I’ve had a the new Cambridge Audio Dacmagic for maybe a couple of months now and its not disappointed. For two hundred pounds it’s fabulous value.
I started off running it in and using it connected via a Chord Prodac Prodigital coax cable from my Squeezebox 3. It’s a great match for the SB3, delivering increased clarity and drive over the SB3’s line out. Sort of seems in the right price range for an upgrade to the SB3 as well.
Next was connecting it via USB to my HP Note 2133 to play internet radio. Using Radio Paradise’s 128AAC stream as the primary source – a great souce of quality music with great sound – it sounded flat and boring. What was surprising was just how easily it connected and Win XP recognised it straight away. Really plug and play.
Adding a M-Audio Transit sound card connected via USB and then feeding the output from the Transit via a Chord Optichord optical cable into the Cambridge changed the sound quality completely: dynamics returned, life and energy returned and music was fun to listen to again. Internet radio can sound surprisingly good.
I do have an even better internet radio player but I’m not free to talk about that yet.
Two or more things to try with the Dacmagic yet: a larger power transformer and changing to ASIO drivers as these are supported by the Transit. Might even try the three filters sometime. I reckon that there is loads more to get out of it if only I had enough time to experiment.
More on these another day.