A huge majority of music fans – and a growing number of audiophiles – have turned their laptops into their main source of music, often more for the convenience than anything else.
A spin-off to this fast trending habit is the portable DAC that plugs into a laptop’s USB output, extracting the digital signal and bypassing the computer’s always crappy sonic innards. Link the said USB DAC to a hi-fi system and you have a sonically respectable playback chain.
Cambridge Audio’s just-launched DacMagic XS USB DAC joins this crowded field, but what it does do a bit differently is offer a high-resolution analogue output for your high-end cans – a few sonic leaps away from plugging directly into the computer’s headphone output.
The DacMagic XS, Cambridge declares, is “an instant upgrade to any computer’s sound output. It connects quickly and easily to any USB port and allows you to hear your favourite music and movies with every drop of detail, exactly as the artiste intended.”
The unit plugs into a Windows or Mac computer via a single USB connection for both power and audio, and will “dramatically improve audio quality on all digital audio, including MP3s, high-resolution audio files, streaming services, movies and games.”
Better bass and clarity are guaranteed from the onboard headphone amp, along with better power – the DacMagic XS can also link to your hi-fi amp. It’s tinier than a matchbox and fits easily into the pocket – yet, Cambridge assures that it uses technology from the company’s higher-end DACs.
A volume control is provided, while an LED shows current sample rate at which the signals are being processed.
Check with your local dealer for pricing and delivery dates – we have a feeling this one is destined to fly off the racks!