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DACMagic Plus Impressions - Page 11

post #151 of 390
Originally Posted by AVU View Post

I would never buy anything whatsoever on the basis of a What HIFI review. 

Nor would I particularly trust or give credence to anything they say.

I don't know if you're referring to my post about mixed reviews about the 25.3, or not. But if so, I also agree. I wasn't referring to any mag or online reviews, but users here on headfi. I never put any stock into those reviews. But user reviews carry a little weight with me, but not to the point of whether I would buy something or not. But I do put some stock in what a small number of headfiers say who have similar impressions of my own when it came to gear we both owned. But there isn't one professional review I trust even a little. I always get a laugh when I read pro reviews about stuff I've owned or listened to. They're always so different of what I've actually heard for myself.

post #152 of 390
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

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 ?


Mmmm I do like a good chai latte! But yes, agreed.


post #153 of 390


Edited by our martin - 5/25/12 at 3:19pm
post #154 of 390

Got her. Set it up with the old Canton Karat M30 DC 3-ways and Parasound Zamp v.3.


Futzed around until i got the USB2 ASIO drivers right and started streaming my favorite

streams via Foobar. I did comparos with WMP and Winamp, while the ASIO plugins worked,

both are flawed and freeze many times. Sound quality superior even to my newb years in

Foobar. Foobar works great with copy/paste URLs except proprietary Win formats.


Gone is the Griffin Powermate, replaced by the rotary mute-depress button on the Plus.


The unit is very pleasing aestheticaly too, in spite of the cheap oriental generic packaging.


PSU, is very poor, i have thicker wires on my Christmas tree, I am soldering the bananas tonight,

hooking up the linear PSU tomorrow.


I got lost in AVRO Klassiek/Baroque and Bartok Radio, then played Radio Jazz Plus, then Whisperings.

I forgot to check time, 2 hours went by like minutes.


Sound stage is nicely detailed, midrange is fairly accurate (my Cantons are getting old), i am still

hearing a significant improvement over the X-Meridian. Headphone out will remain unused for the time

being and from what i hear here there are many cards with much better phono stages.


I am very happy, can't wait to see how it will image with the Proac Tablette 50s.


I work every day, so back to the office tomorrow for more testing.

Edited by Kandiru - 12/30/11 at 2:53pm
post #155 of 390
Originally Posted by Kandiru View Post


PSU, is very poor, i have thicker wires on my Christmas tree, I am soldering the bananas tonight,

hooking up the linear PSU tomorrow.



The Switch mode power supply provided for Dacmagic Plus is look cheap  but get it work well.

I tested with good linear power supply for lab use and a external audio grade power supply both found the switch mode power supply get better detail, dynamic on Dacmagic Plus.



The SMPS is 2000ma which 3 times more that current need of Dacmagic Plus (Dacmagic Plus draw 650ma when operating), for DAC and Headphone amp not require very large surge, so it sufficient for bass.

Switch mode get better digital performance and quickly reaction. also the Dacmagic Plus should have internal high frequency switch mode DC-DC filter to eliminate noise.





post #156 of 390
Originally Posted by sclee View Post

The Switch mode power supply provided for Dacmagic Plus is look cheap  but get it work well.

I tested with good linear power supply for lab use and a external audio grade power supply both found the switch mode power supply get better detail, dynamic on Dacmagic Plus.



The SMPS is 2000ma which 3 times more that current need of Dacmagic Plus (Dacmagic Plus draw 650ma when operating), for DAC and Headphone amp not require very large surge, so it sufficient for bass.

Switch mode get better digital performance and quickly reaction. also the Dacmagic Plus should have internal high frequency switch mode DC-DC filter to eliminate noise.





Good points, Dacmagic Plus shows 1.5A on the back, OEM PSU is 2A.


The PSU in the pic i posted earlier also benefits from a replaceable fuse and

internal filters, the capacitors give it considerable weight, so it is a "balanced"

PSU in the sense that it will handle surges well, as well as "filtered" to some

extent. BTW i found the PSU 15 bucks cheaper on Amazon.

Edited by Kandiru - 12/31/11 at 4:46am
post #157 of 390


Originally Posted by Kandiru View Post



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":




I've organised with richer sounds to test out the dacmagic plus tomorrow, and I'd also been quite intrigued by the asus xonar essence one, they're the same price pretty much (£300 for the E1, £350 for the DM+).


