USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amp
From MP3 to MQA and High Resolution: Naturally Gorgeous Sound at Your Fingertips—Wherever and Whenever You Want It
DragonFly Cobalt, Red & Black
Awards and Recognitions
- Rocky Mountain International HiFi Press Awards 2019
- AVTech Media Awards 2019-2020
- The Absolute Sound Product of the Year Award 2019
- The Absolute Sound Editors’ Choice Award 2021
- The Absolute Sound Award 2020
- Stereophile Product of the Year Winner
- Stereophile Recommended Component 2020
- What Hi-Fi Awards 2020
- AudioKey Best of the Year
- Darko Knock Out Award
- Sound and Vision Top Pick
- Fairaudio’s Favourite
- Audirvana Promotion
DRAGONFLYS BLACK AND RED
DragonFly Black, the most affordable model in the award-winning DragonFly family, has been hailed by Darko.Audio as the “ultimate universal hi-fi product,” while its more sophisticated counterpart, DragonFly Red, combines significantly improved performance with exceptional value. The ESS 9010 DAC chip in Black and the higher-performance 9016 chip in Red use minimum phase slow roll-off filtering for naturally detailed sound.
While DragonFly Black uses a high-quality headphone amplifier and analog volume control, DragonFly Red includes an advanced ESS headphone amplifier and perfect digital volume control residing on the 9016 DAC chip itself—a sophisticated implementation that gives Red a unique combination of power and control over the music. DragonFly Black produces 1.2 volts, sufficient to successfully power all preamplifier input circuits and a wide range of current headphones. With its higher output of 2.1 volts, DragonFly Red is compatible with a wider range of headphones, including power-hungry and low-efficiency models.
Meet Cobalt: The Most Gorgeous-Sounding DragonFly Yet!
AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt
DragonFly Cobalt, our new flagship DAC, delivers what music enthusiasts around the world expect from the multiple award-winning DragonFly family—a naturally beautiful and engaging sound—by eliminating the haze and fog that were not even noticeable until Cobalt removed them.
How is this possible? Just like the critically acclaimed DragonFly Red, Cobalt has a robust 2.1-volt output to drive almost any headphone, uses a perfect digital volume control for outstanding signal-to-noise ratio, offers seamless compatibility with Apple and Android devices, and is an exceptionally competent and affordable MQA decoder.
COBALT’S PREVIOUS PERFORMANCE IS POSSIBLE THANKS TO SEVERAL SIGNIFICANT UPGRADES:
- A new, more advanced ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip with minimum phase slow roll-off filtering for a more natural sound.
- Microchip’s superb PIC32MX274 microprocessor consumes less power and increases processing speed by 33%.
- Enhanced power supply filtering that specifically increases immunity to WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular interference.
- Includes a DragonTail USB-A female to USB-C male adapter that fits perfectly.
- All DragonTails use AQ’s Carbon level USB cable.
AUDIOQUEST, GORDON RANKIN: A BEAUTIFUL PARTNERSHIP
Like all previous DragonFly models, Cobalt uses Gordon Rankin’s asynchronous StreamLength® USB code, establishing a precedent. Furthermore, thanks to Gordon’s monoClock® technology, a single ultra-low jitter clock generated by the ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip controls both the ESS chip functions and all microcontroller functions. This superior clock allows DragonFly Cobalt to deliver superior resolution and clarity compared to DACs with multiple clocks.
WHY THE “SLOW ROLL”…?
Cobalt uses the new flagship ES9038Q2M DAC chip from ESS. While the chips used in DragonFlys Black and Red are unbeatable for the price, the slow roll-off minimum phase filter of the 9038 produces 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.
In Cobalt, we have applied what we have learned from our recent research and development in noise dissipation to use power supply filtering specifically designed to significantly reduce the increasingly present noise from WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular signals. Successfully combating this noise is absolutely crucial for preserving the lowest musical details, especially concerning high-resolution audio—and particularly when applied to a portable audio device like DragonFly.
PERFECT VOLUME CONTROL AND 2.1-VOLT OUTPUT
Cobalt features the same ESS Sabre 9601 headphone amplifier and perfect digital volume control as DragonFly Red, giving Cobalt a unique combination of power and control over the music. This ensures maximum fidelity, thrilling dynamic contrast, and an excellent signal-to-noise ratio. The 2.1-volt output makes Cobalt and Red compatible with a wide range of headphones, including power-hungry and low-efficiency models.
DragonFlys Black, Red, and Cobalt can be upgraded via our free desktop device manager. In today’s fast-paced digital world, the longevity of a hi-fi component is increasingly rare—at any price. AudioQuest believes that today’s digital devices should evolve as technology itself evolves, providing musical enjoyment for many years. 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.
BEAUTIFUL SOUND IN A SMALLER PACKAGE… AND NOW WITH A TAIL
All of this quality is packaged in an elegant case that measures only 2.26″ x 0.73″ x 0.47″ (57.5 mm x 18.6 mm x 11.9 mm), making the latest DragonFly 10% smaller and even a bit more pocket-friendly.
Finally, to easily accommodate the growing number of electronic devices with USB-C ports, DragonFly Cobalt comes with AudioQuest’s USB-A to USB-C adapter.
DRAGONFLYS BLACK AND RED
While the original DragonFly created a new category of portable DAC, its USB power consumption made it compatible only with computers. Black and Red answered the call from music lovers worldwide for DragonFlys that could be used with Apple iOS mobile devices and Android smartphones and tablets. These DACs proved once and for all that convenience and performance no longer need to be mutually exclusive.
All DragonFlys currently in production incorporate 32-bit ESS Sabre DAC chips.
The DAC chips we selected are remarkably powerful and sophisticated, but we deliberately limited DragonFly’s processing capabilities to a 24-bit/96 kHz resolution. This makes using DragonFly as simple as before: all models are fully compatible with PCs without having to download and install new drivers. More importantly, DragonFly is designed to honor the music you already own and love. Whether you’re listening to Spotify, YouTube, Tidal, Qobuz, burned CDs, or cutting-edge high-resolution files, DragonFly will deliver a more emotionally captivating and enjoyable experience.
STREAM TIDAL MASTERS ANYWHERE
DragonFlys Black, Red, and Cobalt support Tidal Master (MQA) playback from iPhones and Android smartphones. MQA technology folds high-resolution files into smaller files that can be streamed on the go. As MQA decoders, DragonFlys Black, Red, and Cobalt complete the unfolding process, allowing music lovers to enjoy a wider selection of high-resolution music.