Audioquest Dragonfly Red USB-DAC - Any experience available?

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111MilesToGo
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Audioquest Dragonfly Red USB-DAC - Any experience available?

Post by 111MilesToGo »

I am considering to purchase a USB-DAC to improve the audio experience (both music and video) far beyond the laptop soundcard. The Audioquest Dragonfly Red currently appeals most to me, if I follow the reviews. I would like to confirm whether it works with Linux before buying it.

Any experience out there?

Remark: I did see this thread viewtopic.php?f=49&t=219108&hilit=Dragonfly here. It's about a Dragonfly 1.2, and the terrible volume control in Linux is pointed out. The Red has a digital in-chip volume control operated from Linux.
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xenopeek
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Re: Audioquest Dragonfly Red USB-DAC - Any experience available?

Post by xenopeek »

It's probably best to buy it somewhere where they have a no-questions-asked returns policy for if it doesn't work. I think you can assume it will work but likely with the remarks on that other topic.

Perhaps worth a look; the AudioPhile Linux distro has a list of DACs supported on Linux: https://www.ap-linux.com/documentation/supported-dacs/. That a DAC isn't on that list doesn't it isn't supported though (neither is it being on the list a guarantee it will work for you, but it is a starting point...).

When I had looked at portable DACs earlier I had considered the DragonFly as well but ultimately would have gone with the DacMagic XS from Cambridge Audio as that has physical volume control buttons.
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Hoser Rob
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Re: Audioquest Dragonfly Red USB-DAC - Any experience available?

Post by Hoser Rob »

111MilesToGo wrote:... I did see this thread viewtopic.php?f=49&t=219108&hilit=Dragonfly here. It's about a Dragonfly 1.2, and the terrible volume control in Linux is pointed out.


That problem with the volume control isn't universal ... I use a Behringer USB DAC and have never had this problem. It works flawlessly.
The Red has a digital in-chip volume control operated from Linux.
Well, try a search of "linux dac Audioquest Dragonfly Red" and/or substitute Ubuntu for the word Linux in that string. I'm not so sure the built in digital volume control works that well in Linux ...

http://www.runeaudio.com/forum/dragonfly-red-t3556.html

This isn't all that unusual anyway in Linux with those devices. The standard DAC part works fine as long as it's IEC compliant but often the features don't.

BTW actually NO digital volume controls work all that well. I always plug my DAC into my amp and use the analog volume control there. I don't know how your setup works exactly or what you're looking for but if you want "bit perfect" high quality that's actually the standard way to do it. In any OS, not just Linux.

I often read stuff about how audio in Linux is a bucket of worms, but if you use a USB sound card it's very simple.
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greerd
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Re: Audioquest Dragonfly Red USB-DAC - Any experience available?

Post by greerd »

I have both the audioquest dragonfly version 1.2 and the new red. Both work out of the box for me with no issues what so ever including volume control.

Code: Select all

$ pacmd list-sinks
1 sink(s) available.
  * index: 0
	name: <alsa_output.usb-AudioQuest_AudioQuest_DragonFly_Red_v1.0_AQDFRD0100005456-01.analog-stereo>
	driver: <module-alsa-card.c>
	flags: HARDWARE HW_MUTE_CTRL HW_VOLUME_CTRL DECIBEL_VOLUME LATENCY DYNAMIC_LATENCY
	state: SUSPENDED
	suspend cause: IDLE 
	priority: 9049
	volume: front-left: 23253 /  35% / -27.00 dB,   front-right: 23253 /  35% / -27.00 dB
	        balance 0.00
	base volume: 65536 / 100% / 0.00 dB
	volume steps: 65537
	muted: no
	current latency: 0.00 ms
	max request: 0 KiB
	max rewind: 0 KiB
	monitor source: 0
	sample spec: s24le 2ch 48000Hz
	channel map: front-left,front-right
	             Stereo
	used by: 0
	linked by: 0
	configured latency: 0.00 ms; range is 0.50 .. 1837.50 ms
	card: 2 <alsa_card.usb-AudioQuest_AudioQuest_DragonFly_Red_v1.0_AQDFRD0100005456-01>
	module: 8
	properties:
		alsa.resolution_bits = "24"
		device.api = "alsa"
		device.class = "sound"
		alsa.class = "generic"
		alsa.subclass = "generic-mix"
		alsa.name = "USB Audio"
		alsa.id = "USB Audio"
		alsa.subdevice = "0"
		alsa.subdevice_name = "subdevice #0"
		alsa.device = "0"
		alsa.card = "1"
		alsa.card_name = "AudioQuest DragonFly Red v1.0"
		alsa.long_card_name = "AudioQuest AudioQuest DragonFly Red v1.0 at usb-0000:02:00.0-2, full speed"
		alsa.driver_name = "snd_usb_audio"
		device.bus_path = "pci-0000:02:00.0-usb-0:2:2.1"
		sysfs.path = "/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1c.5/0000:02:00.0/usb9/9-2/9-2:2.1/sound/card1"
		udev.id = "usb-AudioQuest_AudioQuest_DragonFly_Red_v1.0_AQDFRD0100005456-01"
		device.bus = "usb"
		device.vendor.id = "21b4"
		device.vendor.name = "AudioQuest"
		device.product.id = "0082"
		device.product.name = "AudioQuest DragonFly Red v1.0"
		device.serial = "AudioQuest_AudioQuest_DragonFly_Red_v1.0_AQDFRD0100005456"
		device.string = "front:1"
		device.buffering.buffer_size = "529200"
		device.buffering.fragment_size = "264600"
		device.access_mode = "mmap+timer"
		device.profile.name = "analog-stereo"
		device.profile.description = "Analog Stereo"
		device.description = "AudioQuest DragonFly Red v1.0 Analog Stereo"
		alsa.mixer_name = "USB Mixer"
		alsa.components = "USB21b4:0082"
		module-udev-detect.discovered = "1"
		device.icon_name = "audio-card-usb"
	ports:
		analog-output: Analog Output (priority 9900, latency offset 0 usec, available: unknown)
			properties:
				
