Matrix Audio Element X Network Attached DAC Squeaky Clean Cans

Squeaky Clean Cans

For its headphone preamp, Matrix Audio uses a pair of TI's high specification LME49600 buffers per channel, each rated at 500mW/32ohm at vanishingly low levels of distortion. And, indeed, the Element X's can-driving performance is state-of-the-art. Tested here in 'High' gain mode – which adds another +10.5dB but has no impact on the maximum power – its unbalanced headphone output registers 9.26V at '+14.0dB' volume at just 0.00003% THD and with a massive 119dB A-wtd S/N ratio. THD increases to 0.006% at the '+14.5dB' volume setting before clipping at 1% THD for 10.2V at '+15dB' (all re. 0dBFs digital input). Adjusted for a 600ohm load this represents an output of 160mW while the amplifier retains sufficient current to support 1250mW/32ohm and an impressive 620mW/8ohm at <1% THD, the latter impedance representative of the very toughest earphones. In general, distortion is very low indeed at typically ~0.0002% through bass and midrange and 0.001%/20kHz at the reference level of 10mW/32ohm.


The response of the headphone output is determined by your choice of digital filter but its low 700-1000mohm source impedance means the Element X will manage the varying load of low impedance 'phones without significantly modifying any existing peaks and dips in their acoustic response(s). Channel separation is >95dB (20Hz-20kHz) and noise, too, is very low, ensuring an equally cavernous 116dB A-wtd S/N ratio. So the Element X will drive the most sensitive of headphones without adding background hiss or hum. PM

Matrix Electronic Technology Co. Ltd
Supplied by: Signature Audio Systems, UK
07738 007776