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Dragonfly COBALT vs.............Discussions

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by Condocondor, Jul 8, 2019.
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  1. Condocondor
    So I'd like to make a few comments that compare and contrast the the Audioquest Cobalt to the iFi Micro iDSD Black Label. Bare in mind that for this comparison I used the iSilencer, iGalvanic3.0, and iPurifier3 in the chain on BOTH.

    1) The Cobalt comes darn close using the Thinksound ON2 headphones to the BL.
    2) The Black Label is more musical sounding with better decay, soundstaging, and a little more authority/grunt in the low end. But differences are perhaps between 5-10% at most.
    3) The Cobalt has perhaps just a smidgeon tighter bass though not the authority, depth, and extension of the BL.
    4) The BL is perhaps smoother with vocals more recessed while the Cobalt has the vocals up front and center stage.
    5) What is shocking is how close it comes for it's small form factor. I know the Cobalt is not fully broken in yet either.
    6) The Cobalt does improve with USB decrapifiers and better USB cables. The iSilencer did make a noticable difference in the naturalness of the sound and is worth the extra $50. I know Audioquest built in some of the Jitterbug tech into the Cobalt but my ears tell me there are still gains to be had for as little as $50 so Cobalt will scale a bit for those wanting to use it in desktop applications also.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
    megabigeye likes this.
  2. PhenixS1970
    I just got myself one of these and love it (EU buyer and no wiggle...must be lucky). Plug and play is so convenient with ipod touch and Qobuz offline (special thanks to Tidal for not supporting ipod touch anymore). I also have Mojo/Poly but my dog is impatient and wonders what the hassle with GoFigure is when she just wants to walk, lol. Fair is fair the Chords are better but price/performance/convenience....Cobalt is better for me.

    Ah and also a question...am I correct that AQ Desktop Device Manager does not yet support Cobalt ? No go on a Win 8.1 laptop.

    Edit...I just noticed a little wiggle on the headphone plug. If someone can let me know if this is normal to ease my mind :wink:.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
    Condocondor likes this.
  3. Tenashus1
    I just got off the phone with Audioquest support. I was told that the wiggle was normal with the DFC. The fellow said that the only thing that would be defective was if there was something actually loose or moving inside the shell. So, this put my mind at ease. I was very happy to hear this because the thing actually sounds quite fantastic. So good news after all. The wiggle is NORMAL because of the new and different design from the DFR and DFB. You can even expect a little wiggle from what the fellow told me. Who knew? :)
  4. Tenashus1
    Just talked to Audioquest support Leo. The wiggle is NORMAL with this new design according to them! I was indeed happy to hear since this thing sounds better every time I use it. Go for it Leo. :)
    Condocondor likes this.
  5. Leo
    Thanks for the update. I’ll go ahead and cancel my return and keep it. Figure if anything happens warranty will have to kick in.
  6. Tenashus1
  7. poorsod
    Yeah my Cobalt has some jiggle too. I’ve been using it quite a bit this weekend with HE400i and have been liking it quite a lot. My impression is that it’s quite a bit better than my Dragonfly Red though I haven’t done a head to head comparison.
    Condocondor likes this.
  8. Gus141
    Email from AQ confirmed the following: current Desktop Device Manager doesn’t yet work. They are working on a new version.

    As for the wiggle, mine has it too and I’m keeping it because AQ is telling folks it’s OK.

    I’m actually pleasantly really surprised how good the Cobalt sounds out of an iPad Pro 1st Gen 12.9” and an iPhone SE with the USB3-Connection-Kit dongle. I never had a DragonFly before and have always used bulkier “portable” DACs with the iPad, but the Cobalt is really impressing me (and so much smaller than my other DACs). I bought an iFi xDSD the same week thinking the larger form factor (although still highly portable, and much smaller in person than it looks in online pictures) would drive my higher impedance cans better than the Cobalt. Nope. They both are performing great but I’m keeping both and I can’t decide which one sounds better to me anyway.
    PhenixS1970 likes this.
  9. Tenashus1
    They do both sound great and I too have both, but the Cobalt clearly has my attention at the moment. So easy to use with my laptop. I don't have to keep it charged.

    The DFC just lights up my Campfire Comet. Gives em a whole new life.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  10. Gus141
    Exactly the reasons I’m liking it more and more as my go-to portable solution. If the sound quality is as-good-as, if not better than, the bigger and battery-operated DACs, then I think the smallest device wins (all other things being equal). The bluetooth does come in handy on the xDSD when I’m listening to compressed music and don’t need the lossless, hi-res, or MQA support.
    Condocondor likes this.
  11. zeroselect
    LOL Audioquest support is bull****ting you then. My old ass DFR jiggles as well. It hasn't been a problem as far as function.
    Condocondor likes this.
  12. Tenashus1
    Glad to hear your DFR functions with the jiggle. My DFR doesn't jiggle. Audioquest is in California. These days everything in California is jiggling. Maybe there's a connection with the DFC jiggles. :)
    Wheel Hoss and Condocondor like this.
  13. Devodonaldson
    I currently have a recently purchased mojo (my favorite), and an xDSD that I've had for a year, but felt the need to buy the mojo cuz I like it quite a bit more. Had a DFR and it eventually broke. Stopped using dfr for xDSD. Curious about Cobalt. Don't see myself dropping another $300 right now, but very curious about comparisons
    Condocondor likes this.
  14. Tenashus1
    I'm always hearing this about the Mojo being the best and it drives me loco. I think I've reached my limit on buying stuff. I'll just have to wonder about it for a few years, and enjoy my Cobalt in the meantime. :)
    rezakhalvati and Condocondor like this.
  15. Devodonaldson
    Other things are definitely really good. I started with the DFR. A yr later, Then I got the ifi XDSD. Enjoyed both. Mojo was sitting there the whole time, at a higher price point, which is why I pulled the trigger on the other two. Problem is, every time I would get a listen with the mojo, I would hear that little bit better that I enjoyed, and it always stuck with me, lol. I finally decided to get one so I could stop buying stuff trying to get the sound I wanted at a lesser price point. Cobalt seems awesome, but I don't want to drop another $300 on a portable DAC, when I have 2 portable DACs ready to go. Also, with mobile phones, the lack of a large number of volume steps is helping me stay away. xDSD and mojo, being battery powered have a large number of volume steps to work with. But, the Cobalt does look interesting and I would like to hear it.
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