Edited by opalfroot - 12/23/11 at 2:38am
I just got it about one week about 500USD at HK.
I connect with
1. WIN7 USB ASIO ON FOOBAR
2. MAC connect by firewire (Focusite 24 DSP) to digital input S/PDIF
I used as upgrade our firewire audio output and wish connect my windows laptop by USB.
1. Good headphone output (quality can be compare as about 300USD headphone amp), much better that most CDP/ Sound card Headphone output.
2. AFT2 up sampling bypass DAC Digital Filter, result with much dynamic, widely, provide more detail and reduce digital effect, good musical, much better that analog output from Firewire sound card.
3. Digital Vol Control good for precision change of sound level.
4. Good USB output, about 95% sound quality of S/PDIF input by firewire sound card, should on the top edge even compare as professional USB sound card,
my opinion is no need use a external USB sound card for Digital Input.
1. No manual switch between analog output and headphone, you plug the headphone will mute back analog output, need plug out for analog output.
2. Very basic driver, just control of latency (compare as most professional sound card driver)
3. No LCD display for volume and display information.
4. No individual setting that maintance of digital volume level for each input (although the unit remain filter/phase set for each input )
Whilst Headfonia Mike hasnt listed it on his January 'To-Do List', I expect that a review of the DM Plus wont be too far away. He seems to be able to get his hands on kit virtually at will - half his luck.
btw what are the reviews coming up in the next month??
Plenty of DACs, including the XDac, Dac HD and Devilsound, Bifrost from Schiit, and the Fiio E17.
like someone else in the thread was saying if your pc or laptop mac or macbook or whatever has a good sound card a dac wouldn't make much of a difference a good headphone amp would probably do the trick!
It depending on your sound card and DAC quality, most consumer target expensive sound card marketing on sound quality produce not natural sound, too aggressive sound to attach people this sound card good.
Most semi-professional sound card that personal can afford (said lower that 1000USD) target for music production with good analogue output which used for monitor purpose,
however most finally material record directly to computer file,
so the quality of DAC circuit just need acceptable, and mostly use codec (DAC and ADC) instead of high quality independent DAC,
with so many output and input, so don't thing those sound card with very good 2-channel output.
The professional sound card have very good software, control such as revert and EQ and low latency for many channel input / output for musical production and used as software synthesizer.
In the DAC market, which so many brand name compare as professional sound card market. It theory should be better that professional sound card for a device that only working for 2-channel Digital to Analogue.
However, many DAC from luxury Hifi brand name can not handle DAC very well, it just like a BMW manufacturing a luxury 4WD used on Tibet. Very expensive DAC not mean good sound, you need to try, some expensive DAC even like sound come from cheap sound card.
I have been reading some of the comments about the Dacmagic's usb input. Firstly I think posters should specify exactly which model they are talking about. As usual with most things on the internet there seems to be a lot of comment based on secondhand sources.
I bought my Dacmagic (Azure) because I am ripping my entire cd collection to save space. So the USB input is very important to me. I had read and read around the subject and at one time thought about the yulong d100 from ebay but rejected that because no schematic is available and it looks difficult to mod. I read a review in 'what HIFI sound and vision' which give the Dacmagic 5 stars and praises the sound of it's usb input!!
I rigged it up to my heavily modded sony cd via optical out and also to my HP laptop. Then I compared USB to the optical. The USB was clearly inferior. I started to think 'why?' My first thought was the cable so I used the one supplied by Cambridge which is shorter. That improved things but there was still a difference. Then I got a Netbook to hold all my ripped CDs. On another forum some referred to a review of the Dacmagic where Cambridge had replied that the problem was not their input but the laptop power supply used in the sterophile review. BTW I read people criticising the Dacmagic for only having a 16 bit USB input. According to the What HIFI review that is pretty much standard and a perusal of the specs of other DACs in the price range confirms that view. So what's all the fuzz about? Back to the story; my Samsung netbook can run for 5 hours on batteries only, so last night I tested it's USB (without power supply) through the dac magic again against optical. After several hours I came to conclusion that if a difference existed it is now very small. I kept changing my mind about which I preferred. My feeling is therefore that some members of this and other forums have been excessively vociferous in their condemnation of the DAC magic's USB input even at times misinformed. Indeed, my simple research, described, seems to show that those who condemn USB per se may also need to review their opinion.
