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AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt Review (Portable Headphone Adapter)

mansr

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I need to correct myself, at the end we were both wrong, I made a bigger mistake though: there is indeed a high-speed USB version of PIC32, that‘s the MZ
You're right, I had overlooked that one.
 

cruiser

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Hello,
New member here. I'm so glad I found this thread and website.

I'm not an audiophile by any means but my background is production techno music. Recently, I bought the DF Cobalt to use on my IOS devices as well as my macbook and I pair it with my Sony MDR-7506 headphones. After reading and hearing all the rave reviews, I was expecting this DAC to provide a substantial upgrade to the sound quality I was normally hearing. I cannot though in any way tell the difference between MP3's and higher-res audio when the Cobalt is connect. This after having spent several hours putting it through tests using Qobuz as well as Apple's new lossless music and using the highest resolution audio I could find.

The Sony's are good for what they are, not the best but good enough quality that if the Cobalt was able to provide better audio quality, the Sony's should reveal it. I also connected this to my mid-tier studio monitors thinking maybe they would be a better fit and allow me to hear more detail. Still though no noticeable difference.

So my question is: What small DAC would people here recommend for portable use? Just want to use for casual use.

On another note: I based my buying decision on Darko's youtube review of the Cobalt. I wanted to go back to add a comment but all comments for this review have been turned off. Interesting. Suffice to say, I've unsubscribed to his channel.

Cheers!
 

A-lexx

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Hello,
New member here. I'm so glad I found this thread and website.

I'm not an audiophile by any means but my background is production techno music. Recently, I bought the DF Cobalt to use on my IOS devices as well as my macbook and I pair it with my Sony MDR-7506 headphones. After reading and hearing all the rave reviews, I was expecting this DAC to provide a substantial upgrade to the sound quality I was normally hearing. I cannot though in any way tell the difference between MP3's and higher-res audio when the Cobalt is connect. This after having spent several hours putting it through tests using Qobuz as well as Apple's new lossless music and using the highest resolution audio I could find.

The Sony's are good for what they are, not the best but good enough quality that if the Cobalt was able to provide better audio quality, the Sony's should reveal it. I also connected this to my mid-tier studio monitors thinking maybe they would be a better fit and allow me to hear more detail. Still though no noticeable difference.

So my question is: What small DAC would people here recommend for portable use? Just want to use for casual use.

On another note: I based my buying decision on Darko's youtube review of the Cobalt. I wanted to go back to add a comment but all comments for this review have been turned off. Interesting. Suffice to say, I've unsubscribed to his channel.

Cheers!

Why do you think you would hear any difference between good quality MP3 and higher-res Audio? Even if there is any difference, most people can‘t hear it. Even people who claim they could are often mistaken. You will not hear more details with better DACs, it‘s nonsense, no DAC is that bad nowadays that it would mask details. You are using very mid-fi transducers, they would not be able to reproduce the miniscule differences between different sources.
Don‘t waste your money, buy better headphones.
 
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VintageFlanker

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As always, (thx for sharing, @SubOjectivist)
Screenshot_20210711-081809.png

"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."

:facepalm:
 

Asylum Seeker

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Beside the obvious fact that almost none have headphone jacks now, even those that do run out of power easily blowing any claim of transparency to pieces.
Untrue. According to the GSM Arena database, 293 smartphones have been released in 2021. Of those, 214 have headphone jacks. News of the death of the headphone jack have been widely exaggerated.
 

Rottmannash

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Try looking at the number of flagship smartphones with a HP jack.
 

raistlin65

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Try looking at the number of flagship smartphones with a HP jack.

Yep. It's kind of interesting that the flagship phones are deprecating a feature that is common on lower model phones.

I wonder if it's because they figure if you have a flagship headphone, you can afford a nice pair of bluetooth headphones and/or will buy an expensive dongle? But otherwise you're too poor and have to use cheaper wired headphones without a dongle? lol
 

Rottmannash

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Yep. It's kind of interesting that the flagship phones are deprecating a feature that is common on lower model phones.

