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Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus

Stereo digital-to-analog converter/headphone amp/preamp (Silver)

Item #: 779DACMPLS

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16 Reviews | 1 question - 1 answer

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Add more magic to your music

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Cambridge Audio set the benchmark for sound quality and value when they introduced the original DacMagic digital-to-analog converter. It helped music lovers significantly upgrade the sound from their computers, game consoles, network music players, or any other device with a digital audio output. Now Cambridge has raised the bar even higher with their latest offering, the DacMagic Plus. This impressive new DAC offers more features and flexibility than its predecessor, including a dedicated headphone amp for private listening, upgraded USB input capability, and optional Bluetooth® wireless connectivity.

Connect the DacMagic Plus between your music source's digital audio output and your receiver, amp, or powered speakers, and this versatile DAC will bypass the one inside your PC or player — magically transforming those cold hard zeroes and ones into warm, organic sound. You'll immediately experience greater dynamic impact and transparency, with instruments and vocals standing out from each other to occupy their own distinct space.

More magic on the inside than ever

The DacMagic Plus comes packed with advanced circuitry designed to extract the best possible sound from all your digital sources. Twin Wolfson DACs are used in a dual differential configuration to cancel out noise and distortion while providing excellent stereo imaging. Cambridge's sophisticated Adapted Time Filter 2 technology upsamples all incoming digital audio to a 24-bit/384kHz signal in order to resolve extremely fine detail. The end result is dramatically improved sound from every digital source in your system.

Now with the asynchronous USB advantage

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 affect sound quality. Jitter can make your music sound harsh and edgy, and smear subtle details.

The newly re-designed DacMagic Plus 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 high-resolution USB audio

Along with all the sonic benefits the DacMagic Plus 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.

Other audiophile features

Cambridge Audio also included some neat features guaranteed to appeal to audiophiles. A choice of three digital filters lets you tweak and fine-tune the sound to match your system and room. The DacMagic Plus lets you experiment with different filter settings for each source, always remembering the last setting assigned to each one. A phase inversion switch lets you correct for out-of-phase recordings or amplifiers that invert phase. Cambridge even included an incoming sample rate indicator which shows the original source quality.


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The DacMagic Plus offers multiple digital inputs for all of your sound sources plus RCA and pro-quality XLR outputs.

Plenty of connections for your gear

DacMagic Plus 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 Plus's high-performance processor for better sound.
  • two optical digital inputs: ready to take on almost any HDTV, set-top box, game console, or other digital 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 Plus'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 Plus to your home audio system's receiver or integrated amp. Or feed a set of powered speakers for a high-end, compact desktop stereo. The built-in volume control even lets you connect a power amp directly, using the DacMagic Plus as a preamp. Cambridge Audio also included a pair of balanced XLR outputs for an even higher-quality hookup with compatible audio components. A full-size headphone jack lets you take advantage of the DAC's built-in headphone amp for private listening. Optical and coaxial digital outputs allow you to bypass the DacMagic Plus when you're playing surround sound from a Blu-ray or DVD player, so you don't have to change cable connections when you switch from music to movies.

BT100 Bluetooth adapter

Use the BT100 Bluetooth audio adapter for wireless digital transmission to the DacMagicPlus.

High-quality sound with wireless convenience

You can also go cable-free with Cambridge Audio's optional plug-and-play BT100 Bluetooth® wireless audio receiver. This receiver lets you stream music wirelessly from your iPhone®, Android™ smartphone, iPad®, tablet, laptop or any device that supports Bluetooth audio. Best of all, if your smartphone, tablet, or computer supports high-end CSR aptX® Bluetooth audio, you can stream near CD-quality music from your device to the DacMagic Plus.

Product Highlights:

  • twin Wolfson Microelectronics 8740 24-bit digital-to-analog converters in dual differential mode for precise stereo imaging
  • asynchronous USB technology for reduced timing jitter and better sound on USB input
  • Anagram Technologies Adapted Time Filtering 2 (ATF2) 24-bit/384kHz audio up-sampling with jitter reduction for better sound with compressed audio sources
  • incoming sampling rate indicator helps verify source quality
  • choice of three filter settings for fine-tuning sound to suit your listening preferences
  • phase-inversion switch to compensate for out-of-phase recordings or phase-inverting amplifiers
  • built-in headphone amplifier and full-size (1/4") front-panel headphone jack
  • Bluetooth ready for wireless playback from any compatible Bluetooth device (requires optional Cambridge Audio BT100 wireless audio receiver)
  • supports the high-quality Bluetooth aptX CODEC for streaming audiophile quality music from a compatible Bluetooth device
  • two digital inputs with both optical (Toslink) and RCA coaxial (S/PDIF) jacks
  • USB (Type B) input for connection to a computer
  • optical and coaxial digital outputs (pass-through)
  • RCA and balanced XLR audio outputs (both active simultaneously)
  • supported sample rates:
    • USB: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, and 96kHz (24-bit/192kHz supported with downloaded USB driver and ASIO or kernel streaming modes)
    • optical: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, and 192kHz
    • coaxial: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, and 192kHz
  • built-in driver for USB 1.0 connection (up to 24-bit/96kHZ)
  • dedicated Cambridge Audio USB 2.0 driver 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: <0.002%
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 112 dB
  • external power supply included
  • non-slip silicone stand and 4 self-adhesive rubber feet included
  • 8-1/2"W x 2-1/16"H x 9-5/16"D (horizontal orientation)
  • weight: 2.6 lbs. (without power supply)
  • If connecting to a TV, please make sure you can select "PCM" output in its audio menu. This DAC cannot decode multi-channel Dolby® Digital signals.
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Turn 1s and 0s into sweet sounding music

