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Audioquest Dragonfly vs ...?? (Gaming,Music, PC, Nexus 4)

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'm considering purchasing an Audioquest Dragonfly. 

 

Can anyone here tell me how it compares to alternatives like Fiios, Creative X-Fi Go, Asus Xonar U3, Stoner Acoustics UD1000 etc? Basically, it needs to be very small. Can't be more expensive than 200$, but I'd rather spend around 100$, preferably even less. And If the best option is to get two - one for music, one for gaming, let me know. My current iem is a Soundmagic E30, though I'm saving up for a GR07. If I end up getting something cheap for the dac/amp, I'll probably purchase a UE 900. My current source is from my realtek soundcard for games/movies and from my Nexus 4 for music, so basically its very very lacking. I don't understand my own needs too well due to a lack of technical understanding of how audio works, but I reckon that a better dac will help me more than a better amp will. I'd rather purchase one device that'll help me for computer and mobile 

 

There's basically 4 factors that will affect my decision, listed by priority:

 

1) Price/Performance Ratio - I'm a university student. All my money comes from Subway shifts. I'd rather not waste too much money.

 

2) How good they are for Gaming/Movies - Primary use.

 

3) How good they are for Music - Secondary use.

 

4) If they will be compatible with my Unrooted Nexus 4 (USB OTG?) - My hopes aren't too high, I know it'll be difficult to make it work. But if one of these will work with the Nexus 4 (I heard Jelly Bean brought about a USB Audio update, I'm not sure what that means for me), then I'll purchase it without a second thought, as it'll save me from an extra purchase.

 

 

Oh, and I'll probably never go beyond a UE900.. I'm not too much into headphones (though I do eventually plan to indulge in them), but for now I find them too uncomfortable. I know that I'll have to pay for this picky-ness in terms of sound quality, but I guess that'll have to do.


Edited by tquickbrownfox - 10/19/13 at 11:51pm
post #2 of 25

Is this for gaming on a win PC laptop? or desktop?

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

Laptop, unfortunately.

Otherwise I'd just replace the internal soundcard. (that would work?) I guess that'd be much cheaper too. But for now, a desktop is not an option, I'm living in a dorm.

 

For reference, I'm using a Lenovo Y460. Also, I'm looking at purchasing another laptop soon, and I don't want to sidetrack this thread, but all the default laptop soundcards are equally bad right? I've been looking at the new Acer V7, not having considered the soundcard issue.

 

Back to the main topic, you now see why I want a (preferably USB) external DAC.

post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tquickbrownfox View Post
 

Laptop, unfortunately.

Otherwise I'd just replace the internal sound card. (that would work?) I guess that'd be much cheaper too. But for now, a desktop is not an option, I'm living in a dorm.

 

For reference, I'm using a Lenovo Y460. Also, I'm looking at purchasing another laptop soon, and I don't want to sidetrack this thread, but all the default laptop sound cards are equally bad right? I've been looking at the new Acer V7, not having considered the sound card issue.

 

Back to the main topic, you now see why I want a (preferably USB) external DAC.

FiiO E17 ($140) comes with USB and S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) inputs.

Using S/PDIF would allow you to still use the laptop's built in sound card.

Sometimes the FiiO E17 goes on sale for under $110.

post #5 of 25

The new crop of small USB DAC Headphone amps are pretty tough to beat soundwise.  The USB implementation is much better than the cheap generic USB devices.

post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bones13 View Post
 

The new crop of small USB DAC Headphone amps are pretty tough to beat soundwise.  The USB implementation is much better than the cheap generic USB devices.

Hi, thanks for your reply. I'm not too sure what you meant by the second sentence. Please explain. :)

Thx.

post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tquickbrownfox View Post

Laptop, unfortunately.
Otherwise I'd just replace the internal soundcard. (that would work?) I guess that'd be much cheaper too. But for now, a desktop is not an option, I'm living in a dorm.

For reference, I'm using a Lenovo Y460. Also, I'm looking at purchasing another laptop soon, and I don't want to sidetrack this thread, but all the default laptop soundcards are equally bad right? I've been looking at the new Acer V7, not having considered the soundcard issue.

