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Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100

Stereo digital-to-analog converter with asynchronous USB input (Black)

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Item #: 779DAC100B
 

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Our take on the Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100

by Dave Bar
Cambridge Audio

Add a little magic to your music

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Whether it's a CD player, computer, digital music streamer, or set-top box, here's a fantastic way to improve the sound quality coming from any of these digital sources. Simply plug the DacMagic 100 digital-to-analog converter in between your source's digital audio output and your receiver, amp, or powered speakers. You'll instantly hear greater detail and clarity, plus a real sense of scale and drama. This versatile little DAC will bypass the one inside your PC or audio component, and magically transform those cold hard zeroes and ones into warm, organic sound.

There's magic on the inside

The DacMagic 100 comes packed with high-tech engineering designed to extract better sound from all your digital sources. Its latest-generation Wolfson DAC provides superb resolution that really brings out the fine details in your tunes, for a truly breathtaking listening experience.

Asynchronous USB means better sound from your computer

Standard USB outputs from most computers pose a serious limitation to sound quality. That's because while you're trying to listen to music, your PC is busy performing virus scans, data backup, and other background tasks that may take priority over your tunes, causing it to alter the data rate to suit its own needs. Unfortunately, this situation results in timing errors within the digital data stream — known as "jitter" — that adversely affects sound quality. Jitter can make your music sound harsh and edgy, and smear subtle details.

The DacMagic 100 solves this problem by reaching out to your computer through the USB interface, and instructing it to relinquish control of the data stream timing. In its place, this advanced DAC inserts its own separate, or asynchronous, clock to precisely control the timing of the data rate, reducing jitter to the vanishing point. You'll hear a stunning improvement in low-level ambient detail along with a wider, deeper soundstage.


High-res audio

Enjoy full-resolution USB audio

Along with all the sonic benefits the DacMagic 100 provides for your compressed and CD-quality music files, it also has another trick up its sleeve — it decodes high-resolution data streams with up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution through its USB connection, so you can enjoy better-than-CD audio quality. (Free USB driver download required for Windows® PCs.) If you download high-res music files from HDtracks and other audiophile sources, this DAC will ensure that you hear them in all their glory.


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The DacMagic 100 offers multiple digital inputs for your sound sources.

Plenty of connections for your gear

DacMagic 100 lets you connect multiple digital source components to your home audio or desktop system:

  • two coaxial digital inputs: ideal for connecting a CD or DVD player, Logitech Squeezebox™ Touch, Sonos® Connect, or any other digital audio component with coax out, and taking advantage of the DacMagic 100's high-performance processor for better sound.
  • one optical digital input: ready to take on a set-top box, most HDTVs, a game console, or other digital audio sources with optical digital output, and feed a high-quality audio signal into your stereo system.
  • Type B USB jack feeds digital audio from your computer into the DacMagic 100's onboard digital-to-analog converter, bypassing your computer's sound card to yield much clearer sound with stored music files and Internet radio.

A pair of gold-plated RCA outputs lets you connect the DacMagic 100 to your home audio system's receiver or integrated amp. Or feed a set of powered speakers for a high-end, compact desktop stereo.


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Highlights:

  • latest-generation Wolfson Microelectronics 8742 24-bit digital-to-analog converter
  • asynchronous USB technology for reduced timing jitter and better sound with computer audio sources
  • incoming sampling rate indicator helps verify source quality
  • full-metal case design with thick brushed aluminum front panel
  • ground lift switch to eliminate potential ground hum
  • three digital audio inputs: one optical (Toslink) and 2 RCA coaxial (S/PDIF)
  • USB (Type B) input for connection to a computer
  • supported sample rates:
    • USB: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, and 96kHz (24-bit/192kHz supported with downloaded USB driver and WASAPI, ASIO, or kernel streaming modes)
    • optical: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, and 192kHz
    • coaxial: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, and 192kHz
  • built-in driver for USB 1.0 connection (up to 24-bit/96kHz)
  • dedicated Cambridge Audio USB 2.0 driver required for 24-bit/192kHz playback on a Windows® PC (free USB driver download available from Cambridge Audio website)
  • Mac OSX 10.5 or later supports 24-bit/192kHz USB output natively, so no dedicated driver is required
  • frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz (±0.1 dB)
  • THD: less than 0.0025%
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 113 dB
  • external power supply included
  • 4-1/4"W x 1-13/16"H x 6-1/16"D
  • weight: 1.1 lbs. (without power supply)
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • If connecting to a TV, please make sure you can select "PCM" output in its audio menu. This DAC is not compatible with Dolby® Digital signals.

