Audioquest DragonFly USB Digital Audio Converter and Headphone Amp Review
26 May 2013
Conclusion: The Audioquest DragonFly can’t compete with higher-end DACs that can handle sampling rates in the stratosphere, with prices to match. That’s not its purpose. The DragonFly was designed to make music sound better without getting in the way.
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
Summary: One could be forgiven, I reckon, of feeling that new products are just manufacturers re-inventing the wheel and that there is nothing really new under the sun in audio. Indeed at least one product I want to write about is pretty much just that -- a manufacturer's own take on portable audio and, in...
Pros: Size! Great sound. Internal analogue volume control. Drives headphones & even sensitive IEMs well. Almost no hiss at max. volume.
Cons: No extension cable by default. Gets congested with complex music. USB power has its limits. Doesn't work with iPad camera kit.
Summary: When I was looking recently at upgrading the sound in my main listening room I researched DACs and found some useful info at head-fi so I thought I'd contribute by writing a review on what I decided to go with.
Summary: I'll update this once I get my UM Miracles back to really put it through its paces, but the Dragonfly sounds incredible driving my BeoLab 3 (active) speakers.
Super easy setup - literally plug and play. I'm using it with ASIO4ALL and it blows away any other USB-powered DACs I've heard.
Pros: Tiny, no USB cable required, great sound, easy setup and ASIO4ALL compatibility
Summary: The only other piece I have owned that is similar is a Head Room Total Bithead. Being that the DF is MUCH smaller and does 24/96 I'd say there isn't much comparison at all as far as a computer interface goes.
Summary: The DragonFly v1.2 sounds clearly superior to my laptop's built-in Realtek HD chip. There is no driver installation needed and I had no problems to use it on Windows, Linux, and MacOS X. The analog volume control works with the OS' volume control.
Pros: Excellent sound, no driver needed, superb build quality.
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.