Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Matrix Quattro DAC and amp loaner program
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Matrix Quattro DAC and amp loaner program - Page 9

post #121 of 160

Here's my review of the Matrix Quattro:

 

First things first, I want to get some things get out of the way. Yes, my current gear only consists of my Cowon J3 and Audio Technica ATH-M50. I've already gone through the beginner's M50 fanboy phase, but still think this headphone does a decent job anyway.

 

Now, the excuses. For some reason, I couldn't find any spare AC cable in the house for the DAC and amp, so I had to constantly pull out the only one I could find from my family desktop. The problem is that the desktop computer has been having trouble turning on recently(it usually is never turned off for this reason), and I could only borrow the AC cable couple of times as I was afraid of losing all the data on the desktop. Also, this desktop was the only place I could find an AC cable, so please keep in mind that my review is based on a few, relatively short listening sessions of the DAC gear only.

 

My listening went from my laptop to J.River Media Center Wasapi Output through Matrix Quattro DAC to my M50. The comparison was done only with my J3, so there won't be any fancy comparisons in this review.

 

Strengths:

- Silent Background: Unless the volume knob was turned all the way, I thought that the background noise of the Quattro DAC was close to being silent. This helped me a lot in getting into the music. I think I would buy a DAC just for the benefit of this silence. The music that were not just replayed but seemed to just come to being as they were played. I felt like this silence let me hear more details that were previously covered up by the background noise. For old recordings that contain the background noise artifact like the Jacqueline Du Pre’s Elgar Concerto, the hiss was noticeably less distracting.

 

- More articulation between notes: Again with the Elgar Concerto, I was surprised to find each notes more articulated since I thought those details were lost with the older recording technique. What was thought to be a single bow stroke was actually shorter two, or three strokes. As for other songs I’ve tried (many of them were Korean, so I’m not sure if there’d be much benefit in listing them) I thought I could better understand what the singers were saying.

 

Weaknesses:

- Bit harsh high frequencies: I didn’t notice in other songs, but on one of HDTracks’ free trial songs, Marta Gomez’s Lucia, there was quite a strong sibilance in her voice. Unfortunately I didn’t think about listening and comparing other 24/96 files at that moment to determine whether the sibilance was only unique to this specific recording or was universal to the hi-res files. I did not recognize any sibilance when I played normal 16/44.1 formats.

 

- More impactful but also a bit muddier bass: Korean hiphop and rap are some of the genres of music I listen to, what I heard universally across these bass-heavy recordings, was that the bass was hitting a lot harder through the headphone out of the DAC. However, I thought that some of the details of the bass were lost. Bass also seemed a bit monotone, perhaps due to this loss of detail. There was a sense of muddiness (bloated?) in the bass as well. Surprisingly, however, they didn’t interfere much with the vocals.

 

- Less dynamics: One of my habits when listening to Beethoven’s 5th symphony is to constantly increase the volume, to feel the impact of the music rather, compared to just listening to them. With the Quattro DAC, there was less dynamics than I could hear on my laptop computer (I generally find this to be the case even when I compare my laptop to the J3), and I found myself turning the volume knob again and again.

 

Finally, thanks again to John for this opportunity, and I apologize to everyone for taking so long to turn out a review. 

 

Thanks for reading.

 

**Edited for grammar mistakes**


Edited by juman231 - 12/22/11 at 1:21pm
post #122 of 160

Great review!

Any thoughts on the amp?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by juman231 View Post

Here's my review of the Matrix Quattro:

 

First things first, I want to get some things get out of the way. Yes, my current gear only consists of my Cowon J3 and Audio Technica ATH-M50. I've already gone through the beginner's M50 fanboy phase, but still think this headphone does a decent job anyway.

 

Now, the excuses. For some reason, I couldn't find any spare AC cable in the house for the DAC and amp, so I had to constantly pull out the only one I could find from my family desktop. The problem is, that the desktop computer has been having trouble turning on recently(it usually is never turned off for this reason), so with the fear of losing all the data on the desktop, I could only borrow the AC cable couple of times. Also, this desktop was the only place I could find an AC cable, so please keep in mind that my review is based on a few, relatively short listening sessions of the DAC gear only.

 

My listening went from my laptop to J.River Media Center Wasapi Output through Matrix Quattro DAC to my M50. The comparison was done only with my J3, so there won't be any fancy comparisons in this review.

