AudioQuest Dragonfly Review : Affordable, Outstanding, Tiny DAC / Amp
Apr 11, 2014 at 11:53 PM Post #1,816 of 2,500

BenF

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When I put the system's volume at 0 - I can still hear music!
Lowering volume to 0 in Foobar2000 really mutes the sound.
 
And when I play with balance, the left channel controls nothing, but the right channel controls sound on both sides.
 
Is this normal for DF v1.2?
 
Apr 13, 2014 at 3:01 AM Post #1,817 of 2,500

sling5s

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Love the Grado Magnums with Dragonfly v.2.  Really gives it a tube like warmth. 
It's also good with my JH13pro also.  It makes it sound full and lush. 
 
Definitely better synergy than I had with HRT Microstreamer and Meridian Explorer.
I will say that the Meridian Explorer was a better dac but I prefer the amp section of the Dragonfly. v.2
 
Apr 23, 2014 at 7:21 AM Post #1,819 of 2,500

zerolight

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Hi CyberGhost, I can't tell you the difference, but I can tell you how it sounds with Grados. It's not a great match. I have the Grado RS1i and just bought (and returned) a DF 1.2.
 
The Grados tend to emphasise mids and treble rather well - some would say too well. Through my iPhone 5s and iPad 4 I have rather enjoyed the sound with rock music, actually most music. I think they are fabulous headphones.
 
If you believe HeadFi you won't get the best out of your headphones without an off board DAC. So I ordered a DF 1.2 and received it last week. I've used it primarily with my Grados, but also with TPeos H200 IEMs, mostly on my iPhone and iPad, but also on the iMac. Yes it improves clarity a little, and there seems to be a little more ambience and depth. Bass notes have better definition. However, to my ears, it does this by removing some lower mids and bass. On headphones with plenty of bass this could be considered removing the flub and mud. On Grados though, it just sucks out too much mid range and low end. Bass guitar is crisper, but brighter. Treble is brighter, often piercing. Guitars sound brighter and thinner - losing too much mid range and warmth. I found it tiring to listen to. It sounded a bit scooped. Something like Norah Jones Come Away With Me sounds lovely - detailed acoustic guitar and nice vocals; but Nightrain by Guns N Roses sounds too bright, too thin. Ironically, both sound lovely without the DF, just Grado straight into the 5.
 
The results were better with the H200s, though very subtle. They have a thicker sound to begin with, so the scouping seems to have the desired effect of cleaning things up, allowing you to hear more detail. The difference between with and without the DF was very subtle though. I probably preferred with for the H200s - the midrange and bass seem less congested, the treble seemed cleaner. 
 
In summary, for Grados, I felt I wasn't gaining a significant amount of detail or staging, it was subtle, but there. However, I was losing too much mid and low end - they became shrill, thin, lacking in body and warmth. The H200s sounded better, a little, but I'm not sure they felt like £129 better.
 
I posted mine back today.
 
Apr 23, 2014 at 9:50 AM Post #1,820 of 2,500

sling5s

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If you're asking about 1 vs 1.2 Dragonfly with Grados.  Than I would have to say 1.2.  The 1.2 is smoother, richer and more natural sounding than 1.  
The 1 is a little more thinner and more brighter.  
 
As for Grados, your not going to find a warmer dac/amp combo than the Dragonfly 1.2.  I had HRT Microstreamer and Meridian Explorer.  The Dragonfly 1.2 is the smoothest of the bunch followed by the Meridian.  The Microstreamer is very thin and bright. 
 
The Dragonfly 1.2 is not thinner or brighter than the iPhone.  The Dragonfly just sounds more cleaner, with more detail, with more controlled bass (& greater impact).  
 
If you're looking for a budget amp/dac, go with Dragonfly 1.2 and also get the Little Dot + tube amp or Vali.  Honestly, you will not find a warmer budget dac/amp than the Dragonfly 1.2.  
 
 
edit: iPhone sounds like it tames the Grado because the sound is less clean, with more uncontrolled bass that bleeds into the midrange.  Also it does have a slight bass bump.  Personally I find the Dragonfly 1.2 smoother than the iPhone with my Grado Magnums. 
 
Apr 23, 2014 at 9:53 AM Post #1,821 of 2,500

zerolight

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  The Dragonfly 1.2 is not thinner or brighter than the iPhone.  It just sounds more cleaner, with more detail, with more controlled bass (& greater impact).  
 

 
It absolutely is much brighter, thinner, and colder than the iPhone alone - with Grado's. Not so with the TPEOS where it was an improvement, but with Grado's it was piercing and hard work. At least if your a rock fan, and if you have Grados, you probably are. The mids that the DF cleans away are the very mids we guitarists deliberately extract from our expensive valve amps. I'd be very disappointed if my guitar tone sounded as scooped as the DF+Grado combo. 
 
