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AudioQuest DragonFly® Red v1.0

Plug-in USB DAC/headphone amplifier, compatible with Apple® and Android™ mobile devices

27 Reviews

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Our take on the AudioQuest DragonFly® Red v1.0

AudioQuest'sDragonFly DACs have always plugged right into your computer's USB port to deliver an instant audio upgrade. Now with the DragonFly Red, you can also get that same clear, dynamic sound with your Apple or Android mobile devices. The design gurus at AudioQuest not only gave the Red a far more energy-efficient design — ideal for portable use — but they even managed to enhance its performance.

DragonFly Red plugged into a laptop

The tiny DragonFly Red makes an easy, plug-and-play upgrade for your computer-based music listening.

A highly portable upgrade for your music

AudioQuest'sDragonFly DACs have always plugged right into your computer's USB port to deliver an instant audio upgrade. Now with the DragonFly Red, you can also get that same clear, dynamic sound with your Apple or Android mobile devices. The design gurus at AudioQuest not only gave the Red a far more energy-efficient design — ideal for portable use — but they even managed to enhance its performance.

Audioquest Dragonfly red with smartphone

The DragonFly Red's low power consumption makes it a perfect companion for your smartphone or tablet.

Low power consumption

The first thing that AudioQuest did was to give the Red a new high-performance USB microcontroller with greatly reduced power consumption (77% less, to be exact) for true compatibility with mobile devices. The new chip also provides an improved signal-to-noise ratio for quieter operation and cleaner sound. Plus, it enables future software upgrades through AudioQuest's free desktop application.

Improved sound quality

AudioQuest also replaced the DragonFly's original DAC chip with an improved 32-bit ESS Sabre 9016 processor. This high-performance DAC features minimum-phase filtering for exceptionally detailed, dynamic, and natural sound. The 9016 also comes with the latest ESS headphone amplifier and bit-perfect digital volume control on-board. This powerful headphone amp gives even hard-to-drive headphones plenty of volume and punch. The 64-bit digital volume control offers super-precise sound level adjustment with no loss of detail.

Enjoy high-res USB audio

Along with all the sonic benefits the DragonFly provides for your compressed and CD-quality music files, it also decodes high-resolution data streams with up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution, so you can enjoy better-than-CD audio quality. If you download high-res music files from HDtracks and other audiophile sources, this DAC will ensure they sound terrific. The dragonfly-shaped logo on the DAC's exterior even lights up and changes color to verify the resolution of the incoming signal.

Connections and controls

Plug your headphones directly into the DragonFly's stereo mini audio output jack for high-energy private listening. You can also use an optional stereo mini-to-mini cable or mini-to-RCA adapter to feed a line-level signal to a pair of powered speakers, power amplifier, or receiver for more robust, room-filling sound. And although it's operated from your computer screen or mobile device's interface, the DragonFly's bit-perfect digital volume control avoids any reduction in resolution or sound quality that can plague other digital volume controls. These refinements add up to music with a natural solidity and clarity that sounds dramatically better than what you would hear from your computer or smartphone on their own.

Traveling with your laptop and DragonFly?

If you plan on taking your laptop and DragonFly with you (it is highly portable, after all), you'll want to play it safe. AudioQuest's flexible DragonTail USB extender provides strain relief that can protect your computer's USB port if someone bumps into your laptop on a plane or in the coffee shop. The DragonTail also helps take some of the strain off that port when you're plugging in headphones with a heavy cable.

Product Highlights:

  • compatible with Windows® and Mac® computers
  • compatible with iPhone® and iPad®
  • compatible with some Android™ devices
  • 32-bit ESS Sabre™ 9016 digital-to-analog conversion chip with minimum phase filter for detailed, dynamic, and natural-sounding music
  • high-efficiency microcontroller for extremely low power draw
  • high-performance ESS headphone amplifier
  • powered by USB connection — no need for external power supply
  • asynchronous USB data transfer using Wavelength Audio, ltd.'s Streamlength® protocol for reduced timing jitter and better sound
  • offers rendering for MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio files with firmware update
  • 3.5mm stereo minijack provides:
    • headphone output (minimum recommended headphone impedance 12 ohms and higher)
    • variable line-level output for driving powered speakers or power amp
    • fixed line-level output for connecting to a preamp or receiver
  • 64-step, bit-perfect digital volume control (operated via your computer or mobile device)
  • supported sample rates: PCM up to 96kHz native resolution
    • (sample rates above 96kHz will play but are down-converted by your computer or mobile device's playback software)
  • incoming sample rate LED indicator for 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, and 96kHz sampling rates
  • input bit depth: 16 bits, 24 bits
  • output voltage: 2.1 Vrms
  • durable metal construction with red hardshell finish
  • no cables included
  • supported operating systems:
    • Windows® 7, 8.1, and 10
    • Apple OS X® (version 10.6.8 or later)
    • Apple iOS® (5 and newer)
    • Android™ Lollipop OS (and some devices running KitKat OS)
  • 3/4"W x 1/2"H x 2-3/8"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • USB DAC/Preamp/Headphone Amp (protection cap installed)
  • Storage pouch
  • Instruction Booklet
  • Warranty Registration Card
  • HDtracks brochure
  • "roon" brochure

