AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt VS Audioengine D1P Portable DAC — Audioengine Skip to Content

AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt VS Audioengine D1P Portable DAC

Table of Contents: 

  • Introduction 
  • Main Differences Between Audioengine D1P and AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt 
  • Key Specifications 
  • Key Features 
  • Overall Design 
  • Playback Capabilities 
  • Other Noteworthy Features 
  • Reliability 
  • Pros and Cons 


In the world of high-quality audio playback, digital-to-analog converters (DACs) play a crucial role in transforming digital audio signals into a format that can be appreciated by audiophiles and casual listeners alike. Audioengine's D1P and AudioQuest's DragonFly Cobalt are two standout DACs that offer unique features and capabilities. This analysis will delve into a detailed comparison of these two devices, highlighting their strengths and differences. 

Audioengine D1P and AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt 

The Audioengine D1P builds on the legacy of its predecessor, the D1, offering a lightweight and compact form factor with enhanced audio performance thanks to its ESS Sabre DAC chip. It is designed for versatility with a convenient toggle switch to easily swap between your headphones and speakers. 

Conversely, the DragonFly Cobalt by AudioQuest focuses on portability and compatibility, featuring a high-performance ESS Sabre digital-to-analog conversion chip and a variety of connectivity options for mobile and desktop devices. 

Key Specifications 

Audioengine D1P Digital to Analog Converter: 

  • ESS Sabre ES9219C 32-bit/384kHz DAC chip 
  • Supported sample rates: PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz, DSD up to 11.2 MHz 
  • Connectivity: USB-C, Optical, 3.5mm output, RCA output 
  • No battery required; powered by USB 
  • Dimensions: 3"W x 1"H x 2-1/2"D; Weight: 0.85 lbs. 

AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt: 

  • 32-bit ESS Sabre ES9038Q2M DAC chip 
  • Supported sample rates: PCM up to 96kHz 
  • Connectivity: USB, 3.5mm output 
  • Powered by USB connection 
  • Dimensions: 3/4"W x 1/2"H x 2-1/4"D 

Key Features 

  • Audioengine D1P: Offers a wide range of audio format support, including AAC, FLAC, and MQA, with a variety of connectivity options for flexibility in setup. It also includes an onboard volume knob and a sampling rate indicator. 
  • AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt: Known for its compatibility with a wide array of devices, including Windows and Mac computers, iPhones, iPads, and some Android devices. It offers a compact and durable design, with a simple plug-and-play operation. 

Overall Design 

The D1P continues Audioengine's tradition of high-quality, aesthetically pleasing designs with its compact and lightweight form factor. It is designed to be the perfect audio companion for both office and home environments. 

The DragonFly Cobalt features a durable metal construction with a blue hardshell finish, emphasizing portability and durability for on-the-go use. 

Playback Capabilities 

Both DACs excel in their playback capabilities, with the D1P leveraging the power of the ESS Sabre DAC chip for detailed and nuanced sound across all types of headphones. The DragonFly Cobalt, with its ESS Sabre digital-to-analog conversion chip and high-performance headphone amplifier, offers dynamic and nuanced sound quality. 

Other Noteworthy Features 

  • Audioengine D1P: Supports hi-fi quality audio rendering, including MQA and FLAC, a USB-C and Lightning adapter for universal phone connectivity, optical digital input for TV and home theater connections, and an industry-leading 3-year warranty. 
  • AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt: Offers increased processing speed and efficiency, rendering for MQA audio files, and comes with a variety of adapters for connectivity with different devices. 


  • Audioengine D1P: Known for its durability and backed by a 3-year warranty, offering peace of mind for consumers. 
  • AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt: Comes with a 1-year warranty and is praised for its build quality and reliable performance. 

Pros and Cons 

Audioengine D1P: 

  • Pros: Supports a wide range of audio formats with bitrates up to 32bit, inclduing MQA, FLAC and AAC, versatile connectivity, durable proven design based on the Audioengine D1, 3-year warranty.

AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt: 

  • Pros: Compact and portable, compatible with many devices, easy plug-and-play operation. 
  • Cons: Limited to 96kHz PCM, requires additional adapters for some connections. 

Why Digital Audio Quality Matters 

Understanding the essence of high-quality components in a DAC reveals why Audioengine's D1P excels. It's not just about hearing music; it's about experiencing it in its fullest, with every note and nuance captured exactly as created in the studio. Visit our blog about digital and analog audio to learn more. 

The Company Behind the Sound 

Audioengine, founded in 2005, stands as a testament to American innovation in audio technology. With a focus on customer satisfaction, they provide US-based phone support, fast and free shipping, and a commitment to quality that's hard to beat. 

Why Audioengine D1P Stands Out 

With its hi-fi audio quality and robust 3-year warranty, the D1P not only meets but exceeds expectations. It represents the culmination of Audioengine's dedication to creating products that deliver music the way it was meant to be heard. 

As an American company with deep roots in innovation, Audioengine ensures each customer feels valued with US-based support and fast, free shipping. 

In conclusion, while the AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt offers a pathway to enhanced audio, the Audioengine D1P leads to the destination of audio perfection. It's more than a DAC; it's a gateway to experiencing music in its purest form, making it the clear choice for audiophiles and casual listeners alike seeking the ultimate sound experience. 

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