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AudioQuest Dragonfly Review : Affordable, Outstanding, Tiny DAC / Amp - Page 102

post #1516 of 1817
Quote:
Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post

Just a question...is there any theoretical advantage or disadvantage of using such a small USB powered DAC over a full sized desktop DAC for around the same price...lets say 200-300 dollars entry level offerings? I'm talking about using it strictly as a DAC that would feed an amplifier.

 

Performance, performance, performance... :-) Also, no dedicated line out, no optical/coax input (if you need one, of course), and you are paying for a headphone amp that you are going to use as a line out (while could be OK, it is not exactly right).

 

DF is a very good little device but I would not (and do not) use it as part of a desktop only system (I use Arcam rDAC, and I would not try to compare).

 

To stay within your budget, I would look at something like this brand new model of Musical Fidelity V90-DAC (if you are OK with 24/96 and do not require 24/192; $299 at Audio Advisor). I owned their older DACs in the past and the performance was very good (although did not listen to V90-DAC yet).

 

Of course, there are a lot of choices so just try as many as you can, in your own listening environment, until you find something you like.

 

If you want to use as both though (portable/desktop) and like the sound, then why not?

post #1517 of 1817
Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAnAngel View Post

Performance, performance, performance... :-) Also, no dedicated line out, no optical/coax input (if you need one, of course), and you are paying for a headphone amp that you are going to use as a line out (while could be OK, it is not exactly right).

DF is a very good little device but I would not (and do not) use it as part of a desktop only system (I use Arcam rDAC, and I would not try to compare).

To stay within your budget, I would look at something like this brand new model of Musical Fidelity V90-DAC (if you are OK with 24/96 and do not require 24/192; $299 at Audio Advisor). I owned their older DACs in the past and the performance was very good (although did not listen to V90-DAC yet).

Of course, there are a lot of choices so just try as many as you can, in your own listening environment, until you find something you like.

If you want to use as both though (portable/desktop) and like the sound, then why not?


I have the MF M1DAC already, but it's to damn big and heavy...it's a mess transporting it around the house, let alone taking it somewhere with me, so I was thinking of something smaller. Meridian Explorer came to my mind, as well as Arcam rDAC and Micromega Mydac (which apparently sounds way better than M1DAC, says everyone who works in the store in my country where both are sold, and it costs half as much). All of them are small deskop DAC's that I could take around, but none have headphone outputs, which could be practical....meh, I don't know...I'm kinda losing my excitement for hi-fi in general. I have a Beyerdynamic T1 as my main headphone, MF M1HPAp amp and M1DAC, and I don't like the way it sounds. I mean, it sounds good, but is it worth 2000 euros in total? Hell no, because I still spend most of my time listening to Sennheiser HD202, and I'm so happy with it I feel lazy standing up from the chair to take the T1's out of their box...I don't wanna fold that cable all the time... :P
post #1518 of 1817
Quote:
Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post


I have the MF M1DAC already, but it's to damn big and heavy...it's a mess transporting it around the house, let alone taking it somewhere with me, so I was thinking of something smaller. Meridian Explorer came to my mind, as well as Arcam rDAC and Micromega Mydac (which apparently sounds way better than M1DAC, says everyone who works in the store in my country where both are sold, and it costs half as much). All of them are small deskop DAC's that I could take around, but none have headphone outputs, which could be practical....meh, I don't know...I'm kinda losing my excitement for hi-fi in general. I have a Beyerdynamic T1 as my main headphone, MF M1HPAp amp and M1DAC, and I don't like the way it sounds. I mean, it sounds good, but is it worth 2000 euros in total? Hell no, because I still spend most of my time listening to Sennheiser HD202, and I'm so happy with it I feel lazy standing up from the chair to take the T1's out of their box...I don't wanna fold that cable all the time... :P


Nice setup but I see one problem here (I had it too :-))

 

MF M1HPA is not very good match for T1 (well, in my opinion, a bad match, actually).

 

How do I know? I have T90 and M1HPA, and that's how I started listening to T90. While this combo has a clean, airy and transparent sound, it really suffers in low end, sometimes making resulting sound a bit flat and lifeless. Long story short, I don't like it.

 

So I bought Beyer A1 to drive T90, and given proper interconnects (I use Kimber Hero at this time), it sounds really, really great to me - love it! So If you did not mind trying A1 to improve your great desktop setup, I would highly recommend it. Just make sure to run A1 for a few hundred hours playing your T1 before listening yourself, otherwise you might get a wrong impression (I did, when I first connected it).

