AudioQuest recently released a new set of DragonFly ultra-portable computer DACs, the Red ($199) and Black ($99). The difference, perhaps obviously, isn’t just color — in addition to some upgraded parts, the Red nearly doubles the output voltage from 1.2v to 2.1v, which should be more than enough to drive most high-end headphones directly off of whatever it is it’s dangling from. Still limited to 24bit/96kHz file resolutions, the two DACs do happen to be driverless — they’re truly plug and play (even on Windows). Best of all, the new DACs are not only ultra-low power (think iPhone), they’re also upgradeable — new apps will be available to load features and improvements on the fly (as it were … ahem). Spoiler Alert: DragonFly Red is my current contender for “Best Value” of 2016 — by far the best-sounding of the line, the sheer portability is just unmatched. And the color just screams “stocking stuffer”. Christmas shopping = done.
Also on deck (or at least, on the table) was the new Niagara 1000 “Low-Z Power | Noise-Dissipation System” ($995). Six outlets, surge protection, AC + ground filtering, and low impedance = way better than what’s currently feeding my current desktop setup and that’s a cold fact. It’s a beefy bar — you can see it tucked into the table top in the photos.
Also on hand, AudioQuest’s line of power/signal cables wiring up the system that ended in pairs of NightHawk headphones ($599).
Setup courtesy of ListenUp, this table was jammed.