AudioQuest DragonFly® v1.2
Plug-in USB DAC/headphone amplifier
Item #: 703DGNFLY2
Your price: $148.99 Earn up to 149 Rewards points
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Item #: 703DGNFLY2
Your price: $148.99 Earn up to 149 Rewards points
The tiny DragonFly v1.2 makes an easy, plug-and-play upgrade for your computer-based music listening.
AudioQuest's original DragonFly DAC set the world on its ear, opening people's eyes to the astonishing levels of performance that could be packed into such a tiny, USB thumb drive-sized package. Now AudioQuest has upped the ante with its DragonFly v1.2, which keeps all of the features and capabilities of its predecessor, while offering enhanced sonics and even better value. Plug this compact, easy-to-use device into your computer's USB port, and it will instantly transform your digital files into warm, organic sound with increased detail, clarity, and impact.
Starting with the original's audiophile-grade 24-bit ESS Sabre™ conversion chip, the DragonFly v1.2 has been re-engineered with a more direct signal path between the DAC and the analog output stage to deliver greater transparency and immediacy. AudioQuest also upgraded the DragonFly's power supply to give your music more "weight" and improved dynamics.
The standard USB connections on most computers pose a serious limitation to sound quality. That's because while you're trying to listen to music, your PC is busy performing virus scans, data backup, and other background tasks that can make your music sound harsh and edgy and smear subtle details.The DragonFly v1.2 solves this problem by using its own separate ("asynchronous") clock to precisely control the music playback, reducing timing errors to the vanishing point. You'll hear a stunning improvement in low-level ambient detail along with a wider, deeper soundstage.
Along with all the sonic benefits the DragonFly provides for your compressed and CD-quality music files, it also decodes high-resolution data streams with up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution, so you can enjoy better-than-CD audio quality. If you download high-res music files from HDtracks and other audiophile sources, this DAC will ensure they sound terrific. The dragonfly-shaped logo on the DAC's exterior even lights up and changes color to verify the resolution of the incoming signal.
" Lo and behold, the progeny of the original DragonFly has arrived; version 1.2 sounds better than ever, and costs far less. You know what I like more than the sonic improvements? The price: At $149, even the most cash-strapped of music lovers can afford this DAC."
— From Spencer Holbert's review in The Absolute Sound, February, 2014Read the full review
Plug your headphones directly into the DragonFly v1.2's stereo mini audio output jack for high-energy private listening. You can also use an optional stereo mini-to-mini cable or mini-to-RCA adapter to feed a line-level signal to a pair of powered speakers, power amplifier, or receiver for more robust, room-filling sound. The minijack output can be set to either fixed or variable line-level out. And although it's digitally operated from your computer screen, AudioQuest gave the DragonFly v1.2 a high-resolution analog volume control to avoid the reduction in resolution and sound quality that plagues many digital volume controls. Plus, the DAC's analog circuits are direct-coupled from the Sabre converter chip's output, avoiding the need for any sonically degrading components in the signal path.
All of these refinements add up to music with a natural solidity and clarity that sounds dramatically better than what you would hear from your computer on its own.
If you plan on taking your DragonFly with you (it is highly portable, after all), you'll want to play it safe. AudioQuest's flexible DragonTail USB extender provides strain relief that can protect your computer's USB port if someone bumps into your laptop on a plane or in the coffee shop. The DragonTail also helps take some of the strain off that port when you're plugging in headphones with a heavy cable.
Why buy a separate DAC? These devices are all about getting true high-fidelity sound from digital sources like computers, streaming music players, smartphones, and more. While these kinds of sources usually have their own digital-to-analog converters built in, you can expect a separate DAC to give you much better accuracy and finer detail.
Sounded fine...for a week. Then, after playing with different sampling rates available in the Windows driver: white noise, with just sputters of music. Cables fine. Amps fine. Computer fine. Stick bad.
Pros: Discreet size
Cons: Quality controlCrutchfield response on February 2, 2016 Whenever you encounter a problem with anything you purchase from Crutchfield, especially a situation like this, please contact our Customer Support team. Purchases from Crutchfield can be returned or exchanged within 60 days of the purchase.
Adding this device to my system made a major improvement in sound quality from my laptop streaming music through my stereo system. Improved clarity and separation, overall sound quality is much improved. Device is well worth the investment, a BARGAIN.
Pros: Great results, low price.
This Dragonfly works like a charm! I can hear stuff in songs that I never did before. This greatly enhances the listening experience.
Pros: Small , enhances the listening experience, inexpensive for the results.
A VERY GOOD IMPROVEMENT, NOT ONLY IN A BRIGHTNESS AND MORE DETAIL, BUT SEPERATION BETWEEN CHANNELS SEEMS BETTER. ALSO A BALANCED SOUND . IT COULD BE THE BEST INVESTMENT FOR THE MONEY IN MY SOUND SYSTEM.
My first experience with a DAC/Amp. So much of an improvement, and easy to use. Hearing sounds through my headphones I'd never heard before.
Pros: Great value - well worth the price.
Was not able to get decent FM reception on my Bose radio. My father investigated this item previously and recommended I try it. Hooked it up between my computer and Bose and now stream live music. The sound is great. Better than I ever got even when I was able to get FM reception. Only downside: I must 'toggle' between the DragonFly and computer speakers when I want the radio off and I need to hear computer sounds associated with certain programs.
Pros: Ability to facilitate good quality signal to my Bose.
Cons: Need to toggle between the DragonFly and computer speakers.
