NAD D3020 DAC vs Audioquest Dragonfly or similar


Jan 20, 2020

New to these forums (be gentle) :)

I've recently moved back to separates for my home office system (moved from JBL LSR308 studio monitors) and now I'm running a NAD D3020 digital amplifier with Monitor Audio RX1 speakers (soon to be KEF LS50s) and that's all fed via my 2018 i7 Mac Mini

At the moment it sounds very good to my ears (but I am always faffing and changing bits); I've recently connected the Mac to the NAD via an Audioquest Forest USB cable and I've replaced the QED Silver Anniversary speaker cable with Tellurium Q Blue (which sounds much better; much fuller and with better detail).

But, I wanted to see if anyone has experience with a similar set up and using the likes of the Audioquest Dragonfly DAC or another stand alone DAC and if that's a better layout than using the NADs own built in DAC etc?

Sorry if it all sounds confusing, it gets me baffled at times too...

It could be that it's just best left be and enjoy the system for what it is though as well (I may consider upgrading to the NAD D3045 digital amp for more power, more so when my KEF LS50s land) etc

Thank you


Well-known member
Welcome to this forum, where everyone is gentle, although some might get a bit rough discussing cable sound differences!
You say that things sound very good to your ears at the moment. Have a look at this thread:
Some there have found contentment, knowing when to stop and appreciate the music is not always easy - but those that do, are often happier than the constant box-swappers.
For that reason, your final sentence seems very sensible to me.
To answer some of your question: Standalone DACs: Some will tell you that sound differences are subtle to the point of being insignificant.
Others will tell you there are massive differences (especially if they paid a lot of money for theirs).
I bought the £100 O-DAC to take USB out of a laptop, also got a Cambridge Audio Dacmagic XS (similar to the Dragonfly) and have tried set-top TV boxes and CD players through £400 - £600 DACs. There were differences, but nothing like the sort you get between speakers.
In other words whether a subtle difference is worth hundreds to you, is your call.
I'd guess that a Dragonfly would not give a massive difference over your NAD's built-in DAC, but it would be better if you could try it for yourself.
Something you'll read a lot on forums is 'Let your ears decide'


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