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Can't Say Enough Good Things About This

This was a great find for me and its an awesome piece of gear. I'd tried two other smallish DACs by AudioQuest and iFi but neither sounded as good as the DacMagic Plus. I'm using mine to feed a pair of Dynaudio BM6 and a 10" 300 watt MatinLogan Audio subwoofer. I really wanted balanced XLR outputs on the DAC instead of trying to adapt in line. Its power output is high enough that I find the volume control very useful. The sub is fed by the RCA line outputs - fortunately this unit feeds both sets of outputs simultaneously. With no sound playing, you can turn the DAC up all the way and hear no noise at all. The volume knob is great and all other construction is top notch. The phase filters are a nice bonus too, allowing you to fine tune it to your preference. Mine is fed by a MacBook air via USB and a Toshiba laptop via a usb-to-S/PDIF converter. Both sources perform excellent. This is my first Cambridge Audio product, but I doubt it will be my last. Can't say enough good things about it.

- Xavier C, CA
 
Hard to Beat

Great DAC and nice headphone amp, all in one clean neat compact package. It will be hard to beat this value proposition, in my opinion. I am running the digital output from my iMac to DAC to a Sonos Connect Amp, to PSB Imagine tower speakers. The sound is spacious, crisp, clear and very dynamic. Best bass I've heard from digital music filles. Very happy with my purchase, and the great Advisor service!

- Burgess M, FL
 
Five Stars - Plus

Right out of the box this component has the quality feel and substance that gives one the feeling of joining that group of individuals who appreciate fine audio gear. Connecting to my computer was so simple and was working in no time at all. At this stage I am using Focal Elear headphones mainly and the difference is amazing. I am now shopping music sites to build a library of hi-res tracks. I recently discovered these and I'm blown away by their sound quality.

- Kevin M, WA
 
Thrilled

Overall I am highly satisfied with the quality of this product. It is sonically superior to both the advanced soundcard in my PC and the external DAC inside my Marantz amplifier which is powering a pair of Martin Logan Electrostatic speakers. I have done several AB testing and I hear major improvements in bass impacts and treble clarity. Audio reviewer Ken Rockwell does a far more scientific comparison and says this DAC is better than his far more expensive studio reference DAC. My Audio Advisor told me I'm getting a "BMW" for the price of a Chevy Nova and I agree with him.

- Rolan G, NH
 
More You-Are-There Realism

Last year, I graduated from my PC soundcard to the DAC built into the Oppo BDP-95. That was a major-league improvement. This year, I made another move in buying this outboard DAC. Well, it was another major improvement in sound. Not that the Oppo sounded bad. No, it sounded really great for a built-in DAC. But I think the Cambridge has better you-are-there realism for me. Recommend you give this one a try. You won't be sending it back!

- Richard Rolls, SC
 
Impeccable sound

Very well made, professional grade connections. The sound is impeccable. A good flat response no coloring. increase the clarity of the music over the straight jack into the laptop or desktop computer. Used on both windows and MAC. The sound quality was equally impressive on both. Listening through Beyerdynamic headphones.

- WRM, NE
 
Perfect

I am a mastering engineer. This D/A sounds perfect. Up to 192K sample rate. I don't think you can do better for the money.

- Cody, TN
 
Highest Recommendation

I came across the DacMagic Plus on accident while looking at Musical Fidelity M1DAC. I felt the DacMagic Plus offered more features for less cash. It seemed like a better alternative than the regular DacMagic although both shared the same Wolfson DACs with balance and unbalance out. The Plus offers a few other options that you may or may not need/want. I got the device up and running in less than 30 minutes. About 2 hour after I got it from the UPS guy - as I gave the unit time to warm up to room temp. Overall, this outboard DAC showed significantly wider soundstage, bass response, and imaging than the DAC in my Blu-ray player - it's the real deal. It's also warmer and smoother and *gasp* it almost like my vinyls and closer to SACDs. I have a feeling my turntable will collect more dust except for the occasional listening session with recordings I don't have in digital format. I give it my highest recommendation.

- Adam E, MA
 
This was intended to be my entry-level DAC, but...

