iPad as Endpoint with Dragonfly DAC: which adapter?

For several months I have been joyfully using iPad Mini 4 as a remote for Roon. Only recently I have started to think of it as a true Endpoint.

Easiest way is to plug directly into the earphone output with a short cable that ends in two RCA plugs. Works OK, but could be better.

I am interested in using a Dragonfly DAC for better sound quality, but I know I need a cable/connector from the Lightening output that adapts the signal for USB. Is there a preferred cable for this application?

Appreciate your input!

Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter. that’s what I’m using on the go with a Chord Mojo :slightly_smiling_face:


I’ve used the Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter for months with good success.

But…when I tried it with my Meridian Explorer 2 DAC, the OS devices did not have enough power to run the DAC, in that configuration. (This involves USB power issues that are W-A-Y over my head.) This may or may not happen with the Audioquest product. However I found a solution.

I had an Uptone Audio ISO REGEN on hand. It has its own power supply. Once inserted in the chain between by iPad/iPhone and my Explorer, everything works well.

Again I am not knowledgable enough to say more than this. But I suspect there is a way to use another less expensive USB power supply (perhaps the iFi product for $50) to solve this issue.

Others will of course know more.

1 Like

I tried using a Meenova Lightning to Micro USB cable (using adaptor) with a DragonFly 1.2 and iPad. It didn’t work. Now it may be that the cable isn’t up to the task, but it is marketed to “Use external DAC with MicroUSB port for high-fidelity digital music playback, or connect to headphones with built-in DAC and MicroUSB port.”

So, it think you may be correct and an external supply is needed for some DACs. I have read elsewhere that the Meenova cable works with the Chord Mojo, but that has its own battery supply.

1 Like

Thanks. I ordered one!

1 Like

Ordered an Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adaptor or a Chord Mojo? :smile:

Please post your findings when using the adaptor with the DragonFly. Thanks.

The USB 3 adapter supports plugging in a regular Apple Lightning cable.

Anders, right. But when I used it between my iPad or iPhone and the Meridian Explorer DAC I immediately got a message saying “insufficient power for the attached device.” Thus the need for a separate power supply as well. I used the ISO REGEN in the chain and, because it has its own power supply, everything then worked.


Thanks for requesting that I clarify!

I ordered the Camera Adaptor. I have a Dragonfly Black hooked to my iMac for desktop playback that I can use for a test. If I am happy with it, I will buy another Dragonfly, maybe a Red. I will report my experience when the device arrives later this coming week. Thanks.

1 Like

I use that combination, USB & Red with good results

I use it for mobile with an Onkyo Player app when I am off line


That’s my plan, too! Interested to see how much better the Red is compared to the Black.

I am interested in the Onkyo Player App. I assume it will play my Tidal subscription quite well.

No it plays local content only

It does Hi Def FLAC though


Thanks, Mike!

I’ve been using the DF Red as my main headphone DAC since it was released. I’ve tried about 10 other DACs, and IMO it can’t be beat for less than 300 USD.

AudioQuest claims the USB3 CCK sounds better than the USB2 version, but I think the choice comes down to convenience. The USB3 model allows you to charge while listening, but it’s even more clunky than the USB2 version.

It’s worth noting that a Raspberry Pi 3B+ costs about the same as an Apple CCK. (OK, maybe a little more if you don’t have a Micro SD card and a MicroUSB charger lying about.) If you have decent WiFi, you can connect a Dragonfly (any model) to it for a fantastic Roon endpoint. (People day that Raspberry Pi has problems with USB DACs, but I have never encountered any issues with Dragonfly DACs at 16/44 or even 24/48.) As a bonus, the DF Red really does sound better after it has warmed up a bit, and an always-on Raspberry Pi keeps the DF warmed up and ready to listen.

1 Like

I bought the iPad mini just for the remote. More and more I am finding uses for it beyond the screen mirroring. Thanks for your input, Andy!

The DF red has been manufactured to draw less power, and therefore work on mobile devices without additional power. Those looking to do something similar with a different DAC can throw a Powered USB hub in the mix to serve up enough power to the DAC to run it from an iOS device. It’s just not portable anymore.

Sorta defeats the purpose; portability is the benefit.

The Red was really to add quality to an otherwise poor DAC in a PC, the power draw of the early version made it incompatible with iPad . The new version draws about half the current

It chews battery but as an end point it’s great. I use with Bose QC25 , I tried my HD800 but it’s not quite man enough


That explains why I can’t power my DragonFly 1.2 with iPhone or iPad. Thanks for the clarification.

1 Like

Got the “camera adapter” and the Dragonfly Red.


My opinion of the iPad Mini 4 just jumped up several notches. Playing Roon through my ATH-M50x headphones is wonderful.

Tested the Red against the Black (I have had it in my desktop system for some time) proves again that you get what you pay for. The Red is superior, and not by just a little.

My thanks to all who recommended this system. And for when I am away from my Roon library, Tidal plays great by itself.