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Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #1
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-cambridge-dacmagic-plus.6887/

Quote from: amirm
Conclusions
The Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus gets a lot right here. It is nice looking with tons of features including balanced output. It is from a high-end audio brand yet it doesn't costs too much above budget produces. It is clearly well engineered with nothing other than clipping in minimum phase filter standing out. Its performance is probably limited by the Wolfson DAC chip landing in the lower middle of DACs tested.

The inclusion of XLR balanced output makes up for measured results to some extent and pushes me to put the DacMagic Plus on my recommended list.
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Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #2
So, why use this instead of a cheap Behringer, Swissonic (Thomann) or (less cheap) Focusrite interface?

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #3
Quote
I decided it to change with a better one,
Most DACs & soundcards* are better than human hearing so you're unlikely to hear any difference in a proper scientific, blind, level-matched ABX test..   There could be differences in the headphone amplifier (one may be noisy than the other or one may have higher output, etc.). 

And if you have a power amp with balanced XLR inputs you may want the XLR outputs.    But unless you've got long connections & noise problems, balanced connections won't automatically/magically improve the sound.

If you want "better sound", get better speakers (different speakers will sound different) or use some equalization, or maybe acoustically treat your listening room.

*Some soundcards/laptops have audible noise.   Frequency response & distortion are almost always better than human hearing.   Those are the only 3 characteristics/specs that affect/define the sound quality of a DAC.  

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #4
Quote
So, why use this instead of a cheap Behringer, Swissonic (Thomann) or (less cheap) Focusrite interface?

I decided to improve some my stereo system, because I love music a lot (jazz). I replaced my old speakers (Monitor Audio Bronze B1 -bookshelf-) with a pair of Opera Seconda (tower speakers).

I will replace my DAC unit, and also my current integrated amplifier (which is a Denon PMA 720).

I think Opera Seconda's are an improvement to Monitor Audio Bronze B1's.

Quote
Most DACs & soundcards* are better than human hearing so you're unlikely to hear any difference

I think (& hope) Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus will be better, because my soundcard at present (Presonus AudioBox) limits the audio in 16bit/48kHz for example.

As I could understood from manuals, CA DacMagic Plus accepts incoming audio up to 24bit/192kHz.

Isn't it better?

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #5
Quote
I think (& hope) Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus will be better, because my soundcard at present (Presonus AudioBox) limits the audio in 16bit/48kHz for example.

As I could understood from manuals, CA DacMagic Plus accepts incoming audio up to 24bit/192kHz.

Isn't it better?
No.  If you have a high-resolution file and downsample to "CD quality" (44.1kHz/16-bits) you won't hear a difference.       (There may be more than one version of the AudioBox but the one I looked-up is 24-bits/48kHz.)

Plus, most of your music probably isn't high-resolution.

Don't be fooled by "audiophile nonsense"!     And don't be fooled by non-scientific, non-blind listening tests, even if you are the one listening.   You might want to read this.

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #6
You forgot one item on your list: a hearing upgrade. The speaker change is a matter of personal choice so, if you prefer them, no-one should tell you you're wrong. However, in the real world the Denon's performance exceeds your hearing's capabilities and so does 16-bit/48kHz source material. Unless you're getting (and need) additional features, extra power etc you will most certainly be wasting your money. I thoroughly recommend you do your homework before throwing money at "improvements".

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #7
Hello antz... What do you mean with "doing my homework"?

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #8
Hello antz... What do you mean with "doing my homework"?
Perhaps English isn't your first language in which case I'm sorry if it confused you. I simply mean that, before you spend your money, you should find out what might be, what will be and what won't be an improvement in your system. You seem to think that the Denon isn't good enough, for instance. These days it's very hard-to-impossible to find an amplifier that has a "sound", unless you gravitate to some over-priced and under-performing valve (tube) amp for instance. Effectively, the choice nowadays comes down to things like output power, features, aesthetics and wanting a particular brand.