This is an amazing product. I am utilizing this with the Audioengine A5+'s. This combination is stellar. Highly recommended combination.
Pros: Size, design, price.
A great product. The perfect way to bring better audio quality to your computer in a small package. The very first song that I played I noticed the beautiful clarity that it adds to my favorite songs. Definitely worth your money. As a poor college student who loves audio, this is the best way to go.
Didn't know if this would make a difference. but after reading reviews seemed like worth trying out. This definitely smooths out the sound, less harsh than direct. Bass was tighter. tried with my iphone6 with music files and streaming with Tidal in the car and home. great product all around.
Pros: doesn't take up a lot of space. smoother sound
I had test drove a DAC before and was pleased. Through my research, I found the DragonFLy and of course, Crutchfield had the best supply, price and service. The amazing enhancement of music on all of my devices is wonderful. I don't listen to anything without my DragonFly.
Pros: Small size and powerful enhancement of music.
The best portable USB powered DAC for headphones available, and the cost is reasonable including the Dragon Tail. The DAC processor in the Dragonfly is the same 24bit/96kHz ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC that is used in professional equipment costing THOUSANDS of dollars more.
Sounds pretty good with earphones. Not much difference on small speakers. Hard to set up to leave speakers plugged in directly into the onboard DAC and use strictly for headphones, since plugging the DAC into a USB port doesn't shut down the speakers.
Pros: Works fine right away.
Cons: You might need to change how you normally listen to sounds.
I'm just dipping my toes into higher end audio and so haven't tried any other DAC or amp. I'd considered buying a much higher dollar DAC/amp but am so impressed with the quality of the sound from the tiny DragonFly that I'm wondering if I need more than this. I'm waiting for more expensive earbuds to arrive from Crutchfield but the sound improvement from my inexpensive earbuds is quite incredible. I now understand the reviews that claim listeners hear things they didn't know existed in a recording. I listen to Pandora radio from my PC while at work for 5 or 6 hours per night and find myself hesitant to shut down the computer and go home at night.
Pros: Small size, no complicated setup
Cons: I haven't found any
Can definitely hear the difference. It really requires a good high-end product to hear the greatness of the music.
No question about it, great product. Sounds just as good as my Peachtree dac-it.
Pros: Small enough to carry in pocket. Like the pouch too.
The sound improvement using this DAC is staggering. Best bang for the buck in my system without question.
Pros: Sound quality improvement, size, ease of use.
1st experience with Dac. Affordable, efficient way to get the sound you want. JBL LSR 305's + AQ Dragonfly 1.2 + Hosa CYX-403M stereo breakout cable 3.5mm TRS to dual XLR 3M-3m/9.8ft. + 2011 Macbook Pro + Chrome player using Tidal streaming at 320. Best bang for your bucks...thank me later!
Pros: Great value for a buyer's 1st Dac. Plug and play after you change a couple items in MB Pro system preferences. I can recommend the Dragon Tail.
Cons: None at this price.
Simple to use and sounds good, too.
Pros: Plug it in and forget it. Sits quietly out of sight.
It is a challenge to express the vast improvement in sound quality, depth, color, etc. that the DragonFly DAC v1.2 brings to your laptop. It opens a whole new dimension of listening enjoyment. I now hear harmonies and instruments that previously I did not know were there as I listen to old favorites. The sound-stage is literally expanded exponentially and the fidelity is first rate. Without exaggeration, this little device has brought a whole new world of life.
I think it is important to share with you that I was on the horns of a dilemma as whether to purchase new headphones or whether to try a product unknown to me; namely, DragonFly. After chatting with Ann from Crutchfield I gained the courage to opt for the Dragonfly. I am sooo glad I did! My old Sennheiser headphones sprang to life. I find it hard to believe that any new headphones can deliver the astounding improvement in listening quality that the DragonFly provides. My recommendation: Buy the DragonFly before buying new or replacement headphones for the biggest bang for the buck you can imagine. I am seriously considering giving the DragonFly as a gift to my son. Such a good experience needs to be shared.
Also, the purchase, shipping, etc. was handled perfectly. The operating instructions are perfectly clear and very easy to follow.
Pros: A whole new wonderful listening experience at an affordable price.
Dramatic difference in audio quality. Highly recommended and the Crutchfield support was terrific.
I consider myself a skeptical audiophile. High quality sound is important to me by I approach the latest greatest game-changer with low expectations. I bought the Dragonfly expecting some improvement in my music on my laptop, but I was genuinely surprised by just how good this has made my music sound. There is a remarkable improvement in clarity, presence and openness of my sac and mp3 files played through iTunes, and my flaws played with Fidelia really shine. I'm playing this through a recent-model Yamaha stereo receiver and my 1981 BIC speakers. I've been so impressed with this setup that I haven't even tried using the Dragonfly with headphones yet.
Pros: Price, quality, sturdiness
If you have a considerable amount of music stored on your personal computer and are tired of the audio quality coming through your headphones or powered speakers, then the DragonFly v1.2 by AudioQuest might just be the quick fix that you need. It certainly was for me. It's amazing how such a little component can make such a big difference in audio quality. I'm very happy with my purchase of this product through Crutchfield.
Pros: Fairly Inexpensive. Portable. DAC with Amplifier, all in one. USB powered. Substantial Improvement in Audio Quality.
Upgraded my speakers to AE 5+'s and wanted to make sure I was getting the best sound out of them. Did quite a bit of internet research on best USB mini-DAC's, and the overwhelming best "bang for buck" came back as the Dragonfly. Quick and easy to install and great sound - overall very happy with this budget minded product. Clearly you can do better, but you will have to spend 2x-3x the money.