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • External digital-to-analog converter
  • AC power adapter (with attached 4' DC cord)
  • 3 AC power plugs (US/EU/UK)
  • 28" USB (type-B) to USB (type-A) cable
  • Cloth pouch
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Important Safety Instructions

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features
Controls
Connections

Features

Overview: The Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic 100 is a high-quality, external digital-to-analog converter featuring a USB (type-B) digital audio input, a Optical (toslink) digital audio input, and two Coaxial (RCA) digital inputs. The Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100 takes the digital audio output from your computer, game console, digital iPod dock, or Blu-ray DVD player and converts it into a high-resolution analog signal for your home's integrated amplifier or A/V receiver.

Full Metal Casework: The DacMagic 100 features full metal casework design with a brushed aluminum front-panel to prevent any audio distortion caused by vibration.

Wolfson WM8742 24-bit DAC: The DacMagic 100 employs the latest generation Wolfson WM8742 24-bit DAC (digital-to-analog converter) for exceptional sound quality.

Digital Input Sampling Frequencies: The Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100 supports the following digital input sampling frequencies through its USB (type-B) and Coaxial (RCA) digital inputs - 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, and 192 kHz. The Optical (toslink) digital input only supports 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz.

Asynchronous USB Transfer: The DacMagic 100 provides Asynchronous USB transfer for very low jitter USB Audio input, allowing streaming of up to 24-bit/192kHz audio from a computer.

Controls

Standby/On: The Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic 100's front-panel Standby/On button turns the unit On or Off.  When in Standby (Off) mode, the unit draws less than 1-watt.

Source Button: The Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100 features a front-panel Source button. You can press this button to cycle through the DAC's four inputs - USB (type-B), Toslink (optical), S/P-DIF 1 (coaxial), and S/P-DIF (coaxial). The corresponding LED will light up to show which source you have selected.

Incoming Sample Rate LEDs: In the presence of an incoming digital stream, the relevant LED will light up to indicate the incoming digital sampling frequency (44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 192 kHz). For 32kHz material, the DacMagic 100 will still operate, but no LED will be lit.

Ground/Lift Switch: The DacMagic 100 features a rear-panel Ground/Lift switch. When Grounded, the DacMagic 100 is connected to the earth connection of the PC directly. When Lifted the ground connection is made via a network designed to break any hum loops that may be caused by the source equipment. The Grounded setting is recommended, unless audible hum is experienced.

Connections

USB Port: A rear-panel 24-bit/192kHz USB (type-B) port enables the DacMagic 100 to be connected to your Windows PC or Mac computer. The DacMagic 100 will act as a very high-quality DAC/sound-card with very low jitter for your computer, offering genuine Hi-Fi-quality playback from your stored music and Internet radio. The DacMagic 100 is both USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed) and USB 1.1 (Full-speed) USB port compatible. It will also work with the new USB 3.0 ports where the PC will simply treat the DacMagic 100 as if it were a USB 2.0 or 1.1 device. The DacMagic 100 also supports two USB Audio protocols (not the same as the port types themselves) USB Audio 1.0 (which works over USB 1.1 ports and supports up to 24-bit/96kHz) or USB Audio 2.0 (which requires a USB 2.0 port and can support up to 24-bit/192kHz).

  • PC Compatible: With the DacMagic 100 switched to USB Audio 1.0 (this is the default setting), the DacMagic 100 will work with the native Windows XP, Vista or 7 Audio 1.0 driver (no need to load any new driver) and accept audio up to 24-bit/96kHz. With the DacMagic 100 switched to USB Audio 2.0, the DacMagic 100 needs the Cambridge Audio USB Audio 2.0 Driver to be loaded and can then accept up to 24-bit/192kHz (and support ASIO and WASAPI Exclusive if required).
  • Mac Compatible: No extra drivers are required to connect your Mac computer. With the DacMagic 100 switched to USB Audio 1.1,  the DacMagic 100 will work with the native Mac OS-X 10.5 (Leopard) or above Audio 1.0 driver and accept audio up to 24/96kHz. With the DacMagic 100 switched to USB Audio 2.0 the DacMagic 100 works with the native Mac OS-X 10.5 (Leopard) or above Audio 2.0 driver and can accept audio up to 24/192kHz.

Digital Inputs: The DacMagic 100 is fitted with three rear-panel 24-bit digital inputs; one Optical (toslink), and two Coaxial (RCA). The optical and coaxial digital inputs allow a wide range of digital source (CD, DVD, Game Console, etc.) to be connected to the DacMagic 100.

Note: This unit only accepts two-channel LPCM digital audio (Stereo PCM or Dolby Digital 2.0). You cannot connect a Dolby Digital 5.1 or a DTS signal, as they will not be recognized. If you wish to connect a DVD or similar device, please ensure that the sound output of your player is set to two-channel PCM.