 

Strengths:

- Silent Background: Unless the volume knob was turned all the way, I thought that the background noise of the Quattro DAC was close to being silent. This helped me a lot in getting into the music. I think I would buy a DAC just for the benefit of this silence. The music that were not just replayed but seemed to just come to being as they were played. I felt like this silence let me hear more details that were previously covered up by the background noise. For old recordings that contain the background noise artifact like the Jacqueline Du Pre’s Elgar Concerto, the hiss was noticeably less distracting.

 

- More articulation between notes: Again with the Elgar Concerto, I was surprised to find each notes more articulated since I thought those details were lost with the older recording technique. What was thought to be a single bow stroke was actually shorter two, or three strokes. As for other songs I’ve tried (many of them were Korean, so I’m not sure if there’d be much benefit in listing them) I thought I could better understand what the singers were saying.

 

Weaknesses:

- Bit harsh high frequencies: I didn’t notice in other songs, but on one of HDTracks’ free trial songs, Marta Gomez’s Lucia, there was quite a strong sibilance in her voice. Unfortunately I didn’t think about listening and comparing other 24/96 files at that moment to determine whether the sibilance was only unique to this specific recording or was universal to the hi-res files. I did not recognize any sibilance when I played normal 16/44.1 formats.

 

- More impactful but also a bit muddier bass: Korean hiphop and rap are some of the few genres of music I listen to, what I heard universally across these bass-heavy recordings, was that the bass was hitting a lot harder through the headphone out of the DAC. However, I thought that some of the details of the bass were lost. Bass also seemed a bit monotone, perhaps due to this loss of detail. There was a sense of muddiness (bloated?) in the bass as well. Surprisingly, however, they didn’t interfere much with the vocals.

 

- Less dynamics: One of my habit when listening to Beethoven’s 5th symphony is to constantly increase the volume, to feel the impact of the music rather, compared to just listening to them. With the Quattro DAC, there was less dynamics than I could hear on my laptop computer (I generally find this to be the case even when I compare my laptop to the J3), and I found myself turning the volume knob again and again.

 

Finally, thanks again to John for this opportunity, and I apologize to everyone for taking so long to turn out a review. 

 

Thanks for reading.



 

post #123 of 160

Thanks for the impressions. 

 

I really liked how you captured your impressions on articulation, and I heard the same thing.  Unfortunately I had the same experience with some harshness on the high side, but I didn't connect it with high resolution files... I might dig out my notes to see if there was any connection.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by juman231 View Post

 

Strengths:

 

- More articulation between notes: Again with the Elgar Concerto, I was surprised to find each notes more articulated since I thought those details were lost with the older recording technique. What was thought to be a single bow stroke was actually shorter two, or three strokes. As for other songs I’ve tried (many of them were Korean, so I’m not sure if there’d be much benefit in listing them) I thought I could better understand what the singers were saying.

 

Weaknesses:

- Bit harsh high frequencies: I didn’t notice in other songs, but on one of HDTracks’ free trial songs, Marta Gomez’s Lucia, there was quite a strong sibilance in her voice. Unfortunately I didn’t think about listening and comparing other 24/96 files at that moment to determine whether the sibilance was only unique to this specific recording or was universal to the hi-res files. I did not recognize any sibilance when I played normal 16/44.1 formats.

 

post #124 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philharmoniker View Post

Great review!

Any thoughts on the amp?
 



 


Thanks. Actually I only had one AC table available for use, so I could only listen to the DAC.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shipsupt View Post

Thanks for the impressions. 

 

I really liked how you captured your impressions on articulation, and I heard the same thing.  Unfortunately I had the same experience with some harshness on the high side, but I didn't connect it with high resolution files... I might dig out my notes to see if there was any connection.

 


Thanks. I wish I'd just bought the AC cable and spent more time.. I'm interested to hear what you'd have to say about the sibilance.

 

post #125 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by juman231 View Post

Here's my review of the Matrix Quattro:

 

First things first, I want to get some things get out of the way. Yes, my current gear only consists of my Cowon J3 and Audio Technica ATH-M50. I've already gone through the beginner's M50 fanboy phase, but still think this headphone does a decent job anyway.

 

Now, the excuses. For some reason, I couldn't find any spare AC cable in the house for the DAC and amp, so I had to constantly pull out the only one I could find from my family desktop. The problem is, that the desktop computer has been having trouble turning on recently(it usually is never turned off for this reason), so with the fear of losing all the data on the desktop, I could only borrow the AC cable couple of times. Also, this desktop was the only place I could find an AC cable, so please keep in mind that my review is based on a few, relatively short listening sessions of the DAC gear only.

