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AudioQuest DragonFly Red USB digital to analogue converter grade 2 (not new) - £99.99 free delivery at AV online
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AudioQuest DragonFly Red USB digital to analogue converter grade 2 (not new) - £99.99 free delivery at AV online

£99.99£13526% Free P&P FreeAudioVisual Online Deals
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Posted 10th Apr

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3439303.jpg
AudioQuest DragonFly Red Features


  • 3439303.jpgUSB stick-sized digital-to-analogue converter
  • 3439303.jpgPlays all music files: MP3 to high-res
  • 3439303.jpgCompatible with Apple and Windows PCs, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices (requires Apple camera adapter or made for Android/OTG adaptor)
  • 3439303.jpgDrives headphones directly
  • 3439303.jpgFixed output feeds preamp or AV receiver
  • 3439303.jpgAsynchronous transfer ensures digital timing integrity
  • 3439303.jpgHigh output (2.1 volts) drives almost all headphones, including power-hungry models
  • 3439303.jpg32-bit ESS 9016 DAC with minimum-phase filter
  • 3439303.jpgBit-perfect digital volume control
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Wow! about £30 of parts here for a lowly sum of £100, remember What HI*FI? are the 'experts' that can hear the difference between optical cables.
Like many 'audiophile' products, this is a complete and utter rip-off. Here are the distortion measurements for the Dragonfly Red:

40377176-pl1HU.jpg

And here are the measurements for the Apple USB-C dongle (US version A2049) which costs a tenth of the price:

40377176-GrjWq.jpg
The graph at the top-right of each image should ideally just show the test signal spike at the 1k (Hz) frequency - anything else is distortion and noise, the ratio of which to the signal is shown by the percentages in the bottom-right box. As you can see, the cheap little Apple dongle has noticeably less distortion. Do not buy these Audioquest Dragonfly DACs - they are poor performers at inflated prices.
Edited by: "b0b1" 11th Apr
Just to also mention the LG G5 B&O DAC /amp is also very good and can be had for around 15 quid sometimes..
Whilst it's not on this league, very few people will be able to tell the difference.
Even if you are one of those lucky people, the LG G5 DAC is well worth a listen.
Edited by: "polarbaba" 10th Apr
45 Comments
Just to also mention the LG G5 B&O DAC /amp is also very good and can be had for around 15 quid sometimes..
Whilst it's not on this league, very few people will be able to tell the difference.
Even if you are one of those lucky people, the LG G5 DAC is well worth a listen.
Edited by: "polarbaba" 10th Apr
polarbaba10/04/2020 20:22

Just to also mention the LG G5 B&O DAC /amp is also very good and can be …Just to also mention the LG G5 B&O DAC /amp is also very good and can be had for around 15 quid sometimes.. Whilst it's not on this league, very few people will be able to tell the difference.Even if you are one of those lucky people, the LG G5 DAC is well worth a listen.


Never tried that. I have an ifi micro iDSD the original not the black,I am impressed with this as it powers just about any headphone and decodes just about everything . Works well with my Sennheiser 650’s
Can you believe OP I just got this today off eBay auction?

Paid the same as this deal for a grade A, probably Like New. Tbh I think I might have overpaid a bit, it depends on real condition of course, pictures on listing sometimes don't tell full story, there's a risk

Here you get in addition to product, a quality retailer's warranty which is also worth something
Edited by: "xavierluther" 11th Apr
Great deal. I own this. Great price.
polarbaba10/04/2020 20:22

Just to also mention the LG G5 B&O DAC /amp is also very good and can be …Just to also mention the LG G5 B&O DAC /amp is also very good and can be had for around 15 quid sometimes.. Whilst it's not on this league, very few people will be able to tell the difference.Even if you are one of those lucky people, the LG G5 DAC is well worth a listen.


Is there anywhere particular where the LG G5 drop to the £15-£20 price range?
justonemore10/04/2020 21:15

Is there anywhere particular where the LG G5 drop to the £15-£20 price r …Is there anywhere particular where the LG G5 drop to the £15-£20 price range?


I got mine for £19.49 almost a year ago from this guy on eBay.