Likewise, you seem to be concerned about limiting your source to 16-bit (or maybe 24)/48kHz. However, the so-called Hi-Res material has no advantage at all, not from being Hi-Res per se anyway. If you don't understand that, perhaps it's time to study the science and find out why.

Sorry if any of that sounds harsh or abrupt, it's not meant that way.

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #9
Hello again antz... Yes, you're right, English is my not first language, I know English a little, as I could learned while I was in school.

Spending money to audio units; generally I have a thought that "if it's expensive, it's better - good product = good money."

Of course this thought may be wrong, I'm trying to learn something about stereo audio, therefore I registered to hydrogen audio forums...

For example, say I will change my amplifier unit, I will buy a new one: The best thing to do is:

- the same source (let's say source is a CD player)
- the same song
- the same DAC
- the same loudspeakers

...and then test the amplifiers one by one.

But it's no possible, no hi fi stores gives me this chance.

Then, I have only option left, that is considering price, asking people in forums, reading reviews.

I mean finally, in hi fi audio; it's hard to be sure that the money you spent went to the right place; you're right again.

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #10
Hello again antz... Yes, you're right, English is my not first language, I know English a little, as I could learned while I was in school.

Spending money to audio units; generally I have a thought that "if it's expensive, it's better - good product = good money."

Of course this thought may be wrong, I'm trying to learn something about stereo audio, therefore I registered to hydrogen audio forums...
It's only true up to a point. If you buy some very cheap, badly made equipment then the quality might suffer and reliability might be poor. Away from the bottom end of the price scale, there is some very well made and high quality gear which will perform flawlessly for years. At the top price range there is boutique audiophile gear which is based on "more expensive=better" and the aim is to make it as expensive as possible with sound quality sometimes a secondary concern.

For example, say I will change my amplifier unit, I will buy a new one: The best thing to do is:

- the same source (let's say source is a CD player)
- the same song
- the same DAC
- the same loudspeakers

...and then test the amplifiers one by one.

But it's no possible, no hi fi stores gives me this chance.

Then, I have only option left, that is considering price, asking people in forums, reading reviews.

I mean finally, in hi fi audio; it's hard to be sure that the money you spent went to the right place; you're right again.
Correct, it's not always possible to compare gear in a scientific manner, in fact it's near impossible in a commercial setting. However, the thing to realise is that competently designed modern gear (this does not necessarily include boutique gear) is almost never defective in terms of sound quality. What features do you need? What level of power does your amp need? Is the brand a reputable one? These are the questions to ask. A piece of gear with more features is likely to be more expensive but if you don't need and never will need the features, why pay the higher price?

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #11
The problem with "doing homework" (research) is that there's more false information than true information...

In the old days (1950s, 60s, 70s) audio was an interesting hobby for many people and the average home didn't have a good sounding audio system.    But at some point it became cheap & easy to build very-good electronics so the only thing "interesting" s speakers and turntables/phono cartridges.    Then, the CD was introduced and in a short time the cost of a CD player came down and anybody could have a great-sounding CD player     The only thing left to talk about was speakers and the audio hobby mostly died-off.

One thing that's worse with modern electronics is the speakers built-into flat screen TVs.    The larger cabinet of older TVs made a better speaker cabinet.   But of course, modern TVs have high-quality analog & digital connections to plug-in a home theater receiver with better speakers (including optional surround sound).

Nowadays, the audiophile community is dominated by "crazy people" and much of what you read is false.   (HydrogenAudio is a rare exception.)   And, a lot of audiophiles are old guys who never gave-up the hobby and you've got to assume most of these old guys have some normal age-related hearing loss.

   
 

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #12
Spending money to audio units; generally I have a thought that "if it's expensive, it's better - good product = good money."

That is true up to about 100-150 US dollars.  At that price you can buy something so good that improvement is no longer meaningful.  If you try to spend a lot more you either get integrated amplifiers, specialized features for things like low latency audio recording, or you're getting cheated.

