Certain Combinations - the Schrodinger's cat of Hi-Fi


Some things just work better than others for no obvious reason. I don’t mean “sound” I mean “work”.

Those Dragonfly DACs? They work. Very Reliable. Other equipment seems to like them. I have 3 different OTG cables to use with my cheap generic Android phablet. I can use any of them, plus UAPP (the USB app) and the Dragonfly. Go to TIDAL, and MQA works as reliably as beer creates pee.

With the iFi xDSD, it’s an iffy thing. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Swap in, swap out. On everything else, the xDSD is bulletproof. On the Mac Mini? It’s works like Tequila, Salt, and Lime. But in the generic android chain? It has prostate problems. I think it likes the black generic ToGo cable better than the white Amazon one. And it seems OK (most of the time) with the USB-3 hub. Sometimes you need to restart. Sometimes you need to restart while reciting obscure sections of the Talmud.

But Dragonfly? Is agnostic.


I had the Dragon Fly in mind for quite a while, but didn’t want to gamble two hundred bucks because my only tablets are Amazon Kindle Fires. So when Massdrop recently had the AudioEngine DAC-AMP on sale for $70 I decided to take a chance on it. And lost, because the Audioengine D3 seemed to make little or no difference with the Kindle. The most notable result was that the D3 seemed to be heating up a lot and draining an unusual amount of battery life for the tablet. Next, I tried the D3 briefly with my Windows PC. Same result: little noticeable effect, and certainly no big improvement. I’m pretty technically challenged and don’t know why the D3 didn’t work. I’ve got several Audioengine speakers and am really satisfied with them. Any thoughts on what the problem might be with my D3? Thanks…


You need to use an “OTG” cable for the Kindle and/or most any android tablet. If your cable isn’t and OTG, it won’t work. That could be the problem.

Depending on the card in your PC, you might not hear a big difference. Probably depends a lot on the source material. The player on your PC needs to be able to take advantage of the DAC.

@Torq would be high on the list of people to ask.

I don’t have the fancy Dragonfly Red. I cheaped out and got the Black with Jitterbug package. I have no complaints. Your Audioengine D3 has a bit more power draw, more like the Red. When I use a USB DAC on a phone or tablet, I sometimes get a usb powered hub to avoid battery drain.

Which way is the cosmic wind blowing? After you eliminate all possible problems, you are left with pure (spellchecker says purée) serendipity.


Thanks pennstac. Could you mention one or more of the three OTG cables you use, and where I could buy them? Or maybe recommend something from Amazon if you know of a good cable I could get there? Thanks again…


Amazon has one Amazon Basics. It works. If you search OTG cable on Amazon you will find them and others. Make sure you choose the right kind of port on the other end - USB-3, or Mini-USB or whatever.

If you don’t like Amazon Basics, and you are in the US, my go-tos for reasonable utility cables is either B&H Photo and Video or Tiger Direct. All have good service.

This is a short digital cable, so you shouldn’t spend over 6 to 10 bucks. It’s not audiophile stuff.

Stay away from cryogenic unobtanium cables here. It’s OK to order a lucky “fake fur” “Rabbits Foot”.


Thank you David,

I’ve been to Amazon and ordered 2 OTG’s,
one of which was the Amazon Basics you mentioned. I too like B&H and may
give them a look as well. Thanks again.