AudioQuest DragonFly Black
32-Bit ESS Sabre 9010 Digital-To-Analogue Conversion Chip With Minimum Phase Filter For Detailed, Dynamic, And Natural Sounding Music
Compatible With Windows, Apple And Most Android Devices
3.5mm Stereo Mini-jack Provides Direct Headphone Connection, Plus Fixed Or Variable Line-Level Output
Want the best sound from your computer, laptop or portable device? The latest Audioquest DragonFly Black is perfect for uses where a larger DAC is unsuitable.
The Original DragonFly
Launched in 2012, press and public alike have enthusiastically embraced AudioQuest’s multi-award-winning DragonFly USB digital-to-analogue converter/preamp/headphone amp as the rare audio product that bridges the gap between die-hard audiophiles and mainstream music lovers.
DragonFly plugs into a computer’s USB port to bypass the computer’s compromised audio circuitry and deliver cleaner, clearer, more naturally beautiful sound to headphones, powered speakers, and complete audio systems.
Small, affordable, easy to use, and remarkably effective, DragonFly was named Stereophile’s 2012 “Computer Audio Component of the Year” and 2012 “Budget Component of the Year;” Tone Audio’s 2012 “Digital Product of the Year;” Computer Audiophile’s 2012 “Computer Audiophile Product of the Year;” AudioStream’s “Greatest Bits;” and What Hi-Fi?’s 2014 “Product of the Year.”
Perhaps most memorably, DigitalAudioReview.net’s John Darko quipped: “A DAC with the DragonFly’s performance at the DragonFly’s price point is as rare as rocking horse sh*t.”
We couldn’t have said it better.
The Next Generation: DragonFly Black & DragonFly Red
While the original DragonFly defined the market for micro-DACs, its USB power draw made it compatible with computers only. Music lovers have craved a more portable version—one that could be reliably used with Apple and Android smartphones and tablets.
We’re delighted to present two new options that do just that: DragonFly Black and DragonFly Red.
Convenience and performance are no longer mutually exclusive. With DragonFly Black and Red, any computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone can be used as a true high-fidelity music player, allowing music lovers to enjoy beautiful sound wherever they go, whenever they please.
AudioQuest, Gordon Rankin, and Microchip: A Beautiful Partnership
AudioQuest and DragonFly designer Gordon Rankin worked alongside Microchip Technology to develop a new high-performance, full-speed USB microcontroller solution that delivers improved signal-to-noise ratio and significantly lower power consumption.
Drawing 77% less current than the previous microcontroller, the new Microchip PIC32MX microcontroller enables true compatibility with Apple and Android smartphones and tablets.
Further, we simply cannot overstate the significance of Gordon Rankin’s contributions to AudioQuest. The new DragonFly models embody many of Gordon’s most innovative, creative, and elegant digital-audio solutions to date.
Improved 32-Bit Digital Performance
For greater overall performance, the new DragonFly models also incorporate improved 32-bit ESS Sabre DAC chips - the 9010 in 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.
DragonFly Black will output 1.2 volts—enough power to successfully drive all preamplifier input circuits and a wide range of today’s efficient headphones. Meanwhile, with its higher 2.1-volt output, DragonFly Red will be compatible with a wider range of headphones, including power-hungry, low-efficiency models.
While the DAC chips AudioQuest selected are remarkably powerful and sophisticated, they’ve intentionally limited DragonFly Black and DragonFly Red’s processing capabilities to 24-bit/96kHz resolution. This makes using the DragonFlys as simple as it’s always been: they’re fully compatible with PCs without having to download and install new drivers.
Most importantly, DragonFly is designed to honor the music you already own and love. Whether you’re listening to Spotify, YouTube, Tidal, ripped CDs, or state-of-the-art high-resolution files, DragonFly will deliver a more emotionally compelling and enjoyable experience.
Free Desktop Application for Software Upgradability (for DragonFly Black and Red only)
In addition, the new DragonFlys will be software upgradeable through a complimentary Windows or OS X desktop application. As new developments arise in music player applications, streaming protocols, or other associated software, DragonFly users will be able to incorporate those updates to their existing devices.
Dragonfly Black Features
Physical: Black Soft-Touch Finish With Gold Lettering, Protective End-Cap, Leatherette Travel Pouch
Native Resolution: Up to 24-bit / 96kHz
Output: 1.2 volts. Direct-Coupled, Medium output — More than enough power to successfully and gracefully drive a wide range of today's efficient headphones. Although DF Black has a lower output voltage than DF 1.2, its more advanced microcontroller and updated DAC chip mean that it can deliver more musical texture and detail — even when used with moderate-efficiency (~95-100dB/mW) headphones. When used as a line-level device (volume set to 100%), DF Black's 1.2 volts provide enough power to drive all preamplifier, integrated amplifier, or receiver inputs.
Microcontroller: Microchip PIC32MX. The Microchip PIC32MX (USB 2.0 compliant) is a full-speed isochronous USB audio solution. Compared to other controllers, the Microchip microcontroller offers extremely low power consumption (77% lower than the TAS1020b and 95% lower than the most efficient XMOS solution), 32-bit architecture, and the option for software upgradibility (via a desktop application provided by AudioQuest). In addition, the Microchip's ultra-low-noise power supply minimizes the sound-degrading effect of high-frequency interference on the critical audio signal.
DAC Chip: ESS 9010 32-Bit. Compared to the ESS 9023, the 32-bit ESS 9010 offers improved overall performance and uses a sophisticated minimum-phase digital filter to provide more naturally detailed and dynamic music.
Volume Control: Analogue Volume Control. Digitally controlled (from the host) analog volume control. With DF Black connected to a PC or mobile device, adjusting the host's volume control will, through proxy, control the DF Black's onboard volume, ensuring maximum resolution regardless of volume setting.
Desktop/PC Compatibility: Windows 7 / 8.1 / 10; Apple OS X; Linux (no support provided)
Mobile Campatibility: Yes: Apple iOS (5 and newer); Android 4.1 and newer* For Android devices, see owner's manual.
Software Upgradable: Yes (from desktop application): Please download AudioQuest's Desktop Manager Application and register your product.
USB Protocol: Asynchronous USB Streamlength®. Streamlength™ asynchronous USB code ensures low jitter, low resource load, minimal packet errors, world-class audio playback, and reliable connectivity between our DAC and any computing device compliant with USB Host Mode (as set forth by the USB Organization). Streamlength requires no additional drivers, making DragonFly Black virtually plug-and-play for Apple, Windows, iOS, and Android users.
Please Note: In our experience none of the Dragonfly DACs sound at their best straight out of the box. They normally need a minimum of 20 hours use to start revealing their potential and up to 200 hours before they sound their best.
Main Features & Specifications
- DragonFly Black
- USB Stick-Sized Digital-to-Analog Converter
- Plays all music files: MP3 to high-res
- Compatible with Apple and Windows PCs, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices (requires Apple Camera Adapter or Made for Android/OTG adaptor)
- Variable output drives headphones directly
- Fixed output feeds preamp or AV receiver
- Asynchronous transfer ensures digital timing integrity
- Medium output (1.2 volts) drives a wide range of headphones
- 32-bit ESS 9010 DAC with minimum-phase filter
- Analoguel volume control
- Dimensions: 12mm (h) x 19mm (w) x 62mm (l)
- Manufacturer's Warranty: 1 Year
Note: Features & Specifications Subject To Change Without Notice. E&OE. Product images are for illustration purposes only and may vary from the actual product. Any accessories pictured (MP3 Player, Phone, Tablet, Computer etc) are not included with the product.