Configuring Dragonfly Red Hardware Volume

Hi. I have a dragonfly red v1.0, and I cannot figure out how to get a bitperfect stream (without exclusive mode enabled). I thought under the device’s volume control i would have an option for hardware volume, but all i see is DSP, Fixed and CoreAudio Mixer (which I believe is OSX’s internal mixer?).

Once I enable exclusive mode I got a purple icon in roon, and Volume Controls then defaults to “Use Device Controls”, with the last step in the signal path being “CoreAudio Exclusive Mode”. But I don’t believe this is the “cleanest” way of harnessing the dragonfly. Should there not be an option for Hardware Volume Control for the dragonfly without exclusive mode enabled?

Seems similar to this issue?

Thanks, and sorry in advance if I missed something!



I have Dragonfly red as well.
The exclusive mode the way to do it, as it doesn’t allow the interference.
Also, I would suggest you install the Audioquest desktop app and upgrade the firmware on the Dragonfly.



Correct. You WANT exclusive mode turned on - this provides the most direct path (without interference) to the Dragonfly.

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Do you have the DragonFly directly connected to your Mac? That’s not the way I normally use either of my DragonFly’s, but I plugged my DragonFly Black directly into my iMac, and with exclusive mode enabled, I could get a bitperfect signal path if, in the General tab of Device Setup, I set the Volume Control Mode to “Use Device Controls”. Somewhat counterintuitively, this control mode will let you control the volume from Roon or a Roon remote while maintaining “bitperfectness.”

CAUTION: The DragonFly Black had a ton of gain with the settings above, and the Red should have even more, so be careful!

And +1 on updating the firmware.

Thanks everyone! Yes, I had already updated the Dragonfly’s firmware. And I saw that the path was producing bitperfect-ness in exclusive mode, but I guess seeing CoreAudio at the end of the path made me question whether I was getting a pure interpretation of the dragonfly’s dac, versus something colored by OSX. But I guess CoreAudio is sort of a neutral API for 3rd party audio protocols, so it’s probably not coloring anything.

I was also expecting that if I was using the dragonfly’s hardware volume, they would be controlled using my macbook, rather than the slider within Roon. So that threw me off.

Yes, there was definitely a good amount of gain when exclusive mode was enabled, which was great because it was needed.

Thanks all for helping me out on this. If my understanding of things seems a bit rudimentary, it’s probably because it is!

I also see CoreAudio exclusive mode at the end of my stream also and only a BLUE LED light on the DFR yet when I use my TIDAL desktop app I have a Magenta LED when listening to TIDAL Masters/MQA.
Why is that? I do have Exclusive Mode and Integer Mode enabled and I am seeing all green lights up to 96kHz in bit perfect format as it should be at the top the page- so why am I only getting 48kHz on the DFR when listening on ROON and not 96kHz?