If you need portability and simplicity above all else in an audiophile quality DAC, the DragonFly Cobalt is what you’re looking for. With the right mix of simplicity, extreme portability, and sound quality, the DragonFly Cobalt is a great tool to help you bring out the best in your music wherever you go. Read our full review here.
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.
AudioQuest, Gordon Rankin: A Beautiful Partnership
Like all previous DragonFly models, 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.
Why the "Slow Roll...?"
Cobalt employs ESS's new flagship ES9038Q2M DAC chip. While the chips used in DragonFlys Black and Red are unbeatable for the price, the minimum-phase slow roll-off filter in the 9038 results in naturally expressive sound that is always emotionally engaging and never fatiguing—a beautiful combination of warmth and detail that we find equally exciting and soothing.
Killing the Noise
In Cobalt, we've taken what we've learned from our recent research and development in noise dissipation to employ power-supply filtering specifically designed to dramatically reduce the increasingly prevalent noise from WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular signals. Successfully combating this noise is absolutely crucial to the preservation of the lowest-level musical details, particularly when it comes to high-res audio—and especially when applied to a portable-audio device such as DragonFly.
Bit-Perfect Volume Control and 2.1-Volt Output
Cobalt features the same ESS Sabre 9601 headphone amp and bit-perfect volume control that give DragonFly Red its unique combination of power and grip over the music. This solution ensures maximum fidelity, thrilling dynamic contrast, and excellent signal-to-noise ratio. The 2.1-volt output makes Cobalt and Red compatible with a wide range of headphones, including power-hungry, low-efficiency models.
DragonFlys Black, Red, and Cobalt are firmware upgradeable via our free Desktop Device Manager. In today's fast-paced digital world, longevity in a hi-fi component is increasingly rare—at any price. AudioQuest believes that today's digital devices should evolve as technology itself evolves, thereby delivering musical pleasure for many years to come. Our Desktop Device Manager will also allow you to identify your DragonFly's serial number and software version to ensure that the device is up to date. Click here to download the latest Device Manager available for your operating system.
Beautiful Sound in a Smaller Package...and now with a Tail
All this goodness is packed into a sleek new case 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 even a bit more pocket-friendly. Finally, to easily accommodate the increasing number of electronic devices that feature USB-C ports, DragonFly Cobalt comes with AudioQuest's USB-A to USB-C adaptor.
- 2.1-volt output to drive almost any headphone
- Compatible with Apple and Android devices
- Measures just 2.26" x 0.73" x 0.47" (57.5mm x 18.6mm x 11.9mm)
- Advanced ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip with a minimum-phase slow roll-off filter for more natural sound.
- ESS Sabre 9601 headphone amp
- 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.
Have been really enjoying the Dragonfly Cobalt. It is a step up in tranparency, soundstaging, and coherence compared to my FIIO E7. However, there is one area where it does not beat my FIIO and that is in bass depth and quality. The Dragonfly seems to somehow compress and limit the bass, so it seems less deep, less detailed, and more plucky than it should. Note, I tested this with four different top headphones to midrange headphones: Koss, Polsen, Sennheiser, and Grado. Similiar results with all four of my phones. Two caveats: 1. I seem to be the only one who has noticed this issue and, 2. My older brother played both standup and electric bass at home and in bands, so I am probably more tuned in and aware of the bass performance than most others. All said, if bass quality is very important to you, draw you own conclusions after a careful review and audition...
All I can say is that I’m extremely satisfied with my Dragonfly Cobalt! I just love the sound quality it brings my music and too my ears. No problems or complaints!! 👍👍