 

My listening went from my laptop to J.River Media Center Wasapi Output through Matrix Quattro DAC to my M50. The comparison was done only with my J3, so there won't be any fancy comparisons in this review.

 

Strengths:

- Silent Background: Unless the volume knob was turned all the way, I thought that the background noise of the Quattro DAC was close to being silent. This helped me a lot in getting into the music. I think I would buy a DAC just for the benefit of this silence. The music that were not just replayed but seemed to just come to being as they were played. I felt like this silence let me hear more details that were previously covered up by the background noise. For old recordings that contain the background noise artifact like the Jacqueline Du Pre’s Elgar Concerto, the hiss was noticeably less distracting.

 

- More articulation between notes: Again with the Elgar Concerto, I was surprised to find each notes more articulated since I thought those details were lost with the older recording technique. What was thought to be a single bow stroke was actually shorter two, or three strokes. As for other songs I’ve tried (many of them were Korean, so I’m not sure if there’d be much benefit in listing them) I thought I could better understand what the singers were saying.

 

Weaknesses:

- Bit harsh high frequencies: I didn’t notice in other songs, but on one of HDTracks’ free trial songs, Marta Gomez’s Lucia, there was quite a strong sibilance in her voice. Unfortunately I didn’t think about listening and comparing other 24/96 files at that moment to determine whether the sibilance was only unique to this specific recording or was universal to the hi-res files. I did not recognize any sibilance when I played normal 16/44.1 formats.

 

- More impactful but also a bit muddier bass: Korean hiphop and rap are some of the few genres of music I listen to, what I heard universally across these bass-heavy recordings, was that the bass was hitting a lot harder through the headphone out of the DAC. However, I thought that some of the details of the bass were lost. Bass also seemed a bit monotone, perhaps due to this loss of detail. There was a sense of muddiness (bloated?) in the bass as well. Surprisingly, however, they didn’t interfere much with the vocals.

 

- Less dynamics: One of my habit when listening to Beethoven’s 5th symphony is to constantly increase the volume, to feel the impact of the music rather, compared to just listening to them. With the Quattro DAC, there was less dynamics than I could hear on my laptop computer (I generally find this to be the case even when I compare my laptop to the J3), and I found myself turning the volume knob again and again.

 

Finally, thanks again to John for this opportunity, and I apologize to everyone for taking so long to turn out a review. 

 

Thanks for reading.

 

This is very consistent with what I heard.

post #126 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

 

This is very consistent with what I heard.


Hmm.. Interesting. I'd love to listen to the DACs you mentioned some pages ago that you liked.

post #127 of 160
DAC and amp just arrived! I will have some time during the holiday to give them a listen and post my reactions. What a great holiday surprise!
post #128 of 160

I got a chance to dig through my notes looking to see if I found the high end harshness had any relationship to high resolution tracks...  It didn't in my case.  It appeared to be more related to a few specific recordings, which were all 16/44.1. 

 

It wasn't something I noticed as a general trait of the DAC.

 

 

post #129 of 160
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rroseperry View Post

DAC and amp just arrived! I will have some time during the holiday to give them a listen and post my reactions. What a great holiday surprise!


 

Have fun! But don't feel like you need to rush or anything... Most of us have family over or something like that, and not a lot of free time. So take your time and enjoy.

post #130 of 160

I ran into rroseperry at a mini-meet and she shared a few initial impressions!  Looking forward to hearing what more she has to offer!  I'm guessing she's taking more time see how she likes her new HF-2's with the combo!  bigsmile_face.gif

 

 

post #131 of 160
I've had the Quattro pair for just about two weeks now and have some impressions.

If you look at my profile, you'll see that I've got mainly mid-fi sources, so this was my first chance to have an extended listen to higher end gear. I did most of my critical listening with three headphones, modified Grado SR80s, Beyerdynamic DT880/250s, and Grado HF-2. I did try them with customs one evening, with unsatisfactory results I'll go into below. I listened to them as a combo, only, usb out with foobar2000.

I don't have a set list of tracks that I use to test gear. Generally I'll come up with a list of things that I'm currently listening to and try to make sure that a range of genres are represented. Partly I do this because I'm just lazy and don't have the patience to listen and relisten. (Not to mention that it's not my idea of fun). Partly I think it's a good idea to throw a range of different music at equipment, music I know well, music I just got, music that's well recorded, music that's crappily recorded. This provides a more reasonable test for a music lover, imo. It gives me a better idea of how equipment will affect the usual, rather than critical listening experience.

