Dragonfly Red low volume issue
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DJ The Rocket

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This has been mentioned in the huge Red/Black discussion forum, but I couldn't find a solution anywhere in there. As I'm not alone in experiencing this issue, and its major enough that without a solution it's a dealbreaker, so it deserves a thread of its own. 
 
The issue is as follows: 
(All playback is from Android devices) 
 
I first bought a Dragonfly Black, and with it's output leading to either amplifier I own (Fiio e11 and Fostex HP-V1), I could just drive the 250-ohm Beyer DT880 at adequate levels (amps at 100% power), which meant plenty of power to blow out something like my Grado sr225e, and probably my AMG K240 also, at 100%.
 
I heard the Red produced better sound quality overall (an indeed it does), so I upgraded. In theory I should be able to drive more headphones directly from the Red without an additional amp, but in practice, the Red is putting out a tiny fraction of what the Black was pushing! And its not close, the Black is FAR more powerful. Obviously this doesn't make any sense, but there is no denying that this is what's happening. With the Red leading to either amp, I can BARELY reach a sufficient volume with the Grados. None of my other headphones can reach even moderate volumes with the Red. What is going on here? All settings are exactly the same, yet the results show that something is very wrong here. 
 
What should I do? I'm reluctant to return the Red, since the sound quality is better than anything I've heard, handily better than even the Black. It seems like there SHOULD be a simple solution. But what good is better audio quality, if there isn't enough quantity to tell? 
 
What other similar quality DACs can I get for $200 that are also Android compatible? 
 
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mks100

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Are you using USB Audio Player PRO for Android? If not, you are not getting the full output of the DragonFly. I would try UAPP before making a decision. Is the DragonFly stuck on Magenta regardless of source (Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, YouTube, etc.)? Android Marshmallow and above will automatically convert the signal to the highest resolution possible of the DAC (in this case 96kHz). The Red has a Digital Volume control and will play as loud/louder than the Black provided you are using UAPP.
 
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HiFiRobot

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Hi, the Dragonfly Red has too high power consumption and Android therefore limits the output. This does not happen when connected to iPhones or when using the Dragonfly Black with an Android phone. I have this confirmed by testing Dragonfly Red and Black with Galaxy S7 and an iPhone 6 and it is also confirmed by a reseller.
 
I believe Google needs to fix this in the Android SW, maybe with help from Audioquest. I would guess Audioquest is aware of the problem.
 
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psikey

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Works fine if using UAPP App (that has its own audio driver) and with my Shure SE846 IEMS's it is just loud enough for me at max volume with Spotify, so keeping mine as they are working on a fix but no indication when available.  Also, from what I've read, the DFR use slightly less power than the DFB so its not a power issue.
 
 
My chat with Audioquest:
 
 
 
Recently tested out a Dragonfly Red and sounds great with my Shure SE846's even compared to my Chord Mojo (though Mojo still better as expected), but mainly want to use it on the go with my Samsung S7 phone.
 
Works great on Laptop but read about the issues with Android (also tested with a Sony Xperia Z5) and for Spotify the volume is too low. I have read online about the issue and does indeed work fine with UAPP for stored music.
 
Any idea when you may have a solution (or Android fixes their OS) as really can't go back to iPhone.
 
Thanks 
 
 
Reply:
 
Dear Andrew,
 
The low volume issue is down to the phone manufacturer.  Whenever a USB device is connected to its host a process called ‘enumeration’ takes place.  The device and the host “talk” to each other so the host knows what is connected and what it needs to do.  Part of this process involves setting a pre-determined volume level.
 
Dragonfly Red features a 64 step digital volume control.  When installed on a mobile device, Dragonfly defaults to a volume setting of 22 (the 22nd step out of 64).  This is to ensure that no damage can be done to your equipment or to your hearing.  However some Android devices mistakenly “read” step 22 as the maximum volume instead of the default volume setting, hence the low output.  This is a function of the OS, not the Dragonfly.
 
We are working on a solution.  When we have a firmware update available we’ll make an announcement on our website, where you’ll be able to download the desktop manager, which is coming soon.
http://www.audioquest.com/dragonfly-series/#downloads
 
Best regards,
 
Alasdair Patrick
AudioQuest
2621 White Road
Irvine  CA  92614
Tel: 949-585-0111 
www.audioquest.com

 
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pkcpga

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Good luck, with Apple as volume goes up crackling niose appears with high res music or any music higher than 44k res with dfr. I returned two for this reason and bought the mojo, no issues and sounds drastically better. I think the dfr was not ready for release too many bugs.
 
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psikey

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Good luck, with Apple as volume goes up crackling niose appears with high res music or any music higher than 44k res with dfr. I returned two for this reason and bought the mojo, no issues and sounds drastically better. I think the dfr was not ready for release too many bugs.
 
I also have a Mojo and its not "Drastically" better except for DSD's which sound fantastic on it. Using UAPP app the DF Red sounds amazing and even Spotify is just loud enough with the Android volume issues with my SE846's (but no real volume control!).
 
Its my most used DAC at the moment as I do most of my listening away from home and just keep it in my small SE846 case and don't have to even think about charging it, just inline use to my Samsung S7 or PC at work.
 
If you have to have the best under £1000 and are OK with less portability, higher price and battery charging another device then the Mojo is the best, but for £169 the DF Red is one hell of a good listen and certainly much better thathe original DF or Oppo HA2.
 
