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Matrix X-Sabre DAC review and impression thread - Page 55

post #811 of 1037

thank you for pointing it out.

sorry i did not read the thread before posting.

 

the thought just hit me, and i wanted an answer fast :P

i'll be reading the thread after work today.

 

thanks again !

post #812 of 1037

hello again everyone :)

 

so, i got me an x-sabre some time back, and now i feel i spent sufficient time with it to write a few words.

i will update when i run the stagedac side-by-side, this is all out of memory.

 

so, my setup is:

generic usb cable (i have a fancy one on order, will be here when i do the comparison with the stagedac)

x-sabre DAC

kimber hero interconnects

meier corda classic

HD800 (original cable) - i will be writing more in march when i get a black dragon for them

 

i've also heard electrostatic headphones, LCD 2 and 3, no LCDX yet, the tesla t1, and some very nice speaker setups (the best i heard were the focal utopia, the big boys, my god my god..) - though i did not spend that much time with them, and, not on my music.

i also like to go to listen to the orchestra in my home town, and since they performed unamped (thank good!) i have an idea of how instruments should sound.

this is not to show off, just to let you know what my references are.

 

so here we go:

 

x-sabre is warm sounding. much warmer than the stagedac (i can listen without low freq boost on the amp)

now do not think of it as overly warm. my stagedac was cold in comparison to what i heard, so the x-sabre is just slightly warm.

 

x-sabre is much more laid back.

i'm going to elaborate a bit here. because to me this is important.

so, ACDC thunderstruck. very involving stuff. not so on the x-sabre. i can hear all the details. everything has it's place in the soundstage. nothing jumps out at you. that is a good thing especially for my hd 800. but it just does not have the same drive. for example, in the last half of the song, there is guitar going on on the right channel. with the sabre it's there, in the background. i can hear it. it is fast, detailed, but kind of distant. with the meier dac, that thing would have been all like "i'm here, i'm here, listen, listen!". this is good on one side, because i find this song less fatiguing, but the song does not grab you like it should. this is not to be mistaken for lack of resolution, or, i read this somewhere, the inability of the x-sabre to extract micro detailes. it can do that, just does not shove them in your face. this is also evident on vocals, if the recording lets you hear the lips of the singer opening as he/she takes a breath before singing. on the stagedac that would grab your attention, it would have higher volume, and seem closer to you. on the saber, it happens, but somehow distant, at lower volume (so, maybe less dynamics with these lower volume events). again, not to say the x-sabre does not have dynamics, or is flat sounding. far from it. i must also note that i find the stagedac a bit exaggerated with details. it seems more mechanical, like it's trying too hard.

 

something else that was mentioned by someone in this thread. cymbals on the x-sabre. is it just me, or do they have a bit too much warmth to them? there is no glimmer in the highs. not as extended. it's more like a "swoosh". there isn't enough metal there.. can get dull with metal music, but again, contributes to the laid back-ness of the dac, making it non fatiguing (this is one of the aspects that i hope the usb cable i have on order will fix - if you believe in this sort of thing - more extension in the highs).

 

another thing, the bass. while powerful, and controlled, there is something off.. well, i listen to a lot of pink floyd. i like the bass guitar very much in all tracks. with the sabre, while the presence is undeniably better than the stagedac, i feel it is a bit harder for me to distinguish between all the bass instruments that happen at the same time. don't know how to describe it.. like the pitch of things isn't that clear so it's hard to say what is what.. texture is not that good i think. the bass is controlled, the soundstage does not cave in. it's just not as easy as it was to identify the instruments. i did however notice that this went away the longer i used the dac, so it might better itself further. though right now i do have more than 100 hours of play time on it...

 

like the review at the beginning of the thread says, soundstage. wider, deeper, and more precise than with my stagedac. i am a detail and soundstage freak (hence the HD800) but the soundstage simply wonderful, whereas i could wish just a bit more details (say it's a 90% of what i would want right now). the extra details would also bring a bit more focus to the stage.

 

voices. the fact that the DAC is warm, makes male vocals strong. female vocals just float about, in an effortless way, so relaxing, with no bite to them. i have no complaints with voices. spot on for me :)

 

must also write something about DSD tracks. i use to listen to them converted to PCM, 88.2. on the x-sabre via DoP they sound amazing. so much information. i can hear so many details in the music, even imperfections of the recordings. pink floyd dark side of the moon is just incredible!

 

on to something i noticed, and would like to ask of all the x-sabre owners out there to try. i'm not going to tell my opinion just now, so as not to influence. do you spot any difference between the recommended asio setup (with the ASIO driver), and WASAPI event output?

 

thanks for reading.

let me know if this is useful, and will write a follow-up when the usb cable gets here. i will do a side-by-side with the stagedac then.

post #813 of 1037
Time to get a proper amp wink.gif
post #814 of 1037

working towards that :D


Edited by misha0209 - 1/19/14 at 11:24am
post #815 of 1037

come on people...

will nobody play ball?

nobody reading this thread now?

