This AudioQuest Dragonfly DRAGONFLY1.2 digital audio converter is designed to bypass your computer's internal sound card and provide dynamic audio. The digitally controlled analog volume control simplifies use.
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Very cool little item
Posted by: Howard from: on
I saw this little auxiliary DAC pop up on one of BestBuy's flash sales. While I was not in the market for any type of auxiliary sound card, I did some background research and took the plunge. This is about the size of a standard thumbdrive and plugs into the usb on your laptop or computer. You then go into your control panel and you will see the Dragonfly displayed as an optional audio card. Click on it and you are all set. Set-up took no more than 7 minutes. Audio files will now play using the Dragonfly circuitry rather than the inferior laptop wiring. Plug in a pair of headphones into the mini port at the end of the Dragonfly and it's ready to go. You could also use a y cord to take the signal out of the Dragonfly to the input on a home stereo receiver. Over the years I have converted all of my cd's to mp3 files ripped at the highest resolution. Any high quality audio files will be good material to test out the Dragonfly. I spent about 1/2 hour with some Sennheiser headphones listening to various songs that had great production - Early Seal stuff, B-52's Follow Your Bliss, Thomas Dolby - Spice Train, even Adele. The sound was noticeably clearer, with more bass, more separation and more detail. It made me want to turn the lights down and sit and listen to a whole album with no distractions like all of us adults did back in the day, and rediscover my whole music collection again. Note - This model, the 1.2 has been replaced with two new models and is no longer being made by Audioquest. The new models, the Red, the Black, are more than twice the cost of this unit, but apparently make the device more compatible with phones. Even this unit was selling for $150 just last summer. If you can find a first gen 1.2 still on the shelves, and BestBuy still has some, it's a steal at $79. Jump.
8 out of 8 found this review helpful.
Great even for amateurs
Posted by: Superbasic from: on
- Great product
- Easy set up
- Enhances existing equipment (headphones or speakers)
- Meant for anyone who can be captivated by music
I was slightly hesitant prior to purchase. Mainly due to this product being primarily geared towards audiophiles(rightfully so), where I respect the technicality involved in being one, I personally don't share the passion with. That being said, I do classify myself as someone who can be captivated by audio, specifically music. This item has exponentially enhanced my experience with my existing equipment (try saying that 5 times fast). It serves as a medium between your headphones(or speakers) and your computer, it takes the sound information your computer is sending out and essentially "cleans it up" thus allowing for more detail to pass through and be heard, whether that detail is bass, vocal range, or instrumentals, it allows you to hear the music closer to what the artist intended, but more importantly, it enhances the experience of listening to music all together. Great product
This item is best experienced when the source of the audio (iTunes, Spotify, ripped Cd's etc.) is in a high quality or loss-less format which is how the music is saved or accessed (look into FLAC or ALAC formats)
13 out of 15 found this review helpful.
Audio for experts
Posted by: alexmartin from: on
I will recommend the Dragon Fly audio converter just for the people who likes high fidelity audio coming from the computer.... If hoy don't care don't purchase it
4 out of 4 found this review helpful.
Posted by: pactech1 from: on
Ok, I was reluctant to purchase this item. I mean its the size of a flash drive. Can it really make my computer sound that much better? Well I am here to tell you with a resounding YES it makes your music files sound awesome. Of course it helps to have high res audio files. I burn most of my audio at full lossless anyway, but this Dragonfly device had me convinced of its value in just a few minutes of listening through my Sennheiser HD headphones. It truly makes a world of difference. Just go to Best Buy and pick one up. Make sure you have good headphones and enjoy!
6 out of 6 found this review helpful.
Dragonfly Enhances Listening Experience
Posted by: ryantheoc from: West Linn, OR on
Here are some of my observations of positive aspects as mentioned above:
The size of the Dragonfly is equivalent to that of a standard thumb drive. It fits smoothly into existing USB ports, whether a laptop or desktop.
The industrial design of the Dragonfly is excellent. Firstly, the exterior is strong yet smooth to touch given the finish. Unlike thumb drives that are plastic and light, this device is metal and has just enough weight to rest comfortably in ones hand. The Dragonfly logo nicely accentuates the rest of the design just prior to the output. You get the feeling the moment you grab Dragonfly that it is well machined product.
The LED indicator is a nice way to know that your device is on and running. Depending on the mode in which it is operating, the color of the Dragonfly will change. I typically run it at 24-bit/96 kHz to take advantage of oversampling. See the attached picture showing it in action.
The noise suppression on the Dragonfly is managed well. It is clear that they implemented some sort of decoupling circuity as the power supply noise present on the headphone jack of my work laptop is completely decoupled when using Dragonfly. Minus background office noise, one cannot hear any noise or distortion whether low or high volume. I mentioned above oversampling and this is very beneficial when listening to streamed audio, through Pandora for example. The oversampling helps round off some of the oddities of lower bit rate music to give it a more flat sound.
Here are some of my observations of negative aspects as mentioned above:
For devices that have USB, this product is fantastic. It will enhance the work laptop listening experience and augment any other USB capable machine. Still, it has to be USB and it is not compatible with smartphones or other devices. This is not a huge frustration though as one buys it knowing it is a USB DAC!
I recommend the Dragonfly to anyone who wants to get the most out of listening to music or movies. It enhances the often generic laptop audio experience to one that is deserving of even decent headphones. I use a pair of Bose® - QuietComfort® 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling® Headphones (SKU: 9154082) and it creates a brilliant noise free environment to enjoy audio free from all other distractions.
-Ryan the OC
14 out of 14 found this review helpful.
Best $79 ever spent
Posted by: bigbob611 from: on
My Dragonfly v1.2 is totally awesome. I am hearing my music library for the very first time. It is so good, you would have to spend over $1000 to improve. On a Linux computer, it rules!
