AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt
DragonFly Cobalt is a portable, plug-and-play USB DAC (digital-to-analogue converter), preamp, and headphone amp that connects to laptops, tablets, and smartphones to deliver clean, clear, naturally beautiful sound to headphones, powered speakers, or complete audio systems. Plays all file formats. Compatible with Mac and Window computers, Android and iOS devices.
DragonFly Cobalt is a portable, plug-and-play USB DAC (digital-to-analog converter), preamp, and headphone amp that delivers far cleaner, clearer, more naturally beautiful sound to headphones, powered speakers, or complete audio systems. With an attractive enclosure whose overall size (2.26” x 0.73” x 0.47”) and shape match that of a USB thumb drive, DragonFly easily connects to laptops, tablets, and smartphones, either directly or with an appropriate USB cable, such as AudioQuest’s high-performance USB-C DragonTail (included). Plays all file formats/soundtracks: MP3, MQA, high-res, etc. 2.1-volt output easily drives most headphones. Compatible with Mac and Window computers, Android and iOS devices.
- 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)
DragonFly Cobalt, AudioQuest's 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.
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.
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 a 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, AudioQuest has taken what they learned from their 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 AudioQuest's 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 the technology itself evolves, thereby delivering musical pleasure for many years to come. Their 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.
Stream Tidal Masters Everywhere
DragonFlys Black, Red, and Cobalt support Tidal Masters (MQA) playback from iPhones and Android smartphones. MQA's technology folds high-resolution files into smaller files that can be streamed on the go. As for MQA Renderers, DragonFlys Black, Red, and Cobalt complete the unfolding process, allowing music lovers to enjoy a wider selection of high-res music.
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. 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.
Whatever music turns you on, wherever you are, an AudioQuest DragonFly USB DAC delivers inspiring, dynamic, and beautiful sound to earbuds, headphones, powered speakers, or complete audio systems.
With a DragonFly, 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 on Spotify or Pandora. Stream high-res audio from Tidal or Qobuz. No matter the choice of musical pleasure, DragonFly delivers beautiful sound, unravelling the emotional expression and nuance that makes music and movies so enjoyable.
- Enclosure and accessories: Cobalt blue automotive finish with silver lettering, Protective endcap, Contoured enclosure, Leatherette travel pouch, DragonTail USB-C adaptor
- Native Resolution: up to 24-bit/96kHz
- Output: 2.1 volts
- Headphone amp: ESS Sabre 9601
- Microcontroller: Microchip PIC32MX274
- DAC Chip: ESS ES9038Q2M
- Volume Control: 64-bit bit-perfect digital volume control
- Desktop/PC Compatibility: Apple OS 10.6.8 and later, Microsoft Windows 7 and later, Linux (no technical support provided)
- Mobile compatibility: Apple iOS 5 and later (requires Apple Camera Adapter; Lightning to USB 3 recommended), Android 5.0 and later (requires micro-USB DragonTail, USB-C DragonTail, or other USB adaptor for Android devices)
- MQA rendering
- Upgradable firmware
- Monoclock technology
- Dimensions: Height 12mm, Width 19mm, Length 57mm