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I am about to purchase a Cambridge Audio DAC to connect to my iMac.

1. What is the best way to connect? USB? MiniToslink? converters? most of my music is AIFF 44.1 16 bit but i probably will experience with 24 as well in the future.

2. Where should i buy the cable? (USB or Toslink)? which company makes the good cables and is the difference audible? and which company makes good XLR cables? (to connect the DAC to the speakers)




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This question has been asked and answered many, many time ... however here we go again.


Generally most people find the toslink (or digital co-ax) connections into the Cambridge Audio DACMagic to give better results than the USB connection, however its worth trying both as YMMV. Some people will say that getting a better USB cable will improve quality - maybe try the Kimber which is around £50 IIRC.


Chris' recommended Mini-Toslink to Toslink cables is the Monster LightSpeed 100 ($35). I believe that Supra ZAC (£31 GBP) and the Chord Optichord (£40) can both be obtained with mini-toslink connectors - note these are UK retail prices for Supra and Chord.


Best place to go is your local HiFi Dealer who will be able to advise. My personal opinion is that so long as you have good cables, there is no need to go over the top with your expenditure. I've always found Chord to be good value, others will recommend other brands. If you want to experiment, find a good dealer who will loan your (or sell on a trial basis) a variety of brands / types.






...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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