Featured Video:

Puts music back to how it was recorded, like I remember in the old days - before digital. Subtleties in the tone of each instrument come alive. And my ears don't hurt anymore after hours of listening!

Anonymous, Columbus, IN


AudioQuest DragonFly® Red v1.0 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(27 Reviews)

Immediate sound quality upgrade

Vernon from Yukon, OK on 2/11/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Works great and easy to use. Converted my iTunes library to lossless and with the Dragonfy I'm experiencing much higher quality sound through my Seinhieser in ear buds and my Sony overhear noisecancelling headset. The Dragonfly is a great way to start experimenting with upgrading your listening experiment on mobile devices.

Pros: Small profile, color changing Dragonfly shaped light indicts sound definition levels.

Cons: Lightning to usb camera adapters for connecting to Apple devices can be fragile.

AudioQuest DragonFly® Red v1.0

Anonymous from Columbus, IN on 2/8/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Puts music back to how it was recorded, like I remember in the old days - before digital. Subtleties in the tone of each instrument come alive. And my ears don't hurt anymore after hours of listening!

Pros: Portable, can take to the office or use while doing yard work.


Great Sound Upgrade for my Iphone 6S

David from Charlotte, NC on 1/6/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I was up in the air over using my Iphone 6S Plus with the Dragonfly Red or purchasing a Hi Rez Player like the Sony Walkman. I spoke with a Crutchfield Rep and she told me that many of the people at Crutchfield are using the Dragonfly and love it. I have a very critical ear when it comes to distortion or clarity and sound stage. I decided to go with the Dragon fly and I did not have a problem that if I got a DSD it would only play back at 24/96 output to my Headphones no matter if the input was 24/92 or a DSD 2.5mhz. If I did not like it I was told that I could return it. So I loaded the Onkyo HF App on my Iphone and paid the $10 fee to be able to use Hi Rez files. I tent to HD Tracks and Sound Accoustics and found a few albums that I owned on CD but was not crazy with the sound. He HF Player App has an equalizer and I purchased a High Rez Album with test tones and calibrated my sound so that all frequencies were basically the same volume in my head. I found this worked better with my Vmoda Headphones than setting up a custom equalization for each album. The results are amazing. I never heard music that the instruments were so clearly defined and it seemed that the music stage was not only wide but it had depth to it also. This thing not only made Hi Rez music sound good but regular Itune music was greatly improved. The bass on Michael Jackson's Thriller is very tight and punchy. I love this little DAC and it can play my Vmoda headphones louder than I can stand.

Pros: Sounds great on all types of music from Rock to Classical Excellent amp that can really drive my Vmoda M100 Headphones Works great on my Iphone with the Onkyo HF Player App.

Cons: Have to purchase the Apple Lightning 3.0 Camera Adapter. It is the more expensive adapter but the 2.0 adapter will not work with the Dragonfly. Good thing is you can charge and listen at the same time with the adapter.

AudioQuest DragonFly® Red v1.0

Mieciu from Wayne, NJ on 1/3/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Spotify > IPhone 6s + Lighting adapter USB + DragonFly Red connected to my Integrated Amp = awesome listening experience. This little device is just great. Not only when listening via headphones, but also when connected to any other device.

Pros: Makes portable and stationary music sound better.

Cons: Expensive

Still deciding

Philip from San Antonio TX on 12/7/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

So I've only had this a week and is my first foray into standalone DACs. It definitely makes my music sound better; the bass is less muddy, the instruments are more distinct and further apart, and the vocals are clear. I am undecided whether the enhancement was worth the price.

Pros: Makes music off my computer sound better

Cons: Expensive

Quality Upgrade

Ivory from Humble, TX on 11/20/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This Pocket Dac takes headphones to a different dimension. It amplifies and broaden the sound stage

Pros: Great Product.

Cons: Cost

Upgrade your music on the go.

Gordon from Gaithersburg, MD on 8/14/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

A tremendous upgrade from the IPhone 7 DAC in the Apple headphones or the adaptor that comes with the phone. Give it some well recorded and uncompressed tracks and enjoy.

