Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
It works! First time! And sounds great! No more need be said.
Pros: Works! Works first time. Sounds great.
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Crutchfield: Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
DacMagic Plus lets you connect multiple digital source components to your home audio or desktop system:
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.
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.
It works! First time! And sounds great! No more need be said.
Ken, Oxford, MS
Average Customer Review(s):
It works! First time! And sounds great! No more need be said.
Pros: Works! Works first time. Sounds great.
The DacMagic Plus brought my CD transport to life. I had read the reviews and didn't believe a DAC at this price point would work for me. I bought it with knowledge that I could return it if it didn't live up to my expectations. I'm blown away with the DacMagic Plus. You don't have to spend over a thousand on a DAC to get great music.
Pros: Low cost Easy set up Looks good
Cons: No remote Hard to read front panel
I bought this unit to use with my Macbook when away from my home. It's light, compact, and delivers great sound through my Sennheiser headphones, or even through my 25 year old Luxman receiver. I route the digital signal from the Macbook through a OWC USB-C Dock, which while is not the best of arrangements, still provides a rich listening experience. I have no complants!
Pros: Great sound. Easy to transport.
Cons: A bit pricey.
Despite what I read on many reviews saying that stand alone DAC does not improve sound unless the build in dac in your devices are not working properly. I purchased the Dacmagic Plus anyway because I just have to know. I compare the sound from the headphone out put from the back of my tv to the optical out put of an AppleTV to the dacmagic plus to the same integrated amp. I can not tell the difference in sound improvement from the dacmagic plus. When I contacted Cambridge Audio to let them know, I was told "unfortunately boil down to personal taste and perspective, and there's not much else we can say about it" I recommend listen to a demo before buying the Dacmagic Plus. I can only give it one star rating for the look!
Cons: any cheap dac will sound just the same.
So far so good: easy to set up and the upgrade in sound was noticeable off the bat, from hi-rez files to lowly mp3s. Very satisfied.
I purchased this DAC as an upgrade to my home theater system. However, the 13 year old DAC in my Surround processor sounds better. This is a very poor quality DAC fit, finish and sound. I also purchased the Marantz HD-DAC1 for my dedicated music system and it is excellent in facets fit, finish and most importantly sound.
This is a great sounding DAC, and drives my HD 600 to its fullest potential. The stereo separation is awesome. The best part of this DAC is the digital bypass, with which iam able to connect to my home theater receiver. Doubles as an pre-amp
Pros: Digital bypass Multiple inputs
Cons: No remote
Works as promised. Plugged it into my MacBook pro and stereo system with no problems. Improved sound quite a bit.
Pros: Easy set up
VERY Happy with this purchase. Audiophile quality. I've been looking for a GREAT solution for years and this is FINALLY IT!! I use it to pull the audio From my PC / Home Recording Studio and distribute it to 2 Rotel 1066 amplifiers. (left and right channels) I use the This is the Fiber-optic IN on this unit. SUPER CLEAN audio. The audio is better than I could wish for. The headphone amplifier is also A+++ This is my first Cambridge product.. I will be buying more of your products. Build quality is A+++ Top Notch
Pros: Top notch Build Quality Audiophile Audio Small and Sturdy , fit's in studio nicely
Excellent DAC for the price. Wish it had a remote control. Sound quality and specifications iare on par with much more expensive products. It can be used as a main control unit and replace a preamplifier (if no analog input is required).
Pros: Excellent specs and sound quality at any price
Cons: Needs a remote
Want a kick-butt audio system? Well, add this DAC to a 6V6, push-pull, ultra-linear vacuum tube amp, throw in a JRiver Media Player with ASIO support and you'll have one. At 24/192 I'm hearing sounds I've never heard through an on-board sound card. This thing will blow your mind! Bass is excellent without being over-bearing or thumpy and highs are clear without being tinny. My music seems to be more spatial and alive. ELP's Brain Salad Surgery will really tickle your ears! Installation was easy--just read the manual. I'm very pleased with the build quality and price.
Cons: None that I can think of.
