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AudioQuest DragonFly® v1.2

Plug-in USB DAC/headphone amplifier

61 Reviews

Item # 703DGNFLY2

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Our take on the AudioQuest DragonFly® v1.2

AudioQuest's original DragonFly DAC set the world on its ear, opening people's eyes to the astonishing levels of performance that could be packed into such a tiny, USB thumb drive-sized package. Now AudioQuest has upped the ante with its DragonFly v1.2, which keeps all of the features and capabilities of its predecessor, while offering enhanced sonics and even better value. Plug this compact, easy-to-use device into your computer's USB port, and it will instantly transform your digital files into warm, organic sound with increased detail, clarity, and impact.

DragonFly v1.2 plugged into a laptop

The tiny DragonFly v1.2 makes an easy, plug-and-play upgrade for your computer-based music listening.

An instant audio upgrade for your computer

AudioQuest's original DragonFly DAC set the world on its ear, opening people's eyes to the astonishing levels of performance that could be packed into such a tiny, USB thumb drive-sized package. Now AudioQuest has upped the ante with its DragonFly v1.2, which keeps all of the features and capabilities of its predecessor, while offering enhanced sonics and even better value. Plug this compact, easy-to-use device into your computer's USB port, and it will instantly transform your digital files into warm, organic sound with increased detail, clarity, and impact.

What's new in version 1.2?

Starting with the original's audiophile-grade 24-bit ESS Sabre™ conversion chip, the DragonFly v1.2 has been re-engineered with a more direct signal path between the DAC and the analog output stage to deliver greater transparency and immediacy. AudioQuest also upgraded the DragonFly's power supply to give your music more "weight" and improved dynamics.

Asynchronous USB means better sound from your computer

The standard USB connections on most computers pose a serious limitation to sound quality. That's because while you're trying to listen to music, your PC is busy performing virus scans, data backup, and other background tasks that can make your music sound harsh and edgy and smear subtle details.The DragonFly v1.2 solves this problem by using its own separate ("asynchronous") clock to precisely control the music playback, reducing timing errors to the vanishing point. You'll hear a stunning improvement in low-level ambient detail along with a wider, deeper soundstage.

High-res audio

Enjoy high-res USB audio

Along with all the sonic benefits the DragonFly provides for your compressed and CD-quality music files, it also decodes high-resolution data streams with up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution, so you can enjoy better-than-CD audio quality. If you download high-res music files from HDtracks and other audiophile sources, this DAC will ensure they sound terrific. The dragonfly-shaped logo on the DAC's exterior even lights up and changes color to verify the resolution of the incoming signal.

" Lo and behold, the progeny of the original DragonFly has arrived; version 1.2 sounds better than ever, and costs far less. You know what I like more than the sonic improvements? The price: At $149, even the most cash-strapped of music lovers can afford this DAC."

— From Spencer Holbert's review in The Absolute Sound, February, 2014

Read the full review

Connections and controls

Plug your headphones directly into the DragonFly v1.2's stereo mini audio output jack for high-energy private listening. You can also use an optional stereo mini-to-mini cable or mini-to-RCA adapter to feed a line-level signal to a pair of powered speakers, power amplifier, or receiver for more robust, room-filling sound. The minijack output can be set to either fixed or variable line-level out. And although it's digitally operated from your computer screen, AudioQuest gave the DragonFly v1.2 a high-resolution analog volume control to avoid the reduction in resolution and sound quality that plagues many digital volume controls. Plus, the DAC's analog circuits are direct-coupled from the Sabre converter chip's output, avoiding the need for any sonically degrading components in the signal path.

All of these refinements add up to music with a natural solidity and clarity that sounds dramatically better than what you would hear from your computer on its own.

Traveling with your DragonFly?

If you plan on taking your DragonFly with you (it is highly portable, after all), you'll want to play it safe. AudioQuest's flexible DragonTail USB extender provides strain relief that can protect your computer's USB port if someone bumps into your laptop on a plane or in the coffee shop. The DragonTail also helps take some of the strain off that port when you're plugging in headphones with a heavy cable.

Product Highlights:

  • 24-bit/96kHz ESS Sabre™ digital-to-analog conversion chip
  • tiny "USB flash drive" type design plugs directly into a computer's USB port
  • powered by USB connection — no need for external power supply
  • asynchronous USB Class 1 data transfer using Streamlength™ protocol for reduced timing jitter and better sound
  • 3.5mm stereo minijack provides:
    • headphone output (minimum 12 ohm headphone impedance recommended)
    • variable line-level output for driving powered speakers or power amp
    • fixed line-level output for connecting to a preamp or receiver
  • 60-position analog volume control (digitally controlled using your computer)
  • incoming sample rate LED indicator for 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, and 96kHz sampling rates
  • input bit depth: 16 bits, 24 bits
  • dual master clocks used to minimize jitter
  • direct-coupled audio circuitry from DAC chip through analog output driver and volume control for cleaner sound
  • durable metal construction with rubberized coating
  • output voltage: 2 Vrms
  • soft storage pouch included
  • no cables included
  • compatible with Mac® OS X Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Lion, & Snow Leopard
  • compatible with Windows® XP, 7, & 8
  • 3/4"W x 1/2"H x 2-3/8"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • USB DAC+Headphone Amp
  • Protection cap (installed)
  • Storage pouch
  • Instruction Booklet
  • Warranty/Registration Card
  • HDtracks promo card

I purchased some music from HD Tracks. I plugged the Dragonfly into my computer and connected it to home system. WOW! The detail in the music was incredible. Much better than a CD.