Pros: Great sound quality Great form factor

Cons: Uses IPhone power a little quickly. Have extra power pack for long trips.

Finally snuck this one past my wife

Scott from Chicago, IL on 6/19/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Beautiful device. Took 5 seconds to set up, literally. Red takes the harsh edges off my music from my iPhone 6. Forcing me to switch from wireless Klipsch headphones to corded ones, but no big deal there. From the second Red lights up, you will love it.

Pros: Elegant, magnificent sound, rich and mellow

Cons: Different connections for car, headphones

Great Sound until Static Arrives

Art from New York on 6/9/2017

I purchased this product based on the reviews and feedback. I was extremely pleased with the sound right out of the box. However, when playing iTunes music via a MAC PRO (2014) static starts to creep up and then disappear. If I am working the mac do low level work loads this seems to happen a few times within the hour. When playing youtube music or music - it will get very static or digitalized robin sounds more often than not, so much so I need to by pass. I reached out to Audio Quest and then did send me a new Dragon Fly, but it still happens. All in all it has a great sound, but gets annoying with the static. I don't have another type of computer but I can't believe it's processing power on a MAC PRO.

Pros: Great Sound!

Cons: Not consistent

What a difference a DAC makes

Alan from Illinois on 6/6/2017

I purchased a Dragonfly Red to see if it would improve the sound of my Definitive Technology Incline active computer speakers and to see if an MQA capably DAC would make a difference in streaming from Tidal. The Incline speakers have a built in DAC and I thought that they sounded pretty good on their own. The Dragonfly Red made a significant improvement. Every source that I play from my iMac sounds much more clear. I listen to a lot while I work, and I am hearing detail in from that low resolution stream that I never heard before. With the Dragonfly Red, I can hear more detail at lower volume levels from any source, which is great for when I am working. The clarity that I get from the Dragonfly Red also makes it much more pleasant to play the speakers at higher volume. The sound quality while listening music streamed from Tidal is also much improved. The Dragonfly Red really makes well recorded MQA master recordings shine. Some MQA master recordings, however, don't sound any better than the CD quality HIFI recordings. From my short time listening to streamed MQA music, I think that MQA is a worthwhile technology. It would be nice if there were more high quality music available.

Pros: Sounds great Great bang for the buck

Cons: None

Simple choice

Jack from Glen Rose, TX on 3/17/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

For plug n' play ease, there's no better choice.

Pros: ease of use, clear sound. Great through all ranges.

Cons: I'm thinking,....

AudioQuest DragonFly® Red v1.0

Anonymous from Silver Spring, MD on 3/13/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Major fidelity improvement when listening to the likes of Amazon music on my I-Phone. Sound goes from tinny to almost as good as my CD to I-Phone music. The Dragonfly also allows me to listen to XM radio on my old Tivoli Model 2 radio system. The Dragonfly improves the quality I-Phone XM music delivery delivered though my vintage stereo, but on that large sound stage the tiny DAC's limits are clear



Wow...hard to describe in words.

Vin from Ontario, OR on 2/25/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I recently wrote a review stating I liked the Audioquest Black better than the Red. I have to admit, I take it back. Running the Red on an S5 with kit Kat required downloading the USB player pro app from the play store. No problem, but it wasn'the very loud at all. Disappointed, I thought the Black was better because of volume level (it played much louder). Then I discovered you could turn up the hardware volume in settings on the USB player pro.....what a difference! Wide Soundstage, excellent midrange depth, deep bass, clear and accurate highs. I used a pair of Sennheiser HD598's, whose impedance isn't very high, and I got to truly hear what these headphones could do. I was astounded at the sound quality when paired with the Dragonfly Red on my Galaxy S5. Now, I have an S7, too. It is plug and play with most USB DACS. Unfortunately, there is no way I could find to turn the volume up using the Samsung music player, so I will no doubt be buying the USB player pro for my S7 to be able to turn the volume up past what the Android software allows you to do. Also, the USB player pro app doesn't update your Playlist if you make changes, just whatever you have for Playlists when you first install the app. Now there may be a way around that, but I don't know how. And the Red sounds great on a PC, but I prefer the sound on my phone to that of my laptop. I hope this review helps people as this product is a wonderful upgrade in sound. Thanks, Crutchfield!

Pros: Excellent sound quality, works well with cell phones and computers, strong headphone amplifier when you are able to tap into it's full potential, great build quality.

Cons: Requires the USB player pro for Android to really put the headphone amplifier to good use, USB on the go adapter (required for playback through Android phones) can be a little cumbersome at times, otherwise an amazing product!

