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AudioQuest Dragonfly Review : Affordable, Outstanding, Tiny DAC / Amp - Page 32

post #466 of 1911

I finally found the time to do some comparative listening between the DragonFly and Nuforce Icon HD tonight.  A few notes:

 

-My main point of concern with the DF was its ability to project a sizable soundstage.  Comparatively to the Nuforce, I'm happy to report that it earns a passing grade.  The Icon can sound ever so slightly wider at times, but this is only noticeable in direct A-B testing.  However, the DF does exhibit a greater sense of vertical space to my ears.

 

-The Nuforce sounds notably smoother and less dynamic than the DF.  Individual notes don't necessarily sound weightier on the Icon, but instead thicker/wider/blunted.

 

-As implied above, tonal weight is a dead heat.  I also don't perceive either as being noticeably warmer/brighter than the other.  Both have (maybe) just a hint of pleasant, unobtrusive warmth.

 

-Due to the previously described smoothness of the Nuforce, the DF sounds greater detailed with a better sense of clarity and separation.  Imaging/instrument placement seems more precise as well.

 

-The Nuforce has greater bass quantity.  It's tough to definitively tell, but the DF may have slightly faster decay. (although, the tipped-up Icon is done very well)

 

-Although I don't currently have any high-impedance cans on hand, it's fairly apparent that the driving authority edge goes to the Nuforce.  All things equal, it leaves plenty of room to crank up the volume.  The DF is surprisingly good in this regard as well, (I'm at between 20 and 24 clicks out of 64, give or take, depending on the content) but with its external power supply the Icon's superiority is to be expected.

 

Overall, it comes down to needs and personal preference.  It's certainly impressive that the DF has been engineered well enough to keep pace with the admirably performing Icon HD(P) given the form factor and lack of the need for a separate power source.  The Nuforce would be my recommendation for those looking to drive power-hungry cans, those looking for some extra bottom-end presence, or who prefer a smoother "hi-fi" sound, but to my ears there's an overall greater sense of coherency with the DF due to its better perceived clarity, imaging, and depth of soundstage.  Headphone synergy, as always, would be a factor and YMMV.  For my current SQ needs and admiration for its overall convenience, the DF gets the nod.

 

Hours accrued: I'm unsure if any "burn in" has occurred or if it will yield a noticeable difference.  I have yet to unplug the DF from my MacBook Pro since purchase and it has been constantly receiving power. (light turns red when the computer is asleep)  Therefore, it's been ran in for about 72 hours so far.

post #467 of 1911
Ridiculous question: will this be able to drive ortho's?
post #468 of 1911

Hifiman HE-400 are orthos... so YES.

post #469 of 1911
Haha smily_headphones1.gif and something like my ortho? It's 150 ohm and needs 25 watt if this can drive this, i'll be buying one right now
post #470 of 1911
I was enjoying the DF yesterday in the hotel room with the MBPro and the Senn HD25-1's. At about 40% of the max volume the sound was almost uncomfortablely loud. I know the Senn's are not Orthos but I certainly had plenty of volume left to play with. smily_headphones1.gif
post #471 of 1911
Quote:
Originally Posted by William007 View Post

Haha smily_headphones1.gif and something like my ortho? It's 150 ohm and needs 25 watt if this can drive this, i'll be buying one right now

 

Well, it's rated at 125mW @ 32 ohms.  So sure, why not smily_headphones1.gif

post #472 of 1911
Damn now i have to buy one to try smily_headphones1.gif i hope it's worth the money! I'll have a decent gaming amp then smily_headphones1.gif
post #473 of 1911
Quote:
Originally Posted by longbowbbs View Post

I was enjoying the DF yesterday in the hotel room with the MBPro and the Senn HD25-1's. At about 40% of the max volume the sound was almost uncomfortablely loud. I know the Senn's are not Orthos but I certainly had plenty of volume left to play with. smily_headphones1.gif

 

I'm about 60-70% volume with my Thunderpants.  While they sound pretty good, to my ears they're a bit underdriven compared to hooking the DF -> O2, a bit lean/lacking dynamics.

post #474 of 1911
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post

 

I'm about 60-70% volume with my Thunderpants.  While they sound pretty good, to my ears they're a bit underdriven compared to hooking the DF -> O2, a bit lean/lacking dynamics.

I have never tried an 02, but that sounds like what it us made for. A bit more oooomph for the signal.

post #475 of 1911

I don't know much about headphone amplifiers. What should I be concerned about with the DF? Is it impedance that I should be matching? If so, how high of an impedance can this power before needing a more powerful amp? I am considering the DF and Beyerdynamic DT990 Premium 32 ohm headphones.

post #476 of 1911
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post

 

I'm about 60-70% volume with my Thunderpants.  While they sound pretty good, to my ears they're a bit underdriven compared to hooking the DF -> O2, a bit lean/lacking dynamics.


I've also become a big fan of DF -> JDS O2 -> Senn HD600

post #477 of 1911

Glad to have joined the Dragonfly club here. Just got mine in the mail today. I must say that I do love the sound from first impression. Been driving my new GR-07's from my MPB. Really sounds excellent.

 

Odd question though. The only thing in the DF box was a quick start guide and the warranty card, aside from the unit itself and it's bag. Is there no substantial manual? The quick start guide is only like 4 pages long. Am I missing the actual manual? I checked the box a few times. Nothing else in there.

 

If it makes a difference, I ordered from HiDef Lifestyle on Amazon.

 

Thanks. Can't wait to try this with my HE400s and SR325s.

post #478 of 1911
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrumbleFish View Post

Glad to have joined the Dragonfly club here. Just got mine in the mail today. I must say that I do love the sound from first impression. Been driving my new GR-07's from my MPB. Really sounds excellent.

 

Odd question though. The only thing in the DF box was a quick start guide and the warranty card, aside from the unit itself and it's bag. Is there no substantial manual? The quick start guide is only like 4 pages long. Am I missing the actual manual? I checked the box a few times. Nothing else in there.

 

That sounds like the entire package.  I've gotten two of these guys now (first from HiDef as well) and that's how they came.

 

I do find the DF -> GR07 to be spectacular as well.  

post #479 of 1911

It's odd actually, going from DF -> GR07 to DF -> HE400, my HE400s almost feel bass light. That's not feeling I've had before.

 

I will say that it's odd to use the on-board volume control buttons on my mac again.

post #480 of 1911
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrumbleFish View Post

Glad to have joined the Dragonfly club here. Just got mine in the mail today. I must say that I do love the sound from first impression. Been driving my new GR-07's from my MPB. Really sounds excellent.

Odd question though. The only thing in the DF box was a quick start guide and the warranty card, aside from the unit itself and it's bag. Is there no substantial manual? The quick start guide is only like 4 pages long. Am I missing the actual manual? I checked the box a few times. Nothing else in there.

If it makes a difference, I ordered from HiDef Lifestyle on Amazon.

Thanks. Can't wait to try this with my HE400s and SR325s.

Full(er) manual at:

http://www.audioquest.com/pdfs/dragonfly/DragonFly-Setup-Guide-EN-V2-220dpi.pdf

Other languages at home page.

I'm VERY impressed with mine.
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