You have a personal music library that would take two months of straight listening to get through from beginning to end. You subscribe to a dozen online streaming services and can instantly satisfy even the slightest musical whim (like calling up that one song from A-Ha’s second album that you really like but are afraid to admit to your friends). You even have some good speakers and some understanding neighbors. So, what can a man so close to musical nirvana possibly need? The answer is simple, the Cambridge Audio’s DacMagic ($429). The one piece of gear that will undoubtedly push your digital music experience to dazzling new heights.
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How can one piece of Hi-Fi kit do so much for an already solid system? Without going into the deep, dark corners of the complex world of digital-audio, we can focus on the DacMagic’s sole purpose: to upsample any digital signal it receives to wondrous 24-bit/192kHz audio, and to send that pristine signal to the rest of your Hi-Fi setup. This is meaningful because the higher the rate of sampling for a digital music source, the closer to the real world analog signal (which is perfectly smooth) it becomes. So, for computer-based audio systems, which are constantly dealing with compressed, lower quality sources, this upsampling is indeed border-line magical. Sonically, the DacMagic makes you feel like you have had cotton taken out of your ears; dynamic-range is extended, realism is greatly enhanced, and the soundstage is opened up beautifully, even for the most low-resolution digital material like those leftover from your college Napster days. Within moments of getting the DacMagic setup (greatly aided by offering both USB and Digital Toslink connectivity), you will be introduced to a whole new world of sonic detail that it has “extracted” from the source signal, and in a somewhat Zen-like turn, turned on to the importance of space and openness between voices, which it exposes with real clarity.
At $430, the DacMagic more than justifies its cost with the detail and life it adds to all of your digital music sources, and in taking you one step closer to musical Nirvana, leaves you wondering how you ever went without it.
Buy Now: $429
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