 

can you hear a difference (i run foobar) between the asio output (the one recommended by matrix, for DSD playback) and WASAPI? over PCM of course, WASAPI does not do DSD as far as i know :P

post #816 of 1037

ASIO? WASAPI? Not needed in my Matrix - Daphile setup :)

http://www.daphile.com/#overview

post #817 of 1037
I don't hear a difference between ASIO and WASAPI, but WASAPI Event style seems to work better with the system. Sometimes with ASIO, the audio drivers get stuck and I have to reboot or cycle the audio devices a few times to get them un-stuck. I've never had a single problem with WASAPI getting stuck like that, so that's what I use.
post #818 of 1037
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

I don't hear a difference between ASIO and WASAPI, but WASAPI Event style seems to work better with the system. Sometimes with ASIO, the audio drivers get stuck and I have to reboot or cycle the audio devices a few times to get them un-stuck. I've never had a single problem with WASAPI getting stuck like that, so that's what I use.

 

I used to have that same issue with my old DAC (an Audio-gd), but have never had it with the X-Sabre - it's been flawless. I agree on the audible differences though in that I don't notice any.

post #819 of 1037

hmm so no difference..

i could swear i hear a difference between WASAPI event, and the foo_dsd_asio thing (i have it set up for DSD playback, as i have quite a few tracks in DSD format, don't want to change output mode each time :P). there is no difference if i set the X-Sabre ASIO as output.

i also never experienced problems with the USB connection. am kind of relieved. i've had several external things that had driver issues.

the worst thing i experienced with the X-sabre. i was listening to DSD, and i scrolled through it like mad, and the X-sabre lost DSD lock. it thought it was receiving PMC. but that was quickly fixed by hitting stop, and then play.

post #820 of 1037

After a lot of thinking and reading my new DAC choices came between the Gungnir and the Matrix X-Sabre. After reading a lot of impressions and knowing my preferences, I pulled the trigger on the X-sabre last night. Looking forward to hearing it!

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by misha0209 View Post
 

hello again everyone :)

 

so, i got me an x-sabre some time back, and now i feel i spent sufficient time with it to write a few words.

i will update when i run the stagedac side-by-side, this is all out of memory.

 

so, my setup is:

generic usb cable (i have a fancy one on order, will be here when i do the comparison with the stagedac)

x-sabre DAC

kimber hero interconnects

meier corda classic

HD800 (original cable) - i will be writing more in march when i get a black dragon for them

 

i've also heard electrostatic headphones, LCD 2 and 3, no LCDX yet, the tesla t1, and some very nice speaker setups (the best i heard were the focal utopia, the big boys, my god my god..) - though i did not spend that much time with them, and, not on my music.

i also like to go to listen to the orchestra in my home town, and since they performed unamped (thank good!) i have an idea of how instruments should sound.

this is not to show off, just to let you know what my references are.

 

so here we go:

 

x-sabre is warm sounding. much warmer than the stagedac (i can listen without low freq boost on the amp)

now do not think of it as overly warm. my stagedac was cold in comparison to what i heard, so the x-sabre is just slightly warm.

 

x-sabre is much more laid back.

i'm going to elaborate a bit here. because to me this is important.

so, ACDC thunderstruck. very involving stuff. not so on the x-sabre. i can hear all the details. everything has it's place in the soundstage. nothing jumps out at you. that is a good thing especially for my hd 800. but it just does not have the same drive. for example, in the last half of the song, there is guitar going on on the right channel. with the sabre it's there, in the background. i can hear it. it is fast, detailed, but kind of distant. with the meier dac, that thing would have been all like "i'm here, i'm here, listen, listen!". this is good on one side, because i find this song less fatiguing, but the song does not grab you like it should. this is not to be mistaken for lack of resolution, or, i read this somewhere, the inability of the x-sabre to extract micro detailes. it can do that, just does not shove them in your face. this is also evident on vocals, if the recording lets you hear the lips of the singer opening as he/she takes a breath before singing. on the stagedac that would grab your attention, it would have higher volume, and seem closer to you. on the saber, it happens, but somehow distant, at lower volume (so, maybe less dynamics with these lower volume events). again, not to say the x-sabre does not have dynamics, or is flat sounding. far from it. i must also note that i find the stagedac a bit exaggerated with details. it seems more mechanical, like it's trying too hard.

 

something else that was mentioned by someone in this thread. cymbals on the x-sabre. is it just me, or do they have a bit too much warmth to them? there is no glimmer in the highs. not as extended. it's more like a "swoosh". there isn't enough metal there.. can get dull with metal music, but again, contributes to the laid back-ness of the dac, making it non fatiguing (this is one of the aspects that i hope the usb cable i have on order will fix - if you believe in this sort of thing - more extension in the highs).