 

Going back to DF and other portables, besides DF, I would then recommend Meridian Explorer (I have it), especially considering your desktop setup. I did use Explorer for quite some time out of line out with Kimber Silver Streak and A1/T90, and it worked great. But then I came back to Arcam rDAC as I like it more in a desktop system.

 

Also, I would highly recommend changing your amp before considering to replace M1DAC. I am honestly under impression that M1DAC is better than Arcam rDAC that I love immensely (haven't heard M1DAC though but I was considering buying it; I use MF VLINK192 and it would pair nicely).

post #1519 of 1817
Quote:
Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post

Just a question...is there any theoretical advantage or disadvantage of using such a small USB powered DAC over a full sized desktop DAC for around the same price...lets say 200-300 dollars entry level offerings? I'm talking about using it strictly as a DAC that would feed an amplifier.

 

Really depend on the earphone or headphone to drive.  But since you're using it as DAC only, this little DAC has built-in headphone amplifier on the output, So DAC --> Headphone Amp --> Output socket.  I'm not sure it would be able to bypass the headphone amp if it is connected to line input instead of headphones.  If not, you better get a dedicated DAC with line output.

 

Another disadvantage would be the analog cable.  With dragonfly, you're limited with mini jack, cannot use good quality RCA-RCA cables.

post #1520 of 1817
Quote:
Originally Posted by earfonia View Post
 

...

 

Another disadvantage would be the analog cable.  With dragonfly, you're limited with mini jack, cannot use good quality RCA-RCA cables.

You could (Kimber and Cardas would be two examples); they just put them in the "iPod Cable" category - although selection would be rather limited.

 

Or just use a 3.5mm to RCA adapter, it doesn't seem to introduce any detectable loss.

post #1521 of 1817

For me the DF is a portable computer DAC. If paired with a small portable amp it is great on the road or in the air. I primarily use it in the office.

 

It is just not in the same class with desk top DAC's.  

post #1522 of 1817

Anyone have an E18 to compare?  I'm deciding between the two for the work space.

post #1523 of 1817
Quote:
Originally Posted by earfonia View Post
 

 

Really depend on the earphone or headphone to drive.  But since you're using it as DAC only, this little DAC has built-in headphone amplifier on the output, So DAC --> Headphone Amp --> Output socket.  I'm not sure it would be able to bypass the headphone amp if it is connected to line input instead of headphones.  If not, you better get a dedicated DAC with line output.

 

Another disadvantage would be the analog cable.  With dragonfly, you're limited with mini jack, cannot use good quality RCA-RCA cables.

Seems almost too obvious to mention, but AudioQuest makes a full line of mini>RCA cables.  From ~$20-$XXXX.  They also make the same cables in mini>mini, RCA>RCA & mini M>F(extension) among others.  

 

Pages 6 & 7 have the details.

http://www.audioquest.com/pdfs/AQ_PB_Retail_2014_01.pdf

post #1524 of 1817
Quote:
Originally Posted by ULUL View Post
 

I too would love to know if there's a way in Windows 8 that can double check what version I am testing for a review.  Thanks. 

Also, curious if anyone got a version 1.2 from Audio Advisor for the $99 unit.

Several weeks ago when Audio Advisor first offered what they were calling version 1.1 of the Dragonfly I jumped at the offer and I really liked the way the Dragonfly worked and sounded then when I received the email from Audio Advisor saying that the so called version 1.1 of the Dragonfly was NOT the same as version 1.2 of the Dragonfly but that they would gladly exchange my version 1.1 Dragonfly for a brand new version 1.2 of the Dragonfly for only the price difference of 49.75 and without any shipping charges I again jumped at the offer. Today I received the new version 1.2 of the Dragonfly and it works and sounds great. By the way the box for the version 1.2 Dragonfly has a sticker on it stating that it is a version 1.2 model.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whippler View Post
 

With foobar you can make it automatic, by by passing the windows own audio drivers. Install this component: 

http://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_out_wasapi

in foobar go file -> preferences -> output

from the device dropdown select WASAPI Event (Dragonfly...)

 

Now you can't hear any windows sounds trough dragonfly when playing music from foobar, since it has the control over the device. The volume of the dragonfly is still controlled by windows, so you should still change DF as default audiodevice in windows settings, othervice you can't control the volume.(well you can use the foobar vol control, afaik it's digital tough) Or you can have foobar playing to DF and have windows have another audio device set and it will play it's sounds from there.

Thanks Whippler! I installed the WASAPI component in Foobar and now I get all the various colors on the glowing dragonfly depending on the sample rate of the file being played.