I have just purchased my second DAC Magic Plus. My first was in 1012. I actually use more options than I'll bet most users, including the balanced (analog) output and the feedthru digital output. The first DAC Magic Plus made it almost 5 years before failure. I have had Cambridge Audio equpment failures before. I am a fan of Cambridge Audio equipment , but I would not take a trip to the moon with it. This is good stuff. Give it a try if you want some cutting edge sound.
Pros: Value (sound quality) for the dollar
Cons: May have a limited life
I've been streaming from online services over home WIFI for some time now. Capturing signal in Apple Airport Express and into average receiver. Decided to rip my classical CD collection into lossless format and wanted more than the Express to maximize the sound. The DacMagic Plus fills the bill and then some. I wasn't sure what to expect for this price range, but am delighted with the results. Sound quality is much more nuanced and fuller than before. The enhanced headphone output is also nice but I've noticed the most improvement through speakers.
Pros: nice sound quality for the price
Loving my new DAC. I'm a pseudo audiophile looking for life beyond CDs. I have a modest collection that I ripped to lossless WAV on my Windows laptop. Attached the USB to my new DAC Magic and voila! My Snell speakers never sounded so good! Also I have purchased some other high resolution audio files online. And am having a blast streaming high bit rate internet radio stations just browsing the Web. The DAC Magic is the perfect bridge between the Web and my trusty Yamaha receiver and my good ole Snells. My Widows 7 laptop passes 192k effortlessly over the high speed USB. Really happy with this purchase.
Pros: Great sound, easy set up.
Cons: Headphone jack turns off line out.
First of all this little box does a lot for the money. I have my CD player connected by optical cable to the DAC now instead of straight to my pre-amp by RCA cables and also have played Hi Res music files from my MacBook through the USB. CDs sound way better than they used to....they lose most or all of what I tend to think is a harshness I usually hear in many of them. Way less listening fatigue for me with CDs -they sound airy and smooth but still really clean and clear. I will rediscover my CD collection now after avoiding them for years. I haven't listened to much Hi Res through the computer / USB yet but so far this sounds great too.
Pros: Lots of input choices. Great sound. Highly configurable. Balanced XLR outputs. Plug and play with a Mac but be sure to set it to USB 2 Mode for 24/192 processing.
Cons: None so far.
Greatly change the quality of my MP3 music.
Upgraded to this ...sounds awesome
The Dac magic works as advertised ! greatly improved sound of my whole system ! plus the addition of the pre amp ! the only thing missing is a remote ! small price to pay for the quality of this product !!!!!
Wish I had bought this 5 years ago. I don't even use my 2K interface anymore. The sound is that much better.
I had a Cambridge receiver with an asynchronous usb input before and the sound was amazing. I had never listened to digital music that way before. I decided to go to Marantz separates for my living room and move the receiver to the bedroom. I thought I would use the Marantz dac1 as it looked nice and fit nicely with the other Marantz components in the living room. The new system sounded good but not as good as the Cambridge receiver. I did my A/B testing and determined it was the Dac that didn't sound as good. I then purchased the Dac Magic plus and there it was. The clarity , crispness ,warmth and soundstage. I don't know exactly what Cambridge does with their dac's but it seems to be better than any other sub $1000 dac's and maybe at any price. It isn't pretty like the Marantz but I'll just close my eyes and enjoy the sound!
Pros: Amazing sound!! The best Dac I have heard.
Cons: Looks more like a cable box than the high end piece of audio gear that it is.
Pretty good sounding DAC: warm, detailed, and tight bass. Highs were average but not on the bright side so listening fatigue was never a problem. The volume control for the preamp outputs is a major plus so I could just plug the unit right into my power amp. Wish it had a remote control and analog input, otherwise the feature set is fairly complete. I've heard a few DACs in this price range such as Peachtree, Arcam, and Musical Fidelity and I preferred the Cambridge.
