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Another power supply for the Cambridge Dacmagic

I’ve been reading good reports on various fora of using a 240 to 12V AC transformer from Maplin as a relacement power supply for the Dacmagic. It’s a 36VA tranny in a plastic case with a captive 2 core mains cable and a selection of pluggable DC plugs. It’s Maplin part number L54BR. It costs £15.

I’ve picked up one locally so reports of some listening results very soon.

DacMagic – Added the power, what about the glory?

The 225VA transformer has been terminated with a suitable mains lead and power in plug for the Cambridge.  It”s been plugged in and blown a one and a two amp fuse with its switch on surge so it’s running with a 3amp fuse.

This by the way is not the way to do something for long-term use.  This is just as a quick test to see if it’s worth experimenting further and if the results are good the tranny will be mounted in a decent case suitably fused. This is not the type of experiment I suggest for anyone outside of a lab.  The mains is dangerous.

The listening results today are different to those at Malcolm’s last evening.  There it was pretty conclusive that the new supply confused the balance and lost some integration. It wasn’t bad at all, just not quite as well balanced as the original supply.  Shows that Cambridge put some time and effort into the whole package.

Today and in my system the results aren’t quite so clear cut.  There are elements of the same as last night but at the same time the system with the experimental tranny has more drive, is a bit more dramatic on the dynamics front and makes my foot tap more.

It’s really very track dependant: a couple of Paul Simon tracks definitely favoured the larger supply, a Springsteen just showed off the slight forwardness the supply delivered and sounded harsh. Another Springsteen – I’m on Fire – worked.

Would I recommend trying a supply if it were available on some try before buy deal – yes – but only if it were a no strings try before buy deal.  I’m sure that with the, very justified, success of the Cambridge DacMagic there will quite a few companies offering upgrade power supplies.

Finally it might be worth noting that the cost of the transformer delivered was around £35 so it might easily be a £100++ power supply if sold online and all neatly packaged.  Quite a investment for a budget DAC even if it’s a great budget DAC.

The transformer for the DacMagic trial has arrived

A 225VA 12V toroid has arrived today for the “does a larger transformer improve the Cambridge DacMagic trial”.

Hope to add the necessary connections to do the first listening tests tomorrow – more then.

Cambridge Audio Dacmagic

I’ve had a the new Cambridge Audio Dacmagic for maybe a couple of months now and its not disappointed.  For two hundred pounds it’s fabulous value.

I started off running it in and using it connected via a Chord Prodac Prodigital coax cable from my Squeezebox 3.  It’s a great match for the SB3, delivering increased clarity and drive over the SB3’s line out. Sort of seems in the right price range for an upgrade to the SB3 as well.

Next was connecting it via USB to my HP Note 2133 to play internet radio.  Using Radio Paradise’s 128AAC stream as the primary source – a great souce of quality music with great sound – it sounded flat and boring.  What was surprising was just how easily it connected and Win XP recognised it straight away.  Really plug and play.

Adding a M-Audio Transit sound card connected via USB and then feeding the output from the Transit via a Chord Optichord optical cable into the Cambridge changed the sound quality completely: dynamics returned, life and energy returned and music was fun to listen to again. Internet radio can sound surprisingly good.

I do have an even better internet radio player but I’m not free to talk about that yet.

Two or more things to try with the Dacmagic yet: a larger power transformer and changing to ASIO drivers as these are supported by the Transit. Might even try the three filters sometime.  I reckon that there is loads more to get out of it if only I had enough time to experiment.

More on these another day.