How does my Cambridge Dacmagic plus compare to "real" amps?
And if I wanna upgrade later on, can I keep it as a dac but upgrade to another amp? or do I need a better dac to?
Sure looks like a real amp to me as it is now. A lot of modern equipment is a combination of both DAC and Amp.
There's a pretty extensive thread on it:
It appears to have balanced outputs, so I'd imagine it would do very well if you decided to get a stand-alone amp later on.
It's the best dac amp/headphone combo I've owned. I own and use the audio gd fun which has, I think, a bit better headphone amp but the dacmagic plus has a better sounding dac section I think. I did a lot of research before picking up the dacmagic plus. I think in its price range it is one of the better choices. I esp. like that the output can be variable or fixed. Right now I'm using it fixed as I am using with my main 2 channel rig. Very few amp/dacs can be used either variable or fixed so I think you made a pretty good impulse buy.
I owned the DACMagic plus for quite some time and it is an excellent DAC. I really couldnt find any fault with it and it was powering my headphone setup and Adam A7x Studio monitors. Also it worked as an excellent preamp. Since the volume was digitally controlled, there was no channel imbalance or sound coloration. Also the USB section worked great and there was no clicks, pops or hums.
On the amp section, i used the Dacmagic Plus to power HD800, T1, RS1 and Q701. I have never heard my RS1 sound better in any setup and it was a perfect match. It was a very bad match with the T1 and i think it was because of the 600 ohm resistance. HD800 was a decent match but i found the setup a bit bright. I guess it was because both HD800 and DACMagic are both bright in nature. It was a very good match with the Q701. So to summerise, as long as your headphone is not bright or power hungry, the DACMagic Plus should do the job very well. I retired my Matrix M-stage when i bought the DACMagic Plus because when i added the M-stage in the chain, i felt like the amp was taming the highs. This wasnt bad because the HD800 benefited from the coloration provided by the M-stage.
Nope. Never owned the dt990. But considering the powerful tesla driver, i think dt990 should be even more difficult to drive that its big brother. With the T1 and DACMagic plus, the mids were recessed. The HD800 had more mids than T1 but the Q701 had the most. Although the HD800 was more clean and accurate, the Q701 was more lively and exciting. I actually preferred the Q701 because most of my collection is female vocals with little musical arrangements and the forwards mids of the Q701 really helped deliver an intimate musical presentation.