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

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by Condocondor, Jul 8, 2019.
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  1. Gus141
    I don’t know about Android phones, but as far as volume control, with iPhones and iPads you can get very good control over a wide range of volume control: pull down to bring up the control center; press and hold on the volume indicator; it will zoom in and then you can slide up or down for much finer control of volume. Also, the TIDAL and Qobus apps have their own volume slider (press the output/speaker selection icon in the bottom left of their playing-now screens).
  2. Devodonaldson
    Yeah. I was just thinking about the 15 step volume control, but you are correct about the ability to slide the volume control. I use both iOS and Android. You can slide on both.
    rezakhalvati likes this.
  3. Gus141
    I feel your pain. I’m not proud of this fact, but I’ve bought 5 portable DAC/Headphone amps in the last year looking for the one that satisfies all my *portable* needs (Note: for home use I’ve found my end game with the AKM-based RME ADI-2 DAC for headphones [love the parametric EQ capabilities for one of my headphones] and the ESS-based Oppo UDP-205 for my multi-channel and stereo speaker setups).

    My portable DAC purchases in order were:
    1. Topping NX4 DSD: ESS-based; the measurements and reviews were excellent; great bang for the buck.
    2. Monoprice Portable THX AAA Portable: AKM-based; liked the LCD (OLED?) screen showing me sample rate and volume in digits; long battery life.
    3. Chord Mojo: like you, after trying it, I just needed to own it...and ended up really liking it; drives my most demanding headphones better than the others, but for mobile use, that’s not really an issue since I use pretty efficient headphones for mobile use, and at home I use the RME ADI-2 DAC for headphones.
    4. iFi xDSD: Burr-Brown-based; I wanted an MQA-capable portable DAC (the Oppo 205 is MQA capable for home use); I’m not an MQA fan, and I don’t want to be stuck in that wheelhouse, but as with all things with this hobby, I’m too curious not to listen
    5. DragonFly Cobalt: ESS-based; stumbled upon this while shopping for the iFi xDSD and couldn’t believe it was being released the week I was looking; I hadn’t even heard that AudioQuest was coming out with a new DAC; I had always been interested in the small form-factor of the DragonFly DACs so I ordered it.

    I don’t really want to rank these, because it all depends on the headphones or IEMs in use, not to mention the music, and it’s apples-to-oranges in some cases (i.e., if you need MQA rendering...). But I will say I love them all, so no loss. As for the Cobalt, I’m really glad I bought it. I never thought these thumbdrive-sized DACs could sound so good with efficient headphones.

    Sorry for the long post.
  4. TooPoorForHiFi
    Hey Don't stop! Next up iBasso DC01! its only $50! :smile:
  5. PhenixS1970
    Just to know, if we're talking about the wiggle...is it the USB A plug or the headphone connector? On mine the plug appears solid but occasionally the headphone connector gives a little 'snap' (there is some margin between the connector and the metal housing).
  6. PhenixS1970
    Thank you very much for your feedback, Gus141 :)
  7. joesuburb
    So I'm a total cynic when it comes to DAC/Amps. I don't have enough experience to prove it to myself, so I'd like some validation. If you have an efficient headphone, can you really hear a damn difference between the DFR and DFC? I want to believe no. I also don't want to spend $300. But I do have nice high end headphones and if its an actual improvement in detail, separation, and quality I'd bit the bullet.

    If its just that one is a little warmer than the other, I'll pass.
  8. Hifiearspeakers
    It depends on the impedance and sensitivity of your headphone. If you have a very efficient headphone that doesn’t really need amplification, then you won’t hear that much difference amongst any of the dragonfly’s or compared to no dragonfly. But headphones that actually require amplification to sound correct will sound noticeably better with a dragonfly.
    Condocondor likes this.
  9. rezakhalvati
    Thank you for the tip on iPhone’s volume micro control! Very cool. Had no idea that it had that feature!
  10. rezakhalvati
    The usb plug.
    Has anyone else experienced sound cutting off at higher volumes with the Cobalt? I thought maybe it was caused by Tidal, but it happens with any source. I am using it with my iPhone 7. Also, it happens with both the Sennheiser IE800 and IE800S. Ps: my DFC has the wiggle too. Not sure if sound cutting off is due to that or something else.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
  11. cpaulik
    I've not yet have the chance to compare DFR and DFC directly. But the improvement of the DFR against my normal laptop or android phone headphone jack is very obvious. So if you are not using a dedicated DAC/AMP then I think both the DFR and the DFC will be a very noticeable step up.
    Condocondor and Wheel Hoss like this.
  12. PhenixS1970
    Thank you very much, rezakhalvati
    rezakhalvati likes this.
  13. Tenashus1
    It's the USB plug which you probably already know by now. Never mind. :)
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
    PhenixS1970 likes this.
  14. Signal2Noise
    I came on here to check for posts about the USB "wiggle" and lo and behold here they are!

    I just noticed the wiggle int USB plug AND a bit in the headphone out jack as well today after several days of useage. I checked the DFB and DFR for comparison and they are as solid as can be.

    Also, every so often I get something I would describe as "audio corruption" where a track is playing and all of a sudden for maybe 10 or 20 seconds there's a warping and high-pitched sound garbling the audio. If I hit pause and rewind to where the glitch happens it goes away and the audio is fine. In one hour or 90 minutes of playback this oddity happens two or three times. Is it related to the wiggles (not the children group) or is it a firmware issue?
  15. rezakhalvati
    AudioQuest is really great at taking in all feedbacks and looking into them. I highly recommend you email them your post and see what they say. And please share back your findings with us. You can email them at:
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