Unbalanced RCA Outputs: The DacMagic 100 features an unbalanced stereo analog RCA audio output for connecting your stereo receiver or amplifier.

Power Requirements: The Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100 operates off of standard household AC current, using the supplied AC power adapter. The external power adapter is separate from the digital-analog-converter to further improve sound quality. The supplied AC power adapter includes AC power plug inserts for North America, Europe, and the United Kingdom.

  • Input: 100-240V~50/60Hz, 0.55A
  • Output: 12V - 2A
 
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Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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5 out of 5

dacmagic wow

Written By bob b, boston ma on Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
great machine does everything you would want and more. make sure if your using a mac to go into system preferences and go to sound and choose the dacmagic as ur soundcard.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Superb Sound!

Written By JohnG, Diamondhead, MS on Sunday, March 16, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I loved the sound quality emanating from this DAC so much that I bought a second one for another system. I run it from lossless CD files imported to iTunes library on my iMac. I do prefer the sound I get from the mini-toslink output of the iMac, rather than the USB output, to the DacMagic. For the money, it really doesn't get better than this. I've done a lot of very critical listening and everything from voices to bass and triangles, sax, piano, etc. is very life- like. The sound is going to be limited only by the associated equipment, not this DAC. A true test is whether one still loves a piece of equipment after a year or more. I've had my first for about two years and I wouldn't trade this DAC for any near its price.
Pros:
Sound quality Price Minimalist- All I need. I pay nothing for things I really don't need (such as a remote control.)
Cons:
Not a thing
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

First DAC doubts Blown Away

Written By Chris S, Oklahoma on Sunday, February 16, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Four other Cambridge products have added a tremendous amount of clarity and presence in my music. Made my audio out from my MacBook Pro Retina sound kind of crappy. Using a USB connection from MacBook to DacMagic and then to my amp. Dac does all the work and music truly sounds beautiful. Notice it most on audio with lots of dynamic range - quiet moments to louder. There is literally no noise and the music that comes through is much crisper. Listen to 70s, 80s, bluegrass, classic, electronic and older vinyl rock - kind of all over the place. No regrets in fact kind of irritated as now I am wondering if another DACMagic between my Apple TV and cambridge AZUR 641r would be a good idea.
Pros:
All of it
Cons:
None
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

DacMagic 100

Written By Chuck, Iowa on Friday, January 31, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Well, this unit sounds great, I have it feeding a Adcom Preamp going to a Carver M1.5t and connected by USB to a highly modified copy of Windows XP, my computer now sounds like a VERY high end Reel to Reel without any of the background noise, only complaint is the Windows plug and play drivers would not work with this unit "all audio wound play for a few seconds and then freeze" but this could had been due to the modified OS that I run anyhow I just installed the driver they provided on their website and all was well after bypassing the windows driver. Great product PS: go into your bios and disable on board sound
Pros:
Great Sound, what more can you ask
Cons:
They need to explain how to stop the auto install of windows drivers when you are using the provided driver, the windows driver install will have to be disable before you can install the provided driver
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Great sound

Written By Bruce, Vancouver, WA on Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Overall a great product. The most important item is the improvement in sound to my compressed music files. So my huge iTunes library is now worth listening to on something other than my earbuds.I have a Pioneer Elite CD player that has a decent internal DAC, so the sound improvement is minimal for my CD collection, subtle, and highly dependent on the CD. Ware as the iTunes files every last one of them has improvement, no matter how bad the original recording. And then being able to have a Mac Mini hooked up via the USB for hi resolution downloads is a great added bonus. If it had a remote I would give it a five star rating.
Pros:
Flexible setup, quality, makes my iTunes streaming though my iTV sound almost as good as my CD's, better in some ways. Gives the music a more open sound than the CD's and definitely adds some needed warmth to the highly compressed songs. Was blown away with the improvement in bass, tightness of things like the attack of a drumstick on the snare, and airiness of vocals. And that terrible digital sounding MP3 that made me not want to listen to music on my high end system is gone.
Cons:
Would be nice to have a remote to turn on and off. As it is now I have it set to always be on. Also changing the inputs via remote would be a nice feature. With it in a cabinet with no lighting it is hard to see which input I'm selecting. So even manual switching of inputs is more of push the button until I hear the sound. :-)
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Reviews for the Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100

Written By John B, Green Bay Wisconsin on Friday, January 03, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Excellent product. Worked right out of the box giving great results on internet music source.
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3 out of 5