David, N. Brookfield,MA


AudioQuest DragonFly® v1.2 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(61 Reviews)

audio upgrade

Chet from Philadelphia, PA on 5/25/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have tried a few USB dac/amps and the Dragofly v1.2 is the best of the lot. The sound is very clear and detailed with good bass response. It has more than enough power to drive my 300 ohm Sennheiser headphones. Set up was easy; the manual tells you all you need to know. Crutchfield's service was outstanding. With standard shipping, the package was on my doorstep in less than 24 hours!

Pros: Great audio upgrade, price

Cons: none


David from N. Brookfield,MA on 5/16/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I purchased some music from HD Tracks. I plugged the Dragonfly into my computer and connected it to home system. WOW! The detail in the music was incredible. Much better than a CD.

Pros: Easy to use.

Cons: None

Quick Improvement

LBClark from Meriden, KS on 4/10/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

How can you not like it? Well-written instructions for its slightly complicated install (but easy for the complex task it accomplishes), and a noticeable improvement to the quality of sound from the music files on my Mac mini.

Pros: Can't be much easier to install on your computer

Cons: Don't lose the instructions.

AQ DragonBeast

Mark C. from Los Angeles, CA on 4/4/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Boosts your audio with clean effect. Much better sound than without. Very inexpensive portable option for travelers.

Pros: Small, light, powerful.

Cons: With out an attachment can get caught on thing as it extends from the side of the laptop.

Failed after one week

Loren from Oshkosh, WI on 2/1/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Sounded fine...for a week. Then, after playing with different sampling rates available in the Windows driver: white noise, with just sputters of music. Cables fine. Amps fine. Computer fine. Stick bad.

Pros: Discreet size

Cons: Quality control

Crutchfield response on 2/2/2016 Whenever you encounter a problem with anything you purchase from Crutchfield, especially a situation like this, please contact our Customer Support team. Purchases from Crutchfield can be returned or exchanged within 60 days of the purchase.

Excellent product

Howell K. from cumming, GA on 1/31/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Adding this device to my system made a major improvement in sound quality from my laptop streaming music through my stereo system. Improved clarity and separation, overall sound quality is much improved. Device is well worth the investment, a BARGAIN.

Pros: Great results, low price.

Cons: None

Buy this!

Ward from Pennsylvania on 12/28/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This Dragonfly works like a charm! I can hear stuff in songs that I never did before. This greatly enhances the listening experience.

Pros: Small , enhances the listening experience, inexpensive for the results.

Cons: None.


BIG JOHN from Pennsylvania on 12/16/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)




Definite difference!

ChasL from Denver, CO on 11/15/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

My first experience with a DAC/Amp. So much of an improvement, and easy to use. Hearing sounds through my headphones I'd never heard before.

Pros: Great value - well worth the price.

Cons: None

Nice Solution

MikeL from Yonkers, NY on 11/3/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Was not able to get decent FM reception on my Bose radio. My father investigated this item previously and recommended I try it. Hooked it up between my computer and Bose and now stream live music. The sound is great. Better than I ever got even when I was able to get FM reception. Only downside: I must 'toggle' between the DragonFly and computer speakers when I want the radio off and I need to hear computer sounds associated with certain programs.

Pros: Ability to facilitate good quality signal to my Bose.

Cons: Need to toggle between the DragonFly and computer speakers.

Cool Product

John from Pennsylvania on 10/8/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is an amazing product. I am utilizing this with the Audioengine A5+'s. This combination is stellar. Highly recommended combination.

Pros: Size, design, price.

Cons: None.


Brendan from Concord, NH on 9/25/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

A great product. The perfect way to bring better audio quality to your computer in a small package. The very first song that I played I noticed the beautiful clarity that it adds to my favorite songs. Definitely worth your money. As a poor college student who loves audio, this is the best way to go.



definetly a difference!

scotto from Tennessee on 9/22/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Didn't know if this would make a difference. but after reading reviews seemed like worth trying out. This definitely smooths out the sound, less harsh than direct. Bass was tighter. tried with my iphone6 with music files and streaming with Tidal in the car and home. great product all around.

Pros: doesn't take up a lot of space. smoother sound

Cons: none

DragonFly is Amazing!

