So, you’re a budding audiophile, and you’ve decided to join the big boys by investing in your first DAC/AMP. Today, I’ll compare two of the most popular DAC/AMPs around. The FiiO Q1 Mark II and the Audioquest Dragonfly Black. They are very different in physical and structural design. But they’re both $100. Let’s compare them in terms of sound quality and functionality in this FiiO Q1 Mark II Versus Dragonfly Black Comparison Review.
IN the BOX
|FiiO Q1 Mark II||Dragonfly Black|
|FiiO Q1 Mark II unit||Dragonfly Black unit|
|Rubber straps||Soft case|
|Silicone resting pad|
|Short micro-USB to lightning cable|
|Right-ANGLED 3.5MM SHORT cable|
|USB-A to micro-USB 1m charging/USB-DAC|
|Padded mesh pouch|
|FiiO Q1 Mark II||Dragonfly Black|
|Inputs||3.5mm, 2.5mm Balance, Aux in||3.5mm|
|Outputs||Line Out, MicroUSB||USB|
|Output Power||1.5 V||1.2 V|
|Recommended Headphone Impedance||16-150 Ohms||32-60 Ohms|
|Battery Life||10 hrs||N/A|
|Sample Rate||32-bit / 384kHz||24-bit / 96kHz|
|DAC Chip(s)||AK 4452||32-bit ESS 9010|
|Dimensions||99x59x12.5 mm||12x19x62 mm|
Look and Portability
The differences here are obvious. One is tiny, the other is just small. I personally prefer the look of the FiiO Q1. The Dragonfly Black has to be connected to a camera adapter (USB into Lightning adapter.) So you’ve got an extra bulky cable to deal with on top if the Dragonfly Black unit. The FiiO Q1 is very small, about ⅔ of the size of an iphone. It’s thin and sleek and can easily be stacked on your phone. But, of course, for best portability, you’ll want the Dragonfly Black.
The FiiO Q1 Mark II gives you a lot of bang for your buck. You’re getting the same amplifier chip as the one used in the expensive, X7 Mark II. And the functionality of the Q1 greatly supersedes that of the Dragonfly Black. It allows for a balanced input, as well as line in/line out. This is especially important if you want to use your Q1 as a pure DAC when connecting to an external amp. It also has a gain and bass boost switch.
The Q1 Mark II has a higher sampling rate (384 kHz/32 bit) than the Dragonfly Black (96kHz/24 bit). FiiO Q1 Mark II supports the DSD format, while the Dragonfly Black doesn’t. But you can still get High Res files at 96kHz/24bit, so don’t let this stop you from considering the Dragonfly black. A handy feature on the Dragonfly Black is that it glows colors representing playback rates.
Although the FiiO Q1 Mark II is designed specifically for the iPhone, it should work on most Android phones. But the problem that arises with many Androids is that the FiiO can’t distinguish between the Android mobile device and a computer. As a result, it often drains the phone, thinking that it’s charging on a computer. Dragonfly Black has been tested to work with both, Apple and Android devices. However, as previously mentioned, the Dragonfly requires a camera adapter, which will set you back another $30. So, really, it’s a $130 price tag.
The FiiO Q1 Mark II is more powerful than the Dragonfly Black. But neither have a huge amount of power. You can use the Q1 Mark II with headphones that have an impedance of up to 150 Ohms, while the Dragonfly Black can only produce power up to 60 Ohms. So, if you’re using headphones that require a high amount of power, the Q1 Mark II is the way to go.
The Q1 Mark II and the Dragonfly Black have very different sound profiles. I found the Dragonfly Black to be clearer and tighter. So much, in fact, that it sounded a little too sharp and slightly harsh on the ears. However, in comparison to the Q1 Mark II, the Dragonfly Black had a better sense of soundstage. The Q1 Mark II had a softer, warmer feel. At the same time, it affected the sound less than the Dragonfly Black. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on how much color you want your DAC/AMP to produce. A problem with both models is that they have a little hiss, which takes away from the clarity of the recording.
In terms of sound, clarity and definition defines the Dragonfly Black. And with an impressive soundstage, I have to give the sound prize to the Dragonfly Black. But when it comes to functionality, power and value, the FiiO Q1 Mark II takes the cake. Don’t forget, if you’re buying the Dragonfly Black, you’ll have to spend an extra 30 bucks on an adapter!
You can find the FiiO Q1 Mark II for the best price at:
Audio 46: FiiO Q1 Mark II DAC AMP Combo Use our promo code “majorhifi” to get a 10% discount
You can find the Audioquest Dragonfly Black for the best price at:
Audio 46: Audioquest Dragonfly Black DAC AMP Use our promo code “majorhifi” to get a 10% discount
MajorHiFi may receive commission from retail offers.