Question Audioquest Dragonfly Cobalt questions

kipper15

Active Member
I'm thinking of getting one of these to connect my laptop to a powered speaker in my man cave/office. The powered speaker has both a 3.5mm stereo aux input and a pair of RCA inputs.

The questions I have are:

1. Will it make any difference at all if I use a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable vs using a 3.5mm to 2 x RCA cable? (Dragonfly to powered speaker connection)

2. Audioquest markets this device as a USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amplifier. Audioquest say you can connect this USB DAC to headphones, powered speakers, etc. I'm a little bit confused by the "preamp" part of the product description though. Why would you want to use a preamp going into powered speakers that also have a preamp...or have I missed something here???
 

dannnielll

Well-known Member
I'm thinking of getting one of these to connect my laptop to a powered speaker in my man cave/office. The powered speaker has both a 3.5mm stereo aux input and a pair of RCA inputs.

The questions I have are:

1. Will it make any difference at all if I use a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable vs using a 3.5mm to 2 x RCA cable? (Dragonfly to powered speaker connection)

2. Audioquest markets this device as a USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amplifier. Audioquest say you can connect this USB DAC to headphones, powered speakers, etc. I'm a little bit confused by the "preamp" part of the product description though. Why would you want to use a preamp going into powered speakers that also have a preamp...or have I missed something here???
The term preamp is a bit redundant here, but what they are essentially saying is that the output from the DAC chip is brought to a level of typically 1 volt buffered and eminently suitable for going into the line input of a power amplifier.
Cables make no discernible difference, I expect that there is no difference between the 3.5mm jack and the RCA inputs.. except ease of use. You could confirm this by reading the powered speaker spec sheet.
 

kipper15

Active Member
The term preamp is a bit redundant here, but what they are essentially saying is that the output from the DAC chip is brought to a level of typically 1 volt buffered and eminently suitable for going into the line input of a power amplifier.
Cables make no discernible difference, I expect that there is no difference between the 3.5mm jack and the RCA inputs.. except ease of use. You could confirm this by reading the powered speaker spec sheet.
So presumably the Cobalt is also suitable for going into the line input of any integrated amplifier or powered speakers? I think of a preamp as requiring a connection to a power amplifier (as opposed to an integrated amplifier or powered speakers that have a preamp already), I think I get what you're saying though!

One other option I'm considering for use both as a headphone amp and as a DAC to connect to a powered speaker, is the Pro-Ject Pre S2 Digital. I've noticed in the manual that the headphone jack volume and RCA line out volume are independent of one another, with a volume range of -80dB to 0dB. This being the case, I presume I would just set the RCA output volume to 0dB when connecting to a powered speaker?
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
The term preamp is a bit redundant here, but what they are essentially saying is that the output from the DAC chip is brought to a level of typically 1 volt buffered and eminently suitable for going into the line input of a power amplifier.
The manuals for the previous versions of dragonfly says the user has to bump up the software volume to max to put it into line-out mode. I cannot find this in the manual for the cobalt, admittedly on little sleep, but imagine it may be the same? :)
 

kipper15

Active Member
The manuals for the previous versions of dragonfly says the user has to bump up the software volume to max to put it into line-out mode. I cannot find this in the manual for the cobalt, admittedly on little sleep, but imagine it may be the same? :)
Presumably when in line-out mode (with the volume at maximum) then there is no 'pre-amp' in the signal path and it's just acting like a DAC.

I presume the Pro-Ject Pre S2 Digital Headphone Preamp/DAC will work in a similar way...
 

kipper15

Active Member
The manuals for the previous versions of dragonfly says the user has to bump up the software volume to max to put it into line-out mode. I cannot find this in the manual for the cobalt, admittedly on little sleep, but imagine it may be the same? :)
Had a look around on the Audioquest website and found this, under the "Playback Related" section of the Dragonfly FAQ page:


"You can also use DragonFly as a traditional fixed-output source component (such as a CD player, DVD player, or Blu-ray player), connected to a standard input on a receiver or preamplifier. When used in this manner, DragonFly functions in fixed output mode, which allows the overall volume level to be adjusted with the audio/video system’s master volume control. For this application, both the music player’s volume control and the computer’s main (operating system) volume level should be set to maximum."
 

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