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Matrix X-Sabre DAC review and impression thread - Page 11

post #151 of 1070

For me it's between the X-Saber and the Mytek DSD 192.  There's lots of reviews on the Mytek being put against some heavy hitting DACS.  I like the looks of the X-Saber though.  I guess we need to give it a few months..

post #152 of 1070

For me its between the Sabre X and the heavy hitters Exasound E20 and the BMC DAC1 pre/USB at the moment. It's a good thing I don't have to make the decision soon.

 

Does the X-Sabre have volume control?


Edited by gurus - 3/4/13 at 6:18pm
post #153 of 1070

Damn..that x-sabre has to get on his best to better all those dacs..including my interests..the metrum octave, the chord chordette qutehd and the nad m51...he has his work cut out for him..i myself had a matrix mstage..that little one made dust to some much more expensive amps i also tried.and it was only 249 usd..so if thats something to start with than the x-sabre at around 1100 usd it could be the total killer up until 3times its worth..pity no one in europe has a example...would love to try one out..end of april am going to a big headfimeet in london..hope anyone can take it with him...or that matrix lends one to try out and do a little comparing with the nad m51 who will be at that meeting also...

post #154 of 1070
i am also waiting for project review and detailed comparsion.
post #155 of 1070
X-Sabre vs Gungnir

No contest. X-Sabre takes resolution to the next level. Smoother, more open, more detailed, more air, even better bass control and texture. No downside in upgrading from the Gungnir, except the price of course.

X-Sabre vs Concero

Sound is very similar. Detail and air goes to X-Sabre barely. Attack perhaps slightly better. There are several areas where the X-Sabre has a very small advantage, and the Concero at best equals the X-Sabre, so no advantage areas, except price. Largely the decision on these units comes down to features. DSD/DXD + Balanced and slight sound gains vs $500.

X-Sabre vs DA11

Smoother and clearer than the DA11. DA11 is voiced a little different. I would say the DA11 is better than the Gungnir, but I did not compare them directly. I preferred the X-Sabre to the DA11, but not by as much as over the Gungnir.

X-Sabre vs PWD2

Did not care for the PWD2. Treble tended to be harsh and felt much less open. Lacks impact and attack. I think I would even prefer the Gungnir over the PWD2 but again did not compare directly.
post #156 of 1070

That makes it a bit more difficult if the Concero isn't that far off from the x sabre dac. Have you tried a RCA vs XLR to see if there is any difference?

post #157 of 1070
How would one go about that? That would then involve the amplifier as well introducing too many variables.
post #158 of 1070

That is a good point. I forget that it is not always equal with different inputs for amps.

post #159 of 1070
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

How would one go about that? That would then involve the amplifier as well introducing too many variables.


But it will tell you  whether the balanced connection is superior to the SE even tho the amp might sound better thru the XLRs. At least then people who have a balanced amp will know whether the X-Sabre balanced sounds better than some other DAC which only has SE connections like the Concero. The goal is to figure out which DAC sounds the best with their best feature set.


Edited by gurus - 3/4/13 at 8:18pm
post #160 of 1070
Quote:
Originally Posted by gurus View Post


But it will tell you  whether the balanced connection is superior to the SE even tho the amp might sound better thru the XLRs. At least then people who have a balanced amp will know whether the X-Sabre balanced sounds better than some other DAC which only has SE connections like the Concero. The goal is to figure out which DAC sounds the best with their best feature set.

+1. I would love to know what difference, if any, does the SE output compared to balanced did for the XSabre. Just based off immediate impressions from the Texas meet, if you using a SE amp the Concero should be at the top of the list.

post #161 of 1070
Nick and I compared the X-Sabre and Concero on his Decware so unbalanced on both. There's really no easy way to compare analog outputs of a single DAC. You will always have another variable in the amplifier. I don't know how else to tell you it's really not possible.
post #162 of 1070
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

Nick and I compared the X-Sabre and Concero on his Decware so unbalanced on both. There's really no easy way to compare analog outputs of a single DAC. You will always have another variable in the amplifier. I don't know how else to tell you it's really not possible.
Maybe a balanced to unbalanced adapter? Like just combining the ground of the 2?
post #163 of 1070
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gurus View Post

For me its between the Sabre X and the heavy hitters Exasound E20 and the BMC DAC1 pre/USB at the moment. It's a good thing I don't have to make the decision soon.

