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The best USB DAC for the biggest laptop sound

The DacMagic XS USB DAC/headphone amp is an instant upgrade to any computer’s sound output. It connects quickly and easily to any USB port and allows you to hear your favourite music and movies with every drop of detail, exactly as the artist intended.

Small but mighty

The DacMagic XSs built-in headphone amp puts out 150mW of serious power, for the bass and volume you need even in the noisiest environments. Now you can enjoy perfect sound from your laptop wherever you are. Watch the video opposite for more information.

More power

The built-in headphone amp 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 the buzz of background noise.

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

Highly Portable

The high quality brushed aluminium case weighs a mere 100g, so this tiny powerhouse can come anywhere with you.

Pure Processing

The DacMagic XS bypasses your computer's in-built digital to analogue converter (DAC), instead using its own high quality 24-bit DAC.

When running in USB Class 2 mode, the DacMagic XS can also use our 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, and guaranteeing professional quality audio output.

  • ConnectionsMicro USB input, 3.5mm analogue output
  • Digital to analogue converterESS9023 24-bit DAC
  • Sample rates supportedUSB 1.0 mode: 16/24-bit, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz
    USB 2.0 mode: 16/24-bit, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz
  • Output voltage2V RMS
  • Max. power consumption150mW
  • Min. headphone impedance12 Ohms
  • Frequency response+/-0.2dB 20Hz – 20kHz
  • THD (unweighted)<0.004%
  • Signal to Noise Ratio103 dBr (unweighted)
  • Crosstalk66dB
  • Output impedance0.5 Ohms
  • Volume steps53 steps (54 different volume levels)
  • Dimensions (WxHxD)30 x 10 x 53.5mm (1.2 x 0.4 x 2.1’’)
  • Weight100g (3.5oz)

HomeTheaterReview.com Best of 2014 Award (US, )

"It's a great choice for someone who wants to enjoy higher-quality music on the go."

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What Hi-Fi? (GB, )

"It sounds solid, stable and refined ... the DacMagic XS is excellent for the money, and easily outpoints most DACs we’ve heard anywhere near this price.“

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T3 (GB, )

"The Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS adds depth and detail to your digital files that you didn't know existed.“

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Hi-Fi Choice (GB, )

"Given how masterfully it handles hi-res sources in particular and its sterling work with lower-quality material, it isn't hard to say that this is probably the best entry-level DAC around."

What Hi-Fi (GB, )

Best DAC under £100 "The best USB DAC if you're on a super tight budget, the DacMagic XS is truly portable, requiring no external battery, and connections are simple with just a USB input and 3.5mm output...delivering a refined and detailed sound."

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Witch Doctor (NZ, )

"Kramer searches for flaws but finds little to fault in Cambridge Audio’s new DAC that also happens to be a headphone amp, and for a small cost will resurrect the ‘hi’ in fi coming out of your PC or Mac.“

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Audio (DE, )

„Der Cambridge DacMagic XS bietet für den abgerufenen Preis von 150 Euro enorm viel Klang, unkomplizierte Bedienung sowie flexible Anwendungsmöglichkeiten. Im Handumdrehen an den Laptop angeschlossen, katapultiert er diesen zu einer formidablen Wiedergabequelle. Etwaige HiRes Inhalte werden somit problemlos und hochwertig wiedergegeben.”

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Phile-Web (JP, )

"I'm using my DacMagicXS every day with my Macbook Air and headphones. It's a very nice sound, and I'm enjoying my music more now. I hope many Japanese Audiophiles get to know Cambridge Audio's sound."

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The Batchelor Guy (US, )

"If you thought the pricey cans you treated yourself to sounded good before, just wait until you jack them into the XS and hear what digital music is supposed to sound like."

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Trusted Reviews (GB, )

"Boy does it deliver on the sonic front. It creates a huge, detailed soundstage that's full of warmth."

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Terra (PT, )

"This little device is able to get a little closer to the experience of listening to music in a recording studio."

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Electronista (GB, )

"For the quality it brings to music it will be worth it."

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Life Hacker (GB, )

"This matchbox-sized gadget is a boon for audiophiles who prefer to lose themselves in music during long haul flights."

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Hi-Fi News (GB, )

"The DacMagic XS has an upfront, engaging and punchy sound, but this never descends into hardness or sounds unpleasant. It is a dramatic improvement over the internal sound systems of an Apple Macbook Pro for example"

Computer Shopper (GB, )

"The DacMagic XS is a great way of easily upgrading laptop audio. It's built-in headphone amp with handy volume controls make it ideal if you need top-notch sound on the move."

Philly.com (US, )

"Headphone amps built into computers are disgraceful, too - hissing audibly, always. DacMagic XS from Cambridge Audio is a terrific work-around, a tiny, 5-ounce DAC (digital to analog converter) box that plugs into a computer's USB jack and puts out high-quality, ultra-low-distortion sound. Just add headphones and serve."

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Magnetic Mag (US, )

"A highly recommended piece of technology for anyone that is listening to a lot of music on their computer. For its output, size and price it truly is one of the best buys in the after market DAC marketplace."

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The Absolute Sound (US, )

"The DacMagic XS delivers a lot of functionality and sonic goodness for under $200. For audiophiles looking for a road warrior that will also be at home hooked up to any computer, portable, or desktop, and will successfully drive most headphones, the Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS DAC is a very affordable option."

Philly.com (US, )

“If price is no object and your music source has a USB jack, the better-finessed Dac Magic XS ( $189 at amazon.com) is an audiophile's dream come true.”