What the hell is all that in the title, I hear you say! It is a lot of funny looking letters, but I must translate it for all of you.
A DAC is a digital to analog convertor. For example, something that will take the bits and bytes out of your MP3 and convert it to sound you can hear. Now most computers have that built in, and essentially that is what a sound card does for you. However, as you may have noticed, the sound from your laptop never really comes close to what you achieve when you are watching the same thing on your television. It is quite simple. The system there is reasonable, but not quite tuned for audio.
However, if deep inside you is an audiophile, and you’d like to be shaken (not stirred) by your movies and music (or swept away to some Mozart or Beethoven), you need something better. Cambridge Audio have the answer in the form of this device.
Now that we have given this long winded introduction, let’s take a closer look at the device.
Plugging in to your USB, and incredibly small, this device is there to sort all those issues out. Connect your computer to any audio system, and be amazed at how the quality improves.
Some of the features are:
High quality DAC – The DacMagic XS uses a high quality 24-bit Digital to Analogue Converter to provide far superior sound than your computer would ever be capable of.
More power – The built-in headphone amp puts out 150mW of serious power, for the bass and volume you need even in the noisiest environments.
Analogue volume control – Finger-tip volume control fully bypasses the soundcard and volume control of your computer. Not only does this improve sound quality, but also means no more combinations of button presses with two hands, or several mouse clicks to change volume.
High resolution audio – Most computers can’t play high resolution audio through their headphone output. Featuring asynchronous USB audio clocking, and supporting both USB Class 1 and USB Class 2, the DacMagic XS can be used to play everything from MP3 to the highest quality 24-bit/192kHz studio master recordings from your computer, free from unwanted noise, jitter and distortion.
USB Class 2 audio – When running in Class 2 mode, the DacMagic XS can also use Cambridge Audio’s dedicated Windows USB Class 2 USB driver (driver not required for Apple computers). This allows you to bypass the computer operating system’s poor audio path, preventing unwanted interference and re-sampling, guaranteeing a professional quality audio output.
Versatile connections – Micro USB and 3.5mm headphone connections mean the DacMagic XS isn’t just easy to connect laptop to headphones, it can also be used to connect your laptop to your home hi-fi.
LED sample rate indicator – Ensures that you always know you’re getting the best quality or when you’ve hit maximum/minimum volume.
Micro USB cable included – by plugging in via a cable, the DacMagic XS avoids adding a bulky and easily-bashed lump to the side of your laptop, unlike some inferior USB DACs.
Tiny case – The (W x H x D) 30 x 10 x 53.5mm (1.2 x 0.4 x 2.1’’) brushed aluminium case weighs a mere 100g, protects the electronics from shock or damage, and minimises undesirable interference.
DacMagic XS is available from Richer Sounds Stores nationwide, priced £99.95.