Tomorrow I will test USB, S/PDIF and TOSLINK. I'm going to try and get a listen on an E1 sometime soon hopefully but it's kind of hard to find somewhere that stocks it that isn't just an online store. 

post #158 of 390
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by our martin View Post

if you took a look at the what hifi web site you wouldn't have wasted your money on the ibasso stuff and got yourself a hifi man hm 801 or something.... try putting the decks you have got into some krell stuff and then you will see what can be done with sound....nice headphones my friend....look on techradar or cnet with steve guttenberg and get a review of what you are going to buy and you might end up with some good sounding dac/headphone amps for your nice headphones my friend.... i have my two cdj2000s and nexus 900 with two krell evolution ones and a pair of westlake audio tower sm1s and a reactable with a krell fbi and wilson audio thor's hammer subwoofer....words could not describe how good they sound together....i have got them outside my villa in san antonio ibiza....when people come around i say they will be a orchestra playing near by soon...and when they see that it's just coming out of speakers and a sub they can't believe what they are hearing.....the impossible has been done....i use access virus keyboards for making my music,i am a professional dj signed to the ministry of sound anjunabeats armada and defected records the turbosound soundsytems and martin logan sound systems what all the clubs have got are good but can't compete with krell it would be like comparing a ferrari to a f1 car....you would think that krell was made by nasa or something that's how good it is... get yourself an elecrokid or something if you want your ipod to sound good....krell and martin logan the best three grand you will ever spend! i look on what hifi first then tech radar and then on cnet to see if steve guttenberg has made a review....


Mods, ffs, why ? Currawong is happy to delete my posts, and this is allowed to remain in place ?


post #159 of 390
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post


Mods, ffs, why ? Currawong is happy to delete my posts, and this is allowed to remain in place ?


Maybe even a mod doesn't want to read a post when it looks like that :)

Edited by Deadeight - 1/5/12 at 8:08am
post #160 of 390

Ok so below is my original post, exactly detailing my experience. However, since doing it I've learned a lot more about confirmation bias and things in audio etc, (perhaps I wanted my iQube to be worth the money).


I don't want people spending their money one way or the other off of this information, I think if I did testing in future I would try to only ABX test. 


Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


Ok, I tested it today and I would like to post my impressions of the £350 DACMagic Plus. Skip to "Testing - Amp" for the (perhaps) useful bit.



General points


  • I am quite new to the audiophile world, and this is my first time trying to post impressions. Because of that I will only be posting what I heard, as I don't feel that I am experienced enough yet to make any decisive judgements.
  • As I said, I am new to the audiophile world. I don't really understand a lot of the language that people use on these forums, for example specifically what "bright" means, etc. When I describe the sound I will do my best to describe what I heard, and I will actively avoid using any words like "warm" to avoid any confusion, in case it does not mean what I think it does.
  • The unit was a display unit, and perhaps burned in but I guess not, but at least more so than it would be out of the box.
  • It was very simple to use. I noted a few people in this thread complained about it being a hassle, like switching to USB 2.0, but I thought it was fine. Although having said that my mum would not have been able to do it (I'm 22), but that doesn't say much. 






I used a laptop and the audio in, and used the USB port. I am afraid I did not use the S/PDIF or TOSLINK as my laptop has neither of these outputs, it's just one I use for uni. I was listening at the shop, so obviously couldn't use my desktop. Luckily they had internet, but they did think I was a bit mental bringing a laptop and an amp and using the internet to test stuff in the shop and installing drivers etc.


(spoiler: I then didn't buy it, so I'm sure they thought I was one sandwich short of a picnic. It was also kind of awkward giving them back all their cables I used. I don't know how people normally "audition" hardware but I certainly didn't do it the most comfortable way.)



Testing - DAC  This section is entirely skippable


The basic premise of the test was to listen to my on board sound amped by my iQube, and then listen to the the DM+ as a DAC feeding the iQube.


Result: On board sound is ****. I already knew this, so nothing new here. I went from realtek to DM+ and didn't bother switching back and actually testing. The DM+ made an enormous difference which I'm sure I don't need to go into.


Is the DAC better than on board sound? Yes. Is it good compared to it's competition? No clue sorry.



Testing - Amp


So for this test I compared the DM+ amp against my iQube V1. The iQube is a ~£300 portable amp, and there are a few threads on it here.


I switched between the headphone out on the DM+, and using the DAC of the DM+ feeding into my iQube. I started off with BBC Radio 3 HD, and played wav/flacc files including classical, rock, prog rock, etc, and some electronic songs (e.g. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs). I played it through Winamp and have the ASIO plugin for it.


I had a bit of a fiddle trying to make sure the volumes were the same. I actually found this quite time consuming so if someone could give me a tip on doing this quickly I would very much appreciate it. I'm not sure if this is important but, to me at least, if one is a bit louder it seems to increase the volume of the extremely quiet parts more than the loud parts, therefore bringing more of the music out. But yet you kind of gauge the volume by how loud the loud parts are, which I felt had less "sensitivity". I'd quite like some info on that if anyone does, or if something is wrong with my ears :)


So I expected them to be similar seeing as the iQube is in a nice little portable, lightweight, rechargeable unit and that although cheaper does not have any DAC. I was quite wrong.


The sound through the iQube was much "fuller". I was really tempted to buy the DM+ just for use as a DAC, I really liked this sound. Through the amp in the DM+ it was less impressive. I am struggling to describe it so I will draw a picture, apologies in advance because I am bad at paint.


CA DM+ pic.jpg


Ok, so above is a scale of 1-10, and it's not linear, it's probably exponential. 1 is a full piece of music someone has made on a casio keyboard, but all the instruments sound like they're coming out of the same casio keyboard speakers. All the parts sound like one instrument making different noises, and they all blend together. 10 is where you are standing in a room with a full band, and you can hear the symbols as a separate instruments, and the bass and the drums sound like unique sounds. 


