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AudioQuest DragonFly Asynchronous USB DAC Reviews


Spectacular sounding small device


Pros: Excellent sound, no driver needed, superb build quality.

Cons: None

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. With Debian Linux I experienced once that changing from the built-in sound to the DragonFly put the later on max. volume, which is ear-damaging loud... so beware.   To my ears, the DragonFly sounds better than the X3 in USB DAC mode and far better than my laptop's built-in sound card. If you're looking for a small USB DAC that can be used with any OS, I heartly recommend you check out the DragonFly v1.2.   PS: The 'Review Details'...
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People keep saying it's the size of a thumb drive. . . .


Pros: "Wull, I got me a new thumb DAC and, uh, works real good, and it gots a purty blue critter on the side that somebody painted on thar. . . ."

Cons: "I had tuh save muh hard-earned shekels tuh plunk down thar jest tuh take the dang thang home. . . ."

But why are there no forefinger drives?  Why, why, in the name of Western Digit-Skull?    

good dac; soundly beats my laptop's internal dac but it has some form factor issues and i hear hiss on my iems


Pros: good sound, works with usb on linux, windows, and android

Cons: hiss on my sr-535's, only accepts 24-bit input, volume on sr-535's ranges from pretty loud to intolerable

i've had this dac for a while and it was a major upgrade from the internal dac on my laptop.   the imaging is much better, the bass is much more well defined, the trebles don't tear, and the mids don't cloud out the entire rest of the dynamic range.   while there is hiss on my sr-535 iems, it isn't intolerable - it is mostly only audible when the source volume dips particularly low.   at the lowest volume setting (zero) the audio is barely a whisper in the 535's, but kick it up one step and it is much, much louder. there isn't really any in-between and sometimes, for background listening, i would really like an in-between. beyond about 5 it's just painful.  ...
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Outstanding value and performance in a small package


Pros: Bang for the buck

Cons: Easy to lose?

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... I am very much in the honeymoon phase with the DF and listen to 24/96 material almost exclusively through a brand new pair of Sennheiser Momentums Black which aren't even broken in yet.  So far so good!

Amazing for the size and price


Pros: Tiny, no USB cable required, great sound, easy setup and ASIO4ALL compatibility

Cons: None that I can see

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.   More to come when I can drive some IEMs and headphones with it

Great little device with refined sound


Pros: DAC quality, portability, value

Cons: Single output

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. The Duet has now been replaced by the Dragonfly and I'm surprised how immediate the improvement was. I'm not versed in the audiophile terminology so I'll just tell it how I hear it. The first thing that jumped out at me was the...
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Neat little DAC and headphone amp which is a good upgrade over onboard sound and does a decent job driving headphones.


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.

  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.   Audioquest's Dragonfly isn't unique in a couple of aspects: It's not the very first thumb-drive-sized USB sound card and Audioquest aren't the first cable company to start making and selling digital audio gear. What makes it special (other than the funky dragonfly-shaped LED on top that changes colour depending on...
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