Associated Equipment:
Analogue Front End
Digital Front End
Amplification
Loudspeakers
Cabling
Power Conditioning
Accessories
 
 
          

xMatrix Pure Silver Power Purifier

There’s A New Kid On The AC Block And I’m Taking Notice

 

Clement Perry

December 2003

Specifications

• Separate analog and digital power outputs equipped with internal interference-removing filters
• Separate Pre Amp and Power-Amp outputs
• Gold plated Pre-Amp & Digital outputs
• Rhodium-over-silver plated Power Amp outputs
• Gold & silver plated metallic output-brackets providing ideal GND to   GND and GND to case electrical contacts
• Internal connections using only pure Silver 99.9% round wire 14 AWG
• Very flexible, integrated, pure silver (99.9%) power cord 13 AWG (line/neutral) and 12 AWG (GND) wires with an external RF/EMI filter
• Ability to use both 15 and 20 amp output power cords
• UL-listed surge protection system
• 20 AMP fuse protection
Introductory Price:  Purifier $1350.00,                                           Jupiter AC Cord:$550/ per four foot. Mars AC Cord:$650 /per four foot. Saturn AC Cord:$400/ per four foot.                                    

Address:
xMatrix Inc.                                                                                          712 Elm Tree Rd.,                                                                             Upper Darby, PA 19050                                                                            Website: http://www.audio-matrix.com                                   Email: xmatrix@audio-matrix.com
Phone:610-622-0111

Most noise suppressors, AC line enhancers, purifiers and conditioners I’ve tried work. Some did not. One thing's certain, they're finicky and depending on your setup and zip code do more harm than good. There’s no question that of all the ones I’ve reviewed; the Bybee purifiers (since replaced by newer designs so stay tuned), the Quantum Symphonies, the infamous Richard Gray 400S, and the Shunyata Research Hydra, I find the Hydra to possess the least amount of tradeoffs while offering the most natural balance. As I stated, I think all AC products do something - at a price - to ones audio system. For example, as good as the original Bybee products were in their heyday, and they were good, they have taken a back seat to the more transparent and desirable effects of the newer Quantum Symphony Pro. At $250, I thought the Symphony Pros offered possibly the most bang for the buck. Then came the Richard Gray Power Company Model 400S that I reported as being expensive when you consider that they cost $400 a pop (and I was using eight!). I really liked what the Model 400S did sonically for my system and considered it the best I’d owned before the arrival of the original Shunyata Research Hydra (since replaced by the new and improved Hydra 8). Except for the Exact Power AC conditioner which I’m currently using in my home theater rig, its been some time since I’ve had the opportunity to review another AC device. Life has been quite grand having Shunyata products throughout my audio system providing a sense of harmonic rightness that hasn’t been equaled to date.

Recently I received an email from xMatrix designer, Andrew Chtain, offering me an opportunity to hear his newest design the Pure Silver Power Purifier. Armed with a degree in electrical engineering from Russia with disciplines in metallurgy and physics, Chtain decided to start xMatrix a little more than two years ago. His goal was simple: “I was never satisfied with what I was listening to and always thought I could make better, particularly when it involved metals such as copper and silver.” To be honest, I had no intention of improving on AC with all the improvements wrought from the Shunyata line conditioner and AC cords. But I must admit I was intrigued because there’s nothing I like more than reporting on a new or unknown product first. The unknown Ascendo loudspeaker taught me a new appreciation for loudspeaker design. Ditto the Zanden dac, Tact 2150 amplifier and the new Gryphon Mikado CD player. With those new respective standout components now holding ground as my new reference, I think it would be unwise not to keep a lookout on other (possibly new reference?) products. It was to this end that I took on the xMatrix and decided to review it.

The xMatrix Pure Silver Power Purifier is not a take on the movie The Matrix nor is it about the war between man and machine, well not exactly. The xMatrix is about war on RF, EMI and dirty AC. The xMatrix is yet another addition to the already crowded list of “AC fighter pilots” sharing their plan of attack with the audiophile community at large. Problem is this community appears to be shrinking ever so slightly while the choices are becoming alarmingly wider. This causes many of the claims to become more grandiose and causes many of us to turn deaf ear on the whole thing and remain happy with what we’ve got.

There’s no fame or fancy embroidery attached to the xMatrix Pure Silver Power Purifier. No exaggerated claims or eye-catching photos of your local power company adorn its chassis. The xMatrix product boasts only what’s under its hood; 12 (Rhodium Arrow Hart) hospital grade outlets; four digital, four analogue and four preamp/front-end outlets. All internal wiring including cross-section uses 9AWG (99.99%) pure silver. The inner conductors are (19AWG) silver that purports to provide the best electrical conductivity while providing greater grounding effects. Says Chtain, “Rightly designed grounding techniques (proprietary features), the material and conductor’s cross-section form considerably improved high and low musical frequency response, bass, mid’s and three-dimensionality.” Each outlet is equipped with three stages of Internal Ferrite Directional filters intended to further remove harmful phase distortions.

