DragonFly Cobalt, the new flagship DAC from Audioquest, 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.
• 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
• Sample rates supported (LED indicator color code): Standard (Red), 44.1kHz (Green), 48kHz (Blue), 88.2kHz (Yellow), 96kHz (Light Blue), MQA (Purple)
• Volume Control: 64-position, 64-bit, bit-perfect
• Output voltage: 2.1
• Headphone Amp: ESS Sabre 9601
• DAC Chip: ESS ES9038Q2M with minimum-phase slow roll-off filter for more natural sound
• Microcontroller: Microchip PIC32MX274 reduces current draw and increases processing speed by 33% over DragonFlys Black and Red
• Dimensions: 12mm H x 19mm W by 57mm L