AudioQuest has been the largest cable supplier to the high-end specialist market since 1980, under its founder Bill Low. AudioQuest is sold in several hundred outlets in the US and in over sixty countries, making it the largest cable supplier to the high-end specialist market for many years. This success has been possible almost entirely due to the performance of the product and the passion behind the company. In the audio world, many professionals learn something they didn’t know when listening using Audioquest products.
More of their products can be found at Audioquest Website.
AudioQuest Dragonfly DAC
USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amp
Version 1.2 Now Available
Even smoother and more open sound!
Among the improvements, 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 immediacy. Also, the DAC’s power supply has been fortified, which gives the sound more “grip,” and even greater dynamic contrast.
Beautiful Sound From Any Computer, Anywhere
- USB Stick-Size Digital-Audio Converter
- Plays All Music Files: MP3 to High-Res
- Drives Headphones Directly
- Variable Output Drives Powered Speakers or Power Amp
- Fixed Output Feeds Preamp or Receiver
- Asynchronous Transfer Ensures Digital Timing Integrity
- Dual Fixed-Frequency Master Clocks Enable Optimal ‘Clocking’ (Digital Timing) For All Sample Rates
DragonFly is an affordable and easy-to-use device that delivers far superior sound by bypassing the poor quality sound card that is built into your computer. DragonFly is a sleek, flash drive sized Digital-Audio Converter that connects to a USB jack on a Mac® or Windows® PC, turning any computer into a true high- fidelity music source.
Whether you’re on the go or at home, listening on ear buds or connecting your computer to a stereo system, DragonFly reveals all the emotional expression and nuance that makes your favorite music, or movies, so enjoyable. However you connect it, DragonFly simply and easily makes any computer sound better.
How DragonFly Does It
The heart of DragonFly is the 24-bit ESS Sabre™ conversion chip, a high-performance solution that’s typically found in better CD and Blu-ray Disc™ players. DragonFly can accept audio and music files ranging from MP3s and CD-standard 16-bit/44kHz to native 24-bit/96kHz high-resolution, regardless of music file format. If your computer’s software can recognize and play a format, DragonFly will make it sound its best.
However, high-quality digital-audio conversion alone isn’t why DragonFly sounds great. How the audio data is transferred from the computer to DragonFly required particular attention from DragonFly’s design team. Remember that digital audio is stored on computers and delivered to DragonFly as streams of 1’s and 0’s. Making beautiful music out of 1’s and 0’s isn’t a case of simply getting all the music data from point A to Point B. Maintaining subtle digital timing relationships is crucial in order to be able to reconstruct the analog waveform that we hear as dialog or music.
Timing errors 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 uses a very sophisticated “asynchronous*” USB audio data transfer protocol. Rather than sharing crucial audio “data clocking” functions with the computer, DragonFly alone commands the timing of the audio data transfer, dramatically reducing digital timing errors. In addition, not all audio content is encoded at the same native resolution or “sample rate. ” DragonFly 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 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. A smart LED indicator on DragonFly shows the resolution of the incoming signal.
While the digital domain is where your computer- based music experience starts, the analog domain requires attention too. Digital volume controls too often reduce signal resolution and decrease sound quality. Even when the iTunes volume slider is used, DragonFly’s high-resolution analog volume control carries out the instructions in the analog domain for the best sound quality. And DragonFly’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.
All of these refinements allow DragonFly to make music with a natural solidity and clarity that is dramatically superior to the sound you would hear from your computer on its own.
AudioQuest NRG WEL Signature
It was never William E. Low’s intention to create a “signature series” of cables, so it can be said that the WEL Signature series is something which evolved. As anyone who has ever birthed something from the ground up knows, things have the tendency to take on lives of their own. Inspiration becomes the compass that sets the direction we follow. WEL Signature speaker cable is a 30+ year culmination of AudioQuest’s best materials and techniques, combined with the sensitivity and refinement that only comes when those who love music and appreciate the objectivity of uncolored, undistorted sound.
