Audioquest DragonFly RED Portable USB DAC
Audioquest DragonFly RED Portable USB DAC
- USB Stick-Sized Digital-to-Analog Converter
- Plays all music files: MP3 to 24/96 high-res
- Compatible with Apple and Windows PCs, as well as iOS and most Android mobile devices (requires Apple Camera Adapter or Made for Android/OTG adaptor)
- Drives headphones directly
- Fixed output feeds preamp or AV receiver
- Asynchronous transfer ensures digital timing integrity
- High output (2.1 volts) drives almost all headphones, including power-hungry models
- 32-bit ESS 9016 DAC with minimum-phase filter
- Bit-perfect digital volume control
Launched in 2012, press and public alike have enthusiastically embraced AudioQuest’s multi-award-winning DragonFly USB digital-to-analog converter/preamp/headphone amp as the rare audio product that bridges the gap between die-hard audiophiles and mainstream music lovers. DragonFly plugs into a computer’s USB port to bypass the computer’s compromised audio circuitry and deliver cleaner, clearer, more naturally beautiful sound to headphones, powered speakers, and complete audio systems. Small, affordable, easy to use, and remarkably effective, DragonFly was named Stereophile’s 2012 “Computer Audio Component of the Year” and 2012 “Budget Component of the Year;” Tone Audio’s 2012 “Digital Product of the Year;” Computer Audiophile’s 2012 “Computer Audiophile Product of the Year;” AudioStream’s “Greatest Bits;” and What Hi-Fi?’s 2014 “Product of the Year.” Perhaps most memorably, DigitalAudioReview.net’s John Darko quipped: “A DAC with the DragonFly’s performance at the DragonFly’s price point is as rare as rocking horse sh*t.” We couldn’t have said it better.
The Next Generation: DragonFly Black & DragonFly Red
While the original DragonFly defined the market for micro-DACs, its USB power draw made it compatible with computers only. Music lovers have craved a more portable version—one that could be reliably used with Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. We’re delighted to present two new options that do just that: DragonFly Black and DragonFly Red. Convenience and performance are no longer mutually exclusive. With DragonFly Black and Red, any computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone can be used as a true high-fidelity music player, allowing music lovers to enjoy beautiful sound wherever they go, whenever they please.
AudioQuest, Gordon Rankin, and Microchip: A Beautiful Partnership
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 and Android smartphones and tablets. Further, we simply cannot overstate the significance of Gordon Rankin’s contributions to AudioQuest. The new DragonFly models embody many of Gordon’s most innovative, creative, and elegant digital-audio solutions to date.
Improved 32-Bit Digital Performance
For greater overall performance, the new DragonFly models also incorporate improved 32-bit ESS Sabre DAC chips—the 9010 in Black and the higher-performance 9016 in Red—both of which employ minimum-phase filtering for naturally detailed, more authentic sound. While DragonFly Black uses the same high-quality headphone amp and analog volume control found in DragonFly v1.2, DragonFly Red includes the latest ESS headphone amp and a bit-perfect digital volume control that resides on the 9016 DAC chip itself—a sophisticated implementation that ensures maximum fidelity, dynamic contrast, and signal-to-noise ratio. DragonFly Black will output 1.2 volts—enough power to successfully drive all preamplifier input circuits and a wide range of today’s efficient headphones. Meanwhile, with its higher 2.1-volt output, DragonFly Red will be compatible with a wider range of headphones, including power-hungry, low-efficiency models. While the DAC chips we’ve selected are remarkably powerful and sophisticated, we’ve intentionally limited DragonFly Black and DragonFly Red’s processing capabilities to 24-bit/96kHz resolution. This makes using the DragonFlys as simple as it’s always been: they’re fully compatible with PCs without having to download and install new drivers. Most importantly, DragonFly is designed to honor the music you already own and love. Whether you’re listening to Spotify, YouTube, Tidal, ripped CDs, or state-of-the-art high-resolution files, DragonFly will deliver a more emotionally compelling and enjoyable experience.
Free Desktop Application for Software Upgradability
The DragonFly Black and Red are software upgradeable through a complimentary Windows or OS X Desktop Application. As new developments arise in music player applications, streaming protocols, or other associated software, DragonFly users are now able to incorporate those updates to their existing devices.
MQA for DragonFly is Here!
Owners of AudioQuest DragonFly Black and DragonFly Red USB DACs can now update their devices to firmware version 1.06 which includes support for MQA rendering and optimizations for use with Android devices.
Updating your DragonFly Black or Red is fast and easy. The update along with instructions and other info can be found here.
For FAQs related to MQA playback on DragonFly, click here.
For more news about MQA and DragonFly, click here
Red Automotive Finish With Gold Lettering, Protective End-Cap, Leatherette Travel Pouch
Up to 24-bit / 96kHz
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.
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 upgradibility (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 of the original Dragonfly, 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 onboard volume.
Windows 7 / 8.1 / 10; Apple OS X; Linux (no support provided)
Yes: Apple iOS (5 and newer); Android 4.1 and newer* For Android devices, see owner's manual.