Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6 Network player

Cambridge has released two new DACs this year: the GBP200 DacMagic 100 and GBP350 DacMagic Plus. This brand-new Stream Magic 6 joins a network player with all the audiophile top features of the DacMagic Plus - so under its bonnet are double Wolfson WM8740 DACs executed in dual differential configuration and Anagram Technologies' AFT2 24-bit/384kHz up sampling (with a choice of three filter settings) using an Analog Devices 32-bit DSP. Cambridge supplies USB Audio Type 2.0 drivers to afford its asynchronous USB input 24-bit/192kHz capability.

WiFi is built in, while Bluetooth connectivity is also a possibility via Cambridge's elective BT100 USB adaptor (GBP70) for which an A type USB socket is provided at the back. There's an additional A type USB input socket for playback of 'local media' - FAT32 formatted flash drives and the like - but it does not support digital connection/management of iDevices.

Cambridge Audio does nevertheless have Android, which provides cover art, and an excellent App for iOS. Analogue output signals can be fixed or changeable, enabling the unit to operate as a digital-source- preamp. The Stream Magic web portal of Cambridge enables management of internet radio stations and streaming services, eg, BBC iPlayer Radio, Pandora, Rhapsody, etc.

Via its asynchronous 24-bit/192kHz USB input the Stream Magic 6 seemed astonishingly good for its cost, performing too as many high-end DACs. Maybe that is no great surprise given DacMagic Plus converter to the uncommonly fine functionality of Cambridge's companion.

The recurring theme of these group listening tests sounded apparently softer and somewhat blurred when streaming via Ethernet as was it.

Via a wired network, 24-bit/96kHz is its complete limit with WAV and FLAC media files.

Revealing the pedigree of its own exceptional-sounding D-to-A conversion, it served up a very fine performance of Tori Amos' 'Cornflake Girl' at CD resolution. The piano's image was graphic and steady, the resonance of the instrument appearing lifelike in the audio graphic. It was not bad when streaming, but leading when audio was pushed into its USB input - the 'dirtying' of the networked sound is better described as a smearing of the glass window through which we were viewing the musical event.

Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6 Network player photo