SOLID 100% PERFECT-SURFACE SILVER (PSS) CONDUCTORS: WEL Signature AC uses extremely high-purity Perfect-Surface Silver conductors. All conductors are solid, which prevents strand interaction, a major source of distortion. Surface quality is critical because a conductor can be considered as a rail-guide for both the electric fields within a conductor, and for the magnetic fields outside the conductor. The astonishingly smooth and pure Perfect-Surface eliminates harshness and greatly increases clarity compared to OFHC, OCC, 8N and other coppers. The superior purity of PSS further minimizes distortion caused by grain boundaries, which exist within any metal conductor.
MULTI-POSITION CARBON-BASED NOISE-DISSIPATION and CROSS-TALK-DISSIPATION SYSTEMS (INSULATION):The negative conductors in WEL Signature AC are insulated with partially conductive Carbon-Loaded Polyethylene. This remarkable material damps radio-frequency garbage from being fed back into the amplifier. The sonic benefit is exactly the same reduction in “hash” and better dimensionality that comes whenever RF garbage is reduced in an audio circuit. WEL Signature AC uses Foamed-Polyethylene Insulation on its positive conductors because air absorbs next to no energy, and Polyethylene is low-loss and has a benign distortion profile. Thanks to all the air in Foamed-PE, it causes much less of the out-of-focus effect common to other materials.
COUNTER-SPIRAL GEOMETRY: WEL Signature AC power cables have an inner circular array of positive conductors spiraling in one direction. Around this inner group are the negative conductors spiraling in the opposite direction. Even while the positive and negative conductors are crossing each other instead of being parallel, the relationship between the positive and negative groups is fixed and non-changing, adhering to one of AudioQuest’s most basic design tenets: consistency. The result is an astonishing clarity, like focusing a camera lens you had no idea was so far out of focus.
DIELECTRIC-BIAS SYSTEM (DBS, US Pat #s 7,126,055 & 7,872,195 B1): All insulation slows down the signal on the conductor inside. When insulation is unbiased, it slows down parts of the signal differently, a big problem for very time-sensitive multi-octave audio. AudioQuest’s DBS creates a strong, stable electrostatic field which saturates and polarizes (organizes) the molecules of the insulation. This minimizes both energy storage in the insulation and the multiple nonlinear time-delays that occur. Sound appears from a surprisingly black background with unexpected detail and dynamic contrast. The DBS battery packs will last for years. A test button and LED allow for the occasional battery check.
COLD-WELD SYSTEM: This novel plug design enables a perfect heat-free connection between cable and plug. The connection between the plug and conductors is made using AQ’s Cold-Weld System, which provides a superior connection that ensures that the structural integrity of the conductor is kept completely intact. The Cold-Weld System refers to a combination of high pressure at the point of contact and the use of copper- or silver-impregnated paste.
TERMINATIONS: Cold-Welded Hanging Silver Over Directly Over Pure Red Copper IEC and 3-Pole US wall plug (20 Amp IEC also available).
Chocolate HDMI adds 2.5% silver-plating to its predecessors’ solid-core conductors. Like all AudioQuest HDMI cables, Chocolate uses Solid High-Density Polyethylene Insulation, and precise geometry. Specific attention has been paid to maximizing the performance of HDMI, and indeed, AudioQuest’s HDMI cables push sonic performance to new levels.
SOLID 2.5% SILVER CONDUCTORS: Solid conductors eliminate strand-interaction distortion and reduce jitter. Solid silver-plated conductors are excellent for very high-frequency applications, like HDMI audio and video. These signals, being such a high frequency, travel almost exclusively on the surface of the conductor. As the surface is made of high-purity silver, the performance is very close to that of a solid silver cable, but priced much closer to solid copper cable. This is an incredibly cost effective way of manufacturing very high-quality HDMI cables.
FOAMED-POLYETHYLENE INSULATION: Any solid material adjacent to a conductor is actually part of an imperfect circuit. Wire insulation and circuit board materials all absorb energy (loss). Some of this energy is stored and then released as distortion. Chocolate HDMI uses air-filled Foamed-Polyethylene Insulation because air absorbs next to no energy and Polyethylene is low-loss and has a benign distortion profile. Thanks to all the air in Foamed-PE, it causes much less of the out-of-focus effect common to other materials.
