Matrix Audio mini-i Pro + 2015 Review – A Balanced DAC with Headphone AMP
Packaging and Closer Look
The Mini-I Pro + 2015 came with a nice clean white box, properly padded with thick foam on top, bottom and the sides. The package includes the unit itself, a driver CD, a manual, a power cord, a USB cable and a handy RM1 remote control. The remote control allows for basic controls like power, volumes up and down, mute button, and source select. It’s really a simple remote control enclosed in slim and sturdy metal (probably aluminum) housing.
Regarding the driver, I didn’t install the driver that was on the CD. But I downloaded the driver from Matrix Audio’s website. Be sure to download and install the correct driver, as the 2015 model has a different driver than the 2014 model.
The Mini-I Pro 2015 measures 6.61″ x 7.87″ x 1.81″, weighs 1.3kg and looks exactly like the 2014 model. The aluminum enclosure looks plain and simple but very study and solid. Later when I opened the unit, I found out that the enclosure is thick and doesn’t bend at all. The unit I got is all black, so it may look a little boring for some. But I’m telling you, it looks gorgeous in the actual, specially when the unit is turned on and see the OLED display.
The Matrix Audio Mini-i Pro has a voltage switch on its left side. It’s compatible with AC 100-120V and AC 220-240V. Be sure to set the correct voltage first before connecting it to a power source and turning it on. Otherwise, it will damage the unit if set incorrectly. Set it to 115V position for AC100V-120V 50/60Hz or to 230V position for AC220V-AC240V 50/60Hz. You may need a flat screw driver or something sturdy to slide the switch, as the hole is too small for your finger.
At the back, the Mini-i Pro 2015 has a number of connectivity options. If you have lots of audio components in your home, you may utilize all these connections. But for most desktop users, the USB and/or Toslink inputs and the headphone out is sufficient enough to enjoy this device. It’s good that you have several connectivity options, who knows, you might need those extra ports someday.
Opening the Mini-i Pro is easy, you only need to unscrew a total of 8 Allen/Hex screws. A caution, opening the unit will void warranty. This is for presentation purposes only. You can see from this angle the voltage switch and a thin layer of plastic underneath the PCB.
Matrix Audio is using EMI (electromagnetic interference) filter to isolate EMI from AC input. The Mini-i Pro has a built-in independent regulated power supply, a shielded Toroidal transformer, a multi-stage filter making sure that the unit gets a robust and stable power at the same time keeping the lines clean and the noise at bay. You can also see from this angle (although not very clear) the XMOS chip and ESS SABRE Ultra ES9016S D/A chip along with other components inside the mini-i Pro.
Now let’s proceed to the next page and find out how this device sounds.