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

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by Condocondor, Jul 8, 2019.
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  1. joshnor713
    I hear hiss with the Mojo very faintly. Also wondering if it's RF interference I'm hearing, as the Mojo isn't the best in that regard. The iFi Micro iDSD BL is one of the only devices I've heard that's dead silent.

    Really interested in hearing the Cobalt. But I won't bite until I can get it at a lower price. $300 is too much for it to me.
  2. juansan
    They aren’t hissing with the hugo2 either so win win. I do wonder if there has been a revision. Even though I won’t be using them with the hugo2 at least I know the hiss is not an issue. Need to do some long term listening with the DFC now just for the sound quality but definitely no hissing, at least not that I can hear anyway.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  3. GDuss
    It's not cheap, and there is another thread on Head-Fi arguing it's not worth its price (an argument that I think can be made with many things on this forum). I was ok with its cost, and am happy with it based on its performance/size/features, but understandably not everyone will be. Hopefully they start showing up soon on the sales forum so more people can try it out.
  4. a-LeXx
    A possible issue of DFC + SE846 is the treble roll-off on DFC combined with the same on SE846. Might be too dark of a pairing... for those who can still hear above 17kHz
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  5. someyoungguy
    Got a Dragonfly Cobalt in the post yesterday, and have been listening last night and this morning.

    First thoughts:
    * Wow, it is small. I had the Dragonfly Black some years ago but the size difference is noticeable.
    * I see what people mean about the wiggle. Hope it holds up!
    * I'm not into unboxing and packaging, but seeing the packaging and comprehensive instruction manual was a nice surprise.

    Most important - sound. It's good. Nice black background and sense of space and imaging. The bass isn't as hard hitting as some other sources I've tried. I tend to like it punchier, but that's not too much of a shortcoming as overall the tone, timbre etc is great. There has even been a few occasions where I've noticed some extra details. Still, very pricey for a USB dongle though! I agree with others that it would have been better pitched a bit lower. I'll just have to keep it for ages to extract all that extra value out of it! :wink:

    For usability, it's got no lag on Windows, which is great because it can double it up as a movie/video streaming audio enhancement, not just music. On the iPhone I have had a couple of drop outs where the dreaded "device not supported" pop up comes up after a couple of minutes of play. Not sure what the issue is, in both cases I was simultaneously browsing online with my phone, so maybe the extra current draw while also using processing power causes my phone to pack a sad. It's a relatively new iPhone XR though so I'm not sure whether than explains it.

    I bought it with the idea it would probably be a backup device - not replace my DAP but be handy for use on the go if I run out of battery, or maybe if I'm heading somewhere and would prefer something smaller than a DAP. I'm old school and tend to buy music then download it and transfer it onto my non-streaming DAP (currently Plenue M2). But the audio quality directly out of my computer is so awful I find it hard to really evaluate new music. So I've come to the conclusion some kind of USB-DAC device is pretty much a necessity for use with my phone or computer, and the Cobalt will do nicely.

    I've gone through various options over the years. The Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS is probably the most user-friendly one I've used - two big buttons for volume up and down on it which makes matching the right volume so much easier than just using the phone/computer volume control. But the way volume is handled on the Cobalt seems better than other options I've tried like the Dragonfly Black or Nextdrive Spectra - with both of those I couldn't get above about volume 6-8 on the Windows slider out of 100, so no fine volume control at all. Really made them difficult to use, regardless of how they sounded. Cobalt has a better ramp at lower volumes so I'm at about 15 on a Windows computer, and about halfway on my iPhone, even with sensitive headphones like the B&W P7s and Momentums, so there's enough volume control to use it properly. It will probably replace the xDSD for use with my computer. Not necessarily to do with sound, but I only really need a simple USB DAC device so the xDSD with extra charging requirements and features etc is excess to what I need. Simplicity is good! My Plenue M2 will stay as my preferred source for on the go.
    Haden2866 and Tenashus1 like this.
  6. bcwang
    Haha, I guess the P7 and momentum's aren't really that sensitive. Where you are half way on the iphone, I am at 1/10th of the 1st bar on the iphone to get it low enough to comfortably use with my 64audio A12. Yes, you heard that right, 1/10th of the 1st bar. Like, starting at mute, if you press volume up once, you get that first bar. That's too loud. So now I have to get the volume slider to show up by dragging down from the right side of the screen, then lower that volume below the first bar to the smallest of slivers before mute. It's probably less than 1/10th of the first bar but whose counting? Essentially it's the lowest volume I could possibly get out of the iphone above mute.

