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AudioQuest Dragonfly Review : Affordable, Outstanding, Tiny DAC / Amp - Page 69

post #1021 of 1911

I bought my DF from the local Audioquest dealer (Stereo Unlimited) here in San Diego back in September and I couldn't be much happier. I even accidentally bent it slightly (now I use the Belkin flexible adapter), but it has performed flawlessly for me. No issues whatsoever.

 

So, the string pouch units are Version 1? Mine has this kind of pouch.

 

According to the Stereophile review, the first version clips at 100% volume. Mine doesn't.
 


Edited by crooner - 1/30/13 at 7:49pm
post #1022 of 1911

@gidgiddonihah

Ah I knew that but it didn't even cross my mind.  Yes it is just 44.1 and 88.2 that are having problems, so I'm sure you are right.

 

@RUMAY408

I'm not quite sure what you mean by setting the frequency right?  Do you mean bit depth?  I don't see any other options in MIDI or sound settings.

 

I bought the DF from Amazon, but I've been returning alot of stuff to Amazon recently (christmas/bday presents and such), and I've heard of people having their accounts banned for returning too many things in a short time.  Not that I'm particularly worried about that happening if I return this, I'd just like to cut back as much as possible.  But from reading parts of this thread it seems Audioquest's customer service is less than outstanding, so would I be better off going through Amazon or AQ?

post #1023 of 1911

Amazon the whole way.  Though I am a Prime member I have returned stuff lots and have also had things that were broken.  In both latter cases Amazon overnighted a new product with prepaid shipping back.  No cost to me.  I love Amazon and have never had a problem with them.  Awesome service with amazing support that can *gasp* speak English (for those in the States)!  Audioquest well... The guy got back to me 5 hours later after I had already talked Audio Adviser and seemed not to pay much attention to what I was saying.  Didn't inspire much confidence in their 1 year support :/.

post #1024 of 1911
post #1025 of 1911
Quote:

That is cool. The squeezbox touch was the weak link in his last setup. Not the DAC but always good to find a a better way.

post #1026 of 1911
Quote:


That's my setup which I posted in the Steve Hoffman forum. Sound quality is outstanding with the Dragonfly.

 

post #1027 of 1911
Quote:
Originally Posted by ha2780 View Post

@gidgiddonihah

Ah I knew that but it didn't even cross my mind.  Yes it is just 44.1 and 88.2 that are having problems, so I'm sure you are right.

 

@RUMAY408

I'm not quite sure what you mean by setting the frequency right?  Do you mean bit depth?  I don't see any other options in MIDI or sound settings.

 

I bought the DF from Amazon, but I've been returning alot of stuff to Amazon recently (christmas/bday presents and such), and I've heard of people having their accounts banned for returning too many things in a short time.  Not that I'm particularly worried about that happening if I return this, I'd just like to cut back as much as possible.  But from reading parts of this thread it seems Audioquest's customer service is less than outstanding, so would I be better off going through Amazon or AQ?

Wrong wording on my part should have said sample rate (ex. 44.1)

post #1028 of 1911

A variant on my initial question: Does everyone else using the Dragonfly and VLC media player also encounter static/noise when they raise the VLC volume above the 100% mark or is my Dragonfly faulty?

post #1029 of 1911
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviltooth View Post

A variant on my initial question: Does everyone else using the Dragonfly and VLC media player also encounter static/noise when they raise the VLC volume above the 100% mark or is my Dragonfly faulty?

 

It's VLC.  When you go over 100% it digitally distorts the file in transit and a lot of the time it doesn't produce desirable results.  If its not happening to anything else you should be fine.

post #1030 of 1911

Got me a Dragonfly.

 

Plugged it into my Windows 8 laptop.  Configured J River to use WASAPI Event Style to the dragonfly and then I set JRMC to control the system volume which makes it control the analog gain on the dragon fly.

 

Enabled headphone cross feed: Standard (increased spatialization)

Because the the above DSP in the chain, configured output format to be fixed 24bit (with dithering) using the latest 128 build of version JRMC v18.

 

 

 

Works flawlessly and sounds absolutely wonderful.

post #1031 of 1911

Hi all,

 

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?

 

Cheers


Edited by hungrydave - 2/6/13 at 9:18am
post #1032 of 1911

I think your problem is iTunes or something it's doing during playback, not the file type.  They are both lossless, no reason for one to sound better than the other.