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brent75

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Good luck, with Apple as volume goes up crackling niose appears with high res music or any music higher than 44k res with dfr. I returned two for this reason and bought the mojo, no issues and sounds drastically better. I think the dfr was not ready for release too many bugs.
LOL - you crack me up.
 
This entire thread discussion has been about Android devices and low volume. Yet you still jump in and switch topics to a new manufacturer (Apple) with a new issue (crackling noise) and a new solution (Mojo) --- all of which have nothing to do with the thread. Then you essentially accuse Audioquest of launching a poor, non-QAed product prematurely (without really knowing how widespread the issue you experienced has been).
 
We get it man. You love your Mojo. You should, it's great! But doesn't mean you have to jump into every Dragonfly discussion you can find and steer the topic to that.
 
Cheers - happy listening.
 

 
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pkcpga

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LOL - you crack me up.

This entire thread discussion has been about Android devices and low volume. Yet you still jump in and switch topics to a new manufacturer (Apple) with a new issue (crackling noise) and a new solution (Mojo) --- all of which have nothing to do with the thread. Then you essentially accuse Audioquest of launching a poor, non-QAed product prematurely (without really knowing how widespread the issue you experienced has been).

We get it man. You love your Mojo. You should, it's great! But doesn't mean you have to jump into every Dragonfly discussion you can find and steer the topic to that.

Cheers - happy listening.

:beerchug:
Only jumped in because they stated they were considering the mojo also.
 
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brent75

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Only jumped in because they stated they were considering the mojo also.
Re-read the first post -- there is zero mention of Mojo. The first time it's brought up in this entire thread is when psikey shares his email exchange with Audioquest trying to solve a volume issue -- in his email he references Mojo as something he already owns (and actually says DFR stacks up well against it).
 
It doesn't bother me...I'm just busting your balls. It's clear you've got Mojo on the brain and want the world to know. 

 
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Good luck, with Apple as volume goes up crackling niose appears with high res music or any music higher than 44k res with dfr. I returned two for this reason and bought the mojo, no issues and sounds drastically better. I think the dfr was not ready for release too many bugs.
Is this using something like Onkyo Player?
 
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I'm getting shure se846 tomorrow, and a dragonfly red once the shops here get them from the factory, should be this week. But im also looking for a new phone to drive this setup from, and i am pretty much turn between sony xperia XZ, and iPhone 7. (other options: Moto Z, LG G5.). I'm currently on Jolla C, damn the OS is sweet and fluid, but its just lacking too much features so im either hopping back to android. or joining the iSheeps.
 
Looks like there are problems with getting the AQ DF Red working properly on android, so are there anybody here who has tried it on Sony XZ?
 
In addition to this i have a portable DAP project going on with Raspberry pi zero, that i want to use. But it will probably have poor battery life, a bulky design, and poor user interface for proper day to day use.
 
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Works fine if using UAPP App (that has its own audio driver) and with my Shure SE846 IEMS's it is just loud enough for me at max volume with Spotify, so keeping mine as they are working on a fix but no indication when available.  Also, from what I've read, the DFR use slightly less power than the DFB so its not a power issue.


My chat with Audioquest:

 
 
Recently tested out a Dragonfly Red and sounds great with my Shure SE846's even compared to my Chord Mojo (though Mojo still better as expected), but mainly want to use it on the go with my Samsung S7 phone.
 
Works great on Laptop but read about the issues with Android (also tested with a Sony Xperia Z5) and for Spotify the volume is too low. I have read online about the issue and does indeed work fine with UAPP for stored music.
 
Any idea when you may have a solution (or Android fixes their OS) as really can't go back to iPhone.
 
Thanks 
 
 
Reply:
 

Dear Andrew,

The low volume issue is down to the phone manufacturer.  Whenever a USB device is connected to its host a process called ‘enumeration’ takes place.  The device and the host “talk” to each other so the host knows what is connected and what it needs to do.  Part of this process involves setting a pre-determined volume level.

Dragonfly Red features a 64 step digital volume control.  When installed on a mobile device, Dragonfly defaults to a volume setting of 22 (the 22nd step out of 64).  This is to ensure that no damage can be done to your equipment or to your hearing.  However some Android devices mistakenly “read” step 22 as the maximum volume instead of the default volume setting, hence the low output.  This is a function of the OS, not the Dragonfly.

We are working on a solution.  When we have a firmware update available we’ll make an announcement on our website, where you’ll be able to download the desktop manager, which is coming soon.
[COLOR=0000FF]http://www.audioquest.com/dragonfly-series/#downloads[/COLOR]

Best regards,

Alasdair Patrick
[COLOR=000000]AudioQuest[/COLOR]
[COLOR=000000]2621 White Road[/COLOR]
[COLOR=000000]Irvine  CA  92614[/COLOR]
[COLOR=000000]Tel: [COLOR=1155CC]949-585-0111[/COLOR] [/COLOR]
[COLOR=0E22A2][COLOR=1155CC]www.audioquest.com[/COLOR][/COLOR]
Dear Alastair, the fixing promise was made in October. It is now 1st February. Any progress please?

Am using the ESS Sabre equipped LG V20, excellent sound too. But I want to compare with AF-DFR.
Ronny Tan Beng Tiat
 
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