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Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic Plus

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #40 in Amp/DACs


Pros: Versatile, many user adjustable settings

Cons: None so far

I purchased the DMPlus to work alongside my MacMini. The MacMini has been stripped to just Mac OSX and Amarra Mini ver 2.4 using iTunes as the librarian. The Mini's USB output to the DMPlus is via an Audioquest Forest USB cable. I have 2 ways to listen to the DMPlus. First, I plug my Sennheiser HD650's directly into the headphone jack. In this mode the DMPlus acts as a headphone amplifier. iTunes and Amarra feed directly to the HD650's. The sound is wonderful and open. Great soundstage. You can see in your mind where each instrument is placed. The imaging is spot on...after you adjust the balance that is. 


One of the pluses of the DMPlus is the user adjustability. There are 3 different slope settings to set to user preference. Also, you can choose between synchronous usb 1.1 or Asynchronous usb 2.0. The default is 1.1. You have to read the manual to see how to adjust this setting. Until you do the device will not be recognized as a usb 2.0 device by the computer.


Balance is another adjustment that is not labeled. You must hold down the Filter/Phase button and then the volume knob becomes the balance adjust. Release the button and the knob returns to a volume control.


Once the unit is dialed into your setting preferences it is ready for action. I have it's unbalanced RCA outputs connected to my Denon AVR-4311ci receiver so I can enjoy the DAC through my M&K S-150's. There are Balanced outputs as well if you have the equipment for it. The difference of the Mac Mini via Toslink to the receiver and the DMPlus via RCA is interesting and fun to A/B. The TosLink utilizes the Denon's AKM DAC's so this set up allows me to have my choice of DAC output.


Most of the time I find myself using the HD650's directly plugged into the DMPlus. It is a simple setup. Mac Mini as source, DMPlus as DAC/Preamp/Amp and HD650's as cans of choice.


Life is good! (and simple!)




Here is another review from Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity:




Pros: Sounds even better with brandy

Cons: None at this price


What do you do? What DAC do you get? There are so many opinions and everyone is right somehow. How can that be when stuff is all so different?

The field is crowded and is on it's way to being really super crowded. So what do we do? There are even giant books by doctors about upsampling? Also the options...............

1) Do you just go optical?
2) Do you just go USB?
3) USB 1.0?
4) USB 2.0?
5) Digital RCA??
6) Do I even need an external amp?
7) Do I want an internal headphone amp?
8) Will the DACs amp sound good with my headphones I own?
9) Will the DACs amp sound good with the headphones I'm going to buy?
10) DSD?
So you can just imagine that there are a ton of choices and there are some DACs that maybe could be better for your needs and in your exact price range? Still there is a level of experience that we get after buying and testing equipment over the years. You can kind of guess which magazine reviews to really believe and which reviews are maybe a little imaginary?

The headphone amp in this DAC will not drive your power hungry headphones to ear bleeding levels. Still if you have a collection of easy to drive cans, you in for a lot of fun.

I have had a couple of DACs over the years still I don't listen to a new one every week like some reviewers do. That said, take this review with a grain of salt, like you should with anything you read here. Your results may vary from my tests. Still I have a certain sound that I am truly after. I could care less about the theory and ideas. I only care about price and results. Money and Sound!

I do not do that many reviews and purchased this product with my own funds.

I have had experience where I just like transports better than computer audio. Still it depends on the person. You have to ask yourself how many actual CDs do you have OR are you going to be just using your computer? I have always liked having the option of going computerless. I just like the sound of a CD playing in a transport. I like putting the CD in and watching it go round and round. I think the jitter is less, but thats just me, I'm old fashioned and maybe not the norm.

I will also do a lot of testing. I use my ears to test. I don't do 2X blind tests, I simply A/B and A/B and I "think" I can kinda tell what I like. More at times and less at times.

The DACMagic Plus is a Swiss Army Knife of sorts. You can hold the volume button pushed-in and turn the unit on and get balanced or single ended (RCA) direct out. You do the same procedure again and then the volume knob/preamp is activated as well as the headphone jack. You can choose from two optical inputs or two digital RCA inputs. You can use the device as USB 1.0 or get a USB 2.0 cable and go that route for higher sample rates. You also have direct digital out via optical or RCA digital cable.

There is even an add-on device to have the processor receive Bluetooth signals from your phone.

About higher sample rates.

Standard is 16 bit-44.1kHz and that is what the unit gets from a Redbook audio CD or lossless file from your computer. Everything is upsampled by the twin Wofson 24-bit DACs to 24/bit/384kHz. If you get Foobar2000 and the WASAPI add-on you can bypass your windows sound handling and run in Asynchronous mode with a USB 2.0 cable in place. This is said to reduce jitter. But still I seem to like even a cheap transport going digital RCA to the DACMagic Plus or I run the DVD HDMI to my TV and run optical back to the DacMagic Plus getting an incoming samling rate of 48kHz not the digital RCA 44.1kHz incoming rate.

