Got Spotify? Or Amazon Music, Apple Music or whatever the cool kids are listening to today? Of course you do. But have you ever noticed how poor the sound quality can be? Sure, it’s totally fine for listening to with cheap earbuds or cheap speakers. But for audiophiles trying to listen in the most detailed Hi-Fi possible? Regular old streaming MP3’s just don’t cut it. That’s where a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and headphone amp like the DragonFly Cobalt can make a difference.

DragonFly Cobalt DAC-USB

The DragonFly Cobalt is the successor to AudioQuest’s DragonFly Red and Black – two nifty-little USB headphone amplifiers that enhanced up digital audio and turned those Spotify MP3’s into audio that sounded as good as the latest Hi-Fi radio. But the Cobalt is the most powerful DragonFly yet. Like its predecessors, it plugs into any laptop or computer via USB, Lightning connection or USB-C with adapter, and boasts a powerful ESS amplifier that brings your streaming music to the next level of sound and clarity. Like the Red, the Cobalt uses is an ESS pumps out sound at a 2.1-volt output – enough to power virtually any-pair of headphones, Hi-Fi or not.

Unlike the Black or Red, however, the Cobalt has built-in noise reduction and improved power-supply filtering, creating better, clearer audio without any interference from your laptop, phone, etc. It also has a significantly better battery life, thanks to the new ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip and Microchip PIC32MX274 microprocessor, which use less power and are significantly faster than those on the original Black or Red.


To sweeten the deal, DragonFly even includes a DragonTail USB-A to USB-C adapter so you can use this with the latest laptops, MacBooks and smartphones – which seem to be incorporating USB-C as the connectivity of the future.

It’s expensive, no doubt. But as an audiophile, you know that amping up your sound with DAC’s like the DragonFly Cobalt is worth the investment.