I did one short side-by-side comparison to my usual setup Asus Essence STX ->Asgard, but these impressions aren't a match up except insofar as I'm used to the Asgard STX setup and it shapes my expectations.


Strengths:
Detail and accuracy: On live recordings, the details that allow you to place the instruments in space are all there. On 21st century chamber music - yMusic's Beautiful Mechanical, the timbre of the instruments (strings, bassoon) is accurate. You can even hear the bow bounce on the strings. And bass-heavy tracks also do fine. I've been listening to The Roots, Undun lately and even with the slightly bass-shy Beyers, there's sufficient thump for me, with all the details intact.

One surprising thing for me is how forgiving this set up is for poor recordings. I've got a 112 bit copy of Pearl Jam's "Better Man" that I must have torrented at least ten years ago when I still did that sort of thing. It's completely listenable. But this pairing really shines with well-recorded acoustic music. I'd start a session with the intention of doing some critical listening and just get lost in the music because it sounded so good.

Weaknesses:
Weird treble sizzle/snap on some recordings and with some headphones. I heard this the most with the Beyers and the SR80s. It's hard to explain, but on some hand claps, guitar riffs, there's this added edge that I hesitate to call sibilance because it's less of a hiss than an extended snap.

It's not completely silent. To be truthful, it's about dead silent with full sized headphones. But I heard an audible hum when I plugged my UM customs in. To be honest, I don't think customs are made for desktop setups, so this probably wouldn't be an issue for most people. The hum's not noticeable once the music is turned up to a comfortable level.

One unexpected discovery, this set up really brings out the difference in the different phones. It's not like I hadn't noticed it before (why have different phones if you don't, right?) But their different strengths and weaknesses, really stand out with the Quattro. That is almost (almost) enough to make me think about upgrading my home set up, because I really got more out of each of my headphones listening to this combination. I was pretty impressed with the DAC that CEE Tee brought to our mini meet and may be doing some shopping at the February get-together.

So I'm about ready to send this on to the next lucky person in the train and I'll include the AC cables I bought to use with them. Consider it a thank you for the opportunity. beyersmile.png

(later edit) Went back and tried the unstacked arrangement, there's definitely a hum here. It's there for the Asgard too, though lower in volume. Probably a different interference issue altogether at work.
Edited by rroseperry - 1/5/12 at 9:49pm
post #132 of 160

rroseperry, in regards to your home setup with customs I have tried 3 different customs with one of my full sized rigs which is all SS units. I have heard a low hiss at high volumes but never a hum. However those volumes are higher than what anyone would want to listen at so I wouldn't consider something like that a bad thing since it is normal. Also customs are very sensitive and typically have a much higher sensitivity than headphones and that holds true for my one custom and my 5 or so full sized headphones.

 

 

post #133 of 160

^there is also interference (shipsupt and I found) if you stack the Matrix components.

 

Unstack = less hum.

 

Nice review, @rroseperry!

Reply
post #134 of 160

Thanks for the impressions @rroseperry!  I think your approach to just listening is just a valid as sticking to your critical evaluation list.  In fact, sometimes I find it easier to just relax and see how something "feels" as I'm listening vs. trying to pick it apart.

 

Interesting that you didn't hear the treble artifact with the HF-2's.  Do you notice a difference in how you are hearing the highs in general on them vs. the 80's?

 

Did you notice any looseness or muddyness in the bass in the deep strings you were listening too?  Not trying to influence you here, just wondering if some of what we heard was related to the speed of the tracks we selected, as I don't think I threw anything like you were listening to at it while I had it.  

 

 

post #135 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by shipsupt View Post

Thanks for the impressions @rroseperry!  I think your approach to just listening is just a valid as sticking to your critical evaluation list.  In fact, sometimes I find it easier to just relax and see how something "feels" as I'm listening vs. trying to pick it apart.

Interesting that you didn't hear the treble artifact with the HF-2's.  Do you notice a difference in how you are hearing the highs in general on them vs. the 80's?

Did you notice any looseness or muddyness in the bass in the deep strings you were listening too?  Not trying to influence you here, just wondering if some of what we heard was related to the speed of the tracks we selected, as I don't think I threw anything like you were listening to at it while I had it.  


The HF-2s have a fuller sound than the SR80s. More like being in a bath than a shower, if you can stand a shaky analogy.

As for the bass issue, this is going to take a critical relisten, probably tonight. I'll let you know.

And thanks for the thumbs up, this is my first real(ish) equipment review.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Matrix Quattro DAC and amp loaner program