Audioquest Firebird and Dragon Comparison and Thoughts

I figure it is time to start my first post and this one is to review both cables and their differences. I know there are people interested in getting Firebird but wonder if it is worthwhile to jump to the top-level Dragon. I am here to post the first impression I got from Dragon 48 HDMI as a Firebird 48 HDMI owner.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive my AQ Dragon 48 HDMI today; a couple of days sooner than expected which rarely happens. I am currently using a AQ Firebird48 HDMI as a I2S connector between PST and DS for the past 6 months. Previous I have a AQ Coffee. In comparison, Firebird is better in clarity and details, and a clean and punchy bass (with well-defined layers). Now I have the Dragon 48 I cannot wait to see what further improvement I can get from it. On paper these two are the same in structure and material mostly, but there is still a significant price difference. Why?

The Firebird 48 took more than a month to break in, so I don’t expect the Dragon will show its true strength for some time. Therefore, it is normal that I didn’t get the “wow” factor from Dragon as I did from Firebird. No surprise there because Firebird is an excellent cable, and it has the same sonic signature as Dragon. Living with Firebird for 6 months, it keeps sounding better for the first few months.

But I am already thinking Dragon will be better in time. Although right out of box Dragon’s treble is edgy, mid is a bit inconsistent, and the bass is muddy (This is all compares to Firebird of course), I was taken back by how quiet with even cleaner sound the Dragon showed. I had to turn down the volume a notch because it seems lauder than with Firebird. The music notes have more energy in them, and the presentation is more live-like. I had only a couple of hours listening, and Dragon already starts sounding better and better.

Before Dragon I didn’t think I will need anything more. It is only in comparison that I could tell Dragon will eventually be better. But will it be worth the $900 higher price for .75 meter? For some, yes. But if you do not have a hi-resolution system, you will be incredibly happy with Firebird, I think.

I will report again in a few weeks.


Thanks for sharing with us your initial impression of these two cables. Yes, these cables do require quite a length of time to settle in. I predict the Dragon will eventually be much better than the Firebird. On paper really doesn’t tell you what actually they put into these cables. I’m pretty sure your money is not gonna be wasted with the new cable.

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I have watched all th you tube videos I could from Garth Powell the AQ designer. He said more than once. Although all their cables share similar design and assembly methods. Do not underestimate how much better the Dragon sounds compared to the next one down the line. He stated he wished they sounded closer but they don’t. Therefore it was enough to pony up the money one time. Whether WireWorld or Iconoclast 0r Inakustik the top of the line always ended up sounding best to me. Now strictly video HDMI those type cables and picture clean up with a power regenerator. Audio cables not my experience yet. You still need to spend premium to get best sound in any manufacture’s line if your equipment amp , preamps and speakers are resolving and capable.


So far it is heading into that direction. Dragon is still improving, and I had it on for only 4 hours…


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