I don't know if they have been as cheap in the interim, but any time I have checked they haven't dipped below £20 again.
How will this compare with an ASIO Audio Interface aimed at DAW users in terms of basic sound quality?
Very different beasts of course in terms of features and size.
PurplePerson10/04/2020 21:30

I got mine for £19.49 almost a year ago from this guy on eBay.I don't know …I got mine for £19.49 almost a year ago from this guy on eBay.I don't know if they have been as cheap in the interim, but any time I have checked they haven't dipped below £20 again.


CEX sometimes and eBay for other times.

But if it's a bit more expensive then you'll have to figure out if it's worth it for you.

In my case I have a built in hires sound card on PC MB and built in amp, I also have a LG phone with built in DAC and Amp so I don't use it there either.

So I use this with my laptop and wow! it's amazing, totally blows away my usb steel series dongle.
Edited by: "polarbaba" 10th Apr
Wow! about £30 of parts here for a lowly sum of £100, remember What HI*FI? are the 'experts' that can hear the difference between optical cables.
Just fyi which I think should be in the title.

Condition: Grade 2 info

May have minor marks, original packaging may be marked / damaged. All accessories and full warranty included.
Edited by: "rev6" 10th Apr
polarbaba10/04/2020 20:22

Just to also mention the LG G5 B&O DAC /amp is also very good and can be …Just to also mention the LG G5 B&O DAC /amp is also very good and can be had for around 15 quid sometimes.. Whilst it's not on this league, very few people will be able to tell the difference.Even if you are one of those lucky people, the LG G5 DAC is well worth a listen.


I have the LG b&o hifi plus. But I can't find the file for pc to download and use.
Anyone have can share plz??
jasonli10/04/2020 22:24

I have the LG b&o hifi plus. But I can't find the file for pc to download …I have the LG b&o hifi plus. But I can't find the file for pc to download and use.Anyone have can share plz??


I have the same issue :-(
rev610/04/2020 22:16

Just fyi which I think should be in the title.Condition: Grade 2 infoMay …Just fyi which I think should be in the title.Condition: Grade 2 infoMay have minor marks, original packaging may be marked / damaged. All accessories and full warranty included.


I did put grade 2 and now the mods have put not new
lupo_yellow10/04/2020 22:32

I did put grade 2 and now the mods have put not new


Grade 2 wasn't in the title before not new.
Edited by: "rev6" 10th Apr
rev610/04/2020 22:35

Grade 2 wasn't in the title before not new.



rev610/04/2020 22:35

Grade 2 wasn't in the title before not new.


I am sorry to disagree with you but I guarantee that I originally had put grade 2 before the mods put (not new. But there is no point in arguing about. It’s still a good deal with a 1 year warranty
I have the inferior DragonFly Black 1.5 which unlocked up on eBay for £50 a few.months back and it is excellent. This is supposed to be considerably better.
jasonli10/04/2020 22:24

I have the LG b&o hifi plus. But I can't find the file for pc to download …I have the LG b&o hifi plus. But I can't find the file for pc to download and use.Anyone have can share plz??


Hang on. Windows (presumably Windows 10) doesn't include a driver for this and use it as a standard USB audio device?

Granted, I've used it (and only really interested in it working) with Linux, ChromeOS and Android (where it's been Plug 'n' Play), but I didn't think I'd never even tested it in Windows.
jasonli10/04/2020 22:24

I have the LG b&o hifi plus. But I can't find the file for pc to download …I have the LG b&o hifi plus. But I can't find the file for pc to download and use.Anyone have can share plz??


There was a PC driver but it's PnP anyway.

I've had a look and the drivers have disappeared from LG website .

Look for LG quad dac driver.

If anyone's actually looking to get one I will root around and see if i can find the driver file.
Edited by: "polarbaba" 10th Apr
PeacePipe10/04/2020 21:42

How will this compare with an ASIO Audio Interface aimed at DAW users in …How will this compare with an ASIO Audio Interface aimed at DAW users in terms of basic sound quality?Very different beasts of course in terms of features and size.


What headphones will you be using?
ElGofre10/04/2020 23:55

What headphones will you be using?


