USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amp: The AudioQuest DragonFly Red is
a sleek, flash-drive sized USB DAC+Preamp+Headphone Amp that delivers far superior sound by
bypassing the poor quality sound card that is built into your Apple iOS and
Android smartphone/tablet or Windows and Mac laptop/desktop computer; turning
your device into a true
high-fidelity music source. Its 3.5mm port is designed specifically to connect
to an external audio system such as headphones, powered desktop speakers, or
your HiFi audio system.
- Apple Compatibility: Compatible with Apple iOS 9.2+
devices that have Lightning connector (not compatible with 30-pin Apple
devices). The preferred method for connecting an Apple iOS device is using
Apple's Lightning to USB 3 camera adapter (472LTUSBC3,
sold separately). Your Apple iOS device's battery will even charge
- Android Compatibility: Compatible with most Android
devices running Jelly Bean 4.1 or newer using the DragonTail USB adapter (703DTAILAN,
sold separately). If the DragonFly Red seems to have too little output, then
download the the
USB Audio Player Prop app which includes its own USB audio driver. This
application is compatible with various audio formats and will manage music
on both the Android's internal memory and inserted microSD card.
Additionally, with your Android phone connected to a WiFi network, this app
can find and connect to DLNA servers/libraries, plus support playback of
Tidal (UAPP does not offer support for any other 3rd-party
- Windows Compatibility: Compatible with Windows PC
(XP/7/8.1/10). No additional drivers are required for DragonFly Red to
operate with Windows PC.
- Mac Compatibility: Compatible with Mac computers (OS X 10.6.8-up). No additional drivers are required for DragonFly
Red to operate with Mac OS X.
High-Performance Microcontroller: AudioQuest and DragonFly designer Gordon Rankin worked alongside Microchip
Technology to develop a new high-performance, full-speed USB microcontroller
solution that delivers improved signal-to-noise ratio and significantly lower
power consumption. Drawing 77% less current than the previous microcontroller, the new Microchip
PIC32MX microcontroller enables true compatibility with Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad and Android
smartphones/tablets. In addition, the Microchip's ultra-low-noise power supply
minimizes the sound-degrading effect of high-frequency interference on the
critical audio signal.
32-Bit ESS Sabre 9016 DAC: At the heart of DragonFly Red is a
32-bit ESS Sabre 9016 DAC that uses a sophisticated minimum-phase digital filter
to provide more naturally detailed and dynamic music. This high-performance DAC
is typically found in today's higher-end CD and Blu-ray players. DragonFly Red can accept audio and music
files ranging from MP3s (128/256/320kbps) and CD-standard 16-bit/44kHz to native
24-bit/96kHz high-resolution, regardless of music file format. DragonFly Red
will accept almost any audio you want to play on your computer and make it sound
dramatically better, whether your listening pleasure is iTunes or streaming
music services such as Pandora, Spotify, Amazon, or Tidal.
Streamlength Asynchronous USB: Timing errors such as "jitter" have long
been the plague of digital audio playback; never more so than in recent years as
computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones have been pressed into service as audio source components.
Rather than sharing crucial audio "data clocking" functions with your source
device, DragonFly Red uses a very sophisticated Streamlength Asynchronous USB
audio data transfer protocol which takes command over the timing of the audio
data transfer, dramatically reducing digital timing errors. As a result, you get low
jitter, low resource load, minimal packet errors, world-class audio playback,
and reliable connectivity between the USB DAC+Preamp+Headphone Amp and your
smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.
Hybrid-PLL Clock System: The 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.
Compatible Sampling Frequencies: DragonFly Red will play
music or audio data at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, or 96kHz. However, for the best
sonic results your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer should be configured so that it sends music and audio
data to DragonFly Red that matches the "native rate" of the music. For
example, since all CDs and music files purchased from iTunes are at a 44.1kHz
sample rate, for many people 44.1kHz will be the best sample rate since this is
the "native rate" of most digital music. Choosing a higher sample rate will
convert your native music and audio data using mathematical approximations that
can potentially decrease the sound quality. Conversely, if you have purchased
high-resolution music files (96kHz), such as those available from HDtracks.com,
configuring your computer for 44.1kHz (or any other lower sample rate) will
cause the computer to down-sample your music to a lower resolution. When
possible, always configure the computer to output the native sample rate of the
music you are listening to.
Note: If you have purchased a file that has a higher sample
rate than 96kHz you need to configure your smartphone/tablet or
computer/laptop to send DragonFly Red
audio data at a resolution no greater than 96kHz, and for the best
performance the sample rate you choose should be exactly half the sample
rate of the file you're playing. For example; if you purchased a
24-bit/176.4kHz file, 88.2kHz should be selected, whereas if you purchased a
24/192kHz file, 96kHz should be selected. Directly divisible sample rates
prevent the computer from doing sonically degrading, complex math in its
conversions and allows DragonFly Red to sound its best.
MQA Firmware Update: The latest firmware update (1.06) will
provide the DragonFly Red with the capability of rendering Master Quality
Authenticated (MQA) files. This means that now the DragonFly Red lets you
experience your favorite albums and songs in the highest audio resolutions
available. As an MQA-rendering DAC, the DragonFly Red must be used with an MQA-approved
playback application, such as Tidal or Audirvana (with more to come), in order
to unlock the full resolution of an MQA file.
Note: When rendering MQA files, the DragonFly Red will
display a purple light. (Sampling rates of 96kHz will continue to display in
magenta.) While the DragonFly Red will not specify the native resolution
of the associated MQA file, you can rest assured that the MQA file was
derived from the highest source resolution available.
Digital Bit-Perfect Volume Control: AudioQuest's DragonFly Red is
equipped with a 64-step, 64-bit, bit-perfect digital volume control. 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 onboard volume.
This ensures maximum resolution and the highest sound quality, regardless of
Direct Coupled Analog Circuits: DragonFly Red's analog
circuits are direct-coupled from the ESS converter chip's output, avoiding the
need for any extraneous, sonically degrading components in the signal path.
Stereo Minijack Output (2.1-Volt): DragonFly Red is fitted
with a stereo female minijack (3.5mm) output and will output 2.1-volts, which is
enough power to successfully drive most preamplifier input circuits and a wide
range of today's headphones. The DragonFly
Red's 3.5mm output can be used as a Headphone Jack, a Variable Out, or a Fixed
- Headphone Out: DragonFly Red is versatile enough to
drive virtually any headphone on the market today. DragonFly Red can
drive any headphone from 12-ohm impedance on up. DragonFly Red has enough
output to drive even the lowest efficiency headphones.
- Variable Out: DragonFly Red can be used in
"variable" output mode with computer-controlled analog volume control when
connected directly to powered speakers or a power amplifier.
- Fixed Out: Connecting to a traditional preamplifier or
AV receiver, DragonFly Red can be set to a "fixed" output mode by turning
the volume to maximum, allowing it to behave like a CD or Blu-ray player.
LED Indicator: A smart LED indicator behind the DragonFly Red icon shows the resolution of the incoming signal - 44.1kHz (green), 48kHz
(blue), 88.2kHz (amber), and 96kHz (magenta). Red indicates standby mode.
Firmware Software Upgrades: The DragonFly Red is firmware/software upgradeable through a
complimentary Windows PC or Mac OS X desktop application. As new developments
arise in music player applications, streaming protocols, or other associated
software; DragonFly Red users will be able to incorporate those updates to their existing