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Cambridge DACMagic, anyone? (THREAD II) - Page 5

post #61 of 642
My Dacmagic is on the way from Audioadvisor I also ordered lifatec mini to toslink from my MBP to dacmagic and blue jeans cable rca to min to my A5

I'm so excited! This will be my first decent setup.
post #62 of 642
Anyone know if the DACMagic would be a step-up from my Squeezebox?

My left brain is telling me that sources don't make much difference in sound (when volume match) other than the voltage coming out of it. Some dudes on the slim devices couldn't even tell the difference between the Squeezebox and the >$1000 Transporter when volume matched.

My right brain says its all about the music - spend the money!
post #63 of 642
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max F View Post
Anyone know if the DACMagic would be a step-up from my Squeezebox?

My left brain is telling me that sources don't make much difference in sound (when volume match) other than the voltage coming out of it. Some dudes on the slim devices couldn't even tell the difference between the Squeezebox and the >$1000 Transporter when volume matched.

My right brain says its all about the music - spend the money!
Doesn't the Squeezebox have a built in DAC?
post #64 of 642
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Il Mostro View Post
Only headphone guys could get excited about this POS. It is far from being a giant killer. Also, far from being anywhere close to adequate in a main system. I just do not understand why people drop their standards to next to nothing when selecting a DAC for HP use.
And your opinion is based on what?
post #65 of 642
Quote:
Originally Posted by Il Mostro View Post
Only headphone guys could get excited about this POS. It is far from being a giant killer. Also, far from being anywhere close to adequate in a main system. I just do not understand why people drop their standards to next to nothing when selecting a DAC for HP use.
Have you heard it at least???
post #66 of 642
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max F View Post
Anyone know if the DACMagic would be a step-up from my Squeezebox?

My left brain is telling me that sources don't make much difference in sound (when volume match) other than the voltage coming out of it. Some dudes on the slim devices couldn't even tell the difference between the Squeezebox and the >$1000 Transporter when volume matched.

My right brain says its all about the music - spend the money!
The DacMagic is a definite and significant step up from the squeezebox DACs. The difference is not subtle.
Regarding output voltages and volume-matching, as an analogy, think of it this way; if you look at a 640x480 resolution picture on your computer screen and use the zoom function to enlarge it to 1080x720, do you think it will look as good as a picture taken at the latter resolution? Sure the size is the same but the content isn't
post #67 of 642
Aiming to eliminate as many variables as possible, and because the Dacmagic does not have a headphone socket, this test is conducted as thus:

HP nc8430 -> usb -> Edirol UA-25 / Cambridge Audio Dacmagic -> RCA -> RSA Tomahawk portable headphone amp -> Senn HD600

Playback on notebook are via asio4all and Foobar. Test tracks are as in the speaker test (see link)

******

Three differences were apparent and confirmed through multiple listenings [sic] of the play-list of the superiority of the Dacmagic. Just as well then as it sells for 2x the Edirol.

a) Bass volume and presence

Immediately when those notes started playing at the beginning of Fallin', the bass quantity is greater than through the Edirol. On Breathe it just fills empty spaces that you did not realise was being vacated! At this stage it is too early for me to determine how the quality of the bass has changed, even as the quantity has increased but I would tentatively say that there does not appear to be any encroachment by boominess [sic]

That is not to say in any sense, however, that the bass quantity has increased to detract from the rest of the sound or to distract. Indeed I believe the Dacmagic has more about it and can exert greater control and finesse over the music. At the same time as the repeating bassline on Breathe is playing out, the background modulating effect that begins early on in the track has more presence and forwardness about it. In the Edirol it is relegated off-stage. It is like dishonouring an important supporting act

b) Sound stage

No doubt about it, the Dacmagic certainly has a wider sound stage than the Edirol. There is just more room to play with. Where before I did not know it, different elements of the song overlapped and competed for space. Now everything is nicely balances and spaced out. And with that some of the details trickle out and the underlying elements of songs are unmasked (as above, with Breathe). Instruments now gain those little extra peaks and reach not found on the Edirol. A touch sharper, a touch more tonal structure, just a touch more realism

c) Volume

Small thing. Through the Dacmagic, I need to turn the volume knob on the Tomahawk up from 9am to 10am to drive my HD600. Amp is set to high gain

d) Mids, or rather the vocals

Wow. I do not know what to say. I want to try experimenting and see if the Technics will act as a pre-amp but I have to say the vocals are just lifted up another level. They are quite good before, but through the Dacmagic they are more of a show stopper. I played one favoured track of female ballad-ey vocals (if I knew the English translation I'd post it). By way of metaphor, where my heart rate rose through the Edirol, my heart skipped a beat when I hooked up the Dacmagic. There is just that je ne sais quoi quality now present. Heart melting