    I'm just glad it doesn't hiss with my current state of hearing.
    someyoungguy likes this.
  7. MysticLeviathan
    Has anyone else had issues with the headphone jack being all wiggly? Like if you shake the unit, you can hear the headphone jack port shaking around. I got a unit about a month ago, decided to send it back to the company I bought it from and have them send me a replacement unit, but the replacement has a similar looseness of the headphone jack. My red's headphone jack isn't loose at all. Is it just poor design? It's almost like there's too much space in the hole where the headphone jack is supposed to go. It's not a huge amount of space, it's not falling out or anything, but I'm concerned it might at some point. I carry my dragonfly in my pocket wherever I go with the headphones connected to it, so I'm concerned it'll loosen up to the point it'll be a problem at some point.
  8. bcwang
    Mine is like that. It started off tight and with multiple unplug and plugs of usb and headphone jack, the whole case is a little loose and sounds like rattling. But I think the circuit board and headphone jack are with the bottom panel as one piece, and the other shell parts are separate. It's probably slight movement between those two letting it seem like rattling. But I doubt it will be a problem, it's probably got some catch in there that has some tolerance so it may move but never fall off without separating the two halves first. I'm not worried about it at all, especially since it seems most of them are like that or may eventually become like that with use.
  9. Tenashus1
    I've been through 5, all with the same issue. Holding on to one and going with the flow. Enjoying the Cobalt every moment. If something happens, I'll cross that bridge then. For now, it's great.
  10. GDuss
    Mine is only very slightly loose. Actually I had a DFR a few years ago that was way worse, it rattled like crazy. I returned that one and didn't get another. So at least in my experience this is not isolated to DFC.
  11. someyoungguy
    Yeah I think independent volume control would greatly enhance the usability of this thing. 2Vrms is a huge amount of power for typical mobile headphones and IEMs. Using that with only 11 steps of control of the iPhone is crazy.

    Seems to me if companies are aiming for the mobile market with USB dongles they should reduce the power if they make a unit without volume control. But most I’ve seen are designed at about 2 Vrms - the Black is the only one I can think of that’s lower off the top of my head. Probably because they all use line-out style amp chips which are usually 2 Vrms. At least with the DacMagic XS there’s 54 steps of volume attenuation built into the unit.
  12. KukoCL
    How can you connect the Dragonfly to your S9?

    I have an S9+ and I want to connect the Dragonfly Cobalt, but I don't know if I can connect directly the dragontail's USB C to the S9+, or I need to use that mini USB dongle that comes with the phone, in order to make the OTG connection work?
  13. bcwang
    The Galaxy S9 is usb-c so both the dragon tail and that adapter it came with are going to do the same thing. But the dragon tail is flexible so probably a better choice so you don’t snap the connector off by accident which is possible using the hard adapter it comes with.
  14. megabigeye
    I believe you should be able to just use the USB-C DragonTail that ships with the Cobalt. I'm no longer using my DFR (3.5mm jack gave out), but I was using a similar adapter from Insignia, which I think cost about $6 (though I don't think they still make it). Just make sure whatever you use is snug and that it covers most/all of the DragonFly's USB plug. Nothing more irritating than having that come loose while you're walking down the street.
    Also, if I recall, the mini-USB–USB-C adapter that came with the phone does not do data, just power. But I might be mis-remembering.
  15. someyoungguy
    I’ve been using this for the last few days at home and walking to and from work, instead of my usual DAP.

    This little thing sounds great, fantastic detail and nice crunch with electric guitars, good layering and separation of lower registers. I’m EQing a fraction more bass with Onkyo HF player (just a touch) which actually makes the impact and weight pretty much perfect for me. Maybe some burn in helped too, but the bass is plenty satisfying now compared to my previous comment out of the box.

    Even with the slow roll-off I’m finding the treble a little bright for my ears, so may drop that a notch with EQ too. Maybe I’m just getting old :wink:...

    Anyway, the long and short of it is: this thing can really slay! Good feeling of emotion and sense of drive, as well as the usual audiophile tick boxes of separation, layering etc. It may even become my everyday carry and lead me to stop using a DAP, for the first time ever (gulp!).
    juansan, Haden2866 and Tenashus1 like this.
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