Dacmagic (version without volume control) yes it sounds fine via the USB but is limited to 16/44. Ive always used mine with the USB to SPDIF though which isolates from any ground loops from the PC which is on a different circuit.
Dacmagic Plus, you wont need a USB to SPDIF converter with this at all, it good via the USB, you can download the driver if you need 24/192. It even has a ground lift switch for the USB that cuts out any grounding problems (great idea Cambridge Audio).
Although i have an advanced home theater setup with separates and listen regularly to SACDs i have to admit i am a total newb
when it comes to USB2 24/192 DACs.
My current office setup: X-Meridian 7.1>Parasound Zamp v.3> Canton M 30 DC 3-ways is getting long-in-the-tooth (read boring) after 10
years of service.
What i have in mind:
Panamax 5100>Dell 370 win7 USB2 (first USB2 Dell) >DacMagic Plus with linear generic 12v 2A PSU>Monoprice XLR to RCA>Zamp v.3>DYI Belden 10AWG
with spades > Proac Tablette 50 bookshelves
The Monoprices are sure to raise eyebrows, in fact i got them for pennies a while back, got unterminated M1000i XLRs i may be terminating them with Neutrik
male RCAs for the Zamp end.
I will be listening to winamp and octoshape stations mostly muzak:)
I like the fact that i will be able to control everything from the Dacmagic Plus, although i got used to just hitting the Griffin Powermate controller
when a phone call comes through with my current setup. Obviously and luckily for me (Dell 370 2007 model is compliant) ASIO will be the way
to go, Winamp has an ASIO plugin.
Lastly, how does it compare to the Asus Xonar Essence One? I had the PCI (PCI-E had poor reviews) version and returned it, was unmoved on the system listed above.
As for the confusion with USB2, here is Cambridge's own "Guide to Perfect USB Audio":
1. Welcome to Head-Fi. Sorry for your wallet.
2. You will find that more folk will read lengthy posts if you break them down into manageable chunks, with paragraphs and line breaks.
3. I have had varying success with powered USB hubs and various DACs - unfortunately, I haven't been able to audition the DM Plus - but I can see where CA are coming from : I just don't have the technical background to say exactly why that would be the case.
Hope this helps,
It gives linear 12v 2A, which is the Dacmagic Plus's spec, i ordered one, the price is good. Have to hook it up to the oscilloscope and
put their claims of linearity to the test. At almost 3 lbs it should have some capacitors:)
I'm interested in this, musical fidelity m1 a, music hall 25.3, and the audio lab dac. It's really hard trying to decide between the these. I really like the feature set of the magic+, but I fear all of those features may come at a sacrifice of audio performance which I don't want. The 25.3 has mixed reviews, and the audio lab seem universally loved. But it's just a little out of my budget at the time. But I would be willing to stretch it a bit it it's really worth it. I will say that now is a very good time for dac shopping. Just so many options in the below 1000.00 price range.
I am thinking of just sticking an $5 USB bluetooth dongle and see what happens, i have 3 different brands.
Streaming A2DP radio from my Droid X if the corporate firewall gets too strong at work, so far i am still well tunneled.
I have a Xoom honeycomb tablet built into the dash and it is streaming superbly into the B&O Audi/Panasonic system.
Absolutely agree - I'm not sure why Head-Fiers place any faith in a magazine which is clearly focussed on selling electronics on behalf of advertisers, particularly the British audio franchises which provide many of the review samples. Many here complain about overly long, inordinately wordy kit reviews in certain magazines, but the 'oooh, its so shiny !' approach taken by What Hi-Fi is laughable. Some of the kit they review might be a step up from Bose, but it remains in that 'Gee, wouldnt that look good in my living room !' pantheon of puerile 'lifestyle electronics'. Somebody get me a Chi Latte and a rug made from a Mongolian Yak, would you ?