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DragonFly Cobalt USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amp

In stock
$474 RRP $599

Naturally Beautiful Sound Is Right At Your Fingertips

Whatever music turns you on, wherever you are, an AudioQuest DragonFly USB DAC delivers inspiring, dynamic, and beautiful sound to earbuds, headphones, powered speakers, or complete audio systems.

With a DragonFly, music appreciation and exploration are limitless: Plug into an Apple or Windows® computer or connect to an iOS® or Android mobile device. Play YouTube or Vimeo videos. Go hunting on Bandcamp or SoundCloud. Explore playlists on Spotify or Pandora. Stream high-res audio from Tidal or Qobuz. No matter the choice of musical pleasure, DragonFly delivers beautiful sound, unravelling the emotional expression and nuance that makes music and movies so enjoyable.


What Hi-Fi? - Best DAC £200-£300 (2019)

"The clearest, tidiest and most dynamic presentation we’ve heard from a unit this small."

Read the full What H-Fi? review



"The latest addition to AudioQuest’s DragonFly range is its best yet. The Cobalt model not only converts a huge range of audio formats from your computer, it also features a high-quality headphone amplifier, as well as being able to deliver great sound to a hi-fi system – and all in a package no bigger than a USB thumb-drive."

Meet Cobalt: The Most Beautiful Sounding DragonFly Yet.

DragonFly Cobalt is AudioQuest's new flagship portable DAC / headphone amp, and takes what music lovers around the world have come to expect from the multi-award-winning DragonFly family - naturally beautiful, seductive sound - and strips away fuzz and fog that weren't even noticeable until Cobalt removed them.

How is this possible? Like the critically acclaimed DragonFly Red, Cobalt has the robust 2.1-volt output to drive almost any set of headphones, uses a bit-perfect digital volume control for outstanding signal-to-noise ratio, enables seamless compatibility with Apple and Android devices, and is an exceptionally competent and affordable MQA Renderer.

Cobalt Benefits From Significant Upgrades

- New, more advanced ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip with a minimum-phase slow roll-off filter for more natural sound.
- Microchip's superb PIC32MX274 microprocessor draws less current and increases processing speed by 33%.
- Improved power-supply filtering that specifically increases immunity to WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular noise.
- Includes a form-fitting DragonTail female USB-A to male USB-C Adaptor. All DragonTails use AQ's Carbon-level USB cable.

Key Features
- USB Stick-Sized Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC)
- Plays all music files: MP3 to MQA and Hi-Res
- Updated ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip
- Updated PIC32MX274 microprocessor
- MQA Rendering
- Compatible with Apple and Windows PCs, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices*
- Includes DragonTail USB-C adaptor
- High output (2.1 volts) drives almost all headphones, including power-hungry models
- Fixed output feeds preamp or AV receiver
- Asynchronous transfer ensures digital timing integrity
- 32-bit ESS 9010 DAC with minimum-phase filter
- Bit-perfect digital volume control


"If you loved the DragonFly Red and you’re looking to make the next step up without compromising on size or form, the Cobalt represents something of a no-brainer."

Learn why the DragonFly Cobalt is rated Best DAC £200-£300 in its review by British tech magazine What HiFi?


"The latest addition to AudioQuest’s DragonFly range is its best yet. The Cobalt model not only converts a huge range of audio formats from your computer, it also features a high-quality headphone amplifier, as well as being able to deliver great sound to a hi-fi system – and all in a package no bigger than a USB thumb-drive. It’s an ideal portable audio companion: simply pop it into a USB port on your computer or ‘smart device’ which will both power it and supply the music. Then just plug in your favourite headphones, and you have all you need for superb music wherever you happen to be."


Audioquest, Gordon Rankin: A Beautiful Partnership

Like all previous DragonFly models, Cobalt uses Gordon Rankin's precedent-setting StreamLength® asynchronous-transfer USB code. Further, in Gordon's monoClock® technology, a single ultra-low-jitter clock generated from the ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip runs the ESS chip functions as well as all microcontroller functions. This superior clock enables DragonFly Cobalt to provide greater resolution and clarity than DACs with multiple clocks.

Why The "Slow Roll...?"

Cobalt employs ESS's new flagship ES9038Q2M DAC chip. While the chips used in DragonFlys Black and Red are unbeatable for the price, the minimum-phase slow roll-off filter in the new 9038 results in naturally expressive sound that is always emotionally engaging and never fatiguing - a beautiful combination of warmth and detail that you will find equally exciting and soothing.

