Matrix Audio Element X2 Pure Network-Attached DAC Lab Report

Lab Report

Matrix Audio's website talks about the early adoption of ESS's ES9039PRO DAC in the Element X2 Pure – a pair of these 8-channel DACs, in fact – alongside improvements to the PSU, passive components and intermediate DSP. Otherwise the X2 Pure is clearly built onto the Element X2 chassis [HFN Oct '22], minus the latter's headphone amp but retaining the slight 'mix-up' in digital filter selection. The X2 Pure's 4.36V maximum balanced output, superb low-level linearity (good to ±0.1dB over a full 110dB dynamic range) and 116.2dB A-wtd S/N ratio are essentially unchanged over the X2 but the newcomer's lower 10ohm source impedance (versus 96ohm) indicates the preamp output has been improved beyond that suggested in MA's promotional literature, rendering the X2 Pure less sensitive to choice or length of interconnect.

Similarly, the X2 Pure achieves even lower distortion at 0.00001-0.00015% (0dBFs, 20Hz-20kHz) while holding to a mere 0.00009-0.00025% over the top 30dB of its dynamic range [see Graph 1, below]. Tested in asynchronous mode, jitter depends on both source quality and the selected DPLL (Digital Phase Lock Loop) bandwidth, with the low (narrow) DPLL yielding the lowest ~6psec [see Graph 2]. Finally, I discuss the response and time domain behaviours of the digital filters on p53 while the stopband rejection of the 'real' Minimum, Apodising, Linear Fast and Slow, Minimum Fast and Slow, and Low Dispersion filter types are 75dB, 109dB, 81dB, 8dB, 74dB, 8dB and 8dB respectively. The 'Slow' and 'Low Dispersion' filter types are best deployed with higher (96kHz and above) sample rate files where any aliasing images are pushed well outside the audioband. PM


Distortion versus 48kHz/24-bit digital signal level over a 120dB dynamic range (black, 1kHz; blue, 20kHz). Note extended 0dB to –140dB Y scale


High resolution 48kHz/24-bit jitter spectra with normal [red] and low [black] DPLL bandwidths

Maximum output level / Impedance 4.36Vrms / 10ohm (XLR out)
A-wtd S/N ratio (S/PDIF / Network) 116.2dB / 116.2dB
Distortion (1kHz, 0dBFs/–30dBFs) 0.00001% / 0.00009%
Distortion & Noise (20kHz, 0dBFs/–30dBFs) 0.00015% / 0.00025%
Freq. resp. (20Hz-20kHz/45kHz/90kHz) +0.0 to –0.0dB/–0.3dB/–0.2dB
Digital jitter (48kHz / 96kHz) 6psec / 10psec
Resolution (1kHz @ –100dBFs/–110dBFs) ±0.1dB / ±0.1dB
Power consumption 17W (4W standby)
Dimensions (WHD) / Weight 340x58x259mm / 4.2kg
Price £4500

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