Mainly use a HiFi for audio output so headphones would be connected to that.
Like many 'audiophile' products, this is a complete and utter rip-off. Here are the distortion measurements for the Dragonfly Red:

40377176-pl1HU.jpg

And here are the measurements for the Apple USB-C dongle (US version A2049) which costs a tenth of the price:

40377176-GrjWq.jpg
The graph at the top-right of each image should ideally just show the test signal spike at the 1k (Hz) frequency - anything else is distortion and noise, the ratio of which to the signal is shown by the percentages in the bottom-right box. As you can see, the cheap little Apple dongle has noticeably less distortion. Do not buy these Audioquest Dragonfly DACs - they are poor performers at inflated prices.
Edited by: "b0b1" 11th Apr
Just invested on the Wireless Bluetooth Earphones, is it worth it getting this DAC?
PeacePipe10/04/2020 21:42

How will this compare with an ASIO Audio Interface aimed at DAW users in …How will this compare with an ASIO Audio Interface aimed at DAW users in terms of basic sound quality?Very different beasts of course in terms of features and size.


No comparison mate.. This is a portable thing for laptops..

You'l be best with a USB or thunderbolt, interface using the headphone output on that.(whilst not portable I understand)

I'm not an expert... But I have an 800 quid forusrite clarett 8pre x. (the new range, wel, reasonably new.. It's thunderbolt & not the usb cheapo range)

Anyway, when you plug ANY pair of headphones into the headphone jack output! compare it to a mobile phone, home hi-fi or laptop! It's Laughable, ! didn't realise what I was missing, in terms of warmth and clarity.

I've always used reasonably good headphones too., such as Technics rpdj 1200, Sennheiser HD 25 & akg 271' also Akg 545.

So I can really hear a difference when I plug it into the interface.
Edited by: "Alexcolvill" 11th Apr
janlim11/04/2020 07:44

Just invested on the Wireless Bluetooth Earphones, is it worth it getting …Just invested on the Wireless Bluetooth Earphones, is it worth it getting this DAC?


If I am correct it is not worth buying this. Bluetooth headphones have their own built in DAC and amplifier. your source device just sends a signal to the earphones, all the decoding is done by them.
I have the cobalt and it is exceptional and compares well with my iFi dsd black edition
Ordered from richer sounds the other day but still hasn’t arrived. I’m going to order this instead and save £50. Online reviews look good from the store too. Thanks OP. Great timing!
jasonli10/04/2020 22:24

I have the LG b&o hifi plus. But I can't find the file for pc to download …I have the LG b&o hifi plus. But I can't find the file for pc to download and use.Anyone have can share plz??


PS the LG HIFI kept causing the blue screen of death when I tried booting up with it attached to my computer... It does work but you have to plug it in after Windows boots up
naqvial11/04/2020 09:13

I have the cobalt and it is exceptional and compares well with my iFi dsd …I have the cobalt and it is exceptional and compares well with my iFi dsd black edition


The Dragonfly Cobalt is anything but exceptional. Here are its distortion measurements:

40378702-J5wYz.jpg
That's worse than the Dragonfly Red. Note the Cobalt also clips (distorts) badly at maximum volume. It's frequency response is also poor, with a large high-frequency roll-off:

40378702-0Dw9L.jpg
The Cobalt is even worse than the cheapest Dragonfly Black version in some areas:

40378702-OBeBQ.jpg

As for the iFi DSD Black, it's average, and actually performs worse than the £10 Apple dongle (see measuremrnts in my previous comment):

40378702-BKKr0.jpg
Edited by: "b0b1" 11th Apr
b0b111/04/2020 10:12

The Dragonfly Cobalt is anything but exceptional. Here are its distortion …The Dragonfly Cobalt is anything but exceptional. Here are its distortion measurements:[Image] That's worse than the Dragonfly Red. Note the Cobalt also clips (distorts) badly at maximum volume. It's frequency response is also poor, with a large high-frequency roll-off:[Image] The Cobalt is even worse than the cheapest Dragonfly Black version in some areas:[Image] As for the iFi DSD Black, it's average, and actually performs worse than the £10 Apple dongle (see measuremrnts in my previous comment):[Image]


No offence but I would caution against living in this audiophile graph bubble and let your ears make the judgement. Look where it has led you, comparing a £600 iFi DSD micro Black Label against an apple dongle. I didn't realize the apple dongle could power my Beyerdynamic T1 or Sennheiser HD800 headphones; they could probably power my Hifiman Ananda.
The iFI are awesome. I have heard no distortion of any kind and the sound quality through my high end headphones is exception without any fault. I also have Fiio FH7 and also no issues with in ears.

