Praise for the AudioQuest DragonFly from The Absolute Sound
"How can you not absolutely love an asynchronous USB DAC packed with audiophile-grade design elements in the form factor of a USB stick that costs $249? The variable output level allows you to drive headphones or a power amplifier directly from its 3.5mm stereo mini-jack output. Amazingly, the DragonFly features an ESS Sabre DAC, analog-domain volume adjustment, and separate clocks for different sampling frequencies for better sound. With a remarkably sophisticated and relaxed presentation, it excels at conveying dynamics and drive. A brilliant product."
— The Absolute Sound 2013 Editors' Choice Awards: DACs under $1000
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 that you hear them in all their glory. The dragonfly-shaped logo on the DAC's exterior even lights up and changes color to verify the resolution of the incoming signal.
Connections and controls
Plug your headphones directly into the DragonFly'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 mini-jack 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 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.