amazon AudioQuest DragonFly Red reviews
Eight years ago, AudioQuest pioneered dedicated DAC chips that only appeared on desktop DACs/AMPs onto an ultra-compact USB DAC called DragonFly.
Experiencing many upgraded versions, the world’s audio players are currently using the DragonFly Black & DragonFly Red version – the more advanced version. This article will learn about the DragonFly Red model to understand why this is the legendary USB DAC / AMP.
QUALITY FINISHING AND DESIGN
AudioQuest DragonFly Red has a design that doesn’t feel like a USB Flash storage device but is decorated in a more eye-catching and luxurious way. The frame is made from aluminum and is finished with shiny red emulsion paint.
The only task of AudioQuest DragonFly Red is to plug in and play music, so there are absolutely no redundant buttons on the body. The front of the device has the legendary dragonfly logo that will glow when plugged into the source. The light color will change depending on the quality of the music file.
88.2kHz (Orange Yellow)
96kHz (Dark Red)
The gold-plated USB connector is very thick and sturdy. However, the cover is only made of plastic.
The connection port on the Dragonfly Red is very simple. Input is a USB-A port, and audio output is a standard 3.5mm port, without a 2.5mm Balanced port. Very similar to a pure DAC when the company does not equip any physical buttons to adjust the output power.
At this point, some of you will wonder, “Is it possible to spend nearly $230 to get this?”. It would help if you remembered that this DAC/AMP Dragonfly Red had been around for more than eight years, from 2012 until now, and at that time, the 2.5mm port was not as popular as it is today. The strength of AudioQuest DragonFly Red comes from the ability to process sound, which has been proven over time.
DAC chip: 32-bit ESS ES9016 with phase filter to minimize roll-off.
AMP chip: ESS Saber 9601
Sampling Frequency: 24-bit / 96kHz
Output power: 2.1 V
Information of 3 rings : 12mm (h) x 19mm (w) x 62mm (l)
AUDIOQUEST DRAGONFLY RED has a clean and quiet background sound. Background boiling does not appear even when plugged in with highly sensitive IEM headsets like Campfire Solaris. It is much cleaner than the background sound of Dragonfly Black.
Despite its modest size, the output of this portable DAC / AMP is very impressive. Tested on Sennheiser HD650 with an impedance of up to 300 Ohm, it is surprising that this AudioQuest DragonFly Red “weighs” the HD650 very well. Bass hits with force and loud volume at 70-80%.
Due to its long launch, AudioQuest DragonFly Red is equipped with an ESS ES9016 chip that only supports 24-bit/96kHz PCM and MQA decoding. This configuration is not too strong compared to many of today’s portable DACs/AMPs when most can handle higher formats like 32-bit/384kHz or DSD. However, the sound quality of AudioQuest DragonFly Red is what deserves our attention.
AudioQuest DragonFly Red’s signature sound is warm, playful, and energetic.
The bass range on “AudioQuest DragonFly Red” is very compact, detailed, and highly dynamic. The ability to handle the bass range is very good, neat; the response speed is very fast and accurate, the body’s feeling and the layer thickness are quite good. The experience of long bass on this AudioQuest DragonFly Red is quite interesting.
AudioQuest’s great strengths on this portable DAC/AMP are imagery, layer thickness, and clarity are the great strengths brought by AudioQuest on this portable DAC/AMP. Vocals are blended into the orchestra in the background, but they are still clearer and recognizable. Excellent detail, much warmer than the junior black dragonfly.
The treble on Dragonfly Red is stretched, detailed, airy, full of energy, but still sweet and not harsh, not overdone. The high band is extended, very smooth, and attractive. This AudioQuest DragonFly Red shows a very clean high range.
Thanks to separating the instrument layers, this portable DAC/AMP does a great job of providing a fairly airy soundstage, not exactly spacious but very interesting. Not boring when compared to other DACs/ Other portable AMPs in the same range give them a very balanced tonal color, Contrary to the flat tones found on many other models.
COMPARISON WITH OTHER MOBILE DAC/AMPS
In terms of sound, I can confirm that this AudioQuest DragonFly Red can eat out most other portable DACs/AMPs in the same price range. That is understandable when the sound quality of this “AudioQuest DragonFly Red” has been verified by all audiophiles worldwide, once making a storm in the community. It can be said that, up to now, it still has a certain place in the world audio village.
In terms of functionality, maybe this DAC / AMP is a bit “outdated” when it equips us with very few output ports such as 4.4mm, 2.5mm, or inputs such as Lightning or USB-C ports, joystick cluster. What has been equipped with most of the DAC / AMP from the popular segment is available. However, suppose you want more input ports like Lightning or USB-C. In that case, the company retails a kit called DragonTail that includes Type-A, Micro, and Type-C ports for $29.99 each, especially for iOS devices; you have to buy the AppleCamera port for about $60. It can be said that this is the biggest minus point on this DAC/AMP.
In summary, AudioQuest DragonFly Red is still a monument even though it has been released for nearly ten years. Their sound quality and reliability are key factors that make it difficult for newer DAC/AMP models to shake this legend.
where can you get a AudioQuest DragonFly Red online
AudioQuest – DragonFly Red USB DAC/Headphone Amplifier: Buy it now
Audioquest – Dragonfly RED – USB Stick DAC and DragonTail (For Android Devices) Bundle: Buy it now
AudioQuest Dragonfly Red v1.0 USB DAC with Jitterbug USB Data and Power Noise Filter Package with Dragontail USB 2.0 Extender for Android: Buy it now
AudioQuest Dragonfly Red USB DAC/Headphone Amplifier Bundle with iiFi Ear Buddy Audio Attenuator Cable for 3.5mm Headphones & IEMs, Blucoil USB-A Mini Hub, and 3-FT USB 2.0 Type-A Extension Cable: Buy it now
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