With HD files you can play up to a 192 kHz incoming sample rate using Foobar2000. Remember though you have to do the WASAPI add on to foobar and make sure you have a 2.0 USB cord in use.

So all and all I never believed the reviews that said the internal amp could drive the AKG k701s well. I actually just laughed when I read that before the purchase. The amp section is really nice though. It runs the Denon AH-D 7000 full size headphones really really well. The DACMagic Plus would also be just the perfect setup for someone with easy to run IEMs as many times simple is better. You just get a 1/4 inch to mini-plug adapter and go to town with all your IEMs. At low volume the amp has absolutely no side to side volume issues. The amp is also dead quiet with even the most sensitive of IEMs. If you were ever to wanted to change the side to side volume balance level there is also a way to change that.

Still the next level is going to be bypassing the preamp and getting to direct out to a more powerful amp. An addition of the Schiit Asgard and Classical music with the right recording into AKG k701s is the beginning of endgame level at a reduced cost. Even a small but transparent portable amp like the JDS Labs c421 operational amp was a slight and noticeable improvement to my humble ears?

Reduced cost and value is really what this product is about. It will grow and perform many tasks in the future, even running in full balance mode running cables to powered monitors or a fully balanced amp with balanced headphones on the other end. The real question is the sound. Does it have that smooth tone and detail that keeps you? Could you live with a $500 DAC. The answer is yes. I had none of the bright/hot treble in the highs I have read about. The best part was the smoothness and bass detail. The speed was fine. The use of the switching, plugs and orientation learning curve was a 20 minute job at most. This thing is really, really easy to use even though it looks complicated.

In conclution there is a little snobbery about Cambridge Audio being mid-fi and thats OK. The prices ARE entry-level or mid-fi. The only question is IF your missing any of your digital information? Are you loosing it somehow with jitter or distortion? Cambridge Audio prints up all their specs and numbers. Some manufactures (Schiit Audio) says numbers do not matter. I agree the sound is what matters in the end. Still the numbers are good for this product and the sound is maybe the best your going to get till you spend another $500 in retail price. I love the DAC in my old Rega Planet CD player but I have to say this DAC is able to do more and has the same nice sound, maybe a little better?


Pros: Usable as a preamp and headphone amp.

Cons: Loss of sharp filter, No Remote.

I was surprised to say the least at the sound of this new model from Cambridge Audio. The new dac sounds a few steps better than the dac it replaces.My only complaint is the volume control.It has a cheap feel to it.and the adjust ability is not very good.you have little volume then move it just a small way and the volume increases far too much.Other than that it is worth a listen.

Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic Plus

Improving on a legend is never easy, but Cambridge Audio has gone back to the drawing board to create the DacMagic Plus with exciting new features, wireless device connectivity, and best of all, significantly enhanced audio performance. We live in a world of immense musical opportunity. Computers, TVs and Blu-ray players can all deliver audio to your hi-fi system, but because they're primarily designed to perform other functions, their audio outputs lack quality. But by simply connecting them to DacMagic Plus, you can bypass their inbuilt digital to analogue converters transforming their humdrum performance into something altogether more spectacular! DacMagic Plus works by taking a digital audio signal from your PC, digital iPod dock or TV which it analyses and upgrades using our clever ATF2 algorithm. It's totally flexible and supports digital music of all formats. DacMagic Plus even supports 24-bit data over USB so you can enjoy better than CD quality from uncompressed music stored on your PC. And by linking our plug-and-play BT100 wireless audio receiver to DacMagic Plus, you can also stream music wirelessly from your iPhone, Android smartphone, iPad, tablet, laptop or any device that supports Bluetooth*. Best of all, if your smartphone, tablet or Apple Mac supports the high-end audio aptX CODEC, you can stream audiophile quality music from your device to DacMagic Plus. Of course the range of music available from today's mobile devices is almost endless and as well as controlling and playing stored music, online music services like Spotify and Last FM can be shared with your hi-fi in stunning quality. *Optional BT100 audio receiver required Such impressive technology can be hard to explain, so why not enjoy a personal audition the new DacMagic Plus? With Cambridge Audio specialists located across the globe, there's never been a better time to experience the future of digital music.

BrandCambridge Audio
FeatureExternal input for optional BT100 Bluetooth receiver - allows audio to be streamed and up-sampled from any paired Bluetooth device. Supports high quality apt-X Bluetooth CODEC as well as standard SBC Bluetooth CODEC.
Height2 inches
Length8.6 inches
Width7.6 inches
LabelCambridge Audio
List Price$679.00
ManufacturerCambridge Audio
ModelDacMagic Plus
MPNDacMagic Plus-B
Package Quantity1
Product GroupReceiver or Amplifier
Product Type NameAUDIO_OR_VIDEO
PublisherCambridge Audio
StudioCambridge Audio
TitleCambridge Audio Azur DacMagic Plus Digital to Analogue Convert, Black
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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