WITHDRAWN FS: Matrix Audio Element X $2100

Hi All,

I am selling this great all in one DAC/Streamer/Headphone amp.

10% of my net proceeds from this sale will be donated to @DEXCOM7s GoFundMe campaign.

This is a $3K amp new, there is an open box for sale with a reputable retailer you all know for $2200. I’d like to re-coup $2100 insured standard shipping included. I am not the original owner, but it was originally purchased from Moon Audio.

You can search the great reviews this DAC gets. I used the ethernet, wireless and USB connections only, no way to test the other inputs. Both balanced and SE outputs work great. To my ears the USB sounded just as good as ethernet.

Condition is near mint and everything works perfectly to my knowledge, not having tested the Coax or optical inputs. Comes with original box and materials, including the power cord and remote.

Please message me any questions. Thank you.


This is sounding so good with my Kenzie I’m going to keep it…


Too late, you sold it to me and shipped it yesterday. How could you forget!?!?!?!?

:expressionless: :exploding_head: :nerd_face:


Ha! Seriously though, I think they have come out with some smaller less expensive streamers that are worth a look. I really needed the cash but not sure I can improve on this as a DAC streamer so, back on my desk it lives.


It is my go to DAC/streamer. Works extremely well with Roon and Tidal.


Yes, I was using Roon but I quit it because of the Mac CPU usage issue, but found it just as easy to use Tidal through Audirvana which has a one time license fee instead of annual.


What is the Mac cpu usage issue you are referring to? I use Roon too but hate the annual charge. Audirvana sounds interesting

Seemingly randomly, multiple times/day, the CPU usage would go up well over 150%, sometimes to almost 300% and drive the Mac to boiling point. The only solution was to turn WiFi on and off to settle it down, but then it would start again after going to sleep. It is a known issue with Intel Macs, much discussed on the Roon forum, but Roon has created no solution as of a couple months ago. It may not even be their issue, but Apple’s. In fact, that’s more likely I think.

Audirvana is awesome for a couple reasons: it will control Tidal on your MacMini but the signal will be whatever is going into your streamer, for me, ethernet. So it is completely avoiding USB.

But when you do use USB (ex: sometimes I listen to YouTube, or find new music on Tidal app itself to add to playlists more easily), then Audirvana bypasses some of the shit that Apple put into their audio/USB configuration. I am not technical enough to know how, but USB through Audirvana is significantly more clean than straight out of a MacMini. Not as good as Ethernet, but a huge improvement. And teh license is only $70, one time.


Not anymore, unless you are either still on El Capitan or you “hack” your setup to run an older, out of date, no-longer support kernel extension. Otherwise from Sierra onwards it’s using Core Audio for any local audio output (USB, S/PDIF etc.).

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Wow, you’re right. I just found coreaudio in my activity Monitor while using Audirvana over USB, forced it to quit, and I lost the music. It did not happen with teh DAC chosen over ethernet however.

That seems a little inconsistent with some of the marketing. This is what they write:

"### Total Control

Audirvana takes control of the computer’s audio flow, minimizes the signal path, and ensures internal bit-perfect processing. It bypasses the internal audio mixer, avoiding sound events from other applications and unwanted changes to the audio format of your music. In normal use, computer audio playback consists of a sequence of independent tasks. After reception and decoding, the signal passes through an audio “mixer” that combines sounds from different applications. This mixer modifies the resolution of audio samples under a “lowest common denominator” rule and uses a low-power algorithm to avoid extra latency, which adds quantification artifacts on top of quality loss.

To avoid interference and damage, Audirvana reserves exclusive access to the audio device and minimizes the number of operations depending on the characteristics of the output converter. The format thus remains unchanged from end to end (bit-perfect). The implementation differs according to the OS: With Mac, it is necessary to impose an integer mode calculation (as opposed to floating) to neutralize the mixer. With Windows, the format remains consistent when the WASAPI driver has exclusive access."

@Torq Thank you for the correction.


Marketing and the various claims for a good number of audio-player applications are often quite divorced from reality. Or, they’re real, but they don’t actually make any difference.

I say that as a happy user of both Roon and Audirvana.

