AudioQuest Dragonfly Red USB DAC/AMP - Official Thread

What Closed HP would you recommend as opposed to the HD1? I use this at night in bed so I don’t disturb my wife.

For normal critical listening I use the HD650 connected to my Benchmark DAC 3.

I also have a T90 which I am selling as I prefer the 650.

I use a DT880 600 ohm for mixing.

I like the Sennheiser sound but not sure what other closed HP they offer better than the HD1 except the 820.

No doubt! I Love my Fiio X5 3rd Gen . I never got the hiss with my iSine 20s .

All this discussion of the Red. I’m pretty happy with my Black and Jitterbug, which I bought for the form factor, and need for an entry-level DAC to pair with iPhone. I went with the Black because I was concerned about power draw for the times that I use the older Apple Camera card and no external power.

Most users do rave about the Red, and I’ve wondered if it’s worth switching. Been using Black for about a year and have not had any power issues on my iPhone 6+. I also use the Black on a few different PCs - sounds far better than most sound cards - although my Sager laptop has a high end audio card that comes close.

If using with a noisy computer I find at least one Jitterbug to be invaluable to showcasing the DF in it’s best light. So much so that if an in-store audition isn’t possible I will offer a full refund to the customer if they end up not finding the JB worthwhile. Haven’t had a single JB come back on me yet :crossed_fingers:

I have a Dragonfly Black on it’s way, with the intent that I’ll compare it (and review it) directly against my Dragonfly Red. I’ll link that review here when it’s done, and can’t comment on their relative differences ahead of having both together.

However, in anticipation of that I just switched the Focal Clear I’m listening to at the moment from the RME ADI-2 DAC over to the AudioQuest Dragonfly Red. The DFR/Clear pairing remains quite satisfying. No, it doesn’t have the resolution, tone, dynamics or the same level of emotional “grab” of the RME/Focal combination, but it doesn’t seem to be selling the Focal Clear so short that they’re not still a thoroughly engrossing listen, either.

And with the Clear the volume levels available are ear-bleeding. Switch to something like the Sennheiser HD650 or the Massdrop HD6XX and absolute volume levels might be an issue for those that like to listen very loud.


The Dragonfly Red is a great piece of kit. I haven’t used mine in a while. I tried hooking it up last night but unfortunately I have updated my iPod (why???) and now my official Apple Camera Connection OTG cable doesn’t work. Bugger. Surely I will be able to roll back the update?


I’ve heard of that problem with the old Apple Camera Connection (version 2) that does not have the auxillary power port. I’ve not heard of that problem with the version 3 card, which is unfortunately larger.

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It’s the version 3 that I have the larger one with two slots. One usb and one lightning slot.


It’s unlikely.

Once an iOS firmware update has been out for long enough to verify there are no critical issues (usually about 30 days), Apple stop signing the prior version. Once they do that, you can’t roll back.

So unless it was a very recent (last 30 days) update to a just-released firmware, you’re probably stuck on the version you have.

It may simply be that you need to update the firmware on the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter.

To do that, restart the iPod with nothing connected to it. Make sure it is connected to WiFi and can reach the internet. Then plug the adapter into the iPod without anything else connected to the adapter.

If a firmware update is available, you should be prompted to install it. Might take thirty seconds to pop up after you connect the adapter. And you can check manually via Settings | General and look at the attached adapter’s information there.

Note, depending on what version of iOS you’re current running on the iPod you may have to bring that as current as possible first - particularly if it’s a version that predates the accessory update capability.


Ah thanks for explaining. I will try you’re suggestion and I do hope it works. Thank you very much.


Sorted. I am an idiot I have done this before and I haven’t realised. I had my Dragonfly Ted plugged in when the error message occurred. As you said removing it and restarting with just the adapter started the update process. Again thanks for the rescue.



With the Dragonfly Red, I do wish AudioQuest would step up with some of the competition out there in regards to dongles.

While I don’t like most Ultrasone products (their house sound just isn’t my thing), their little Naos DAC/AMP comes with a micro USB, lightning, USB C and USB A dongles. All short and easy to manage. Would love to see the same from AudioQuest down the line.


Agreed. It is far from ideal to have to mess about with the adapters. For a start the genuine Apple adapters are expensive for what they are. Secondly I too think that they could have come up with a better solution by now. It’s a great product and I am certain that it’s put off more than a few buyers they would have otherwise snagged.

However I am unable to offer any answers regarding a better option. But that’s why we pay a premium for these products because that’s they’re supposed to pay the designers to do.


Being that AQ is a cable company it doesn’t make decent business sense to package these accessories with the DF. If you want them you can purchase from AQ. Not saying I agree, just that it’s easy to understand : )

Hi, I’m currently using the Dragonfly Red DAC and iPhone with excellent results and I recently unboxed an old iPod Video 5th Generation I had in storage.

My question is: Is there a way to use the Dragonfly Red DAC with the iPod Video 5th Gen? I would like to expand the storage on the iPod with modern Flash memory and a new battery and would like to use the Dragonfly Red with it.

Is this possible? What connectors would be required?



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Hi Gabriel, I love the Dragonfly Red too. Though I am unable to offer advice to you regarding your predicament I am sure one of the guys will help. @Torq is a wealth of information as are lots of others. Hope you get a solution soon.

Good luck with your project. Before spending too much actual money on it, I would get an Apple Camera Card version 3 (the wide version) to test. I have both version 2 and 3. The version 2 is smaller, but lacks a pass-through power connector. As the Dragonfly Red is about the maximum power draw you can safely use, and you presently have an old battery, the extra size for a free lightning connector while using the Dragonfly would be worth it.

The compatibility for the camera cards does not show any iPods It does show an iPhone 5, however.
Years ago there was a version one “ipod camera card” which does not seem to be available now. See this MacWorld article.

This older version seems to be very spotty when trying to read things other than photos, but it is the only version I know which specifically lists iPod (not iPad or iPhone) compatibility.

If you can’t get an apple camera card to work (plain Lightning to USB will NOT NOT NOT work) then I would think you are out of luck with the Dragonfly Red. The only way to connect a DAC would probably be Bluetooth and for decent quality the DAC would need to support the AAC codec.

These support articles may be of use. Gives instructions for using the cards and required versions of iOS.


Thank you so much for the detailed response!

Great Forum Here.

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Thank You!


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You’re welcome. Anything for the author of Cien Años de Soledad — oh wait. Different Gabriel Garcia. (Marquez).