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

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by Condocondor, Jul 8, 2019.
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  1. tracyca
    S10 plus + Cobalt + Solaris = powerful bass & intense top end!
    Condocondor likes this.
  2. Deftone
    IE800S has less sub bass than the original though?
    Condocondor likes this.
  3. tracyca
    To me the bass is more fuller in the ie800s and the ie800 has more sparkle up top, but the ie800s is no slouch to detail. If you give the ie800 some power from a good amp it is the perfect blend of lows, mid, high.
  4. Deftone
    It's more it's more balanced with fuller mid bass (800S) compared to more sub bass (800). Original is more vshaped and you get that always on sub woofer effect.
  5. happyforestgump
    Wow it sounds better with 6xx than your xdsd? I just sent my xdsd in because of battery issues and I’m pretty much sold on the cobalt. Can you share your opinion on the differences between the two devices?
  6. tracyca
    I feel more sub bass on my ie800s then my set of ie800 og.
  7. comzee
    I picked up the DFC today. https://i.imgur.com/hA4q5eb.jpg
    I've owned all the DF, I had the first one which was also black, they called it DF v1.2 (I don't have it anymore)
    The three picture are their Cobalt / Red / Black respectively.

    I've been comparing it as a DAC only in my initial a/b tests.

    My setup is: PC Dac-up USB -> Schiit Wyrd -> Dragonfly b/r/c -> Eddie Current Aficionado -> HD800sdr
    For another reference point I a/b the Red / Cobalt to these configurations too:
    #1: PC Dac-up USB -> Modi Multibit -> Eddie Current Aficionado -> HD800sdr
    #2: PC Lynx AES16e -> Digital RCA cable -> Modi Multibit -> HD800sdr

    The DFC is a huge step up from the DFB and DFR as a dac. Immediately noticeable, clearer, more soundstage, better imaging, a bit better resolution, more organic tonality (by comparison).

    DFC compared to Modi Multbit (chain #1) is surprisingly very close. Mimby still edges is it out overall. Mimby was a noticeable and clear upgrade from DFR, but DFC is really closes the gap, to the point where personal preferences could make one go either way in liking one better over the other.
    Mimby (chain #1) is more organic than DFC tho, less treble energy. The DFC still maintains the ESS house sound, just a hair of sibilance.

    Now, Mimby being a desktop DAC, can take RCA digital spdif input. This is what makes it a better proposition if you want something for desktop use only, to build a full audio chain (source/dac/amp).
    I know it's a bit overkill, but the Lynx AES16e ($600) feeding the Mimby takes it to another level the DFC could only ever hope to reach. Mimby (chain #2) is far and beyond ahead of the DFC in performance, basically take every metric and it's better.

    Overall I'm extremely impressed by the DFC. When I went from DF v1.2 -> DFB -> DFR, there was always subtle improvements, nothing major. With the DFC I feel like it's a significant upgrade over the DFR (and ergo all the previous models).

    Modi Multibit is using the new v2 firmware
    "Dac-up" USB is a feature on my motherboard, where it has a few USB ports that have filtered power


    Additional testing:

    I happen to own a Shanling M0. It's a bluetooth DAP/DAC/Transport.
    I plugged my DFC into it, worked a charm.

    So essentially the chain would be iPhone -> Bluetooth -> M0 -> DFC -> HD800sdr
    Seriously impressive for a portable setup.

    I'd say DFC > M0 (using integrated 3.5mm output) > DFR
    DFR has a really congested sound to it, compared to the other two. M0 sounds closer to DFC, with DFC having overall better technicalities than M0.

    Essentially M0 + DFC is $400 ultra portable Bluetooth DAC setup.

    With that additional testing, I also tested DFC -> HD800sdr directly.
    Purely on a synergy perspective, DFC is supremely better than DFR for HD800sdr.
    DFR makes hd800sdr extremely sibilant and hashy. DFC greatly subdues that, much better by comparison.