HIGH SPEED DATA CAPACITY: All AudioQuest HDMI cables up to 10 meters meet or exceed the 10.2 Gbps maximum data rate for HDMI and are approved High Speed with Ethernet cables. This means that all AudioQuest cables up to 10 meters are capable of transmitting 100% of the data required for all of HDMI’s current audio/video features including multichannel high-resolution audio, 1080p and 4k video, and 3D video from Blu-ray. All AQ HDMI cables will deliver 100% of the data required for 120Hz/240Hz/600Hz displays.
ETHERNET AND AUDIO RETURN CHANNEL ENABLED: All AudioQuest HDMI cables up to 10 meters are rated High Speed with Ethernet. From 12 meters to 20 meters AudioQuest HDMI cables are Standard Speed with Ethernet.
DIRECTIONALITY: All audio cables are directional. The correct direction is determined by listening to every batch of metal conductors used in every AudioQuest audio cable. All signal conductors controlled for digital-audio direction in AudioQuest HDMI cables, and care is even taken to run the conductors used in the Audio Return Channel in the opposite direction to ensure the best performance for that application. Arrows are clearly marked on the connectors to ensure superior sound quality.
AudioQuest Golden Gate
The nearly magical confluence of land and sea where the San Francisco Peninsula reaching up from the south, and Marin County stretching down from the north, almost touch, was named “Chrysopylea,” meaning “golden gate,” by Captain John C. Fremont in 1846. The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world from 1937 to 1964, when New York City’s Verrazano Narrows surpassed it by a mere 18 meters (60 ft). The main span is 1,280 meters (4,200 ft) long and 27 meters (90 ft) wide, the towers rise to 227 meters (746 ft) above the water.
SOLID PERFECT-SURFACE COPPER (PSC) CONDUCTORS: Perfect-Surface Copper has an astonishingly smooth and pure surface. Proprietary metal-processing technology protects the wire’s surface at every stage of drawing and fabrication. When high-purity low-oxide copper is kept as soft, pure and smooth as possible, it becomes a wonderfully low-distortion conductor. For over 30 years AudioQuest has pioneered the use of superior metals; yet even we were surprised by this huge leap in performance. PSC clearly outperforms previous AQ metals that cost over ten times as much. Electrical and magnetic interaction between strands in a conventional cable is the greatest source of distortion, often causing a somewhat dirty, harsh sound. Solid conductors are fundamental toward achieving Golden Gate’s very clean sound.
FOAMED-POLYETHYLENE INSULATION: Any solid material adjacent to a conductor is actually part of an imperfect circuit. Wire insulation and circuit board materials all absorb energy (loss). Some of this energy is stored and then released as distortion. Golden Gate uses air-filled Foamed-Polyethylene Insulation on both conductors because air absorbs next to no energy and Polyethylene is low-loss and has a benign distortion profile. Thanks to all the air in Foamed-PE, it causes much less of the out-of-focus effect common to other materials.
METAL-LAYER NOISE-DISSIPATION SYSTEM (NDS): 100% shield coverage is easy. Preventing captured RF Interference from modulating the equipment’s ground reference requires AQ’s Noise-Dissipation System. Noise-Dissipation System prevents a significant amount of RFI from reaching the equipment’s ground plane.
ASYMMETRICAL DOUBLE-BALANCED GEOMETRY: Purpose designed for single-ended applications, Asymmetrical Double-Balanced Geometry offers a relatively lower impedance on the ground for a richer, and more dynamic experience. While many single-ended cable designs use a single path for both the ground and the shield, Double-Balanced designs separate the two for cleaner, quieter performance.
COLD-WELDED GOLD-PLATED RCA PLUGS: This plug design allows for a connection devoid of solder, which is a common source of distortion. Because the ground shells are stamped instead of machined, the metal can be chosen for low distortion instead of machinability.