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Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus

Stereo DAC/headphone amp/preamp (Black)

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Item # 779DACMPLB

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Our take on the Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus

Cambridge Audio set the benchmark for sound quality and value when they introduced the original DacMagic digital-to-analog converter. It helped music lovers significantly upgrade the sound from their computers, game consoles, network music players, or any other device with a digital audio output. Now Cambridge has raised the bar even higher with their latest offering, the DacMagic Plus. This impressive new DAC offers more features and flexibility than its predecessor, including a dedicated headphone amp for private listening, upgraded USB input capability, and optional Bluetooth® wireless connectivity.

Add more magic to your music


Cambridge Audio set the benchmark for sound quality and value when they introduced the original DacMagic digital-to-analog converter. It helped music lovers significantly upgrade the sound from their computers, game consoles, network music players, or any other device with a digital audio output. Now Cambridge has raised the bar even higher with their latest offering, the DacMagic Plus. This impressive new DAC offers more features and flexibility than its predecessor, including a dedicated headphone amp for private listening, upgraded USB input capability, and optional Bluetooth® wireless connectivity.

Connect the DacMagic Plus between your music source's digital audio output and your receiver, amp, or powered speakers, and this versatile DAC will bypass the one inside your PC or player — magically transforming those cold hard zeroes and ones into warm, organic sound. You'll immediately experience greater dynamic impact and transparency, with instruments and vocals standing out from each other to occupy their own distinct space.

More magic on the inside than ever

The DacMagic Plus comes packed with advanced circuitry designed to extract the best possible sound from all your digital sources. Twin Wolfson DACs are used in a dual differential configuration to cancel out noise and distortion while providing excellent stereo imaging. Cambridge's sophisticated Adapted Time Filter 2 technology upsamples all incoming digital audio to a 24-bit/384kHz signal in order to resolve extremely fine detail. The end result is dramatically improved sound from every digital source in your system.

Now with the asynchronous USB advantage

Standard USB outputs from most computers pose a serious limitation to sound quality. That's because while you're trying to listen to music, your PC is busy performing virus scans, data backup, and other background tasks that may take priority over your tunes, causing it to alter the data rate to suit its own needs. Unfortunately, this situation results in timing errors within the digital data stream — known as "jitter" — that adversely affect sound quality. Jitter can make your music sound harsh and edgy, and smear subtle details.

The newly re-designed DacMagic Plus solves this problem by reaching out to your computer through the USB interface, and instructing it to relinquish control of the data stream timing. In its place, this advanced DAC inserts its own separate, or asynchronous, clock to precisely control the timing of the data rate, reducing jitter to the vanishing point. You'll hear a stunning improvement in low-level ambient detail along with a wider, deeper soundstage.

High-res audio

Enjoy high-resolution USB audio

Along with all the sonic benefits the DacMagic Plus provides for your compressed and CD-quality music files, it also has another trick up its sleeve — it decodes high-resolution data streams with up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution through its USB connection, so you can enjoy better-than-CD audio quality. (Free USB driver download required for Windows® PCs.) If you download high-res music files from HDtracks and other audiophile sources, this DAC will ensure that you hear them in all their glory.

Other audiophile features

Cambridge Audio also included some neat features guaranteed to appeal to audiophiles. A choice of three digital filters lets you tweak and fine-tune the sound to match your system and room. The DacMagic Plus lets you experiment with different filter settings for each source, always remembering the last setting assigned to each one. A phase inversion switch lets you correct for out-of-phase recordings or amplifiers that invert phase. Cambridge even included an incoming sample rate indicator which shows the original source quality.


The DacMagic Plus offers multiple digital inputs for all of your sound sources plus RCA and pro-quality XLR outputs.

Plenty of connections for your gear

DacMagic Plus lets you connect multiple digital source components to your home audio or desktop system:

  • two coaxial digital inputs: ideal for connecting a CD or DVD player, Logitech Squeezebox™ Touch, Sonos® Connect, or any other digital audio component with coax out, and taking advantage of the DacMagic Plus's high-performance processor for better sound.
  • two optical digital inputs: ready to take on almost any HDTV, set-top box, game console, or other digital sources with optical digital output, and feed a high-quality audio signal into your stereo system.
  • Type B USB jack feeds digital audio from your computer into the DacMagic Plus's onboard digital-to-analog converter, bypassing your computer's sound card to yield much clearer sound with stored music files and Internet radio.