Pros: Ease of Installation, build quality, sound, potability.
Cons: Not the end-all in USB DAC's, but way better than the DAC on your motherboard.
noticeable improvement in clarity and detail when using with good quality cable.
Pros: Performance for the price.
Cons: None to date. will compare with DSD dacs in the future.
Dragonfly 1.2 appears to be misrepresented. When purchased I was assured it would provide 196KH, 24bit sound from an appropriate source. However, nothing in data, that came with unite notes anyfrequency beyond 96KH.
Pros: Still trying to decide if sound is better than laptop earphone sound. High end seems overly soft but that may be because of lower distortion. Sound stage and source instrument placing is less distinct than with Toshiba laptop earphone output. It definitely does not even come close to matching the sound improvement review provided by the Crutchfield expert. I am listening to Pandora's studio quality feed. This product may be going back to Crutchfield.
Cons: Must have audio system volume turned off to prevent very high amplitude high frequency noise spikes when laptop is starting up. I am concerned it will blow a tweeter or worse and sound is frighteningly loud. Sound is not that different, maybe not as good, as that provided by $349 Toshiba laptop earphone output. I am really disappointed with comparison of real performance and rave review of Crutchfield tech. I think someone got hyped.
This little device exceeded my expectations, but there is a trick if you are running Linux Ubuntu 14.04. Using the little Dragonfly, all sounds are inaudible if the Sound Settings volume is below 100%. So save yourself some time and a call to Dragonfly and check the box that says "Allow Louder than 100%". To summarize, no sound at 100% or less, but pure brilliance at 101% or more. Love the dragonfly now that I figured that out, and would highly recommend the device, especially if you are running through a high end home system and are streaming 44.1khz or better music.
Pros: Small, Easy, Cheap, Excellent Sound.
Cons: Lack of expertise regarding support.
This is a great little device that I'm using to drive a set of noise-canceling headphones. I'm hearing aspects of the music I've never heard before. I've been using it with both Windows 8.1 and a Windows RT tablet. Love it!
Pros: Lightweight, easy to handle, no drivers needed, and the LED tells you what level of fidelity your playback is at.
I'd become interested in DACs and their impact on the music after buying some new components and doing some listening tests. The best overall description of what a good DAC can do is to add "presence" to the music. It gives a sound of space and "breath' to the instruments that makes them worth the effort. The DragonFly does this in a very compact package and at a very attractive price.
Pros: Sound, Size and Price
Cons: I haven't done a comprehensive comparison of similar USB plug-in DACs.
Very noticable improvement in sound from Spotify and also improved XM greatly.
Pros: Cheap, simple and effective
Best bang for the buck. Ultra compact and no drivers required. I hope they will make one that does DSD in the future.
Pros: best bang for the buck
Cons: no dsd
My first DAC/Headphone amp. It seems to do everything as advertised. You might want to purchase a short USB cord with it so you don't damage your USB port.
Pros: For the price, I don't think you'll do better.
I have tried the device several times, from a MacBook Pro and from a Windows desktop computer. I've tested it with AAC and MP3 files and with CD's. I "think" I can hear a difference at times, but it is hard to put my finger on it. I will say that it feels more pleasant to listen using the Dragonfly. I've tried hard to hear a difference going back and forth between he Dragonfly and without it. I've tested with a set of Klipsch earbuds and with a Sony desktop stereo system.
Pros: Overall I would say that I "think" the Dragonfly adds fidelity, cleanness, and listening comfort.
Cons: I'm still having trouble saying that I can hear a "definite" difference with the Dragonfly. The improvement seems pretty subtle.
I plug the DragonFly directly into my laptop, and I have a pair of entry level audiophile headphones that I use with it. They don't require a lot of power, so I'm not sure about using an amp. I use JRiver MC for playback. I'm satisfied.
Pros: Reliable, portable DAC.
Cons: None that I know.
Improved my system
Pros: Improved my computer sound across the board, pandora sounds much better.
Five Stars! Period!
Pros: very portable
I have this DAC plugged into a Dell Precision M4600 Laptop, i7 CPU with 8GB of RAM running Windows 7 SP1 64-bit. I'm using a 3.5mm headphone plug to RCA 'Y' adapter connected to an Adcom GFA-535 II, 2-channel amplifier driving a pair of Pioneer SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers. I'm wirelessly streaming from a DLNA Server enabled USB HDD.
I am very pleased with the performance of the DAC with a few caveats.
The literature boasts that the DAC glows colors which signify the bit rate of the stream passing through it. Not so! It indicates the bit rate which is selected when setting it up. Playing files ripped from a CD at 16 bit/44Khz does not change the color of the Dragonfly when its set for 24 bit/96Khz. It continues to glow pink which, according to the instructions, indicates a bit rate of 24/96. I don't believe it is upsampling, but if it is, it doesn't do a very good job of it. Files sound best when the Dragonfly is configured for their native resolution.
The Dragonfly is unable to process DSD or 24/192 bit streams. Not a big deal for me as I have that capability on my big rig through an Oppo BDP-105. I'm using the Dragonfly in my home office.
To my surprise and delight. the Dragonfly not only improved the sound of my computer, it has the chops to showcase the improvement of 24/96 over 16/44 on well recorded files. A phenomenal achievement in my opinion at this price.