Why buy a separate DAC? These devices are all about getting true high-fidelity sound from digital sources like computers, streaming music players, smartphones, and more. While these kinds of sources usually have their own digital-to-analog converters built in, you can expect a separate DAC to give you much better accuracy and finer detail.

Hands-on 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
  • 4 Self-adhesive rubber-feet (for horizontal orientation)
  • Rubber base (for vertical orientation)
  • User's Manual (Eng/Fre/Spa/Ita)

Product Research

Features
Controls
Connections
Specifications
Dimensions

Features

Overview: The Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic Plus is a high-quality up-sampling digital-to-analog converter. The DacMagic Plus features a range of components to enhance your music listening experience - these include a 32-bit Analog Devices Digital Signal Processor (DSP), dual Differential Virtual Earth balanced filter topology, and twin Wolfson WM8740 high quality DACs in dual differential mode for excellent stereo imaging. Other features include a choice of digital filters (linear phase/minimum phase/steep filter) and an incoming sampling rate indicator which shows the original source quality. The Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus can effectively upgrade the audio from your computer, your network music devices, game consoles, or standard CD/DVD player to truly high-end, audiophile-quality sound.

Dual Wolfson DACs: The Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus employs two very high-quality Wolfson WM8740 24-bit DAC ICs in dual-differential mode for excellent stereo imaging. Since each channel has its own DAC to process information, completely separate and symmetrical analog filter circuitry can be implemented. This implementation allows both the left- and right-channel circuitry to operate identically, ensuring the DacMagic Plus delivers fantastic sound-staging and stereo-imaging properties.

Dual Differential Virtual Earth Balanced Filter Topology: The DacMagic Plus uses Cambridge Audio's proprietary Dual Differential Virtual Earth Balanced filter topology, configured as a low-order two-pole liner-phase Bessel filter, in order to take advantage of the achieved high-sampling rate. As a result your music will have extreme linearity with greater dynamic range.

32-bit DSP (Digital Signal Processor): A 32-bit Analog Devices ADSP2161 Digital Signal Processor (DSP) eradicates jitter, a problem which blurs the timing information of reproduced audio signals resulting in degraded audio quality. The DacMagic Plus intrinsically re-clocks all the audio data - removing jitter, noise, and distortion in the process, so your music sounds full and realistic. This is especially effective when listening to music stored on your computer or media player.

ATF2 (Adaptive Time Filtering): The Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus utilizes an asynchronous up-sampling process called "Adaptive Time Filtering 2nd Generation" that intelligently interpolates (converts) incoming audio data from 16-24 bits (at any standard sampling frequency between 32-96kHz) to 24-bit/384kHz for dramatically improved musical reproduction. ATF2 will enhance the audio clarity, richness, and dynamic range of your compressed music.

Aluminum Front-Panel: The DacMagic Plus employs a substantial aluminum front-panel, plus an ultra-rigid, acoustically dampened chassis to prevent audio distortion caused by vibration.

Horizontal or Vertical Placement: The DacMagic Plus can be placed in two different positions (horizontal or vertical). It can be placed horizontally by fitting the four small self-adhesive rubber feet to the bottom of the unit, or vertically by using the large rubber base.

Controls

Phase Filter Select: The DacMagic Plus's 32-bit DSP employs Cambridge Audio's own proprietary digital filter algorithms with three different filter options available - Linear Phase, Minimum Phase, and Steep. Controlled from one switch on the front-panel, they are extremely clever audiophile topologies specifically developed for audio playback and all offer excellent sound quality, but differ slightly to appeal to a wide range of listening tastes.

  • Linear Phase Filter: The Linear Phase Filter is the same as used in Cambridge Audio's flagship Azur 840C upsampling CD player. It uniquely features 'constant group delay' which delays all audio signals at all frequencies by the same amount - meaning all audio is fully time-coherent at the output.
  • Minimum Phase Filter: The Minimum Phase Filter does not feature constant group delay, but rather has been optimized without feed-forward so that the impulse response exhibits no pre-ringing in the time domain. Many audiophiles have argued that the pre-ringing, as seen in nearly all digital filter designs, may affect the transient attack of percussive instruments. Minimum phase implementation eliminates this and is a technology only seen previously in some extremely high-end CD playback systems
  • Steep Filter: The steep filter removes undistinguishable artifacts via re-calibration for a very slight roll-off at 20kHz, but an ultra-steep drop to the stop-band just after 20kHz.