The dragonfly Cobalt are also exceptional and I have heard no distortion whatsoever. They are brighter than the iFi but the sound quality is very good with no distortion whatsoever. The sound quality is bright, crisp, clean and they can power all of my headphones, although the 800S and T1 present a problem with power as I like listening to higher volumes which the cobalt can't quite achieve. The cobalt paired with Fiio FH7 is outstanding.
b0b111/04/2020 10:12

The Dragonfly Cobalt is anything but exceptional. Here are its distortion …The Dragonfly Cobalt is anything but exceptional. Here are its distortion measurements:[Image] That's worse than the Dragonfly Red. Note the Cobalt also clips (distorts) badly at maximum volume. It's frequency response is also poor, with a large high-frequency roll-off:[Image] The Cobalt is even worse than the cheapest Dragonfly Black version in some areas:[Image] As for the iFi DSD Black, it's average, and actually performs worse than the £10 Apple dongle (see measuremrnts in my previous comment):[Image]


I suppose by the same logic who calibrates your distortion measurements. I think with a device like this you have to listen to it and make your own judgment. For the price and what it actually does for it’s size and compatibility, it is a remarkable little DAC.
Naqvi11/04/2020 10:21

No offence but I would caution against living in this audiophile graph …No offence but I would caution against living in this audiophile graph bubble and let your ears make the judgement. Look where it has led you, comparing a £600 iFi DSD micro Black Label against an apple dongle. I didn't realize the apple dongle could power my Beyerdynamic T1 or Sennheiser HD800 headphones; they could probably power my Hifiman Ananda.The iFI are awesome. I have heard no distortion of any kind and the sound quality through my high end headphones is exception without any fault. I also have Fiio FH7 and also no issues with in ears.The dragonfly Cobalt are also exceptional and I have heard no distortion whatsoever. They are brighter than the iFi but the sound quality is very good with no distortion whatsoever. The sound quality is bright, crisp, clean and they can power all of my headphones, although the 800S and T1 present a problem with power as I like listening to higher volumes which the cobalt can't quite achieve. The cobalt paired with Fiio FH7 is outstanding.


No offence, but like many, many others you've sadly been duped by a combination of false marketing, snake oil, and your own subconscious expectation biases. The truth is, unless you've done blind, level-matched listening tests between the equipment you're claiming are 'outstanding' and cheaper DACs like the Apple dongle, you cannot trust your own judgements, and neither should anyone else. The "bright, crisp" sound you hear from the Cobalt is likely at least partially down to the high-order harmonic distortion components (spikes) you can see in its measurements above. These can give the illusion of a crisper sound (on some tracks) but are actually just distorting your music to something not intended by the artist.

Measurements don't lie, our brains do however. Choice-supportive and pricing bias are very real things, the latter video showing how people often perceive something to be subjectively better just because it's more expensive, even if this is not necessarily the case. The fact is there is little if any correlation between price and performance of DACs:
40382791-CiSdp.jpg
(SINAD stands for signal to noise and distortion ratio - the higher the better.)

Primarily what you're paying for with an expensive DAC amp like the iFi DSD Black are features, connections, build, design and marketing. What you're not paying for is sound quality any better than the average.

If you have hard to drive headphones or listen at very loud volumes (which increases the chance of permanent hearing damage), there are much cheaper, and at the same time better performing options, such as the E1DA 9038S which can be had for a tenth the price of the iFi. Its distortion is below the human hearing threshold (-120dB), and so is 100% sonically transparent, preserving the original music as the artist intended:

40382791-v825w.jpg
Edited by: "b0b1" 12th Apr
xmal11/04/2020 10:38

I suppose by the same logic who calibrates your distortion measurements. I …I suppose by the same logic who calibrates your distortion measurements. I think with a device like this you have to listen to it and make your own judgment. For the price and what it actually does for it’s size and compatibility, it is a remarkable little DAC.

