Excerpt: I bought DragonFly for my notebook via online store for $250 and it was worth every penny. Let me explain why. With my Sennheiser HD 650 headphones which I use at home, the laptop’s built-in audio output just not enough to make them work at their best. Up until recently, I’d been searching for an “ portable external soundcard”, without even suspecting that if I want just to listen to the music, an external soundcard isn’t what I need.
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. On the other hand the Total Bithead ran on batteries and could be used with my iPod on the go. I liked the Head Room image processing very much, why don't other manufacturers make similar systems? Is it considered a gimmick or a sham of some sort? Anyway...
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 many respects, not a particularly unique or interesting one.
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: 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. Connected to my BeoLab 3s it's easily on par with my Audio0gd NFB-5.2 in terms of soundstage and transparency.
Pros: Tiny, no USB cable required, great sound, easy setup and ASIO4ALL compatibility
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. I don't have a lot of history in high end audiophile investments but I know good sound when I hear it
For reference I was using an Apogee Duet FireWire audio interface with an Arcam AVR 250 and some Orpheus Nexus 1.5 loudspeakers. The source is a Mac Mini.
Summary: Great sounding DAC with decent Headphone amplifier. Warm sound with punchy bass, it can drive Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO (250ohm) with no problem. I bought it during black friday with excelent discount, i am not sure if i would pay the full price for it. Substantially better then integrated solution, Xonar U1, Creative X-Fi HD (USB) ... not as good as "good old" Carat Topaz thou.
Summary: It's very difficult to write a qualified review when you're reviewing a supposedly audiophile product that introduces clicks and pops into the audio. I suppose I should have checked online prior to purchase, but the fact of the matter is that, despite what Audioquest claims on their website, the Dragonfly has clicks and pops under Windows 8 (64-bit) even when ALL possible updates have been applied.