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Matrix X-Sabre DAC review and impression thread - Page 41

post #601 of 1037
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

Just got the Concero HD and HP in for review. Haven't even had a chance to plug them in yet. Will be interesting to hear how they stack up.

 

Just so you know... I'll be hitting the refresh button several times an hour over the next few days. tongue.gif

post #602 of 1037
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Dangerous View Post

 

Just so you know... I'll be hitting the refresh button several times an hour over the next few days. tongue.gif

 

Ha! I actually barely got an chance to plug in the Concero HD to a MacBook Air that I recently picked up, and it did in fact show up in the Audio Midi panel. But I have no music on my Air, and no FLAC playback capability yet, so I've got to get working on that too. Could certainly use more time in the day....

post #603 of 1037

Try out J. River for Mac = Flac playback = Free Trial biggrin.gif

post #604 of 1037
Quote:
Originally Posted by Girls Generation View Post

I preferred the X-Sabre over the Concero and the Gungnir mostly because I just cannot stand shoutiness. Concero isn't as shouty as the gungnir but I just loved how the X-Sabre disappeared since it didn't really add or remove any effects. Also I happen to prefer jazz, vocals, and slower-type genres over death metal... 

This is how I arrived at buying the X-Sabre as well. After using a few of the newer DAC's I began to feel they were emphasizing dynamics to the point that it was not an authentic representation of the music. And I don't mean just a little emphasis, some of them made my favorite music feel like repeated punches to the face.

The X-Sabre is quite neutral in this regard and seems to bring out all of the detail and nuance in the music without leaving fingerprints all over it. One thing that is really fabulous about the X-Sabre is the completely black background. It's not a velvety black background, it's simply no background at all. I gather this may be due to the really solid construction and power isolation.
post #605 of 1037
Agreed with all recent comments. Still love my X-Sabre.
post #606 of 1037
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Dangerous View Post

 

XSabre is more detailed and performs at a higher level... but the difference isn't huge. Not worth $500 more in my opinion. Maybe $200?

 

I recommend buying the XSabre if you need balanced input/output. If not, Concero should fit the bill.

 

No idea how the Concero HD fits into all of this yet.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

I do prefer X-Sabre over Concero. X-Sabre has slightly better detail retrieval - not night and day, but definitely there. 

 

It would also come down to how much of the extra functionality you'd take advantage of. Does your amp sound best via balanced inputs? Then obviously X-Sabre is the best choice. Does it only feature RCA inputs? Then X-Sabre advantage is nullified. Would you be using DSD tracks? Or need more inputs like AES/EBU? Hopefully you see my point here.

 

 

Just got the Concero HD and HP in for review. Haven't even had a chance to plug them in yet. Will be interesting to hear how they stack up.

 

But you have a good point - the original Concero really tops out the bang for the buck meter - it's good enough to be worth upgrading from a lot of the $300 and $400 DACs out there, and close enough to the $1k+ DACs to make you think twice before spending more. 

 

It seems that the decision is pretty much made at this point. Only thing standing between me and the xsabre is the Concero HD but even than I still think the xsabre might be a better choice. But tube rolling has taken its toll so I shall wait for your review on the HD project86 before making any decision. One question for Nick though. Did you choose the Concero over the xsabre purely on value? Seeing that we use the same headphone your input on the two dac will be much appreciated.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Girls Generation View Post

X-Sabre isn't really warm-sounding, it's just that it's a bit mellower-sounding relative to other DACs which are faster and have more treble. However, just because it's laid-back and appears to have less treble doesn't mean it lacks in detail retrieval and all the goodies. I preferred the X-Sabre over the Concero and the Gungnir mostly because I just cannot stand shoutiness. Concero isn't as shouty as the gungnir but I just loved how the X-Sabre disappeared since it didn't really add or remove any effects. Also I happen to prefer jazz, vocals, and slower-type genres over death metal... 

 

And then there's the build quality and features. I will probably never be able to live with the Concero knowing that I am limited to RCA, and that it just doesn't fit on my rack anywhere because it's smaller than my hand. 

 

So far it's excellent with my speaker set up. I'll try to report findings vs. NAD M51 soon.

