Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus
Many years ago, at the height of the CD player boom, a new device called a DAC found its way to hi-fi store shelves, promising to improve the sound from the new shiny discs. A DAC or Digital-Analog Converter did exactly what it sounds like: it converted a CD's ones and zeroes to soundwaves.
But this was back in the days of mostly analog receivers. When digital receivers started hitting the market, the focus shifted from playing music to movies. Most people found that the DACs onboard their new digital hubs were good enough and external DACs became dormant.
Dormant, that is, until British hi-fi manufacturer Cambridge Audio revived the product category with its excellent DacMagic in 2009, and suddenly manufacturers such as Rega and Arcam started offering standalone units as well. Digital music was thriving and people wanted to get the best possible sound out of their digital libraries. Onboard DACs, particularly on budget receivers, can be cheap and designed to sound good with movies but can be shrill with music. An outboard DAC is designed to make music sound great.
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