Pros: Improved the stereo image of my speakers. They used to sound like two separate speakers with not much of a sound stage. Now when I listen to vocalists, the voices come from a point centered between the speakers. Its only $150.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cons: Be careful pairing this with Audioquest adapter cables if you are using an outboard amplifier. The interconnects have RCA terminals which only have a span of about 3 inches. The L and R jacks on my amp are about 12" apart. I contacted Audioquest and was told that they do not have an interconnect that will work in my situation.
The newest Dragonfly is perfectly listenable and a joy to own.
Pros: Full range and dynamic. Makes an ordinary laptop sound like a million. No problem using a USB extension cable either. Works with Windows 8.1.
Cons: No cons.
Easy to set up using my MacBook Pro, in the USB port. Easy to disconnect if I want to go in another room with my laptop.
Cons: Sticks out the side a bit, not real elegant looks wise
I like it
There is a major difference between running computer speakers from the computer sound card and from the USB port with the Dragonfly. Once you insert the Dragonfly into the USB port and plug the RCA cord from the speakers into it the difference in clarity, openness, and range is astounding. The stage seemed to open up with the PSB Alpha 1 speakers. This is true whether one is playing from the itunes list, Realplayer, or You Tube. Changing over is quick and easy and one can immediately notice the difference .
Pros: Very easy set up. Just plug it in any available USB port, take the RCA cord from the sound card and plug it in the back of the Dragonfly. Couldn't be easier.
Cons: Nothing wrong here. It worked perfectly from the get-go.
This is the best headphone amp for mobility. I'm using it with my Earsonic SM3v2 and the result is very impressive. This is the best alternative solution for audiophile on the go. The price/performance is super.
Been very pleased listening to music on my computer through good head phones. Makes a difference in the sound quality.
I bought this for a desk top Mac connected to PSB speakers with a NAD Integrated Amplifier. It significantly improved the quality of the sound! It worked fine with my USB port and did not interfere with the other ports. I did not need the extender.
Pros: Good as promoted and advertised. Easy to install and use.
I bought this for a desktop computer running Windows 7 to drive Sennheiser 600 headphones. The improvement over the Dell sound card was enormous. Better dynamics, truer vocal and instrumental timbres, good recording ambience, quiet background, especially on hi-res files.
Pros: Easy installation, great sound portability.
I want to thank Zach (client advisor) for his advice and recommendation of the Dragonfly V1.2 USB dac. I regularly listen to my music, encoded in flac, through my MSI netbook, and the sound is pretty decent, but when I installed the Dragonfly dac, OMG, what a world of difference. Not only, what I heard before was more dynamic, and robust, but the level of detail was phenomenal. I was hearing my music for the first time, all over again. I highly recommend this dac. It is a relatively small investment, that produces big returns. Thank again to Zach, and the Crutchfield team.. you guys are the best.
Pros: Wide dynamic range, superbly detailed, very inexpensive.
Cons: Honestly, not a thing....
I had given up getting good sound out of my computer when connected to my audio system (Sony STR-DA1000ES receiver with Bose speakers in a small office) Since I listen mainly to opera, I wanted it to justice to everything from voice recitals as well as full Wagnerian opera productions without a whole lot of equalizer adjustments. When I played CDs from a CD player or LPs from a turntable that were connected directly to the receiver, everything sounded great. But now I mainly download music to iTunes or use the Met Opera on Demand internet service and other live services from Europe, and I had to find a better solution. DragonFly saved the day! I absolutely love it and can highly recommend it.
Pros: Easy to set up. Doesn't take up any room. It can be plugged into a USB port on your computer (mine is connected to my Mac Cinema HD display). Sound couldn't be better.
Cons: Can't find any.
Excellent sound quality. Fantastic stereo imaging, focus & sound stage. Easy plug & play. No drivers to set up.
Pros: Did i already mention excellent sound quality?
Cons: The metal part of the USB was bent or assembled crooked...so i requested another one to be sent out. It still works fine.
Easy instant upgrade for your computer's sound
Pros: Just plug in the DragonFly (simple instructions for your particular computer) and you will be amazed at the sound! It much more relaxed and focused. It is more musical and less harsh. It's a no brainier . Do it!
Using this Product to play music off of laptop on A Independent Radio Station, It was exactly what I needed to boost the Sound, It also cleaned up the Music for a much better broadcast.
Pros: Works Great Does exactly what I needed it to do.
I have never had a truly successful experience with PC audio. The AWE in the SoundBlaster AWE32 (my first add-in sound card) was more AWful than AWEsome. Even with supposedly top of the range audio cards with swappable op-amps, the extremely electrically noisy environment of the inside of a computer always seems to mean that the sound falls far short of hi-fi quality.
The dragonfly was a revelation. I was concerned that there would be the usual driver issues, but I plugged it into a USB port, and it just worked. And as long as you've got a WASAPI-aware media player you can be pretty sure that you won't get better out of your computer - no resampling, no fuss - just millions of bits marching in rank!
There are surely better-sounding DACs out there. Always for more (sometimes much much more) money. And I have to say it cannot hold a candle to my ageing ARCAM DIVA DV79 in a A/B test. But at less than 10% of the price I would not expect it to!
If you are fed up with substandard analog computer audio, I recommend that you get one of these.
Pros: Portable. Functional. Musical. Will not bite or sting.
Cons: Small enough to lose when you're traveling and expensive enough that you'd care!
I really did want to like this and I spent the whole weekend hooking it up to various components to see how it sounded with them but in the end it turned out to just be a step down in sound quality compared to my current set up.