RD from New Mexico on 9/6/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I had test drove a DAC before and was pleased. Through my research, I found the DragonFLy and of course, Crutchfield had the best supply, price and service. The amazing enhancement of music on all of my devices is wonderful. I don't listen to anything without my DragonFly.

Pros: Small size and powerful enhancement of music.

Cons: None

Incredible Value & the Best DAC Available

JM from CO on 7/7/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The best portable USB powered DAC for headphones available, and the cost is reasonable including the Dragon Tail. The DAC processor in the Dragonfly is the same 24bit/96kHz ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC that is used in professional equipment costing THOUSANDS of dollars more.



Sounds pretty good

Shelly F. from Tucson, Arizona on 7/5/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Sounds pretty good with earphones. Not much difference on small speakers. Hard to set up to leave speakers plugged in directly into the onboard DAC and use strictly for headphones, since plugging the DAC into a USB port doesn't shut down the speakers.

Pros: Works fine right away.

Cons: You might need to change how you normally listen to sounds.

Great sound from something so small

gntuck from Houston, TX on 7/1/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I'm just dipping my toes into higher end audio and so haven't tried any other DAC or amp. I'd considered buying a much higher dollar DAC/amp but am so impressed with the quality of the sound from the tiny DragonFly that I'm wondering if I need more than this. I'm waiting for more expensive earbuds to arrive from Crutchfield but the sound improvement from my inexpensive earbuds is quite incredible. I now understand the reviews that claim listeners hear things they didn't know existed in a recording. I listen to Pandora radio from my PC while at work for 5 or 6 hours per night and find myself hesitant to shut down the computer and go home at night.

Pros: Small size, no complicated setup

Cons: I haven't found any

Audioquest Dragonfly v. 1.2

Sclark from Virginia on 6/16/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Can definitely hear the difference. It really requires a good high-end product to hear the greatness of the music.



audioquest dragonfly

Arlindo from Manchester, New Jersey on 5/2/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

No question about it, great product. Sounds just as good as my Peachtree dac-it.

Pros: Small enough to carry in pocket. Like the pouch too.

Cons: non

Dragonfly 1.2

James from Detroit, MI on 4/27/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The sound improvement using this DAC is staggering. Best bang for the buck in my system without question.

Pros: Sound quality improvement, size, ease of use.

Cons: None.

Sonic Relief

Dark Elf from South Dakota on 4/22/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

1st experience with Dac. Affordable, efficient way to get the sound you want. JBL LSR 305's + AQ Dragonfly 1.2 + Hosa CYX-403M stereo breakout cable 3.5mm TRS to dual XLR 3M-3m/9.8ft. + 2011 Macbook Pro + Chrome player using Tidal streaming at 320. Best bang for your bucks...thank me later!

Pros: Great value for a buyer's 1st Dac. Plug and play after you change a couple items in MB Pro system preferences. I can recommend the Dragon Tail.

Cons: None at this price.

Great sound

Butch from Brewton, AL on 4/8/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Simple to use and sounds good, too.

Pros: Plug it in and forget it. Sits quietly out of sight.


Extraordinary Improvement!

Jack from Arizona on 4/4/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

It is a challenge to express the vast improvement in sound quality, depth, color, etc. that the DragonFly DAC v1.2 brings to your laptop. It opens a whole new dimension of listening enjoyment. I now hear harmonies and instruments that previously I did not know were there as I listen to old favorites. The sound-stage is literally expanded exponentially and the fidelity is first rate. Without exaggeration, this little device has brought a whole new world of life. I think it is important to share with you that I was on the horns of a dilemma as whether to purchase new headphones or whether to try a product unknown to me; namely, DragonFly. After chatting with Ann from Crutchfield I gained the courage to opt for the Dragonfly. I am sooo glad I did! My old Sennheiser headphones sprang to life. I find it hard to believe that any new headphones can deliver the astounding improvement in listening quality that the DragonFly provides. My recommendation: Buy the DragonFly before buying new or replacement headphones for the biggest bang for the buck you can imagine. I am seriously considering giving the DragonFly as a gift to my son. Such a good experience needs to be shared. Also, the purchase, shipping, etc. was handled perfectly. The operating instructions are perfectly clear and very easy to follow.

Pros: A whole new wonderful listening experience at an affordable price.

Cons: None.

Vast improvement

Howard from LA, California on 4/3/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Dramatic difference in audio quality. Highly recommended and the Crutchfield support was terrific.



Dragonfly 1.2

Paul from Arizona on 2/14/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I consider myself a skeptical audiophile. High quality sound is important to me by I approach the latest greatest game-changer with low expectations. I bought the Dragonfly expecting some improvement in my music on my laptop, but I was genuinely surprised by just how good this has made my music sound. There is a remarkable improvement in clarity, presence and openness of my sac and mp3 files played through iTunes, and my flaws played with Fidelia really shine. I'm playing this through a recent-model Yamaha stereo receiver and my 1981 BIC speakers. I've been so impressed with this setup that I haven't even tried using the Dragonfly with headphones yet.