A pair of gold-plated RCA outputs lets you connect the DacMagic Plus to your home audio system's receiver or integrated amp. Or feed a set of powered speakers for a high-end, compact desktop stereo. The built-in volume control even lets you connect a power amp directly, using the DacMagic Plus as a preamp. Cambridge Audio also included a pair of balanced XLR outputs for an even higher-quality hookup with compatible audio components. A full-size headphone jack lets you take advantage of the DAC's built-in headphone amp for private listening. Optical and coaxial digital outputs allow you to bypass the DacMagic Plus when you're playing surround sound from a Blu-ray or DVD player, so you don't have to change cable connections when you switch from music to movies.

BT100 Bluetooth adapter

Use the BT100 Bluetooth audio adapter for wireless digital transmission to the DacMagicPlus.

High-quality sound with wireless convenience

You can also go cable-free with Cambridge Audio's optional plug-and-play BT100 Bluetooth® wireless audio receiver. This receiver lets you stream music wirelessly from your iPhone®, Android™ smartphone, iPad®, tablet, laptop or any device that supports Bluetooth audio. Best of all, if your smartphone, tablet, or computer supports high-end CSR aptX® Bluetooth audio, you can stream near CD-quality music from your device to the DacMagic Plus.

Product Highlights:

  • twin Wolfson Microelectronics 8740 24-bit digital-to-analog converters in dual differential mode for precise stereo imaging
  • asynchronous USB technology for reduced timing jitter and better sound on USB input
  • Anagram Technologies Adapted Time Filtering 2 (ATF2) 24-bit/384kHz audio up-sampling with jitter reduction for better sound with compressed audio sources
  • incoming sampling rate indicator helps verify source quality
  • choice of three filter settings for fine-tuning sound to suit your listening preferences
  • phase-inversion switch to compensate for out-of-phase recordings or phase-inverting amplifiers
  • built-in headphone amplifier and full-size (1/4") front-panel headphone jack
  • Bluetooth ready for wireless playback from any compatible Bluetooth device (requires optional Cambridge Audio BT100 wireless audio receiver)
  • supports the high-quality Bluetooth aptX CODEC for streaming audiophile quality music from a compatible Bluetooth device
  • two digital inputs with both optical (Toslink) and RCA coaxial (S/PDIF) jacks
  • USB (Type B) input for connection to a computer
  • optical and coaxial digital outputs (pass-through)
  • RCA and balanced XLR audio outputs (both active simultaneously)
  • supported sample rates:
    • USB: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, and 96kHz (24-bit/192kHz supported with downloaded USB driver and ASIO or kernel streaming modes)
    • optical: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, and 192kHz
    • coaxial: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, and 192kHz
  • built-in driver for USB 1.0 connection (up to 24-bit/96kHZ)
  • dedicated Cambridge Audio USB 2.0 driver for 24-bit/192kHz playback on a Windows® PC (free USB driver download available from Cambridge Audio website)
  • Mac OSX 10.5 or later supports 24-bit/192kHz USB output natively, so no dedicated driver is required
  • frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz (±0.1 dB)
  • THD: <0.002%
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 112 dB
  • external power supply included
  • non-slip silicone stand and 4 self-adhesive rubber feet included
  • 8-1/2"W x 2-1/16"H x 9-5/16"D (horizontal orientation)
  • weight: 2.6 lbs. (without power supply)
  • If connecting to a TV, please make sure you can select "PCM" output in its audio menu. This DAC cannot decode multi-channel Dolby® Digital signals.
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • External digital-to-analog converter
  • AC power adapter (with attached 4' DC cord)
  • 3 AC power plugs (US/EU/UK)
  • 28" USB (type-B) to USB (type-A) cable
  • 4 Self-adhesive rubber-feet (for horizontal orientation)
  • Rubber base (for vertical orientation)
  • User's Manual (Eng/Fre/Spa/Ita)

Featured Video

It is amazing how much a good DAC can warm up digital sources. I run my CD player, android tablet, and android phone through this DAC and it sounds great! There is a choice of 3 slopes and each works well depending on the source being played. Money well spent.

