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Article: New AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt

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Everyone has had the same blurb today (sorry Chris) but I'd like to actually hear from someone who has heard it and compared it to the Red and other inexpensive DACs like iFi.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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47 minutes ago, Jud said:

I notice it and the Red feature a "bit-perfect digital volume control," which I guess is the same as the "bit-perfect variable output" mentioned above. Would be interested to learn more.

It's meaningless. Digital volume control by necessity means bit are altered. Bit-perfect means bits are not altered. Can't have it both ways.

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1 hour ago, firedog said:

Everyone has had the same blurb today (sorry Chris) but I'd like to actually hear from someone who has heard it and compared it to the Red and other inexpensive DACs like iFi.

No apologies needed. Nobody was supposed to get the Cobalt early. Those who did went around the system and will end up hurting AudioQuest in their effort to help themselves. 

 

I'll report on it once it's here.


Founder of Audiophile Style

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so how do I add the Tidal playlist to my Tidal account? It would be helpful to many if there was link to how to do so whenever you post a link like this.... similar to a recent article talking about using mono tracks to set up speakers... it drives me nuts when sites like this post just enough information to capture your interest but not not enough detail to follow up ....thx

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5 minutes ago, bbosler said:

so how do I add the Tidal playlist to my Tidal account?

What do you mean add it to your Tidal account?

 

You can favorite the playlist by clicking the heart. 

 

Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 12.21.20 PM.png


Founder of Audiophile Style

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2 hours ago, mansr said:

It's meaningless. Digital volume control by necessity means bit are altered. Bit-perfect means bits are not altered. Can't have it both ways.

 

Which is why I said I'd be interested to learn more. Since the AQ description doesn't say anything, how (without giving away IP) does the volume control actually operate?

 

We (Chris) may not get a comprehensible answer, but it didn't cost anything to ask, so...


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> eero Pro router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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21 minutes ago, mansr said:

The Dragonfly Red uses the built-in volume control in the ESS DAC. I assume it does a simple multiplication, since that's all a volume control needs to do.

 

If you want to know for sure what the Cobalt does, send me one and I'll find out.

 

I won't have one to send.  🙂  Since the descriptions are identical, I assume it works just like the Red.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> eero Pro router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Sorta dull don't you think.  Who didn't register an expectedly neutral trending towards unenthused reaction to this all cannons fired at once media barrage?  Blue Monday, AQ?

 

Struggling to see need for this to exist.  Any example usecase where being reimagined as a USB C device with USB A adapter wouldn't have justified some (marginal) reason for complicating the product line instead of moving it upwards.  Maybe if their competition now thinks they can resell their current designs for another product cycle. The pace of product development will come to a grinding halt so everyone prospers. 

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Could you also look into its use case in a living room rig due to its high WAF. A comparison with will known Dacs like the Yggy, Benchmark 3, Mytek B+ etc. would be great as I'm looking to upgrade from my Chifi SMSL M8A DAC. Also is capability with Tidal Masters would be appreciated. 

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Hmmm, I don't see any value in this.

 

I have an MHA50 and I can connect it directly with 1 cable to either my iPhone or MacBook Pro, no adapters needed. Battery power if I want to listen on the go, etc...

 

And it sounds great. 


No electron left behind...

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3 hours ago, digitaldufferme said:

Could you also look into its use case in a living room rig due to its high WAF. A comparison with will known Dacs like the Yggy, Benchmark 3, Mytek B+ etc. would be great as I'm looking to upgrade from my Chifi SMSL M8A DAC. Also is capability with Tidal Masters would be appreciated. 

 

Not sure if this was partially directed at my post directly above.

 

You, and your wife, can safely use this for anything you like without negativity directed at you. 

 

$300 portable DAC/headphone amps do exist in a different comparison bracket from the models you mentioned.  I'd wager the majority percentage here would be shocked if it matched the performance of a Yggy for instance.  

 

Feel free to start a thread for the purpose of garnering ideas to approach 'she who must be obeyed' with.

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I had the Black and the Red, my wife and I alternated until she decided the Black was better for her. 

 

We both had nothing but trouble with them.  With JRiver and Windows 10 there was nothing but interruptions, dropouts, clicking and buzzing or just no sound.  

 

I fooled around with them off and on for a year or so and finally gave up.  I gave away the Red to a friend, I think the Black is hanging around somewhere.  

 

And, you know, I'm not sure that I even need one anymore.  I noticed that whatever DAC chip is being used in my Dell laptop at work or at home seems to be essentially equivalent to the sound quality from the DragonFly. 

 

Of course, that still leaves a big market for people with portable devices etc. but after all the struggling that the Red and Black put me through I've had it with those gizmos. 

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I have a more question about usability. What exactly happens when we are listening to music with the dragonfly cobalt and we have a incoming call and we want to listen to it. Does the DAC (1) silence the music automatically (2) pass trough our sound, if the headphones have mics...

 

Thanks anyone!

 

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1 minute ago, MikeJazz said:

I have a more question about usability. What exactly happens when we are listening to music with the dragonfly cobalt and we have a incoming call and we want to listen to it. Does the DAC (1) silence the music automatically (2) pass trough our sound,

That's up to the phone and playback app.

 

1 minute ago, MikeJazz said:

if the headphones have mics...

The Dragonfly is a DAC only. It can't do anything with a microphone.

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Someone reported the insane volume level issue present on Dragonfly Black (and supposedly Red) is still present on Cobalt when using Windows 10.

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9 minutes ago, stuck limo said:

Someone reported the insane volume level issue present on Dragonfly Black (and supposedly Red) is still present on Cobalt when using Windows 10.

When using it with Qobuz on my Mac and a pair of Etymotic earphones I have to set the volume as low as possible. 


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On 7/11/2019 at 4:18 PM, The Computer Audiophile said:

When using it with Qobuz on my Mac and a pair of Etymotic earphones I have to set the volume as low as possible. 

 

I had the same experience. However, the situation is somewhat different with a phone -- I only had to turn down the volume a bit vis-a-vis the Red.

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On 7/11/2019 at 4:08 PM, stuck limo said:

Someone reported the insane volume level issue present on Dragonfly Black (and supposedly Red) is still present on Cobalt when using Windows 10.

 

I believe the volume issue related only to Android phones -- Android was limiting the output. This has been corrected (at least for my phone) with updates.  There was never a problem with Windows 10, AFAIK.

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