Pros: Price, quality, sturdiness

Cons: none

AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2

Joe C. from San Diego CA. on 1/28/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

If you have a considerable amount of music stored on your personal computer and are tired of the audio quality coming through your headphones or powered speakers, then the DragonFly v1.2 by AudioQuest might just be the quick fix that you need. It certainly was for me. It's amazing how such a little component can make such a big difference in audio quality. I'm very happy with my purchase of this product through Crutchfield.

Pros: Fairly Inexpensive. Portable. DAC with Amplifier, all in one. USB powered. Substantial Improvement in Audio Quality.

Cons: None

Great little DAC

Stew from San Jose, CA on 1/9/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Upgraded my speakers to AE 5+'s and wanted to make sure I was getting the best sound out of them. Did quite a bit of internet research on best USB mini-DAC's, and the overwhelming best "bang for buck" came back as the Dragonfly. Quick and easy to install and great sound - overall very happy with this budget minded product. Clearly you can do better, but you will have to spend 2x-3x the money.

Pros: Ease of Installation, build quality, sound, potability.

Cons: Not the end-all in USB DAC's, but way better than the DAC on your motherboard.

lives up to its reviews

PJ from Springfield,Pennsylvania on 1/4/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

noticeable improvement in clarity and detail when using with good quality cable.

Pros: Performance for the price.

Cons: None to date. will compare with DSD dacs in the future.

DragonFly® v1.2

Gene from Indiana on 12/28/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Dragonfly 1.2 appears to be misrepresented. When purchased I was assured it would provide 196KH, 24bit sound from an appropriate source. However, nothing in data, that came with unite notes anyfrequency beyond 96KH.

Pros: Still trying to decide if sound is better than laptop earphone sound. High end seems overly soft but that may be because of lower distortion. Sound stage and source instrument placing is less distinct than with Toshiba laptop earphone output. It definitely does not even come close to matching the sound improvement review provided by the Crutchfield expert. I am listening to Pandora's studio quality feed. This product may be going back to Crutchfield.

Cons: Must have audio system volume turned off to prevent very high amplitude high frequency noise spikes when laptop is starting up. I am concerned it will blow a tweeter or worse and sound is frighteningly loud. Sound is not that different, maybe not as good, as that provided by $349 Toshiba laptop earphone output. I am really disappointed with comparison of real performance and rave review of Crutchfield tech. I think someone got hyped.

Fantastic Device for HiFi Audio

Jarbidge from Idaho on 12/13/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This little device exceeded my expectations, but there is a trick if you are running Linux Ubuntu 14.04. Using the little Dragonfly, all sounds are inaudible if the Sound Settings volume is below 100%. So save yourself some time and a call to Dragonfly and check the box that says "Allow Louder than 100%". To summarize, no sound at 100% or less, but pure brilliance at 101% or more. Love the dragonfly now that I figured that out, and would highly recommend the device, especially if you are running through a high end home system and are streaming 44.1khz or better music.

Pros: Small, Easy, Cheap, Excellent Sound.

Cons: Lack of expertise regarding support.

Great little product

jomalley from Massachusetts on 12/3/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is a great little device that I'm using to drive a set of noise-canceling headphones. I'm hearing aspects of the music I've never heard before. I've been using it with both Windows 8.1 and a Windows RT tablet. Love it!

Pros: Lightweight, easy to handle, no drivers needed, and the LED tells you what level of fidelity your playback is at.

Cons: None

Great Sound, Size, Price

Kevin G. from New Jersey on 12/2/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I'd become interested in DACs and their impact on the music after buying some new components and doing some listening tests. The best overall description of what a good DAC can do is to add "presence" to the music. It gives a sound of space and "breath' to the instruments that makes them worth the effort. The DragonFly does this in a very compact package and at a very attractive price.

Pros: Sound, Size and Price

Cons: I haven't done a comprehensive comparison of similar USB plug-in DACs.

Well worth the price

TD from Pennsylvania on 12/2/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Very noticable improvement in sound from Spotify and also improved XM greatly.

Pros: Cheap, simple and effective

Cons: none

Best for the money

Mikemcsw from san diego, ca on 11/9/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Best bang for the buck. Ultra compact and no drivers required. I hope they will make one that does DSD in the future.

Pros: best bang for the buck

Cons: no dsd

AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2

J.D. from Belle, WV on 10/11/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

My first DAC/Headphone amp. It seems to do everything as advertised. You might want to purchase a short USB cord with it so you don't damage your USB port.

Pros: For the price, I don't think you'll do better.

Cons: none

Not sure

RandalH from Little Rock, AR on 9/28/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have tried the device several times, from a MacBook Pro and from a Windows desktop computer. I've tested it with AAC and MP3 files and with CD's. I "think" I can hear a difference at times, but it is hard to put my finger on it. I will say that it feels more pleasant to listen using the Dragonfly. I've tried hard to hear a difference going back and forth between he Dragonfly and without it. I've tested with a set of Klipsch earbuds and with a Sony desktop stereo system.