Rich, Dagsboro, DE


Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus Reviews

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Product Research



Overview: The Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic Plus is a high-quality up-sampling digital-to-analog converter. The DacMagic Plus features a range of components to enhance your music listening experience - these include a 32-bit Analog Devices Digital Signal Processor (DSP), dual Differential Virtual Earth balanced filter topology, and twin Wolfson WM8740 high quality DACs in dual differential mode for excellent stereo imaging. Other features include a choice of digital filters (linear phase/minimum phase/steep filter) and an incoming sampling rate indicator which shows the original source quality. The Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus can effectively upgrade the audio from your computer, your network music devices, game consoles, or standard CD/DVD player to truly high-end, audiophile-quality sound.

Dual Wolfson DACs: The Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus employs two very high-quality Wolfson WM8740 24-bit DAC ICs in dual-differential mode for excellent stereo imaging. Since each channel has its own DAC to process information, completely separate and symmetrical analog filter circuitry can be implemented. This implementation allows both the left- and right-channel circuitry to operate identically, ensuring the DacMagic Plus delivers fantastic sound-staging and stereo-imaging properties.

Dual Differential Virtual Earth Balanced Filter Topology: The DacMagic Plus uses Cambridge Audio's proprietary Dual Differential Virtual Earth Balanced filter topology, configured as a low-order two-pole liner-phase Bessel filter, in order to take advantage of the achieved high-sampling rate. As a result your music will have extreme linearity with greater dynamic range.

32-bit DSP (Digital Signal Processor): A 32-bit Analog Devices ADSP2161 Digital Signal Processor (DSP) eradicates jitter, a problem which blurs the timing information of reproduced audio signals resulting in degraded audio quality. The DacMagic Plus intrinsically re-clocks all the audio data - removing jitter, noise, and distortion in the process, so your music sounds full and realistic. This is especially effective when listening to music stored on your computer or media player.

ATF2 (Adaptive Time Filtering): The Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus utilizes an asynchronous up-sampling process called "Adaptive Time Filtering 2nd Generation" that intelligently interpolates (converts) incoming audio data from 16-24 bits (at any standard sampling frequency between 32-96kHz) to 24-bit/384kHz for dramatically improved musical reproduction. ATF2 will enhance the audio clarity, richness, and dynamic range of your compressed music.

Aluminum Front-Panel: The DacMagic Plus employs a substantial aluminum front-panel, plus an ultra-rigid, acoustically dampened chassis to prevent audio distortion caused by vibration.

Horizontal or Vertical Placement: The DacMagic Plus can be placed in two different positions (horizontal or vertical). It can be placed horizontally by fitting the four small self-adhesive rubber feet to the bottom of the unit, or vertically by using the large rubber base.


Phase Filter Select: The DacMagic Plus's 32-bit DSP employs Cambridge Audio's own proprietary digital filter algorithms with three different filter options available - Linear Phase, Minimum Phase, and Steep. Controlled from one switch on the front-panel, they are extremely clever audiophile topologies specifically developed for audio playback and all offer excellent sound quality, but differ slightly to appeal to a wide range of listening tastes.

  • Linear Phase Filter: The Linear Phase Filter is the same as used in Cambridge Audio's flagship Azur 840C upsampling CD player. It uniquely features 'constant group delay' which delays all audio signals at all frequencies by the same amount - meaning all audio is fully time-coherent at the output.
  • Minimum Phase Filter: The Minimum Phase Filter does not feature constant group delay, but rather has been optimized without feed-forward so that the impulse response exhibits no pre-ringing in the time domain. Many audiophiles have argued that the pre-ringing, as seen in nearly all digital filter designs, may affect the transient attack of percussive instruments. Minimum phase implementation eliminates this and is a technology only seen previously in some extremely high-end CD playback systems
  • Steep Filter: The steep filter removes undistinguishable artifacts via re-calibration for a very slight roll-off at 20kHz, but an ultra-steep drop to the stop-band just after 20kHz.

