VMP Gear Review: The Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS - USB DAC / Headphone Ampit

On June 11th 2015

It’s a known fact that computer audio is, well, meh.  However, what isn’t well known is how much it can be improved with some basic hardware. After checking out the Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS - USB DAC / Headphone Ampit seems we’ve been missing out for quite a while now, settling for computer-standard audio when something…well, magical (sorry, not sorry), was out there for the taking.


picture via head-fi.com

Most audiophiles have seen headphone amps in relation to a home hi-fi system, but Cambridge Audio has created a DAC / Headphone Amp designed to be used with your computer, greatly enhancing the audio output of movies, music & even apps like Skype.  Here are a few of the features:


  • Plugs into PC/Mac via a single USB connection for both power and audio

  • Dramatically improves audio quality on all digital audio, including MP3s, high res audio files (e.g. FLAC or WAV), streaming services, films and games

  • Headphone amplifier built in for deeper bass and times more power than a standard laptop headphone output

  • Portable Headphone Amp is easy to use and small enough to be carried anywhere and everywhere

  • Connect your laptop to your hifi system for better sound at home too

  • Built to last with sturdy aluminum casing


If music is a lifestyle for you rather than just something you dabble in from time-to-time, and ESPECIALLY if you spend a lot of time listening to music via your laptop, you owe it to yourself to upgrade your listening experience.  At $199, the DacMagic is a small investment, but one that is worth the reward of hearing the spittle coming from Joe Cocker’s mouth during “The Letter” or the stomach-churning bass of James Blake’s “No Limit To Your Love”.

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