Magic Dac

Written By Teegood, PA on Monday, December 09, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
First piece of audio equipment I have sent back. Replaced a Yamaha CDS300 that played digital files from a thumb drive. Liked the playing of my music right from my laptop. My system has four speakers and a sub (Martin Logan Motion 12's, NHT Classic Two's, NHT Sub, NAD 356BEE Amp) in a large basement barroom. The sound was LOUD (playing this DAC at the same sound level as the Yamaha DAC) was overwhelmingly boomy and, thus, not real tight. Also, the Yamaha had better response in high frequency levels. May just be that this DAC is not system specific for me where it may be for most others. I can see how if you had a smaller room and wanted heavier bass response from bookshelfs and generally play music at softer levels..I can see how this DAC would be a good fit. Honestly, years ago I used an vintage AMP that had a LOUDNESS button and when I replaced it with the NAD (which does not have a loudness button) I kinda missed it! So this DAC sounds good at lower levels albeit void of high imaging or floating of music. I wished it would have worked but you know how LOUDER is ALWAYS better? Not in this DAC's case...or not in a big room with equipment that wants a lot of power. This DAC is a loudness button! You always turned off the loudness button when you turned the music up!
Pros:
Great package/size. Liked the blue lights/levels of music playback. Cool looking. Sounds good at low volume levels and can probably make a lower end system sound a lot better by adding bass response.
Cons:
Turning it up in a larger room created a lot of boom and limits the power one can provide to speakers that want the power. The real benchmark here in comparison was my pro-ject turntable with pro-ject S phono box. This DAC sounded inferior in all facets of music, highs, mids, lows. But to be fair, vinyl is hard to beat (I only use the entry level Pro-ject stuff). Still, the Yamaha sounded better on my equipment (burr brown) but maybe not at low sound levels.
3 out of 6 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

not bad, software download issues

Written By MZH, Maryland on Friday, December 06, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
software would not download onto laptop. had to return it.
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5 out of 5

DAT's Magic!

Written By JohnC, Kensington, MD on Sunday, October 06, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Combined with a sweet pair of Totem speakers and an Outlaw RR2150 Receiver, the Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100 gives a totally new life to both my CD's and my audio files. Sounds amazing. Can't recommend it enough!
Pros:
Multiple connectivity options (USB, tosslink optical, etc.) Well constructed. Plug it in, connect it up, sit back and enjoy.
Cons:
None.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100

Written By Dave, Philadelphia Pa. on Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Dac magic is everything i was looking for. i was able to plug in my mac to my old stereo with just a couple connections and instantly have access to all my ripped cd collection. i also think the sound quality is fantastic,it may even be better than when i listen to just cds thru the stereo
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4 out of 5

Classical

Written By Anonymous, NY on Saturday, June 15, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Like the NYTIMES review indicated better for classical than rock.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100

Written By DanW, San Diego, CA on Thursday, May 23, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
It wasnt until Crutchfield rep Shane clued me, a digital to analog audio solution was even available to provide input from different audio sources (dvd, cable box, etc.) to fix my problem of wanting an old school RCA input to my wireless Sennheiser headphones for 'quiet time' in the house, when no one else wants to hear the tv. This fit the bill most excellent, and notwithstanding the pricey solution, the unit is solid, sleek, and does the job perfectly.
Pros:
I little expensive what what I needed, but am VERY happy with the quality, and the solution.
Cons:
None
1 out of 2 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Have your digital audio files come alive

Written By rsleve, Charlottesville, VA on Saturday, April 20, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This DAC is a little power house! Of course you can spend a lot more money on a more expensive DAC, but if you want to open up the soundstage of your digital audio files, or you're interested in putting those AAC files through a quality amp and speakers, this little DAC does wonders. Great depth and richness of sound from the Wolfson DAC inside. TOSHLINK ensures excellent transfer. Well-made.
Pros:
Excellent price point. Great sound for such a little unit.
Cons:
Wish it had a real on-off switch instead of just a standby. When there are power-outages, I'd like to be able to really shut it down (without having to turn off the entire power-surge protector).
4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Really IMproved My Sound Quality

Written By bubba4369, New Orleans, LA on Saturday, April 06, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I was pleasantly surprised when I hooked this up that it made such a significant improvement in the sound quality of my music. I have ripped my cd collection to mp3 and am playing it on a Dell Latitude tablet using J River Media Center. The DAC made a surprising difference, even with the mp3s. I want to really express my thanks to the Crutchfield team. They called me after my order to make sure this was what I needed, and provided advice to rip to Flac instead of mp3, then let J River convert to mp3 for my mobile device. Flac is lossless, where mp3 is lossy. Also said to rip at higher bit rate if disk space is not an issue. Overall the DAC was a good decision, and the service and support from Crutchfield is, as always, fantastic. Recommend this to similarly configured users.
Pros:
Better Sound Quality, easy to hook up
Cons:
None really, unless it were free!
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Lovely Sound, open and fresh