 

 

.02

post #1033 of 1911

I think must be software problem.  ALAC file is no difference from FLAC file, they are both bit perfect.  Which software did u use?   OS is Mac OS X?

I use foobar on Windows to play both ALAC and FLAC.  There is no audible difference.

 

One possibility that software can mess things up is 'sampling rate'.    In order for DragonFly (or any DAC) to achieve the best sound quality, need to make sure it is operating at the same sampling rate as the audio file's sampling rate.    In my case, when DragonFly is first installed, Windows will set it's sampling rate as 96k Hz.  But my music files are 44.1k Hz.  So I need to change the Windows settings to 44.1k, then use any software (VLC, Windows Media player) to play the music will be the correct sampling rate.   Foobar allow me to set sampling rate there to ignore Windows default settings.

 

One easy way to verify what sampling rate DragonFly is operating on is by checking it's LED color, Green means 44.1k.  (blue for 48kHz, amber for 88.2kHz, and magenta for 96kHz)

 

Using foobar it's easy to convert audio file format between ALAC and FLAC.  You can give that a try to verify.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hungrydave View Post

I started with the ALAC tracks and frankly was hard pressed to hear much of a difference.  

With the FLAC tracks however - what a difference.


Edited by yfei - 2/6/13 at 11:17am
post #1034 of 1911
Quote:
Originally Posted by hungrydave View Post

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.  

 

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.  

With the FLAC tracks however - what a difference.  It was light and day between playing direct vs through the DragonFly.  

This suggests that the difference you're hearing may have more to do with the files and players than the DAC. It stands to reason that the difference between listening to CD-quality files via the Dragonfly vs. the Air's DAC would be more subtle than it would with high-resolution files—there's greater potential for the DAC to demonstrate superior performance with superior material, whereas there's less room for improvement on lower resolution stuff. This is particularly true if you're listening at a modest volume, and not taking advantage of the DF's superior amp than what's in the Air as well (although, your IE's aren't particularly hard to drive at 16 ohms, and the DF's output impedance shouldn't pose any trouble, either). 

 

You're also comparing two different players (iTunes and VLC), each of which may present different potential for the DF to improve on. So the compound performance of 24/192/FLAC/VLC/DF vs. 24/192/FLAC/VLC/AirDAC could be overshadowing the 16/44/ALAC/iTunes/DF vs. 16/44/ALAC/iTunes/AirDAC, not to mention 16/44/ALAC/iTunes/AirDAC vs. 24/192/FLAC/VLC/DF, which could color your impressions even though that's not what you're trying to compare. Avoiding the debates about redbook vs. HD, your FLAC collection may be biased toward better-mastered recordings than your redbook collection, or perhaps your rips have flaws compared with the HD material, which could also contribute to your impressions.

 

Point is, there's a lot more going on in your experiment than the DAC, so it's tough to attribute your findings primarily to the Dragonfly. Not that there's anything wrong with being underwhelmed by the DF's performance with your music collection. Economically, buying a $250 DAC/amp to play 12,500 ALAC and 12,500 AAC files for a $1,000 set of earphones worn by a musician is not at all unreasonable, so you could make the case on faith alone, assuming you can spare the coin. And you'll be able to take full advantage of your HD music collection as you amass it. 


Edited by Aerocraft67 - 2/6/13 at 11:24am
post #1035 of 1911

Folks, these are really helpful responses, thanks. Gives me lots to think about. 

 

Guess my feeling was it wasn't worth the upgrade based on not being able to discern any notable difference in quality listening to my current collection in my normal player.  My high res collection is non existent - I just downloaded a few test tracks off the web to see what difference it made (a lot seems to be the answer). 

 

Following on from the response I have a few more questions:

 

- does anyone here use their dragonfly for a similar type of music collection (ALAC / AAC) and get big improvements? What setup and player do you use?

 

- are there other players I should try out with the dragonfly that might give it more of a chance to shine with my 16/44 collection?

 

- what are the alternatives to the dragonfly at this price point and above? Happy to look at something pricier if its notably better, but it still needs to be vaguely portable!  Something like the fostex hpp1 might be worth looking at but from what I've read I'd be paying more for its amp abilities whilst having an equivalent DAC?  Anything else to consider? Probably consider up to £800-1000 for a setup that really helps the music and IE800 sounds their best. 

 

Or maybe the answer is to spend £200 on the dragonfly and start buying up high-res music. 

 

I'm new to really thinking about this so hard to know where you get for biggest bang for your buck.

 

Cheers

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