New Dragonfly Black and Red Discussion
Jan 13, 2017 at 4:31 PM Post #2,446 of 5,042

pkcpga

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interesting is Linn's opposition to MQA (below)
...Darko says it's position is similar to that of Schiit.

Why MQA looks bad for music
http://forums.linn.co.uk/bb/showthread.php?tid=35624

still so early...guess we'll find out more as the yr unfolds.


Not surprising by each time a higher res format comes out, many companies are against it but eventually cave with the exception of schiit that seems to specialize in clients that look for flac or cd quality only. I'm not surprised by the Lynn comment since meridian, Lynn, Niam and chord are competitors and meridian came up with another way to make money first.
 
Jan 14, 2017 at 8:31 AM Post #2,447 of 5,042

Johnpdoe2

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Hi!
 
I read about 65 pages of this thread, and my conclusion is that in the beginning the opinions were a bit all over the place, but there seems to be a good consensus in that at least the Red is a solid product unless used with some Android devices.
 
I still haven't been able to find answers to a few questions so maybe someone can help me here.
 
My current sources are Spotify (random genres) and FLAC (classical, electronic-vangelis-ish) files played on a MacBook Pro retina or an iPhone 6s+. I've got some Koss PP,  Sennheiser HD555, and Sony MDR-100A. I've had one of the old BioScienceGeek CMOY altoid tin amps for years, and that I use with both a combination of the above. I like the form factor of the DragonFly, and I envision to use it most of the time in the laptop, even if I will eventually get the CCK as well.
 
So my questions are:
 
- In Mac OsX, when using the DFB/DFR, is the volume control granular enough to listen comfortably music through these low impedance cans, or am I going to have to deal with a 1%-10% volume range?
- Are the DFB/DFR a noticeable leap in quality form the internal MacBook DAC and an external CMOY amp? (apologies if I am comparing apples and oranges, I'm pretty new here). 
- I see that most people go straight for the DFR, but it is atm a quite a bit over my budget. So my final question is, is the DFB worth buying, or should I definitely wait for the DFR or nothing?
 
Thanks a lot for this awesome forum!
 
Jan 14, 2017 at 11:05 AM Post #2,448 of 5,042

kfarndog

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- In Mac OsX, when using the DFB/DFR, is the volume control granular enough to listen comfortably music through these low impedance cans, or am I going to have to deal with a 1%-10% volume range?
 
 

In OSX, generally between the volume control in the app/program you are using and the actual OS volume control you have enough control of the volume.  
 
Ideally, you max the volume on the program and only adjust the OS volume, but you then run into the very problem you have identified. I don't find it to be an issue though because it works fine at 80-90%, creating finer steps.
 
Cheers.
 
Jan 14, 2017 at 4:17 PM Post #2,449 of 5,042

gdpeck

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In OSX, generally between the volume control in the app/program you are using and the actual OS volume control you have enough control of the volume.  

Ideally, you max the volume on the program and only adjust the OS volume, but you then run into the very problem you have identified. I don't find it to be an issue though because it works fine at 80-90%, creating finer steps.

Cheers.


Also in MacOSx you can get 64 steps of volume adjustment instead of 16 by pressing alt-shift-volume up or down.
 
Jan 14, 2017 at 6:22 PM Post #2,451 of 5,042

Johnpdoe2

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  In OSX, generally between the volume control in the app/program you are using and the actual OS volume control you have enough control of the volume.  
 
Ideally, you max the volume on the program and only adjust the OS volume, but you then run into the very problem you have identified. I don't find it to be an issue though because it works fine at 80-90%, creating finer steps.
 
Cheers.

 
That's awesome, thanks a lot!
 
And what about the MacBook+external CMOY vs the DFB^^? Has anyone any input on this? Is it a noticeable improvement? Cheers!
 
Jan 15, 2017 at 7:48 AM Post #2,452 of 5,042

Cann0nF0dda

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Hi folks
 
I'm new to this forum and good audio in general, so looking for some help based on my observations and experience of the Dragon Fly Black (DFB).
 
I bought my DFB last week following the Tidal MQA announcement and some judicious googling (and reading the last 60 pages of this thread) which piqued my interest about the whole high-quality streaming-music thing.
 
So here is where I've got to:
 
Apple Air 2 - Latest IOS and a new CCK:  Generally works very well, noticeable openness and precision to the sound.  Good volume through new AKG 550 MkIIs.  Tidal HIFI sounds slightly better resolved than Spotify Extreme quality.  However, not able to take advantage of Tidal Master or MQA yet.
 
