Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › AudioQuest Dragonfly Review : Affordable, Outstanding, Tiny DAC / Amp
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

AudioQuest Dragonfly Review : Affordable, Outstanding, Tiny DAC / Amp - Page 70

post #1036 of 1982
Quote:
Originally Posted by hungrydave View Post

- 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? 

 

I like Bitperfect as a $10 bolt-on to iTunes that seamlessly plays a mix of HD and non-HD files. I think it sounds better than iTunes alone in general, but haven't done any sophisticated listening comparison to validate that—it's worth it just to play the mix of format alone. You might also look into Audirvana, Pure Music, Amarra, and Fidelia. 

 

As a value proposition for a DAC/headamp combo in this price tier that's somewhat portable, the Dragonfly is very, very difficult to beat. I shopped it against the Schiit Modi/Magni stack (compact, cheaper in the U.S., but not really portable) and the iFi iDAC. If you're in the U.K., take a look at the iFi. Gets great reviews and seems to be more available over there than here. And you can look forward to spending another $550 on the iUSBPower and iCAN.


Edited by Aerocraft67 - 2/6/13 at 2:57pm
post #1037 of 1982
Quote:
Originally Posted by hungrydave View Post

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). 

 

Actually the answer is the complete opposite. Most people (and please, don't burn me at the stake here people) cannot hear the difference between a good 320 kBps rip and a 44100 FLAC (or other lossless format) let alone high resolution.  There has been quite a bit a research on it and if you read articles it can get technical very fast but the basic premise is the human ears can only pick up so many frequencies and after a certain point even a person with perfect, trained ears won't be able to detect even a slight change.  I personally (when doing a blind ABX test) can discern a FLAC 44100 vs a 320 kBps MP3, but the difference is VERY small on my setup.  I really have to listen, and frankly when I am listening for pleasure I wouldn't need it.  High resolution gets you a little bit higher, but when compared to FLAC/lossless rips I don't think very many people in the world could tell the difference on headphones.  High resolution is more of a placebo in my opinion.  I plan on getting lots of my stuff up there but only because I like to get every ounce of everything, even if I can't hear it.  I am OCD like that k701smile.gif.

 

My guess is if you didn't think the Dragonfly was a big upgrade, high resolution will do nothing for you.  But that's just my humble opinion.


Edited by gidgiddonihah - 2/6/13 at 5:55pm
post #1038 of 1982

hungrydave,

 

Due to the way Mac OS X works, there can be a very slight difference in the digital output with different players, according to the authors of various audio software. I'd second getting BitPerfect. Also, get X Lossless Decoder (XLD) and convert those FLAC files to ALAC and use them in iTunes.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crooner View Post

Quote:


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

 

 

Nice one. I'd suggest doing what I did, which is get an Aurorasound Bus Power Pro, USB B-to-A adaptor and powering the Dragonfly that way. You'll get quite a bit of improvement in the sound. There are other, similar devices designed to provide better USB power but that is what I have on hand at the moment.

 

post #1039 of 1982

I have Bitperfect and I had one heck of a time getting a lengthy handshake with the DF. Demo'd both Pure Music and Amarra on my Mac. I would strongly recommend a free two week demo with Pure Music and Amarra and decide what works best with the DF.

post #1040 of 1982
Quote:
Originally Posted by gidgiddonihah View Post

 

Actually the answer is the complete opposite. Most people (and please, don't burn me at the stake here people) cannot hear the difference between a good 320 kBps rip and a 44100 FLAC (or other lossless format) let alone high resolution.  There has been quite a bit a research on it and if you read articles it can get technical very fast but the basic premise is the human ears can only pick up so many frequencies and after a certain point even a person with perfect, trained ears won't be able to detect even a slight change.  I personally (when doing a blind ABX test) can discern a FLAC 44100 vs a 320 kBps MP3, but the difference is VERY small on my setup.  I really have to listen, and frankly when I am listening for pleasure I wouldn't need it.  High resolution gets you a little bit higher, but when compared to FLAC/lossless rips I don't think very many people in the world could tell the difference on headphones.  High resolution is more of a placebo in my opinion.  I plan on getting lots of my stuff up there but only because I like to get every ounce of everything, even if I can't hear it.  I am OCD like that k701smile.gif.