Note: These three filters are all of the highest quality, but offer subtle differences for the user to enjoy. The type of filter chosen is remembered for each input individually, so that it is possible to use one for PC playback (via USB) and another for CD playback (via SPDIF).

Digital Preamp Mode: The Digital Preamp Mode is used to connect the DacMagic directly to a separate power amplifier or active speakers. The DacMagic Plus is supplied as default with Digital Preamp mode enabled. In this mode, the output from the Unbalanced and Balanced audio outputs is controlled by the front panel Volume control.  If you wish to disable this mode (and have fixed line-level level output from the Unbalanced and Balanced Audio outputs) switch the DacMagic Plus off, then push and hold the Volume control in while switching the DacMagic Plus on.

Ground/Lift Switch: When Grounded, the DacMagic Plus 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 Plus to be connected to your Windows PC or Mac computer. The DacMagic Plus 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 Plus 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 Plus as if it were a USB 2.0 or 1.1 device.

  • PC Compatible: With the DacMagic Plus switched to USB Audio 1.0 (this is the default setting), the DacMagic Plus 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 Plus switched to USB Audio 2.0, the DacMagic Plus 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 Plus switched to USB Audio 1.1,  the DacMagic Plus 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 Plus switched to USB Audio 2.0 the DacMagic Plus 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 Plus is fitted with two rear-panel 24-bit digital inputs. Each digital input consists of an optical and coaxial digital connection. The optical and coaxial digital input allow a wide range of digital source (CD, DVD, Game Console, etc.) to be connected to the DacMagic Plus.

Note: Only one of the two types (optical/coaxial) of each digital input should be connected at any one time. If both the optical and coaxial inputs have connections made to them, neither will work. This unit only decodes two-channel LPCM digital audio (Dolby Digital 2.0). If you connect a DVD or similar device, please ensure that the audio output of the player is set to two-channel PCM.

Digital Output: A rear-panel digital output (optical/coaxial) allows pass-through of the selected digital source for recording purposes (no up-sampling performed). These outputs loop or pass-through unprocessed digital audio from the selected digital input.

Note: Both the optical and coaxial digital outputs are always active and can be used to connect and run equipment at the same time. A 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS signal can be passed through the unit's digital outputs. The 5.1ch signal is not decoded or processed (only pass-through).

Balanced & Unbalanced Outputs: The Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus features both balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) audio outputs to connect to a wide variety of home stereo receivers and amplifiers.

  • Unbalanced: The DacMagic Plus features an unbalanced stereo analog RCA audio output for connecting your stereo receiver or amplifier.
  • Balanced: The DacMagic Plus features true balanced XLR analog audio outputs to connect high-end home receivers and amplifiers. XLR is a higher-quality output that can reject noise and interference with equipment with balanced inputs.

Note: It is possible to use the unbalanced stereo RCA output and the balanced XLR outputs at the same time for connecting two different amplifiers or multi-room operation. The analog audio outputs are muted, if the DacMagic Plus receives a 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS signal.

Headphone Output: The DacMagic Plus' front-panel headphone output (1/4") allows for personal listening from your set of high quality headphones. When headphones are connected, the headphone volume can be adjusted using the volume knob.  This is always independent of the level of the balanced or unbalanced audio outputs.

Bluetooth Ready: Simply plug in the optional Cambridge Audio BT100 Bluetooth Audio Receiver (779BT100, sold separately) into the DacMagic Plus' rear-panel USB (type-A) port for wireless music streaming from many of today's most popular Bluetooth supporting devices; such as iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone, Android tablet, and Mac or Windows PC.  The BT100 even supports the high-quality Bluetooth aptX CODEC, so you can stream audiophile quality music from your Bluetooth-enabled source device to the DacMagic Plus.

Note: Due to the differences in Bluetooth technology, some Bluetooth enabled devices may be incompatible, function improperly, or may not support all features when used with the DacMagic Plus.

Power Requirements: The Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus 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.

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

Note: The supplied AC power adapter includes AC power plug inserts for North America, Europe, and the United Kingdom.

