Audioquest Dragonfly 1.2: A new, tiny, quality usb dac / headphone amp to improve sound quality from your computer. Plugs into your computer's usb socket, then you either plug headphones into it or run a 3.5mm to dual rca cable to your audio system. Made in the USA. (Depending on your computer, to maximize the dragonfly's performance you'll want to set your computer's output to 24bit / 96k output or download asio4all - see the avguide.com review below)
Stereophile 2014: The sonic differences between the original and v1.2 DragonFlys were almost as obvious as those between the Sennheiser Momentum and B&W P3 on-ear headphones. Where the original DragonFly excelled in clarity and detail, v1.2 added a richer, more colorful midrange, improved spatial abilities, and a greater sense of ease.
WhatHiFi.co.uk: *****, 2014: Best DAC under £200.
Audiostream.com (Stereophile): Greatest Bits Award!, 2014. AudioQuest has managed to do something no other company has yet accomplished on AudioStream which is to swat their own product off our Greatest Bits list by delivering what strikes me as a more natural and all around simply better-sounding DAC with the Dragonfly v1.2 and they've done so for $100 less than the price of the original.
Version 1.2 Now Available for Even smoother and more open sound!
Among the improvements, 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 immediacy. Also, the DAC’s power supply has been fortified, which gives the sound more “grip,” and even greater dynamic contrast.
Beautiful Sound From Any Computer, Anywhere
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. 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.
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.
*photos are for illustration purposes only, computer, cables, headphones are not included.
Just picked up the 1.2 version.
Great sound for the price, perfect portability, amazing what can do for the size.
The fact that they improved it and made it more affordable is great. Highly recommend.
So far have used it with my NAD HP50's and my Shure SE215's. Great with both. Bjorn on 20th Feb 2015
This will be brief...cause all the magazine and online reviews are right. The Audioquest Dragonfly is probably the coolest audio product on the market right now...it sounds terrific, is tiny and costs less than a high end headphone cable. Mine arrived today, I plugged one end into my McBook Pro (running Audirvana Plus) and my Sennheiser HD 650 phones (with stock cable) into the other. Result is much clearer, cleaner, articulate sound. A no-brainer if you are into computer audio. Daniel S on 12th Dec 2012