Apogee Groove vs Dragonfly Red

Whether you are a casual music listeners or an enthusiast, output is one of the most if not the most important equipment we need to have to deliver digital sound into our ears. If you are spending more to get a high-end headphones, an amp and DAC like Apogee Groove Vs Dragonfly Red will enhance the sound quality as well to deliver the best result. For those who are attracted at getting one of them, see which model will suit you better below.

In this article, we are going to give you information about:

  • Do you need a Headphone Amp and DAC
  • What are Apogee Groove and Dragonfly Red
  • What  Apogee Groove and Dragonfly Red Look Like
  • What Apogee Groove and Dragonfly Red can offer to you
  • How are the Sound Quality of Apogee Groove and Dragonfly Red
  • Apogee Groove vs Dragonfly Red

Headphone Amp and DAC

Speaker is a thing in the past where we are competing on who has the biggest unit in the community circle, but today we are boasting a more compact, easy to use anywhere, and of course, expensive set of earphones and headphones. With our society becoming busier and more mobile where most of our waking hours are spent outside the house, these versatile audio outputs are more useful in daily life whether you are always moving or sitting in your desk all day long.

Earphones and headphones are indeed versatile and very helpful when you need to be more focus on something or to avoid those noisy surrounding sounds which can get very annoying, especially for those who are living in an urban area where it seems people always moving around at any hours. Compared to earphones, avid music listeners, hobbyist, or enthusiast are more into headphones because it is described as having a better sound quality with the similar compact form and versatility.

If you are carrying headphones everywhere and are willing to spend quite some to get a high-end model that will deliver such a satisfying sounds, you may want to also have another tool called headphone amplifier. Just like the box used to amplify your passive speakers, this small tool is also serving the same function but is made to help the amplifier located in your portable devices such as MP3 Players, Smartphones, Tablets, or Laptop so then the audio quality coming out of the headphone is better.

However, as everything else, this is not a rule of thumb and everyone can have a different opinion when it comes to whether they need an amplifier or not but, since our goal to produce the best sound possible from your headphone is by complementing its impedance which means those with high impedance will require more robust amplification as well. This is as opposed to low impedance headphones that suits portable devices more due to its ability to produce adequate sound quality and volume from a low voltage device.

The majority headphones we see in the market today are low impedance and works well with portable devices because it is what makes them very popular in the first place. High impedance headphones are still available but they are more prominently seen at professionals’ gears collection and come with quite expensive price range. Additionally, headphone amp with internal DAC is ideal and useful for people who are using portable devices as their players thanks to its better audio processing.

About Apogee Groove

If you are spending more to get a high-end headphones and want it to optimize the performance, now is a good time to consider getting one of the best headphone amps out there because the amount is quite a lot for a tool that not everyone will need. Depend on the model as well, top liners may be as expensive as your headphones or even pricier but their sound quality are also among the top we can achieve so it is best to choose the one fitting your needs the most.

When talking about headphone amp, our mind is instantly recalling the favorite Groove amp from Apogee which is very well-known in the market due to its quality in enhancing your sound quality coming out of portable device. For people who are often shop for an audio equipment, we are sure this brand is also familiar in your ears because they have been around for quite some time already and some of you may also already have one or two products from this brand.

Groove is a very ideal options for anyone both casual and enthusiast as long as they are willing to spend the money because its main purpose is to help your portable player convert the digital audio file and sending a better audio quality to the headphone. It is also suitable with mid-impedance headphones such as Beyerdynamic DT 77 Pro or the higher pairs, Sennheiser HD 650. Read also: Apogee Groove Vs Chord Mojo here.

Apogee Groove Design

From the outer look alone, this tool is looking like a lighter which is very small and compact to fit even your shirt pocket so we don’t have any trouble carrying them anywhere. It comes in a small, thin, remote-looking box with two big buttons at the top for navigating the volume level and a pair of Input and Output at each side of the tip to connect with your player and the other is for headphones. It is also lightweight only around 9 grams. 

Apogee Groove Features

On the feature part, we are not getting anything amazing from Apogee Groove because its main idea is probably as simple as possible both on the function and application. It can be used with various main players but smartphone application may affect the sound as well since they don’t have proper power. It is equipped with Quad Sum DAC design with 4 ESS Sabre DACs per channel to deliver 192kHz sampling rate and bit depth of 24-bit for a pleasing experience.

