AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt DAC Review & Comments

Steven

Senior Moderator
I didn’t try it, but expect the TA to sound incredibly dynamic using its Sony proprietary connection to a Sony Walkman. As other owners have confirmed.
I think you made a good decision to return the unit based on the above summary of the price versus performance
 

indus

Distinguished Member
Does anybody use devices like these to improve the quality of sound from their mobile phones? (Streaming Tidal and listening via headphones)

Thanks
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
@indus yes devices such as this are for both portable and computer listening. People who own devices like this usually already own earphones or headphones that are an upgrade over manufacturer stock earphones. If you do not yet own upgraded earphones or headphones I would look there first.
 

indus

Distinguished Member
@indus yes devices such as this are for both portable and computer listening. People who own devices like this usually already own earphones or headphones that are an upgrade over manufacturer stock earphones. If you do not yet own upgraded earphones or headphones I would look there first.
Thanks. I have Sony mx1000 mk3 which are very decent headphones.
Tbh I don't use headphones for serious listening but was just wondering whether devices like this would improve the sound quality.
Cheers
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
Thanks. I have Sony mx1000 mk3 which are very decent headphones.
Tbh I don't use headphones for serious listening but was just wondering whether devices like this would improve the sound quality.
Cheers
Aren't you using your MX1000Mk3 via BT? This will only have any effect on wired headphone connections and even then the wireless designed headphone may still use its own built-in DAC anyway to decode to the headphone speakers in the earcups (not sure if internal DAC bypassed in wired mode on the Sony's)
 

ManBat

Member
AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt

USB DAC

Tec specs: DragonFly Cobalt · AudioQuest

Initial impressions.

There are many positive reviews of this third and top of the line incarnation of the DragonFly Cobalt USB DAC.



I used the DAC with all apple products including MacBook Pro, iPad and iPhone, listening to standard red book, and hi-res FLAC files. Headphones PSB over ear M4Us (which also get great reviews - and I can attest to their sound quality).



In short, I wasn’t expecting to hear a night and day difference when using the DAC, however I was expecting a change, subtle or otherwise. I tested and listed for a number of hours over a two-day period and have to report no discernible difference listening to tracks with/without the DragonFly in place. A change in logo lights indicated the unit was working and recognising file variations.



Testing was completed at the same volume levels, which is important as some DACs including the Cobalt lift the noise level. This is sometimes confused with a DAC creating an improved sound experience.



In fact, when using the DAC and watching Netflix it sounded worse.



I contacted Audioquest - They said that the unit was working correctly, and listening was a very subjective experience.



I’ve had familiarity with quite a number of DACs and have always noticed variations, sometimes subtle, sometimes quite significant (Chord products).



I would strongly recommend that you try before you buy with this product, using your own equipment when testing. This may avoid disappointment given the high accolades its received and associated cost. On the other hand, it could be more suitable to your kit? If not, save the money and spend it on a better pair of headphones or if it’s a desk top solution, a better DAC.



Cheers
 

Sammyez

Well-known Member
In my experience the AQ Cobalt sounds outstanding when listening with Tidal Hifi and MQA music. When connected with a iPhone or IPad and Grado headphones this Cobalt demonstrates a huge amount of detail and clarity.
I was sceptical if this little DAC could perform well via my hi end audio set up.
I contacted AQ and they suggested a decent 3.5mm to rca cable from their range (Big Sur) I followed their advice. I used this cable from my Fujitsu ultrabook using Audirvana music software and connected to my Meridian AV.
The sound with this DAC was dynamic, authoritative and detailed (especially with MQA tracks) I am highly impressed with the Cobalt.For the money, it’s remarkable!
 
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Peterkinxl5

Active Member
Well I've owned the original Dragonfly, the Red+Jitterbug and the Cobalt.

Like every other sort of equipment out there , I'd recommend an audition of some sort before you buy. But to me the Cobalt is OUTSTANDING. Clear detailed sound, a more lively and accurate presentation than the Red+Jitterbug. And it works brilliantly with my Samsung S20 Ultra and Tidal MQA via Grado PS500 headphones.
 

Jason72

Active Member
Just picked up a complete boxed Cobalt in excellent condition from Cash Convertors in Slough for £110.
I'll learn to like it at that price !!
 

butcherpete

Active Member
I have had the DFRed for a few months now, and as I have new speakers (Amphion Argon 3LS) I "think" an upgrade to the DF Cobalt may be the thing to do....Tell me if I am wrong :) :) (PS, its just soley to go between PC and the Anthem amp, I do not use a phone)
 

THX1138UK

Well-known Member
I have had the DFRed for a few months now, and as I have new speakers (Amphion Argon 3LS) I "think" an upgrade to the DF Cobalt may be the thing to do....Tell me if I am wrong :) :) (PS, its just soley to go between PC and the Anthem amp, I do not use a phone)
If portability isn’t an issue, then Ed Selley did a favourable review of the iFi Audio Zen DAC (£130) recently.

Worth adding it to your list of DACs to audition.

Regards,
James.
 

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