I wonder if it's because they figure if you have a flagship headphone, you can afford a nice pair of bluetooth headphones and/or will buy an expensive dongle? But otherwise you're too poor and have to use cheaper wired headphones without a dongle? lol
Agreed- bizarre choice for sure.
 

mansr

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Yep. It's kind of interesting that the flagship phones are deprecating a feature that is common on lower model phones.

I wonder if it's because they figure if you have a flagship headphone, you can afford a nice pair of bluetooth headphones and/or will buy an expensive dongle? But otherwise you're too poor and have to use cheaper wired headphones without a dongle? lol
Waterproofing might have something to do with it.
 

ordeith

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Hey everyone, first post on the forum.

I have been reading many different threads (especially the speaker reviews!) over the past few weeks. This thread itself was welcome, considering I was pricing out a new portable setup in the hundreds of dollars for...nothing.

My question is this: I am a long time user of custom IEMs (Ultimate Ears 10 Pro Customs, and I'll be getting the Reference Remastered soon too), and I loved the sound on my ipod nano -> ALO custom cable -> RSA Tomahawk -> IEMs. But I wear suits far too often for this to be practical any more.

Is there any way I can take my Samsung S20, and do 'something portable' which could match the setup I'm used to? Or is it just absurd for me to hope that a dongle could match that? I am very sensitive to any 'hissing' or 'background noise' caused by connections.

Sorry for the essay - just would be grateful for any suggestions from you fine folks. Some have probably wondered the same thing as I here, and solved it long ago. I have been lazy :/
 

beeface

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Hey everyone, first post on the forum.

I have been reading many different threads (especially the speaker reviews!) over the past few weeks. This thread itself was welcome, considering I was pricing out a new portable setup in the hundreds of dollars for...nothing.

My question is this: I am a long time user of custom IEMs (Ultimate Ears 10 Pro Customs, and I'll be getting the Reference Remastered soon too), and I loved the sound on my ipod nano -> ALO custom cable -> RSA Tomahawk -> IEMs. But I wear suits far too often for this to be practical any more.

Is there any way I can take my Samsung S20, and do 'something portable' which could match the setup I'm used to? Or is it just absurd for me to hope that a dongle could match that? I am very sensitive to any 'hissing' or 'background noise' caused by connections.

Sorry for the essay - just would be grateful for any suggestions from you fine folks. Some have probably wondered the same thing as I here, and solved it long ago. I have been lazy :/
It isn’t something I’ve got experience with personally, but I’d recommend taking a look at Amir’s reviews on dongles. The Hidizs products are well regarded from memory.
 

raistlin65

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Hey everyone, first post on the forum.

I have been reading many different threads (especially the speaker reviews!) over the past few weeks. This thread itself was welcome, considering I was pricing out a new portable setup in the hundreds of dollars for...nothing.

My question is this: I am a long time user of custom IEMs (Ultimate Ears 10 Pro Customs, and I'll be getting the Reference Remastered soon too), and I loved the sound on my ipod nano -> ALO custom cable -> RSA Tomahawk -> IEMs. But I wear suits far too often for this to be practical any more.

Is there any way I can take my Samsung S20, and do 'something portable' which could match the setup I'm used to? Or is it just absurd for me to hope that a dongle could match that? I am very sensitive to any 'hissing' or 'background noise' caused by connections.

Sorry for the essay - just would be grateful for any suggestions from you fine folks. Some have probably wondered the same thing as I here, and solved it long ago. I have been lazy :/

There are $60 dongles that are easily arguable to be noise and distortion free within the range of human hearing. For example, https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...sonata-hd-pro-review-headphone-adapter.22625/
 

Grumpish

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I had one of the early Dragonfly dongles - it sounded so bad that I actually returned the first one as faulty, only to find that the replacement was no better. I sold it on, on fleabay, after a couple of weeks, but actually didn't take much of a loss on it as someone was as gullible as I was at the time and actually bid quite close to what I paid for it. .
 
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