New Dragonfly Black and Red Discussion

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by brent75, Apr 21, 2016.
  1. yakswak
    I am a new owner of a Dragonfly Black, purchased mainly to be used with the laptop as I used to hear a hiss in the headphone jack. I also purchased a new set of headphones (Hifiman HE400i).

    Anyway, maybe it is my ears, or maybe not, but I cannot tell a discernible difference in SQ between the DFB, Laptop Headphone jack, nor my iPhone 8 (with the $9 dongle). I actually got the camera adapter for my phone also to be able to use the DFB together with...and no difference either. This of course is after volume matching. I'm using Tidal Hifi account for streaming.

    I suppose my question is, should i have expected less of the DFB? There was no "wow" moment, and I've listened and done A-B-C testing the last few days. Getting ready to package up the DFB for return (plus the amp is a bit too strong for the HE400i; I don't get enough volume control as I can reduce the gain).

  2. AlanU
    I actually think my iPhone 6+ headphone jack connected directly to my 400i sound very good (as good as the headphones sound). I tried the black and red even with my Denon mm400 and found the sound to be thin.

    The Apple "dongle" does sound thin and underwhelming. The dongle's power source is running off the lightning port so I do not expect any miraculous sound. My iPhone 8+ and wife's 7+ unfortunately truly sound dreadful with the dongle attached to it. In worst case scenario I'll "settle" and use the dongle as I do not want to bother with lugging a portable headphone amp with my phone (stream Tidal). This is why I dont even consider the black or red dragonfly as I do not fine even the affordable price of the audioquest amps worth it. The cost of my Peachtree shift amp is not much more than the red dragonfly but to my ears its a massive difference in SQ.

    When I was at my favourite local headphone shop I auditioned the Peachtree shift amp and really found the music to have some meat to it. Lately instead of using my desktop Burson Virtuoso amp with Grant Fidelity tube buffer I just stream my Tidal on my iPhone 6+ and Peachtree shift with "Harder to drive He560 with little effort.

    For your laptop I'd suggest auditioning some small portable headphone amps with a dac. Look at the Oppo HA-2SE or Peachtree shift for an affordable amp/dac with battery. I really feel they'd give you more of a wow factor over dragonfly with weak amp section(due to usb power source). Mojo or more expensive amps will venture much further from the dragonfly red price point.
  3. stellarelephant
    I'll agree that the Black is no jaw-dropping miracle. But I have auditioned it against the headphone jacks of my iPhone 6 and 2015 MacBook, and the DFB sound is definitely cleaner than both. Listen for instrument separation and soundstage width. Big differences there, owing largely to better treble extension and lower distortion.

    On the negative side, the DFB's dynamics fall rather flatter than the Apple devices, and midrange warmth is sadly absent, at times coming off as thin and distant, even with efficient cans. Bass goes deep but lacks thump. I believe this is because the Black's built-in amp is wimpy. It's a rather pristine presentation, but a touch too mellow, compared to Apple's more exciting (yet compressed and muddy) mid-centric house sound.

    I like the sound of the DFB set at 100% volume and fed into my DIY Pocket Class A amp. This is a major upgrade in dynamics, body, and detail, fixing my gripes with the DFB to a large degree. A fast headphone with a forward presentation can also help restore some of the excitement that the DFB lacks.
  4. PeteMtl
    Maybe the DFR is better suited to your needs. Have you tried it as a standalone, taking advantage of the Red’s digital volume amp and higher voltage ?
    I understand by your comment that the DFB is a nice unit when used in DAC mode with a better external amp. But you should try the Red for your portable usage needs and come back to tell us if you liked it better or not than the DFB.
    monsieurfromag3 likes this.
  5. stellarelephant
    I actually gave the DFB to my brother for his birthday last month, as an upgrade from his MacBook's soundcard. It'll likely underwhelm him, until I build him his amp for Christmas. Then he'll never look back :)
    Based on the reviews by Gutterberg, Darko, and many Head-Fi users, I agree that the DFR is a step up, especially for standalone use. It was out of my budget though.
  6. BillK
    I've been using my DFR with a Windows 10 laptop running Jriver MC23 for the last few months with great success.
    Since a change of Broadband supplier I keep getting buffering and dropouts and have now switched to an Android phone running UAPP. I'm listening to locally stored files and a mixture of Spotify Premium and a trial of Tidal HiFi.
    I'm really interested to hear peoples views of the comparison between listening via a PC to a phone. They do sound different to me and I guess this must be down to the 'players' (Jriver vs UAPP).
    Does anyone here listen with both or has tried one against the other?
  7. monsterquake
    Just arrived my red dac, I have a doubt that never thought before buying it.

    Is there any problem using it on a powered usb hub instead of directly to the motherboard?

    And in a non powered one?
  8. niknik
    How far can you turn up the Red before it starts getting too loud? (ER-4S)
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  9. georgelai57
    EB82B428-9006-4034-867F-72877DA59724.jpeg So I got sick of the tacky rubber coating of the DFB :)
  10. bmcelvan
    Sorry for bringing this back up but looking to get the DFR to use on my PC at work but also with my S7 phone. Aside from the "it doesn't work well on android" issues, do you think an additional headphone amp (phone-->DFR-->Fiio A5) would have solved the power issues for the 650s?
  11. borez
    It's been a while since I used my DF Red. Took it out for a spin on my iPhone X, and realised I can no longer change my volume settings. It's permanently fixed to 80% (or 0%).

    Running iOS 11.1.1, on the USB 3 CCK. DF Red is running at latest 1.06 firmware.

    Never had this on my iPhone 6. Anyone has this issue?

    EDIT: Plugged it into my iPad, and plugged it back into the ipX. Works now...
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  12. Pastapipo
    I've got a DFR and a Galaxy S7, wonderful combo, but the only problem indeed is the volume. When the DFR is connected to the S7 and the volume set to the maximum, the output is far from what the DFR is capable of compared to when connected to a PC. I don't know if a Fiio A5 is powerfull enough to amplify that signal for your 650 since I don't own a Fiio A5 or a HD650. If you do, and want to try it out; put the volume slider of your Galaxy S7 first click in the 'red area', that's about the output volume of the DFR on max connected the Galaxy S7.
  13. Devodonaldson
    Update your Dragonfly, use USB audio player pro to set the Dragonfly digital volume, exit UAPP, set system volume with device volume buttons. Must be done Everytime DFR is disconnected. Android sets the default volume at 50%, we must use additional app, for non rooted devices, to raise the devices internal volume
  14. Pastapipo
    I know, but I want to use Spotify and poweramp and don't want to root my device. The output power now is enough for my IEMs.
  15. Devodonaldson
    You don't MEED root. You will have to make an additional app purchase, however the dragonfly can be used with any app of your choosing. I've used it with YouTube, Netflix, HBO, ESPN, etc. As I stated, the USB AUDIO PLAYER PRO app allows you to adjust the hardware volume of the Dragonfly. After doing so you can hit the back button to exit the app, and that hardware volume will be locked on the device until disconnection. You can then use Android 15 step software volume to adjust the volume as needed in what very app you choose. Been doing this for months
    alterndog and monsieurfromag3 like this.

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