To be fair, the sound that the Dragonfly V1.2 produced wasn't terrible, I just found it to be too bland for my tastes. Like I had put a sheet over my speakers would be my best description. It just seemed to lose the upper end detail and dynamics that I was used to hearing.
My main system is bi-amped and uses a vintage Sansui Au-717 dual mono integrated amp to power the midrange/tweeter and an NAD amp to power the woofers on a pair of B&W 803(s) towers. An Apple TV 1st Gen w/ built in 160gb hard drive has been my source with an Audioquest Big Sur interconnect. The sound from this combo is surprisingly excellent and much better and more natural than my other more modern receivers.
The Dragonfly was configured per instructions and was plugged into my HP laptop or Mac Mini for all the testing. And I'll say that in addition to hooking this up to my vintage amp I also tried plugging it into my Marantz SR6006 receiver, and NAD T773 receiver, and then just directly to my desktop computer speakers. And in every case it sounded rolled off and more veiled in the upper midrange and treble.
So, my advice...spend most of your time and $ listening to different preamps and speakers and get that combo right first. Then you can play around from there.
Pros: Good bass and lower midrange, easy to use
Cons: Rolled off upper midrange and treble
Good presentation, straightforward instruction but most important: much improved sound quality ! The digital harshness is GONE. The music is more involving, natural. Well worth the money.
Pros: Unbeatable sound Quality for the money
Cons: Tighter USB connection fit
I played back material from i tunes recorded from cd via apple lossless compression and reviewed with synthiser i80 ear buds. The music sounded very good with just the ear buds, When the dragon fly was added I noticed 2 things. One the back ground noise went to zero. The instruments were heard on a black background with no noise. Each instrument was very distinct and clear. Second the bass was much tighter. Because of the lower noise floor I was able to hear little things I had not noticed before in the recording. The dragon fly changes color according to the quality of the music it is producing. During my listing the dragon fly was pink. I am happy with my purchase. The sound stage was also different. with a more true stero sound.
Pros: background noise very low and tight bass.
This DAC adds an incredible amount of detail, depth and balance to computer sound. Use with MacMini and Toshiba laptop, on Bose Companion 20 speakers. I consider this to be one of the best investments, in terms of value, I have ever made in audio.
Pros: Quality Clarity Accuracy Ease of Use
Cons: None Noticed to Date
does what is supposed to do.
I am using the DragonFly on a MacBook Pro (OS X Mavericks) with Bose Companion 3 Series ll (desktop) speakers (which, by the way, are dynamite little dudes) and Bose AE2, Bose QC-15, and Seinhauser HD 598 headphones. From Dion's "I'm Alive" to Gothenburg's version of the 1812 Overture, the joining of the recordings, the DAC and the speakers/headphones is dynamic. The best combination is the DAC and the 598's. Absolutely blown away. When listening to the 1812 piece the first time, I just had to push the chair back from the desk, relax and let the thrill of the audio reproduction overwhelm me. The DragonFly also works well with the Bose headphones which have different build and purposes than the 598 - the QC-15 are noise cancelling, the AE2 are less expensive, go anywhere cans and both are over the ear and closed. The 598 is an open back headphone which is best used in the privacy of your home, study, etc. but has the best soundstage. So, in my humble opinion, I have great recordings played through a great computer, through a great little DAC into great speakers and headphones. Everything's great!
Pros: Got more than expected for less than expected. Easy install.
Cons: Although about 2" small (3" to 4" extension from the computer considering the cable plug) , the DAC is wide enough to render adjoining USB ports unusable (at least on my MBP). So I "hubbed" my printers, firewired my back up hard drive, and was able to plant the DAC in its own USB port without a neighbor. Audioquest offers a "DragonTail" extension for the DAC, but that would increase the extension length from the computer, and I didn't need it anyway.
Just arrived today, so adding my initial impression. I noticed a difference immediately. The soundstage seems to be much larger. I could hear parts of the music I have not noticed before. I'm listening through a MacBook Pro and Bose QC15 headphones. Chose a few pieces from Classical, Classic Rock, and Country Rock and could hear a lot more clarity in the music. Music and vocals in the background came through much clearer and made the piece I was listening to seem much more complete. Listened to CD's I had loaded into iTunes as well as some music purchased from iTunes. Also listened to parts of some downloads from Linn. Not disappointed at all. Everything sounded much better through the Dragonfly. A cover of House of the Rising Sun from the soundtrack Son(g)s of Anarchy was like I was in the room when it was recorded. I am looking forward to the mini to RCA cables becoming available (back order on Crutchfield) so I can connect to my amp and listen through the external speakers.
Pros: Quick, easy set up. Glad the price has come down since the introduction of the original Dragonfly. Super fast delivery from Crutchfield!!!
Cons: none yet
USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amp: The AudioQuest DragonFly (v1.2) is a USB digital-to-analog converter that delivers far superior sound by bypassing the poor quality sound card that is built into most computers. DragonFly (v1.2) is a sleek, flash-drive sized DAC that connects to a USB (type-A) jack on a Mac computer or Windows PC, turning any computer into a true high-fidelity music source. Its 3.5mm port is designed specifically to connect to an external audio system such as headphones, powered desktop speakers, or your audio/video system.
Note: DragonFly (v1.2) is compatible with Mac OS X Mountain Lion, Lion, & Snow Leopard. DragonFly (v1.2) is also compatible with Windows 8, 7, and XP. Currently, DragonFly (v1.2) is incompatible with Windows Vista and RT (as of 12/10/2013).
