Cambridge Audio Unveils DacMagic XS USB DAC

Cambridge Audio Unveils DacMagic XS USB DAC
October 31 10:48 2013 Print This Article

DacMagic XS Studio Shot - White Background with USB and headphones plugged in

Cambridge Audio has just announced the DacMagic XS which is a pint-sized Digital to Analog Converter that will unlock the full potential of your music and movies. Many might know Cambridge Audio as being a word-class acoustic design team with decades worth of Hi-Fi audio innovations. The DacMagic XS gives your audio a much needed major boost in quality.

DacMagic XS close up  plugged into laptop + headphones (Mid Res)



We all know that listening to your music on your computer is easy. It’s convenient, you can say “instant” and it provides access to all your digital files and a world of streaming services, internet radio and video sites. The cheap headphone output of what you get out of lets say, a laptop or a computer isn’t enough to get the best quality from your headphones. Try a DAC and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Having a DAC such as the Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS USB DAC is an instant upgrade to any computer’s sound output. There is no need to open up your computer to install it. Just connect it to any available USB port and you’ll hear every detail in your music, just as the artist intended. If your looking for true bass, clarity and power that you’ve been missing from your audio, the DacMagic XS USB DAC is the product for you.

Smaller than a matchbox, the DacMagic XS uses the same technology from Cambridge Audio’s high-end DACs. Having a DAC isn’t just for the audiophiles, it can help to give you pure audio from anything from MP3s to high-resolution lossless files , streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora, Skype, games and films will all dramatically benefit. If you’ve paid for a higher quality subscription service, the DacMagic XS allows you to hear what you’re paying for.

The built-in headphone amp truly increases the punch of your headphones, delivering 10 times more power than most laptop soundcards can manage. Even in the noisiest environments you will hear more of your music and won’t have to worry about that annoying buzz of background noise.

The DacMagic XS also features a volume control, easily adjusted at the tap of a finger. What’s more, a convenient LED shows current sample rate, so you always know if you’re getting the right level of detail.

At home, the DacMagic XS can also bring the same attention to detail to your existing hi-fi set-up. Use it as the link between your laptop and home hi-fi amp for serious digital audio quality, without the space implications of a larger DAC.

And finally, the sleek, sturdy black aluminium case minimizes interference and ensures the DacMagic XS is built to last.

Cambridge Audio states that “No other USB DAC at this price sounds this good or is this small. Hear what you’ve been missing.” I haven’t had my hands yet on this DAC, so I’ll have to take their word for it. Hopefully I can get my hands on a review sample and let you know if it really stacks up to the punch. The only other DAC that I’ve reviewed is the Nuforce DAC.

High quality DAC – The DacMagic XS uses a high quality 24-bit Digital to Analog 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.

Analog 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 minimizes undesirable interference.

DacMagic XS is available from Cambridge Audio specialists for $189.00

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Jessica Yaniv
Jessica Yaniv

Jessica is the founder and editor-in-chief of Covering major tech shows such as CES, Jessica is always there for the latest tech news. Want your gadget to be reviewed or have a release you'd like to be considered for publishing? Send Jessica an email, jessica [at]

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