After reading this thread I checked which opamp my matrix mini-i had and of course it's the one that is being called lousy in this thread... normally these kind of opinions about something I worked hard for to own would make me enjoy it less than I think I would if I hadn't... somewhat of a placebo effect?
All I can say is, while I wouldn't know what something superior to the OPA2134 would sound like, I do know that I've wasted more money on PC sound cards ranging from $99-$159..$199 and none of them sounded half as good as what this Matrix Mini-i provides.
I bought the matrix for the usb simply because all other optical out's dissapointed me when running them to home recievers and what not and analoge pc out using 3.5mm to rca from onboard has always been lackluster.... but now since this matrix I have only used optical out on my laptop and everyday I am blown away (I have suffered from slight audio fatigue though I think? Forcing myself to listen to music even when I'm not in the mood for it?)... from song-to-song I feel as if I am listening to "reprise/revised" versions of all the music I thought I knew very well... it's like new music.
On another note... I usually run my laptop at work as a music server for our customers.. I'm kinda like a wannabe DJ.. bring in stuff on nights we don't have any entertainment booked... I love music more than the average man so I enjoy it..
well we have a pretty nice $3200 set of JBL powered speakers and matching 15" subs and I used to run my laptop from the audio out into a berhinger 24ch mixer then out with XLR into the JBLS and yea the sound always sounded like what you would expect onboard or basic XFI soundcards to sound like.. not great.. not bad.. just well mediocre! It would also sound like a mess at louder than usual volumes...
Well, now I run the laptop>optical>Matrix(in DAC mode)>XLR>JBLs and during 2 nights in the 1 week that Ive owned it and I kid you not I have had around 10 people randomly mention how friggin bad ass the music sounds.. none of them knew anything about a change in hardware... not once has anyone ever mentioned anything about the music prior..
When everyone left the bar I cranked those speakers up and played a few diff tracks that I enjoy in my own time simply because it lingers around the metal genre and damn... the difference is astonishing and for a device that cost my broke ass under $300 I am thoroughly content with what it provides, even if it doesn't compare to other DACS....
I'm terrible at describing music or how it sounds but all I can say is the old setup was like a 1366x768 monitor and the new setup is like a 1920x1200 monitor and it was instantly noticed by people that do not have a clue about op amps, dacs or even optical cables. . . .if you know what I mean.
I know you guys are audiophiles and you strive to obtain the best.. and I mean no disrespect to your opinions but I just wanted to share my experience and say that maybe perception also plays a big part in the conclusions that you've made and I say this next comment with complete neutrality, not being a prick or even trying to come across as bitter.. but just because something may not be up to your standards it doesn't mean that someone with as much knowledge as you all seem to have should go around posting negative things about a certain product because believe it or not it is people like you that will most often influence people like me to purchase a product and If I saw this thread 2 weeks ago I would have never bought the matrix mini-i with it's OPA2134 and I probably would have even spent more money on something that probably would have made me just as happy as am I now but just a little poorer.
I will have to agree with alot of reviews though... or maybe it's because I only own a pair of entry level HD555 headphones which sound OK for my heavier music and pretty damn awesome for stuff like blind melon, tom petty, clapton, bob marley, rhcp, STP etc but the DAC mode with the HP amp disabled really rocked the house and is making me want to invest some money into XLR style amp'd speakers/monitors for my bedroom... after hearing the diff with and with the dac on the JBLS I really want to test the DAC on something suitable for home enjoyment
Thanks for reading... I'm a motormouth on tuesdays.
The way I expect music to sound will not always be the same as someone elses expectation...
Edited by shevanel77 - 9/8/10 at 1:21am