With an increasingly large variety of websites and applications from which to choose, we have far greater access to music and movies than ever before. Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and computers can all serve as gateways to this ever-expanding universe of audio and video content. Unfortunately, these wonderful devices are not specifically designed to perform as high- fidelity audio source components because they lack the quality of parts and sophisticated
Comparing the AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt to the DragonFly Red, and feeding 44 khz WAV tracks from my iPad Pro 11-inch to the DragonFlys, I played the first 70 seconds of Steven Wilson's Luminol (at the 44/24 data rate) playing the Cobalt first (3 times), then the Red second. Almost immediately my impression of the stereo image was that it's less open and full with the Red. That alone didn't seal the Cobalt deal though.I ended up playing the same 70 seconds 3 times with the Red, then repeated 3 with the Cobalt followed by 3 with the Red. I've always thought of the Red as a very smooth reproducer, particularly compared to the DragonFly Black. But this time the Cobalt edged (no pun intended) out the Red with a smoother yet detailed sound. Some users might not hear the differences, but if they are practiced at evaluating DACs, they should pick up on these differences pretty quickly.When I heard about the DragonFly Cobalt, I thought the $100 USD jump from the Red was a bit much, but the factors of sound quality and the inclusion of the DragonTail USB-C adapter did seal the Cobalt deal for me. I will try to incorporate listening with the AudioQuest JitterBug in the full review, but in the meantime I'd recommend the Cobalt here and now for certain users:1) Perfectionists. 2) Those with good enough hearing and experience to appreciate the differences. 3) Those who won't hear the differences immediately, but who trust AudioQuest to put into the DAC what they say they put in. Don't put any special trust in my review, since the music you play and many other factors could net out the differences. Do read as many reviews as possible, focusing on the best-respected reviewers of portable audio gear, especially DACs and amps.
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