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.
Great piece of audio electronics
Posted by: omegajeff from: on
This is a nice little DAC. Plug it into the computer, Windows does it's thing, go configure the settings per the instructions and viola!....great sounds are just pouring out of the speakers. I have my Dragonfly integrated into a Dell laptop, running out to an Emotiva UMC-200 piped into an Emotiva XPA-2 and running to Martin Logan ElectroMotion ESL speakers (and a Quad L-ite subwoofer). (All the interconnects are AudioQuest Evergreen and the speaker cables are from BlueJeansCable.com). The sound is clean, precise and large! The Dragonfly takes the digital signal and converts it to an analogue signal in a way that the computers internal DAC just can't do. I'm very happy with this purchase.
6 out of 6 found this review helpful.
Posted by: pdwal from: on
Okay, wow. I read some of the reviews here, and with this being a "deal of the day" (it was five bucks off! Woot!) I thought I might give it a go. I am something of a cheapskate by nature, however, and really wanted to hear a significant difference from my Thonet and Vander powered speakers having spent the $75 for this small DAC.. Wow. The detail, clarity, and separation of the music I am hearing is just a stunning difference. If you can find one these, buy it.
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
Outstanding- sound quality is unreal. GO AQ!!!
Posted by: TheDream from: Seattle, WA on
Audioquest has done it again! What an outstanding piece of hardware. If you're reading this review, then you know what a DAC is so I won't get into the background of that.
Some background: At work, I basically am listening to music for hours at a time, so sound quality is very important (as are comfortable headphones, but that's another story) and while I don't have any real complaints about the sound output of my MacBook Pro, I wasn't entirely enthralled either. I purchased this primarily because I had heard how good the first generation Dragonfly was in improving sound quality but unfortunately it was out of my price range (it used to be $200-$250). When the new improved version came out at $150, I had to try it.
And ...wow. The sound quality is absolutely staggering. I literally had tears in my eyes when I heard the SAME EXACT music files with the Dragonfly. My headphones (V-Moda Crossfade M100s) came alive and you hear things that you didn't even know existed in songs. Every aspect of the music is completely transformed.
The build quality of the Dragonfly is top notch as well. It's the size of a typical USB flash drive and built extremely well (out of metal and it's got some heft to it). And I love the light up "Dragonfly" that changes color to the quality of the recording.
If you appreciate great sound quality (even if your headphones aren't stellar), this is a must buy. No other DAC that I've seen combines the portability, build quality, sound quality, and price of the Dragonfly.
I hate to be melodramatic, but do yourself a favor, demo the Dragonfly with a set of high-end headphones (i.e. V-Moda, B&W, PSB, Sennheiser,etc), and I promise you will never be the same.
Well done Audioquest!
24 out of 27 found this review helpful.
Great Sound, Simpler Than Advertised
Posted by: Kensai from: on
Plug this in to an open USB port, plug your sound system into it, set the sample rate in Windows Settings to 192khz/24 bit and then forget about it. DirectSound does a much better job managing rate conversions than it did back in my formative audiophile days when we meddled with using pro grade gear and ASIO drivers and all manner of arcane techniques to keep Windows from degrading our sound quality as it passed through the system. It may not be perfect. Actually it may, since its been years since the differences have sounded dramatically enough for me to want to take all that extra effort, so I don't know or care if maybe they'd cleaned up the last few "issues" . Bottom line, set your hardware to its best possible output settings, let Windows do its thing, and every thing, from pristine 192khz/24 bit music purchased from specialty outlets down to hyper compressed podcasts or Youtube soundtracks will sound better than they did through your onboard hardware or SoundBlasters or Bluetooth Audio and even many examples of professional audio interface gear.
This was the perfect solution for my new primary rig. I had converted from an older hand built tower (using an older EMU 0404 for sound, which is still a fantastic bit of kit, though it requires a desktop computer with a PCI slot, with is a rarity these days) for a second hand, if much more powerful laptop/docking station (yeah, high end but old laptops with basically dead batteries but nice sets of connectivity are great, power efficient and generally quiet replacements for large old desktop towers). Everything about the new to me machine was a large upgrade compared to my previous machine, except the sound, so I started hunting.
There are many other options in this space. Several tiny audiophile manufacturers make units that function pretty much the same as the Dragonfly. Several of these options, I would imagine would be of higher quality than the Dragonfly. They also, all cost more than the Dragonfly. Much more. An order of magnitude more, in some cases. All with the giant downside of non-returnability. Its hard to want to throw larger amounts of money out there just to amass a pile of USB DACs to obsessively compare to each other, when you could just grab the Dragonfly from a local retailer, plug it in as described above, hear instantly that everything is better now and move on.
Other options include pro and semipro gear, often meant for piping music into a PC for recording purposes. Most of this gear is imminently competent. Some of it is direly expensive. As for bits in the comparably priced range, none of it is even remotely similarly specced, and that's simply because those units are swiss-army audio interfaces that have to spread their cost around audio in, interfaces and ruggedizing in addition to audio out. The Dragonfly wins because all we're looking for is a focus on output sound quality here.
One last thing, in my usage, I don't worry about Windows messing up the sound quality due to digital volume control. I keep the volume at 100% and in room volume control is managed after that in the chain via analog (non-lossy) control. This is habit from my old audiophile days. Requires more hardware, but was always the easiest solution to the problem (Windows had, and maybe still does, shaved bits off the end of the audio stream to change its volume, thus losing detail and quality). The Dragonfly has its own, internal, analog volume control, and so is ideal in today's more portable lifestyle. Laptop, Dragonfly, good headphones ... you can now get close to perfect sound quality on the road without needing at least an mATX sized computer and a small mixing board.