 

I do have a two part question:

 

Any recommendation on how big to make the buffer length? And also any recommendation on what bit depth to use?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RUMAY408 View Post
 

Just a reminder:  Read the thread from the beginning if you want to see $250 (original DF) mistakes, and worse-

 

For anyone who buys an old or new DF please use a USB extension, save your computer and DF. USB extensions are cheap (I use a $6 mediabridge) or the Dragontail. :beyersmile: 

Another thank you to RUMAY408! I ordered the Mediabridge male to female USB extension from Amazon. I always use the least expensive USB cable I can find because I stopped drinking the high end audio kool-aid many years ago.

post #1525 of 1817

24bit, since DF  is 24bit dac. as for buffer the default 250 should be fine. Im running it at minimumtough, 50.

post #1526 of 1817
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whippler View Post
 

24bit, since DF  is 24bit dac. as for buffer the default 250 should be fine. Im running it at minimumtough, 50.


Thanks once again! I had set the bit depth at 24 bit since I have quite a few 24 bit files in my collection and I figured that setting it 16 bit would just truncate the 24 bit file whereas setting it at 24 bit would not "harm" all the 16 bit files. I kind of thought that the buffer size was not all that important.

post #1527 of 1817

Thats exactly how I feel about my setup, its sometimes too lifeless and flat. It does feel like M1HPAP is struggling with the bass at moments with the T1..

post #1528 of 1817
Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAnAngel View Post
 

You could (Kimber and Cardas would be two examples); they just put them in the "iPod Cable" category - although selection would be rather limited.

 

Or just use a 3.5mm to RCA adapter, it doesn't seem to introduce any detectable loss.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Speakerphile View Post
 

Seems almost too obvious to mention, but AudioQuest makes a full line of mini>RCA cables.  From ~$20-$XXXX.  They also make the same cables in mini>mini, RCA>RCA & mini M>F(extension) among others.  

 

Pages 6 & 7 have the details.

http://www.audioquest.com/pdfs/AQ_PB_Retail_2014_01.pdf

 

 

Thanks for the link!  Yes I'm aware of that.  I didn't mean there is no good mini jack to RCA out there, I mean, the solution is still limited to mini jack.  If we happen to have very good quality RCA - RCA, we cannot use it with Dragonfly without any adapter.  And compared to the wide selection of RCA cables, mini jack to RCA relatively limited in choices.  But I do agree, there are good mini jack to RCA cables as solution.

post #1529 of 1817
Quote:
Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post


I have the MF M1DAC already, but it's to damn big and heavy...it's a mess transporting it around the house, let alone taking it somewhere with me, so I was thinking of something smaller. Meridian Explorer came to my mind, as well as Arcam rDAC and Micromega Mydac (which apparently sounds way better than M1DAC, says everyone who works in the store in my country where both are sold, and it costs half as much). All of them are small deskop DAC's that I could take around, but none have headphone outputs, which could be practical....meh, I don't know...I'm kinda losing my excitement for hi-fi in general. I have a Beyerdynamic T1 as my main headphone, MF M1HPAp amp and M1DAC, and I don't like the way it sounds. I mean, it sounds good, but is it worth 2000 euros in total? Hell no, because I still spend most of my time listening to Sennheiser HD202, and I'm so happy with it I feel lazy standing up from the chair to take the T1's out of their box...I don't wanna fold that cable all the time... :P

 

I agree with you... many simpler and cheaper setup that are really enjoyable.  Having HD800, T1, DT880, Hifiman HE5-LE, Fidelio X1, Amperior, and many others, perhaps my old Sennheiser HD25 SP is the one that I have most head hour with.  Simply because I always hang it beside my computer, and I don't really care to keep it nicely and dust free in headphone case like my other headphones...

 

T1 and HD800 are not really easy to pair with.  I don't like them with my Mytek 192-DSD headphone output.  But I do like them a lot with Yulong DA8 headphone output without any additional amplifier.

 

And I'm gonna cut that T1 cable...


Edited by earfonia - 12/20/13 at 4:41am
post #1530 of 1817

Here is how you check the version your Dragonfly DAC in Windows environment.

 

Go to Control Panel

Select Hardware & Sound

Manage Audio Devices

Select Dragonfly

Select Properties 

Select Details

Select Device Description

elect Hardware IDs. 

 

“Value” it will show “REV 010” for v1.0 or “REV 012” for v1.2

 

I have both the version 1.0 and version 1.2 and it shows up as REV010 and REV012 respectively.

 

Hope this helps.

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