******

That's my thoughts for now. I reserve judgement on whether the Dacmagic is worth the cost
post #68 of 642
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFC_SL View Post
b) Sound stage

No doubt about it, the Dacmagic certainly has a wider sound stage than the Edirol. There is just more room to play with. A touch sharper, a touch more tonal structure, just a touch more realism

c) Volume
d) Mids, or rather the vocals
I'd have to agree with these, coming from a Corda 3Move. The first thing I noticed when my ears adjusted, after a couple of hours, was the separation; sound is more expansive, yet also more immediate. I found the DACmagic to have much greater clarity as well.

I got a little boost in the mids, even though my amp is lacking in this department, and it runs 'hotter' for volume through my amp.
post #69 of 642
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFC_SL View Post
******

That's my thoughts for now. I reserve judgement on whether the Dacmagic is worth the cost
great review, though I'm wondering what judgement your reserving with those enthusiastic impressions. Overall, I felt it was in line with my thoughts of this DAC.

I'd say this DAC shines with hip hop, electronic/rock, techno, etc. It seems to favor the beating drum, rhythm, and pristine vocals. The classic songs I listen to (from Motown to Beatles, etc.) don't sound as "live" or airy as they have with previous DACs, but still sound great nonetheless.

Just to give you an idea of the music I listen to:

New Order
Daft Punk
Junior Boys
Kasabian
The Rapture
Gang Starr (anything with DJ Premier)
90s hip hop in general (some new stuff)
Kings of Leon (the odd one on this list?)
Radiohead
Sade
Depeche Mode (songs seem like they're MADE for this DAC)
post #70 of 642
Richer Sounds have put the 840c price up to £899.95, a hundred quid rise.

Think the Dac Magic has anything to do with that?
post #71 of 642
Thread Starter 
TO LFC SL: Great review, thanks. I have the Edirol UA-1EX which I'm using
for USB > Optical conversion in the chain. I sent my DacMagic for mods
(which never happened) recently and was left with the Edirol unit.
IMO the DacMagic is in a totally different league...from memory the
UA-1EX had a compressed soundstage, lack of dynamics, and weak bass
and treble. I gave up listening and waited for my DacMagic's return.


Quote:
Originally Posted by roker View Post
I'd say this DAC shines with hip hop, electronic/rock, techno, etc. It seems to favor the beating drum, rhythm, and pristine vocals.
Couldn't agree more!

Some recommendations from my collection that the DacMagic really
brings to life:

Dj Shadow - Endtroducing
Cowboy junkies - The Trinity Sessions
Moby - Wait for Me (SUPERB!)
Eagles - Long Road Out of Eden
Jeff Beck - Wired
Newtonn Faulkner - Hand built by Robots
Robert Plant Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
The Who - Who's Next
Sasha - Invol2ver
John Digweed (Transitions 3 & 4) Dacmagic showcase.
post #72 of 642
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stvn758 View Post
Richer Sounds have put the 840c price up to £899.95, a hundred quid rise.

Think the Dac Magic has anything to do with that?
You would think they were priced far enough apart already.

They have a graded 840C for £599.95

CAMBRIDGE AUDIO 840C-BLK-GRD at Richer Sounds - HI-FI Separates, Home Cinema, Speakers, MP3 DVD Portables, Plasma LCD, etc.
post #73 of 642
Quote:
Originally Posted by vlach View Post
Regarding output voltages and volume-matching, as an analogy, think of it this way; if you look at a 640x480 resolution picture on your computer screen and use the zoom function to enlarge it to 1080x720, do you think it will look as good as a picture taken at the latter resolution? Sure the size is the same but the content isn't
Poor analogy. Like comparing the difference in size between a hill and a mountain to that between an ant and a buick. Let's stick to audio and leave image resampling to the temporally challenged world of photoshop.
post #74 of 642
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anetode View Post
Let's stick to audio and leave image resampling to the temporally challenged world of photoshop.
--- SNIP ----

Comment removed.
post #75 of 642
Quote:
Originally Posted by thathertz View Post
You would think they were priced far enough apart already.

They have a graded 840C for £599.95

CAMBRIDGE AUDIO 840C-BLK-GRD at Richer Sounds - HI-FI Separates, Home Cinema, Speakers, MP3 DVD Portables, Plasma LCD, etc.
They are selling a new silver one for £699. Maybe they are releasing a new version. Wonder how many people tempted to buy an 840c for it's DAC abilities have instead gone for the DM.
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