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AudioQuest Dragonfly Review : Affordable, Outstanding, Tiny DAC / Amp - Page 9

post #121 of 1929
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post

Alright, with 20 hours under my belt of listening I'm shipping this guy back.  I'm not getting the changes to the signature I was hoping for.

 

To be clear, it actually sounds pretty fantastic with my Thunderpants... not quite to the level of O2/ODAC - it's just a bit lean/flat by comparison, but just a bit, which is pretty outrageous considering it's entirely USB bus powered.  The DAC portion to my ears outshines the ODAC and running the Dragonfly -> O2 is absolutely stellar - very detailed, lack of digital hash, dynamic, tight, crisp... a dynamite pairing, both with the Thunderpants and EPH-100.

 

But that's not what I bought it for, and with its headphone out -> my 16 ohm EPH-100, which to be honest are warm by their nature, it just pushes things into an unsavory territory descending into mush.  If I were rocking a leaner and/or higher impedance BA IEM I'm sure it would be sublime, but I am rather attached to a minimal setup and find the EPH-100 a very good match for my sonic preferences.  With it I even prefer the headphone out of my Macbook Air to the Dragonfly, and doing some research I now understand a bit more why.

I spoke with Alasdair at Audioquest today, (I lost the USB Cap already...mad.gif ) He and I got into a "Burn In" conversation. The view of the AQ folks is that the Dragonfly should be at its best after 150 hours of so of burn in. So sending it back after 20 may be premature. 

post #122 of 1929
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post

Alright, with 20 hours under my belt of listening I'm shipping this guy back.  I'm not getting the changes to the signature I was hoping for.

 

To be clear, it actually sounds pretty fantastic with my Thunderpants... not quite to the level of O2/ODAC - it's just a bit lean/flat by comparison, but just a bit, which is pretty outrageous considering it's entirely USB bus powered and barely drags down the battery on my power thrifty MBA.  The DAC portion to my ears outshines the ODAC and running the Dragonfly -> O2 is absolutely stellar - very detailed, lack of digital hash, dynamic, tight, crisp... a dynamite pairing, both with the Thunderpants and EPH-100.  The DAC implementation here is crazy good for the price and convenience.

 

But that's not what I bought it for, and with its headphone out -> my 16 ohm EPH-100, which to be honest are warm by their nature, it just pushes things into an unsavory territory descending into mush on more complex or bassy music.  If I were rocking a leaner and/or higher impedance BA IEM I'm sure it would be sublime, but I am rather attached to a minimal setup and find the EPH-100 a very good match for my sonic preferences.  With it I even prefer the headphone out of my Macbook Air to the Dragonfly, and doing some research I now understand a bit more why.

 

Just to be clear - I think this is a fantastic product, a real game changer.  If like with the Dacport there were a $100 option for lowering the impedance to 1 ohm I'd be all over it.  With the right cans you're probably bumping up close to the point of quickly diminishing returns for something that is the size of a typical thumb drive.  The build quality is awesome, the analog volume control is slick and works as advertised.

 

I totally agree with you, it pushes things into warm terrytory. 

When listening to complex music or music that presents microdetails, I still prefer the macbook pro headphone out.

Today I was listening to Getz&Gilberto #2 (1993 Verve CD) on the HA-FX700, and I miss some  microdetail and stage performance offered by macbook pro out I really miss the soundstage of the live recording.. =(

post #123 of 1929

Clearly, based on Audioquests comments, without sufficient burn in time (Which we would expect with any other DAC) you cannot make a determination of what the ultimate sound quality will be like.  I have been burning in for about 50 hours so far. I'll get to it after it gets a good 150+ based on AQ's recommendation.

post #124 of 1929
Quote:
Originally Posted by longbowbbs View Post

Clearly, based on Audioquests comments, without sufficient burn in time (Which we would expect with any other DAC) you cannot make a determination of what the ultimate sound quality will be like.  I have been burning in for about 50 hours so far. I'll get to it after it gets a good 150+ based on AQ's recommendation.

 

I don't know... I don't find it warm at all with my Thunderpants, of course, that could be because they're slightly underdriven.

 

Dollars to donuts I feel this has probably the somewhat typical 10 ohm output impedance you find in many consumer audio products that try to drive a large majority of headphones, to keep hiss/noise/popping down.

