Audioquest is a company that for a long time has maintained a high profile as one of the leading cable manufacturers within the A/V industry. Having consistently been at the forefront of new cable technologies (such as HDMI and Ethernet as well as more conventional Analogue and digital cables). So a few years ago Audioquest expanded their company specialties to introduce a USB stick sized marvel that was a high grade DAC and headphone amp. It received rave reviews, but only worked on computers. The feedback from all who played with it was generally fantastic class leading sound at the price... but could they make this little beauty work as a portable on-the-go DAC / headphone amp that could work with mobile devices?
So here we are with the latest (and greatest) Audioquest Dragonfly series of USB DAC / Headphone amps. Audioquest worked with digital guru Gordon Rankin to not only realise the need for much lower power consumption to enable on-the-go portable power, but in the process also improved the already multi award winning class leading performance to a new level. So now with convenience and performance no longer mutually exclusive, the DragonFly Red and Black now not only work with computers, but now work with Apple and Android phones and tablets when paired with a simple adapter. So why do the audio journalists rate the Dragonfly so highly? Quite simply these versatile DACs improve everything – detail, transparency, immediacy, richness, tone – associated with your music. And they play everything from MP3s to 24-bit/96kHz high-resolution files with spectacular simplicity and ease of use. In the case of the Dragonfly Red it also boasts a 2.1Volt output power meaning it can power nearly any headphones to their potential.
The Audioquest Dragonfly DAC is amazingly compact and improves the sound quality of your digital devices
For greater overall performance, the new DragonFly models now incorporate improved 32-bit ESS Sabre DAC chips—the 9010 model in the Black and the higher-performance 9016 in Red—both of which employ minimum-phase filtering for naturally detailed, more authentic sound. While DragonFly Black uses the same high-quality headphone amp and analog volume control found in DragonFly v1.2, DragonFly Red includes the latest ESS headphone amp and a bit-perfect digital volume control that resides on the 9016 DAC chip itself—a sophisticated implementation that ensures maximum fidelity, dynamic contrast, and signal-to-noise ratio.
So, Dragonfly Black is the BEST DAC out there under $200 - hands down. It has won multiple awards around the world and users report a significant improvement over what is built in to their phone / tablet / computer. The Dragonfly RED is a step up in nearly all areas from the bit perfect volume control to the doubling of output power it competes easily with portable DACs up to double or even triple the price. Both models are easy to use and offer improvements in fidelity and are designed to honor the music you already own and love. Whether you’re listening to Spotify, YouTube, Tidal, MP3's, ripped CDs, or state-of-the-art high-resolution files, DragonFly will deliver a more emotionally compelling and enjoyable experience.
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