I just received the XDA-1 to my work place. It replaced the Maverick Tube Magic D1 in my work setup and it is playing as I typing this message. There is no problem with the volume gain with my unit, it has good range of volume control without being too loud. It is too early to tell but right out of box, XDA-1 is step up from D1 in sound quality. It has very smooth sound with no digital edgeness to it. It only took two days to arrive to my work address according to Fedex tracking info.
Emotiva XDA-1 vs. Matrix Mini-i - Page 2
I got my XDA-1 today. Man, this thing is deep (as in physical dimensions). I'll post some initial impressions after I, you know, re-arrange everything.
The damn thing is much more square than rectangular so it takes up a lot of real estate.
The remote is quite substantial as well, but that's totally cool.
The main unit is 17" wide by 14" deep, so it's pretty much square once you add the balanced cables
I do wish the XDA-1 was 4-6" shorter, as my plans for where I will put it have been thrown into a bit of a "tizzy"
Size attributes aside, I reluctantly packed up my XDA-1 today for return, as it just didn't have enough gain on the analog line outs for my Alesis>HiFiMAN rig.
There is no line out mode on the XDA-1, but attenuated all the way up at 80 with my amp all the way up past 5pm it still didn't power the headphones properly. It was slightly better single-ended than balanced in this respect, but nowhere near adequate for my amp in either mode.
Using the balanced Matrix Mini-i in line out mode (no attenuation) for comparison, I listen to my RA150>HE-6 rig at about 10:30am on the volume pots. This is about the same as the level that I get out of my Devilsound v2 DAC cable, which is how I usually listen to this rig. My Mini-i didn't fare quite as well in attenuated mode, but it was still adequate and much better than anything I could get out of the XDA-1. Single ended with the Mini-i yielded pretty much the same results as balanced.
This was the opposite of what I had feared, as the reports of excessive volume on the earlier models are what prompted the new "logarithmic" volume control programming. I may call Emotiva again to clarify, but from their explanation it sounded like they had it originally set up with a linear volume control to go with balanced amps made for studio/pro-audio use, and balanced amps made for home/audiophile use want less gain. My Alesis is made for pro audio use, so evidently not for the XDA-1.
This explanation is confusing to me, as the Devilsound DAC cable and the Matrix Mini-i are clearly made for home/audiophile use. I would like to see if one of the original models with the linear volume settings would work with my amp, but I don't want to risk another round of expensive shipping charges to my location.
Please note that the above comments are regarding volume output levels only, as I couldn't get the XDA-1 to output a loud enough signal to compare it's actual sound with the other DACs fairly.
It's too bad, as I had high hopes for this combo
Edited by grokit - 2/24/11 at 4:00pm
Right, that is what I was expecting after reading those reports regarding the early-release units, that the gain would be too much. Then they reportedly made an adjustment to the production unit, the only thing that makes any sense to me is that they over-compensated. Very disappointing, but it was a bad form factor for me anyways because of the depth of the unit. It's a shame that I wasn't able to really listen to it before I sent it back though.
I received my XDA-1 and it is very different sounding unit. It is a clear, relaxed with high frequencies sounding very airy. The bass seems to be a bit stronger at this point. Still in the process of trying out the three inputs I have connected so far. The maximum output is 2v not 12v peak. The circuit is capable of 12v but the maximum signal in the digital signal will only give 2v at the output. The XDA-1 has no problem driving my Little Dot VI+