Apogee Groove Sound Quality

On the performance part, we can’t say the same for every headphones model since it will vary as well depending on your other ends but, when tested with pairs like HD700 and HD650s from Sennheiser, this tool is working amazingly good and there is no issues. It will give you a transparent sound which is not only clean but also honest and accurate so even those we don’t distinguish on speakers are presented clearly with the help of Groove especially on vocals and highs.

About Dragonfly Red

Due to the huge demand on headphone amps and DAC to support high-end headphones to deliver their best performance, we can also see many other competitors are offering the tools on their catalogue and if you are not ready yet for the most expensive model, another fairly affordable options out there is Dragonfly Red. This AudioQuest converter is also one of the best in its price range and a direct competitor of Groove but, instead of using cable, this one is connected directly like a pen drive. 

Dragonfly Red is one of the Dragonfly collections by the manufacturer and besides this version, we also get the black and cobalt blue model in which the black version is an entry-level into the line with more affordable price. 

Dragonfly Red Design

Not only useful, this headphone amp and DAC is also attractive in terms of design because of the AudioQuest decision to use a metallic, shiny red finish on the product which is of course eye-catching combined with Dragonfly logo at the top. Unlike Groove, this tool is not using cable to connect with your laptop but a direct USB so it will stick to your main player all the time. In addition, it also has no other controls on board which mean all of them are accessible through your main player.

Dragonfly Red Features

On the feature part, we are ready to get the similar things we previously see in Groove but despite the same price range, Dragonfly Red is actually only topping the audio quality at 96kHz while the bit depth is the same at 24-bit which is retained for all of the 3 versions of Dragonfly amps. As for the technology inside especially the amp, it is using ESS Sabre 9601 with minimum-phase fast roll-off filter; the same for Cobalt version. 

Dragonfly Red Sound Quality

If you are worried Dragonfly Red will sound the same like the black version, you can be at ease now since this model is actually better than its little brother. This pretty amp and DAC is offering a better sound to your listening experience that will boost timing, attack, and detail but the most prominent will be the low end since it does have bass extension and there is definitely noticeable weight given at every note while the sound coming out is more three-dimensional with textures.


Now, let’s compare Apogee Groove with Dragonfly Red. As you may already know, both of them are a nice option for anyone who are wanting a more serious quality coming out of their expensive headphones but the most prominent difference between them is sample rate which is clearly higher with Groove at 192kHz compared to 96kHz. Groove also have volume button on board to access them easier without touching the main player.

Apogee Groove vs Dragonfly Red

- USB 2. 0 connection to Mac and PC with up to 24 bit/ 192kHz audio
- Enhances your iTunes, Tidal, Spotify, Pandora or other music listening experience
- Constant Current Drive technology provides smooth frequency response with any headphones
- Quad sum DAC, 4 DACs per channel for highest dynamic range and lowest distortion
- DEVICE/DESKTOP MANAGER: The DragonFly Red is software upgradeable through a complimentary Windows or OS desktop application “AudioQuest Device/Desktop Manager”. Plays all music files: MP3 to high-resolution. Delivers cleaner, clearer, more naturally detailed music to headphones, powered speakers, and complete audio systems.
- MUSICALITY - Plays all music files from MP3 to high-resolution. Delivers cleaner, clearer, more naturally detailed music to headphones, powered speakers, and complete audio systems. Has improved 32-bit ESS Sabre DAC chips-the 9010 in Black and the higher-performance 9016 in Red-both of which employ minimum-phase filtering for naturally detailed, more authentic sound.
- POWER & BATTERY LIFE: With its higher 2.1-volt output, DragonFly Red will be compatible with a wider range of headphones, including power-hungry, low-efficiency models. The DragonFly Red doesn't quickly drain the battery of your smartphone. This flash drive-sized USB DAC/headphone amp/preamp is equipped with Microchip PIC32MX micro-controller that uses extremely low power and minimizes the sound-degrading effect of high-frequency interference.
- INCLUDES - AudioQuest DragonFly Red USB DAC / Headphone Amplifier / Preamp and a USB 3 Camera Adapter (CCK) for Compatible Connection with Select IOS products.


All in all, the decision is all yours to make because not all of us will have the same preferences and it is best to choose the one that fits your needs the most but between these two, we do recommend people to get Apogee Groove because not only it has higher sample rate, it is also more convenient despite coming with the same price range with Dragonfly Red.

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