Galaxy S5 - Android 6 and OTG cables: Lowish volume much like everyone else for Spotify and Tidal.  Much better more open sound and very high volume when streaming Tidal HiFi through USB Audio Player Pro (Set to USB DAC and using "Hardware Volume".  But not ideal as I'd just like to take advantage of all the music I have downloaded to Spotify and Tidal while travelling.  Hoping the Android changes in the updated firmware fixes the main issue with DFB and Android.
 
Laptop and desktop PCs - Either Win 7 or Win 10 latest versions:  So this is where I've run into real difficulty trying to get Tidal Masters working effectively through the DFB.
 
Under Win 7 or 10  (Sound \ Playback \ Device Properties \ Advanced) the DFB only presents "24 bit, 44,100 Hz (Studio Quality) as its lowest setting.  
 
However, in Tidal Settings \ Streaming with checkboxes "Use Exclusive Mode" and "Force Volume" I get the error message "TIDAL requires you to set your system sound settings in Control Panel to "16bit, 44100 Hz (CD Quality)" in order to play tracks correctly so I can't actually use the DACs capabilities as intended.
 
After much investigation, I found a workaround involving routing audio through JRiver Media Centre 22 (https://inspiringheadphones.com/are-you-getting-the-best-out-of-tidal-hifi) - at which point the DFB shows Magenta for Masters and Green for HiFi Tracks through Tidal and the sound is absolutely amazingly open and controlled!
 
Unfortunately, with this workaround, the Volume resets to full with each change in tracks making this option actually untenable for any more than one track at a time.
 
Conclusion and request for help:  Has anyone had the same experience with Windows or found a driver or setting that enables the DFB to present a "16bit, 44100 Hz (CD Quality)" reading to Windows to enable Tidal to "use" the DFB in Exclusive mode?
 
As far as I can figure this will be necessary for the DFB to work correctly with Tidal post upgrade so that we can get the greater benefit of MQA too.  Or does the DFR handle and present differently to Windows?
 
As it stands I can't see a way to get the benefit of the DAC within Windows without a lot of workarounds and different software (JRiver / Roon, etc) - which makes this less than a plug and play or usable experience at the moment.  It also means that we can't take advantage of Master quality tracks in Tidal which was my main reason for buying into Dragonfly range.
 
All help and advice very much much appreciated!
 
Jan 15, 2017 at 11:20 AM Post #2,453 of 5,042

zerolight

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Sold my DFR and ordered a Mojo. I now wish I'd kept the original CCK instead of returning for the USB3. Anyone in the UK want to buy a USB3 CCK which I bought from Currys in December? PM me.
 
Jan 15, 2017 at 3:02 PM Post #2,454 of 5,042

kovacs

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So my questions are:
 
- In Mac OsX, when using the DFB/DFR, is the volume control granular enough to listen comfortably music through these low impedance cans, or am I going to have to deal with a 1%-10% volume range?
- I see that most people go straight for the DFR, but it is atm a quite a bit over my budget. So my final question is, is the DFB worth buying, or should I definitely wait for the DFR or nothing?

I use a setup similar to yours ( Mac OSX ) and I own both the Dragonfly Black and Red. I bought the Black first but after using it for a while I decided to buy the Red ( and eventually sell my Dragonfly Black ). Both sound great for their price, the Red does sound noticeably better though. The problem I had with the Dragonblack was the anolog volume control, with my my Hifiman HE-400S (32 ohm) I'm only able to use the first 4 bars of volume in Mac OSX, without using alt-shift it would be impossible to find the right sound volume for me, anything above four bars is too loud, honestly it's barely usable. The Red has a digital volume control with much more evenly spaced steps. With harder to drive headphones like the Sennheiser HD600 (300 ohm) it's less of a problem to find the right volume with the Black, but the Black doesn't seem powerful enough to drive the Sennheiser, it's sound thin and unbalanced compared to the Red, both are loud enough with the HD600, but sound vastly different. The Black has a maximum output of 1.2 compared to 2.1 volts for the Red. Again with headphones that are much easier to drive like the HE-400S the difference is less noticeable. Also because the Red has an output of 2.1 volts it can be used as a DAC connected to a line in on an amp, the Black will work as well but the 1.2 Volts is below the spec most amps are designed for and could cause sound quality problems.
 
