Matrix Audio Element Series Lineup
- 01 Mar, 2021
MATRIX AUDIO is composed by a group of music loving electronic engineers, which designs, manufactures and sells high quality performance audio devices. Matrix products now is popular in many countries and regions, and has been recognized by many music enthusiasts and gained a good brand reputation. Providing reference-class devices and bringing the ESS ES9038 pro SABRE chip to implement it in a commercial product, this brand is considered as a world-class leader in this field.
Before we start, there is a good news we need to share with, for Matrix Audio Mini I-3 and Mini-i Pro 3, the devices have received Roon Ready certification from Roon Labs.These Matrix Mini 3 series are all-in-one DAC/Amps that feature high resolution Bluetooth and a vast array of inputs and outputs, allowing you to use them for virtually any setup. And with the Roon Ready certification now, it also allows the playback of bit-perfect music streaming through the Mini-i 3 and Mini-i Pro 3 over a LAN, or push music to Mini-i 3 and Mini-i Pro 3 from an iPhone, iPad, or any other MAC computer on the network using AirPlay.
Matrix always attaches great importance to technical innovation and continuous research on audio products. They unveiled their newest element series of products in 2018. Let's start with their series flagship product - Element X DAC and Headphone amp. The DAC section of Element X is built on the ES9038 PRO chip and an ES9311– a low-noise, low drop-out regulator designed for high-performance audio systems. With a full MQA decoder and a Crystek CCHD 950 Femtosecond clock, the Element X also adds balanced headphone outputs via dual 3-pin XLR and a 4-pin XLR, in addition to its quarter-inch unbalanced outputs. Which provides options for both balanced and unbalanced listening with most headphones.
Element X can be also be a powerful balanced headphone amplifier, a streamer/DLNA/AirPlay capable and a very advanced internal player (through the microSD card slot or USB host) remotely controlled by a smartphone app, which makes is super versatile and easy to use. As an incredible feature-packed all-in-one device, it should please a lot of folks. It has such a natural and life like presentation with tons of micro-detail information.
That ability to deliver a full-scale sound, rammed with information and its drama intact is also much in evidence with the recreation of the 1985 Live Aid set on Queen and Adam Lambert's Live Around The World [EMI 00602507394066], which is full of almost all of the swagger of the original and treated to a spectacular live mix. The Element X makes it big, rich and full of vitality, just as it should be, proving that this DAC/amp isn't just an exercise in technical excellence and 'hi-fi-ness' but also very much built by people who love music.
Quoted by an written review from HiFi News on Element X, you could click here for the original post.
It is an excellent quality audio source, DAC and speaker amp all-in-one based on ES9028 PRO with a full MQA decoder, has DLNA and AirPlay capabilities, a simple USB host musical player. and it is also the only Element series streamer with passive speaker connections and playback with outputs 230W per channel at 4 Ohms to a nice pair of passive speakers. Element P is designed to meet the demands of delivering high quality and performance sound at a more economical price point.
It adopts the ICEpower 250ASX2 Class D amplifier module from Denmark as the core power amplifier. The rated power output is 230 Watts per channel at 4 Ohms, which can easily drive any speakers from small bookshelf models to small or medium-sized floor-standing models. For the volume control, Element P uses volume a MUSES 73720 Resistor Divider. This volume control has incredibly low noise and low distortion with a resistance ladder circuit.
Like other Element products, this device is packed with numerous features making it one of the most versatile music streamers on the market. Element M that is a twin-brother to the Element P but switches the powerful integrated amplifier with a desktop headphone amplifier, capable of outputting up to 1320 mW of power into 32 Ohms. They both share the same DAC chip—ES9028 PRO, digital input options, TF card slot storage capability and sampling rates of PCM up to 768kHz/DSD up to 22.4MHz. Mastered for MQA decoding and rendering, the Element M is equipped to deliver the original sound of master recordings with your system.
Element M is equipped with a Linear 30W power supply that regulates the output voltage by dropping excess voltage. Linear regulated power supplies like this one in the Element M have an incredibly low noise floor. The headphone amp in the Element M contains an input stage that rejects common-mode distortion. The output stage of the amp is set in a high quiescent current state that gives off a mellow sound performance. The Element M is Matrix Audio’s mid-range product for the entire product line and their most cost-effective network streamer.
Element I combines the audio circuits of the Element P and Element M streamers. It is a cost-effective streamer that provides you with several options on how to listen to music. It's outfitted with the same ES9028 Pro DAC chip for high quality performance. It also uses a XMOS XU208 USB controller. The controller allows for input resolutions of up to 24 bit/384 kHz. These two parts of the Element I provide more resolution than an average consumer's digital music library resolution.
The headphone amp on the Element I is the most discreet of the Element series streamers. Equipped with 1300 megawatts of power, the Element I is able to drive various high-resistance full-sized headphones and high-sensitive IEMs. The excellent dynamic performance and inaudible background noise, make you concentrate on the music. You can control the Element I with IR remote and MA Remote app, the volume and input channels can be easily switched even if connecting to active speakers or power amplifiers.
Thomas posted a video review of Matrix Element I on his channel, originally published on Feb.8, 2021, click and have a look: