Matrix X-SPDIF 2


#1

Hey all … I know some of you have this unit… and I have yet to see any negative review on it… For those unaware - this is essentially a USB to I2S converter that seems to mate well with the DS. All reports give it a thumbs up… These reports have been in multiple threads - and I was hoping all could chime in with positive/negative feedback here.

I have seen reviews of things getting better … not subtle… and was hoping we could get into more detail on ‘the better’… Soundstage, transparency, bass weight, smoothness of high end… and what you are comparing it to (previous setup)… Your cabling etc…

I have an Audioquest Diamond USB (which appears to have skyrocketed in price since my purchase… :slight_smile: ) along with a Wyred Recovery Unit… Things to me sound very good… but, with such things - you never seem to know what you are missing until you hear something improve upon it … Like Ted’s mountain tops…

Thinking of purchasing this little gizmo…

Thanks for your input - and I know for some this may be repetitive … for that I apologize in advance… Thx. Tim.


Does removing the Bridge II offer a potential SQ increase for other inputs like USB?
USB Split Cable + Galvanic Isolation + Corning USB 3. Optical
#2

I believe I was the first person to post about the Matrix X-SPDIF 2 on this forum. It was just over a year ago. At that time, I wrote:

“Preliminary impressions are quite positive – detail and sound stage/image focus have improved, without any noticeable negative effects…”

Since then, numerous DS owners/forum members have purchased the Matrix. I have lost count of how many people have PM’ed me to tell me how much they enjoy the Matrix.

My understanding is that the DS Sr. performs a USB-to-I2S conversion INTERNALLY. In theory, performing the USB-to-I2S conversion EXTERNALLY should sound worse, e.g., because an external conversion introduces another cable and power supply into the equation. But for whatever reason, the external USB-to-I2S conversion via the Matrix makes thing sound better – much better by my and many others’ assessments – than running USB into the DS directly.

In my case, I was using a $649 Revelation Audio Labs dual-conduit USB cable from my Melco N1Z (Mk. 1) to the DS Sr. I now run the Revelation USB cable from the Melco into the Matrix, and I use a dirt-cheap HDMI cable from the Matrix to the DS Sr. This setup sounds like a different and much more expensive DAC than running USB direct from the Melco to the DS Sr.

By the way, adding an external PSU to the Matrix makes it sound even better. I currently use a 5v iFi iPower PSU, which made a nice improvement over running the Matrix on USB power. A forum member who bought a Matrix in part on my recommendation PM’ed me recently to say that he got a massive bump in sound quality by adding an UpTone UltraCap LPS-1.2 PSU to his Matrix. I am thinking about picking up an UpTone, myself.


#3

Hi, I’m one of those who purchased the Matrix on Bootzilla’s recommendation and am very pleased.

I also have a Melco N1Z and went from a previous setup of Ethernet into the Bridge 2, to the Matrix solution. I’m using an ifi ipower power supply, a wireworld Silver starlight 7 USB and an Audioquest vodka hdmi. I haven’t compared the cables with any other, I was just looking for well regarded 2nd cables at a good price. So I suspect there may be benefits from further improvements to power supply and cables.

The end result is excellent in a couple of ways. Firstly (and apologies to PSA on this) but all of the Bridge 2 gremlins are gone, no more pops and crackles, gapless works perfectly, DSD 128 supported, and all performing flawlessly via Mconnect app (I know some of you dislike mconnect but I find it works simply and reliably).

Secondly, the sound quality has definitely gone up a significant notch. I have to make it clear that I was in the middle of a speaker cable change at the same time, so I was comparing based on some crappy cables I had in the loft, but the matrix seemed to remove a layer of grain from the sound which I didn’t realise was there (I’d always been very happy with the B2) and provided improved levels of detail and soundstage. I’m not great at describing what I’m hearing but for me it was a definite alround improvement.

The matrix is a nicely built and quite unobtrusive box, although I have put a piece of black electrical tape over the led as it’s quite bright.

I’ve not compared to other i2s converters but matrix gets 100% recommendation from me.

Mike.


#4

did any of you try the ISO Regen in the USB connection?

magicknow


#5

I also purchased one based on bootzilla’s write up and a few threads elsewhere. Couldn’t be happier.

For reference, I’ve tried a Schiit Eitr, a W4S uLink, and an Uptone ISOREGEN at various times. For a long while I was running a Sonos Connect through a W4S Remedy.

I’m now using a 2014 Mac mini with the Uptone DC kit, Mapleshade USB into the Matrix. I2S out handled by an Apollo AV HDMI cable. I’m currently powering the Matrix with a 6v 12a battery. Best I’ve tried so far.

I’d recommend without hesitation although I can only speak to I2S out, not coax.


#6

Hi, no, I haven’t tried anything to enhance the usb input to the matrix, other than a reasonably high quality cable, so can’t comment on the iso regen or anything similar.

Cheers, Mike.


#7

This is excellent guys. I have seen so many good things floating around this unit. I figured there might be things I hadn’t seen in various threads. Very helpful for me.

Any notes on bass ?


#8

I have it between my ROCK and my DSD. The only quibble I ran into was my Corning optical USB cable no longer works. I had to replace it with an AQ one I had lying around. It does sound great though. It’s nice to run native DSD from my library to the DAC, a very simple audio chain as far as conversions go.


#9

Yes I have a lot of dsd. So a lot of my music would be native dsd.


#10

Currently I have Roon running on my PC running Ethernet to the Bridge which is a Roon End Point.

If i connect USB from the PC to the Matrix and then go direct IIS into the DirectStream what do I need to do to get Roon to work?

Has anyone heard of an Ethernet direct to IIS device?

thanks


#11

What is great about this is I see people coming from what I consider a decent usb setup getting better results. I’m gonna give it a whirl in March.


#12

I also purchased this based on Boot’s recommendation. Was using curious usb with regen. Matrix (without PS and with generic hdmi cable) via both toslink and I2s was a significant improvement over my USB setup. Recently added the Uptone LPS 1.2 and Wireworld Siver Starlight 7 hdmi cable. Each addition make a noticeable and worthwhile improvement - has been a component level upgrade for me.


#13

I connect to my Mac Mini server using a Cardas Clear USB (if I recall correctly) and then a Blue Jeans HDMI cable. I had a 9V iFi power supply hanging around so I used that and thought it made a very slight improvement. I had previously just used the Bridge in recent times. The main improvement I noticed I would describe as better focus. Things seemed to snap into place a little better. I did try an Uptone Regen briefly but it didn’t want to work. Don’t know why and didn’t spend much time on it so your results may vary.


#14

Just ordered one today based on your recommendation and after speaking with UpTone’s Alex Crespi. I think this is the first time I have spent more for a power supply than I did for the device to be powered. Will see how it goes. Not much downside to trying it, as UpTone offers a 30-day money back return policy.


#15

@bootzilla I would be very interested in your thoughts on the LPS 1.2 matched with the Matrix. I tried a LPS 1 and while there was a difference in the sound, it seemed to be at the expense of some mid-range warmth so I went a different direction.

I was also thinking about an earlier comment on the I2S conversion happening outside of the DS perhaps being less preferable given an opportunity for external noise from cabling, power supplies, etc to enter the picture. I thought the opposite might be the case where if quality external components are used separating out a process from the DS would reduce the compute cycles and let the DAC function more efficiently. I’ve read similar thought around WAV file playback being preferable to FLAC because there is less to process. Anyway, I’m straying into Ted Smith territory where I have no first hand knowledge, so I’ll stop here. Just a thought.


#16

Thanks for the heads up about the LPS 1. What are you using in its place?


#17

I’ve tried a generic eBay linear supply that I liked better, not that Uptone doesn’t make fine products. I’ve used the LPS1 to power a W4S Remedy which served me well for a while. For the Matrix, something just doesn’t gel.

I’m currently trying out a 6v rechargable battery and think that might be even better yet. I just started with the battery so I’m not ready to really say if it’ll stick or not.


#18

I know the company has a list of stated improvements in the LPS-1.2 over the older LPS-1. There is a chance the new model will perform differently, for better or for worse. The only way to truly know is to give the 1.2 a trial run. I would just hate for the LPS 1.2 to be grouped into LPS 1 conversations when they are clearly different products.


#19

@JeffofArabica Agreed. I have no experience with the 1.2 and wouldn’t want my comments to imply it would provide the same result.


#20

For the next few days, the Matrix is 10% for Chinese New Year. Can order from the USA distributor, free 2 day shipping from New Jersey. No trial period, all sales final unless its defective…

http://www.matrix-digi-usa.com