Specifications

D/A Converters: Dual Wolfson WM8740 24-bit DACs

Digital Filter: Analog Devices ADSP21261 32-bit DSP (up-sampling to 24-bit/384kHz)

Analog Filter: 2-Pole Dual Differential Bessel Double Virtual Earth Balanced

Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz (+/- 0.1 dB)

Total Harmonic Distortion:

  • @ 1 kHz (0 dbBFs): < 0.001%
  • @ 1 kHz (-10 dBFs): < 0.001%
  • @ 20 kHz (0 dBFs): < 0.002%

Signal-to-Noise Ratio: -112 dBr

Total Correlated Jitter: < 130 pS

Crosstalk:

  • @ 1 kHz: < -130 dB
  • @ 20 kHz: < -112 dB

Output Impedance: < 50 ohms

Output Level:

  • Unbalanced: 2.1V rms
  • Balanced: 4.2V rms (2.1V per phase)

Digital Input Bit-Rates: 16- to 24-bit

Digital Input Sampling Frequencies: 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192 kHz

Audio Output Up-Sampling: Fixed 24-bit/384kHz

Headphone Output:

  • Frequency Response: 10Hz to 100kHz
  • THD:
    • @1kHz: 0dBFS 24-bit signal with 22kHz low pass filter = 0.001%
    • @ 20khz: 0dBFS 24-bit signal with 80kHz low pass filter = 0.003%
  • S/N: -111 dBrA
  • Recommended Headphones: impedance between 32 to 600 ohm

Power Consumption: 12 watt

Dimensions

Horizontal Orientation:

  • Width = 8.5"
  • Height = 2.0625" (2.1875" with feet)
  • Depth = 9.3125

Vertical Orientation: (with stand)

  • Width = 3.125"
  • Height = 9.125"
  • Depth = 9.375"

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.

Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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Wow! Outstanding Quality now on my Sonos Connect.

Written By Keith M, Orlando, FL on Friday, September 12, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought the DacMagic Plus after much research about adding a DAC to improve the sound quality of my Sonos Connect. I have an Onkyo TX-NR-818 amp with Klipsch reference series tower dual 8" speakers. I had been using a pair of Sony CDP-CX355, 300 disc CD players connected to the amp via analog. (Must use analog, Onkyo doesn't support digital connection on Zone 2.) The sound was great. Later added Sonos system to the house. I ripped my CD's into iTunes using lossless setting. I connected a Sonos Connect to my amps digital input. It sounded "muddy". I could never get the clarity that I had when the CD players were connected to the amp. I switched from the digital input on the amp (using the internal Onkyo DAC) to the analog inputs (using the Sonos DAC). No difference, still "muddy". Now I have the DacMagic Plus after the Sonos Connect, using coaxial digital input (Coaxial input handles up to 192k data rate, while the optical input only handles up to 92k.) Of course Sonos can only output a 44k data rate from either port. I understand that the data rate 2x rule says that a 44k rate will still produce a perfect sinewave at 22khz. That is higher than I can hear. I am not using the pre-amp function in the DacMagic.

I was told the DacMagic Plus may only make a small difference, if at all. Wow is all I can say. No kidding, it is a night and day difference. Superb clarity and depth to the sound. You can now pick out each instrument. It also spread out the sound stage. Awesome Sound!

Pros: Amazing sound processing. High quality DAC.

Cons: None.

DacMagic Plus

Written By Chavpad, Eugene, Or on Friday, August 22, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I noticed an immdediate difference in sound quality when playing mp3s through a laptop. Even bigger difference when playing FLAC files. Very satisfied with purchase.

Pros: excellent sound quality when fed a quality signal attractive

Cons: No remote I found the ASIO driver set-up more work than I was hoping for, thought the CA support site provided useful support I wish it would remember the previous sessions volume setting so I wouldn't have to adjust it everytime Would like a complete manual included in the box

Ok But

Written By Mark S, Pac NW on Sunday, June 08, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Sound quality is excellent , the ergonomics stink. The one knob being the volume, one reason i bought it, I my add  is hard to turn. in this world of super spinning volume knobs this one is actually hard to turn.

Pros: Great audio

Cons: Knob is difficult to turn

Excellent product I love it

Written By erniecolorado1, Aurora, CO on Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The purpose of a DAC in the first place is to bypass the sound card or chip on your motherboard and get much higher quality sound. And you should ALWAYS use the optical (Toslink) digital output on the DAC to your motherboard rear optical digital output connection to get the 192 KHz DAC conversion and higher quality sound. The USB connection will only give you 96 KHz maximum. And use a decent cable as well for that connection. I hooked up JBL studio monitors to the preferred XLR connections and was blown away by movies and music even though it is not 5.1 surround sound, It was many times better than what I had with the motherboard sound. To those who say it will not make MP3 files better, that is generally true. First of all, MP3 is the oldest music file compression, and has been beaten by AAC and the WMA formats. Windows Media Audio sound, even on paper, is better than AAC, used by Apple iTunes and Divx, neither of which I ever buy or use. I love Xbox Music and still use the Microsoft Zune as well for the 10 dollar a month unlimited music transfers, although you can also stream the music for free from the cloud as well. Windows 8.1 (64-bit) is a much better operating system than the Apple computer's operating system. And more universal for many things to. You will not be disappointed with this DAC! It is awesome!

