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  1. #1
    Senior Member gmgraves's Avatar
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    Marvelous new upgrade for those using USB-powered DACs such as the DragonFly!

    Most people will agree that the AudioQuest DragonFly v.1.2 is a great sounding USB DAC,and, of course there are surely others as this has become a very popular market segment. What lets all of these solutions down is being powered from the USB port of a computer. The better ones, such as the DragonFly employ separate power supplies for all of the various circuits in the DAC (there are 5, I believe), but still, the bottom line is that the original power source is the computer, or perhaps a powered USB hub; not the most prepossessing of power sources.

    It occurred to a buddy of mine that if one were to plug the DragonFly into the iFI iUSB power supply, that it would start with a squeaky-clean power source, and that should improve the sound! I'll admit that the idea had never occurred to me. But I happen to have an iUSB on hand, so I quickly tried it out.

    The USB output of my laptop (which I use as a music server) fed into the input of the iUSB, and the DragonFly plugged into the "Music + Power" USB "A" output of the iUSB power supply. From then -on everything else was as before.

    I couldn't believe the difference! The DragonFly v.1.2 was noticeably quieter - especially through 'phones. But through speakers, the soundstage opened-up, image specificity became more precise, the bass tightened-up noticeably, and the top end became even smoother, and more open, with more "air" around the instruments. This is a dynamite upgrade to already great sounding DAC. I recommend that you try to hear it for yourself!
    George

  2. #2
    Masters Level Member sandyk's Avatar
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    George

    Good for you !
    The iFi iUSB isn't the only external Linear PSU capable of wreaking this kind of improvement though.
    An internal SOtM card can also result in marked improvements, as can some DIY external Linear +5V PSUs.
    Regards
    Alex

  3. #3
    Orange is the new Putin wgscott's Avatar
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    ABX results or it didn't happen!
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  4. #4
    Senior Member gmgraves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
    ABX results or it didn't happen!

    Then it didn't happen. Move on, nothing to see here...
    George

  5. #5
    Senior Member gmgraves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandyk View Post
    George

    Good for you !
    The iFi iUSB isn't the only external Linear PSU capable of wreaking this kind of improvement though.
    An internal SOtM card can also result in marked improvements, as can some DIY external Linear +5V PSUs.
    Regards
    Alex

    I suspect that would be true. It's not so much where the improved power source comes from, just that it's enough of an improvement to remove the noisy computer PS from the equation.
    George

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by gmgraves2@comcast.net View Post
    The DragonFly v.1.2 was noticeably quieter - especially through 'phones.
    So when it is not playing music, there is less background hiss?

  7. #7
    Señor Member Jud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beanbag View Post
    So when it is not playing music, there is less background hiss?
    You get background hiss?
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  8. #8
    Senior Member gmgraves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beanbag View Post
    So when it is not playing music, there is less background hiss?
    Not exactly. The DragonFly v.1.2 is not noisy, per se. What one hears with the iUSB is a blacker background than the DAC produces without it. One would never notice it, except for the contrast between the sound of the DragonFly powered by the computer, and then powered by the iUSB.
    George

  9. #9
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    The iFi USB is a nifty little thing, to be sure. I've been using one with my Resonessence Concero for about 18 months. The advantages are less apparent with the Concero than with a Dragonfly, because Resonessence has (somehow--they aren't exactly forthcoming with details) done an excellent job of dealing with the downsides of relying on USB power. But the Concero is noticeably better with the iFi than without.

    Schiit has just come out with a similar gizmo, the Wyrd, for $99.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member gmgraves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burnspbesq View Post
    The iFi USB is a nifty little thing, to be sure. I've been using one with my Resonessence Concero for about 18 months. The advantages are less apparent with the Concero than with a Dragonfly, because Resonessence has (somehow--they aren't exactly forthcoming with details) done an excellent job of dealing with the downsides of relying on USB power. But the Concero is noticeably better with the iFi than without.

    Schiit has just come out with a similar gizmo, the Wyrd, for $99.

    Certainly cheaper than the iFI iUSB. I've a friend who has one of the Schiit headphone amps. It sounds great and is beautifully made - built like a brick Schiit-house actually So, if that's any indication, then the Wyrd is probably excellent, and at $99, how can one go wrong?
    George

  11. #11
    iFi is doing some cool things lately. They are about to release the micro iDSD and it is supposed to sport a 4W headphone amp, support DSD512, and run on an internal battery for 8 hours, all in a chasis the size of the iUSB.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly View Post
    iFi is doing some cool things lately. They are about to release the micro iDSD and it is supposed to sport a 4W headphone amp, support DSD512, and run on an internal battery for 8 hours, all in a chasis the size of the iUSB.
    Full specs officially revealed today:

    Micro – iDSD
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  13. #13
    Orange is the new Putin wgscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burnspbesq View Post
    Schiit has just come out with a similar gizmo, the Wyrd, for $99.
    WYRD USB DECRAPIFIER

    This alone almost warrants its purchase.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
    WYRD USB DECRAPIFIER

    This alone almost warrants its purchase.
    Might want to hold off for a week or so. There are reports of the first batch of Wyrds shipping with the wrong wall-wart. I have no doubt that Jason and Mike will make this right, ASAP and for free, but ...
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  15. #15
    Orange is the new Putin wgscott's Avatar
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    I have no need for this. I use a USB/SPDIF converter.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member gmgraves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burnspbesq View Post
    Might want to hold off for a week or so. There are reports of the first batch of Wyrds shipping with the wrong wall-wart. I have no doubt that Jason and Mike will make this right, ASAP and for free, but ...
    I just received one today. It is playing as I write this. It came with the correct wall-wart (6 volts, AC) and it is nicely made like all Schiit components. I've only been listening for a short time, But I hear no discernible difference between the iFI iUSB and the Wyrd. Both improve the DragonFly in the same way to the same degree. If some differences do surface in the course of my audition, I will report them here.
    George

  17. #17
    Senior Member gmgraves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
    I have no need for this. I use a USB/SPDIF converter.
    That depends. Does your converter run off of the computer's USB port or does it have it's own power supply. If the former, then you might well need it. If the latter, no.
    George