 

Does the X-Sabre have volume control?

 

No volume control on the X-Sabre - it's a "pure" DAC only. 

 

That exaSound looks mighty nice, though I can't get over the fact that it weighs less than 2 pounds. That just seems wrong for a high end device. I know, the whole "weight corresponds with quality" meme is totally played out (don't tell KingWa I said that) but 1.6 lbs is really pushing it. 

 

The BMC doesn't do much for me. I assume you are talking about the new PureDAC ($1600) rather than the DAC1 ($5500). I know my dislike seems odd because it's an established brand, but there it is. That casework has to eat up a large chunk of the $1600 price, and they aren't sold direct so there's a necessary added cost that others like Matrix, Anedio, and exaSound are able to avoid. Plus I dislike how they have cheesy names for everything - DIGM, PurePhono preamplifier, LEF technology.... what are they, PS Audio? They have to name every little aspect of the thing with a fancy market title? I could be wrong and the PureDAC is a killer value for the money, but I suspect they will get by on their good looks alone, and reviews from speaker guys who plug in a K701 and say "it sounds great!"

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

X-Sabre vs Gungnir

No contest. X-Sabre takes resolution to the next level. Smoother, more open, more detailed, more air, even better bass control and texture. No downside in upgrading from the Gungnir, except the price of course.

X-Sabre vs Concero

Sound is very similar. Detail and air goes to X-Sabre barely. Attack perhaps slightly better. There are several areas where the X-Sabre has a very small advantage, and the Concero at best equals the X-Sabre, so no advantage areas, except price. Largely the decision on these units comes down to features. DSD/DXD + Balanced and slight sound gains vs $500.

X-Sabre vs DA11

Smoother and clearer than the DA11. DA11 is voiced a little different. I would say the DA11 is better than the Gungnir, but I did not compare them directly. I preferred the X-Sabre to the DA11, but not by as much as over the Gungnir.

X-Sabre vs PWD2

Did not care for the PWD2. Treble tended to be harsh and felt much less open. Lacks impact and attack. I think I would even prefer the Gungnir over the PWD2 but again did not compare directly.

 

I pretty much agree with all of the above. Haven't heard Gungnir for myself but I'm not too thrilled with it from a conceptional standpoint. The PWD 1 was bad, I didn't care for it at all. Liked the PWD2 but only heard it for a short time, so I could have missed the harshness you mentioned. But I'd say the X-Sabre is definitely among the smoother, more easy to listen to DACs as compared to what I do remember of the PWD2 and DA11. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gurus View Post


But it will tell you  whether the balanced connection is superior to the SE even tho the amp might sound better thru the XLRs. At least then people who have a balanced amp will know whether the X-Sabre balanced sounds better than some other DAC which only has SE connections like the Concero. The goal is to figure out which DAC sounds the best with their best feature set.

 

So far I've been using X-Sabre with single ended tube amps. But I'll eventually try it with my Yulong A18 and Firestone Audio Bobby, which both have XLR and RCA options. The A18 sounds somewhat different from one input to the other, but the Firestone seems very similar so far, so maybe it will be good for comparisons.

post #164 of 1070

You can test it by having an amp that has both single ended and balanced outputs. Its probably not the easiest thing to test, because you may not be able to switch from SE to balanced right away, depends on the gear. You also factor in how much the amp is benefiting from either se or balanced. So it would be probably hard to distinguish if the SQ difference, if there is any, is either the X Sabre or the amp used to test. 

post #165 of 1070
Well I know that my BHA-1 sounds very different from unbalanced output than balanced output. There's way too many variables, from the input, to the circuits, to the output and all sorts of little things. Then on top of all that you have the different outputs from the DAC to try to judge.
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