Cambridge Audio has launched a new entry-level digital-to-analogue converter and headphone amp called the DacMagic XS. It's an USB-only design and costs £99.95. The DacMagic XS is tiny, about the size of a small box of matches, and built with an aluminium case.
It can be switched between USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 operation - the latter allowing an upper resolution limit of 24-bit/192kHz. A small LED indicator changes colour according to the sampling frequency of the incoming signal. The DAC's output is limited to a 3.5mm jack.
This can be used to drive a wide range of headphones due to a relatively beefy amplifier section – Cambridge claims it's ten times more powerful than a typical laptop headphone amplifier.
Turn the analogue volume control to maximum and the DacMagic XS is happy to drive the input stages of any partnering amplifier too. The DacMagic XS is available in shops from November, and we'll be publishing our exclusive review here on whathifi.com later today.