Pros: Overall I would say that I "think" the Dragonfly adds fidelity, cleanness, and listening comfort.

Cons: I'm still having trouble saying that I can hear a "definite" difference with the Dragonfly. The improvement seems pretty subtle.

DragonFly DAC

Hi.Fi.Goon from North Carolina on 8/25/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I plug the DragonFly directly into my laptop, and I have a pair of entry level audiophile headphones that I use with it. They don't require a lot of power, so I'm not sure about using an amp. I use JRiver MC for playback. I'm satisfied.

Pros: Reliable, portable DAC.

Cons: None that I know.

I nice upgrade

Ryan from Evansville on 8/17/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Improved my system

Pros: Improved my computer sound across the board, pandora sounds much better.

Cons: None

AQ DragonFly v1.2

vma from seattle, wa on 8/13/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Five Stars! Period!

Pros: very portable

Cons: none

Enter The Dragon(fly)

Butch from Yukon, OK on 7/6/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have this DAC plugged into a Dell Precision M4600 Laptop, i7 CPU with 8GB of RAM running Windows 7 SP1 64-bit. I'm using a 3.5mm headphone plug to RCA 'Y' adapter connected to an Adcom GFA-535 II, 2-channel amplifier driving a pair of Pioneer SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers. I'm wirelessly streaming from a DLNA Server enabled USB HDD. I am very pleased with the performance of the DAC with a few caveats. The literature boasts that the DAC glows colors which signify the bit rate of the stream passing through it. Not so! It indicates the bit rate which is selected when setting it up. Playing files ripped from a CD at 16 bit/44Khz does not change the color of the Dragonfly when its set for 24 bit/96Khz. It continues to glow pink which, according to the instructions, indicates a bit rate of 24/96. I don't believe it is upsampling, but if it is, it doesn't do a very good job of it. Files sound best when the Dragonfly is configured for their native resolution. The Dragonfly is unable to process DSD or 24/192 bit streams. Not a big deal for me as I have that capability on my big rig through an Oppo BDP-105. I'm using the Dragonfly in my home office. To my surprise and delight. the Dragonfly not only improved the sound of my computer, it has the chops to showcase the improvement of 24/96 over 16/44 on well recorded files. A phenomenal achievement in my opinion at this price.

Pros: Improved the stereo image of my speakers. They used to sound like two separate speakers with not much of a sound stage. Now when I listen to vocalists, the voices come from a point centered between the speakers. Its only $150.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cons: Be careful pairing this with Audioquest adapter cables if you are using an outboard amplifier. The interconnects have RCA terminals which only have a span of about 3 inches. The L and R jacks on my amp are about 12" apart. I contacted Audioquest and was told that they do not have an interconnect that will work in my situation.

A Wonderful Dragonfly USB DAC

Bozo from Charlottesville, VA on 6/7/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The newest Dragonfly is perfectly listenable and a joy to own.

Pros: Full range and dynamic. Makes an ordinary laptop sound like a million. No problem using a USB extension cable either. Works with Windows 8.1.

Cons: No cons.

Great for enhancing the sound of my speakers

LoveMusic from Nc on 5/29/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Easy to set up using my MacBook Pro, in the USB port. Easy to disconnect if I want to go in another room with my laptop.


Cons: Sticks out the side a bit, not real elegant looks wise

I like it

iMACdoU from The Bronx on 5/13/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I like it

Pros: Sound

Cons: Non


Bob H from Lake Monticello, VA on 5/9/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

There is a major difference between running computer speakers from the computer sound card and from the USB port with the Dragonfly. Once you insert the Dragonfly into the USB port and plug the RCA cord from the speakers into it the difference in clarity, openness, and range is astounding. The stage seemed to open up with the PSB Alpha 1 speakers. This is true whether one is playing from the itunes list, Realplayer, or You Tube. Changing over is quick and easy and one can immediately notice the difference .

Pros: Very easy set up. Just plug it in any available USB port, take the RCA cord from the sound card and plug it in the back of the Dragonfly. Couldn't be easier.

Cons: Nothing wrong here. It worked perfectly from the get-go.

Amazing product!!!!

JackP from Atlanta, GA on 4/27/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is the best headphone amp for mobility. I'm using it with my Earsonic SM3v2 and the result is very impressive. This is the best alternative solution for audiophile on the go. The price/performance is super.



Really happy I bought it

btblue from NYC on 4/14/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Been very pleased listening to music on my computer through good head phones. Makes a difference in the sound quality.


Cons: None

AudioQuest DragonFly® v1.2

Roger from Topeka, KS on 4/10/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought this for a desk top Mac connected to PSB speakers with a NAD Integrated Amplifier. It significantly improved the quality of the sound! It worked fine with my USB port and did not interfere with the other ports. I did not need the extender.

Pros: Good as promoted and advertised. Easy to install and use.