	active port: <analog-output>
I'm using the RED now but used version 1.2 on Mint 17.3, maybe a little before (17.2)

It shows up as two output devices in volume control, analog and digital.
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111MilesToGo
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Re: Audioquest Dragonfly Red USB-DAC - Any experience available?

Post by 111MilesToGo »

Thanks for your good feedback here.
greerd wrote:I have both the audioquest dragonfly version 1.2 and the new red. Both work out of the box for me with no issues what so ever including volume control.
xenopeek wrote:It's probably best to buy it somewhere where they have a no-questions-asked returns policy for if it doesn't work.
Quick reply from an Audioquest customer service guy wrote:... all Dragonflies are standard USB Audio devices which should work out of the box.
Based on this and the reviews available, I ordered the Dragonfly Red for "starters" today, well, "advanced starters". @xenopeek: Thanks for your Cambridge tip, pls cf. below.

To give a bit more background, and to ask some questions at the end of this - sorry for its length - post:

I consider myself a music lover and high-end audiophile. However, my home stereo a long time ago sort of crept into retirement, on the one hand due to changes in life's environment, on the other hand due to the frustration from that (in)famous everlasting, costly and tiring battle against living room surroundings, "insufficient" equipment (just kidding, e.g. B&W 801's), which ultimately never goes where one would like it to go.

Thus, at one point in time I started to put my music collection (>2000 CDs, among these a substantial amount of HDCDs) onto a computer, early-on in MP3 for a Sony MP3 Walkman (a waste of time). From there on, I developed my first project of doing this right - Windows, dBpoweramp for AccurateRipping to FLAC, foobar2000 for replay, and Mp3tag for tagging. Purchasing music switched to downloading stuff, including a lot of hi-rez (up to 24 bit/192 kHz). I think all this is quite state-of-the-art. Regarding Linux versus Windows, ripping via AccurateRip requires the Windows dBpoweramp ripper, which by now I have running under Linux in VirtualBox. Would love to see an original Linux version or similar some day...

Some months ago, I ventured into my second project - transiting to Linux. After lots of testing, Linux Mint Cinnamon and openSUSE (Tumbleweed most of all, also Leap) turned out to be the most appealing distros; I still have Ubuntu Studio on my projects-to-come list, maybe also Audiophile Linux (thanks, xenopeek, for mentioning this). Unfortunately, I still feel the need for VirtualBox and Windows 10, e.g. for the three apps mentioned above: dBpoweramp is a must; I could use original Linux players (e.g. audacious) instead of foobar2000, where gapless playback is a must, though, leaving the question of how to replay HDCD FLAC files (foobar2000 converts during replay, I would hate to have to re-rip HDCD to 24/44.1 instead of 16/44.1); and maybe I can get used to tagging via puddletag, which lacks the import/export function of Mp3tag.

Question 1: Tips for replacing the Windows apps dBpoweramp (AccurateRip!) and foobar2000 (gapless replay!) with original Linux apps are highly welcome.

Currently, my listening is mostly in the car; I can throw 24/192 FLACs from USB at it, and it plays them nicely.

So my third project now is to design a good system for replaying audio (including hi-rez at least up to 24/192 and HDCD) and video from the computer or a stand-alone portable player. Both options will make the choice of headphone a crucial item. To get started, I want to invest a little bit of money - nothing close to the 2-4k figures for things like the Chord Hugo 2 USB-DAC/headphone amp or an Astell&Kern portable player (very reluctant to go for an Android-based player like Onkyo, FiiO or the like). So I looked at the flood of little USB-DACs like the Audioquest Dragonfly Red or
xenopeek wrote:When I had looked at portable DACs earlier I had considered the DragonFly as well but ultimately would have gone with the DacMagic XS from Cambridge Audio as that has physical volume control buttons.
and for the time being ended up with the Dragonfly Red.

