Overview: The AudioQuest DragonFly 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 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 is compatible with Mac OS X Mountain
Lion, Lion, & Snow Leopard. DragonFly is also compatible with Windows 8, 7,
XP. Currently, DragonFly is incompatible with Windows Vista and RT (as
24-Bit ESS Sabre DAC: At the heart of DragonFly 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 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 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 uses a very sophisticated "asynchronous" USB audio data transfer
protocol. Rather than sharing crucial audio "data clocking" functions with the
computer, DragonFly 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 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
Compatible Sampling Frequencies: DragonFly 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 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 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 to
sound its best.
High-Resolution Analog Volume Control: DragonFly'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's
onboard 64-position analog-domain volume control is able to preserve full
resolution and maximum sound quality.
Direct Coupled Analog Circuits: DragonFly'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's 3.5mm minijack connector can drive a variety
of devices or systems depending on how it's connected and used.
- Headphone Out: DragonFly is versatile enough to drive virtually
any headphone on the market today. DragonFly can drive any headphone from
10-ohm impedance on up. DragonFly has enough output to drive even the lowest
- Variable Out: DragonFly can be used in "variable" output mode
with computer-controlled analog volume control when connected directly to
powered speakers or a power amplifier.
- Fixed Out: Connecting to a traditional preamplifier or AV receiver,
DragonFly can be set to a "fixed" output mode by turning the volume to maximum,
allowing it to behave like a CD or Blu-ray player.
LED Indicator: A smart LED indicator behind the
dragonfly icon shows the resolution of the incoming signal - 44.1kHz (green),
48kHz (blue), 88.2kHz (yellow), and 96kHz (white).
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