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.