Written By Lokki, Dallas TX on Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I purchased the DACMagic 100 as a transfer device to move my audio collection from my computer to my home audio system; its sound quality improvement potential was secondary, I thought, as my system -without boring you with a component list- is pretty good. However, I haven't gotten that far yet, and so this review deals with the unexpected improvement in sound quality I've discovered. There's always the danger with hi-end audio of hearing what you want to believe, and I've only been listening thought the DACMagic 100 for a few hours at this point, but so far I'm very impressed. The sound is open and pure, and never harsh, as sometimes happens with digital sound. I'm running my CD player, via the Toslink Optical cable. It's impressive High notes round off smoothly and never 'snap'. Bass response is smooth way down. However the most notable point is how the DAC opens up the sound stage and gives placement to the individual instruments. You'll find that sound quality becomes more 'volume independent - you won't need volume to bring out the detail in the sound. In short, this device's better converter helps digitally recorded music come closer to it's potential. You won't get higher highs or lower lows, per se, If you are just using this to get sound out of your computer and into your Pre-Amp there are probably cheaper solutions that 'will do'. However, if you actually close your eyes and listen to your music, this is worth the money.
Pros:
Easy to hook up, and sounds great. Will give me high fidelity access to my hundreds of recordings that are stored on my computer, but actually improves the sound of my CD player.
Cons:
It's a small box that won't stack with your audio components and it adds yet another 'wall wart' to your collection of things that run off DC but plug into AC. It apparently turns itself off after some period of activity, which is good I guess, but another button to push every time you want to use it. Doesn't include any cables or connectors, so purchase a TosLink Cable while you're at it.
10 out of 10 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Review for the Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100

Written By ArtMat55, New York on Monday, December 03, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I gave this product 5 starts because it did everything it was said to do. I heard a difference immediately when I plug'd it in. It was easy to install and it gave me multiple options to connect my digital music to it. I used the recent Beatles Re Master loaded in my itunes as ALAC - and the sound was almost as good as my OMR Vinyls. They were 100% better than playing direct without the DAC. I don't know how this DAC compares to the more expensive DAC's, but this seems to work 100% better than without and for the money - it's perfect.
Pros:
Price, lightweight and easy to install.
Cons:
Doesn't support an Ipod through the old iPOD stand, but I get why it's not PCM.
4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

DacMagic 100

Written By Val, Pleasant Hill, CA on Monday, September 24, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Wow! I never new music could sound so good. I've been listening to music for over 40 years and thought CD's and music downloads sounded pretty good. How wrong I was. I listen mostly through my computer using a Bose Companion 5 speaker system which sounds great. I hooked up the DacMagic 100 and boy was I surprised. The volume increased and the highs were phenomenal. I heard pianos, violins and other instruments in the background that I didn't know existed. Great addition to my music library.
Pros:
Nice unit and well constructed
Cons:
A little pricey but well worth it.
5 out of 6 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100

Written By DBXSharpe, New Orleans, LA on Monday, June 04, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
The Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100 gets my 5-star rating because it exceeds my expectations. It mildly improves the CD sound played by my NAD T557 BluRay player, which already sounds great. But the real thrill is the quality I now hear from my Apple TV 2nd gen and my old Yamaha 5-disc CD changer. The improvement in sound is akin to putting your sunglasses back on after removing smudges from both lenses. Nifty little package, too.
Pros:
Dramatically improves audio quality from devices like Apple TV and older CD player with TosLink optical outputs.
Cons:
Only one TosLink optical input, but I knew that when I purchased it.
9 out of 9 people found this helpful
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5 questions already asked Show all answers