The red is realtek audio. The orange is the DM+ amp, and the green is the DM+ dac with the iQube amp. 


I didn't notice any specific difference in hi/mid/low, it was just really good across the board. It was really good, but not great, definitely less than the iQube. It did feel a little bit "compressed". As if the frequency range had gone through a Compressor guitar pedal and squeezed it all in. 


TL;DR The amp on the DM+ blurred things a little. 





I like the DAC, I thought it made really nice sounds, but didn't have something to directly compare it to.


The amp was not great. It wasn't just because it was USB input either, because I liked the USB input, through the DAC and to my iQube. If you are buying this with the intention of using it as a headphone amp, similar dac/amps I am looking into in this price range are the Asus Xonar Essence One, Musical Fidelity V-DAC and V-CAN (possibly with V-PSU) and some of the Audio-gd equipment like the NFB-10SE.



As it stands I think I may buy the NFB-10SE. 






Sorry that was so long, I didn't expect it to be. Thank you for reading if you did. I may come back later and trim some of the rubbish out of this post. If any of it was helpful, I'd like to know. And I would especially like some tips on how to improve my testing for when I'm deciding to buy equipment in the future.




Edited by Deadeight - 1/7/12 at 7:40am
post #161 of 390

the new ibasso d10 is supposed to be good, but the older ibasso dac/amps sounded like a good headphone amp with out a dac, never heard em' with the mod so i couldn't comment, sorry if i offended anyone with what i said, but i would say the way to go is with an hifiman hm 801 with a good pair of headphones!

post #162 of 390

OK, got the new system running.


Dell Precision 370 Win7 Pro cca. 2007 USB2.

Drivers set to "Exclusive" mode, so the Foobar

WASAPI plugin controls the action.


USB2 "audiophile" cable with separate

power and digital cables, ebay.hk


DM Plus USB2 drivers with linear PSU


Monster M1000i XLR-RCA


Parasound Zamp v.3


DYI Belden 10AWG 99.9% oxygen free, silver solder. gold plated ring terminals (butane torches run hot!)


ProAc Tablette 50 with sterling silver jumpers on Bell'O stands.



ASIO = FAIL, same at home on my 2010  Dell T7500. Winamp, WMP, plugins poor, Foobar freezes on all

systems. Ran a search "WASAPI better than ASIO" and i was surprised to see the results. Apparently if

you do not mix music WASAPi is just as good.


WASAPI = A-OK with MAIKO (or mother in most Slavic languages) plugin fro Winamp but still buggy, PERFECT with Foobar 24 bit.


So all testing with Foobar WASAPI.


I also tested the system with my Canton Karat M30 D's, they can't hold a candle to the ProAcs.


Sound is filling, soundstage is marvelous, Suburbs of Goa and Radio Jazz Plus excel. AVRO Baroque shines

too, Bartok Radio (national pride:) is reaching new heights.


This little Christmas adventure unfortunately exacerbated my chronic upgraditis again, so now i am in the process of replacing

my cables in the mancave separates system to match the new reference SACD player:)


I just wish manufacturers and software people talked more to each other, computer audio is so much fun but

very painful to implement.



Edited by Kandiru - 1/7/12 at 11:34am
post #163 of 390
I went to a local retailer today and listened to it for about two hours today before buying it. Using my Ed. 8, fed via Toslink from the CambridgeAudio NP30, playing 16bit FLAC.

I tried the headphone out and unbalanced RCA to Graham Slee Ultra Linear amp. The headphone amp is average, I think that it sounds pretty much like a solid portable headphone amp. It doesn't compare to a full-size amp though, the Graham Slee's dynamics were clearly superior. There was a very clear difference between the DacMagic Plus amp and the true full-size amp.

I'm mostly going to use this as a pre-amp for active monitors via XLR, so the DAC part is most important to me and it didn't disappoint. I think that it sounded very good for the $600 price tag. The volume knob doesn't feel cheap, but it is unfortunate that it doesn't have a display.

Overall, the DacMagic Plus is not a giant killer, but it's an adequate package for the price. For a fully-balanced DAC/pre-amp that has a reasonable headphone amp, I think that it's a worthwhile purchase.
Edited by fomoz - 1/7/12 at 3:07pm
post #164 of 390
To be honest, the main reason why I bought the DacMagic Plus yesterday was because in the morning I saw an ad for a pair of used Dynaudio BM 12A for a good price. I picked them up in the evening and so far I have to say that I'm very satisfied with the DacMagic Plus. I'm using the Cambridge Audio USB 2.0 ASIO driver. Setting it up was very easy since I've already been using an ASIO plugin in Winamp.

Please note that I couldn't care less about the headphone out at this point, I think that it's an extra that might seldom be useful. I might start leaving my Ed. 8 at the office now smily_headphones1.gif



The first steps of getting the office setup that I want...


Next, a new office chair! Hopefully gonna have time for this tomorrow, my blue chair kinda sucks LOL!
Edited by fomoz - 1/7/12 at 11:50pm
post #165 of 390
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