Version 2.0 Improvements: Among the improvements to the DragonFly (v1.2), is the circuitry between the DAC chip and the analog output stage has been refined to create a more direct signal path, leading to even greater transparency and clarity. Also, the DAC's power supply has been fortified, which gives the sound greater dynamic contrast.
24-Bit ESS Sabre DAC: At the heart of DragonFly (v1.2) is a 24-bit ESS Sabre DAC chip, a high-performance solution that's typically found in higher-end CD and Blu-ray players. DragonFly (v1.2) can accept audio and music files ranging from MP3s (128/256/320kbps) and CD-standard 16-bit/44kHz to native 24-bit/96kHz high-resolution, regardless of music file format. DragonFly (v1.2) will accept almost any audio you want to play on your computer and make it sound dramatically better, whether your listening pleasure is iTunes or streaming music services such as Mog, Spotify, or Pandora.
Asynchronous USB: Timing errors such as "jitter" have long been the plague of digital audio playback; never more so than in recent years as computers have been pressed into service as audio source components. DragonFly (v1.2) uses a very sophisticated "asynchronous" USB audio data transfer protocol. Rather than sharing crucial audio "data clocking" functions with the computer, DragonFly (v1.2) alone commands the timing of the audio data transfer, dramatically reducing digital timing errors.
Two Clocks: Not all audio content is encoded at the same native resolution or "sample rate". DragonFly (v1.2) uses two discrete onboard "clocks" so that the math algorithms used to convert the digital audio data to analog are always optimized for the native sample rate (up to 24-bit/96kHz) of the audio file or stream being played. This ensures the least amount of mathematical manipulation to the native audio data, which results in fewer errors and better sound.
Compatible Sampling Frequencies: DragonFly (v1.2) will play music or audio data at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, or 96kHz. However, for the best sonic results the computer should be configured so that it sends music and audio data to DragonFly (v1.2) that matches the "native rate" of the music. For example, since all CDs and music files purchased from iTunes are at a 44.1kHz sample rate, for many people 44.1kHz will be the best sample rate since this is the "native rate" of most digital music. Choosing a higher sample rate will convert your native music and audio data using mathematical approximations that can potentially decrease the sound quality. Conversely, if you have purchased high-resolution music files (96kHz), such as those available from HDtracks.com, configuring your computer for 44.1kHz (or any other lower sample rate) will cause the computer to down-sample your music to a lower resolution. When possible, always configure the computer to output the native sample rate of the music you are listening to.
Note: If you have purchased a file that has a higher sample rate than 96kHz you need to configure your computer to send DragonFly (v1.2) audio data at a resolution no greater than 96kHz, and for the best performance the sample rate you choose should be exactly half the sample rate of the file you're playing. For example; if you purchased a 24-bit/176.4kHz file, 88.2kHz should be selected, whereas if you purchased a 24/192kHz file, 96kHz should be selected. Directly divisible sample rates prevent the computer from doing sonically degrading, complex math in its conversions and allows DragonFly (v1.2) to sound its best.
High-Resolution Analog Volume Control: DragonFly (v1.2)'s high-resolution analog volume control carries out the instructions in the analog domain for the best sound quality. When the music player's (Windows Media/iTunes/etc.) volume is set to maximum and the computer's main volume control is used, DragonFly (v1.2)'s onboard 64-position analog-domain volume control is able to preserve full resolution and maximum sound quality.
Direct Coupled Analog Circuits: DragonFly (v1.2)'s analog circuits are direct-coupled from the ESS converter chip's output, avoiding the need for any extraneous, sonically degrading components in the signal path.
3.5mm Output: DragonFly (v1.2)'s 3.5mm minijack connector can drive a variety of devices or systems depending on how it's connected and used.
LED Indicator: A smart LED indicator behind the DragonFly (v1.2) icon shows the resolution of the incoming signal - 44.1kHz (green), 48kHz (blue), 88.2kHz (amber), and 96kHz (magenta). Red indicates standby mode.
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A review of the AudioQuest DragonFly V1.2 USB digital-to-analog converter.
