Cambridge Audio DAC 3 DACs

4.85/5 (13 Reviews)


Product Description



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Reviews 1 - 5 (13 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by fishwhacker a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 22, 2004

Bottom Line:   
I'm just getting onto the audiophile treadmill.

Some months ago, I bought some old Magnepan speakers and drove them with the receiver of a colleague's sister. It was a Nad 7200 PE, 25 watts per channel and it sounded fine. Better than any thing I've ever owned anyway.

I then by-passed the amplification stage and hooked the Nad up to this ancient HK870 2x100 watts per channel power amp, and the speakers 'woke up'.

Then I replaced the receiver with a Nad S-100, and the sound became refined. To be fair, the pre-amp has several years difference in filtration and whatnot, so this is to be expected, but it was worth it as the detail audible on each CD let me hear new stuff with each track. It was like someone took the sock off the recording mics. No, it doesn't make the each CD sound like it's completely new, but it adds a general clarity. I won't get into the wine column language often used by audiophiles, but stress only that I am hearing new content in music with which I am completely familiar.

I was grinning as I listened to all my CDs again. The pre-amp is very netural to my ear and amazingly well built. (Open it if you don't believe me. The volume control is spun by a small motor--which is to say properly, not digital switching.)

The replacement of the receiver (used as a pre-amp) with the S-100 pushed my already good set-up (yes, there are exotic manufactures out there who doubtless make better and more expenive gear, but I'm not made of money), into the very good category.

Bottom line: if you like made in first world democracies rather than hammered together by preschoolers in Red China quality, this pre-amp will make even old audio gear sound better. It has a clarity and neturality and ease of transmission.

If you, like me, are assembling a system and are looking at a S100, this is definitely worth a listen. Moreover, it can also grow, thanks to its XLR outs.

Did I not mention the XLR outs? Well I shall. If your amp doesn't have XLR ins, you now have the ability to upgrade to XLR in the future with this pre-amp.

I paied $550 Canadian.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $550.00

Purchased At:   Son Ideal



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Krasimir Jankov a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: August 18, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Judging from a review here, I understand my DacMagic 2 is the same as the DacMagic 3 here, so I would like to share my joy and enthusiasm. Great unit! I have been using it for 8 years non-stop. Improves the sound of all players under the £500 range (or even higher). I use it with a Sony QS 920 CD player as a transport and a Sony 80ES preamp with balanced inputs. The balanced connection makes a big difference! Astonishing to have balanced connection on an inexpensive product!
Thank you Cambridge Audio for all these years of enjoyment!

The basic system:
Sony QS 920 CD
Sony 80 ES preamp
AMC 2100 power amp
B&W P6 speakers
Van den Hull cables throughout

Would be grateful for advice on a possible transport upgrade!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   Richer Sounds, UK



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by kHNARK a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 22, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Traded this in from a friend for some cable and was frankly amazed at the quality. Had plans to buy a 1200$ cd with upsample but scrapped those after some comparison listening with the Dac3.
With it dynamics are improved througout the entire range and low tones come out loud and clear. But the most noticable change comes with separation. Bass and midrange come apart cleaner and some of that much desired "air" is injected into the overall soundstage.
The DAC3 is a great place to start if one is looking to improve the sound of alomst any level of audio equipment. As it also takes 48 Khz it works well with DAT tape and also home computers. I use one of the SPDIF inputs to drive sound from my computer to my stereo.
Balanced connections to the preamp / amp are almost a must too. Going from pseudo (RCA) to fully balanced (XLR) makes almost as large an increase in quality as just the DAC.
Having a decent transport also helps but matters several magnitudes less than the choice of connection.
Its a great product for all levels of user, as long as you have acess to a digital output of some kind.
Its also good for the tweakers out there as there are several cheap fixes you can make to make it sound even better.

A tip is to get hold of the bloody manual. Unless you want to go around wondering why the LED's on the dac sometimes go on and off seemingly at random.

Last of all the DAC3 only gets 4 stars overall due to the worksmanship not always being 100%.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $60.00

Purchased At:   Swapped for other eq



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by pbirkett a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 23, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I bought this DAC after hearing about what a DAC could do for your system on the Hifi Choice forums. As I did not have a CD or DVD player of any description at the time, just a PC, I felt this would be a fairly logical upgrade. Originally, I was going to buy the S700 DAC, but there was a few things about it that made it unsuitable for this particular application. Someone on the Hifi Choice Forums who had since upgraded his DAC to a TAG McLaren DAC20, and this DAC3 was surplus to his requirements, so I snapped it up for £60.

My system comprises of a PC with a Videologic Sonic Fury sound card as one transport, and a Pioneer DV-350 DVD player as another transport, both of which are connected to the DAC using co-axial connections. The DAC itself is connected to a Rotel RA-01 amplifier, which is hooked up to some Wharfedale Diamond 8.2 loudspeakers.

I felt the DAC added a nice full bodied sound to the music, giving it a little bit of much needed warmth to my system. The bass is punchy, tight and quick, with plenty of depth too, and there is plenty of detail on offer here. It is smooth as well as having an exciting, involving sound to it, much like Cambridge CD players of old. Dynamics are excellent too. Female vocals are stunning on this DAC, they really put a shiver down my spine. At this point in time, I have not heard a source which comes close to being as good as this DAC, at least not in the sub £500 market.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   Second hand



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Peter Kung a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 2, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I got it as a new one in a sales of HIFI shop. The version is UK version (i.e. DAC magic2i). After the connection, I play CD as usual and found it just a very litter improvement on my system and quite disappointed. But after only a day's run-in, all the goodies come and surprising me for its instrument separation and vocal reproduction. Also the bass is very impressive too.

Overall, this is good sound equipment and value for the money. I don't think I can get any relevant equipment at this cost range. However, the product line is discontinued.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $128.00

Purchased At:   Hong Kong




Reviews 1 - 5 (13 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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