    I did all my testing with one of my hd800 because it was just laying in front of me.
    I wanted to note that DFC direct to hd800 isn't going to drive good dynamics. It will get you to good listening SPL tho. DFC wheelhouse is really for IEMs or headphones that don't need a lot of power. I took my IE800 out of storage and tried it with DFC, really nice pairing. DFC powers IE800 much better than hd800 (obviously lol).
    I just wanted to put this in my review, in case anybody was thinking DFC was a great device to get specifically for hd800, it works, and sounds good, but a $200 modi3/magi3 Schiit combo will be much better for hd800 than the $300 DFC. Magni3 can just put out more power than a device like the DFC. Considering someone plans to use the DFC as a dac/amp to drive headphones directly, v.s. just a DAC.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
  8. Condocondor
    I use the iFi Audio's iPurifier3 and iSilencer (jitterbug) and notice a very nice difference. I'm assuming your Schitt Wyrd does something similar?

    1) Laptop ---> iSilencer ---> Generic 2' USB3.0 Cable ---> iPurifier3 ---> DFC
    2) Laptop ---> Generic 2' USB3.0 Cable ---> iGalvanic3.0 ---> iSilencer ---> Generic 1' USB3.0 Cable ---> iPurifier3 ---> DFC
    3) Laptop ---> Generic 2' USB3.0 Cable ---> iGalvanic3.0 ---> Generic 1' USB3.0 Cable ---> iSilencer ---> iPurifier3 ---> DFC

    All three configurations improve dynamics, sound staging, clarity, smoothness, spatial cues, in successive order of improvement. Obviously, this is ridiculous to try and turn a portable DFC into a desktop setup but it works! DFC scales beautifully as you add USB decrapification and galvanic isolation. Without these devices helping, DFC by itself still sounds good, but relatively speaking it sounds confused during complicataed musical passages. I mean it REALLY sounds amazing! Really, really, really.

    Now the bad news: iSilencer costs $49 new, iGalvanic3.0 costs $375 new. iPurifier3 costs $129 new. BUT, the iSilencer and iPurifer3 together do the heavy lifting for $180..... and can be bought individually and added over time. Both are very small devices and run off your laptop's battery via USB cable. iGalvanic3.0 also runs off the USB cable power also and does not require any outside power. I also use these decrapifiers for my desktop setup which is an iFi Micro iDSD Black Label--which is why I have them on hand for this experiment.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
  9. Tenashus1
    I was really never super impressed with my HD6XX despite all the hype. I put it aside a lot. I tried it with the DFR, the Nano BL, and the xDSD, and it still didn't do the trick for me. I thought I wasted some fairly big bucks, and focused more on my DT990 Pro and Grados. Along comes the DFC and the 6XX is like a new set of headphones. The sound is present and clear, the separation is better, and the music doesn't sound distant and muted anymore but fresh and lively with the DFC. I don't exactly know how, but the DFC has breathed new life into the 6XX. It's made my original purchase of the 6XX now justifiable, and I'm happy about that.
    I have an iPurifier3, and I use it all the time with my DFC on my MacBook Pro. Very clean sounding.
    Condocondor likes this.
  10. Condocondor
    Add the iSilencer for $49 to the mix. It takes it up another notch and takes the final little edge off and creates a smoothness I can't describe any further. You can use the it between the iPurifier3 and DFC since the iSilencer will not go into the USB C laptop w/o adapter.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
  11. Tenashus1
    Thanks for the suggestion!
    Condocondor likes this.
  12. comzee
    This really gets into the area of use case. DFC $300 + iSilencer/iPurifier3 $180 = $480.
    A Schiit Modi Multibit $250 + Schiit Eitr $180 = $430.

    I'd bet dollars to doughnuts the Mimby + Eitr would be better. This is if one wants to use the DFC purely as a DAC for desktop setups. DFC has more use cases being can go portable, or be used as an dac/amp combo. Mimby needs an amp.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
    Condocondor likes this.
  13. tracyca
    Sad to report but my Cobalt usb is loose loose and wiggles. It still plays and seems fine but it still worries me.
  14. alpha421
    Damn. Makes me wonder if I should wait a month or two for the stocks to deplete and to see if AQ has fixed what sounds like an infamous issue.
    megabigeye likes this.
  15. Tenashus1
    Audiquest says the wiggle is okay. If it rattles inside, then that's another story.
    Condocondor likes this.
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