DragonFly Red really performs

Richard from Channing, Mi on 2/10/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Got the Dragonfly Red today and tested it on my I-pad Air and I-Phone SE. The reviews are correct, huge improvement. Much more detail. I connected it to my reference system, Martin Logan SL3 electrostats and a fully restored Harman Kardon Citation II tube amp built by the master Jim McShane. Wow, this thing images and presents a soundstage that competes with my vinyl library. I'm stunned. OK, I have one complaint, which I've forwarded to Crutchfield. Their website recommends the Apple lightening to USB camera connector, which they show on the website with a link, so I ordered it. My unit was defected, the connector crackled when it moved. No problem, making arrangements to refund as Crutchfield has great customer service. Thats not the big problem: when I opened the Dragonfly there is a pamplet supplied by Audioquest that carefully explains their recommendation for the connecting adaptor. It says, "To connect DragonFly Black or DragonFly Red to any Applie iOS device, we highly recommend Apple's Lightning-to-USB 3 Camera Adaptor. This device sounds better and is more reliable in this application than Apple's slightly less expensive LIghtning to USB 2.0 Camera Adaptor, while it also adds the ability to charge your iOS device during playback." So I don't understand why Crutchfield recommends and links to the old adaptor no longer recommended by Audioquest. They don't offer the USB-3 so I've ordered one direct from Apple, its only $10 more and allows charging.

Pros: Audiophile detail, ability to drive my larger Sennheiser HD 600 headphones with authority, simplicity, and I can now use my Apple products to feed my reference system.

Cons: Crutchfield is recommending an older Apple Lightening to USB Camera adaptor that Audioquest (Dragonfly parent co) no longer recommends using. The send a pamplet with the DragonFly that strongly recommends using the Apple LIghtening-to USB-3 Camera Adaptor, indicating is sounds better and is more reliable and allows charging while in use. Crutchfield does not offer this. They need to offer it and update their website description to reflect the better adaptor recommended by the manufacturer.

AudioQuest DragonFly® Red v1.0

Anonymous from Wallingford, CT on 1/31/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I'm impressed. Seems well made (metal), made mostly in America, manufacturer's website is packed with info, and I did notice a fairly decent deference when using on my ipod touch. Previously to using DragonFly Red, I just used the 3.5mm headphone out to a Monster Cable rca adapter and it was OK, nothing great. Now I use the Red from the lightning jack out directly into rca terminals on the amp. There is a nice improvement in the music quality. But, dont forget its still an ipod. Nothing beats a traditional stereo system set-up. I get my best sound with my awesome CD player hooked up to my awesome preamp/amp set-up. So in conclusion, I would recommend DragonFly Red for all you ipod touch users. That one guy who gave Red 1 star because it wouldn't work with his android? Why aren't you using Apple? There is no reason not to. Androids should only be found in Star Wars movies.



Buy it and enjoy the look

David from New York on 1/13/2017

Amazing! You really need to hear it to appreciate it. Its similar to explaining how incredible Bose speakers are and the sound quality from a tiny little box. Its hard to write and speaks for itself in person.

Pros: Quality is amazing Compact Simple

Cons: none

Great little audio upgrade!!

Mark from Westminster, CO on 12/23/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great product, makes a world of difference for nearly all music resources. Simple to use, great form factor.

Pros: Sounds great, great form factor, easy to use.

Cons: Easy to lose if you are not careful, not really a con but would stink to lose!

AudioQuest DragonFly® Red v1.0

Anonymous from Rancho Cucamonga CA on 11/29/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Unable to use dragonfly red with android 4.4.2 and 6.0.1



Crutchfield response on 12/8/2016 One of our Tech Support Specialists reached out to diagnose the problem with the DragonFly and this customer's Android phone. It's part of the lifetime tech support you get when you purchase from Crutchfield.

AudioQuest DragonFly® Red v1.0

Bill T from Daytona Beach, FL on 9/13/2016

A noticeable difference in audio quality with the dragonfly. It's nice to have the extra c;clarity of sound with this device. I could pick out some bass notes I'd never heard before. Also vocals were clearer.

Pros: Small, Simple to use. Performs as advertised.

Cons: The cables or devices to connect it to a Mac, iPad and iPhone make the setup a bit messy.

Amazing Sound

Dinero B from Honolulu, HI on 8/25/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I don't usually give a product review, but the enjoyment that this particular item has been giving me, made me do it. For the size, it gives out a phenomenal sound quality that you would expect from a more bigger DAC box. Overall quality is amazing, solidly built & a very nice glossy finish. Amazing clarity & the bass is awesome. I would definitely recommend this product!

