Thorough circuit optimisation, layout and isolation means Matrix continue to reap the benefits from ESS Technology's ES9038Pro flagship, with over 130dB of signal-to-noise ratio.
You'll absolutely want to hear your music from this Matrix pinnacle, and Element X2 ensures it's easy getting your tracks aboard.
Stream from Spotify and Tidal Connect on top of its usual Roon Ready status, or browse network files via freeware MA Remote or your favourite UPNP app. Even get your guests on your entertainment system using Apple AirPlay 2.
Part of Element X2's point is input from this decade's generation of smart TVs. HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) transfers audio from the signal to this Matrix for higher quality playback.
If your TV or projector supports HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) protocol, Element X2's playback can be controlled by your display device.
The bustling conduit of inputs means electronic noise is inevitable from Element X2's CPU. That's why Matrix have built in full galvanic isolation with independent power supplies for general system CPU operation, and DSP audio processing work carried on a Xilinx FPGA.
This isolation is provided through optocouplers – and with total galvanic isolation consisting not just of separate power supplies, but separate grounds, Matrix have covered all bases.
Indeed, power supply is overbuilt. The ARM CPU draws from a switch-mode power supply. Meanwhile, a dedicated linear power supply built around a toroidal transformer juices Element X2's FPGA, clock, and analog line and headphone stages. With dual topology supplies, the lifeblood of great audio is not only abundant, it's clean.
Digitally a dedicated master of time is derived via a Crystek CCHD-950 clock that pushes phase noise and jitter down for a clean and precise decode. Matrix even give you the option to run Element X2 in asynchronous or synchronous mode. It's not the clock that's always in charge of the music – it's you.
Because you could choose to run Element X2 as you've usually done, beyond arm's length using Roon Remote, the stock MA Remote software, and Tidal Connect. But now Matrix add a 3.46 inch LCD touch screen for anyone keen to take advantage of Element X2's low weight and compact size in a desktop setting.
Double tap to wake the screen, and swipe left and right to access a myriad of features at the lift of a finger while listening to its balanced 4.4mm headphone amp that outputs up to 2.6 watts.
Element X2 doubles the number of output devices in parallel compared to
Element M2, increasing current handling capability and damping factor.
This headphone amp packs brute power but also finesse. Lower volume levels with sensitive headphones still preserve all the resolution in your music with Matrix's Hyper Control volume solution.
This combines the precision of a fine digital volume control with a relay-controlled analog solution for bigger steps. Hyper Control keeps the ES9038Pro in a position where the chip always maintains its full dynamic range capability, together with the low noise of Element X2, for a wide range of listening volumes.
Its pre-amp function also takes advantage of Hyper Control. Element X2's potent line stage is transferred to its XLR and RCA outputs in this case, packing +10dB of extra gain for up to 15.8Vrms output to match various power amplifiers' input sensitivities. No pre-amp needed – the Element X2 solution fits all.
With so many options at one's disposal, and all of equivalent quality, the Element X2 promises to take up pride of place in a stereo system or one's headphone booth, outputting the best small signal to elevate the potential of your painstakingly assembled chain.
Or to see what you can achieve even more of with Matrix Audio view their collection
here, and all our other full-size DACs here.