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AudioQuest Dragonfly Review : Affordable, Outstanding, Tiny DAC / Amp - Page 113

post #1681 of 1934
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim3320070 View Post
 

Sounds really good though from my Note 3 (if not terribly loud)

 

OK.  It is good that it works for you. But I think you will get noticeable improved transient response, like the bass, if you were to go to a DAC/amp with a more capable amplifier. Or perhaps add a separate amplifier to your setup.

 

Bob Graham


Edited by r010159 - 2/7/14 at 9:35am
post #1682 of 1934

Did you try the other two USB ports?  Also, what program are you using for music playback?

post #1683 of 1934

Glad I picked up one of these not long ago -- handy in a pinch.

post #1684 of 1934

I would rate it handy in a worst case scenario, and just about "practical end game" quality in other scenarios.  I own and use both the 1.0 and 1.2 on a daily basis.  I find the 1.2 to work as advertised, meaning a slightly smoother sound.  I find 1.2 to be superior to 1.0, but only slightly and only enough to be in any way significant with certain headphone pairings and not with all.  For my HD-700, 1.2 is the clear way to go, for my other headphones past and present, probably not enough difference for me to care 98% of the time.

 

Regarding 1.0 to 1.2 comparisons, my take on this is that regardless of which one is preferred, others have noticed differences between different units that are just as significant as the differences between versions, so my take away is that this is all a very delicate balance of manufacturing run, condition, USB power supply, headphone pairing, etc...  In my limited experience, I would simply describe the Dragonfly 1.0/1.2 collectively as a 7 to 7.5 in the world of DACs, with 5.0 being the internal DAC of a MacBook pro or iDevice and 9.0 and higher being the best stuff you have ever heard and your BS descriptions and rankings all fall apart the moment you are blindfolded.  And anything 8.0 to 9.0 is stuff you can clearly and consistently hear as superior to most other stuff.  Based on a lot of reading and just a little bit of experience for example, I would rate the Schiit Bifrost an 8.0 and the Bifrost Uber an 8.5.

 

Regarding pairings in general with the Dragonfly, either version, here is my experience:

 

Note, I don't do IEMs at all, so just on ear or over ear headphones... in my ranking system, a 5.0 is generally adequate and a 9.0 is so superior that it is hard to imagine the headphones scale up anymore even with a better DAC/AMP combo in the chain.  For me, a 7.0 or better is worth paying attention to because getting better results often involves something closer to a thousand or more worth of gear than just a couple hundred to maybe five hundred dollars worth of gear (the electronics stuff, not counting the headphones...)  So the numbers are relative to what I think the headphones are capable of, not a reference to absolute sound quality.

 

AKG K550:  8.0  Really good synergy on bass and mids, but there is an etch or sharpness to the highs on these phones that never sat right with me, and the Dragonfly didn't do anything to help tame them.  So not the Dragonfly's fault, I just think these need something warmer.

 

AKG Q701:  6.5  Not quite enough juice to bring the goods and still a bit bright since these are slightly bright sounding to begin with.  A welcome improvement over direct to MacBook, so a reasonable temporary system for the Q701 lover but upgrades ASAP are still in order.  Just not enough juice to show you what the Q701 is capable of

 

ATH-ESW9:  8.5  I love these headphones, and the Dragonfly helps brings the highs out a little better without doing any damage to the slightly syrupy midrange, which is balanced nicely with some decent bass... these are great headphones that should be more appreciated here on head-fi.  If there is ever an argument for coloration being a good thing, these headphones make the case.  So better DAC and amp may do a little more justice to full spectrum, but the Dragonfly is an awesome pairing with these, bringing a little extra tightness and punch to the bass, some better instrument separation in the mids, and a much needed dash of sparkle to the highs.  These headphones work better than anything else I have ever tried directly into iPhone or laptop, but the Dragonfly is such a perfect partner, I have to have it in the mix from now on...

 

Bose AE2: 9.0  these aren't bad headphones, but they are wasted on anything better than a Dragonfly IMHO, otherwise a bit dull sounding but the Dragonfly helps juice them up a bit... and the extra treble definition that the Dragonfly can provide are most welcome here.  Bass tightens up a bit too since I normally find them a bit wooly/muddy when I am direct to iPhone or MacBook.

 

Senn HD 555:  8.0  good clarity and plenty of power since these are fairly easy to drive, but nothing special, still sound like Classic Sennheisers (and I think that is a good thing in general), but at least you get the sense that there is a bit more solid foundation underneath it all and they won't run out of power like they did on my other laptops all the time.

 

Senn HD 700:  7.5  a little bright on occasion, but plenty of drive and solid bass with clean mids make you very happy if you like HD-700 signature in general.  Much better sense of speed and control compared to direct consumer sources. I am anxious to upgrade to a really nice DAC and amp to do justice to the HD-700, but the Dragonfly sounds so decent that I can't justify jumping through any hoops to do so quickly..all in good time, and the Dragonfly need make no apologies while it continues to serve as my interim source for serious listening on my best headphones.  At a recent meet I went from Dragonfly to Bifrost / Bottlehead Crack with same headphones and same source (Mac Book with JRiver MC).  Definitely a solid step up, better bass and a more organic sound, smoother highs and a better sense of depth and layers.  I would rate that combo a 8.5 or maybe even a 9.0 with the HD-700, but again, when I went back to the Dragonfly I didn't feel desperate for something better, just looking forward to what I know is the next step up at some point down the road.

 

Hope this helps anyone still on the fence about the Dragonfly vs going with a more substantial desktop system.


Edited by Greggo - 2/7/14 at 3:19pm
post #1685 of 1934
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha421 View Post
 

Did you try the other two USB ports?  Also, what program are you using for music playback?