Cons: None

Audioquest Dragonfly 1.3

ZackP from Harrisonburg, VA on 4/2/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought this for a desktop computer running Windows 7 to drive Sennheiser 600 headphones. The improvement over the Dell sound card was enormous. Better dynamics, truer vocal and instrumental timbres, good recording ambience, quiet background, especially on hi-res files.

Pros: Easy installation, great sound portability.

Cons: None

Little device produces BIG results

Crutchfield customer from Pinnacle, NC on 3/30/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I want to thank Zach (client advisor) for his advice and recommendation of the Dragonfly V1.2 USB dac. I regularly listen to my music, encoded in flac, through my MSI netbook, and the sound is pretty decent, but when I installed the Dragonfly dac, OMG, what a world of difference. Not only, what I heard before was more dynamic, and robust, but the level of detail was phenomenal. I was hearing my music for the first time, all over again. I highly recommend this dac. It is a relatively small investment, that produces big returns. Thank again to Zach, and the Crutchfield team.. you guys are the best.

Pros: Wide dynamic range, superbly detailed, very inexpensive.

Cons: Honestly, not a thing....


EllieH from Moretown, VT on 3/29/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I had given up getting good sound out of my computer when connected to my audio system (Sony STR-DA1000ES receiver with Bose speakers in a small office) Since I listen mainly to opera, I wanted it to justice to everything from voice recitals as well as full Wagnerian opera productions without a whole lot of equalizer adjustments. When I played CDs from a CD player or LPs from a turntable that were connected directly to the receiver, everything sounded great. But now I mainly download music to iTunes or use the Met Opera on Demand internet service and other live services from Europe, and I had to find a better solution. DragonFly saved the day! I absolutely love it and can highly recommend it.

Pros: Easy to set up. Doesn't take up any room. It can be plugged into a USB port on your computer (mine is connected to my Mac Cinema HD display). Sound couldn't be better.

Cons: Can't find any.

dragonfly 1.2 Rocks

Andy from iowa on 3/25/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Excellent sound quality. Fantastic stereo imaging, focus & sound stage. Easy plug & play. No drivers to set up.

Pros: Did i already mention excellent sound quality?

Cons: The metal part of the USB was bent or assembled i requested another one to be sent out. It still works fine.

DragonFly Soars!

Fred A clear man from Silver Spring, Maryland on 3/21/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Easy instant upgrade for your computer's sound

Pros: Just plug in the DragonFly (simple instructions for your particular computer) and you will be amazed at the sound! It much more relaxed and focused. It is more musical and less harsh. It's a no brainier . Do it!

Cons: None

Dragonfly v 1.2

William R from Clear Lake, IA on 3/19/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Using this Product to play music off of laptop on A Independent Radio Station, It was exactly what I needed to boost the Sound, It also cleaned up the Music for a much better broadcast.

Pros: Works Great Does exactly what I needed it to do.

Cons: None

Horses for Courses. Dragonflies for computer audio.

Iainf from NE Ohio on 3/16/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have never had a truly successful experience with PC audio. The AWE in the SoundBlaster AWE32 (my first add-in sound card) was more AWful than AWEsome. Even with supposedly top of the range audio cards with swappable op-amps, the extremely electrically noisy environment of the inside of a computer always seems to mean that the sound falls far short of hi-fi quality. The dragonfly was a revelation. I was concerned that there would be the usual driver issues, but I plugged it into a USB port, and it just worked. And as long as you've got a WASAPI-aware media player you can be pretty sure that you won't get better out of your computer - no resampling, no fuss - just millions of bits marching in rank! There are surely better-sounding DACs out there. Always for more (sometimes much much more) money. And I have to say it cannot hold a candle to my ageing ARCAM DIVA DV79 in a A/B test. But at less than 10% of the price I would not expect it to! If you are fed up with substandard analog computer audio, I recommend that you get one of these.

Pros: Portable. Functional. Musical. Will not bite or sting.

Cons: Small enough to lose when you're traveling and expensive enough that you'd care!

I really wanted to like this...but it's not for me

Luke from Scottsdale, AZ on 3/1/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I really did want to like this and I spent the whole weekend hooking it up to various components to see how it sounded with them but in the end it turned out to just be a step down in sound quality compared to my current set up. To be fair, the sound that the Dragonfly V1.2 produced wasn't terrible, I just found it to be too bland for my tastes. Like I had put a sheet over my speakers would be my best description. It just seemed to lose the upper end detail and dynamics that I was used to hearing. My main system is bi-amped and uses a vintage Sansui Au-717 dual mono integrated amp to power the midrange/tweeter and an NAD amp to power the woofers on a pair of B&W 803(s) towers. An Apple TV 1st Gen w/ built in 160gb hard drive has been my source with an Audioquest Big Sur interconnect. The sound from this combo is surprisingly excellent and much better and more natural than my other more modern receivers. The Dragonfly was configured per instructions and was plugged into my HP laptop or Mac Mini for all the testing. And I'll say that in addition to hooking this up to my vintage amp I also tried plugging it into my Marantz SR6006 receiver, and NAD T773 receiver, and then just directly to my desktop computer speakers. And in every case it sounded rolled off and more veiled in the upper midrange and treble. So, my advice...spend most of your time and $ listening to different preamps and speakers and get that combo right first. Then you can play around from there. Thx

Pros: Good bass and lower midrange, easy to use

Cons: Rolled off upper midrange and treble

Fly 1st Class with DragonFly.

