. The old version's DAC is emergency use only. It's not very good.
post #4533 of 4904
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

New version with DAC has to be better than the older version. The old version's DAC is emergency use only. It's not very good.

Yes but it still seems a bit tucked on to me [PCM1793, just 50 more expensive, etc.]

But hey, if anyone could compare the two, that'd be great :]

post #4534 of 4904
I will be comparing them soon.
post #4535 of 4904
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

I will be comparing them soon.

Great, just how soon :P

post #4536 of 4904
I will get the HPA-2 John has when he is done. Hopefully in a week or just over. Supposed to take it to the Austin meet on the 18th.
post #4537 of 4904
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

I will get the HPA-2 John has when he is done. Hopefully in a week or just over. Supposed to take it to the Austin meet on the 18th.

K. Thanks.

Will be looking forward to it though by then I'd have probably made the decision [http://www.head-fi.org/t/698326/which-dac-to-get]

post #4538 of 4904
Thread Starter 

I tell ya, this new DAC option is not bad at all. It seems to keep up with entry level stuff such as HRT Music Streamer II, the Musical Fidelity V-DAC, or the Dragonfly. And why shouldn't it? There's already a nice PSU on board, and an output stage which isn't an afterthought, so really all that's needed is the XMOS USB solution and the DAC chip itself. 

 

It won't blow away good $300-500 DACs but it does just fine for what it is. I'm very satisfied with it. 

post #4539 of 4904
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post
 

I tell ya, this new DAC option is not bad at all. It seems to keep up with entry level stuff such as HRT Music Streamer II, the Musical Fidelity V-DAC, or the Dragonfly. And why shouldn't it? There's already a nice PSU on board, and an output stage which isn't an afterthought, so really all that's needed is the XMOS USB solution and the DAC chip itself. 

 

It won't blow away good $300-500 DACs but it does just fine for what it is. I'm very satisfied with it. 

I was looking at the Topping D3/Aune X1/SMSL SD-650 as alternatives... it's a third cheaper too...

But I am still considering the Matrix as well.

post #4540 of 4904
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by conquerator2 View Post
 

I was looking at the Topping D3/Aune X1/SMSL SD-650 as alternatives... it's a third cheaper too...

But I am still considering the Matrix as well.

 

 

I have no experience with any of those, but none of them look to be direct competitors to the Matrix. Just check out the power supplies. 

 

That said, they could be quite good in their own right, I don't know. 

post #4541 of 4904
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post
 

 

 

I have no experience with any of those, but none of them look to be direct competitors to the Matrix. Just check out the power supplies. 

 

That said, they could be quite good in their own right, I don't know. 

Yeah, I will obviously consider the M-Stage :]

Is it really as great of an amp [and sufficient of a DAC] as I've read?

I keep reading its a steal everywhere :P

Though it does look identical to the older model...


Edited by conquerator2 - 1/4/14 at 11:14am
post #4542 of 4904
How's the new Mstage tonality wise?
Is it warm, cold or neutral. How are the highs mids lows or soundstage and separation?
Thanks
post #4543 of 4904
edit- whoops, didn't see your 'new' qualifier. following pertains to old model, but may still hold true for new. I will come back and edit once I've heard it.

Warm, but not dulled in the treble. Opamp choice has a lot to do with the final sound, but most will still have at least some warmth to the sound. The LT1364 I use is one of the brighter opamps, but it still is warm compared to other amps I've used. Highs are very opamp dependent. It can be edgy and rough or soft and smooth, or crisp but clear. The stock opamp is soft and slightly rough, I'd recommend changing it asap. The good news is most opamps are just a few dollars. Mids are very good with just about any opamp you can put in this amp. It's warm nature makes sure mids are well represented. Quantity is always just about right, though clarity and texture vary by opamp. Bass is also opamp dependent. The stock is somewhat wooly and boomy with too much mid-bass. The popular OPA627 class A mod is said to be very warm, but smooth and relaxing, so I would expect better quality bass, but still a good amount of it. The LT1364 is tighter in the bass and slightly less quantity than stock, quality is way up.

Soundstage and imaging is mostly the same with all opamps, but treble clarity will have some effect. The LT1364 is very good for this as it is brighter and clearer giving a larger but still focused soundstage and sharp imaging. The stock opamp has a good size stage but can tend to be fuzzy on imaging.

Another popular opamp is the LM4562 which I haven't heard, but is supposed to be somewhat neutral, so with the M-Stage's darker nature, with the LM4562, I'd guess it is just on the darker side of neutral while the LT1364 is it's opposite on the brighter side.
Edited by Maxvla - 1/5/14 at 2:20am
post #4544 of 4904
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

edit- whoops, didn't see your 'new' qualifier. following pertains to old model, but may still hold true for new. I will come back and edit once I've heard it.

Warm, but not dulled in the treble. Opamp choice has a lot to do with the final sound, but most will still have at least some warmth to the sound. The LT1364 I use is one of the brighter opamps, but it still is warm compared to other amps I've used. Highs are very opamp dependent. It can be edgy and rough or soft and smooth, or crisp but clear. The stock opamp is soft and slightly rough, I'd recommend changing it asap. The good news is most opamps are just a few dollars. Mids are very good with just about any opamp you can put in this amp. It's warm nature makes sure mids are well represented. Quantity is always just about right, though clarity and texture vary by opamp. Bass is also opamp dependent. The stock is somewhat wooly and boomy with too much mid-bass. The popular OPA627 class A mod is said to be very warm, but smooth and relaxing, so I would expect better quality bass, but still a good amount of it. The LT1364 is tighter in the bass and slightly less quantity than stock, quality is way up.

Soundstage and imaging is mostly the same with all opamps, but treble clarity will have some effect. The LT1364 is very good for this as it is brighter and clearer giving a larger but still focused soundstage and sharp imaging. The stock opamp has a good size stage but can tend to be fuzzy on imaging.

Another popular opamp is the LM4562 which I haven't heard, but is supposed to be somewhat neutral, so with the M-Stage's darker nature, with the LM4562, I'd guess it is just on the darker side of neutral while the LT1364 is it's opposite on the brighter side.

Thanks for the write-up!

I am sure its 90% true for the new version as well as it is very similar.

Anyway, in the new Mstage there is the LME49720 op-amp by default.

Any idea about its sounds characteristics?

Thanks again. Appreciate it.

post #4545 of 4904
Thread Starter 

Maxvla pretty much captured it - that all applies to the HPA-2 as well. It's really a satisfying sound with the LM49720. Keep in mind the regular, non-USB version still comes stock with the same OPA2134. So if you aren't big on opening a case and swapping opamps (really, it's quite simple), the USB version has that added bonus for the small price difference. 

 

 

EDIT btw I'm almost done messing with this loaner and then I'll get it out to you Maxvla. Should be mid week or so. 

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