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Test of previous generation Dragonfly : http://archimago.blogspot.nl/2014/08/measurements-audioquest-dragonfly-v...
The Black indeed seems like a good unit to combine with more efficient/lower impedance headphones. And apparently it can also be used as a DAC into your Denon. Since you have such good headphone sound from your Denon, I do indeed think that getting a proper DAC/Headphone amplifier should be the first thing to do. Try it with your existing headphones. The Fiio E10k will do a similar job. I don't know about the UK, but here the law allows you to order both and keep the one you like most.
The red is rather more expensive, and preferable for less sensitive/higher impedance headphones.
Thanks to Willem for the review of the Dragonfly. About the first time we have agreed on the subjective and objective perspectives.
I am so impressed that I might buy one myself for use for listening while travelling, also useful when my wife is at home and does not want the HIFI on.
BUT, then I will need a good headphone which is not too large and folds up neatly for packing.
I know nothing about headphones in practice, so now I need some advice.
If it is for travel, a noise cancelling headphone is a good idea, and Bose do the best. These headphones have their own amplifier, so you would not need to worry about that part of the equation. However, they are rather more expensive than equivalent normal headphones.
I have a cheaper midrange Sennheiser for use on long distance flights and on the train, but I am bit disappointed. It is more compact than the Bose, but as it is an open system noise still creeps in.
Thanks Willem for the information.
Need to look at my needs in greater detail and what I might need.
Absolutely. A noise cancelling headphone is great on long flights and train journeys. My experience with my Sennheiser noise cancelling headphone persuaded me that for that purpose a Bose is the one to have. However, if the noise cancelling is not too important, much less money buys a much better ordinary headphone. The Bose is a bit of a one track pony.
While travelling rather than at home, a Sansa Clip or similar player is ideal. You need downloaded/ripped music, because you cannot count on wifi for streaming. Many now use their smartphones for this, but it drains the battery. I hate having to worry about arriving somewhere with an almost empty battery in my phone. The alternative would be a small power bank (always useful for the traveller). Moreover, not all smartphones sound good. The IPhones do, but many cheaper ones do not.
I’ve been following this thread with interest, since I was in a similar situation to Jane. I had some £15 headphones which I’ve been using a lot lately, given my circumstances. So I was thinking in getting something better and didn’t have a clue about where to start. I didn’t even consider the possibility of an added DAC, and then I read about this Dragonfly thing.
With that and Jane’s suggestion of headphones (Grado sr80) as pointers I did my research and was finally persuaded.
So this morning I got them both and have been trying them out:
I don’t know Jane, if you are still considering what to do, or has bought something already. In short: the external DAC is ESSENTIAL. The difference it makes is just huge!! Basically without the Dragonfly the sounds that comes from the laptop sound card is very thin and… just mean! The volume has to be set to almost maximum. But both things paired together sound pretty amazing, of course fully dependent on the sound quality of the original source (compressed files, old recordings, etc). But the sound is just so lush, and full. The dynamic range is massive and the volume at the laptop has to be kept to a VERY low setting.
Some people say that the headphones will sound even better after some days, as they need to be sort of broken in. No idea if there is any bases to this.
So to summarise: you will waste the new headphones if there is not a proper sound card
Thanks to all who have contributed to this very informative thread, once again. A happy customer here!!
Good to see you are still around Camaron.
I haven't quite made up my mind yet, but I am certainly going to get a DAC before anything else. If that is all I can afford this Xmas, that is what I will get.
But how did you come to settle on the dragonfly? It is quite expensive, certainly compared to the Behringer Willem points to.......
Also, if you don't mind answering a few questions.........It doesn't seem to have any controls on it. Is it just a case of plug and play? Does the amplifier just work to a preset level, or is there some way of turning it up and down etc? Finally, does the laptop just recognise it and immediately hand over all DAC responsibility, or is there some fiddling about with software first?
It is plug and play, literally; no software or having to choose any setting anywhere. Volume is at a set level, for all I can see, and it is very loud, as I said. I’m actually playing at a maximum of 7 or 8 per cent of the laptop volume. So control is from the general Windows icon or from the player you use.
On a side note It doesn’t seem to work well with Linux, where you have to choose from digital or analogue output but neither give satisfactory results. Doesn’t amplify nearly as much either. I need to look into this. I still have to try it with a tablet which will be the main use, for portability.
I will try with the Behringer, but it is too cumbersome to move around for me. For a stable positioning is certainly much cheaper. I would like to try it the other way around too, and connect the Dragonfly to the speakers too, but this doesn’t seem possible.
It has been something though, to realise how much of a difference a proper sound card can do.
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