I wanted an affordable DAC that gave me a USB option as I'll be using it to feed computer audio (mostly music, the occasional movie) to a set of studio monitors. Based on reviews of the Dragonfly and its reasonably affordable price, this was the option I settled on. [ F Feb 09, 2016 ]
I have been adding AudioQuest products to my audio video system and have been very happy, mostly cables so this addition I'm looking forward to. [ Eric Feb 07, 2016 ]
To upgrade quality of music streaming from my laptop to my high quality stereo system, NAD amp/'Paradigm monitor 11 speakers. [ HOWELL Jan 18, 2016 ]
Convenient, high-quality sound for the price. [ Loren Jan 18, 2016 ]
Consistently great review as an add-on DAC/amp for computer [ HOYT Dec 31, 2015 ]
Looking for USB DAC for my computer. Read review at Stereophile. Appeared to be a decent value for the money. [ Brian Dec 21, 2015 ]
Great performing mobile sized DAC that makes digital music sound amazing. I take the output directly to headphones or send it to my receiver's aux input for floor speaker listening. Excellent device that does what it's advertised to do, pair it with the AudioQuest Jitterbug USB filter for some seriously great sound! [ Stephen Dec 16, 2015 ]
To enhance audio from computer & headphones [ D Dec 12, 2015 ]
The AudioQuest Dragonfly Flight Manual that is online indicates that Windows 7 does not require any drivers. Please refer to the Flight Manual for setup instructions. [ WILLIAM H Feb 03, 2016 ]
I have not to do anything with drivers. But you do need to set up the sound feature on your computer. I run mine on two Win 7 machines and have had no problems. However, have had some problems on a Wn 10 machine still working on that. John [ JOHN H. Feb 02, 2016 ]
I plugged it into my laptop (Windows 8) and there were instructions on how to set it up. Nothing big. [ Jeff Feb 02, 2016 ]
No drivers necessary. It will be totally seamless...plug it in, and it will work immediately. [ mike Feb 02, 2016 ]
The Audioquest website's FAQ section implies that this is possible. You'll need an adapter cable with a mini headphone jack at one end and a pair of RCAs at the other end. The headphone jack plugs into the Dragonfly and the RCAs plug into your receiver. I bought one of these directly from Audioquest. I would use Audioquest's website to contact them about iPhone compatibility. [ William Jan 26, 2016 ]
I don't know. I use mine with my desktop. I tried the Dragonfly with my Galaxy Tab 4, but, it doesn't work. [ John Dennis Jan 26, 2016 ]
I think the soundlfly would not make any difference using output from the phone since the phone has its own soundboard and has already converted from digital to analog. Not sure if the sound fly would take analog, convert to digital, then back to analog again. How I use my soundly is I plug it into my USB port on my laptop- so the digital file is converted to analog by the soundfly , completely bypassing my laptops inferior soundboard. [ Alexander Jan 26, 2016 ]
You wouldn't need the Dragonfly DAC with the Marantz NA8005 as it has its own USB input to connect to your laptop. The DAC in the Marantz is arguably better in that it decodes 192K and DSD material that the Dragonfly doesn't. [ David Jan 16, 2016 ]
Plugged into an available USB port on a laptop the Dragonfly puts out a simple two channel audio signal via a 3.5mm female port. Your source music/audio is from the laptop. I'm using a simple 3.5mm male plug into a 15 foot RCA cable across from where I study to an available audio in on the back on an Onkyo receiver. The sound is sweet. [ TERRY S Jan 16, 2016 ]
All I can tell you is it works well with my mac book & audio valve amps nice upgrade. [ STEVEN Jan 16, 2016 ]
The AudioQuest DragonFly® v1.2 is designed to process the digital file - of your music and convert it to a analog line output. The main advantage is that Dragonfly replaces the Windows/Laptop conversion process which is less than ideal, and provides the DAC process for music files its self. If your Laptop has a power supply and hardware configuration which is quiet enough for the solution you are desiring, the Dragonfly is a great solution improving sound stage imaging and tonal quality. The next level audio solution if desired provides separate power supplies and DAC converters again providing line level output for headphones or line level inputs at about three times the cost - at this price point and for my applications the DragonFly is just what the doctor ordered. [ DOUG Jan 16, 2016 ]
In my humble opinion, I would not stream my music from a windows laptop, out to a DragonFly 1.2 DAC and then into another DAC. That might defeat the purpose of the DAC. However, streaming music from a Windows laptop to a DragonFly will definitely improve your music. [ Chandler Jan 16, 2016 ]
Not clear what you are trying to do. It is digital in on the usb side with audio out on the headphone / speaker side. [ Thomas Jan 16, 2016 ]
If you're talking about the analog output (headphone or line-out), the frequency range is broad enough to handle all music content (lower than 10 Hz to higher than 20,000 Hz). If you're talking about the max frequency range (sample rate) the Dragonfly accepts at it's USB input, it is 96 kHz. Higher sample rate "high res" music files are rare, but do exist (192Khz or 384 KHz). To play these, you would need to tell your computer to down-sample to 96 KHz. The little dragonfly logo changes colors depending on the sample rate detected: Green= 44100.0 Hz, Blue= 48000.0 Hz, Amber= 88200.0 Hz, Magenta= 96000.0 Hz [ DAVE Jan 08, 2016 ]
I'm using an Audioquest adapter cable to connect the Dragonfly to a Schiit Audio Lyre2 headphone amp. The amp also has single ended (RCA) inputs and pre-outputs. I'm running RCAs from the Lyre2 to an Adcom 2-channel amplifer driving a pair of bookshelf speakers. Before purchasing the Schiit, I ran the Audioquest adapter direct to the Adcom. It sounded pretty good. The tubed Schiit tamed the dragonfly's slightly bright top end and added some midrange bloom. The Dragonfly improved the sound of my headphones a great deal over my laptop's headphone jack, but the Sennheiser HD650s 300 ohm impedance needed more power than either the Dragonfly or the Laptop's headphone jack could produce. The Schiit solved the problem. Whether I listen to headphones or the speakers, I have had no problems and they both sound great. Everyone who hears this setup is amazed that a laptop can be made to sound this good. [ William Jan 26, 2016 ]
The Dragonfly was designed to work with computers that have a USB port. If your Samsung 4 has a USB port that sources digital audio, that should work, provided the formats and sampling rates are compatible. Using a Y adaptor plug the other end of the Dragonfly into your Onkyo receiver. I don't expect this to work very well because the Dragonfly was designed to be used with headphones and computers. [ WILLIAM H Aug 19, 2015 ]
