New AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt DAC/Amp

Frank Lenk

Published: 07/08/2019 01:36:35 AM EST in Frank Lenk

New AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt DAC/Amp

AudioQuest has announced a new addition to its DragonFly line of portable DAC/amplifiers.

The DragonFly line will now include three models: the DragonFly Black, DragonFly Red and new DragonFly Cobalt. No larger than a USB fob, these devices include a high-quality DAC and headphone amplifier, providing an easy upgrade in decoding of digital audio when used with devices ranging from desktop PCs to mobile phones.

DragonFly Cobalt moves into top spot as the flagship of the line, with a new ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip and minimum-phase slow roll-off filter that promises a more natural sound. The new Microchip PIC32MX274 microprocessor reduces current draw and increases processing speed by 33% compared to the previous DragonFly Red.

Improved power-supply filtering is designed to reduce interference from sources such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or cellular electronics.

Like previous DragonFly DACs, the Cobalt uses Gordon Rankin's StreamLength asynchronous-transfer USB code. Also, monoClock technology uses a single "ultra-low-jitter" clock generated from the ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip to run both the DAC and microcontroller, offering "greater resolution and clarity" than designs relying on multiple clocks.

Although it's slightly smaller than the DragonFly Red, DragonFly Cobalt uses the same ESS Sabre 9601 amplifier, and can similarly deliver 2.1V output, sufficient to drive high-impedance audiophile headphones. Both devices also provide 64-bit Bit-Perfect digital volume control. (The lower-end AudioQuest Black offers analog volume control, and output of 1.2 volts.)

DragonFly Cobalt includes the new AudioQuest DragonTail USB-A female to USB-C male adapter, and should work with most any digital audio platform, including Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. The integrated dragonfly logo lights up to indicate the current sample rate: green for 44.1KHz, blue for 48KHz, amber for 88.2KHz, magenta for 96KHz and purple for MQA. Red light indicates standby status.

The first 10,000 DragonFly Cobalt units will include vouchers for trial subscriptions to the Tidal and Qobuz music-streaming services. Each service features a new AudioQuest playlist: On an AudioQuest on Tidal, and Making Connections on Qobuz.

The DragonFly Cobalt is priced at US$299.95, and is shipping to dealers now.

Article Tags:  AudioQuest, DragonFly, Cobalt, DAC, amp, headphone, ESS, Sabre


New AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt DAC/Amp

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