Note: These three filters are all of the highest quality, but offer subtle differences for the user to enjoy. The type of filter chosen is remembered for each input individually, so that it is possible to use one for PC playback (via USB) and another for CD playback (via SPDIF).

Digital Preamp Mode: The Digital Preamp Mode is used to connect the DacMagic directly to a separate power amplifier or active speakers. The DacMagic Plus is supplied as default with Digital Preamp mode enabled. In this mode, the output from the Unbalanced and Balanced audio outputs is controlled by the front panel Volume control.  If you wish to disable this mode (and have fixed line-level level output from the Unbalanced and Balanced Audio outputs) switch the DacMagic Plus off, then push and hold the Volume control in while switching the DacMagic Plus on.

Ground/Lift Switch: When Grounded, the DacMagic Plus is connected to the earth connection of the PC directly. When Lifted the ground connection is made via a network designed to break any hum loops that may be caused by the source equipment. The Grounded setting is recommended, unless audible hum is experienced


USB Port: A rear-panel 24-bit/192kHz USB (type-B) port enables the DacMagic Plus to be connected to your Windows PC or Mac computer. The DacMagic Plus will act as a very high-quality DAC/sound-card with very low jitter for your computer, offering genuine Hi-Fi-quality playback from your stored music and Internet radio. The DacMagic Plus is both USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed) and USB 1.1 (Full-speed) USB port compatible. It will also work with the new USB 3.0 ports where the PC will simply treat the DacMagic Plus as if it were a USB 2.0 or 1.1 device.

  • PC Compatible: With the DacMagic Plus switched to USB Audio 1.0 (this is the default setting), the DacMagic Plus will work with the native Windows XP, Vista or 7 Audio 1.0 driver (no need to load any new driver) and accept audio up to 24-bit/96kHz. With the DacMagic Plus switched to USB Audio 2.0, the DacMagic Plus needs the Cambridge Audio USB Audio 2.0 Driver to be loaded and can then accept up to 24-bit/192kHz (and support ASIO and WASAPI Exclusive if required).
  • Mac Compatible: No extra drivers are required to connect your Mac computer. With the DacMagic Plus switched to USB Audio 1.1,  the DacMagic Plus will work with the native Mac OS-X 10.5 (Leopard) or above Audio 1.0 driver and accept audio up to 24/96kHz. With the DacMagic Plus switched to USB Audio 2.0 the DacMagic Plus works with the native Mac OS-X 10.5 (Leopard) or above Audio 2.0 driver and can accept audio up to 24/192kHz.

Digital Inputs: The DacMagic Plus is fitted with two rear-panel 24-bit digital inputs. Each digital input consists of an optical and coaxial digital connection. The optical and coaxial digital input allow a wide range of digital source (CD, DVD, Game Console, etc.) to be connected to the DacMagic Plus.

Note: Only one of the two types (optical/coaxial) of each digital input should be connected at any one time. If both the optical and coaxial inputs have connections made to them, neither will work. This unit only decodes two-channel LPCM digital audio (Dolby Digital 2.0). If you connect a DVD or similar device, please ensure that the audio output of the player is set to two-channel PCM.

Digital Output: A rear-panel digital output (optical/coaxial) allows pass-through of the selected digital source for recording purposes (no up-sampling performed). These outputs loop or pass-through unprocessed digital audio from the selected digital input.

Note: Both the optical and coaxial digital outputs are always active and can be used to connect and run equipment at the same time. A 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS signal can be passed through the unit's digital outputs. The 5.1ch signal is not decoded or processed (only pass-through).

Balanced & Unbalanced Outputs: The Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus features both balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) audio outputs to connect to a wide variety of home stereo receivers and amplifiers.

  • Unbalanced: The DacMagic Plus features an unbalanced stereo analog RCA audio output for connecting your stereo receiver or amplifier.
  • Balanced: The DacMagic Plus features true balanced XLR analog audio outputs to connect high-end home receivers and amplifiers. XLR is a higher-quality output that can reject noise and interference with equipment with balanced inputs.

Note: It is possible to use the unbalanced stereo RCA output and the balanced XLR outputs at the same time for connecting two different amplifiers or multi-room operation. The analog audio outputs are muted, if the DacMagic Plus receives a 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS signal.

