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Cambridge Audio DacMagic Owners Thread

Discussion in 'DACs' started by Duffinator, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. Duffinator

    Duffinator Spin The Black Circle

    Messages:
    7,633
    Location:
    Roseville, CA
    I ordered a silver one and was curious what other owners think of theirs and how this Dac stacks up to others. The DacMagic at $400 seems like a terrific value although I'm sure it's not the end all in Dacs. Supposedly the March 2009 issue of Stereophile has a review and recommended settings but I can't seem to get my hands on a copy. This is my first external Dac and my goal is for it to sound better than my current CD player and Dac in my pre. If it does I'll be happy for now.

    While there are several other Dacs available in the $1K range the one that looks the most appealing to me is the Benchmark Dac1. But at three times the price with USB I decided to start with the DacMagic. I wonder how long it will be until someone is offering mods for the DacMagic.

    Anyway here's what I'm doing with mine.

    Source: From iTunes on a PC via Ethernet to an Apple TV using ALAC files.

    Comparison: I'm currently using the internal Dac in my Denon DVD-2900 which is used for CD and SACD playback. I'm running my ATV through the Dac in my Denon DAP-2500A with good results but I'm sure the 20 year old Dac technology can be improved upon. I will use the optical output from my ATV and Coax output from my DVD-2900.

    Review: Will post when I receive it. Have any of you noticed sound quality improvement after hours of use?

    Modifications/Upgrades: Please post any modifications or upgrades that can be done to improve the sound quality. Compared to a $1,200 Benchmark Dac1 there's plenty of money available for upgrades.

    [​IMG]
     

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  2. Face

    Face BROKEN

    Messages:
    1,402
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    My dealer has had one on order for me for over a month now. It appears Cambridge likes to fulfill their larger client's orders first and skip over the little guys. :thumbsdn:
     
  3. Duffinator

    Duffinator Spin The Black Circle

    Messages:
    7,633
    Location:
    Roseville, CA
    The demand for these Dac's has been so strong they cannot keep them in stock. The next shipment should arrive next week.
     
  4. thedelihaus

    thedelihaus Nocturnal transmissions

    Messages:
    29,301
    Location:
    Boston Area, Massachusetts
    The sound should be similar to the 640 and 740 CDP.

    I had a 640c and it performed admireably in my main system- enough that I had stopped running (and sold some of) my DACs. I no longer have my Adcom or Entech and will sell one of the remaining three- the Parasound, PS Audio or EAD.

    I found the Wolfson chipset and whatever else was used in the analogue stage of the 640c to be delightful.
     
  5. mwicks

    mwicks Active Member

    Messages:
    290
    I really want to get one of these to run between my PS3 and 640A integrated. Most likely my next larger audio purchase.
     
  6. gelmhirst

    gelmhirst What?

    Messages:
    370
    Location:
    Toronto
    dac magic

    Preliminary report - Dac arrived 6 weeks early as it was back ordered...hooked it up yesterday. My objective was to find the absolute most cost effective dac as a temporary solution as money's tight right now, the MDA1000 will have to wait. Lots of research and nothing but positive reviews led me to this Dac.

    The dac needs to burn in no doubt...it has been a little too sterile, not as warm as I was expecting. I do like the 3 filters though, I did not think I would notice that much difference between them but I do. And I didn't realize until the night before picking it up, the USB B-A cord to my PC means I can sit at my desk and operate the system directly out of my iTunes database...

    I'm also impressed with the build quality. I did try it sideways, sitting on the rubber base but later switched to sitting flat. Both positions are very stable.

    I will have to report back after a few days of burn in, my last 24/192 experience was a McIntosh mcd201. So far so good.
     

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  7. Duffinator

    Duffinator Spin The Black Circle

    Messages:
    7,633
    Location:
    Roseville, CA
    Thanks for the update. The Dac in my preamp is a bit sterile sounding and I'm also looking for more warmth from the DM. So it arrived six weeks early? It would be nice if mine was shipped this week.

    And nice rack, are shelves solid wood or wood veneer?
     
  8. gelmhirst

    gelmhirst What?

    Messages:
    370
    Location:
    Toronto
    Yeah, I was expecting mid March, but got a call Friday. I will say that on day two the dac is already sounding different, better, warmer. There is additional separation, clarity and detail throughout most tracks. If it does continue to burn in nicely I expect to be very pleased, more to come.
     
  9. gelmhirst

    gelmhirst What?

    Messages:
    370
    Location:
    Toronto
    Funny about the shelves. I cannibalized an existing Plateau 4 shelf rack because of the massiveness of the amp. I took out the black 2x2 posts and drilled out the existing post rod holes with an auger bit to fit the Home Depot bolts. I already had the nuts and bolts from a previous home made rack so for the cost of a new hack saw blade (1.99), I made this rack. The Plateau shelves are laminated and extremely dense. Very heavy as well. When it's full forget about moving it. Of the 4 shelves, I doubled up the bottom shelf for the amp, and I only require 3 shelves anyway, it worked out, pic attached. Being able to move the shelves up and down is a huge benefit.
     