Can I connect my iPod shuffle to dac and dac out to my intergrated amp. Will I hear a difference in sound quality? [ Miles  Jun 02, 2014 ]
3 answers
  • The theory is that the Cambridge DAC is a better one than the one inside your IPod. When you hook the Cambridge to your IPod it bypasses the internal IPod DAC and provides better sound to your amp. I don't use an IPod but I use an ipad that I hook to a Cabridge DAC via a Bluetooth connector. Works great and I like the sound. Just remember, "better sound" is a subjective thing. Try it and return it to Crutchfield if you don't like it. [ STEWART   Jun 03, 2014 ]
  • I do not believe the iPod shuffle has a digital o/p on the headphone jack. So, no, it would not work. The Apple airport express has an optical o/p (digital) as well as an analog o/p thru the 'headphone' minijack. It improves sound quality a lot to use an external DAC because the DAC in the Airport Express is not that good! [ Jeffrey   Jun 03, 2014 ]
  • The USB input is the smaller square one, not the typical flatt-ish rectangular end. So, perhaps if you were clever and had an adaptor of some sort, but not directly methinks. [ PHILLIP   Jun 03, 2014 ]
I'm experiencing significant signal loss and degradation (low volume, compromised fidelity) feeding an inexpensive DAC with a down mixed PCM signal to my integrated stereo amp. Some sources are better than others, but it all sounds as if a blanket has been draped over my tower speakers. I have to crank the volume just to make TV broadcasts and movies audible (over-the-air, streamed or on disc) and turn it back down for internet radio or CDs . Has anyone had this issue with the DacMagic 100? Does the volume level and fidelity significantly change among the sources selected? My only other solution would be adding an AVR with pre outs to my integrated stereo amp -- something I want to avoid, if at all possible. [ Brion  Apr 16, 2014 ]
4 answers
  • I have been using the DAC Magic 100 to run my high-quality audio FLAC files from my IPAD through my NAD 355BEE amp and have had excellent results, no loss of great, clear sound. [ ROBERT S   Apr 17, 2014 ]
  • The DAVID Magic 100 solved all similar issues I was having. I can now burn CD's and create files from Internet music sites. Money well spent. [ JOHN C   Apr 17, 2014 ]
  • I use mine in my main system, not with a computer. I have noticed no problems with my CD player or my Blu-Ray player - CD through coaxial and Blu-Ray through optical. [ CHARLES   Apr 17, 2014 ]
  • I have the DacMagic 100 and feed it PCM from TV to integrated amp. I use the TV optical out to the DacMagic. The volume level is lower from the TV than from CD, tuner, etc, but only slightly so. Sounds nice and smooth. Hope that helps. Cheers. [ MARK   Apr 17, 2014 ]
I would like to use the DacMagic 100 to play my digital files from iTunes through an Airport Express(Airtunes, Toslink mini to Toslink in Dac) to an amplifier and speakers. I also have a turntable that I would like to connect and play through here. I assume the RCA jacks can be converted to S/Pdif into the DacMagic. In the end, this will allow me to switch between LPs and iTunes with out unplugging and replugging RCA and Monster cables. Does this sound feasible? [ Mark  Mar 16, 2014 ]
2 answers
  • Hi Mark, What you want to try is a bit more complicated than what I used the DacMagic 100 for. I don't have experience with Airport Express, Toslink, or S/Pdif. I would recommend you chat or talk with someone at Crutchfield about your questions. They've been very helpful to me in the past. Worst case, you can buy the DacMagic 100 and if it doesn't work to your satisfaction, you can return it within 60 days for a refund minus $10 for return shipping. As an aside, I just returned my Dacmagic 100 simply because it was extremely difficult to hear any improvement in sound quality compared to what natively comes out of my iMac. I could hear a little more extended base through headphone using the DacMagic 100 but that was it. YMMV. Good luck in what ever you choose! [ Greg   Mar 17, 2014 ]
  • I too have used the iMac iTunes to airport express to toslink to DacMagic 100 to amps. Unless Apple has done something to improve it, the airport express does not go beyond cd quality rates (44.1 kHz, 16 bit). But I for one find that with well recorded CD's that is adequate for some great sounding music. But unless I'm missing something, why would you want to do anything but analog from your turntable to amp (with phono stage preamp)? [ JOHN   Mar 17, 2014 ]
can I output the signal into a standard amp (not a headphone) and from there to my hi-fi speakers ? [ morgan  Dec 26, 2013 ]
17 answers
  • Yes, that is exactly what I did with my DacMagic 100. It sounds great and is a vast improvement over the audio output by the computer sound card. [ William   Jan 06, 2014 ]
  • Morgan... To be clear, I have the DACMagic 100 feeding my Pre-Amp which then feeds my Amp(s). I am not sure what you mean by Standard Amp For my stairs stereo, I have the DACMagic Plus that feeds right into my Amp since my AMP does not have a Preamp built into it. I have my CD player hooked into it as well. FYI, I think Pandora sounds better than CDs. Apple makes this a snap.. Windows you need to get special drivers. I hope that helps [ Welsey   Dec 29, 2013 ]