Eric X from Dover, NH on 2/9/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Good presentation, straightforward instruction but most important: much improved sound quality ! The digital harshness is GONE. The music is more involving, natural. Well worth the money.

Pros: Unbeatable sound Quality for the money

Cons: Tighter USB connection fit

Audio Quest Dragon fly DAC

kls from Hampton Va on 2/5/2014

I played back material from i tunes recorded from cd via apple lossless compression and reviewed with synthiser i80 ear buds. The music sounded very good with just the ear buds, When the dragon fly was added I noticed 2 things. One the back ground noise went to zero. The instruments were heard on a black background with no noise. Each instrument was very distinct and clear. Second the bass was much tighter. Because of the lower noise floor I was able to hear little things I had not noticed before in the recording. The dragon fly changes color according to the quality of the music it is producing. During my listing the dragon fly was pink. I am happy with my purchase. The sound stage was also different. with a more true stero sound.

Pros: background noise very low and tight bass.

Cons: none

Great Investment in Better Sound

DavidM from Johnson City, TN on 1/19/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This DAC adds an incredible amount of detail, depth and balance to computer sound. Use with MacMini and Toshiba laptop, on Bose Companion 20 speakers. I consider this to be one of the best investments, in terms of value, I have ever made in audio.

Pros: Quality Clarity Accuracy Ease of Use

Cons: None Noticed to Date

dragonfly 1.2

earlk from russell springs,ky on 1/13/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

does what is supposed to do.

Pros: quality

Cons: none

DragonFly 1.2

YosemitePaul from North Fork, CA on 1/12/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I am using the DragonFly on a MacBook Pro (OS X Mavericks) with Bose Companion 3 Series ll (desktop) speakers (which, by the way, are dynamite little dudes) and Bose AE2, Bose QC-15, and Seinhauser HD 598 headphones. From Dion's "I'm Alive" to Gothenburg's version of the 1812 Overture, the joining of the recordings, the DAC and the speakers/headphones is dynamic. The best combination is the DAC and the 598's. Absolutely blown away. When listening to the 1812 piece the first time, I just had to push the chair back from the desk, relax and let the thrill of the audio reproduction overwhelm me. The DragonFly also works well with the Bose headphones which have different build and purposes than the 598 - the QC-15 are noise cancelling, the AE2 are less expensive, go anywhere cans and both are over the ear and closed. The 598 is an open back headphone which is best used in the privacy of your home, study, etc. but has the best soundstage. So, in my humble opinion, I have great recordings played through a great computer, through a great little DAC into great speakers and headphones. Everything's great!

Pros: Got more than expected for less than expected. Easy install.

Cons: Although about 2" small (3" to 4" extension from the computer considering the cable plug) , the DAC is wide enough to render adjoining USB ports unusable (at least on my MBP). So I "hubbed" my printers, firewired my back up hard drive, and was able to plant the DAC in its own USB port without a neighbor. Audioquest offers a "DragonTail" extension for the DAC, but that would increase the extension length from the computer, and I didn't need it anyway.

As advertised......

JMG from Charlotte, NC on 12/24/2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Just arrived today, so adding my initial impression. I noticed a difference immediately. The soundstage seems to be much larger. I could hear parts of the music I have not noticed before. I'm listening through a MacBook Pro and Bose QC15 headphones. Chose a few pieces from Classical, Classic Rock, and Country Rock and could hear a lot more clarity in the music. Music and vocals in the background came through much clearer and made the piece I was listening to seem much more complete. Listened to CD's I had loaded into iTunes as well as some music purchased from iTunes. Also listened to parts of some downloads from Linn. Not disappointed at all. Everything sounded much better through the Dragonfly. A cover of House of the Rising Sun from the soundtrack Son(g)s of Anarchy was like I was in the room when it was recorded. I am looking forward to the mini to RCA cables becoming available (back order on Crutchfield) so I can connect to my amp and listen through the external speakers.

Pros: Quick, easy set up. Glad the price has come down since the introduction of the original Dragonfly. Super fast delivery from Crutchfield!!!

Cons: none yet


Hands-on research

Product Research


USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amp: The AudioQuest DragonFly (v1.2) is a USB digital-to-analog converter that delivers far superior sound by bypassing the poor quality sound card that is built into most computers. DragonFly (v1.2) is a sleek, flash-drive sized DAC that connects to a USB (type-A) jack on a Mac computer or Windows  PC, turning any computer into a true high-fidelity music source. Its 3.5mm port is designed specifically to connect to an external audio system such as headphones, powered desktop speakers, or your audio/video system.