Pros: Sound quality Volume control Build quality / appearance
Cons: No remote No analog input
Although not an audiophile I like listening to good music from the 50's to today. I was interested in converting my cd's into uncompressed flac files and then playing them from the computer through my whole house system, but I needed to have these in analog so I could play them through the receiver in zones 2,3. So I purchased the Audio Dacmagic Plus from Crutchfield. There is a small amount of work to setting this up, downloading the usb driver,making sure you are on the correct usb setting to play the analog output and setting the Dacmagic to be the default sound devive in the Windows sound settings. Also you may want to turn the volume up if you have many speakers like I do. The volume knob just seems to keep turning so I turned it until the output from my receiver was adequate . It works great.
Pros: Excellent volume and sound.
Cons: Pricey and a little work to set up.
I am really enjoying this "thingamajig," as my wife calls it. It has made streaming music from computer and/or phone (from iTunes, from Spotify) a real joy -- the difference between the DAC and a direction connect to the stereo from my computer's sound card is stunning. It was pretty easy to get it set up initially (more or less plug and play) but CA provides relatively little support on how to best configure things on the PC side or in iTunes to drive the device. You have to install new drivers to use USB2.0, Wasapi, ASIO, etc. and I still don't what settings CA recommends for iTunes. The music sounds great with what I have now (WASAPI, 24 bit/192kHz on both the PC Sound controls and in iTunes), but perhaps there are better choices. The documentation on line was not great and Cambridge Audio tech support was slow and pretty useless.
Pros: Great sound! Lots of connections (USB for computer, CD player, and Wifi hookup for me.)
Cons: Could have used more explicit support for my setup (iTunes on Windows PC).
This is a great DAC. Easy to follow instructions had me listening to "Hotel California" in about 15 minutes. I ran it with a the USB for high res files but also purchased the BT100 to play from the ipad/phone. Excellent sound quality and it looks cool sitting there.
Cambridge Audio transformed my experience of digital music sources. I paired the DAC Magic Plus with a Cambridge Audio CXC CD Transport via an Audioquest Vodka Toslink interconnect. Still breaking in (?) and sounds better than the CD player they have replaced. Money well spent for non-fatiguing, exceptional sound.
Pros: Balanced XLR output jacks, easy to operate, great sound that does not fatigue. I hear more. It's common to hear new things with a new component or set-up. In this case, it's not because of some unique emphasis - the sound is just very clean and detailed, with excellent separation and imaging.
Cons: As a DAC I have no complaints. If I was using this as a pre-amp I might note the very stiff volume knob.
This is an awesome piece of gear. I'd tried two other DACs that were built into mixers from Numark. The NS6 had sound quality that was comparable to the DacMagic Plus, but not quite as good. The M6 was nowhere close to either of them. So, since I didn't really need the extra functionality of these devices, I switched to a dedicated DAC. The results are phenomenal. I'm using mine to feed a pair of Dynaudio BM6 MkII's and a 12" 300 watt Polk Audio subwoofer. I really wanted balanced XLR outputs on the DAC instead of trying to adapt in line. Its power output is high enough that I have to use the -10db attenuators on the monitors, which was also a feature I needed. The sub is fed by the RCA line outputs (the unit does feed both sets of outputs simultaneously). With no sound playing, you can turn the DAC up all the way and hear no noise at all. The volume knob is great, somewhat stiff, making it smooth beyond belief, and all other construction is top notch. The phase filters are a nice bonus too, allowing you to fine tune it to your preference. Mine is fed by two sources, a MacBook air via USB and a Toshiba laptop via a usb-to-S/PDIF converter. Both sources perform excellent. This is my first Cambridge Audio product, but I doubt it will be my last. Can't say enough good things about it. The only thing I could even nitpick about... a remote would be nice, but it's no big deal.
Pros: Sound quality, warranty, construction, features, value
The sound quality is better than I expected
Pros: Great sound Compact design ,extremely easy to set up
Cons: The Bluetooth is not included , they make it an option so they hit you with another hundred bucks.
