AudioQuest DragonFly Red - USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amp

AudioQuest DragonFly Red - USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amp

AudioQuest DragonFly Red - USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amp

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Product Highlights

  • Improved Circuitry from Version 1.2
  • Plugs Into an Available USB Port
  • Provides Improved Sound Quality
  • 32-Bit ESS Sabre Conversion Chip
  • 1/8" Jack Outputs Directly to Headphones
  • Resolutions up to 24-Bit / 96 kHz
  • Can Also Feed Preamp or Power Amp
  • Supports Mac, Windows, iOS, Android
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Model: Red

Black Red

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AudioQuest DRAGONFLYRED overview

  • 1Description

The DragonFly Red from AudioQuest is a flash drive-sized Digital Audio Converter (DAC), preamplifier, and headphone amplifier that connects to a USB port. It features a 32-bit ESS Sabre conversion chip that bypasses the device's sound card to deliver higher quality sound from your Mac, Windows, iOS, or Android device (use with mobile device requires optional adapters). Compared to earlier models, the Red version has the most improved circuitry between the DAC chip and analog output, as well as a fortified power supply. Its 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo output can connect a set of headphones or allow patching into a larger audio system.

The DragonFly Red can accept audio files ranging from MP3s and CD-standard 16-bit/44.1kHz L-PCMs to higher resolution 24-bit / 96 kHz formats. Using USB protocol, DragonFly commands the timing of the audio data transfer, dramatically reducing errors. DragonFly Red employs a unique clock system called a Hybrid-PLL. While not discrete, the Hybrid-PLL performs equal to, or better than, many discrete clock systems. A smart LED indicator on the DragonFly shows the sample rate and status of the incoming signal. Additionally, DragonFly's analog circuits are direct-coupled from the ESS converter chip's output, avoiding the need for any extraneous components in the signal path.

2.1 Volt Output
Direct-Coupled, High Output: With a combination of power, beauty, and finesse, DF Red delivers greater overall impact, momentum, and grip than either DF 1.2 or DF Black, while also surpassing their excellent senses of touch, texture, and nuance. In addition, Red's high (2.1v) output means that it can easily drive the widest range of headphones. When used as a line-level device (volume set to 100%), DF Red's 2.1 volts provide enough power to drive all preamplifier, integrated amplifier, or receiver inputs
Microchip PIC32MX
The Microchip PIC32MX (USB 2.0 compliant) is a full-speed isochronous USB audio solution. Compared to other controllers, the Microchip microcontroller offers extremely low power consumption (77% lower than the TAS1020b and 95% lower than the most efficient XMOS solution), 32-bit architecture, and the option for software upgradability (via a desktop application provided by AudioQuest). In addition, the Microchip's ultra-low-noise power supply minimizes the sound-degrading effect of high-frequency interference on the critical audio signal
ESS 9016 32-Bit
Like the ESS 9010, the 32-bit ESS 9016 uses a sophisticated minimum-phase digital filter to provide more naturally detailed and dynamic music, but surpasses the 9010 in overall performance
Digital: 64-Bit Bit-Perfect Volume Control
DragonFly Red employs a 64-bit, bit-perfect digital volume control that resides inside the DAC chip itself – an elegant and sophisticated implementation that ensures maximum fidelity, dynamic contrast, and signal-to-noise ratio. With DragonFly Red connected to a PC or mobile device, adjusting the host's system volume control will, through proxy, control the DragonFly Red's on-board volume
Propietary Asynchronous USB Code
A proprietary asynchronous USB code ensures low jitter, low resource load, minimal packet errors, world-class audio playback, and reliable connectivity between our DAC and any computing device compliant with USB Host Mode (as set forth by the USB Organization). The code requires no additional drivers, making DragonFly Red virtually plug-and-play for Apple, Windows, iOS, and Android users (use with mobile devices requires optional adapters)
LED Indicators
DragonFly Red’s LED lights up in different colors to indicate status or sample rate:

  • Red: Standby
  • Green: 44.1 kHz
  • Blue: 48.0 kHz
  • Amber: 88.2 kHz
  • Magenta: 96.0 kHz
UPC: 092592050532
In the Box
AudioQuest DragonFly Red - USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amp
  • Carry Pouch
  • Limited 1-Year Warranty
  • Table of Contents
    • 1Description

    AudioQuest DRAGONFLYRED specs

    Compatibility Desktop: Windows 7 / 8.1 / 10; Apple OS X; Linux (no support provided)
    Mobile: Apple iOS 5 and newer; Android 4.1 and newer
    Use with mobile devices requires adapters (available separately)
    Connectors Digital Input: 1 x USB Type-A; male
    Analog Output: 1 x 1/8" / 3.5 mm TRS stereo; female
    DSP 32-bit ESS 9016
    Bit Depth 24-bit playback
    Sample Rates 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 kHz
    Audio Output 2.1 V
    Volume Control 64-bit digital control
    Dimensions 0.5 x 0.7 x 2.4" / 12.0 x 19.0 x 62.0 mm
    Weight Not specified by Manufacturer
    Packaging Info
    Package Weight 0.4 lb
    Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 8.3 x 6.1 x 1.3"

