While AudioQuest’s outstanding UBS-stick-sized [Dragonfly DAC] is now in its second generation, a few new digital products have recently surfaced from the cable company who has swiftly broken into the relatively new category of micro DACs (and also computer/personal audio in general) in a big way.
On the observation deck at T.H.E. Show Newport were the insect-inspired Beetle and Jitterbug. The Beetle shares much of same functionality as its digital-to-analog forerunner but sheds the stick-like footprint for a wider feature set including a USB input (up to 24bit/96kHz), optical (up to 24bit/96kHz) and asynchronous Bluetooth.
The chipset taking care of the digital responsibilities is the ESS 9010. AudioQuest has implanted some additional custom code into the game within a new “MX” micro controller for the unit. As with many things digital, the way hardware is implemented can be just as important (if not more important) than the actual choices for chips etc. Hopefully the extra attention to detail here by AudioQuest will prove to be another winning combination for the product category.
The Beetle should hit the streets around August 1st of this year and will retail for $149 in the US.
Its no secret that a computer’s internal environment can be a noisy place for the precious audio signal generated from digitally sourced rigs. The new JitterBug accessory hopes to fix all that by providing line conditioning to both the data and power feeds when inserted into the signal path. Seen here with the Dragonfly v1.2, the tiny new connector will work with any USB audio device to help reduce unwanted outside interference from the source. In line with much of of AudioQuest’s thinking in terms of pricing for this category, the Jitterbug will retail for $49 when it ships at the end of June.
Also shipping in the end of June will be the long awaited NightHawk headphone we first saw at [CES 2015]. According to the AudioQuest representative a few cosmetic refinements have been recently tweaked but the original sound signature we heard back in January should be consistent with the finalized product.