I have 4 DACs/Headphone Amps. First thing to get clear is that no component will produce great sound if the source material is poor or if other external factors interfere. My primary use of the DacMagic Plus is for streaming music from a website that charges a monthly fee. The provider says that they can provide better than CD quality. When the specific album meets a recording bitrate of 320kbps, this DAC will produce a discernible and improved difference without adding any of its own coloration of the music that I can hear. I do, however, have an issue with added line noise caused by the chain of connections from the wall outlet all the way through to my powered monitors and headphones. The power supply is external with the DacMagic Plus and the power cord to the DacMagic Plus is not shielded in any discernible way. I have high quality audio line conditioners as well as all my components and cables are of high quality. I had to go through a number of physical configurations of placement of the power supple and the DacMagic Plus before I could remove the line noise. I have not had this issue with any other of my DACs or audio components. The DacMagic Plus works as advertised but the quality of music that I stream sounds cleaner and more defined with my less expensive Emotiva XDA-2 or my Geek Out 1000 (when I use headphones).
Pros: Good form factor Does what it says it will do Looks nice
Cons: Could have better shielding of the power supply and DACs internal components. Unexceptional quality of D to A conversion given the price
This is a great DAC. I really enjoy listening to music with the DAC. Currently using with my Laptop only and Beyerdynamic 880 Pro and Sony MDR 7506. With the BDs it is slightly on the bright side at highs but with Sony lows sound much more punchy. I am looking forward to connecting my ipod 7 to that and also connecting it to a proper amp.
Pros: Sound quality, build quality
Great DAC and headphone amp, all in one. Hard to match the value, in my opinion. Running digital output from my iMac to DAC to Sonos Connect Amp, to Pioneer BS21-lr speakers. The sound is spacious, crisp and clear. Very happy with my purchase, and the great Crutchfield service!
Pros: Great value, excellent sound
Cons: Wish volume control was better.
This is a good DAC, a little confusing to setup if your not a pro, and I'm not. The sound is warm and rich from my A5 speakers.
Pros: Good Sound
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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!
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.
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 12/17/2013 We have passed your concerns about the login credentials to Cambridge.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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,
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Note: The supplied AC power adapter includes AC power plug inserts for North America, Europe, and the United Kingdom.
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:
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: -112 dBr
Total Correlated Jitter: < 130 pS
Output Impedance: < 50 ohms
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
Power Consumption: 12 watt
Vertical Orientation: (with stand)
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 verify what’s in the box, 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.
I wanted a DAC to help improve the playback quality of my digital audio files. This model had a ton of great reviews and a steep price break. I also ordered the optional BT wireless adapter to stream from my iPhone. [ German Oct 05, 2017 ]
I use it with my home built PC and my Grado headphones. Outstanding sound especially when listening to HD music [ Robert Jul 13, 2017 ]
appears to meet my needs. [ WARREN Jul 11, 2017 ]
After much research and reading reviews. [ Bill Jun 21, 2017 ]
Recommended by Chad in Crutchfield. I found it very economical and it was what I wanted. [ Pedro Jun 07, 2017 ]
My man cave uses a laptop to play flac files from my network attached storage. Hoping the DacMagic will add more flair to my soundscape, [ G Apr 29, 2017 ]
mostly based on the Cambridge audio video, and the rave reviews on your site. Hope it lives up to the reviews! [ Ken Jan 24, 2017 ]
My current on-board audio of my desktop is poor. Makes the quality coming out of my headphones sound really lame when I've heard excellent audio quality come out of my headphones when plugged into an amplifier. I have a lot of digital audio files that would greatly benefit from the dac when outputted to my headphones or speakers. I also plan to add an amp and a good set of speakers to round out a little audio setup that will last me for many years. [ Ted Sep 28, 2016 ]