Pros: Pure, pristine and robust sound. Good XLR and optical digital connections. High quality!

Cons: Nothing I can see or hear.

Dac magic plus

Written By AlanD, Huntington Beach, Ca on Sunday, May 04, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

After working with some engineers recently I was shown the difference between hi-res music and standard MP3 downloads. I was blown away by the difference. That said I have just embarked on a quest to upgrade my audio components to deliver a better listening experience. The first purchase in this endeavor is the Cambridge Audio Dacmagic plus. Out of the box the component has the quality feel and substance that gives one the feeling of joining the audiophile elite. Connecting to my computer was so simple and was working in no time at all. At this stage I am using headphones only, however, the difference is amazing. I am now shopping music sites to build a library of hi-res tracks. Crutchfield is such an impressive company as within a short time of making my purchase online I was called by the digital audio specialist offering any assistance if I needed it. Try finding a knowledgeable assistant at the big box stores much less this level of service.

Pros: Tactile quality, improved audio, Crutchfield service and support (priceless).

Cons: A little pricey-but that's the price of membership!

New life for digital files

Written By Kevin, Medina, WA on Sunday, April 06, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Paired with a computer,Cambridge Audios' Dac Magic plus will breath new life into formally flat, lifeless audio files. If your looking for a compact, capable unit to convert your digital music, (ones and zeros), into something more "musical", this is it! I am using it as a preamp between my Mac mini,(via usb) and a separate amplifier to power a whole house audio system. With two sets of audio outs, (balanced XLR and RCA, I can even signal a powered sub- sounds sweet!

It's a class-compliant USB soundcard!

Written By JP, Cincinnati on Sunday, March 30, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I'm an audio engineer and I have this hooked up to my DAW via USB, no drivers installed. I'm currently using it as a monitor controller, too, while I shop for a new one.

It sounds fantastic as a good DAC should.

The only thing I'm really leery about is I don't understand how its audio pot works. In short, I'm afraid that it's throwing away bits as I turn the volume down. To mitigate this, I've calibrated the output so it's at normal mixing level when maxed out. If you're going to be using it in conjunction with a separate monitor controller, this won't matter.

Pros: It's a super-high-quality class-compliant (no drivers) USB Sound Card. Sensing headphone jack has separate volume level (set via same volume pot).

Cons: The following prevent it from being truly "professional:" No VU meters, no dim, no stepped knob, no reference points on the volume knob for setting different mixing levels. BUT, this is what a professional monitor controller is for. The only thing I wish it had was separate control for the headphone jack/speaker muting instead of being auto-sensing as I prefer to leave my headphones plugged-in all the time.

Converts bits to pulses

Written By Justin-NYC, Stamford CT on Friday, December 13, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This device is generally highly rated by people who are probably more informed than me. In my experience, it is easy to setup and easy to use. It is a little unclear why certain settings are specified in the manual for setup with a Mac (for example, the MIDI audio settings) and the explanations I received from Cambridge through their Q&A forum were initially thin but eventually were more adequate when I pushed. btw, Cambridge Audio's registration site conveys login credentials (username and password) in-the-clear through email back to the user, which is a big security no-no. While this is not necessarily product related, I thought to include it here because to my knowledge this practice has not been corrected. Anyway, back to the product, overall I am satisfied with the quality of the product. As to the audio, I believe it is superior to both the internal DAC on my Mac and the external DAC inside my Yamaha amplifier which is powering a pair of Martin Logan Electrostatic speakers. I have done very unscientific AB testing and believe I hear a difference. Ken Rockwell (you can google his review), who has done far more scientific comparison, says this DAC is better than the much more expensive studio reference DAC. My Crutchfield advisor said I'm getting a "Ferrari" compared to the still very good quality DAC in my Yamaha. I kept the product and use it whenever I want to listen to music at the best possibly quality.

Pros: good looking, simple and effective; easily sets up with a Mac

Cons: some people done like the digital volume control but I have that disabled so it doesn't matter to me.

Crutchfield response on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 We have passed your concerns about the login credentials to Cambridge.

Great, but needs more bass

Written By West, Knoxville, TN on Monday, December 09, 2013

In reality it is between 4/5 stars. Really great high range and mid range response. Bass is great, really clean but relative to the mid range response the bass level is low. May require some additional tuning to get a stronger bass response.

I use two full range towers in my setup, both have 8 inch woofers which put out plenty of bass on most sources. This DAC is brings the mids and highs alive, the bass is there and very detailed, but should be stronger.

Pros: Awesome flexibility Great detailed sound Can help average speakers and average sources (having digital output) sound their best Output is not dry or sterile; very vibrant overall

Cons: Needs more bass... Is a bit large for a DAC

I'm keeping it!

