FiiO E07K Andes vs. Audioengine D3 vs. Audioquest Dragonfly

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by jtheun, Nov 19, 2013.
  1. jtheun
    I realize there is quite a cost spread between these 3 portable DAC/Amplifiers.  I am curious about the audio quality from each of these:
     
    FiiO E07K Andes
    - Like the price (around $80)
    - Extra USB cable a bit of a pain, but then I feel less worried about breaking off the USB connector
    - Double headphone socket seems convenient, but not sure if I will actually use it
    - Has its own power... doesn't drain computer battery on plane
    - Wolfson DAC chip(WM8740) - same as the E17
    - MX97220 Amp
    - Don't think the computer's volume control passes through the the analog output in the DAC...
     
    Audioengine D3
    - Around $190
    - Love the compact-ness (although it looks the same size as the Dragonfly, maybe a bit thicker)
    - Seems like it will drain my laptop battery... 200mA current draw
    AKM4369 DAC chip
    - LME49726 op-amp
    - Love the idea that it uses the computer's built-in volume control and passes that through to the DAC output (think this is same as dragonfly)
     
    Audioquest Dragonfly 
    - most expensive ($200)
    - pretty much same features as D3
    - ESS Sabre DAC chip
     
    My main question is whether the Dragonfly will produce better sound quality to my IEM's than the Audioengine, and whether that would be noticeable compared to the FiiO.
     
    BTW, I use Etymotic ER4 IEMs with custom molds mostly
     
  2. JoeDoe
    Would love to know any thoughts on the D3 and DF also.
     
  3. sibilator
    From my point of view, neither the D3 nor the Dragonfly can compare to the Andes in terms of versatility.
    It would be like comparing oranges to apples... No!
    It would be comparing oranges to sushi.
    Let me elaborate, I can speak for the Andes, since I own a unit.

    I can tell you that the WM8740 is as good as people say, which, admittedly, is not stellar either.
    Its sound is clean, flat and clear. There is no warmth neither brilliance added but, on the other hand it is, to me
    slightly musical, let me explain:
    I use this unit as a treat when I know I will have the time to listen to some music.
    In my opinion it handles Classical Music in general and String Quartet and Chamber music in particular
    with silky dexterity adding barely an accent save for its mildly revealing detail across the spectrum with possibly
    a hint of more contour on the mid/vocals.
    It performs Rock and Trip-Hop competently also but I defer to my FIIO Q5 for Basshead duties instead.

    The Andes is alone in that it is, in practical terms a Powered 3.5mm Y Splitter , that is also a competent USB DAC Amp
    that is able to work on its own battery and also function while being USB charged.
    To me it is indispensable and as far as I know, Irreplaceable (because of battery power and dual functioning 3.5mm
    outputs)
    To the best of my knowledge, there is not another single product
    that delivers the same usability in terms of functions, battery life (2hrs plus) weight and pocketable
    size. Also a big plus for me: Its battery is easily replaceable (youtube tutorials) easy to obtain and cheap,
    I do this every year as batteries do suffer service wear over time.
    D3 and Dragonfly do not have dual outputs or a battery.

    To consider also is the fact that the Andes can be used with Android devices and Windows Computers
    without a problem (I will never touch ANY "APPLE" krappe ever!) as it handles the USB input without
    hiccup and it can be fed with a 3.5mm input as well.
    Power is plentiful to drive my entire "fleet" *.

    The difference between using the Andes and using the Phone or the PC output alone is
    Gigantic and Absolute but taken within its price range and expectations of performance as this is not
    a Chord Mojo either.

    In my opinion this is a device that has aged quite well and it is a valid addition to the frugal
    audiophile's hardware kit.


    * "fleet"
    FOCAL Spirit closed on ear
    Philips SHP9500 open over ear
    FIIO FH1 iem closed
    Monoprice M300 iem open planar
    All patiently purchased from ebay
    used at ridiculously low prices!
     

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