Matrix M-Stage amp review: simple, cheap, and excellent.
Oct 16, 2010 at 3:14 AM Post #1,127 of 5,176

Moeks

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Well I could do something like that I suppose, but I've already ordered and paid for the Matrix M-Stage ...and using the Krell to drive headphones is kind of like using a thermo nuclear weapon to knock a door of it's hinges. Could be interesting though I'll grant you that. The KAV300i pulls 38 watts of power just in standby anyway and my electricity bills aren't going down, if I unplug it it takes quite a long time to get back upto running temperature so I never do, it's basically had power running into it almost without fail for the 7 years that I have had it (I bought it second hand). Besides, it's worth quite a lot and I suspect it's worth more to someone else looking to drive a nice pair or speakers than it is to me now in all honesty.
 
Oct 16, 2010 at 3:26 PM Post #1,128 of 5,176

daisangen

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You're right about the soundstage being huge but I think it's too large and sounds unnatural, with K701 anyway.
 
The more I get hours on Earth, the more I think it destroys LME49720NA. My only small gripe with Earth is the treble extension, it's more or less on par with LME49720NA but I wish it went higher. Hopefully the fabled 300 hours of burn in does its magic as people say.
 
I tried the Moon quickly and found it pretty good, but I think it's too smooth out of the box. I'll give it a good run after Earth.
 
I have to try the biasing mod for LME49720NA someday, though.
 
 
 
Quote:
Sganzerla said:






 I tried OPA-Earth and found huge differences between it and LM4562 (2.7k) that I'm using now - and won by a wide margin the other OPAs I tried.
 
 OPA-Earth is VERY smooth at mids, has better background, is more coherent, has more pronunced warm mids and a DEEPER soundstage. LM4562 has a much larger soundstage at sides, but looses in depth, sounds a little more dynamic and fast and maybe a little more extended on top. Timbre on both is different but I can't really say which one sounds more accurate.
 
 Overall I think one compliments the other.
tongue.gif

 
Oct 17, 2010 at 5:02 AM Post #1,130 of 5,176

kuwahshi

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I feel silly asking this but I'm new to headphone amps and this seems to be a good priced one to pair with my HD580. Can the Matrix M-Stage be plugged into my PC to listen to music on my computer (through the headphone socket?)? I've seen other amps with USB cables but is that because they have an incorporated DAC?
 
Oct 17, 2010 at 5:12 AM Post #1,131 of 5,176

Moeks

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The Matrix M-Stage is just an amplifier, not a DAC but you could of course feed it an analogue signal from your pc, so it has 2 rca inputs, so you could connect say a cd player to one set and a computer to the other, depending on what connections your sound card has though you would likely have to use a mini 3.5mm jack to rca phono lead, or a converter on the sound-card end and then a standard pair of rca phono cables.

 
But no, the M-Stage is not a DAC and can't accept a digital signal directly.

 
What would happen in say (my setup) and probably most other peoples it is that both a computer and a DAC are used, so you run a digital TOSlink or Coaxial connection from the computer straight into the DAC (or a USB connection if the DAC can take one) ...so that's a pure digital signal that hasn't been converted, then the external DAC converts this to analogue and outputs it where it is carried by a set of RCA photo leads to an amp, in this case the M-Stage. ...which then amplifies the signal and outputs to your headphones.
 
Clear ?
 
Oct 17, 2010 at 11:49 AM Post #1,133 of 5,176

ninjikiran

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Quote:
Did anyone compare the M stage with the audio gd amps for K701s.


 
well considering a sizable number of people recommend the M-Stage for them I think it would be a worthy test.  Though the M-Stage is supposed to be fairly transparent, the k701's bring out all the nasties in a bad recording so some people prefer to add colorized distortion.
 
Even from some of my music CD's the sound is just nasty without the headphones helping them out.
 
Oct 19, 2010 at 5:06 AM Post #1,134 of 5,176

Sinofdreams999

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Am I deaf? Why can't I notice significant difference between m-stage(op627+3.9k) and the amp section of tiny audinst mx-1? I do notice slight wider sound stage and slight warmer tone but I really had to listen hard for those. Is this it? This is what great amping is all about? I'm new here so please enlighten me....
 