Apr 23, 2014 at 10:35 PM Post #1,822 of 2,500

sling5s

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Forgot to mention, with Grado's, it's best to use TTVJ Flats with portable dac/amps or solid state amps.  The only way I would listen to Grado's with bowls is with the MAD EAR HD tube amp.  It's the only amp that is warm enough (to tame the highs) with bowl pads.
 
Apr 23, 2014 at 10:44 PM Post #1,823 of 2,500

TWerk

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  Forgot to mention, with Grado's, it's best to use TTVJ Flats with portable dac/amps or solid state amps.  The only way I would listen to Grado's with bowls is with the MAD EAR HD tube amp.  It's the only amp that is warm enough (to tame the highs) with bowl pads.

 
When I had my Grado, I liked it with the yellow sennheiser pads more than the doughnut or standard pad.
 
Apr 25, 2014 at 6:24 AM Post #1,824 of 2,500

artheo

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  ....Yes it improves clarity a little, and there seems to be a little more ambience and depth. Bass notes have better definition. However, to my ears, it does this by removing some lower mids and bass. On headphones with plenty of bass this could be considered removing the flub and mud. On Grados though, it just sucks out too much mid range and low end. Bass guitar is crisper, but brighter. Treble is brighter, often piercing. Guitars sound brighter and thinner - losing too much mid range and warmth. I found it tiring to listen to. It sounded a bit scooped....

 
I own Dragonfly v1.2 and totally agree. That's why I am selling it now.
Voices sound thin, unnatural and lack body due to the absense of lower midrange.
About the treble, zerolight has explained everything.
If that matters,I listen from the DF 1.2 with Philips Fidelio X1.
 
I don't understand all the hype about DF 1.2 as I consider it as a mediocre product regarding sound quality.
 
Apr 29, 2014 at 12:19 AM Post #1,825 of 2,500

ljperez84

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  Forgot to mention, with Grado's, it's best to use TTVJ Flats with portable dac/amps or solid state amps.  The only way I would listen to Grado's with bowls is with the MAD EAR HD tube amp.  It's the only amp that is warm enough (to tame the highs) with bowl pads.


+1 on the Grado's and SS amps. I've always wanted to try some TTVJ Flats. But last I looked they were about 35 + shipping. Pricey for what they're aren't they?
 
interesting to see the different opinions on the DF and Grado's match. IMO the Grado's really need a SS amp to shine. I never got good results connecting them to any phone, tablet or laptop jack.
 
Apr 30, 2014 at 7:34 PM Post #1,826 of 2,500

CyberGhost

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Thank you zerolight and everybody else that responded to my question.
 
It's disappointing that Dragonfly does not complement Grados well, I really like Dragonfly's size and design. Is there anything of a similar size that works well with Grado?
 
Apr 30, 2014 at 8:28 PM Post #1,827 of 2,500

sling5s

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I personally think if portable amp/dac is the option your shooting for, the Dragonfly 1.2 version and Merdian Explorer works well with Grados.  
But as I said, you need to use Flat Pads when using solid state amps. 
I don't think your going to find a warmer portable amp/dac option than the Dragonfly.  
 
Really, if you really want something for Grados.  You need to get into tube amps.  Little Dot +  for cheap and Mad Ear HD if you got the budget.  I've had every Grado Model (just look at my profile) and every Grado amp that was supposed to have synergy with Grados (Grado RA-1, Marantz vintage amp, Mad Ear HD, Woo Audio W6, Little Dot +, Schiit Asgard 1, Violectric V200 and Vali).
 
good luck 
 
May 1, 2014 at 4:24 PM Post #1,828 of 2,500

CyberGhost

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Thanks sling5s! I think I'll take your advice and go with Dragonfly 1.2 cause I can't find anything comparable at that price with that size. I was considering Creative X-Fi Go Pro! or ASUS Xonar U3, but as I've read Dragonfly is better than them.
 
I'm sure tube amps are fantastic, but I don't have the budget for those.
 
Are these the flat pads you're talking about?
 
http://www.ttvjaudio.com/TTVJ_Flat_Pads_p/aat0000100.htm
 
May 1, 2014 at 5:05 PM Post #1,829 of 2,500

sling5s

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  Thanks sling5s! I think I'll take your advice and go with Dragonfly 1.2 cause I can't find anything comparable at that price with that size. I was considering Creative X-Fi Go Pro! or ASUS Xonar U3, but as I've read Dragonfly is better than them.
 
I'm sure tube amps are fantastic, but I don't have the budget for those.
 
Are these the flat pads you're talking about?
 
http://www.ttvjaudio.com/TTVJ_Flat_Pads_p/aat0000100.htm

Yes they are.  They are expensive but they are worth the investment.   They will warm up your Grados.   They give you more upfront yet more warm, punchy and musical sound. 
 

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