Matrix Audio X-Sabre 3
Our Price | $4,199
Beginning the decade with a bang – that's what X-Sabre 3 does for Matrix Audio. The package and capabilities are familiar. The expectations are higher. This ESS Sabre ES9038Pro flagship DAC invites your proud Hi-Fi to enter the world of networked audio together.
What you loved from Matrix Audio hasn't changed. The same show stopping audio fidelity of previous generations – particularly the perfectly-measuring X-Sabre Pro (MQA) raved about – shows up in X-Sabre 3. It's now just more usable than ever.
Hailed as a third-generation flagship DAC, it's learnt new tricks. Ethernet and 2.4/5Ghz Wi-Fi inputs allow you to easily integrate X-Sabre 3 onto your home network, where its Roon Ready status guarantees ease of use on Hi-Fi's most beloved audio management interface.
Continue to put its Ethernet and Wi-Fi capabilities to good use. Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect status shows up – the latter pulls the full MQA stream right off the Tidal cloud, for which X-Sabre 3 is perfectly certified to unfold and decode to its full resolution.
UPnP/DLNA also comes built in that sees X-Sabre 3 adapt perfectly into your home ecosystem of tablets and smart devices through your preferred app. Don't let this ease of use fool you, though.
This is an utterly high-performance DAC that puts to use Matrix Audio's years of working with the ES9038Pro, a chip still unrivalled in its performance till today. ESS' top dog is given the platform to perform by Matrix, with X-Sabre 3's power, digital and analog components entirely separate and CNC-carved from a single block of aluminium.
A FPGA and Crystek CCHD-950 femtosecond clock suppress jitter and phase noise; the ability to run in synchronous mode offering intriguing experimentation from your various digital sources.
Analog decoded by the ES9038Pro then runs properly through a high-performance I/V stage that preserves the linearity of small signal perfectly. X-Sabre 3 is silent as a tomb. A claimed dynamic range above 130dB and 0.00010% total harmonic distortion? Believe it.
X-Sabre 3 measures perfectly as you'd expect from China's premier digital company. Better, it sounds perfect any way and any how you choose to listen to it. Hopes couldn't be higher, and Matrix Audio have delivered again with this digital source-plus-converter duo.