Killing The Noise

In Cobalt, AudioQuest has taken what they've learned from their recent research and development in noise dissipation to employ power-supply filtering specifically designed to dramatically reduce the increasingly prevalent noise from WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular signals. Successfully combating this noise is absolutely crucial to the preservation of the lowest-level musical details, particularly when it comes to hi-res audio - and especially when applied to a portable-audio device such as the DragonFly Cobalt.

Bit-perfect Volume Control And 2.1-Volt Output

Cobalt features the same ESS Sabre 9601 headphone amp and bit-perfect volume control that give DragonFly Red its unique combination of power and grip over the music. This solution ensures maximum fidelity, thrilling dynamic contrast, and excellent signal-to-noise ratio. The 2.1-volt output makes Cobalt and Red compatible with a wide range of headphones, including power-hungry low-efficiency models.

Firmware Upgradeable

The DragonFly Black, Red, and Cobalt are all firmware upgradeable via the free AudioQuest Desktop Device Manager. In today's fast-paced digital world, longevity in a hi-fi component is increasingly rare - at any price. AudioQuest believes that today's digital devices should evolve as technology itself evolves, thereby delivering musical pleasure for many years to come. Their Desktop Device Manager will also allow you to identify your DragonFly's serial number and software version to ensure that the device is up to date.

Beautiful Sound In A Smaller Package - And Now With A Tail

All this goodness is packed into a sleek new case that measures just 57.5mm x 18.6mm x 11.9mm, making the Cobalt 10% smaller and even a bit more pocket-friendly than previous DragonFlys.

Finally, to easily accommodate the increasing number of electronic devices that feature USB-C ports, DragonFly Cobalt comes with AudioQuest's DragonTail USB-A to USB-C adaptor in the box.

Stream Tidal Masters Everywhere

DragonFlys Black, Red, and Cobalt support Tidal Masters (MQA) playback from iPhones and Android smartphones. MQA's technology folds high-resolution files into smaller files that can be streamed on the go. As MQA Renderers, DragonFlys Black, Red, and Cobalt complete the unfolding process, allowing music lovers to enjoy a wider selection of hi-res music.


Stream Qobuz's Vast Catalog Of Outstanding Hi-res Music

DragonFlys Black, Red, and Cobalt support Qobuz high-res playback from iPhones, Android smartphones, and MacOS and Windows computers. Qobuz streams and downloads music in bit-perfect FLAC, the most widely used format for mastering and archiving, at resolutions of up to 24-bit/192kHz. With DragonFlys Black, Red, and Cobalt, listeners can enjoy more than 40 million tracks in lossless 16-bit CD resolution and over 2 million hi-res files.


More Information
Model Number DragonFlyC
RRP 599.00


Sample rates supported (LED indicator colour code): Standard (Red), 44.1kHz (Green), 48kHz (Blue), 88.2kHz (Yellow), 96kHz (Light Blue), MQA (Purple)
Volume Control: 64-position, 64-bit, bit-perfect
Output voltage: 2.1
Headphone Amp: ESS Sabre 9601
DAC Chip: ESS ES9038Q2M with minimum-phase slow roll-off filter for more natural sound
Microcontroller: Microchip PIC32MX274 reduces current draw and increases processing speed by 33% over DragonFlys Black and Red
Dimensions: 12mm H x 19mm W by 57mm L

What's in the Box:
- Cobalt DAC in blue automotive finish with silver lettering
- Protective endcap
- Leatherette travel pouch
- DragonTail USB-C adaptor

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12 Months
The DragonFly Red DAC includes a 12 month Australian warranty.

To register your DragonFly Red DAC, fill out the form on the Audioquest website's Warranty Registration page here.

If you experience any issues with this product please don't hesitate to contact us.
How much does delivery cost?
Nothing! We offer free post on all orders to anywhere within the Australian mainland and Tasmania.

Can I pick up my purchase from your store?
Yes. You can usually pick up your order from one of our stores. We recommend that you contact us first to ensure your order is ready for collection.

What happens if I'm not happy with my product when it arrives?
We offer a 30 day 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our products! If your order arrives damaged, faulty or not quite as you expected, please contact us and we will do everything we can to fix the situation.

Please visit our FAQ page for answers to other frequently asked questions or contact us if you have any other questions or comments.
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