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Review and Measurements of DACPort HD and Dragonfly Red

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#21
Did the Dacport work without installing Centrance universal driver? It's been a while but I thought it was required, at least with the Slim version I have.
I have one as well. There is no need for the drivers anymore, so good news!
 

Old Listener

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#22
I've used a Dragonfly Red for over 2 years in my home office system. It feeds Audioengine HD6 powered speakers and sometimes Koss headphones. It drives the speakers quite well and the sensitive headphones too.

I've never used the Dragonfly DAC with a portable player or smartphone. My old iPod and my new Motorola G6 drive the Koss phones quite well.

I don't have any music in 24/192 format (or higher res.) or DSD format. I have dozens of 24/96 files and thousands of 16/44.1 files. "stuck in the last century" is just fine for me. The Dragonfly is a UAC1 DAC that doesn't require a driver for Win 7, Win 8.1 or Win 10 (or for a Linux PC.)

I bought another UAC1 DAC in 2017. It cost $ 63 rather than the $ 200 price of the Dragonfly Red. Equivalent functionality, similar test results at a lower price.
 

gvl

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#23
I have one as well. There is no need for the drivers anymore, so good news!
I think it registered I had to deal with drivers because it was Windows 7, good to know these are actually UAC compliant. Centrance driver does provide the ASIO interface, that is one plus.
 

bravomail

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#24
Thanks for the review! I think we should have a battle of tiny DACs aka ultimate comparison/buyers guide. SMSL Idea, Hifime Sabre 9018, Speaka, Dargonfly Black and Red, Dacport etc
 

amirm

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#26
Could you try comparing the two DACs' current draw levels under various loads and output levels? I'd be interested in learning how efficient the DACPort HD is for mobile usage, both when used with sensitive IEMs and with harder-to-drive headphones.
Here is idle and sine wave playing power consumption using 33 ohm load and 1.5 volt output:

1546367562272.png


At max volume DACPort HD would pull over 0.6 amps! The Dragonfly Red would get distorted above 1.2 volts or so and current draw would not go above the 0.12 amp shown above.
 

Fone

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#27
I met the CEntrance guy, Michael Goodman, in Tokyo at a few of the headphone trade shows. He is an interesting guy; hardcore engineer, not marketer type.

Over the past decade, CEntrance developed the software used by a lot of boutique/portable DAC makers. As the market and tech has evolved and matured, I don't know if that is still the case. Also, CEntrance has produced a fairly wide variety of small headphone amps & DACs. I can't find a timeline by product but I have probably tired a dozen products (including a few prototypes). I found some of the gear ran hot (by topology per Michael). I found the gear significantly evolved over time. CEntrance recently introduced the MixFace (portable music interface used for recording music). Edging into RMEs home turf, just as RME moves into the audiophile turf. I don't have any affiliation with CEntrance so surely people will correct me.

CEntrance marketing is "subtle" so the products seem to fall under the radar screen in Western markets. CEntrance is easy to find in Japanese electronics and headphone stores. For some reason there is more "hype" about other brands on head-fi.org. The CEntrance stuff is just not as flashy looking.

I have used the Mini m8 extensively which I found was very well built, plenty powerful and sounded good. I think this is good value for money. Not for sale anymore I think hahaha.
 

amirm

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#30
It would be cool if you post the SINAD graph for the SMSL iDEA and the DragonFly Black, in order to compare with these. :)
The SMSL Idea was on loan so I can't test it anymore.

SINAD is a bunch lower than Red version:

AudioQuest Dragonfly Black DAC and Headphone Amplifier Measurements.png


Here is Dragonfly Black power vs distortion at 300 ohm:

1546368307023.png


And 33 ohm:
AudioQuest Dragonfly Black DAC and Headphone Amplifier Power at 33 Measurements.png
 
Joined
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#31
Could you try comparing the two DACs' current draw levels under various loads and output levels? I'd be interested in learning how efficient the DACPort HD is for mobile usage, both when used with sensitive IEMs and with harder-to-drive headphones.
You know, for use with a phone, the Topping NX4 seems like a better idea: top of the line dac and distortion levels approaching desktop amp. And battery powered, so it doesn't drain your phone as much, or at all, if plugged into usb wallwart. And cheaper at $135 on massdrop.

I think these usb dongles are excellent for laptop use, where you want the portability, but don't care about the drain.
 

amirm

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#32
I think these usb dongles are excellent for laptop use, where you want the portability, but don't care about the drain.
That is my thinking too.
 

amirm

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#33
Correction: a kind member had sent me another SMSL Idea which was still packed. Here is its dashboard:

SMSL IDEA DAC and Headphone Amplifier Measurements.png


So pretty comparable to Dragonfly Red with respect to max output and SINAD.

Instead of posting other measurements let me test them altogether in a future article....
 
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#34
One small request, for either now or later: since the Red saturates at top volume, as well as probably the Idea, could you try backing off on the volume one or two clicks for the dashboard? This helped the NX4 Dsd. I mean for use as a dac, this might be helpful.
 

Veri

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#36
Correction: a kind member had sent me another SMSL Idea which was still packed. Here is its dashboard:

View attachment 19741

So pretty comparable to Dragonfly Red with respect to max output and SINAD.

Instead of posting other measurements let me test them altogether in a future article....
Awesome :) and aww, the idea has a low noise floor sad to see the harmonics go so high, too bad.
 

amirm

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#38

confucius_zero

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#40
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