I had the opportunity to review the original AudioQuest DragonFly USB digital converter back in 2012. Recently, I had the chance to explore the latest offerings from the DragonFly series, specifically the Black ($99, £89, AU$160) and the Red ($199, £169, AU$320). The Black maintains a similar appearance to the older model, while the Red sports a sleek red metallic finish.

AudioQuest, in collaboration with DragonFly designer Gordon Rankin and Microchip Technology, introduced a new USB microcontroller for the latest DragonFly models. This new microcontroller boasts improved signal-to-noise ratio and reduced battery power consumption compared to its predecessors. It ensures compatibility with various devices ranging from Apple and Android smartphones and tablets to laptops and computers. By bypassing internal digital converters and headphone amplifiers, DragonFly enhances sound quality significantly.

Both the Black and Red DragonFly models feature enhanced 32-bit ESS Sabre digital converters capable of handling up to 96 kHz/24-bit files. The LED on the DragonFly changes color based on the music’s sample rate, providing a visual indicator for users.

The DragonFly Black offers up to 1.2 volts of output power, suitable for a range of headphones and audio equipment. On the other hand, the Red model provides 2.1 volts of output power, catering to a broader selection of headphones, including power-hungry models.

An interesting feature of the DragonFly Black and Red is their software upgradeability through desktop applications on Windows or OS X. This ensures that users can integrate future streaming protocol developments and software updates seamlessly.

I tested the DragonFly Black with various headphones and observed a noticeable improvement in clarity and tonal balance compared to its predecessors. The DragonFly Red further elevated the listening experience, particularly with high-quality headphones like the Audeze Sine.

In conclusion, AudioQuest’s DragonFly Black and Red models offer audiophiles a cost-effective solution for enhancing their sound experience. Whether you are a music enthusiast or a seasoned audiophile, these devices provide a significant improvement in sound quality without breaking the bank.

FAQs

  1. What are the key features of the AudioQuest DragonFly Black and Red models?

    • The DragonFly Black and Red models feature enhanced 32-bit ESS Sabre digital converters, improved signal-to-noise ratio, and compatibility with various devices.
  2. How do the DragonFly models enhance sound quality?

    • By bypassing internal digital converters and headphone amplifiers, DragonFly ensures a superior listening experience with increased clarity and tonal balance.
  3. Are the DragonFly Black and Red models compatible with smartphones and tablets?

    • Yes, both models are compatible with Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, making them versatile audio solutions.
  4. Can the DragonFly models be upgraded in the future?

    • Yes, users can upgrade the DragonFly Black and Red models through desktop applications, allowing for seamless integration of future software updates.
  5. What is the output power of the DragonFly Black and Red models?

    • The DragonFly Black offers 1.2 volts of output power, while the Red model provides 2.1 volts, catering to a wide range of headphones and audio equipment.
  6. How does the LED on the DragonFly indicate sample rate?

    • The LED changes color to indicate the sample rate of the music being played, with each color corresponding to a specific sample rate.
  7. What sets the DragonFly Red apart from the DragonFly Black?

    • The DragonFly Red offers higher output power and compatibility with a wider range of headphones, delivering an elevated listening experience.
  8. What kind of software updates can users expect for the DragonFly models?

    • Users can anticipate software updates that incorporate new streaming protocols and features, ensuring their devices remain up-to-date with the latest advancements.
  9. What headphones are recommended for use with the DragonFly Black and Red models?

    • The DragonFly Black and Red models work well with a variety of headphones, from efficient models to power-hungry high-end options.
  10. How does the DragonFly Red compare to other USB converters in terms of sound quality?

    • The DragonFly Red surpasses other USB converters like the Apogee Groove in terms of clarity and transparency, providing a more dynamic and engaging listening experience.
  11. Can the DragonFly models drive challenging headphones effectively?

    • Yes, the DragonFly models can drive challenging headphones like the Hifiman HE400, offering sufficient power and clarity for an immersive listening experience.
  12. What is the overall recommendation for the AudioQuest DragonFly Black and Red models?

    • The DragonFly Black and Red models come highly recommended for audiophiles looking to elevate their sound quality without a hefty price tag.

Summary

In summary, the AudioQuest DragonFly Black and Red models represent a significant advancement in USB digital converters, offering enhanced sound quality, compatibility with various devices, and upgradability for future developments. With improved signal-to-noise ratio, upgraded digital converters, and intuitive LED indicators, these models provide audiophiles with a budget-friendly solution to elevate their listening experience. Whether you are a seasoned audiophile or a music enthusiast, the DragonFly Black and Red models are a compelling choice for achieving superior sound quality and clarity. Experience the difference with AudioQuest’s DragonFly series and take your audio experience to new heights.

For more information and to enhance your audio experience, visit our website to explore the AudioQuest DragonFly Black and Red models today!