 

The wa2 is plenty smooth for me so I was afraid having a warm dac will make the hd800 overly smooth thus losing its edge on faster pace music like rock which I listen to quite a bit. But judging from all the recent post I think it will complement the wa2 well without making it too warm and smooth sounding since the dac itself is not exactly warm. Perhaps the better way for me to phrase it is that its "warmer" than some of its competitors rather than it is a "warm" dac? Anyways pretty much looking forward to your impressions with NAD M51. Cheers.

post #607 of 1037
Quote:
Originally Posted by helljudgement View Post

I have a similar set up as yours so your impressions your help me decide whether or not this dac is suitable for the wa2 and hd800 combo. I was afraid this could make my hd800 too warm sounding. project86 have you tried the wa2 and hd800 before? I was thinking of getting either this or the concero as my dac but couldn't quite make out which would be more suitable for me. What I look for in dac is refinement.

Still working through optimizing the X-Sabre in my system, but I can tell you that the combo is absolutely not too warm sounding or analytical. It does a very nice job of presenting the music as it was recorded with emotion (no artifacts or colorings.)  A very very nice DAC indeed.

post #608 of 1037
Quote:
Originally Posted by helljudgement View Post


One question for Nick though. Did you choose the Concero over the xsabre purely on value? Seeing that we use the same headphone your input on the two dac will be much appreciated.

Yep, pretty much. Concero is $600, X-Sabre is $1100. Both are very similar. Since I don't run a balanced setup, I didn't feel it was worth spending $500 more for a tiny bump in sound quality. Instead, I spent the money rolling a bunch of $$$ tubes.
Edited by Nick Dangerous - 7/12/13 at 2:22pm
post #609 of 1037
I run balanced so I got the x-Sabre and I have enjoyed every minute this week. I blame Maxvla for making me get the X-Sabre after hearing it at the Dallas meet and love it!
post #610 of 1037

Well, I would rather phrase it as competing dacs are a bit sharper, edgier, and faster than the X-Sabre. It's not a matter of tonality, but a matter of speed/decay and forward/laid-back. I'll report next week when I receive the M51. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by helljudgement View Post

The wa2 is plenty smooth for me so I was afraid having a warm dac will make the hd800 overly smooth thus losing its edge on faster pace music like rock which I listen to quite a bit. But judging from all the recent post I think it will complement the wa2 well without making it too warm and smooth sounding since the dac itself is not exactly warm. Perhaps the better way for me to phrase it is that its "warmer" than some of its competitors rather than it is a "warm" dac? Anyways pretty much looking forward to your impressions with NAD M51. Cheers.

post #611 of 1037

Project86 or anyone, how long does it take for X-Sabre to open up sonically (i.e. how many hours of burn-in?)  My unit still sounds tight and not as open as my modded redbook CDP with WE 396a/ Bendix 6385 output buffer tubes.  Actually, I A/ B the two units the other night and the CDP was a step above.
 

post #612 of 1037
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ru4music View Post

Project86 or anyone, how long does it take for X-Sabre to open up sonically (i.e. how many hours of burn-in?)  My unit still sounds tight and not as open as my modded redbook CDP with WE 396a/ Bendix 6385 output buffer tubes.  Actually, I A/ B the two units the other night and the CDP was a step above.
 

 

Not really sure. I burn all my stuff in for 100 hours, often a lot more, before I get a chance to check it out. 

post #613 of 1037
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

Not really sure. I burn all my stuff in for 100 hours, often a lot more, before I get a chance to check it out. 


OK thanks!  I guess I have about 25 hours so far on my X-Sabre.  It seems like I go through this with all my new equipment (I guess I'm anxious.)  Also, were you running balanced or single ended for the interface out to your amp on your review?

post #614 of 1037
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ru4music View Post


OK thanks!  I guess I have about 25 hours so far on my X-Sabre.  It seems like I go through this with all my new equipment (I guess I'm anxious.)  Also, were you running balanced or single ended for the interface out to your amp on your review?

 

I used both in my review, and don't hear a different between them. Which makes sense as they use identical opamps. The only potential issue is the rather high output voltage in balanced mode, which some amps may not like. 

post #615 of 1037
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

I used both in my review, and don't hear a different between them. Which makes sense as they use identical opamps. The only potential issue is the rather high output voltage in balanced mode, which some amps may not like. 


Using single ended and a few more hours of burn-in of my new Matrix X-Sabre, audio-wise, it's getting better....  more to come!

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