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.
What's new in version 1.2?
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.
Asynchronous USB means better sound from your computer
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.
Enjoy high-res USB audio
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, 2014
Read the full review
Connections and controls
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.