I'm a long time lurker but this is my first post.
I've recently bought a pair of Sennheiser IE 800's and am delighted with them. I've been without decent earphones for a few years since losing my Shure 535's in a house move. I listen to a lot of music on the train so was hoping to get something that could give good portable sound quality. I spend a lot of time walking, on the tube and other transport too - hence getting IEMs rather than headphones. I'm a keen amateur cellist and pianist so would like to think I have a pretty decent ear for music appreciation and sound quality.
Anyway, I demoed the Dragonfly today and found it was a tale of two stories. The set up was playing apple lossless CD rips from iTunes and a few 24/96 / 24/192 (which the DF resamples to 24/96, i think) FLAC tracks through VLC on my Macbook air - A/B'ing between plugging the IE800's straight into the macbook and using the DragonFly. The music was a range of different styles: classical (holst, vivaldi), Razorlight, Diana Krall, Stevie Wonder etc.
I started with the ALAC tracks and frankly was hard pressed to hear much of a difference. Quite surprising given the reviews this thing gets. There were a few tracks where I could hear a marginal improvement in separation and clarity but it really wasn't as dramatic as I was expecting. I tested a range of tracks and made sure the settings were right on the computer. The one big difference I did notice using the DF was the lack of hiss / stutter in the background.
With the FLAC tracks however - what a difference. It was light and day between playing direct vs through the DragonFly. So much more dynamism to the music, more tonal contrast, more separation between the music. Listening to some of the high-res classical tracks through the DF was magical.
My question is whether this fits with others' experience? Half my 25000 track music collection is stored in ALAC, the other half is AAC (mostly 256 / 320kbps) so I really want something that will make a notable difference to the music I have. The answer might be to start acquiring high-res music and then look at DACs later. With the music collection I have at the moment I just don't think I could justify buying the DF based on what I heard today.
This doesn't chime with what I'm reading elsewhere though so I'd appreciate your thoughts?
Edited by hungrydave - 2/6/13 at 9:18am