The Dragonfly DAC is a 2-channel device so it will only effectively reproduce stereo, not any of the multi-channel audio formats often used in broadcast and video media. The Dragonfly is designed to work via the USB output of computers and allows the digital output signal to bypass the computer's often noisy internal audio card (DAC) and be handled by the typically more sophisticated external DAC of the Dragonfly. The output from the Dragonfly is a line level analog signal passed through a female stereo mini-plug output to a cable which would then hook up to your powered desktop computer speakers. It could also hook up to a line level analog input on a receiver or pre-amp. [ Keith Aug 16, 2015 ]
I am not sure what your set up looks like. But the dragon fly probably is either redundant if the audio signal comes from your Samsung TV (which should be OK given the newness and quality of a 4k TV) or that the dragon fly is not of a quality to dramatically improve your Onkyo receiver signal output. It is difficult to comment specifically not knowing how and what audio signals you want to improve on. [ HONG Aug 16, 2015 ]
I don't see any problem using it with an All-In-One machine as long as you have a USB port and realize that your sound will output directly from the Dragonfly to a receiver input or to powered speakers. In your sound card properties you will enable and use the built-in Dragonfly sound driver and control options. Mine is plugged into a laptop connected to an Onkyo receiver and the Dragonfly sound is dynamic, silky clean and absolutely beautiful. [ TERRY S Aug 13, 2015 ]
As long as it has a USB port, you should be good to go. You don't need anything else, unless your headphones have a 1/4th jack, in that case, you'll need an adapter to fit in the 1/8th jack on the Dragonfly. [ LOUIS Aug 12, 2015 ]
Yes. It plugs into a USB slot and then you plug a mini (1/8") headphone jack to headphones or to powered (that is, computer) speakers. To plug into larger RCA or banana clips for a preamplifier or such, you might need another connector cord - which are inexpensive. The dragonfly sets its own drivers so I have not had to change any settings on any of my computers - its just works. [ James Aug 12, 2015 ]
I've personally seen it used on Windows, IOS, and Linux PCs. No special connection needed as it is like a USB thumb drive. However if you currently have multiple USB devices plugged into your all in one and space is tight, than you could order the dragon tail extension, but you shouldn't need too. I'm so glad I made this purchase. [ Chandler Aug 12, 2015 ]
Yes, the Dragonfly can be used on any computer that has USB ports. [ MICHAEL Aug 12, 2015 ]
Good Improvement! It was an excellent purchase. [ R & C Jul 20, 2015 ]
I use it with Foobar 2000. It definitely improves the sound on my laptop. The Dragonfly takes the place of your regular sound card. So it should work with Winamp too. [ BRIAN Jul 20, 2015 ]
Absolutely. You will need the Maiko WASAPI output plugin to bypass the Windows mixer. You will also need Vista or later. I would recommend you use exclusive mode - you will only ever get to hear your music, and not any beeps, chirps and bleats your computer decides to make. [ Iain Jul 20, 2015 ]
Probably, but, it really depends on the quality of the native DAC in the PC. That's what this device replaces. [ Thomas Jul 20, 2015 ]
Thanks Keith. I do believe the audio out on my TV is digital, however. I am currently using a $40 DAC with RCA cords out to my stereo for great sound but thought that the Dragonfly would have a better converter. Jim [ Jamboree Dec 15, 2014 ]
No. Your AUDIO OUT connection on your television is an analog output, or in the case of the HDMI outputs a digital output already converted internally within the television set. The Dragonfly DAC is really intended to be used with a computers USB output which is a digital output signal. It then converts this that digital signal for use in a stereo system or powered speaker. The item is pretty much purpose built for use with USB outputs. [ Keith Dec 15, 2014 ]
Thanks Bill. [ Jamboree Dec 14, 2014 ]
Probably not. You'll need a computer to configure the sampling rates in the Dragonfly. Even if your device has a sub port, there may be no drivers for the Dragonfly. Audio quest does not list your device in their Flight Manual, only OS devices (Mac) and Windows devices(PC). You should contact Audioquest for their advice. Bill [ WILLIAM H Dec 14, 2014 ]
I doubt it. This is a headphone amplifier [ NO-THING Dec 14, 2014 ]
It works on windows rt tablet no drivers needed. [ Mike Mar 16, 2015 ]
not familiar with OTG but I do use this for my Mac and and headphones on a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate this product is out of 7.5 well worth it. [ TIMOTHY J Sep 30, 2014 ]
I believe it depends on what OS and version your tablet is running. People on the HeadFi forums have had success (just plug and play) with KitKat or later Android devices, no success with earlier versions of Android. Also be aware that there is a power drain as the USB powers the Dragonfly so unless you have good battery life or a separate way to charge than the usb port, you may have issues. Try searching the forum mentioned to see if anyone has experience with your brand and model of tablet. [ Iain Sep 30, 2014 ]
I don't know the answer to this question. You might contact AudioQuest via the info email or telephone number listed on their website. [ Daniel Sep 30, 2014 ]
We have not received any answers from other customers on your question. I would recommend reaching out to an Advisor by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. They should be able to help answer your question. [ Krissy Sep 10, 2014 ] Staff
I've used it successfully on Windows 7/8/8.1/10. Instructions are generally the same. You still need to go into your sound settings and disable enhancements etc. [ Chandler Aug 12, 2015 ]
The DragonFly DAC Flight Manual has instructions for installing on Windows 7/8. I can't confirm that the instructions work as I use Mac OSX, but on that system, the install was easy and the results grand. Suggest you contact audioquest with any Windows 8 install questions. Good luck! [ Paul Jan 12, 2014 ]
can i record on my usb on my music hall usb-1turntable and then play it in my usb in my car [ Marie Jan 10, 2014 ]
DragonFly and Windows® 8 As of April 22, 2013 AudioQuest confirms that Microsoft's Windows 8 appears to be fully compatible with DragonFly. [ JOSHUA D Jan 01, 2014 ]