you let me try two different DAC's which allowed me to be very satisfied with my purchase. in my opinion great value for the price. i am continuing to enjoy it. [ William Jul 17, 2016 ]
To add pre-amp component integration to my boat's system and to clean up source audio from my computer, TV and DVD. It is fantastic! [ David May 25, 2016 ]
I have this connected to my iMac with Audioengine A5+ speakers, and when I stream from Tidal, WOW!!! Great DAC with multiple input connections and uses. I'm a simple person who just wants awesome sound when it comes to my music and this DAC delivers on all points... [ Aaron Jan 03, 2016 ]
I have two Tivo's and a lower end CD player. A stand alone DAC would improve the audio immensely. after much research and comparison shopping the DacMagic Plus was the most cost effective and filled my technical requirements. I have used Crutchfield in the past and have never been disappointed (OPPO 105D) [ melvin h. Oct 31, 2017 ]
USED IT BEFORE [ ROY Oct 17, 2017 ]
Need it for use with a Pioner Elite CD player model # PD-S95 [ John G. May 28, 2017 ]
The ability to use this component as a preamp combined with its small size enables me to drive a power amplifier from the convenience of my desk. [ Barry May 17, 2017 ]
Great sound and a lot of capability for the price. (bang for the buck) [ PHILIP Feb 24, 2017 ]
excellent DAC, have had for 2years [ MIKE M Dec 22, 2016 ]
Cambridge offers good products at a reasonable price. You can pay a lot more for a DAC, but with diminishing returns. I have the simpler DAC Magic 100, but anticipate the Plus model, with volume control, will help me modulate the DAC output to my preamp. Crutchfield offers fair prices, fast delivery and good support. [ Kenneth Nov 09, 2016 ]
The voices in my head made me do it. [ Nathan Apr 11, 2016 ]
I do not know the impedance range of phones the amp will power, but it runs my Sennheiser HD280 Pros well which are 64 ohms. Hope this helps. [ David Jul 25, 2017 ]
The user manual indicates that headphones with an impedance between 32 and 600 ohms are recommended. [ DAVID Jul 25, 2017 ]
Sorry I don't use the headphone feature..but I m really in love with the sound I get from this unit out of my speakers running the signal path thru this device has enhanced my system greatly whether watching concerts on YouTube via TV or my PC or using any other device like a CD player etc. [ Jaylan Jul 25, 2017 ]
Allows for the connection of headphones with a 1/4" jack plug connector. Headphones with an impedance of between 32 and 600 ohms are recommended. [ Bill Jul 25, 2017 ]
No you can't plug in directly with the lightening/USB cable that comes with the device. I use the optional Bluetooth receiver (Cambridge Audio BT100) to connect all such devices and it works very well, plus its wireless. [ David Apr 15, 2017 ]
Hi Anthony -- yes you can, but I recommend getting their Bluetooth receiver and plug that in. The connection in my house is flawless, and I use it to stream music from my iPhone and Mac. I've done comparison tests, and the sound quality is actually better than a connected PC. Enjoy! [ Sean Apr 15, 2017 ]
Hello Anthony, There is an included Bluetooth adapter that allows for Bluetooth connection. That's what I use with my IOS devices. [ Bill Apr 15, 2017 ]
I use the Cambridge Audio BT100 Bluetooth receiver plugged into the ext. port on the back and it works well for all Bluetooth enabled devices that I've tried so far. [ David Apr 15, 2017 ]
Sorry.. I am not using Bluetooth.. I do like the Cambridge Product [ Welsey Oct 11, 2015 ]
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
Yes it does. Just to let you know this is a great unit. It make's a very big difference. I use it with my Tidal music service and my CD player. I have the unit plugged into my McItosh C30 pre-amp. It made a very big improvement. [ Craig Jul 28, 2017 ]
Yes, it controls the RCA analog outputs. Results are amazing when paired with an NA-208a amp from Napa Acoustic. Vibrant crystal clear CDs, and a huge improvement with compressed music. It takes both the signal processing in this little gem and the vacuum tubes in the 208a to get the compressed music improvement. [ Warren Jul 27, 2017 ]
I don't think it does. If the volume can affect the rear digital outputs, then there whould not be a dap function, however, the one with unbalanced I think it should, but I have only used this excellent equipment for use as a DAP and no other than a headphone amplifier, in which the volume also works as a volume. [ Pedro Jul 27, 2017 ]
yes, I have to remember to turn the volumn knob up full blast to get volume [ WARREN Jul 26, 2017 ]
Yes. I use the xlr outs with fixed volume on the computer and use the volume knob [ JAY Jul 26, 2017 ]