Written By SeanL, Auburn, KY on Thursday, June 06, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I guess "the chase" is on. This is was next on my list to improve the overall sound quality coming from my HTPC to my system. I was using an internal sound card with DACS, but it seemed like something was not right.. as my Oppo 95 would deliver better sound than the PC. But not anymore... all my digital media (especially 320kps or higher) sounds fantastic. Using the USB connect...all the digital harshness is gone and no choppiness at all. Cambridge recommends that you use a ASIO Driver that overrides the Microsoft sound processing. Don't use the Foobar Asio Driver that Cambridge recommends (loaded with spywear)... but there is a few free ones available. I am using one from Fender (Universal Driver).

The DacMagic has met my expectations. Crutchfield has always been courteous... they called me after my online order just to verify my needs and consult me into buying a higher performance USB cable (which I bought, but probably didn't need). Give the unit a try... I doubt you'll send it back.

Pros: Easy install, clean sound,

Cons: iPad/iPod support is NOT standard. Additional accessories are required. Takes time finding ASIO drivers.

Good, if used correctly

Written By Anonymous, Fresno, CA on Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I want to start by saying that this review ONLY applies to the use of this DAC with a stand alone internet radio. If you intend to use this DAC with high quality digital music - not Mp3 music - then ignore this review. Most everyone who use this DAC correctly are more then happy with it. I have an internet radio that has 10 presets, one button to push, numbers 1-10. My vision problem makes this a must and everything else is secondary to me. Having said this I will continue by explaining I was hopeful this Cambridge DAC Magic Plus might somewhat improve the quality of the Mp3 music I listen to on my internet radio. But, it did not. And that's ok because I knew this might turn out to be so. I gave the DAC over 60 hours of break in time, tried the different settings, and tried many stations that sound very good even though being Mp3's. Just was no improvement. Not worse, but not better.

I then called directly to Cambridge and explained exactly how I was using the DAC and what the results were. And he explained that with Mp3's I would not hear any improvements because the DAC just does not have anything to work with from the lower quality of Mp3's. Case closed, won't work for my needs. But again I have to say that with all this DAC has within it, surely it will work for you. Bottom line, if your trying to improve your internet radio sound, look for better speakers.

Perfect for my application

Written By srr2, Lehigh Valley, PA on Saturday, April 20, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I'll eschew the "silky bass", "creamy midrange", and "deep well-placed soundstage" kind of reviewer-drivel. To be honest, far as I'm concerned a cable is a cable, etc. I'm no "audiophile" and proud of it. I own gear to listen to music, not to listen to gear.

So okay, what about the DMP, then. For my purposes -- listening to music -- it's perfect. To put it simply, it's just not *there*. What you hear is pretty close to what the audio engineer intended, within the limits of tapes, digitizing, decoding and your amps/speakers. It's not going to make a silk sow out of an ear purse, but then, it's not going to degrade your carefully-ripped flac files either.

I should highlight the attributes that steered me to the DMP: 1) it has floating differential (XLR) outputs, 2) optical inputs, and 3) a volume control. Many competing DACs have neither. The reason for #3 is because with WASAPI or ASIO there's no volume control in the computer, and because the output of the DMP goes directly to the amps, there's no preamp either. The reason for #1 is because of the long run (35') between source and destination, and the electrically noisy environment in my home, which #2 further serves to mitigate. Connected properly, the DMP floats optically with respect to the computer, so there's 0 possibility for any circulating noise currents in signal or ground. The upshot -- the entire audio system is DEAD QUIET. You can literally not discern a difference between OFF and ON.

Pros: Two sp/dif optical inputs. Fully floating differential outputs. Volume knob (whose rotation v. output level seems appropriate to me) w/push-to-mute. Reducing volume has no discernible effect on quality of signal. Attractive design. Useful and unobtrusive annunciator lights. Dead silence when not playing anything. Excellent immunity to power line noise.

Cons: 1) That stupid WALL-WART power supply. If CA screwed up one thing, it's this horrible, cheap, likely unreliable power supply, with its exceedingly flaky "universal" plug adapter. I HATE wall warts. At this price point, and for what this equipment costs, it should have had a proper internal power supply and conventional robust line cord. (and no, I do NOT want to spend $2000 on a line cord to connect the wall-wart to deepen the soundstage) 2) Poor sp/dif support compared to USB.

DacMagic Plus

Written By Kenneth K, New York, NY on Monday, April 08, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I use an iPod as my primary input source (Losless). The external DAC made a huge difference

Pros: Sound quality, multiple inputs and outputs, ease of setup

Cons: No remote control. Makes switching inputs a manual task that I cannot program into my universal remote. I

It Works Like Magic

Written By Danny B, Detroit, MI on Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

If your a music lover, there is no denying the ease of use that a media player can bring to a music collection, and if your like me, you've made the leap to hooking up your PC to your stereo system. Now there's only one problem with his set up. The audio coming out of your PC isn't quite the fidelity you may be used to. That's what makes a DAC a must. Chances are you already know this, so I'll cut rite to the chase.

