AudioQuest DragonFly Red & Black USB D/A headphone amplifiers Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Garrard 301, Thorens TD 124 turntables; Abis SA1.2, EMT 997 tonearms; EMT OFD 15 & TSD 15, Shindo Laboratory SPU pickup heads; Denon DL 103 cartridge.
Digital Sources: Original AudioQuest DragonFly, Halide Designs DAC HD USB D/A converter; Apple iMac G5 computer running Audirvana Plus 1.5.12; Apple iPhone 6 Plus smartphone; Sony SCD-777ES SACD/CD player.
Preamplification: Hommage T2 step-up transformer, Shindo Laboratory Masseto preamplifier.
Power Amplifiers: Shindo Laboratory Corton-Charlemagne (monoblocks) & Haut-Brion (stereo).
Loudspeakers: Altec Valencia, Auditorium 23 Hommage Cinema, DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/96.
Headphones: AudioQuest NightHawk, Master & Dynamic ME05.
Cables: USB: Wireworld Revelation 2.0. Interconnect: Audio Note AN-Vx, Luna Red, Shindo Laboratory. Speaker: Auditorium 23. AC: Luna Orange on Shindo Masseto and Haut-Brion, JPS Labs The Digital AC on Sony SCD-777ES, manufacturers' stock cords on all else.
Accessories: Box Furniture Company D3S rack (source & amplification components), Audiodesksysteme Gläss Vinyl Cleaner.—Art Dudley

dbtom2's picture

I've had this iMac for three years and until I read this article I didn't know there were USB jacks on either side of the keyboard. Thanks for that.

dalethorn's picture

If I remember correctly, they advise against using any but the main USB jacks for the DragonFlys.

Anon2's picture

I thought about the Dragonfly, seriously.

Then my local dealer had a rock-solid alternative: the Arcam r-Pac. The r-Pac is marginally less "portable" than this product. It is a full headphone amp/DAC offering performance of headphone amps costing many times more.

The r-Pac is a true piece of gear, made with the trappings of Arcam's higher-up-the-food-chain DACs of high repute. I hope that Stereophile will review the r-Pac in the coming days. It even has a Brown-Burr processor.

You can't use the r-Pac on-the-go, though just about any portable DAC would be a tough-sell to use in a less-than-stationary listening environment. It does square the circle on two key dimensions: 1. it is USB-powered; 2. it is a solid piece of gear with a top-rate processor; it might even double as a full home-system DAC while doubling for headphone use during the week at work.

dalethorn's picture

I know people who do like the r-Pac a lot. For me, the amp makes the biggest difference, as this review alluded to. The DACs not so much. So it would be good for someone to compare the Red to the r-Pac, on headphones.

mtymous1's picture

Dudley wrote:

"To use either new DragonFly with current-spec Apple iOS hardware requires the purchase, from Apple or an authorized Apple supplier (footnote 1), of a $29 accessory: a Lightning-to-USB-camera adapter."

So when AAPL announces removal of the 3.5mm jack next week, I do think the Lightning phone + camera adapter + Dragonfly approach will be a nifty solution for those unwilling to give up their favorite cans. Just remember to carry all of them with you!

audiobill's picture

I was directed to this article by a link in an 5/12/17 article on this site written by Jason Victor Serinus entitled "Munich Milestones for MQA."
In reading your (this) article, I noticed on page two, a photo of what appears to be a DragonFly Black connected to an AudioQuest JitterBug, which is connected to the USB port of an unidentified notebook computer (decidedly not an iMac). I find no mention of the JitterBug or the notebook computer in the body of your review or in the listing of Associated Equipment. This photo is somewhat confusing to me. Couldn't you use the very good camera in your iPhone 6 Plus to take a photo of the actual iMac setup mentioned in the article?

temujin114's picture

why don't you quantify "musical nuances." FFS you guys are so full of dog $h!t.
are you guys owned by the fox news or what.

I also liked “Now there was no air between notes—just . . . stuff.” ROFL
WTH is that?
Also amusing were “more musical color, sounded a bit mushy, impression of flesh and blood, music exhibited more momentum (omfg lol), huge sound,..”
“high-and-mighty high-end talk”, you mean unadulterated BS.
You guys are some piece of work.