Following the success of the DragonFly, Audioquest has developed an upgraded version: the DragonFly Black USB DAC!
You can listen to music from a digital device via one of its USB outputs. It is designed to replace internal digital-to-analogue converters, often of poor quality, with the more effective DragonFly Black. It features a great 'Sabre' converter, the famed ESS9010/ 32-bit! It is already used in high-end electronic products worth up to 10 times the price of this preamplifier!
The DragonFly Black is compatible with Windows, Apple and Android (refer to the product details). This DAC can sample more basic digital files as well as those up to 96 kHz under 24bits. The DragonFly Black has an output level of up to 1.2 Volts. It therefore works with most commercially-available audiophile headphones.
Thanks to extensive research work, the energy consumption of this DAC has been reduced by 77% compared to the former version.
The USB protocol is asynchronous, thus reducing the jitter rate, modulation error rate and makes the DAC compatible with most commercially-available digital devices.
The Audioquest Dragonfly USB DAC is designed as a black rubber-coated USB key. It comes in a small carrier bag. It has a 3.5 mm headphone jack. A LED lamp indicates that the DAC is on. The colour determines the sampling frequency: red (Standby), green (44.1 kHz), blue (48 kHz), amber (88.2 kHz) and magenta (96 kHz).
You soon realize that this DragonFly Black, when paired with Grado's Hi-Fi SR325e headphones, makes a huge difference! The soundstage is completely transfigured, with great openness and a host of micro-details. The timbre quality is just amazing! Even on compressed files, there is no harshness.
We tried it with a Windows PC and a Mac, and it only took a few bars to be fully convinced of the sonic improvement. Also, the DAC can also be used on a mobile device. You will therefore be able to listen to your music from your laptop when you are travelling. All you need to do is use Audioquest's Lightning or Micro-USB adaptor.
We definitely believe in this DragonFly Black USB DAC! Its value for money makes digital music accessible, even when you're travelling, for a reasonable price… A true advantage for digital music lovers!
Can't recommend it enough!
- Compact size
- Isochronous DAC ESS Sabre 9010 32-bit
- Compatible with Windows 7, 8.1 and 10, Apple iOS X
- Headphone jack 3.5 mm
- Minimised jitter
- Audioquest PC application
What Hi-Fi - 2016 Elwood
Native sampling: 24-bit / 96KHz
PC operating system: Windows® 7/8.1/10, Apple® OS X and Linux®
Mobile operating system: Apple iOS 5 and later and Android 4.1 and newer
Microcontroller: PIC32MX Microchip
DAC: sabre ESS9010
Analogue output: jack 3.5 mm
Output volume: adjustable via the Dragonfly Black host
Digital input: USB (class 1 operation for minimum jitter rate)
Dimensions (H x W x D): 12 x 19 x 62 mm
Weight: 22 g (packaging not included)