    AudioQuest DRAGONFLYRED reviews

    DragonFly Red - USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amp is rated 4.9 out of 5 by 17.
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from You've not heard audio properly, until now. It's not just a volume booster. It completely changes how you hear music. I could best describe the experience as this is how music is meant to be delivered. The more present elements feel closer to you. Your background elements such as reverbs, room mics, etc, sound not just distant, but realistic. You can have the best headphones in the world, but they won't sound their best until you haver a proper DAC. This unlocks their true potential. This reveals audio in a way you've not heard before. Absolute transparency; presenting your audio the way it was meant to be heard.
    Date published: 2018-03-16
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from This thing rocks!! I was skeptical about such a small device at such a low price point in the high end audio market but there were so many positive reviews for it I took a chance on it. It was a great decision. I listen to it with Shure 535 IEMs (headphones) at work and I am simply blown away. It will push the dynamics of the music with no trouble. The first time I listened to it I didn't pay much attention to the volume setting on the computer. I turned it up a few times to get it at a comfortable listening volume, then I noticed I was set at 16%, talk about headroom. I cranked it up once just to see how it would perform... I got a headache before I noticed any deviation in performance or sound quality. The sound quality is exceptional but it is critical of the music, if there are any flaws with the recording or mixing they will shine through. I have also connected this to the home stereo with great results. It was great being able to have my full music library available to play for all to hear. Again the sound quality was exceptional, better than my CD player. If you are on the fence like I was, just buy it already, you won't be sorry!
    Date published: 2016-11-28
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pocket Size BIG SOUND! If you are looking more power, and drive harder headphones like Sennheiser HD 600 (300 Ohms) or T1 (600 Ohms) this for you. I bough both, the Dragonfly 1.2 and this one and the Dragonfly 1.2 wasn't to drive my Sennheiser HD 600 At all, wasn't enough volume for mixing or editing audio. It has better audio quality, lower power consumption and its totally compatible with y with Android and iOs without any trick needed like the Dragonfly 1.2. Also you will be able to download to check updates for you new Dragonfly which is a great thing! This feature isn't still avaible, but will be. Check this info and compare between all models.
    Date published: 2016-06-02
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great product to amplify your audio listening experience Hook this to your beautiful headset and witness the magic. You'll be able to listen to every instrument in the music. The vocal and instruments appear to be well balanced and clear. I would recommend this product to any audiophile out there.
    Date published: 2017-03-02
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Sound without a Sound Card I ran an AudioQuest sound card for years then updated to an iMac from a G5 Mac tower & lost that loving sound. I've used a Dragon Fly v1.2 for over a year & enjoyed it. Now I've upgraded to the DF Red & it powers my Grado Labs SR225e headphones very nicely. Excellent sound from my six year old iMac. I've moved the v1.2 to work & operate ancient powered speakers with it to my listening pleasure. Well worth it!!
    Date published: 2016-05-16
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very affordable audiophile entry - Great sound! This DAC is really excellent, especially for the price! I find it to be clear, precise, and transparent. Unlike more expensive portable DACs like the Chord Mojo, which produces it's own sound, this DAC lets you hear the music with minimized alteration. The sound stage isn't huge, but it is very decent. If you want to enter the audiophile ranks at a very low price, this is the way to do it. If you are an audiophile, and want a very good portable listening experience, this is the way to go. Here's how I use mine: iMac with headphones: Songs imported via iTunes as Apple lossless Audirvana player - (FLAC) DragonFly Red Bose QC35 headphones - noise cancelling for a very noisy environment iPhone High bitrate songs downloaded to iPhone as 192K AAC ( will be down sampled to 96K ) Normal bitrate songs downloaded to iPhone at 44.1K AAC ( will be up sampled to 88.2K ) Onkyo HF player (Great app. Be sure to use the equalizer to adjust the sound to your headphones, and turn up sampling on. Up sampling never seems to hurt, sometimes improves the sound). DragonFly Red (plug and play is great!) Apple lightning adapter (the more expensive one, with the extra female plug. This configuration uses a good deal of power.). Additional lightning to USB cord - for power when available. Bose QC35 headphones - again, my very noisy environment. Better quality headphones can be had for the same price or less if you don't need noise cancelling Pros: Great sound at a very affordable price. Portability. Cons: Occasionally sensitive to static electricity discharge, which will stop the music player. My portable configuration draws a lot of power, although I attribute more of the consumption to the Onkyo application than to the Dragonfly DAC. You can't answer your iPhone without unplugging from the DAC (music will stop). Once you've attached the lighting adapter, DragonFly, and headphones to your phone, it's an awkward mess, but still technically portable.
    Date published: 2017-01-30
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best little portable dac on the market and preamp Let me say that I am still Stunned with all the things I can do with this little dac preamp/amp. I work in a setting where sound is very important and I've used it to drive all My best headphones like audio quest Nighthawk (liquid wood) , my Audeze LCD2 , Seinheiser Momentums and even my hungry hungry 300 ohm Seinheiser HD600 and this lil guy changes the sound dynamics and keeps it crisp and doesn't add anything unnecessary . I even used it on a 1960 heath kit amp to drive my iPhone as a preamp and dac !!! The sound even on something as old as a tube amp . I can't believe how much I use this thing . I definitely will say it has changed my hifi life because when I set it up with my Mac Pro and forget my more robust semi portable Hafler 15 amp , the Audioquest Dragon Fly Red makes me miss the Hafler less then I thought . Keep making great product Aidioqiest and Bhphotovideo ships blazing fast and incredible customer service .
    Date published: 2017-03-10
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from High End Audiophile Product Unbelievable product, I replaced a high end SACD player with this and a laptop. Improved my system tremendously.� Made harsh DVD's sound balanced and clear which matched my experience on stereos costing over $20,000.
    Date published: 2018-02-01
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