 

My guess is if you didn't think the Dragonfly was a big upgrade, high resolution will do nothing for you.  But that's just my humble opinion.

My understanding of high res music wasn't that it allowed a greater range of pitch (e.g. Going higher, as you say - although it might) but that it allowed for more detail to be retained within the track, more subtle dynamics, more accurate tones. Like comparing a JPEG to a Tiff - it's mostly good enough but there's often something about the uncompressed image that lifts it off the page / screen, like more detail in the shade, better colour gradation etc. 

 

 

The interesting thing I found was that whilst the high res music did sound better straight out of the computer (slightly subjective as I was using a different player and didn't have the same tracks to compare), the dragonfly made a big difference whereas it was barely noticeable with the ALAC standard def music.  Using High Res > VLC > DragonFly > IE800 was simply the best sounding recorded music I'd ever heard and made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck!

 

Id love to recreate that sensation for more listening but I need to find which part if the chain has the biggest impact. From what I've heard there are a lot if variables - but I have a plan!  Going to find somewhere with stock of a few different dacs and source a SD and HD version of the same recording to do some comparisons of:

 

- different players

- iFi iDac & iCan / Dragonfly / centrance hifi m8 / fostex hpp1 (if I can find somewhere with all three)

- SD and HD

 

That should nail it!


Edited by hungrydave - 2/7/13 at 1:02am
post #1041 of 1982

I still think first you should do the 44.1k lossless test again, using the same software (foobar), make sure output res setting are the same (44.1k) for both internal sound card and dragonfly.

 

I haven't tried MacBook Air, but I heard it's sound quality is pretty good.   Much better than MacBook Pro, I have MBP 17, the sound is horrible, and unacceptable hiss level.

In all my computers, the best internal DAC is Dell XPS Studio 9000, I have to say difference from DragonFly is pretty small.  Only after 2 days careful listening I can start to appreciate the difference.  compared to that, DragonFly has cleaner mids, smoother, slightly warmer, more musical and pleasing.    But, the PC's internal DAC projects a easier to understand sound stage, while DragonFly's sound stage is slightly 'confusing', due to it's smoothness.

 

I'll say, compared to >$1000 DACs, the only real big disadvantage of DragonFly is power.  For phones like 300ohms Senn 600, this will be a factor.  But for IEM like IE8/ IE800, this shouldn't be a factor at all.

 

Compared to the really great ESS Sabre based DAC+AMP like Anedio D2,    DragonFly share the same sound signature: same kind of smoothness, musical.     But Anedio is cleaner, more textured.

If Dell XPS Studio 9000 has a score 0,     and Anedio D2 has a score 100,    then DragonFly is somewhere at 80, or 90.   

Put it another way, if upgrading from XPS 9000 to DragonFly gave me a boost of 10 miles,     then upgrade again to $1000+ DAC will give another boost of 1 or 2 miles.

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hungrydave View Post

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


Edited by yfei - 2/8/13 at 9:37pm
post #1042 of 1982

Does anyone else have problems controlling and fine tuning the volume with the DF?

 

I find that the volume goes from quiet to really loud in just a few increments of the volume slider.

 

I play music through Mediamonkey on my PC and whether I adjust the volume of MM or the PC, the slider is very low down as otherwise it gets way too loud very quickly.

With the volume bar being almost at the bottom of the slider, it is hard to find the right level as it is either too quiet or too loud.

