Audioquest Dragonfly in the Test

With the dragonfly, Audioquest offered the probably smallest D/A Converter including prepress – in the form of a USB stick. In the test, we check what does the “Dragonfly” in practice.

The danger is great: the small D/A converter Dragonfly Audioquest might be confused with a USB stick quite fix. He looks the same, feels the same, has the same connector. The Dragonfly stick but can be something entirely different. Namely sound files – convert and reinforce: via USB it enters u? a 3.5 mm mini jack on the opposite side back out. The whole at the cost of 250 euro.

Audioquest music consumption could change with the Dragonfly for many people. Because so far only a few had a choice. What manufacturer of notebooks already invested in really good converter, good amplifier? Auch Apple is here not a paragon of audiophile self-adulation. If you want more, which needed a new sound card or connect an external digital-analog converter, which is but as big as a cigar box. At least.

Here comes the dragonfly in the game: never less than packed a converter combination – the famous unique selling proposition. Or the gaudy market language: a killer application.

Some show is still added. According to the resolution, in which the Dragonfly rasterizes the audio files, changed the color of the Dragonfly logo on the surface. Common 44.1 kilohertz sampling rates shimmer greet, uber blue (48 kHz) and yellow (88.2) are in the sky at 96 kHz and a bright bright magenta display. This is good show effectively, but smart.

It is also the pleasant hard stick in hand, no plastic, a massive metal sheath. What is exactly hidden under the? A space-filling Board where everything on a chip runs in the middle.

Audioquest Dragonfly: The inner workings

Audioquest airs only the bare essentials of the companies secret on demand. It is a 24-Bit ESS Sabre Chip. The manufacturer of Blu-ray players operate like the ESS technology company, which is like Audioquest in California.

The transducer pulses in an Asynchronous USB-audio Protocol. Means: seek not only the ones and zeros in the stick, here is also the control uber the clocking from the computer. The chip is not a miracle; performance state of the art, in its compact design but and his pure stereo competence a singular product.

What u? surprised: so far, Audioquest has stringently serves the cable market–in the home country is United States a myth in this branch of business. The new strategy: Who uses a dragonfly, sooner or later also on the connection cable of the brand trust. Because the analog signal of the Dragonfly one can of course uber headphones to the eardrums bring – but also u? ber a 3. 5 mm to RCA-cable directly to local noble power amplifiers. The volume control is already integrated into the Dragonfly – analogue and 64 degrees.

Audioquest Dragonfly: The sound

Here u? surprised of the Dragonfly at the hearing with one force thrust. This amp can be really loud. Many manufacturers to? nails their headphone ports almost timid, classical music fans must sometimes extreme concentration muster.

Also beyond the pure volume, there are clear advantages: ever more elaborate the sound codec has been screened, the finer the resolution when compared to the existing 3.5 mm port. As it should be, dear laptop manufacturers. HD masters in 24-bit / 96 kHz were in our test dramatic u? about the potential of the built-in ports (and we use the word “dramatically” rather rare). That would be an option on a power amplifier with adult booth boxes really.

Compressed formats were not, however, been pushed to unimagined heights. An AAC file to 192 kilobits per second, we heard the clearest sound profit. The direct phone jack a MacBook’s trumpeted via iTunes but very speed, in the dynamic development of the Dragonfly screening fine. The stick was the phrasing without those angularity of the notebook had literally trapped the strings of an orchestra.

Are there limits? Netu? course. If the source material is utterly screwed up – a MP3 file at 80 kilobits, for example, then also the Dragonfly could to seal any nuances.

Timely Audioquest want a version with direct access to the iPhone and iPod family present by Apple – so a high-quality, compact D/A converter with autonomous amp and its own battery.


The Audioquest Dragonfly is a sound champion of noble student stalls and mobile music consumers. Plug, play, power. Already, the internal amp duped each notebook hardware: a significant boost in coarse as dynamic.