AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt USB Digital-to-Analog Converter

Model: DRAGONFLYCOB UPC: 092592098398 Item: 173297

$329.95 OR

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754 Route 309 (Bethlehem Pike) Montgomeryville, PA 18936
Hours:
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  • Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat: 10AM - 5PM
  • Thurs: 10AM - 8PM
  • Sun: CLOSED
Phone:
(215) 368-8343
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Address:
38 Greenfield Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003
Hours:
  • Mon: CLOSED
  • Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat: 10AM - 5PM
  • Thurs: 10AM - 8PM
  • Sun: CLOSED
Phone:
(610) 649-7002
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Audioquest Dragonfly Cobalt Overview

The DragonFly Cobalt is the all-new member of the AudioQuest family of portable USB DAC/headphone amps (after it's award-winning predecessors: the Red and the Black). Representing a total redesign and update, Cobalt brings better performance than ever before in one of the smallest form factors of any DAC on the market. The Cobalt combats the noise associated with digital files to preserve musical details, particularly when it comes to high-res audio.

Product Information

DragonFly Cobalt, the latest and most sophisticated member of the award-winning DragonFly franchise, is a USB DAC (digital-to-analog converter), preamplifier, and headphone amplifier. It bypasses the audio circuitry in laptops, computers, and smartphones to deliver cleaner, clearer, more naturally beautiful music to headphones, powered speakers, or complete audio systems.

With AudioQuest’s DragonFly USB DAC, music appreciation and exploration are limitless: Plug into an Apple or Windows® computer or connect to an iOS® or Android mobile device. Play YouTube or Vimeo videos. Go hunting on Bandcamp or SoundCloud. Explore playlists and podcasts on Spotify, Pandora, or Deezer. Stream high-res audio from Tidal or Qobuz. No matter the choice of sonic pleasure, DragonFly unravels the emotional expression and nuance that makes music and movies so enjoyable. Now, more than ever before, naturally beautiful sound is right at your fingertips—however you want it, whenever you want it.

Compared to previous models, DragonFly Cobalt incorporates some important new features, including a new, more advanced ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip with a minimum-phase slow roll-off filter for more natural sound; a more sophisticated Microchip PIC32MX274 microprocessor that reduces current draw and increases processing speed by 33% over DragonFlys Black and Red; and improved power-supply filtering specifically designed to reduce the WiFi and cellular noise that plague mobile devices.

 All of this is packed into a sleek, attractive enclosure that measures just 2.26” x 0.73” x 0.47” (57.5mm x 18.6mm x 11.9mm), making the latest DragonFly 10% smaller and that much more portable than its predecessors.

 To easily accommodate the increasing number of electronic devices that feature USB-C ports, DragonFly Cobalt comes with AudioQuest’s new DragonTail USB-C to USB-A adaptor. When the electronics world fully embraces USB-C, DragonFly will be poised to take full advantage.

  • Plays All Music Files: MP3 to High-Res and MQA
  • Compatible with Apple and Windows PCs
  • Compatible with iOS Mobile Devices (requires Apple Lightning-to-USB adaptor) and Android Mobile Devices (requires USB adaptor, such as included AudioQuest USB-C DragonTail or optional micro-USB DragonTail)
  • Drives Wide Range of Low- to High-efficiency Headphones
  • Variable Output Drives Powered Speakers or Power Amp, Fixed Output Feeds Preamp or AV Receiver

Check out our full review of the DragonFly Cobalt in the video, below!

Highlights

  • Dramatically improves sound from MP3s, YouTube, etc.
  • Delivers high-end performance from high-res and MQA & Masters files
  • Bit-perfect variable output drives powered headphones, powered speakers or power amp
  • Fixed output feeds preamp or AV receiver
  • Flagship ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip with minimum-phase slow roll-off filter for more natural sound
  • Microchip PIC32MX274 microcontroller draws less current and increases processing speed by 33% over previous DragonFlys
  • Improved power-supply filtering specifically designed to reduce WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular noise
  • Includes new DragonTail USB-C to USB-A adaptor

Specifications

Specifications

Features & Specs

  • Flagship ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip with minimum-phase slow roll-off filter for more natural sound
  • Microchip PIC32MX274 microcontroller draws less current and increases processing speed by 33% over previous DragonFlys
  • Improved power-supply filtering specifically designed to reduce WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular noise
  • Includes new DragonTail USB-C to USB-A adaptor

What It Does

  • Dramatically improves sound from MP3s, YouTube, etc.
  • Delivers high-end performance from high-res and MQA & Masters files
  • Bit-perfect variable output drives powered headphones, powered speakers or power amp
  • Fixed output feeds preamp or AV receiver

Compatibility

  • Windows 7-10
  • Apple macOS 10.6.8 and later
  • iOS 5 and later (requires Apple USB adaptor)
  • Android 4.1 and later (requires micro-USB DragonTail, USB-C DragonTail, or other Android USB adaptor)
  • Linux (no technical support provided)

Sample Rates (indicated by LED color)

  • 1kHz (Green)
  • 48kHz (Blue)
  • 2kHz (Amber)
  • 96kHz (Magenta)
  • MQA (Purple)

 

What's in the Box

What's in the Box

  • DragonFly Cobalt
  • DragonTail USB-A to USB-C
  • DragonFly Pouch
  • Registration Card
  • User’s Manual

Reviews

Customer Reviews for AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt USB Digital-to-Analog Converter

