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mansr

Dragonfly Black teardown

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Just now, Vitor said:

There you go.

Note the word "probably." I haven't personally tested any, so I can't make a specific recommendation.

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20 minutes ago, Vitor said:

If you haven’t heard any you can’t even remotely state that they’ll perform the same IMO. Cheaper or not.

All I said was that the same performance ought to be achievable for less.

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I understand. However, your posts/tests are based in objective reports/measurements.

With that sentence you entered in a very subjective ground. Just sayin.

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1 hour ago, Vitor said:

I understand. However, your posts/tests are based in objective reports/measurements.

With that sentence you entered in a very subjective ground. Just sayin.

What's subjective about making a rough estimate of the cost of achieving a given performance level? Component prices are not secret.

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Since the price issue seems contentious, let's look at what goes into the Dragonfly. Bulk pricing used where available.

  • PIC32: $3.02
  • ES9010: $6 (bulk price unknown)
  • TPA6130A2: $0.48

  • Crystal: < $1 (exact part unknown)

  • USB connector: < $1 (exact part unknown)

  • Headphone connector: < $1 (exact part unknown)

  • Resistors: < $0.10 total

  • Capacitors: < $0.10 total

  • Other: < $1

That's less than $15 in parts. With bulk pricing on the DAC chip it is probably closer to $10. PCB assembly adds maybe $1. Adding a few dollars more for the case, final assembly, and packaging, we're still looking at around $15, $20 at most, in unit cost to manufacture. The engineering of a product like this should cost no more than $50k. Amortised over 10k units, that would be $5 apiece. This gives us a conservative estimate of $25 for the total production cost. Allowing a 100% dealer markup, we're still only at $50, whereas the Dragonfly sells for $100. Someone is making a tidy profit.

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6 minutes ago, mansr said:

Since the price issue seems contentious, let's look at what goes into the Dragonfly. Bulk pricing used where available.

  • PIC32: $3.02
  • ES9010: $6 (bulk price unknown)
  • TPA6130A2: $0.48

  • Crystal: < $1 (exact part unknown)

  • USB connector: < $1 (exact part unknown)

  • Headphone connector: < $1 (exact part unknown)

  • Resistors: < $0.10 total

  • Capacitors: < $0.10 total

  • Other: < $1

That's less than $15 in parts. With bulk pricing on the DAC chip it is probably closer to $10. PCB assembly adds maybe $1. Adding a few dollars more for the case, final assembly, and packaging, we're still looking at around $15, $20 at most, in unit cost to manufacture. The engineering of a product like this should cost no more than $50k. Amortised over 10k units, that would be $5 apiece. This gives us a conservative estimate of $25 for the total production cost. Allowing a 100% dealer markup, we're still only at $50, whereas the Dragonfly sells for $100. Someone is making a tidy profit.

Aren't you leaving some things out...  

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8 minutes ago, mansr said:

Like what?

 

Cost of MQA license to do the 2nd (and later, if applicable) "unfolds"?

 

$2-5 per unit? Maybe? Who knows.

 

Marketing? Logistics? Procurement? Admin?

 

Warranty support?

 

Still a tidy profit at the end of the day, of course.

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For hifi hardware, BOM is typically around 10% of the sales price. But depends on sales volumes, high-end having higher margins than higher volume mid-fi products (Yamaha, Marantz, Denon, etc).

 

Each step in the sales chain usually adds roughly around 30% margin. So first distributor adds 30% on top of manufacturer price and then dealer adds 30% on top of that. Plus location specific tax on the final price, here in Finland VAT is 24%.

 

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5 minutes ago, Miska said:

For hifi hardware, BOM is typically around 10% of the sales price.

And the Dragonfly is no exception, apparently.

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This thread is awesome, thanks! Just bought a XPS 13 and I think my new job going forward will have me doing a lot more work in remote locations, vs. at an office with my own desktop hooked up to my giant Schitt stack.

 

Was toying with the idea of seeing what tiny headphone DAC + amps were out there to try and cram into the chassis so I don't have to carry around an extra thing / can "cleanly" just plug headphones right into the laptop. These DFs are certainly tiny and I could justify it in my head by treating them as part of the headphone connector, but I do like engineering things...

 

So that PIC32MX just acts as the USB -> I2S bridge then? I was idly wondering if I could sniff off the HDA link from the laptop motherboard, and then use a small FPGA like a Lattice iCE40 to shift it over to what a DAC needs (ESS, AK, etc.). I guess at that point I could do a real poor man's Multibit-type deal with a R2R DAC (minus the closed-form filter).

 

EDIT: Latent thought...is there some kind of content protection "feature" in HDA where you have to pay a license to get the special widget to decode the data?

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@mansr: Do you know whether the MQA filter is on all the time in the updated Dragonflys or whether the DF actually switches filters depending on whether the stream is MQA or not?

 

Thx.

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3 hours ago, miguelito said:

@mansr: Do you know whether the MQA filter is on all the time in the updated Dragonflys or whether the DF actually switches filters depending on whether the stream is MQA or not?

It uses the ESS built-in minimum phase filter for non-MQA streams. For MQA, it uses whichever of the 16 defined filters the metadata specifies.

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2 hours ago, mansr said:

It uses the ESS built-in minimum phase filter for non-MQA streams. For MQA, it uses whichever of the 16 defined filters the metadata specifies.

Ok so it does switch based on stream? Asking because so many implementations (even with ESS DACs) are done fixing the filter to MQA’s. And very likely to just one of them. 

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1 minute ago, miguelito said:

Ok so it does switch based on stream? Asking because so many implementations (even with ESS DACs) are done fixing the filter to MQA’s. And very likely to just one of them. 

There are 16 MQA filters. All DACs have to be able to switch between those.

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