I was going to replace the sound card in my PC for improved audio when I came across these DAC's. I liked the fact that they were half PC card/half audio component so there's no fooling around with the back of my computer. So I did my research and it came down to this one for two reasons: One, its made by a reputable audio company and two, its exterior is metal and not all plasticky like some of the other DAC's. Having said all that, here's the meat and potatoes of it; this thing ROCKS! Everything now sounds crystal clear. It was expensive, yes, and this being my first DAC I can't coment on how the other, lower cost DAC's sound, but if they're even half as good as this they would be worth it. One thing I should mention, the set up process for the software settings and plug-ins and so forth are a bit tricky. But if enjoy this type of challenge and aren't prone to pulling your hair out over it, it will be a thrilling exercise. Just remember to read everything, try every setting, and restart your computer if something doesn't seem to be working.

Pros: Solid construction.

Cons: Tricky to set up at first. No remote control.

Does't Work with Bluetooth BT100

Written By Brokerbiker, Boerne TX on Saturday, March 10, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I purchased the Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus from Crutchfield and have been very pleased with the sound quality output, as it greatly enhances content played through it. I subsequently purchased the Bluetooth BT100 unit from a local dealer in Austin and it was very easy to connect and pair with various Bluetooth enabled devices such as my iPad, iPhone, iMac. The unit did identify a problem with the DacMagic itself, as all content played through the Bluetooth unit, will only output through the headphone port. All content input through USB and Audio, works fine through either output, but the Bluetooth is a problem. When I contacted support at Cambridge, I was not very pleased with their recommendations to disconnect both devices and go to my dealer to further troubleshoot them. Obviously, I cannot come to Crutchfield and Austin is 90 miles away. My Austin dealer (Audio Systems) is a great friend, and he suggested I ship the units to him for testing. I am convinced the problem is with the DacMagic, and feel Cambridge is giving me the run-around, which shouldn't be the case with a unit of this price. I am a Wealth Advisor, and must deliver exceptional customer service, which I do not believe I have received from Cambridge. I am certainly reluctant to recommend this unit, based on this experience.

Pros: Great sound

Cons: Very poor Customer Service/relations from Cambridge on a defective unit

Cambridge DAC Magic Plus

Written By Bill S, Pueblo, CO on Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have had the original Dac Magic for the past three years. When I got the new product, I hooked it up, right out of the box. Listening to both side by side, I heard a great sound from the old one but was impressed by the greater detail, staging, depth, and crispness of the sound from the new unit. I was very impressed with Cambridge before but I'm blown away with this new unit. Several friends and I have more expensive DAC's but this one will keep up with $2000.00 units easily.

Pros: 24/384 output, headphone amp built in, will take up to 24/192 through usb or spdif. It has three different filters like old unit.

Cons: Would like defeatable upsampling, and filters,

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

Finely tuned sound for finely tuned ears

Written by Ralph Graves, Staff Writer - Creative, on 4/16/2012 11:04:00 AM

I had a chance to try the DacMagic Plus out in our Labs with some different speaker and headphone options (as well as a variety of sound sources). If you're the type of person who prefers uncompressed audio files to lossy formats, then the higher level of performance that the DacMagic Plus offers is probably for you.

The DacMagic Plus gave me some control over the incoming signal. I could change the phase, as well as select the filters, for example. And the unit displayed the sampling rate (which can be good to know). Control is great, but results are better - and they were results I could hear. I deliberately played some 128kbps MP3s, and they didn't sound too bad.

But it was the high-resolution audio tracks that the DacMagic was made for. I listened to some HD Tracks, some WAV files, and some Apple Lossless tracks, and heard an extraordinary amount of detail in all three. Plus, the sound didn't seem to have any of the slight digital harshness that I often perceive when I listen to my digital music library.

What are the Labs?

Get everything you’ll need to enjoy your new Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus

Connect your computer audio-based device to your new DAC with a high-quality USB cable.
A high-quality coaxial audio cable will deliver the best possible signal from your digital source to your DAC.
If you're connecting your DAC to your digital source using the optical digital input, pick up a top-notch optical cable to get the best sound possible.
Top-notch analog audio cables help deliver premium sound quality from your DAC to your amp or receiver.
Balanced, 3-conductor XLR connections deliver the best sound possible for high-end audio gear.
Protect your investment from power surges and interference.

This Bluetooth adapter lets you stream music from compatible devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets.
AudioQuest Forest

AudioQuest Forest

USB cable (Type A to Type B) (3 meters/10 feet)

Item #: 703FUSB10

(14)

$58.99
Add to Cart
AudioQuest Cinnamon

AudioQuest Cinnamon

USB cable (Type A to Type B) (3 meters/10 feet)

Item #: 703CIUSB10

(6)

$108.99
Add to Cart
AudioQuest Carbon

AudioQuest Carbon

USB cable (Type A to Type B) (3 meters/10 feet)

Item #: 703CAUSB10

(1)

$248.99
Add to Cart
AudioQuest VDM-A

AudioQuest VDM-A

Coaxial digital audio cable (3 meters/9.9 ft.)