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  10. bottlerocket

    bottlerocket New Member

    Messages:
    43
    duffinator, I will post an oddity I am seeing with the Cambridge DAC and my blue ray player. To be clear, I don't think this has anything at all to do with the DAC itself. I hooked up my Sony BDP 350, blue ray player via the SPDIF coaxial output to the DAC to a 2 channel amp. At startup, on almost all Blue Rays and DVDs, there is no audio until the actual movie starts playing. For example, no audio on the producer splash or previews and no audio at the Blue Ray menu, then the audio works fine once the movie starts. I've set my blue ray to default to the digital output and 2 channel PCM.

    My work around now is I have both RCAs going from my blue ray to my amp directly and then also have the SPDIF/Coax going to my DAC and then to my amp and I switch inputs on my amp if I need to.

    Also there is no difference at all in the sound quality between Blue ray via SPDIF >> DAC >> Amp and the other option Blue ray via RCA >>> Amp. I am perplexed by this as the Sony is not known for good sound quality.

    Aside from that quirk which again probably has nothing to do with the DAC, I am pleased with the Cambridge Audio. I agree on the burn in. Mine warmed up after a few days and overall the detail that it produces is very good.
     
  11. Duffinator

    Duffinator Spin The Black Circle

    Messages:
    7,633
    Location:
    Roseville, CA
    BR, I suspect that the non-movie audio tracks are only available in DD/DTS and their output is not compatible with PCM. Meaning there are no stereo tracks available in the digital domain or what format they are is not compatible with the non DD/DTS DM. Or something like that. :scratch2:

    As for the analog vs. optical have you listened to this with a familiar CD and could not tell a difference? I understand the Dac's in the PS3 are pretty good but I have no idea how good they sound on a BD350.
     

     

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  12. thedelihaus

    thedelihaus Nocturnal transmissions

    Messages:
    29,301
    Location:
    Boston Area, Massachusetts
    I'm running warmish amps and a neutral pair of speakers and pre-amp right now- plus had plenty of burn-in time on the Cambridge.

    I'll be interested in hearing your opinions on the DAC and any sterile or brightness issues.
     
  13. Duffinator

    Duffinator Spin The Black Circle

    Messages:
    7,633
    Location:
    Roseville, CA
    On your 640C?
     
  14. thedelihaus

    thedelihaus Nocturnal transmissions

    Messages:
    29,301
    Location:
    Boston Area, Massachusetts
    Yes- the 640c. I hope you don't mind me contributing to this thread- though it's not a DAC, I did spend time around a 640c, 740c and 840c.
     
  15. Duffinator

    Duffinator Spin The Black Circle

    Messages:
    7,633
    Location:
    Roseville, CA
    You are more than welcome to contribute. :thmbsp:
     
  16. thedelihaus

    thedelihaus Nocturnal transmissions

    Messages:
    29,301
    Location:
    Boston Area, Massachusetts
    thank you. There are obvious differences betwixt the two but I feel the sound signature is basically the same.

    More interested to hear what you fellas will be posting.

    Cheers!
     

     

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  17. bottlerocket

    bottlerocket New Member

    Messages:
    43
    A review in hi fi+ (issue 62) had this to say about the Cambridge Audio DAC.

    <<"It will make a cheap CD player sound like something between a Cambridge Audio Azur 740C and an 840C (which is still saying a lot .... these are a fine pair of CD players, and take the pre-sampling up to dizzy 384khz heights.) It won't intrinsically improve a good, current player costing more than 1000 pounds or a decade old player costing 1500 pounds or more when new." >>>

    They have a lot more good things to say and it is an informative review.
     
  18. mamboni

    mamboni Ohm Walsh afficionado

    Messages:
    138
    Location:
    Bucks County, PA
    I've been using the DacMagic for about 6 weeks now and it is fantastic. It easily bests by early 1990s vintage Rotel CD player and is better than my mid 1990s Pioneer Elite SP99D processor's dual Burr-Brown 18-bit D/A converters (which are quite excellent). DacMagic has better low level detail retrieval, smoother sound, and much more extended highs. Cymbals and bells sound almost like the real thing - whereas before they tended to sound like steam hissing. I've settled on the min-phase filter because it is most analog and fluid sounding of the three filter choices. This is a great D/A converter - for the price it is a screaming bargain. I can't compare it to beaucoup dollars D/A converters because I haven't heard them and I am far to practical to spend that kind of money for such rapidly diminishing returns.
     
  19. Duffinator

    Duffinator Spin The Black Circle

    Messages:
    7,633
    Location:
    Roseville, CA
    Which source input are you using, optical, coax, or USB?
     
  20. rwortman

    rwortman Active Member

    Messages:
    490
    Location:
    New Milford, CT USA
    I have been running mine since November. I got mine from Spearit Audio in MA when almost everyone had no stock. You might give their website a look-see and call them if you are interested in one and your dealer has none. I thought it sounded great right out of the box. I am using it primarily to play FLAC files on my PC and internet music services such as Pandora and Sirius over my wireless network through my Squeezebox duet. I sold my Dynaco CDV-2 and bought a Marantz DV6001 at the same time. I sometimes use the Marantz as a transport for the DADMagic for CD and DVD-A but to be honest the Marantz sounds pretty darn good on its own and sometimes I don't bother.
     

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