As usual, each time a new brand appears at BH, we offer you a little history. This will still be the case here, with the American manufacturer AudioQuest!
The AudioQuest company was launched in 1980 by Bill Low, in the continuity of the audio activity he had started in 1972. Bill Low’s audio quest therefore began in college, when he assembled amps, preamps and tuners in kit for his classmates. Every dollar earned was used to expand his record collection, or to invest in new audio equipment. He then decided to sell brands such as Linn, Radford, Celestion and Yamaha in 1974. After moving to California where the market was complicated, he left this time for the South, without more success… Bill was perhaps not made for sale? He tries his luck one last time with a small store based in Santa Monica: he then has the bright idea of building the audio cables that will be used in his shop himself… This wiring will very quickly interest other dealers in Los Angeles. It will even be exported to Japan! It was in 1980 that the idea of manufacturing cables to sell them materialized. The AudioQuest company was then officially created!
DragonFly Red & Black DACs
Today AudioQuest is no longer just a manufacturer of audiophile cables, it is also a distinguished manufacturer of electronics and audio headphones. One of its greatest feats of arms is none other than the small converter with AudioQuest DragonFly headphone amp. Now offered in its revision 1.5, it is now compatible with iOS/Android devices, as well as Mac/PC computers. The DragonFly is available in two versions, Black and Red (the main difference is in the DAC used, and the headphone output which is compatible with high impedances on the DragonFly Red). Inside these little dragonflies, there is therefore an ESS Saber conversion circuit working in 24 Bits / 96 kHz, and an asynchronous USB controller. The headphone output in mini-jack format can also be used to connect your DAC to a pair of amplified speakers, or a Hi-Fi system. There are countless awards obtained by this little device that has become essential! Perfect in combination with a Smartphone or a Laptop… Don’t be fooled by its price!
One thing is certain: the development of the AudioQuest NightHawk headphones was not done in a hurry. It benefits from Liquid Wood shells made of natural wood from sustainably managed forests. Semi-open type, they have a specific grid inspired by the structure of butterfly wings: a design that can only be made using 3D printing! For their part, the speakers of 50 mm (rubber suspension and bio-cellulose membrane) are slightly inclined to ensure optimal diffusion of sound towards the ear canal. Downright jubilant, its detachable cable is none other than a miniaturized version of the excellent Castle Rock (symmetrical StarQuad cord, PSC+ copper conductors, noise dissipation technology, silver-plated copper connectors, etc.). Finally, comfort is also part of it, with the presence of a self-adjusting headband and a patented suspension system. All this enabled it to obtain a CES Innovation Award 2015 as soon as it was launched on the market!
We can never repeat it enough: trust your ears! You can freely test AudioQuest DragonFly DACs and NightHawk headphones in BH stores in Boulogne and Paris. Good listening !