Ive found that I keep coming back to it because of its overall sound using USB Audio sources; it is neutral without being flat and it renders 24-bit audio like a champ. Outstanding presence for vocals, guitar, piano. In my opinion, if you want to integrate several digital sources and use the Dac Magic as a pre-amp, there is nothing that comes close for the price. Also, in the unlikely event that you need support, the company is very responsive and great to deal with. I needed a firmware upgrade as Ive had my unit for several years. Yes, you can spend more. But plan to spend a LOT more if you want to beat this unit in terms performance and enjoyment. This DAC will be perfectly at home in any stereo audio system costing less than $6-8K and make sure that includes a good power conditioner.

- Wil W, VA
 
Could be a lot better.

This DAC is a bargain but just because of the advancements in digital audio and as a result the price drop of DACS in the last 10-20 years. Good dynamics and can make an older $500 cd player sound like a $1000 cd player. However, with the markup on audiophile equipment as a rule that does not say much. Bass response is excellent however that awful graininess that is present in most digital players reproduction of sound is still present indicating a poor handling of jitter. This can make for a rather unpleasant experience when listening to music with an abundance of high frequencies such as classical. The soundstage is rather poor as it is somewhat flat and when listening to a truly good DAC like the Lavry DA11 which I upgraded to the faults of this DAC really show up. I thought that buying this DAC would bring me closer to the transparency, smoothness and deep soundstage of analog but it did not. Jitter is a known fault of digital audio reproduction and this unit fails at removing/mitigating it. If I were t to do it over again I would wait and save my money for a better higher priced DAC like the Lavry and not get this as my main source. A side note. The power switch went on the unit after about 2 months of use and this leads me to think that it is produced of inferior quality parts. If you want a good mid-fi upgrade and listen to a lot of pop or computer downloaded music then this may be for you. But, if you want high end sound save your money, do your research and opt for something better you can keep for a good long time.

Tibor B
 
Exactly What I needed... and More!

I dont write many of these reviews. But, the DacMagic Plus is so outstanding that it deserves all the praise it gets. I wanted a good DAC to consolidate several digital inputs into one convenient location. What I got in the DacMagic Plus does exactly I needed it to do and is worth the price for that alone. However, the sound quality produced by high bit rate USB sources makes the unit worth twice the price. Maybe much more! Downloading 24 bit/96kHz and 24/192 files produces sounds more like the master tape than any form of copy. Transparent, balanced, dynamic, grainless sounds with the blackest background you could hope for from a DAC at this price. My advice? Buy one now! Then, READ THE MANUAL! If you dont, your unit will be stuck at USB version 1.1 and will not have the bandwidth to handle 192kHz sources. If I have any complaints, this is it. Why would a DAC made today default to USB version 1.1 when everyone is on USB version 2.0 and ready to upgrade to USB 3.0? Anyway, read the manual, change the unit to default to USB 2.0 and go to the Cambridge Audio web site and download a driver that will allow the unit to handle 192kHz sources. Grab your best headphones and headphone amp and get ready to find out how good your equipment really is! Oh, and go to an HD Audio download source like HDTRACKS.com and download the 24/192 version of Patricia Barbers Smash album. You will thank me later! Happy listening and dont let HIFI die!!!

- Van F, GA
 
Hard to beat for the money....

I have tried about 5 different DACs between $350 and $1,100 range and I liked this one the best so far. A good blend between a sound that is not too digital and not too analog sounding. I liked this better than the $850 TEAC DSD DAC. I am using this unit via USB playing 24/96k and 24/192k FLAC and WAV files. Fed to a PrimaLuna 35wpc tube amp and System Audio Aura 60 speakers.

- Jason C, AZ
 
Great Unit!

I have been blown away by this unit. It has revolutionized my system - which consists of a Krell S-300i integrated and PSB GT1 speakers. Sonically, I would describe it as being refined, highly detailed, and lush, without being too colorful. It has smoothed out all of my 16 bit 44.1 khz quite nicely and being able to play native 24 bit 192khz audio from my computer is pretty cool also.

- Craig L, NM