For example:

Audirvana takes control of the computer’s audio flow, minimizes the signal path, and ensures internal bit-perfect processing.

That could mean almost anything shy of calling a higher-level “Play File” API. Even something as simple as the player loading the sample data into its own buffer, and then calling on an OS level function to play that to a specific output.

It bypasses the internal audio mixer, avoiding sound events from other applications and unwanted changes to the audio format of your music.

That’s what “Exclusive Mode” does; there’s no magic to it - it’s a standard feature of Core Audio, just not all players expose the option to use it.

This mixer modifies the resolution of audio samples under a “lowest common denominator” rule and uses a low-power algorithm to avoid extra latency, which adds quantification artifacts on top of quality loss.

The mixer does do this, but only if the sample rate or bit-depth of the audio data is different to that of the output settings for the DAC (in Audio/Midi Settings). All that’s needed to avoid this entirely is to make an API call to switch the output bit-depth and sample rate to match that of the source file, and it will be bit-perfect, won’t be re-sampled, and will have no additional latency.

Hence, most decent audio players automatically switch output sample rates to match the source file. Audirvana, Roon, JRiver, BitPerfect, Qobuz, TIDAL and even the Amazon HD clients all do this properly.

And that’s all without getting into the reality that modern CPUs don’t execute the actual instructions they are fed (in the unlikely even the player was coded in assembly language in the first place). So heroic efforts by the programmer don’t necessarily get a benefit anyway. Certainly nothing predictable enough to do things like “reduce USB or PSU noise” in anything other than random fashion.

The net result is that, absent active processing in the audio chain (which is invariably avoidable using normal OS configuration settings), or a faulty driver/USB/S/PDIF output implementation, bit-perfect audio output over USB is the DEFAULT condition in exclusive mode with volume at max.

And it’s easily proven … just capture the sample data coming off the USB output and compare it with that in the source file.


Oh, and yes, the Network audio outputs don’t use Core Audio in the first place. They use the standard networking stack … possibly running custom protocols, but usually not (e.g. UPnP uses standard IP protocols, and is more like FTP in its actual streaming implementation than anything special).


Thank you again for the deeper explanation. The technical side of this is outside my core competencies but I do think I understand the substance of what you are saying. I also started to read your Mac Music Players thread to learn more.

Having read all of that, is it then illogical for me to think that Tidal through Audirvana via USB is better than Tidal played through the Tidal app alone? Because I “felt” quite convinced that Audirvana was better, but I have no doubt I could simply have fallen for a placebo…a difference in gain, or just a bias.

I know this is not a good place for this topic, should be perhaps in your Mac thread.

Thank you again for volunteering the education.

It’s not illogical to think that, based on the claims made for the various players involved. But once you understand how it all works underneath, and especially how modern CPUs work, the rationale applied then the arguments tend to fall apart.

Using exclusive mode, and the same MQA behavior, and fixed volume output, with no other conversions or DSP/EQ applied:

  • The TIDAL and Aurdivana clients output provably the same bit-level sample data over USB.

  • Timing doesn’t matter, since USB Audio 2.0 (UAC2) is asynchronous, and sample timing is under absolute control of the DAC’s clock. If timing gets screwed here by the player, you’ll get very obvious pauses, drop-outs or other unmissable nasty artifacts.

  • It’s possible the Audirvana client uses fewer resources to do the above. In theory that could affect load on the CPU and or PSU, would could affect the electrical noise profile on a USB output (if it’s a shitty USB output) but that doesn’t necessarily translate into anything audible. Though there is typically so much going on with a Mac or PC that other, uncontrolled, factors, will render any such results random and massively variable over even short periods of time.

  • Audirvana has a “System Optimizer” option, which shuts down a bunch of processes to minimize potential impacts per the prior bullet. This definitely doesn’t change the bit-level data, nor any timing (unless your machine is already overloaded), and I’ve yet to measure any difference at the output of the DAC as a result of having that turned on or off.

  • With digital audio, the only “gain” is either via controlled a USB DAC’s own volume (via USB device protocols) or by manipulating the bit-level sample data. With volume at 100%, there should be no change in the sample data, volume should be identical, and the results should remain bit-perfect.

Hope that helps!


Yes it does, thank you very much.