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Audio Reviews
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Cambridge Audio DacMagic review

£199 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Cambridge Audio

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

Cambridge Audio’s DacMagic is back – and this time it wants your USB

Another audiophile technique has been employed in the digital processing core of the DacMagic, namely upsampling. Like the upconversion of standard definition video to eye-opening HD, this techniques repackages a typical 16-bit/44.1kHz music feed as you'd find from a CD or music MP3, into 24-bit/192kHz format.

This upsampling approach was once limited to professional converters costing upwards of £4000 each, and while it's now possible to do a basic conversion with cheap chips, Cambridge Audio has called upon the expertise of Swiss DSP specialist Anagram Technologies, to do the job in a way that can potentially upgrade the sound of all your music sources.

Cambridge Audio DacMagic rear panel

Rear panel, from left to right: RCA analogue output, XLR output, digital output (RCA & Toslink), Digital 2 input, Digital 1, USB input, 12V AC input

Its proprietary interpolation algorithm runs on a Texas Instruments 32-bit processor, helping to fill out the discontinuities in a jagged, stepped 16-bit digital waveform, bringing it closer to the sound of high-resolution 24-bit sound. The actual D-A conversion is courtesy of a pair of renowned Wolfson stereo DAC chips.

NEXT PAGE: How the Cambridge Audio DacMagic performs...

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Cambridge Audio DacMagic Expert Verdict »

Two-channel digital-to-analogue convertor
Adaptive Time Filtering interpolating upsampler
32-bit Texas Instruments Digital Signal Processor (DSP)
three switchable digital interpolation filters (Linear Phase, Minimum Phase, Steep)
2 x Wolfson WM8740 24/192 stereo DAC chips
1 x USB digital audio input
2 x S/PDIF inputs (each with 1 x coaxial RCA and 1 x Toslink optical)
stereo unbalanced output RCA
stereo balanced output XLR
2 x digital outputs (RCA and Toslink)
input sample frequency LED indicators: 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96kHz
external 12V AC mains adaptor
aluminium case available in silver or black finish
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

Cambridge Audio has introduced an affordable high-end-quality DAC for use with computers and home entertainment devices alike. The DacMagic seems to revel in bringing out the best in digital stereo sound, whether MP3 or lossless music on a computer, or digital sound from TV and DVD. As remarkable as the performance is the DacMagic’s price. Less than £200 buys you an superb investment for studio quality audio reproduction

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