DragonFly is an affordable and easy-to-use device that delivers far superior sound by bypassing the poor quality sound card that is built into your computer. DragonFly is a sleek, flash drive sized Digital-Audio Converter that connects to a USB jack on a Mac® or Windows® PC, turning any computer into a true high- fidelity music source.
Whether you’re on the go or at home, listening on ear buds or connecting your computer to a stereo system, DragonFly reveals all the emotional expression and nuance that makes your favorite music, or movies, so enjoyable. However you connect it, DragonFly simply and easily makes any computer sound better.
How DragonFly Does It
The heart of DragonFly is the 24-bit ESS Sabre™ conversion chip, a high-performance solution that’s typically found in better CD and Blu-ray Disc™ players. DragonFly can accept audio and music files ranging from MP3s and CD-standard 16-bit/44kHz to native 24-bit/96kHz high-resolution, regardless of music file format. If your computer’s software can recognize and play a format, DragonFly will make it sound its best.
However, high-quality digital-audio conversion alone isn’t why DragonFly sounds great. How the audio data is transferred from the computer to DragonFly required particular attention from DragonFly’s design team. Remember that digital audio is stored on computers and delivered to DragonFly as streams of 1’s and 0’s. Making beautiful music out of 1’s and 0’s isn’t a case of simply getting all the music data from point A to Point B. Maintaining subtle digital timing relationships is crucial in order to be able to reconstruct the analog waveform that we hear as dialog or music.
Timing errors 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. In addition, 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 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. A smart LED indicator on DragonFly shows the resolution of the incoming signal.
While the digital domain is where your computer- based music experience starts, the analog domain requires attention too. Digital volume controls too often reduce signal resolution and decrease sound quality. Even when the iTunes volume slider is used, DragonFly’s high-resolution analog volume control carries out the instructions in the analog domain for the best sound quality. And 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.
All of these refinements allow DragonFly to make music with a natural solidity and clarity that is dramatically superior to the sound you would hear from your computer on its own.
"The DragonFly serves up an open, spacious sound, packed full of detail. The difference between using this and the headphone socket on an Apple MacBook Pro, say, is day and Night. Play something like Ludovico Einaudi's piano piece I Giorni to get started and each note sound clear and purposeful. Even when you make the jump down from a WAV version of the track to a 320kbps MP3 rip, the DragonFly still breathes life into the compression, maintaining the track's impressive sense of graciousness and emotion." What Hi-Fi Sound & Vision October 2012 Rating
"USB DACs are nothing new, but all the ones we’ve seen to date are less portable than the DragonFly, even though some are capable of producing excellent sound. It’s the simplicity of Audioquest’s design and its quality of sound that take the appeal of this kind of device to a new level. And this makes us quite excited for the future of hi-fi." PRODUCT OF THE YEAR BEST DACs, WHAT HI-FI SOUND & VISION AWARDS 2012
Drives headphones directly
Variable output drives powered speakers or a power amplifier
Fixed output feeds preamp or AV receiver
64-position analog volume control
Accepts music files up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution
Asynchronous Class 1 USB data transfer using the Streamlength protocol
Direct-coupled circuitry from the ESS Sabre DAC chip through the analog volume control and output analog driver section
Dual Master Clocks are used to minimize the amount of jitter present in the DAC circuitry
AudioQuest DragonFly – USB Digital-Audio Converter
Drives Headphones Directly
Variable Output Drives Powered Speakers or Power Amp
Fixed Output Feeds Preamp or Receiver
Asynchronous Transfer Ensures Digital Timing Integrity
Accepts Music Files Up to 24-bit/96kHz Resolution
Sample rates supported, LED indicator color codes: 44.1kHz (Green), 48kHz (Blue), 88.2kHz (Amber), 96kHz (Magenta)
Analog Audio – Frequency Response: DC - 22 kHz (44.1kHz sample rate), DC - 24 kHz (48kHz sample rate), DC - 44 kHz (88.2kHz sample rate), DC - 48 kHz (96kHz sample rate)
Output voltage: ~= 2vrms
Minimum driving impedance (i.e., minimum headphone impedance): ~= 12 ohms
Maximum driving power: = 150mW/br