Yep, tried all three ports. I'm using foobar

post #1686 of 1934

Never used Foobar, but there was a post involving XP and Fooboar.  Perhaps it may be a driver issue:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/617241/audioquest-dragonfly-review-affordable-outstanding-tiny-dac-amp/750#post_8764407

post #1687 of 1934

@Greggo - Actually, pairing up the Dragonfly with something like the Schiit Vali makes for a wonderful DAC/AMP entry system (with tubes) on the cheap.  I'm really enjoying the combo and am sure it wold be good with the HD700's.  It's quite compelling with the HD800.


Edited by MickeyVee - 2/7/14 at 4:46pm
post #1688 of 1934

New member here, 

 

Just bought a used Dragonfly on Amazon for $80. Previously, I have used an Audigy 2Zs soundcard, a Fiio D3K, and most recently an M-Audio interface for a DAC with my computer headphone setup. The Audigy probably sounded the best but was pretty loud on the noise floor front. 

 

Holy CRAP this thing sounds great. I've been looking into a better DAC for a long time and I had planned on buying the Schiit Modi, but the price just went up by 10 bucks. When I was looking, I happened along the Dragonfly, which had been completely slashed in price from last time I saw it (a couple years ago in the Stereophile review). I quickly bought the used example. 

 

Like I said, it sounds great. I listen to a lot of electronic music in FLAC format and this thing really shines on it. The bass extension is just all of a sudden there, clarity is through the roof, soundstage is wider by a mile. 

 

I run it from a Mediabridge cable>Dragonfly>basic 3.5mm to RCA> Bravo V2> Sony MDR-V6 headphones. I have tried it without the Bravo in the mix but it sounds a little sterile for my tastes, especially with these headphones. It sounded better as a pure amp with my Klipsch S4 earphones, so I may use that for travel. The synergy between the Bravo and the Dragonfly is pretty awesome, since the Bravo adds just a little warmth that makes the Sonys shine. 

 

 

Best of all, I bought it used for really cheap. I actually found out that it's broken- it won't output at anything higher than 44.1kHz. The light changes but there is no output at all. I emailed Audioquest yesterday detailing my problem, and within a few hours they replied, saying that it was probably a defective unit. They sent me an RMA form and just today I got the confirmation with an RMA number. I get to send it back and get a replacement for the cost of shipping! Keep in mind I bought this used, and they know it. Awesome service. 

 

 

Question for those DF veterans, is it still a good idea to max out the system and player volume when using another amp in the chain? I'm still reading the thread (like page 43 currently) and it was said that it acts like a line out device when maxed out. I like the idea but then I only get like a millimeter of usable knob turn on my headphone amp before it's wildly loud. Any solution to this?

post #1689 of 1934

How does this DAC compare to the audioengine d1?

post #1690 of 1934
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha421 View Post
 

Never used Foobar, but there was a post involving XP and Fooboar.  Perhaps it may be a driver issue:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/617241/audioquest-dragonfly-review-affordable-outstanding-tiny-dac-amp/750#post_8764407

 

Didn't solve my problem I'm afraid. I tried it on a Windows 7 PC and it worked fine, but there's too many issues when using it with my netbook. I'll try on my brother's Mac both OSX and WinXP via bootcamp

post #1691 of 1934
Hmmm. The only other thing I can think of is your netbook not providing enough voltage in the usb ports. You can try to connect a powered usb hub to your netbook and if works without issue the netbook usb ports may be the culprit.
post #1692 of 1934

Having read some pages back, this is issue seems to be common on XP

Quote:
 "I have the same issue as you with windows xp only.  Audioquest was no help either. They said it was a driver issue, but I used a few different ones and all had the same issue. Mine shoots to full output and does the crazy freakout thing once I come back up from zero.  Windows 7 and OSX have no issues at all."

 

How do you guys get it working on XP?

post #1693 of 1934
Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyVee View Post
 

@Greggo - Actually, pairing up the Dragonfly with something like the Schiit Vali makes for a wonderful DAC/AMP entry system (with tubes) on the cheap.  I'm really enjoying the combo and am sure it wold be good with the HD700's.  It's quite compelling with the HD800.

 

Yes, I have been tempted by the Vali numerous times.  Haven't tried feeding Dragonfly into an amp but I am paying very close attention to any comments by those who do... watching the DAP forum as well and it is interesting to read the various opinions of headphone out as line out, pros and cons.  Of course, the proof is in the listening and I would love be able to test out a couple of different combinations just for grins.  Would be awesome to see someone do a mini shootout with Dragonfly versus a few other desktop DACs in the 100-500 dollar range all taking turns feeding 2 or 3 different headphone amps.

post #1694 of 1934
Originally Posted by Greggo View Post
 

I would rate it handy in a worst case scenario, and just about "practical end game" quality in other scenarios.  I own and use both the 1.0 and 1.2 on a daily basis.  I find the 1.2 to work as advertised, meaning a slightly smoother sound.  I find 1.2 to be superior to 1.0, but only slightly and only enough to be in any way significant with certain headphone pairings and not with all.  For my HD-700, 1.2 is the clear way to go, for my other headphones past and present, probably not enough difference for me to care 98% of the time.

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Hope this helps anyone still on the fence about the Dragonfly vs going with a more substantial desktop system.

 

Thanks for the excellent post and comparison.

post #1695 of 1934

So I've been searching around alot and haven't really found any information regarding this. Does anyone here have any experience pairing this with an Objective 2 amp? I need something more than the dragonfly to amp my 600's and have looked around for a good looking amp and so far the best I have seen for my price range is the Objective 2. Any input from anyone who has tried this combo would be greatly appreciated!

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