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.
Streaming music is currently the ‘flavour of the month’, in hi-fi terms. This is where commercially held digital music is currently moving. It’s thought that iTunes will follow, in fact.
The latest proponent for this sub-genre is Cabasse’s Stream Source. Pebble-shaped, it features a remote sensor on the front of the low-slung unit but it’s the rear if the chassis where all the action is because there is a host of connections to whet the appetite. They include a pair of RCA outputs to connect to a typical hi-fi amplifier, an optical output, USB (to connect an external hard disk or USB stick) plus an Ethernet connector and the power socket for a basic 12V wall-wart switching power supply. Other items at the rear include a volume on/off switch to disable the touch controls on the top of the chassis, WPS button to connect to a router, a reset button to return to factory settings plus Wi-Fi (DLNA) and Ethernet connection light indicators.