Oct 19, 2010 at 5:44 AM Post #1,135 of 5,176

ninjikiran

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Well for me it was an upgraded volume pot, no hiss at human volume levels, and a slight upgrade in SQ.  But yea I see your view, I always substitute with the word slight.  Its a really good amp though imo~ well worth the price.  I would comment on inputs but most devices have input swapping, though if you want to AB a dac it is probably easier with the m-stage since it has a physical switch.  The gain switching functionality is also really good as well rather than having a "high" or "low" gain setting which might be too high or too low for middle ground headphones.  Think of that slight upgrade in SQ as a bonus, even if you don't notice it now I bet after a few months of listening to it those subtle changes will be more noticeable when you plug the audinst back in to compare.
 
The M-Stage is an amp you probably won't need to upgrade for a long time if ever.(assuming it doesn't go bad or at some point you need balanced output or get "ear speakers") 
Quote:
Am I deaf? Why can't I notice significant difference between m-stage(op627+3.9k) and the amp section of tiny audinst mx-1? I do notice slight wider sound stage and slight warmer tone but I really had to listen hard for those. Is this it? This is what great amping is all about? I'm new here so please enlighten me....

 
Oct 19, 2010 at 6:48 AM Post #1,136 of 5,176

audiofil

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Quote:
Am I deaf? Why can't I notice significant difference between m-stage(op627+3.9k) and the amp section of tiny audinst mx-1? I do notice slight wider sound stage and slight warmer tone but I really had to listen hard for those. Is this it? This is what great amping is all about? I'm new here so please enlighten me....


 
I'd advise you to give it more time and use a different opamp (the stock OPA2134 is a good start). OPA627 and dark sounding headphones rarely make a great combination.
 
 
Oct 19, 2010 at 6:49 AM Post #1,137 of 5,176

kite7

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Quote:
Am I deaf? Why can't I notice significant difference between m-stage(op627+3.9k) and the amp section of tiny audinst mx-1? I do notice slight wider sound stage and slight warmer tone but I really had to listen hard for those. Is this it? This is what great amping is all about? I'm new here so please enlighten me....



What headphones are you trying to amp? If you're trying to amp  a HD555 or AD700 , they're not going to improve because they are easy to drive. Higher impedance phones like HD600, K701 or 600 ohm beyers will benefit from the M-Stage.
 
Oct 19, 2010 at 7:59 AM Post #1,138 of 5,176

AlfBaxter

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I'd advise you to give it more time and use a different opamp (the stock OPA2134 is a good start). OPA627 and dark sounding headphones rarely make a great combination.
 







Can't agree with this. For me the OPA627 in class-a is much brighter and more open than the OPA2134. Anyone who finds the 627 class-a too warm or dark sounding is not going to be impressed with the 2134 IMO. And as I've said before the 627 class-a does an excellent job with my Senn HD650, and is not at all dark; in fact it is as open and detailed as I've heard in the M-Stage.
 
Oct 19, 2010 at 9:02 AM Post #1,139 of 5,176

daltonlanny

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Quote:
Can't agree with this. For me the OPA627 in class-a is much brighter and more open than the OPA2134. Anyone who finds the 627 class-a too warm or dark sounding is not going to be impressed with the 2134 IMO. And as I've said before the 627 class-a does an excellent job with my Senn HD650, and is not at all dark; in fact it is as open and detailed as I've heard in the M-Stage.



x2. I agree 100%.
 
Oct 19, 2010 at 11:00 AM Post #1,140 of 5,176

dlaloum

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Quote:
Am I deaf? Why can't I notice significant difference between m-stage(op627+3.9k) and the amp section of tiny audinst mx-1? I do notice slight wider sound stage and slight warmer tone but I really had to listen hard for those. Is this it? This is what great amping is all about? I'm new here so please enlighten me....



an old trick - listen to the best - then go down a notch ..... much more obvious/discernible than going up one notch.... and remember the financial rule of thumb - for each NOTICEABLE step up the cost of gear doubles.
 
So to get a really WOW difference you need to go up several of those notches as a minimum - do your sums and see where you go....
 
Basic cmoy $20 ....one step up = $40 (noticeable but no a big deal) - subsequent steps $80 / $160 /$320  - M-Stage is about 4 notches up - so it should provide a easily noticeable step up... but it also depends on your HP's..... if you are using easy to drive basic ie's then there may not be a massive difference... but if the HP's are hard to drive AKG's, Beyers, etc... the difference will be much more noticeable.  
 

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