Why would anyone need to use an external DAC while their computer and smartphone are already able to send audio signals to headsets? This is because your computer and smartphone are not specifically built to deliver the best audio quality. Computers and smartphones are mostly general-purpose, so the internal components are aimed for other more important purposes. So, if you want to experience the ultimate audio experience, you need to use an external DAC. There are two popular models on the market, Audioengine D1 and AudioQuest DragonFly. Between these two choices, which is the one best for you?
An external DAC does not need to be bulky and all. It can be as simple as a USB flash drive. AudioQuest DragonFly seems to have this perspective in mind, as it has been designed pretty much like a USB flash drive. It has the USB jack on one side and an audio output port on the other end. This way, it can quickly connect to your computer without being too tricky to use or taking too much space. Furthermore, it can also work with your smartphones and tablets when paired with a simple adapter. AudioQuest DragonFly is available in two variants: Black and Red. The Black one has 1.2V output and analog volume control, whereas the Red one has 2.1V output and digital volume control. The audio quality is exceptional. AudioQuest DragonFly delivers the ultimate details, richness, and transparency of your music, thanks to the Microchip PIC32MX microcontroller and 32-bit DAC converter.
On the other hand, Audioengine D1 is actually not very huge, but the design is indeed bigger than of AudioQuest DragonFly. The device, at least, has more features. First of all, it has both USB and optical S/PDIF inputs. However, it is USB-powered nonetheless. So, even if you are using the S/PDIF port, it still needs to be powered via USB in order to function. It is compatible plug-and-play with most PCs and the Mac platform. On the front panel, you can find the control knob for adjusting the output level. Audioengine D1 is armed with the Burr-Brown AK4396 DAC converter which streams perfect audio in 24-bit quality and 96-kHz sampling rate.
Audioengine D1 Vs AudioQuest DragonFly
|Audioengine D1||AudioQuest DragonFly|
|Key Features||- Mac/PC plug-n-play
- USB and optical S/PDIF inputs
- Stream bit-perfect 24/96 HD with low jitter||- 32-bit ESS 9010 Sabre DAC
- Plays everything from MP3s to 24-bit/96kHz high-resolution files|
|Ratings||4.3 out of 5.0 stars||4.4 out of 5.0 stars|
|Best Deal*||Save Money Please click here||Save Money Please click here|
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In general, AudioQuest DragonFly makes the best way to go. It is much more compact and portable. The audio quality is also better, thanks to the 32-bit converter. However, if you need the S/PDIF input, then you can choose Audioengine D1 instead.