Matrix Element i Streaming Player Unboxing
The Element i streaming music player is a blend of audio circuits from the Element P (which is a Streamer & Speaker Amp) and the Element M (which is a Streamer & Headphone Amp). The goal of Matrix with the Element I is to provide an amazing bang for the buck option for a very attractive price point to the under $1000 price point customer.
The Dac Chip utilized is the same as the more expensive Element P which uses the ES9028 PRO Dac Chip. However, the Element I uses the XMOS XU208 USB controller which provides a little lower input resolution of 24bit 384kHz. This is less than the rest of the Element family but still provides more resolution than most consumer's digital library music file resolution.
Most of our libraries are in the 24bit 192kHz range so there is still room to breath for higher resolutions to be utilized. USB DSD input resolution is rated at DSD 5.6MHz (DoP) & DSD 11.2MHz (Native), again half that of the big brothers in the series. This is more in line with the mass market available resolutions, so it's still a great spec. It uses the same Reclocking Oscillator as the Element M and offers all the same inputs as the Element M, which are all single-ended connections but still with the I2S HDMI which means adding the Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2 USB Interface. This provides a great upgrade path and to take it one step further you can also add the Matrix Audio Element H USB 3.0 Interface.
Similar to the rest of the lineup, it has the same Roon Ready Wired connection. Wifi is steered towards the single 2.4GHz bandwidth thus you don't have to worry about band jumping on lower priced network access points. Volume control is in the digital domain and since this unit uses an external power supply there is also the upgrade path of adding a linear power supply.
This is a great way to get an all in one bang for the buck streaming music player under $1000 with so many potentials for upgrades later if needed.
With the help of MA player, no matter at the desk, beside your TV, in the bedroom or dining room, element i is always waiting for your playback commands. Get rid of computers, as long as you are on the same Wi-Fi or wired network, use Airplay, DLNA or playback your collected digital audio. This is element series, seeking harmony points in the two dimensions of “listening” and “looking”, making it simple and strong.
MA Remote app now both available for Android and iOS natively. Browse and play your own high-quality digital audio, or enjoy hi-res streaming audio, whatever you want. MA Remote is now integrated with TIDAL service, Qobuz is also coming. In addition, it’s also ROON Ready. Find element audio device and control from ROON Remote, making playback faster.
element i has a discrete component headphone amp with up to 1300mw of power, it can easily drive various high-resistance full-sized headphones and high-sensitive IEMs. The excellent dynamic performance and inaudible background noise, make you concentrate to the music. The device can be controlled by IR remote and MA Remote app, you can easily control the volume and input channels even if connecting to active speakers or power amplifiers.
element i aim to cost-effective, but the hardware is still powerful enough: the Freescale i.MX6 series dual-core ARM processor is used as the master core of the MA player, the D/A converting module is using the ES9028PRO 8-channel D/A chip from ESS and XU208 audio interface from XMOS. As an entry model, we keep the IIS LVDS port, which allow element i to connect to USB interface with femtosecond clocks.
element i is powered by an external power supply. Audiophiles can upgrade their external linear power supply according to their requirements and explore the potential of element i. Even so, the power conditioning section in element i is never compromised. Each circuit unit still uses multi-channel low-ripple LDO independently, as the basis of good sound performance.
*Qobuz integration will finish soon.
**ROON Ready certification in progress.
*Sampling Rate of PCM 768kHz/ DSD 256 with Roon requires the latest A10301 firmware update. Earlier firmware versions support PCM 384kHz/ DSD 128.