Laptops are great. You can take them anywhere; you can work or play, even read or listen to music with them. Unfortunately, the sound quality is where most laptops suffer. The built-in speakers are often the size of an almond, so you won’t get high-quality, room-filling sound from them. The headphone jacks aren’t usually the highest-quality products available, either. Your music may be louder through headphones, but the quality is often still lacking when you plug headphones directly into the laptop’s 3.5mm audio jack. The DacMagic XS USB DAC/Headphone Amp from Cambridge Audio is designed to get you the best quality sound possible from your computer. It plugs into a USB port with its included microUSB cable, so it bypasses the 3.5mm audio jack altogether. It “dramatically improves audio quality on all digital audio, including MP3s, high res audio files (e.g. FLAC or WAV), streaming services, films and games”, and it also increases the sound volume multiple times over what you can expect from a headphone jack and amplifies the bass. It’s tiny enough – 1.2″ X 0.4″ X 2.1’’ and 3.5 ounces – to throw in your pocket or gear bag. You never have to worry about charging a battery, because the USB cable also powers the DacMagic XS. It’s not available at the moment, buy you can leave your information at Cambridge Audio to be notified when it’s available to order.
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