Cambridge Audio Adds USB Headphone DAC

By Joseph Palenchar On Oct 30 2013 - 9:27am

Cambridge Audio’s $189 matchbox-size DacMagic XS connects to headphones and bypa
Cambridge Audio’s $189 matchbox-size DacMagic XS connects to headphones and bypasses a computer’s built-in sound card.


London — High-end audio supplier Cambridge Audio continues to diversify into new audio segments with the launch of its first dedicated USB headphone DAC.

The $189 matchbox-size DacMagic XS, which bypasses a computer’s built-in sound card, incorporates 192kHz/24-bit DAC and 150mW headphone amplifier, said to deliver 10 times more power than most laptop soundcards. A 3.5mm headphone output on one side connects to a headphone jack, and the other side features a MicroUSB port for connection to a laptop’s USB port.

 Earlier this year, the company diversified into networked music-streaming devices, including a streamer with built-in amplifier, two networked streamers without amplification, and two single-chassis networked speakers.

The brushed-aluminum DacMagic XS, which measures 1.2 inches by 0.4 inch 2.1 inches, features asynchronous USB audio clocking and support for USB Class 1 and USB Class 2. When running in Class 2 mode, the DacMagic XS can be paired with Cambridge’s dedicated Windows USB Class 2 USB driver to bypass the computer’s audio path to prevent unwanted interference and re-sampling, the company said. The driver isn’t needed for Apple computers.

The device’s analog volume control bypasses the computer’s volume control, making it unnecessary to adjust the computer’s volume and the DAC’s volume to reach a desired listening level, the company said.

The device can be used between a laptop and home hi-fi system, the company added.

For home audio use, the company also offers DacMagic 100, DacMagic Plus, 851C, StreamMagic 6 and 751R DACs, all with USB audio inputs for connection to a PC.

Cambridge products are marketed in the U.S. by Champlain, N.Y.-based Audio Plus Services, which also imports and markets multiple other home audio brands.

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