DACmagic Plus at last!
I have been mulling over whether or not to get a DACmagic Plus for some time now, but had almost dismissed the idea after finding my Saffire Pro 24 for a really good price.
I started out with a Roland UA-25 and moved on to the Saffire so that I could use a DAC without needing a computer switched on, as the UA-25 was USB bus powered only. The move to the Saffire gave me this extra flexibility and made for a quieter system, perhaps due to better preamps, but definitely in the hum stakes. I don't know what was causing it, but probably some sort of grounding issue in my system.
Anyway, back to the DACmagic. I don't know that I am able to comment too much on its sonic qualities, other than to say that it does the job sufficiently well, with no discernable artifacts and is detailed and appears transparent. There are three filter options that I will explore at some point.
I could not accurately compare this to the Saffire, due to not being able to test back to back because of the way the monitors are connected, but there was no glaringly obvious difference between the two, mostly the DACmagic was bought for extra inputs for expandability (it also looks less utilitarian and matches the Mac quite well).
If differences in sound quality exist, they are small, the biggest differences being in features and looks. I prefer the DM+ for its aesthetics and number of inputs, but the Saffire is more versatile and has the ability to capture audio (it is studio equipment after all).
A couple of minor gripes I have for the DM+ are the plastic volume control knob and the very fine volume adjustment, which needs several turns it seems, to go from no gain to full.
Both offer very good value for the features on offer, but I couldn't resist the DAC week bargain price from Richer Sounds, so the Saffire will be going to another home in the future.