AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt USB DAC Preamp Headphone Amplifier
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 AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt USB DAC Preamp Headphone AmplifierAudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt USB DAC Preamp Headphone Amplifier 

AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt USB DAC Preamp Headphone Amplifier

  (4 Reviews)
£149.96 Exc. VAT |  |

AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt USB DAC Preamp Headphone Amplifier

Beautiful Sound from any mobile device or computer

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

DragonFly Cobalt, our new flagship DAC, takes what music lovers around the world have come to expect from the multi-award-winning DragonFly family—naturally beautiful, seductive sound—and strips away fuzz and fog that weren’t even noticeable until Cobalt removed them.
How is this possible? Like the critically acclaimed DragonFly Red, Cobalt has the robust 2.1-volt output to drive almost any headphone, uses a bit-perfect digital volume control for outstanding signal-to-noise ratio, enables seamless compatibility with Apple and Android devices, and is an exceptionally competent and affordable MQA Renderer.
Cobalt’s precedent-setting performance is made possible by multiple significant upgrades:
  • New, more advanced ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip with a minimum-phase slow roll-off filter for more natural sound.
  • Microchip’s superb PIC32MX274 microprocessor draws less current and increases processing speed by 33%.
  • Improved power-supply filtering that specifically increases immunity to WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular noise.
  • Includes a form-fitting DragonTail female USB-A to male USB-C Adaptor. All  DragonTails use AQ’s Carbon-level USB cable.
Of course, Cobalt uses Gordon Rankin’s precedent-setting StreamLength®asynchronous-transfer USB code. Further, in Gordon’s monoClock® technology, a single ultra-low-jitter clock generated from the ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip runs the ESS chip functions as well as all microcontroller functions. This superior clock enables DragonFly Cobalt to provide greater resolution and clarity than DACs with multiple clocks.
All this goodness is packed into a sleek new case that measures just 57.5mm x 18.6mm x 11.9mm, making the latest DragonFly 10% smaller and even a bit more pocket-friendly.
Please remember:  For even better performance, add a JitterBug!


  • Sample rates supported (LED indicator color code): 44.1kHz (Green), 48kHz (Blue), 88.2kHz (Amber), 96kHz (Magenta), MQA (Purple)
  • Volume Control: Analog Volume Control (Black); 64-position, 64-bit, bit-perfect (Red, Cobalt)
  • Output voltage: 1.2 (Black); 2.1 (Red, Cobalt)
  • Headphone Amp: Texas Instruments TPA6130 (Black); ESS Sabre 9601 (Red, Cobalt)
  • DAC Chip: 32-bit ESS 9010 with minimum-phase fast roll-off filter (Black); 32-bit ESS 9016 with minimum-phase fast roll-off filter (Red); ESS ES9038Q2M with minimum-phase slow roll-off filter for more natural sound (Cobalt)
  • Microcontroller: Microchip PIC32MX (Black, Red); Microchip PIC32MX274 reduces current draw and increases processing speed by 33% over DragonFlys Black and Red (Cobalt)
  • Dimensions: 12mm H x 19mm W x 62mm L (Black, Red); 12mm H x 19mm W by 57mm L (Cobalt)
Average Rating (4 Reviews):  
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awesome piece of kit,
12 December 2020  | 

the black is brilliant, the red is awesome and the cobalt really is step up again, such clarity of sound.

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Audioquest Dragonfly Cobalt
16 August 2019  | 

A major upgrade on the Black. Improved detail, definition and dynamics. A very worthwhile improvement.

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Amazing Little Item
26 July 2019  | 

Just upgraded from Dragonly Red and wow. This new one just knocks it out of the park. Very highly recommended

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt USB DAC & Headphone Amp
16 July 2019  | 

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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9 of 9 people found this review helpful.

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