Item #: 703VDMAR3

(8)

$29.99
Add to Cart
AudioQuest VDM-X

AudioQuest VDM-X

Coaxial digital audio cable (2 meters/6.6 ft.)

Item #: 703VDMXR2

(2)

$44.99
Add to Cart
AudioQuest VDM-3

AudioQuest VDM-3

Coaxial digital audio cable (1-meter, 3.3 feet)

Item #: 703VDM31M

(2)

$124.99
Add to Cart
Arista 18-5460

Arista 18-5460

6-foot coaxial digital audio cable

Item #: 043185460

(4)

$10.99
Add to Cart
Monster Cable 400dfo

Monster Cable 400dfo

Optical digital audio cable (1 meter/3.3 ft.)

Item #: 119DF4001M

(21)

$39.95
Add to Cart
AudioQuest Forest OptiLink

AudioQuest Forest OptiLink

Optical digital audio cable (1.5 meters/5 feet)

Item #: 703FOP15M

(23)

$34.99
Add to Cart
CableTruth 303T

CableTruth 303T

Optical digital audio cable

Item #: 865OPT6FT

(4)

$19.99
Add to Cart
AudioQuest Cinnamon OptiLink

AudioQuest Cinnamon OptiLink

Optical digital audio cable (1.5 meters/5 feet)

Item #: 703COP15M

(3)

$78.99
Add to Cart
AudioQuest Evergreen

AudioQuest Evergreen

Stereo interconnect cable with RCA plugs (0.6 meter/2 feet)

Item #: 703EGRR06M

(40)

$31.99
Add to Cart
Monster Cable Stereo Audio 400i

Monster Cable Stereo Audio 400i

Stereo interconnect cables with RCA plugs (1 meter/3.3 ft.)

Item #: 119MC4001M

(6)

$39.95
Add to Cart
AudioQuest Golden Gate

AudioQuest Golden Gate

Stereo interconnect cable with RCA plugs (0.6 meter/2 feet)

Item #: 703GGRR06M

(17)

$64.99
Add to Cart
Monster Cable Stereo Audio 200i

Monster Cable Stereo Audio 200i

Stereo interconnect cables with RCA plugs (1 meter/3.3 ft.)

Item #: 119MC2001M

(15)

$19.95
Add to Cart
AudioQuest Big Sur

AudioQuest Big Sur

Stereo interconnect cable with RCA plugs (0.6 meter/2 feet)

Item #: 703BSRR06M

(3)

$96.99
Add to Cart
AudioQuest Sydney

AudioQuest Sydney

Stereo interconnect cable with RCA plugs (0.6 meter/2 feet)

Item #: 703SDRR06M

(6)

$154.99
Add to Cart
AudioQuest Columbia

AudioQuest Columbia

Stereo interconnect cables with RCA plugs (2-meter/6.6 feet)

Item #: 703CMB2MR

(1)

$644.99
Add to Cart
AudioQuest Columbia

AudioQuest Columbia

Audio interconnect cables with XLR plugs (pair) (2-meter, 6.6 feet)

Item #: 703CMB2MX

$644.99
Add to Cart
Panamax M8-AV-PRO

Panamax M8-AV-PRO

Power line conditioner and surge protector

Item #: 299M8AVPRO

(9)

$169.99
Add to Cart
Panamax M8-AV

Panamax M8-AV

Power line conditioner and surge protector

Item #: 299M8AV

(7)

$119.99
Add to Cart
Panamax PM8-AV

Panamax PM8-AV

Power line conditioner and surge protector

Item #: 299PM8AV

(3)

$89.99
Add to Cart
Cambridge Audio BT100

Cambridge Audio BT100

Bluetooth® wireless audio receiver for DacMagic Plus

Item #: 779BT100

(1)

$99.99
Add to Cart

Questions & Answers Ask the community. Share your knowledge.

1 question already asked

You will want to contact an Advisor by phone or online chat to discuss compatibility with your current gear. They will be able to check the specs and see if this will integrate. If it does not, then they will also be able to discuss other options with you. [ Jeff  Dec 31, 2013 ]  Staff

Looking for more? Check out the next model in this lineup.

Cambridge Audio 851D-SL

Cambridge Audio 851D

In Stock

$1,499.99

Add to Cart

Get more inputs, a full-size chassis, and Bluetooth included

The Cambridge Audio 851D offers these features:

a full-size, acoustically damped all-metal chassis

a shielded, audiophile-grade toroidal transformer

pro-grade BNC and AES/EBU digital audio inputs

an included Cambridge Audio BT100 Bluetooth adapter

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