 

That said, in the name of all things head-fi it would behoove me to burn them in so I can give a more proper assessment, so I'll throw it on my mac mini and let music play through the weekend.  

 

I also called Audioquest and the guy had no idea and told me to send them an email which I did.  


Edited by bobeau - 7/13/12 at 2:01pm
post #125 of 1929
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post

 

I don't know... I don't find it warm at all with my Thunderpants, of course, that could be because they're slightly underdriven.

 

Dollars to donuts I feel this has probably the somewhat typical 10 ohm output impedance you find in many consumer audio products that try to drive a large majority of headphones, to keep hiss/noise/popping down.

If so, it is a big disappointment for Audioquest and Gordon Rankin. There is a lot going on within those four packed layers of circuit board.

post #126 of 1929

Has anybody measured the output impedance of this guy? Like bobeau, I think that's what's causing the excessive boominess of his EPH100's. The 50 ohm T50RP would be significantly less affected by this.
 

post #127 of 1929

I can measure.

I just dont know how to properly measure it. I have the DMM

post #128 of 1929
Quote:
Originally Posted by longbowbbs View Post

If so, it is a big disappointment for Audioquest and Gordon Rankin. There is a lot going on within those four packed layers of circuit board.

 

I don't really think so, it might be overly difficult given the packaging/proximity to the USB bus to make it noise free at a minimal output impedance.  Just an engineering decision to open it up for better performance with the vast majority of headphones.

post #129 of 1929
post #130 of 1929

Just got a response from Steve Silberman from Audioquest.  He doesn't seem to want to answer this question and instead asked me about my setup, if there's an issue there.  Gordon Rankin also ignored it on ComputerAudiophile and said they're designed to drive phones from 12 ohms.

 

I don't understand what the big deal is, it's something alot of headamp manufacturers (albeit likely smaller companies) seem to be alright posting.  CEntrance is open about their products having a default 10 ohm output with the option to dial it down to 1 ohm.

post #131 of 1929

I would expect they are shooting for a wide audience, many of whom have never used a DAC before. Heck, most folks headphones don't cost as much as the Dragonfly! I certainly don't expect it to replace a great stand alone DAC like a W4S DAC2 or a Benchmark, but it is an improvement over the stock MBPro audio jack.

post #132 of 1929
Quote:
Originally Posted by longbowbbs View Post

I would expect they are shooting for a wide audience, many of whom have never used a DAC before. Heck, most folks headphones don't cost as much as the Dragonfly! I certainly don't expect it to replace a great stand alone DAC like a W4S DAC2 or a Benchmark, but it is an improvement over the stock MBPro audio jack.

 

Indeed.  The headphone out of the DF -> Thunderpants obliterates my MBAs headphone out, as does the DF -> O2 -> EPH-100.  That said I find my MBA's headphone out -> EPH-100 preferable to DF -> EPH-100.

 

Again, I think the DAC implementation here is crazy good, that's certainly not part of the issue.

 

Steve again asked about my setup which I don't see has any bearing, I've isolated the issue to the headamp.  As well he said he'd forward it to Gordon.  They're not going to give an answer here so if a kinda head-fier could measure...


Edited by bobeau - 7/13/12 at 2:38pm
post #133 of 1929

Which MBA do you have. I had read on CNET that one of the newer MBA's had an improved Audio out from the earlier versions. I don't remember what was changed, just that something had been upgraded, My MBP is a Mid '09 and I am (at about 50+ hours burn in so far) getting a clear improvement from the DF vs the MBP direct. I will do a direct comparison to the NuForce uDAC2 once I get past 200+ hours. Funny, I connect the uDAC2 to the MBP via an AQ cable..biggrin.gif

post #134 of 1929

Please read the post 321, for correct measurments:

 

post #321


Edited by Chefano - 8/8/12 at 11:24am
post #135 of 1929
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefano View Post

According to my measurements: 4.77Ohms at 1KHz Sine 0dfs

 

Load Used: 49.9Ohms

Unloaded: 2.084 Vrms

Loaded: 1.902 Vrms

Measured using my Fluke TrueRMS MM.

You'll have to help me with this. I appreciate your getting the numbers, but I have no idea what they mean.

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