Pros: Phenomenal sound for its size.

Cons: None.

AudioQuest DragonFly® Red v1.0

Anonymous from Hermitage, TN on 8/16/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The difference this little device makes is amazing. Used it on both my PC and laptop, with my Klipsch computer speakers and with my HiFiMan headphones. The clarity, detail and richness is stunning. Great device at a great price.



Sounds Great!

William P. from Millersville, MD on 8/3/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Definitely improves the sound of my iTunes music!



Love this HD audio device

George S from Raleigh, NC on 7/26/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I just love this DAC! I had been using the DragonFly Black version 1.2 since December 2015. The DragonFly Black is also a great product. But the new Red version has a capability the Black version 1.2 does not: it works with mobile devices. For me this is huge! Now I can enjoy my HD music on my iPhone 6. I am using the Onkyo HF player app on my iPhone to play my HD music. And all DragonFlys also work great on laptops. On my MacBook Pro, I use Audirvana Plus app to play my HD music. And either way you use the DragonFly, smart phone or computer, you can play your digital music on an amplified speaker setup. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars on a DAC...the DragonFly is an excellent way to enjoy HD music.

Pros: Cost, easy installation, plug and play use

Cons: None...this is a really great product.

I hesitated spending $200 bucks on a dongle......

Frank from NY on 7/20/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

but the difference is stunning. This thing just opens up the sound, separation and overall quality of the music coming out of the computer. Hard to pinpoint it exactly, but it adds depth, warmth and makes the music so much more listenable. I was using a pair of Grado 80s plugged into a MacBook Pro, and was really having a hard time listening to anything -mostly streaming radio, but some mp3s- for any length of time. This gadget has completely changed that- It's amazing how lame the built in DACs in devices are, and we just forget how music is supposed to sound.....Road testing in with The Jayhawks new album, and Bombino's new album "Azul"- Can't wait to also try this on some music mixes with a pair of Audio Technica 50s- headphones I use for recording and mixing- I'm sure this will help. Worth taking the risk -even though it was a little pricey, can't see myself returning it........and I can't see listening to music through the computer's stock DAC again..... Thanks Brit for nudging me over the edge.

Pros: Really great sound- depth, detail, warmth, and overall tone. Very portable- can even be used on an iPhone with an adapter-

Cons: Small, probably easy to lose, but worth the risk.

All I can say is "WOW!"

Claude from Centreville, VA on 6/30/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great small Headphone amp and DAC for portable use. I'm using this with my iphone 6 and mid level Sony ear buds as well as a higher end pair of over the ear Sony cans. It's made an improvement on Pandora/Apple Music/downloaded music from itunes/ripped CD's/HDTRACKS. The sound is clearer and better defined. Bass is tight. Mids are sharper. Highs sound real. I also bought and downloaded the Onkyo HF player from the App store to mainly try out hires music. Got sample tracks from HDTRACKS. The sound is amazing. Love how small it is for portability. Highly recommended. If you don't want to spend as much, the Black version should sound nearly the same, but it may have trouble driving less efficient headphones. It's a steal at it's price. No problem with volume on the iphone.

Pros: Sounds fantastic. Big improvement over the built in dAC and headphone amp on the iphone 6 Great portability factor.

Cons: Small footprint could result in misplacement.

A beautifully packaged gimmick

Stewart from Frederick, MD on 6/23/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I purchased this and I couldn't use the dragonfly tail that I purchased with it. The only way I could rig this was to remove the cellphone case from my phone. Once removed and all rigged up...the volume was lower then just plugging directly into the 3.5mm headphone jack that's built into the phone. Volume would only increase to 1/2 of what it is using the 3.5mm headphone jack, in fact the Bluetooth volume was louder then this.

Pros: none.

Cons: all

Highly Recommended!

John from Northampton, PA on 5/17/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I previously utilized the DragonFly 1.2 with the Audioquest Jitterbug with my MacBook Pro. I connected the Dragonfly 1.2 using an Audioquest Golden Gate analog interconnect and running it into a pair of Audioengine A5+'s and a Audioengine S8 sub. I was very happy with this setup. When I purchased the DragonFly Red v1.0 and replaced the 1.2 DAC with the Red, I noticed an audible difference that was more analog in nature. This reminded me of listening to analog recordings that I listened to growing up. I definitely recommend this product if you are looking to upgrade your computer audio experience.

Pros: More cohesive sound in music listening; more details in the overall sound production.

Cons: Price


Hands-on research

Product Research


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 while connected.
  • 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 applications).
  • 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, 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 volume setting.

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 Output.

  • 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 devices.

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