See my comment above. The Cobalt is not remarkable for its price, at all. It costs over £200 and has considerably more distortion than a £10 dongle. That is awful value for money, and completely goes against the spirit of this website. The Dragonfly Red isn't much better.

The measurements I posted were made by an engineer at Audio Science Review, using a state of the art audio analyzer (the Audio Precision APx555 Analyzer), which has distortion well below the best DACs and amps commonly available.
Edited by: "b0b1" 11th Apr
b0b111/04/2020 10:12

The Dragonfly Cobalt is anything but exceptional. Here are its distortion …The Dragonfly Cobalt is anything but exceptional. Here are its distortion measurements:[Image] That's worse than the Dragonfly Red. Note the Cobalt also clips (distorts) badly at maximum volume. It's frequency response is also poor, with a large high-frequency roll-off:[Image] The Cobalt is even worse than the cheapest Dragonfly Black version in some areas:[Image] As for the iFi DSD Black, it's average, and actually performs worse than the £10 Apple dongle (see measuremrnts in my previous comment):[Image]


The chart will change depending on impedance load and doesn't really represent what happens when it gets to a consumer and how it sounds with Thier earphone/headphone.
Whilst it's very useful, a perfect impedance such as that replicated by the lab equipment isn't what's going to happen , and those small differences may be enough to hear for some.

We are dealing with sound and therefore logarithmic charts, so the real changes may be quite significant of we saw the real numbers when places on a real life load.
And yes I'm aware that our ears also work logarithmically.
polarbaba11/04/2020 17:59

The chart will change depending on impedance load and doesn't really …The chart will change depending on impedance load and doesn't really represent what happens when it gets to a consumer and how it sounds with Thier earphone/headphone.Whilst it's very useful, a perfect impedance such as that replicated by the lab equipment isn't what's going to happen , and those small differences may be enough to hear for some.We are dealing with sound and therefore logarithmic charts, so the real changes may be quite significant of we saw the real numbers when places on a real life load.And yes I'm aware that our ears also work logarithmically.


ASR do measure distortion at varying impedance loads, and varying power. While these loads are not exactly representative of any particular headphone, the point is that relative differences in distortion between different DACs/amps using this method will give a good indication of their relative performance in real-world scenarios, with a higher reliability than non-blind listening tests that are not level-matched and subject to a whole host of unconscious biases.
Edited by: "b0b1" 12th Apr
I really like my Cyrus Soundkey which was £50 cheaper than this from Richer Sounds in February of this year and I think this was pretty good bang for the buck. I ended up pairing this with the Phillips Fidelio x2hr and I would recommend heartily.
Has anyone's Dragonfly arrived yet? What are your initial thoughts?
WiZZer12/04/2020 20:37

I really like my Cyrus Soundkey which was £50 cheaper than this from …I really like my Cyrus Soundkey which was £50 cheaper than this from Richer Sounds in February of this year and I think this was pretty good bang for the buck. I ended up pairing this with the Phillips Fidelio x2hr and I would recommend heartily.


What do you use as your audio source?
pmba14/04/2020 17:05

What do you use as your audio source?


My phone mostly, Huawei p20 pro. The DAC comes with USB type c cable also which helps. It's better to be sitting with it though rather than walking as the seating of the cable can sometimes become separated leading to a drop out. It works very well on my laptop also. I think it was one of my better tech buys and decent value.
WiZZer14/04/2020 17:11

My phone mostly, Huawei p20 pro. The DAC comes with USB type c cable also …My phone mostly, Huawei p20 pro. The DAC comes with USB type c cable also which helps. It's better to be sitting with it though rather than walking as the seating of the cable can sometimes become separated leading to a drop out. It works very well on my laptop also. I think it was one of my better tech buys and decent value.


Thanks for that - I have the same phone and X2HRs and have been disappointed with the audio quality/volume using the P20's bundled usb-c to 3.5mm jack, so perfect timing on your recommendation!
pmba14/04/2020 18:33

Thanks for that - I have the same phone and X2HRs and have been …Thanks for that - I have the same phone and X2HRs and have been disappointed with the audio quality/volume using the P20's bundled usb-c to 3.5mm jack, so perfect timing on your recommendation!


Give the lg g5 B&O DAC a consideration. Totally worth it.
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