Yet, I have to find a proper way for myself in the field of computer audiophile audio. Further questions now are concerned with how to get bit-perfect replay of CD-rez (16/44.1) to hi-rez (24/196 or more, DSD) lossless files. I would love to be pointed to some good explanatory websites, in particular with respect to Linux. What's the story about ALSA, what sample rates without resampling? What does Pulse Audio do differently? What's the story about USB Audio Class-1 and Class-2, how to utiize them appropriately under Linux? Question to xenopeek: Your Cambridge DacMagic XS digests up to 24/192, how do you feed that from Linux?

As several times before, I must say I am truly impressed with the Linux Mint community and this forum. Very helpful, knowledgeable and courteous! Thanks in advance for all your help and patience again.
111MilesToGo
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Re: Audioquest Dragonfly Red USB-DAC - Any experience available?

Post by 111MilesToGo »

greerd wrote:I have both the audioquest dragonfly version 1.2 and the new red. Both work out of the box for me with no issues what so ever including volume control.
First feedback: I have the Dragonfly Red now, and I get sound from it in plug-&-play manner under Linux Mint 18.2 Cinnamon, open SUSE Tumbleweed KDE and Ubuntu Studio 16.04.3 LTS xfce. In Mint, it shows as Analog only, the other two show Analog and Digital - whatever A and D do mean in this context. Yet, I have to sort out all intricacies now, and I guess Ubuntu Studio will be the hardest part and openSUSE with the KDE overhead the second-hardest.

Thanks again for your contributions.
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greerd
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Re: Audioquest Dragonfly Red USB-DAC - Any experience available?

Post by greerd »

Here's a tool you might find usefull. https://lacocina.nl/detect-alsa-output-capabilities
111MilesToGo
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Re: Audioquest Dragonfly Red USB-DAC - Any experience available?

Post by 111MilesToGo »

greerd wrote:Here's a tool you might find usefull. https://lacocina.nl/detect-alsa-output-capabilities
I'm on a way towards a better-sounding computer ("audiophile" by stages). greerd, one question for you: Even when I do easily believe Ronald van Engelen's script to be safe, how to make sure the script hasn't been tampered with by some "bad people"? Yes, it's on a https site, but I don't see checksums or similar.

Thanks for answering to an older post.
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greerd
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Re: Audioquest Dragonfly Red USB-DAC - Any experience available?

Post by greerd »

111MilesToGo wrote:
greerd wrote:Here's a tool you might find usefull. https://lacocina.nl/detect-alsa-output-capabilities
I'm on a way towards a better-sounding computer ("audiophile" by stages). greerd, one question for you: Even when I do easily believe Ronald van Engelen's script to be safe, how to make sure the script hasn't been tampered with by some "bad people"? Yes, it's on a https site, but I don't see checksums or similar.

Thanks for answering to an older post.
The reasons I use the script without any checksum or signature or trust for that matter is:

1 - You can download it instead of running it off the web
2 - It doesn't get installed, just downloaded and run as normal user, so no need for elevated privileges.
3 - It's a script so you can open it in an editor and read what it does.

I just ran it with 'firejail --private' successfully, if you still have concerns.

I basically use it to grab the stream info that I use for another command, eg.

Code: Select all

$ bash alsa-capabilities -l usb -s
 0) USB Audio Class Digital alsa audio output interface `hw:1,0'
 - device name       = AudioQuest DragonFly Red v1.0                               
 - interface name    = USB Audio                                                   
 - usb audio class   = 2 - isochronous asynchronous                                
 - character device  = /dev/snd/pcmC1D0p                                           
 - samplerates (kHz) = S24_3LE:             44100Hz 48000Hz 88200Hz 96000Hz        
 - monitor file      = /proc/asound/card1/pcm0p/sub0/hw_params                     
 - stream file       = /proc/asound/card1/stream0
I take the stream info for 'card' and 'stream' and cat the output

Code: Select all

$ cat /proc/asound/card1/stream0
AudioQuest AudioQuest DragonFly Red v1.0 at usb-0000:02:00.0-2, full speed : USB Audio

Playback:
  Status: Running
    Interface = 2
    Altset = 1
    Packet Size = 360
    Momentary freq = 48050 Hz (0x30.0ccc)
    Feedback Format = 10.14
  Interface 2
    Altset 1
    Format: S24_3LE
    Channels: 2
    Endpoint: 3 OUT (ASYNC)
    Rates: 44100, 48000, 88200, 96000
The 'watch' command can be used for continuous updates to the 'cat' command. eg.watch -n 0.1 cat /proc/asound/card1/stream0, Ctrl-c exits.

Hope this helps
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