Audioquest DragonFly USB Digital Audio Converter and Headphone Amp Review
26 May 2013
Excerpt: In the portable world of digital music, it seems that most people are happy with whatever setup they have – whether it’s a laptop, iPod or smart phone. Ironically, the most expensive device from this list also has the worst audio output: your computer. That laptop or desktop (iMAC, for instance) computer has about the cheapest soundcard available.
Pros: Improves audio quality, Works with headphones, earphones, speakers, Includes headphone amp, Solid construction, Extremely easy to set up, Much smaller than others and more portable
Cons: Expensive, USB cap easy to lose, Additional DragonTail cord almost a necessity if using USB port on iMac or monitor
Follow-Up: AudioQuest DragonFly in a Desktop Environment
14 February 2013
Excerpt: Robert Harley recently sang the praises of the nifty AudioQuest DragonFly (Issue 226). He covered its performance when the device is used as a USB DAC fronting a reference audio system, and compared it to other outboard USB DACs. That was the ultimate test, but I wondered how the DragonFly would sound in other contexts. In particular, one of the DragonFly’s stated applications is to drive powered desktop speakers from a laptop or desktop computer.
Excerpt: The AudioQuest DragonFly USB digital-to-analog converter ($249) and the B&W Society of Sound music download service ($59/year) arrived in my listening room at about the same time. They were made for each other: B&W’s 24-bit FLAC files gave the DAC a better chance to strut its stuff than any CD-quality or lossy audio file at my disposal. And the USB DAC enabled the high-resolution files to do an end run around the awful soundcard in my PC.
Excerpt: “This is a product that may look a little like a Dragonfly, but one that soars more like a Dragon flying, as seen in various special-effects-heavy Hollywood films of late. It’s a friendly beast, too, easy to set up and use with any computer of today’s normal specs for USB digital audio output. It can be used with headphones, powered speakers or as your computer output into an audio system. I had mine going in 10 minutes through Windows 7 in my new Quad-core i7 laptop PC.
Conclusion: AudioQuest realizes this. Although the DragonFly v1.2 is still relatively new, the company is already deep into the development of their next generation of DACs. Will those models be even more affordable? Or more powerful?