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Matrix converters (MCs) are a very attractive alternative to conventional back-to-back converters with dc links. In this paper, a performance comparison between the well-established space vector modulation (SVM) technique and model predictive control (MPC) is presented for the current regulation in a direct MC. Both methods are analyzed and contrasted through simulation and experimental results. In order to establish their strengths and weaknesses, the assessment is made by measuring and comparing output and input currents and voltages with the same voltage source and load current conditions. Our results show that MPC is simpler than SVM from a conceptual point of view and provides better source current behavior, particularly with a distorted source voltage.