The xMatrix Pure Silver Power Purifier is built solidly, but I must admit that it is not the most attractive unit (the same could be said of their website). The xMatrix Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn AC cords are also excellently built. They use the best the industry has to offer in both Arrow Hart and WATTAGE IEC’s connectors. A nice feature of these cords is they literally light up at the IEC connector when plugged into their dedicated outlets. Personally, AC cords glowing red (amplifier), green (digital) and amber (preamp) seemed a pretty slick idea until I put up my Christmas tree recently. Now my wife gives me that look as if those cords would be better suited on the tree. We both laughed out loud.

First, using the downstairs (secondary) system, I plugged an assortment of components through the xMatrix Purifier and their associated AC cords; the Weiss MEDEA DAC as well as the new and exciting George Mark Audio DAC/preamp. The Electrocompaniet EMC CD player as well as the new and exciting Gryphon Mikado CD player saw time serving as transports using the Jupiter AC cord. Amplifiers used were the new and exciting Acoustic Arts digital amplifier in addition to the Chateau Research Anaco II amplifier (review due). The Tact 2150 digital amplifiers as well as the 500-watt Gryphon Encore also spent many hours with the xMatrix. The new Flying Mole digital amplifiers also got a nice thrill being plugged into this AC purifier. (stay tuned for reviews)

To make a long story short….

The xMatrix Purifier improved the performance of everything I plugged into it. Whether using its AC cords or a multiplicity of others, there’s no question that it removes grit and glare from your AC without disturbing the delicate harmonics — exactly as its designer Andre Chtain claimed. That may not sound like much, but as far as AC apparatuses are concerned, I place the xMatrix up there among the best I’ve had in-house. I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to the already excellent Persuasions sing The Beatles a cappella. Here’s another one of those Chesky recordings that essentially sounds very good right out of the wrapper. Recorded right here in the Big Apple at St. Peter’s Church, one gets the sensation - if their system’s capable - of being in a large space. However, the sound isn’t what one would qualify as highly reverberant as a lot of large open space recordings usually are. These lovely voices, wonderfully arranged I might add, simply sounded as though the harmonics could go on forever. As well recorded as this CD is, there was no mistaking the ability to hear more into each of these voices individually — due to the removal of noise and contaminants — was evident almost immediately via the xMatrix on Steal Away. In addition, bassist Jim Haynes’ voice became tighter thus better defined, and more anchored into the harmony.

Another very good reference CD is the original motion picture soundtrack of the movie Rosewood, conducted by John Williams. Track two, “Look Down, Lord” is a gospel choir driven musical score that has long served as a system scorcher. Through the xMatrix, again there’s a singular sense of ease to the voices that seems to be the result of less glare and greater separation of the individual voices. I immediately got the impression the choir was bigger than usual but the soundstage never became oversized, overdone or disproportionate.

Comparing to the Hydra

I essentially didn’t want to compare the xMatrix against the Shunyata Hydra because I think both of these products are so good in what they do, however different, on their own merit it would be meaningless. But they are different sounding and with so many different tastes out there, hey this may be exactly what your system’s lacking. While the Hydra is smoother throughout the midband and exhibits a warmer sound overall, the xMatrix, by comparison sounded as though it was passing more life through the upper frequencies. This presented more of a “you-are-there” presentation as a result. On the other hand, the Hydra’s goose bump factor runs very high in the areas of bass authority and midrange liquidity — giving it a “I’ll-take-you-there” presentation—transporting the listener to the actual recording venue.

In terms of bass prowess both devices excel. I ultimately preferred the bass reproduction of the Hydra due to it existing so close in proximity to the midrange where the Hydra really struts. The xMatrix enjoys exacting the best out of your woofers due to its cut-throat quick attack and bass authoritativeness. It’s the age old dilemma of what you ultimately looking for: the Hydra sounds like it leans more towards tube lovers while the xMatrix is a solid state lovers dream AC purifier. What makes both so cool is if you’ve a digital system like mine then the hydra is near perfect. If you’re using tubes then perhaps the xMatrix will wow you with its quickness while deftly maintaining harmonic rightness. Not an easy thing. At the end of the day it always boils down to keeping your system harmonically balanced.

I imagine the xMatrix Pure Silver Power Purifier will find a niche audience from audiophiles seeking more life in their system while the Hydra will enrich systems that tend to lean toward bright and edgy, which I admit digital systems such a mine can do. The xMatrix is a welcome alternative to what exists in the here and now from the world of AC designers combating AC impurities, EMI and RFI gremlins. I find their products to do as stated. What’s most refreshing is no matter what cost, or how different the components were swapped in and out of the system, the effectiveness of the xMatrix was about the same. This proves more times than not that the xMatrix will probably perform the same in many different environments and therefore isn’t super sensitive to ones electronics. I live in a single-family home in the heart of Jersey City, NJ, where AC fluctuations can be challenging. If you live in an urban area similar to mine, you should be quite happy with its results. The xMatrix is also no cheap imitation of anything else I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. Granted, I haven’t heard everything, but I know this product offers a nice departure using both new and well-known technologies (ferrites) to taming poor AC. I take my hat off to its designer and hope that once you’ve heard it you will too. Highly recommended!

                                   

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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