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AudioQuest DragonFly® v1.2 Plug-in USB DAC/headphone amplifier

Item # 703DGNFLY2

AudioQuest's original DragonFly DAC set the world on its ear, opening people's eyes to the astonishing levels of...

AudioQuest's original DragonFly DAC set the world on its ear, opening people's eyes to the astonishing levels of...

12 questions - 44 answers

Item # 703DGNFLY2

Shop all AudioQuest DACs

About the AudioQuest DragonFly® v1.2

Dave Bar

An instant audio upgrade for your computer

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.
DragonFly v1.2 plugged into a laptop

The tiny DragonFly v1.2 makes an easy, plug-and-play upgrade for your computer-based music listening.

An instant audio upgrade for your computer

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.

High-res audio

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.

Traveling with your DragonFly?

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.


Product highlights:

  • 24-bit/96kHz ESS Sabre™ digital-to-analog conversion chip
  • tiny "USB flash drive" type design plugs directly into a computer's USB port
  • powered by USB connection — no need for external power supply
  • asynchronous USB Class 1 data transfer using Streamlength™ protocol for reduced timing jitter and better sound
  • 3.5mm stereo minijack provides:
    • headphone output (minimum 12 ohm headphone impedance recommended)
    • variable line-level output for driving powered speakers or power amp
    • fixed line-level output for connecting to a preamp or receiver
  • 60-position analog volume control (digitally controlled using your computer)
  • incoming sample rate LED indicator for 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, and 96kHz sampling rates
  • input bit depth: 16 bits, 24 bits
  • dual master clocks used to minimize jitter
  • direct-coupled audio circuitry from DAC chip through analog output driver and volume control for cleaner sound
  • durable metal construction with rubberized coating
  • output voltage: 2 Vrms
  • soft storage pouch included
  • no cables included
  • compatible with Mac® OS X Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Lion, & Snow Leopard
  • compatible with Windows® XP, 7, & 8
  • 3/4"W x 1/2"H x 2-3/8"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • MFR # Dragonfly 2.0

What's in the box:

  • USB DAC+Headphone Amp
  • Protection cap (installed)
  • Storage pouch
  • Instruction Booklet
  • Warranty/Registration Card
  • HDtracks promo card

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More details on the AudioQuest DragonFly® v1.2

Mark G.
The AudioQuest DragonFly® v1.2 replaces these items:

Product Research


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, 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.

  • Headphone Out: DragonFly (v1.2) is versatile enough to drive virtually any headphone on the market today. DragonFly (v1.2) can drive any headphone from 10-ohm impedance on up. DragonFly (v1.2) has enough output to drive even the lowest efficiency headphones.
  • Variable Out: DragonFly (v1.2) 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 (v1.2) 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 (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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Customer Q&A

12 questions already asked

Compatible with windows 10?
kelly  Feb 26, 2016
3 answers
thomas  Feb 27, 2016
Yes it is compatible with Windows 10. It does not need any special driver in Windows 10.
michael  Feb 26, 2016
Yes it is. Installs flawlessly and works great!
jonathan  Feb 26, 2016
Are there drivers that need to be installed for a Windows 7 PC before this unit will work? Computers at work are locked down for security. Don't know if any drivers required will be allowed to be installed.
randy  Feb 02, 2016
4 answers
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
mitch  Jan 26, 2016
3 answers
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.
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.
angelica  Jan 26, 2016
How well would this work from a Windows laptop to Marantz NA8005 USB-DAC connection on rear of the Marantz?
william  Jan 14, 2016
6 answers
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
What is the frequency range of the AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2?
chester  Jan 08, 2016
1 answer
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 have an ONKYO receiver and a 4k Samsung TV with my surround system can I use the dragon fly for audio with movies and music ?
william  Aug 15, 2015
4 answers
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
can I use the dragonfly with my all in one computer and do I need some else to connect the dragonfly?
william  Aug 11, 2015
5 answers
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
Does this help Winamp player sound from computer?
wayne  Jul 15, 2015
4 answers
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
Can I use this on my Panasonic Plasma 2 year old TV to bring it's audio signal to my stereo amplifier?
jim  Dec 12, 2014
5 answers
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
jim  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.
jim  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
Will this DAC work on a tablet with USB OTG?
boryv  Sep 30, 2014
4 answers
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  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
Does anyone know if the inline volume/track controls on most headphones will work with the dragonfly when listening through iTunes? Thanks
jwb70  Sep 07, 2014
1 answer
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.
kristina  Sep 10, 2014 (Staff)
windows 8 works?
jose a  Dec 31, 2013
4 answers
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
bruce  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

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