Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus

Tested at £350

Better sound and better features than the original but you can get better sound


Why hasn't What Hi-Fi informed its readers about the dumbed-down "interpolation" of DAC-chips, which has been crippling CD playback for decades? The main advantage of Dacmagic is that is uses DSP-based interpolation, which gives the CD format the potential for near-SACD quality. If people in general knew how good CDs sound with DSP interpolation, and someone were to market an affordable CD/SACD player with DSP interpolation, I'll bet it would sell like hotcakes.

Having owned an vdac ii and rdac I looked at this as maybe. Having read the review I don't think I'll bother. The rdac to my ears sounded boomy and was easily beaten by the Cambridge 650c. I've had an arcam cd73, Rotel 965 but the azur is by some margin the best out of this lot, and picked it up open box from rs for £150 too. 

I realise synergy is factor and an external Dac's strength is usually it's USB but coupled with a cheap blu ray player they fall short of a dedicated cdp in the same price bracket.

Just bought this DAC and am very happy with it so far.

I am running it through a Roksan Kandy K2 paired with B & W 685 and an ASW10 and I have to say, the quality from my digital music (Mac & PC) has been transformed. I bought the Kandy recently too after passing on my trusty Rotel RA-04 and at first wasn't so happy with the Roksan as I found extended listening periods somewhat tiring when playing straight from iTunes. The DAC Magic Plus and Kandy now produce much better detailing, clarity in the mid and high frequencies are smoother and the tonal balance is spot on. A fantastic upgrade for anyone who plays a lot of digital source music. I am amazed at how much better my old iTunes library sounds now!

Who wrote this review?

There's no mention of whether it is a stereo only DAC, which I assume it is. So if it can't handle surround sound, it aint no good to me.

@ MWC: Come on man, be serious. Name a surround DAC anywhere near this small price bracket.

As ever it's all about system matching when it comes to tonal balance. Works brilliantly with a punchy smooth amp and sweet sounding speakers which offset the brightish top, though its much smoother than the old dacmagic.


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