Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus

Cambridge Audio's international sales manager Adam Shaw-Cotterill is shown here holding the Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus ($600) because he made me take this picture. Of course I'm joking but Adam is one of the more genial and helpful international sales managers I met at the 2012 CES and when you're spending your days walking in and out of a few hundred rooms saying hi and asking questions, it really helps when people are at least friendly. For those other less helpful people I ran into, I would offer the same advice that Jeanne Moreau offered Anne Parillaud in La Femme Nikita (the original French version not the crappy remake), "Smile when you don't know something. You won't be any smarter, but it's nice for others."

The DacMagic Plus employs dual Wolfson WM8740 24bit DACs and accepts up to 24-bit/192kHz input through its S/PDIF (2 Coax/2 Toslink) or USB connections. Outputs include a pair each of analog RCAs, XLR and S/PDIF (Coax/Toslink). There's a choice of digital filters - linear phase, minimum phase and steep and no choice other than its upsampled 24-bit/384kHz output. There's also a headphone jack and volume control for when you want to use the "Optional Digital Preamp" mode when direct-connected to your amp or powered speakers. Yes, I said $600.