D/A Converter or Processor
DragonFly Black v1.5
DragonFly Black is a USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC) designed to deliver cleaner, clearer, more naturally beautiful sound from any computer, smartphone, or tablet. DragonFly Black’s unique design allows for playback of any file type regardless of resolution. Natively, DragonFly Black is capable of decoding 24-bit/96kHz data.
DragonFly Black represents the culmination of several new and exciting achievements.
Over the better part of three years, AudioQuest and acclaimed engineer Gordon Rankin have been tirelessly developing sophisticated software solutions that have allowed us to implement a new, high-performance class of USB microcontroller. We have chosen to work with Microchip®, a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors. With exceedingly low power consumption and extremely low-noise power supplies, the Microchip microcontrollers achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency and signal-to-noise ratio, regardless of bit- or sample-rate.
While DragonFly versions 1.0 and 1.2 achieved new standards of performance and portability in the high-fidelity audio world, many of our customers have longed for a similar product that could be reliably used with their handheld mobile devices. Previously, DragonFly’s power consumption limited its compatibility to Mac and Windows laptops and PCs. Now, with our developments in the field of microcontrollers, we are able to improve DragonFly’s performance while also offering compatibility with handheld Apple Mobile and Android devices. Improved performance and greater versatility!
DragonFly Black employs a unique clock system called a Hybrid-PLL. While not discrete, the Hybrid-PLL performs equal to, or better than, many discrete clock systems, at a fraction of their cost. This has allowed us to devote resources to more sophisticated components elsewhere.
Setting Up DragonFly
DragonFly Black is designed to be “plug and play” with all major desktop and mobile devices and operating systems, such as Android, Apple, and Microsoft. No additional drivers are required for DragonFly Black to operate with any of these systems.
Additionally, DragonFly Black is equipped with a 64-step analog volume control. With DragonFly Black connected to a PC or mobile device, adjusting the host’s system volume control will, through proxy, control the DragonFly Black’s onboard volume. This ensures maximum resolution and the highest sound quality, regardless of volume setting.
Why is "Format" Important?
CDs operate at a sampling frequency of 44100.0 Hz. Compressed MP3 and AAC music files and audio streams are typically encoded at three different quality levels—128kbps, 256kbps (iTunes Plus), and 320kbps—and are most often reconstructed as 44100.0 Hz files. Similarly, many music downloads and CDs ripped as Apple Lossless or FLAC files are reconstructed to 44100.0 Hz. If you have higher resolution files, it is important to choose the correct higher sample rate in order to maximize the benefit of those files. For the best performance with sampling rates above DragonFly Black’s 96kHz ceiling, files should be played at a rate mathematically related to their native resolution. For instance, a 192kHz file should be played at 96kHz (i.e., 2 x 96000.0 = 192000.0).
Some programs (such as NPR) use 48000.0 Hz. These 24-bit/48000.0 Hz files can sound amazingly close to higher sample-rate files. Some “high-res” files use 88200.0 Hz because it is a multiple of the CD standard sample rate (i.e., 2 x 44100.0 = 88200.0). Some “high-res” files use 96000.0 Hz because it is a multiple of the sample rates used on DVDs, Blu-rays, and in the computer world (i.e., 2 x 48000.0 = 96000.0).
DragonFly Black’s LED lights up in different colors to indicate status or sample rate:
Red: Standby Green: 44100.0 Hz Blue: 48000.0 Hz
Amber: 88200.0 Hz Magenta: 96000.0 Hz
DragonFly works with both Android and Apple Mobile devices!
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