The blue Dragonfly

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The blue Dragonfly
Thursday, July 11, 2019

In 2012 AudioQuest launched the DragonFly USB DAC, the first serious yet truly portable DAC on the market. In the early months of 2015, DragonFlys Black and Red offered improved performance-to-cost ratios and compatibility with Apple and Android smartphones. 

Now we have the DragonFly Cobalt (£269.00/€299.00), AudioQuest’s new flagship DAC. Cobalt takes what music lovers around the world have come to expect from the DragonFly family and strips away fuzz and fog. Like the 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 MQA renderer.

Cobalt’s upgrades
ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip with a minimum-phase slow roll-off filter for more natural sound.
Microchip’s 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 AudioQuest’s new DragonTail USB-A (female) to USB-C (male) adaptor to easily accommodate the increasing number of electronic devices that feature USB-C ports. 
Contoured enclosure measures just 57.5mm x 18.6mm x 11.9mm, making it 10% smaller than its predecessors.

Like previous models, Cobalt uses Gordon Rankin’s StreamLength asynchronous-transfer USB code.Its monoClock technology has a single ultra-low-jitter clock generated from the DAC chip that 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.

Like the rest of the DragonFly range it can be used with an Apple or Windows computer or connected 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. 

The first 10,000 units of DragonFly Cobalt will come packaged with vouchers for trial subscriptions to the outstanding Tidal and Qobuz music-streaming services. Cobalt customers can begin their musical journeys with two new AudioQuest playlists—On an AudioQuestand Making Connections—available on Tidal and Qobuz, respectively.