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
ESS 9016 32-Bit
Digital: 64-Bit Bit-Perfect Volume Control
Propietary Asynchronous USB Code
- Red: Standby
- Green: 44.1 kHz
- Blue: 48.0 kHz
- Amber: 88.2 kHz
- Magenta: 96.0 kHz