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #13
So to compare the two: Both accept USB-audio input. Both have line-out, the Presonous using 1/4" jacks rather than RCA, no big deal.

Presonus Audiobox: $100. Headphone out. Digital inputs: one USB digital up to 96/24. Other inputs: dual microphone inputs (offering phantom power) and volume mixer.
Cambridge DacMagic: $200. No headphone out. Digital inputs: USB + 2x coax + TOSlink, up to 192/24. Other inputs: none.

If you want headphone out, the DacMagic has none.
If you have digital sources outputting S/PDIF, the Presonus accepts none. The DacMagic supports one more audio format, 192/24 - doesn't that mean you can hook up a Blu-Ray to it? In any case, you cannot connect S/PDIF to the Presonus at all.

Apart from possible 192/24 from a device other than a computer, I wouldn't care for the extra format - from a computer, I would nevertheless have to set up a resampler to handle my odd 22.05/24/32 kHz files. (And the two 352.8 DSDs that I downloaded from 2L out of curiosity to check WavPack's abilities.)


Spending money to audio units; generally I have a thought that "if it's expensive, it's better - good product = good money."
That is true up to about 100-150 US dollars.  At that price you can buy something so good that improvement is no longer meaningful.   If you try to spend a lot more you either get integrated amplifiers, specialized features for things like low latency audio recording, or you're getting cheated.
Well, for consumer audio, you would expect microphone input with phantom and mixing to be "specialized features" and expect that some of the $100 would be spent on that. So from the $100-150 quote, one could suspect there would be room for improvement. Of course, if one already has the Presonus Audiobox:  try to borrow and test, rather than spend $200 for differences that may or may not exist.

BTW, I wonder what would be the retail price of a component with only box, power supply, print card that does nothing, CE sticker and a retailer network which honors returns of defective components. Atop that, DAC chips aren't expensive.
But putting up a production line is. So even if prices aren't "outright fraud" - and Cambridge aren't the worst in the business, and $200 isn't outrageous - mumbo-jumbo garage brands are typically grossly inefficient. It costs them $$$s to produce the first unit of a very few, and you could just instead have just bought some less flashy gear. [Which I guess some of the less honest ones do, and re-box it.]
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Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #14
Quote
If you want headphone out, the DacMagic has none.

What is the socket marked 'Phones' for then?

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #15
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If you want headphone out, the DacMagic has none.

What is the socket marked 'Phones' for then?

That's the sign of an idiot (= myself) only checking the reverse side. Thanks for the correction.
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Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #16
Spending money to audio units; generally I have a thought that "if it's expensive, it's better - good product = good money."

That is true up to about 100-150 US dollars.

For USB DACs I'd say it is true even up to 10$  ;D :
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-apple-vs-google-usb-c-headphone-adapters.5541/

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #17
In What Hi Fi? review of DacMagic Plus, it says (as negatively):

Quote
Lacks dynamic power,
hint of brightness to treble frequencies

What does this means, can you explain it some?

I can't understand what it means because of my insufficient English.

https://www.whathifi.com/cambridge-audio/dacmagic-plus/review

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #18
In What Hi Fi? review of DacMagic Plus, it says (as negatively):

Quote
Lacks dynamic power,
hint of brightness to treble frequencies

What does this means, can you explain it some?

I can't understand what it means because of my insufficient English.

https://www.whathifi.com/cambridge-audio/dacmagic-plus/review
First off, you really need to ignore what most magazines say. They're paid to produce a magazine and it has to say *something*, even if it's not true or it's meaningless or irrelevant. Almost no-one actually tests gear in a scientific way either.

What they're suggesting by dynamic power, I have no clue. Doesn't seem like a term that could be applied to a DAC and doesn't really mean anything sensible anyway. As for the treble, they're suggesting it's too pronounced, which, frankly, seems unlikely to be true if the spec is to be believed.

Re: Your opinions about Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus

Reply #19
Thank you @antz.

 
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