 

another thing, the bass. while powerful, and controlled, there is something off.. well, i listen to a lot of pink floyd. i like the bass guitar very much in all tracks. with the sabre, while the presence is undeniably better than the stagedac, i feel it is a bit harder for me to distinguish between all the bass instruments that happen at the same time. don't know how to describe it.. like the pitch of things isn't that clear so it's hard to say what is what.. texture is not that good i think. the bass is controlled, the soundstage does not cave in. it's just not as easy as it was to identify the instruments. i did however notice that this went away the longer i used the dac, so it might better itself further. though right now i do have more than 100 hours of play time on it...

 

like the review at the beginning of the thread says, soundstage. wider, deeper, and more precise than with my stagedac. i am a detail and soundstage freak (hence the HD800) but the soundstage simply wonderful, whereas i could wish just a bit more details (say it's a 90% of what i would want right now). the extra details would also bring a bit more focus to the stage.

 

voices. the fact that the DAC is warm, makes male vocals strong. female vocals just float about, in an effortless way, so relaxing, with no bite to them. i have no complaints with voices. spot on for me :)

 

must also write something about DSD tracks. i use to listen to them converted to PCM, 88.2. on the x-sabre via DoP they sound amazing. so much information. i can hear so many details in the music, even imperfections of the recordings. pink floyd dark side of the moon is just incredible!

 

on to something i noticed, and would like to ask of all the x-sabre owners out there to try. i'm not going to tell my opinion just now, so as not to influence. do you spot any difference between the recommended asio setup (with the ASIO driver), and WASAPI event output?

 

thanks for reading.

let me know if this is useful, and will write a follow-up when the usb cable gets here. i will do a side-by-side with the stagedac then.


Thank you for a great read on the x-sabre, looks like I made the right choice. Now I am in the same boat as you, looking for the perfect amp ;)

post #821 of 1037
Great choice on the DAC. Now get in line for a GS-X tongue.gif
post #822 of 1037

Yeah, i'm considering a few amps, but not dead set on one so far.

i will probably not have the $ til middle of the year.

the only important buy i'll be making til then is a black dragon premium for the hd800.

sometime in april, a dealer here will bring in the HDVA600, and BHA-1, and i'll be taking my setup there for a 1 day audition on both.

i will post some impressions, probably on this thread.

i'm considering only balanced solutions so far. so:

HDAV600

Bryston BHA-1

Schiit Ragnarok (especially looking forward to this one, not yet released)

 

so far these are in my price range in my part of the world.

i will accept any proposals (in fact i thank anyone providing any).

 

sadly GSX and b22 are out of my price range.

<unrelated>you would not believe what you have to pay in europe for a BHA-1. unless you are from europe, and asked around...

 

@Maxvla did you write a few thoughts on your rig? you do have the same dac and headphones as me, so i'd really appreciate it.

also, when you get the GSX a comparison with the BHA-1 with the hd800 and x-sabre would be incredible!!!

post #823 of 1037
Quote:
Originally Posted by misha0209 View Post
 

Yeah, i'm considering a few amps, but not dead set on one so far.

i will probably not have the $ til middle of the year.

the only important buy i'll be making til then is a black dragon premium for the hd800.

sometime in april, a dealer here will bring in the HDVA600, and BHA-1, and i'll be taking my setup there for a 1 day audition on both.

i will post some impressions, probably on this thread.

i'm considering only balanced solutions so far. so:

HDAV600

Bryston BHA-1

Schiit Ragnarok (especially looking forward to this one, not yet released)

 

so far these are in my price range in my part of the world.

i will accept any proposals (in fact i thank anyone providing any).

 

sadly GSX and b22 are out of my price range.

<unrelated>you would not believe what you have to pay in europe for a BHA-1. unless you are from europe, and asked around...

 

@Maxvla did you write a few thoughts on your rig? you do have the same dac and headphones as me, so i'd really appreciate it.

also, when you get the GSX a comparison with the BHA-1 with the hd800 and x-sabre would be incredible!!!

 

It's worth including the Bottlehead Mainline in your list too. There is no difference between the balanced and unbalanced output from the X-Sabre (other than voltage) and I'm noticing that there is very minimal difference (if any) using balanced or unbalanced inputs (on good amps) so long as the balanced headphone output is a good circuit.

post #824 of 1037
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

Great choice on the DAC. Now get in line for a GS-X tongue.gif


Thank you! I am astounded by how well the Vali plays with HD800, however I think I might prefer a SS amp going upwards. I think a GS-X is a bit out my pricerange atm. It would be nice if matrix made a high end amp for HD800 that stacks with the X-sabre :wink_face:

post #825 of 1037
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loquah View Post
 

 

It's worth including the Bottlehead Mainline in your list too. There is no difference between the balanced and unbalanced output from the X-Sabre (other than voltage) and I'm noticing that there is very minimal difference (if any) using balanced or unbalanced inputs (on good amps) so long as the balanced headphone output is a good circuit.

thanks! :D

googled for it a few seconds at work. if i found the right one, then it is a tube amp.

i don't care much about tube amps.. have not heard many though, only heard tubes on STAX headphones, and i liked solid state better.

i will give the amp a good search once i get home, see what it is about :)

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