 

I am using Ultrasone Pro900 with the DF - my IEMs are impossible to find the right level of volume.

post #1043 of 1982
Yeah I don't like that too much either, but for me when I use volume keys on my keyboard, the volume goes 0, 2, 4... 100. (could be kb/win 8 related) With the slider you can go 0, 1, 2, 3...

I have been wondering since the windows volume goes from 0 to 100 and Dragonfly has 64 step volume control, how does it scale to the windows slider? Also @volume 0 I can still hear the music pretty good. I tend to listen to between levels 2-15

Sent from my Desire Z using Tapatalk 2
post #1044 of 1982
Quote:
 Also @volume 0 I can still hear the music pretty good. I tend to listen to between levels 2-15

Sent from my Desire Z using Tapatalk 2

Yes I've noticed that even at practically 0 I can hear music....its just quite hard to set the volume to a decent, yet comfortable level....especially if you forget to take the focus away from the volume in MM and then scroll up the page...and instead crank the volume up and have to mess about again resetting to a decent level.

I thought it might have been something I was\wasnt doing.

post #1045 of 1982
Quote:
CurrawongNice one. I'd suggest doing what I did, which is get an Aurorasound Bus Power Pro, USB B-to-A adaptor and powering the Dragonfly that way. You'll get quite a bit of improvement in the sound. There are other, similar devices designed to provide better USB power but that is what I have on hand at the moment.

 

Can't find this "Aurorasound Bus Power Pro, USB B-to-A adaptor" anywhere on the net.  What exactly does it do?  Supply more power to the dragonfly?  Or retains a more constant, reliable voltage?  (not to sure on how these things work although i find with my Macbook Pro i get the odd spark on my port side and my external display will cut out and restart itself - don't want that happening whilst the dragonfly is connected)

 

post #1046 of 1982
Quote:
Originally Posted by kryten123 View Post

Yes I've noticed that even at practically 0 I can hear music....its just quite hard to set the volume to a decent, yet comfortable level....especially if you forget to take the focus away from the volume in MM and then scroll up the page...and instead crank the volume up and have to mess about again resetting to a decent level.

I thought it might have been something I was\wasnt doing.

 

Seems odd to own nice cans, a great little USB dac and then limit yourself to MM as player.  Give J River Media Center (JRMC) a try it's worth every penny, I've converted many of my MM user friends.

 

You can configure JRMC to control system volume.  I then use the volume function keys on my keyboard and get the full single increment control over the 64 step analog volume of the dragonfly.


Edited by DrTone - 2/7/13 at 10:36am
post #1047 of 1982
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrTone View Post

 

Seems odd to own nice cans, a great little USB dac and then limit yourself to MM as player.  Give J River Media Center (JRMC) a try it's worth every penny, I've converted many of my MM user friends.

 

You can configure JRMC to control system volume.  I then use the volume function keys on my keyboard and get the full single increment control over the 64 step analog volume of the dragonfly.

 

I didn't think I was limiting myself with MM - it seems to do everything I need.

I have installed JMRC but never got around to testing it. I'll have to give it another go.

post #1048 of 1982

If I plug a TRRS headset (like the Sony XBA-3iP) into the DragonFly, will stereo music play through it properly? Or will one of the contacts inside the DragonFly connect with the microphone's part of the plug, thus causing problems?

post #1049 of 1982

I am seriously considering one to replace my headmap pico upsampling usb audio dac but I am not sure if I will notice a sound quality improvement in the dragonfly. Can anyone help me out with this?

post #1050 of 1982

Hey guys, thought I'd ask a question here since I absolutely adore the dragonfly.  This may have been discussed before but I probably wasn't paying attention.  I just got a new PC which, unlike my last one, has Coax and Optical S/PDIF out.  I love the dragonfly performance into my Lyr.  Question: How does something like a Schiit Bifrost for S/PDIF compare with USB-> Dragonfly?  Will I hear any benefit?  Or perhaps another DAC?
 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › AudioQuest Dragonfly Review : Affordable, Outstanding, Tiny DAC / Amp