Back to the main topic, you now see why I want a (preferably USB) external DAC.

I'm in the same boat as you, even the same laptop lol. I'd like to additionally be able to use the usb dac as a portable one for my Galaxy S4 though.
I'd advise against the Xonar U3, I had it for a short period of time, but the resistance from the U3 is somewhat high, so it doesn't pair well with most IEMs or efficient headphones.
I'm looking at the X-Fi Go Pro as an option but it doesn't seem I can use it for my phone.
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

FiiO E17 ($140) comes with USB and S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) inputs.

Using S/PDIF would allow you to still use the laptop's built in sound card.

Sometimes the FiiO E17 goes on sale for under $110.

How does the Fiio E17 hold up against the Creative and Asus USB DACs for Gaming

I'm certain, after what I've read everywhere, that the Fiio E17 (E18 for me, I've got an Android phone), has an exceptional price/performance ratio.

 

From what I've read, Fiio E17/18 is a great amp/dac. But how does it fare against 'only' dac? 

I know that I seem confused, but I figure that if I'm getting an amp and a dac in the same package, one of them must be 'lacking'.

post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 

So I've finalized on the e18 kunlun (considering that its basically e17 with better android support)... Just waiting for the release.

Thanks to everyone who replied.

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tquickbrownfox View Post
 

How does the Fiio E17 hold up against the Creative and Asus USB DACs for Gaming

I'm certain, after what I've read everywhere, that the Fiio E17 (E18 for me, I've got an Android phone), has an exceptional price/performance ratio.

 

From what I've read, Fiio E17/18 is a great amp/dac. But how does it fare against 'only' dac? 

I know that I seem confused, but I figure that if I'm getting an amp and a dac in the same package, one of them must be 'lacking'.


The Creative and Asus USB "sound cards" offer gaming features where as the E17 just comes comes with a better DAC/Amp

 

As the Asus Xonar U3 comes with an optical output, you can connect the U3 to the USB port and the E17 to the U3.

 

I really know nothing about the E18, so really have no way of commenting on it.

post #11 of 25

I have the E17+L7 LOD. For gaming, i don't there is a real noticeable difference in sound quality compare to my onboard (ALC 888s) and when i think i do, idk if it's a placebo effect. Same with music. However I do notice louder volume. speaker setup is audioengine a2 and subwoofer is powerbass pbx-10.1.

 

As for the E17 with your nexus 4. You have to have root, flash some files, get a OTG Y cable, and have a app like usb audio recorder PRO in order to use ur dac on the nexus 4 for music. 

post #12 of 25

Jumping in since this seems to be helpful for me too :D

 

Is there any reason at all to use this chain:

 

Laptop >USB> Xonar U3/other USB soundcard >SPDIF> E17 >> Headphones

 

Instead of just

 

Laptop >SPDIF> E17 >> Headphones

 

if my internal sound card is a Realtek with ALC663 (which apparently can output to 5.1 audio - http://www.datasheet4u.com/download.php?id=716550 )?

post #13 of 25

what are you trying to achieve in using 2 soundcards? It's redundant. 


Edited by imeem - 10/25/13 at 8:34pm
post #14 of 25

DSP purposes only. I don't really know if using the E17 from the soundcard's SPDIF out only affects the sound quality.

 

if the soundcard does anything other than adding the simulated effects, I might consider getting a better external soundcard and just get a decent portable phone amp.

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tquickbrownfox View Post

4) If they will be compatible with my Unrooted Nexus 4 (USB OTG?) - My hopes aren't too high, I know it'll be difficult to make it work. But if one of these will work with the Nexus 4 (I heard Jelly Bean brought about a USB Audio update, I'm not sure what that means for me), then I'll purchase it without a second thought, as it'll save me from an extra purchase.

If you have not found out yet, not all Android phones and tablets support USB audio out even with Jelly Bean. I was surprised that the Nexus 7 first generation would not (don't know about the new one). And then not all portable DACs work (or work well) with USB audio out. For instance, FiiO E17 only works on some Android devices using the Audio Recorder Pro app, which means it will not work with your phones media player if that is the case. This thread could help you to learn more: http://www.head-fi.org/t/595071/android-phones-and-usb-dacs
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