Headphone Output: The DacMagic Plus' front-panel headphone output (1/4") allows for personal listening from your set of high quality headphones. When headphones are connected, the headphone volume can be adjusted using the volume knob.  This is always independent of the level of the balanced or unbalanced audio outputs.

Bluetooth Ready: Simply plug in the optional Cambridge Audio BT100 Bluetooth Audio Receiver (779BT100, sold separately) into the DacMagic Plus' rear-panel USB (type-A) port for wireless music streaming from many of today's most popular Bluetooth supporting devices; such as iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone, Android tablet, and Mac or Windows PC.  The BT100 even supports the high-quality Bluetooth aptX CODEC, so you can stream audiophile quality music from your Bluetooth-enabled source device to the DacMagic Plus.

Note: Due to the differences in Bluetooth technology, some Bluetooth enabled devices may be incompatible, function improperly, or may not support all features when used with the DacMagic Plus.

Power Requirements: The Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus operates off of standard household AC current, using the supplied AC power adapter. The external power adapter is separate from the digital-analog-converter to further improve sound quality.

  • Input: 100-240V~50/60Hz, 0.55A
  • Output: 12V - 2A

Note: The supplied AC power adapter includes AC power plug inserts for North America, Europe, and the United Kingdom.


D/A Converters: Dual Wolfson WM8740 24-bit DACs

Digital Filter: Analog Devices ADSP21261 32-bit DSP (up-sampling to 24-bit/384kHz)

Analog Filter: 2-Pole Dual Differential Bessel Double Virtual Earth Balanced

Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz (+/- 0.1 dB)

Total Harmonic Distortion:

  • @ 1 kHz (0 dbBFs): < 0.001%
  • @ 1 kHz (-10 dBFs): < 0.001%
  • @ 20 kHz (0 dBFs): < 0.002%

Signal-to-Noise Ratio: -112 dBr

Total Correlated Jitter: < 130 pS


  • @ 1 kHz: < -130 dB
  • @ 20 kHz: < -112 dB

Output Impedance: < 50 ohms

Output Level:

  • Unbalanced: 2.1V rms
  • Balanced: 4.2V rms (2.1V per phase)

Digital Input Bit-Rates: 16- to 24-bit

Digital Input Sampling Frequencies: 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192 kHz

Audio Output Up-Sampling: Fixed 24-bit/384kHz

Headphone Output:

  • Frequency Response: 10Hz to 100kHz
  • THD:
    • @1kHz: 0dBFS 24-bit signal with 22kHz low pass filter = 0.001%
    • @ 20khz: 0dBFS 24-bit signal with 80kHz low pass filter = 0.003%
  • S/N: -111 dBrA
  • Recommended Headphones: impedance between 32 to 600 ohm

Power Consumption: 12 watt


Horizontal Orientation:

  • Width = 8.5"
  • Height = 2.0625" (2.1875" with feet)
  • Depth = 9.3125

Vertical Orientation: (with stand)

  • Width = 3.125"
  • Height = 9.125"
  • Depth = 9.375"

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Staff Reviews

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

Ben from Cambridge Audio talks about their brilliant digital-to-analog converter, the DacMagic Plus. It's designed to improve the sound from all your digital sources.

Finely tuned sound for finely tuned ears

Written by Ralph Graves, Staff Writer - Creative, on 4/16/2012 11:04:00 AM

I had a chance to try the DacMagic Plus out in our Labs with some different speaker and headphone options (as well as a variety of sound sources). If you're the type of person who prefers uncompressed audio files to lossy formats, then the higher level of performance that the DacMagic Plus offers is probably for you.

The DacMagic Plus gave me some control over the incoming signal. I could change the phase, as well as select the filters, for example. And the unit displayed the sampling rate (which can be good to know). Control is great, but results are better - and they were results I could hear. I deliberately played some 128kbps MP3s, and they didn't sound too bad.

But it was the high-resolution audio tracks that the DacMagic was made for. I listened to some HD Tracks, some WAV files, and some Apple Lossless tracks, and heard an extraordinary amount of detail in all three. Plus, the sound didn't seem to have any of the slight digital harshness that I often perceive when I listen to my digital music library.

What are the Labs?

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