  • Morgan, I went from my CD player to the DacMagic, and from there to my amp. I used a digital "light" connection from my CD player to the DacMagic, and kept the RCA connection to my integrated amp. Everything else remained the same. The sound is much richer. [ BLAIN   Dec 28, 2013 ]
  • I have it configured where I have it feeding into a preamp then into my amp. It works great on my apple MAC. You should look at the DACMagic with the built in preamp. $499 at Cruthfield. I have one of them as well. It works great. If you use it with a PC you will need drivers to get the faster stream rate. [ Welsey   Dec 28, 2013 ]
  • There is no volume control or controls for equalizing it for your system. It would probably work but it is really made for use with a pre amp [ THOMAS   Dec 27, 2013 ]
  • Absolutely. Gold-plated RCA outputs sends the signal to your amp. Just use really high quality cables(Monster or other) to ensure you're getting a great signal from DAC Magic to your amp. [ ROBERT S   Dec 27, 2013 ]
  • Yes. That is the correct way to hook-up this component. Take the RCA outs on the DAC to any open input on your receiver (by "amp" , I assume you have a receiver?). DO NOT use a phono input if you have one. [ KENNETH   Dec 27, 2013 ]
  • Yes!! That is the only way that I use it. I use my old laptop as a music server for my home theater system. I connect the USB cable from my laptop to the DAC and then use gold plated RCA cables (connected to the audio out on the DAC) to the AUX on my Onkyo receiver. I also connected an HDMI cable from my laptop to my flat screen tv to get GraceNote info about the CD or song that I'm playing to display on the screen. To take it a step further I added a wireless mouse to the laptop and can control everything without getting up!!! The DAC really improved the sound quality, the sound is less mechanical, it sounds like it's suppose to, not like it's computer generated. At least I think so. Happy listening! Greg [ GREGORY V   Dec 27, 2013 ]
  • Morgan, the DAC plugs right into your integrated amp or preamp via standard RCA cables using the auxiliary inputs on the amp. It's a great little device. I have a Sony BluRay DVD player hooked into it using a coax audio cable. Also have a Bluetooth connection device attached using the optical Toslink connection. Nice sound! [ STEWART   Dec 27, 2013 ]
  • Yes. This is how I have mine configured. PC / USB -> DAC Stereo Connectors -> Standard AMP -> Speakers. I don't even know if there is a headphone option with the DAC. [ PAUL R   Dec 27, 2013 ]
  • That's how I am using it. My CD player is connected via digital cable to DacMagic. Then the analog outputs of the DacMagic are connected to one of the line inputs in my preamp which is connected to my amp. If you have an integrated amp, the DacMagic is connected to one of the line inputs. [ CHARLES   Dec 27, 2013 ]
  • Hi Morgan, you can output the signal to a receiver or a preamp to an amp. The DacMagic does not have its own preamp, so you cant go directly into an amp. If you do, you will not be able to adjust the volume. I used mine to take the optical output from my TV and send it to my integrated amp. (Integrated means it has its own preamp with volume control)... [ DAVID   Dec 27, 2013 ]
  • Hi Morgan - Yes, you can definitely do that - in fact, that's how my system is configured. I can't look at the moment to see what all of the connection options are, but I'm using a standard audio cable. This is a nice unit, and you'll hear the difference. The only watch-out is that it shuts itself off after some amount of idle time, so you need to be able to access the front to turn it back on next time you want to use it. You can't bury it and forget it. [ AMY L   Dec 27, 2013 ]
  • hi yes that is what i do [ DAVID   Dec 27, 2013 ]
  • Yes--output from DAC via audio cables to CD input of stereo amp -- the stereo amp is then connected to speakers. Note the DAC in this case gets input from digital output from CD player. [ PAUL L   Dec 27, 2013 ]
  • Definitely. I have an Apple TV gen 3 connected to the DacMagic through an optical cable. From there, I connect RCA cables to a Pioneer Elite 2-Channel amplifier that go to 2 different sets of in ceiling speakers. Works perfectly. [ Mitchell   Dec 27, 2013 ]
  • Yes. The outputs are standard L and R RCA connectors. [ JOHN F   Dec 27, 2013 ]
I have an onkyo DVD player and I play my standard CDs on. I bought the DAC magic 100 to improve the quality of my music, but I could not tell any difference in the sound. The frequency (with the DAC) stays at 44.1. It doesn't go up to 192, there is no increase whatsoever. Any advice on what I can to fix this problem? What would be the problem that is causing this? Also, if I bought a CD player with a built in DAC, would that work? Would that increase the frequency and sound? Thank you in advance! [ E'lauren  Feb 18, 2014 ]
9 answers
  • Hi. I think I might have your answer or solution. Do you have an A/V receiver? I if you do, I would connect your audio jacks from your DAC magic 100 to your receiver. Then use your downloaded music on your lap top computer. By doing this, you must connect the usb connecter from your computer your the DAC. This get 192khz, you have to download software from the Cambridge Audio website. This is how I have mine hooked up. Hope this helps. [ BRIAN   Feb 24, 2014 ]
