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Dragonfly vs. DACport LX

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

My setup would/could be as follows:

Macbook Air > Dragonfly 
Macbook Air > Dragonfly > Headstage Arrow amp
Macbook Air > DACport LX > Headstage Arrow amp

Does anyone have any advice or opinions for what the best setup would be? I'll be using both Audio Technica CK10 IEMS as well as Beyer DT880s. Which setup will offer me the best sound quality? Thanks!

post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 

Well, I ended up buying both, and I'm having a bit of a difficult time deciding which to keep! My main concern has been that when pairing the Dragonfly with the Arrow, it's pretty noisy which seems to be the result of the Dragonfly being unshielded. Paired with the DACport LX, no noise. However, I think I like the sound directly out of the Dragonfly best, over any other setup! On the one hand, that makes me excited that I may end up choosing the setup that's most portable. On the other, something in my gut keeps telling me I'm missing something...that the DACport LX is really a better piece of kit (especially because of the silence vs. the noise with the DF). 


Any thoughts on this?

post #3 of 16
I compared the Dragonfly to my DACport. The Dragonfly is a cheap toy compared to it and it sounds like one. No bass extension, thick and unrefined sound, small soundstage. It's saving grace is the sound signature, it's warm and musical, as long as you listen to slow and boring music. smily_headphones1.gif

The DACport has better performance compared to any other portable thing I've heard and can drive almost every headphone well enough. The Dragonfly certainly can't. That being said, I can also tell you the DACport as a DAC is still some ways behind a good desktop DAC like the Rega or my custom Assemblage. From what I read the LX is slightly better than the DACport as a DAC so if you pair it with a good portable amplifier it can be even better - but I think it's hard to find a portable amplifier that does it justice.

If you already have the LX and want to drive those DT880's well, I recommend you get a portable tube amplifier. ALO Continental V3 seems good. I expect the LX + Continental to bring a good step up in performance compared to the DACport.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

Switched from using Fidelia to Amarra and I'm liking the LX/Arrow combo more now. I definitely think the LX is more analytic and a bit colder, while the DF is more fun. It's gonna be a tough choice.

post #5 of 16
Wow. Thanks eugenius! I've been wanting to read a comparison between the DACport and Dragonfly. I'm glad I made the right choice, based on what you've said!

Have you guys ever heard the Meridian Explorer? If so, how does it compare?
post #6 of 16
By the way, eugenius, you mentioned that the DACport can drive almost every headphone well enough. Which ones does it have trouble with, from your experience? I'm guessing planar magnetics?
post #7 of 16
Inefficient planars are out and it doesn't even drive a DT880 quite as it should but well enough. Certainly miles better than any other portable thing I've heard.

The ideal headphone for it is a medium impedance efficient headphone. Something like an AKG K601 is ideal. It will give you a neutral sound that's good enough for anything, just like the DACport. You can even get the HD600 and use it with it, the HD600 will improve more with a better amplifier but it's good enough.

If you have the 1ohm mod on it, it's' great for low impedance headphones too.
post #8 of 16
Regardless of price range, is Dacport LX the best portable USB DAC?
post #9 of 16
Of course not. There must be somewhere an ultra portable dac made by a maniac, with multibit dac's and a huge battery, that weighs a ton. And I'm not talking about Fang Bian. smily_headphones1.gif
post #10 of 16
Originally Posted by forsberg View Post

Regardless of price range, is Dacport LX the best portable USB DAC?

I'm sure the Meridian can compete, no?
post #11 of 16
It will depend on what type of sound you are looking for. I have had the meridian, dragonfly, lx, pcstep, leckerton mkii, glacier and the odac and the odac is the only one that I decided to keep. It pairs very nicely with the portaphile.
post #12 of 16
Portaphile = lover of porta-potty (:

Poimandres, as a combined AMP/DAC, based on your experience, which would you say is your most preferred? Thank you.
post #13 of 16
Ouch. I certainly wouldn't correlate that definition with the port. I would love to hear a portable amp better than the portaphile, I just don't think that there is one out there yet IMHO.

As far as the combination amp/dac the pcstep is getting a lot of praise however it didn't get anywhere close to the port and odac to my ears. My thoughts on it are in the pcstep thread. From memory as I do not have any of my combination units left I would have to say the leckerton is the best value for the dollar as the amp section is really good.

I also really liked the dacport lx the form factor is what ultimately swayed me to the odac.
post #14 of 16
Thank you, Poimandres. Have you ever heard the Headstage Arrow 4G?
post #15 of 16
I haven't.
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