5.0 / 5.0
9 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
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Rated 5 out of 5
Dragonfly Cobalt
What an EXCELLENT product. GREATLY improves the sound from all my devices: desktop, laptop, android phone and ipad. It comes highly recommended!!
May 7, 2021
Purchased
6 months ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Excellent Compact DAC
This DAC is ideal for listening to a mobile device utilizing high quality headphones. In addition it allows one to connect to an audio system with standard RCA connectors. It handles a surprising number of resolutions including MQA. It is well worth the price
April 9, 2021
Purchased
7 months ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Good luck finding better
These guys are a great outfit. I've ordered dragonfly and cables from them. Shipment was out the door the next day. But check this out. I ordered some audioquest cables on Amazon and decided to send them. It turned out these guys were the seller. They provided me with return label and refunded me the next day. So here is where I am. If I'm shopping on Amazon and these guys are the seller, I'll order from them directly as I'm sure they have to pay Bezos for the service. They are a reliable, speedy and honest outfit. They gained a customer for life if they carry the item. Oh and they have an actual phone numn6you can call and talk to someone. Good luck finding a business with that service after covid. No I wasn't paid for my review. Thanks guys for my refund and speedy shipment.
March 24, 2021
Purchased
7 months ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Must have for any mobile audiophile.
Excellent sound quality and compatibility with my phone and tablet. Works flawlessly with TIDAL\Roon and MQA.
This review was collected as part of a promotion
April 15, 2020
Purchased
1 year ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Game Changer!!
After thorough research into entering the world of High Resolution/Definition audio, I opted for the DragonFly Cobalt DAC. Wow! The sound quality, wide range of applications, compact footprint and price point are quite simply unbeatable! Highly recommend this product to anyone looking for an extremely high quality, thoughtfully engineered DAC for under $300.00! It’s as though i’m hearing my favorite music for the very first time!
This review was collected as part of a promotion
September 26, 2019
Purchased
over 2 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Excellent upgrade to the previous model
I conducted a review of this on my YouTube channel, No Theme Reviews. The Cobalt has significantly better amplification. The sound signature isn't noticeably better than the Red, but the sound stage is wider.
This review was collected as part of a promotion
August 15, 2019
Purchased
over 2 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Cobalt worth the upgrade from Red
Finally decided to upgrade my several year old Dragonfly V1.2 to the Red on June 27th. Of course, AudioQuest announced the Cobalt on July 8th. Suffering from a case of upgraditis I had to check out reviews of the Cobalt. After reading a couple of comparison reviews I just had to have the Cobalt. Sold my Red to a friend for $100, so essentially the Cobalt cost me $400. And I could not be happier.

As I type this I am listening to a MQA playlist on Tidal on my Sennheiser HD 58x headphones and am totally blown away. Music is clearer and instruments more well defined. Soundstage is wider. Read the comparison reviews online.

So if you are trying to decide between the Red and Cobalt, go for the Cobalt. You do get a DragonTail USB C adapter and this has improved power filter and does not need the JitterBug so the price difference really is not that great. If you already have the Red and have the disposable income considering upgrading. It is worth it. At least it was worth $400 to me.
This review was collected as part of a promotion
August 10, 2019
Rated 5 out of 5
Definitely a great upgrade from the Red. Recommended.
This review was collected as part of a promotion
July 31, 2019
Purchased
over 2 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt USB DAC/Amp is the best!!
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.
This review was collected as part of a promotion
July 16, 2019

Q&A

Customer Q & A

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Why did you choose this?
World Wide Stereo Store
Chose World Wide Stereo because of competitive pricing and fast shipping
DANIEL R W on Apr 15, 2021
High quality dac for headphone.
ALEJANDRO Y on Feb 9, 2021
Chose World Wide Stereo because of competitive pricing and fast shipping
DANIEL R W on Apr 15, 2021
Its versatility and price to function ratio. You get a capable device with moderate pricing.
Abid R on Mar 2, 2021
High quality dac for headphone.
ALEJANDRO Y on Feb 9, 2021
Good review and buyer feedback.
DAVID R on Jan 22, 2021
I have the original Dragonfly which is fantastic and wanted to upgrade to something that decodes MQA files.
Rocco G on Nov 18, 2020
Extremely good portable USB port powered DAC.
Chris C on Oct 8, 2020
Reviews and price (value).
David T on Apr 10, 2020
Absolute Sound review, first Dragonfly
Mark C on Apr 6, 2020
Much higher audio quality when playing audio through a DAC.
Jeremy F on Mar 3, 2020
I chose this based on the high-rating feedback from other users.
Lorenzo L on Feb 9, 2020
Based on all reviews and advice from customer sales rep Ira.
John K on Dec 30, 2019
Great reviews online, this is my 4th Audioquest Dragonfly.
Ken M on Jul 28, 2019
Best portable DAC form Audioquest, newly released! I already own the RED and can't wait to try the Cobalt.
Rafael C G on Jul 17, 2019
I like my Dragonfly Red... want more.
Dan D on Jul 8, 2019
Its versatility and price to function ratio. You get a capable device with moderate pricing.
Abid R on Mar 2, 2021
Good review and buyer feedback.
DAVID R on Jan 22, 2021
Does it come with dragontail and included with the price? I Need USB C male to A female
A shopper on Mar 1, 2021
  Thanks for your inquiry. The Dragonfly Cobalt includes a DragonTail USB-A female to USB-C male.
Will the volume increase? My car stereo is capable of much more than the Note 9 can dish out natively. Previously, I had v4a on a Note 5 but the Note 9 can't be rooted so I am seeking out possible quality and volume/signal/output options.
A shopper on Feb 21, 2020
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