Black + easy to drive headphones = good sound, terrible volume control
Black + hard to drive headphones = poor sound, OK volume control
 
Red + easy to drive headphones = great sound, good volume control
Red + hard to drive headphones = great sound, great volume control
 
Don't make the mistake I made, buy the Red right away. The differences on the spec sheets seem small ( analog vs. digital volume control, 1.2 volts vs 2.1 volts, better DAC chip ) but they add up.
 
Jan 16, 2017 at 12:43 AM Post #2,455 of 5,042

H2Ologd

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Also in MacOSx you can get 64 steps of volume adjustment instead of 16 by pressing alt-shift-volume up or down.


Thanks!  I never stop learning new things on this site.  I didn't know about the fine adjustments.  
 
Jan 16, 2017 at 3:24 AM Post #2,456 of 5,042

YamaVega

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  I use a setup similar to yours ( Mac OSX ) and I own both the Dragonfly Black and Red. I bought the Black first but after using it for a while I decided to buy the Red ( and eventually sell my Dragonfly Black ). Both sound great for their price, the Red does sound noticeably better though. The problem I had with the Dragonblack was the anolog volume control, with my my Hifiman HE-400S (32 ohm) I'm only able to use the first 4 bars of volume in Mac OSX, without using alt-shift it would be impossible to find the right sound volume for me, anything above four bars is too loud, honestly it's barely usable. The Red has a digital volume control with much more evenly spaced steps. With harder to drive headphones like the Sennheiser HD600 (300 ohm) it's less of a problem to find the right volume with the Black, but the Black doesn't seem powerful enough to drive the Sennheiser, it's sound thin and unbalanced compared to the Red, both are loud enough with the HD600, but sound vastly different. The Black has a maximum output of 1.2 compared to 2.1 volts for the Red. Again with headphones that are much easier to drive like the HE-400S the difference is less noticeable. Also because the Red has an output of 2.1 volts it can be used as a DAC connected to a line in on an amp, the Black will work as well but the 1.2 Volts is below the spec most amps are designed for and could cause sound quality problems.
 
Black + easy to drive headphones = good sound, terrible volume control
Black + hard to drive headphones = poor sound, OK volume control
 
Red + easy to drive headphones = great sound, good volume control
Red + hard to drive headphones = great sound, great volume control
 
Don't make the mistake I made, buy the Red right away. The differences on the spec sheets seem small ( analog vs. digital volume control, 1.2 volts vs 2.1 volts, better DAC chip ) but they add up.

 
Would it be a good idea to get DFB now, then get portable amp if needed in the future?
 
Jan 16, 2017 at 4:48 AM Post #2,458 of 5,042

Mark R-S

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Having owned a DRF for some time, I just sold it on Ebay. I own a Mojo, which to my ears sounded much better than the DFR, but isn't as portable as the DRF so I wouldn't ever take it out of the house. The Mojo wasn't the reason I sold the DFR though. The reason was that I've also got an LG B&O Hi-Fi Plus DAC. Lately I've been trying to get rid of things which I don't really use, and only have one of each type of thing. Getting rid of headphones can be quite difficult because they can sound so different and you can like them in different ways. Choosing between the LG and DFR and deciding which 'portable' DAC to keep was much easier. After giving the DFR and LG one last long comparison I decided to let the DFR go.  I've alway thought of the LG as having a better form-factor than the DFR for portable use, and I also found that it sounded better than the DFR - A but more musical and not quite as harsh. Ultimately though the difference in sound quality was quite small. The LG can be used with a PC or Mac, so I did the comparison on a Mac with Tidal lossless as it's easy to switch between output devices on the Mac. 
 
I know that the DAC chip is only one component, but interestingly the LG Hi-Fi Plus uses the same DAC (ES 9028) as the new Oppo HA-2SE.
 
-Mark.
 
Jan 16, 2017 at 4:55 AM Post #2,459 of 5,042

kovacs

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Would it be a good idea to get DFB now, then get portable amp if needed in the future?

You could do that but you will end up with a bunch of cables and adapters, I'm not sure it's worth the hassle to be honest. 
 
I would go for a single-box solution like the Dragonfly Red, a DAC/Amp combo from another company or even a headphone amp straight out of your DAP/Phone. 
 
Jan 16, 2017 at 11:20 AM Post #2,460 of 5,042

snip3r77

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I got the DFR. in WIndows, do I max the volume at the taskbar and then adjust the Spotify volume to gain bit perfect?
I'm currently max vol at taskbar and about 30+ % at Spotify

What about iPhone?
 

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