Note: DragonFly (v1.2) is compatible with Mac OS X Mountain Lion, Lion, & Snow Leopard. DragonFly (v1.2) is also compatible with Windows 8, 7, and XP. Currently, DragonFly (v1.2) is incompatible with Windows Vista and RT (as of 12/10/2013).

Version 2.0 Improvements: Among the improvements to the DragonFly (v1.2), is the circuitry between the DAC chip and the analog output stage has been refined to create a more direct signal path, leading to even greater transparency and clarity. Also, the DAC's power supply has been fortified, which gives the sound greater dynamic contrast.

24-Bit ESS Sabre DAC: At the heart of DragonFly (v1.2) is a 24-bit ESS Sabre DAC chip, a high-performance solution that's typically found in higher-end CD and Blu-ray players. DragonFly (v1.2) can accept audio and music files ranging from MP3s (128/256/320kbps) and CD-standard 16-bit/44kHz to native 24-bit/96kHz high-resolution, regardless of music file format. DragonFly (v1.2) will accept almost any audio you want to play on your computer and make it sound dramatically better, whether your listening pleasure is iTunes or streaming music services such as Mog, Spotify, or Pandora.

Asynchronous USB: Timing errors such as "jitter" have long been the plague of digital audio playback; never more so than in recent years as computers have been pressed into service as audio source components. DragonFly (v1.2) uses a very sophisticated "asynchronous" USB audio data transfer protocol. Rather than sharing crucial audio "data clocking" functions with the computer, DragonFly (v1.2) alone commands the timing of the audio data transfer, dramatically reducing digital timing errors.

Two Clocks: Not all audio content is encoded at the same native resolution or "sample rate". DragonFly (v1.2) uses two discrete onboard "clocks" so that the math algorithms used to convert the digital audio data to analog are always optimized for the native sample rate (up to 24-bit/96kHz) of the audio file or stream being played. This ensures the least amount of mathematical manipulation to the native audio data, which results in fewer errors and better sound.

Compatible Sampling Frequencies: DragonFly (v1.2) will play music or audio data at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, or 96kHz. However, for the best sonic results the computer should be configured so that it sends music and audio data to DragonFly (v1.2) that matches the "native rate" of the music. For example, since all CDs and music files purchased from iTunes are at a 44.1kHz sample rate, for many people 44.1kHz will be the best sample rate since this is the "native rate" of most digital music. Choosing a higher sample rate will convert your native music and audio data using mathematical approximations that can potentially decrease the sound quality. Conversely, if you have purchased high-resolution music files (96kHz), such as those available from, configuring your computer for 44.1kHz (or any other lower sample rate) will cause the computer to down-sample your music to a lower resolution. When possible, always configure the computer to output the native sample rate of the music you are listening to.

Note: If you have purchased a file that has a higher sample rate than 96kHz you need to configure your computer to send DragonFly (v1.2) audio data at a resolution no greater than 96kHz, and for the best performance the sample rate you choose should be exactly half the sample rate of the file you're playing. For example; if you purchased a 24-bit/176.4kHz file, 88.2kHz should be selected, whereas if you purchased a 24/192kHz file, 96kHz should be selected. Directly divisible sample rates prevent the computer from doing sonically degrading, complex math in its conversions and allows DragonFly (v1.2) to sound its best.

High-Resolution Analog Volume Control: DragonFly (v1.2)'s high-resolution analog volume control carries out the instructions in the analog domain for the best sound quality. When the music player's (Windows Media/iTunes/etc.) volume is set to maximum and the computer's main volume control is used, DragonFly (v1.2)'s onboard 64-position analog-domain volume control is able to preserve full resolution and maximum sound quality.

Direct Coupled Analog Circuits: DragonFly (v1.2)'s analog circuits are direct-coupled from the ESS converter chip's output, avoiding the need for any extraneous, sonically degrading components in the signal path.

3.5mm Output: DragonFly (v1.2)'s 3.5mm minijack connector can drive a variety of devices or systems depending on how it's connected and used.

  • Headphone Out: DragonFly (v1.2) is versatile enough to drive virtually any headphone on the market today. DragonFly (v1.2) can drive any headphone from 10-ohm impedance on up. DragonFly (v1.2) has enough output to drive even the lowest efficiency headphones.
  • Variable Out: DragonFly (v1.2) can be used in "variable" output mode with computer-controlled analog volume control when connected directly to powered speakers or a power amplifier.
  • Fixed Out: Connecting to a traditional preamplifier or AV receiver, DragonFly (v1.2) can be set to a "fixed" output mode by turning the volume to maximum, allowing it to behave like a CD or Blu-ray player.

LED Indicator: A smart LED indicator behind the DragonFly (v1.2) icon shows the resolution of the incoming signal - 44.1kHz (green), 48kHz (blue), 88.2kHz (amber), and 96kHz (magenta). Red indicates standby mode.

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