  • E'lauren I run my music straight from my iMac back into the Cambridge DAC Magic. So it's USB out to the DAC then optical cable to my receiver and oxygen free copper cables back to the DAC Magic. You can use any sort of computer-based music library, iTunes certainly works. I have a eliminated CDs altogether and taken my changers out of my system loop so I just loaded everything from CDs into my iMac music library. You should See an up convert to 96. You won't see 192 unless you're buying a high-resolution music file like an HDTracks. You should see a significant increase in Fidelity using this kind of process. The key is you need to make sure that you bypass the DAC and you were receiver or CD changer. Try running from your laptop or desktop into the DAC and then out to receiver and see if that doesn't make a significant difference for you. [ JOHN L   Feb 20, 2014 ]
  • It is possible the DACs in your Onkyo DVD player are already of high quality, so adding an external DAC will might not result in improved fidelity. Also the ability to actually hear any difference would depend on the quality of the rest of your system (amplifiers, speakers, etc). Often you need really hi end stuff (esp speakers) before you *think* you can hear a difference. As for the DAC staying at 44.1, that is not up to the DAC but rather the media you are playing. Audio CD's are only encoded at 44.1 and therefore the DVD player is only going to send a 44.1 signal to the DAC (and that is what the DAC will show). You might be able get higher sampling rate from a DVD-Audio disc if your DVD player is compatible, likely 48kHz or 96kHz. I use my DacMagic 100 to play downloaded HD music from a PC via USB. This music is usually sampled in 24bit and 96kHz or 192 kHz and almost always sounds better than CDs of the same performances Also the DacMagic 100 is much better than the audio out on the PC which usually have very low quality DACs. [ FRANKLIN   Feb 20, 2014 ]
  • I think it's set to process standard CD's at 44.1. So far I am very happy with mine. I notice a deffinete improvement in bass responce. It will not prossess SACD'S, so I process those through my Marantz universal player. What it is really good at is processing downloaded misic. I have I-Tunes, so I use my computer as a music player. The downloads sound as good as any origional CD. [ THOMAS R   Feb 18, 2014 ]
  • cd rate is standard at 16/44.1, so no increase in quality their. the Cambridge DAC will convert the dig to ani better than without, but you can't hear the difference. try this and discuss with folks. I ripped all my cd's into "Apple Lossless" (many other formats to choose but Apple Lossless is very universal and is free and works great). when ripping, rip to the increased bit rate 24/196.....then when you play the tracks from your PC hard drive thru the DAC via a USB A-B cable, you will be up-sampling to the highest rate and you WILL hear a difference. the sound opens up and becomes warm, sort of like vinyl. easy to do but takes hours of time ripping the cd's.....well worth it. you also end up with a huge library that you can play tracks any way you want...flexible. good luck. [ michael   Feb 18, 2014 ]
  • All standard CDs play at 44.1k so the Cambridge should show 44.1k when playing CDs. In order to get 192k resolution you will have to buy high rez downloads at online stores such as HDTracks. When playing back these high rez files from your PC the DAC will light up 192k. If you are using Windows you will need to download the driver for the Cambridge DAC at Cambridge Audio website. If you use windows 7, then download driver 1.43 Windows will not play files at 192k without the driver. If you use an Apple PC then no driver is needed but I do not think Apple will play 192k files, but I can be wrong about that. So you cannot get standard CDs to play any higher than 44.1k, you must purchase high rez files to get music at higher frequency than 44.1k. HDTracks will let you download high rez files in AIFF, ALAC. FLAC or WAV formats from 96k up to 192k. [ JERRY   Feb 18, 2014 ]
  • Hey, Chances are this DAC is better than the one with your Onkyo. However, it may not be. If your are feeding it cd's, the rate is 44.1. Set your DAC to take the digital output from your Onkyo into the Dacmagic, and then set the analog outputs from the DAC to your speakers and/or amp. BTW, all CD's and DVD's have a DAC built in. If you use the digital output from your DVD player and input it into a home theater receiver (for example) the DAC in the receiver will be used to convert to analog. But sooner or later, the digital to will be converted to analog. Whether your optical drive does it, your DAC does it, or your HT receiver does it. [ JACK   Feb 18, 2014 ]
  • Couple questions and some guidance. Standard CDs are all sampled at 44.1 - you will not see the rate go up to 192 etc. for a CD source. Can you share how you are connecting the DVD player to the DAC and then how you are connecting your DAC to amplifier. Also, what is the brand and model number of your amp? Finally, what problem are you trying to solve? Confused by "increasing the frequency and sound" is something not working or sounding poorly? Be patient right now for a little bit - the DAC Magic is an excellent DAC. [ CHRIS   Feb 18, 2014 ]
  • CD's are all encoded at 44.1. To utilize a higher sample rate you have to use a higher resolution format such as audiophile music downloads or SACD. [ JOHN F   Feb 18, 2014 ]

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