Lightning or Wireless Headphones

General HiFi discussion, using the Tune Method to evaluate performance

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rowlandhills
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Lightning or Wireless Headphones

Post by rowlandhills » 2016-09-11 21:43

Clearly, the iPhone is not exactly the greatest source available, but I like it a lot as a phone and mobile internet device, and it has some great apps which I wouldn't want to lose. I don't want to carry two phones with me, so it's my main source of music while travelling on trains etc.

I've just ordered a new iPhone 7, but it no longer has a 3.5mm headphone jack, just a Lightning port and provision for wireless audio over Bluetooth. I can use the provided Lightning to 3.5mm adapter, but wondered if anyone had any recommendations for reasonably musical Bluetooth or Lightning pairs of headphones (over ear, on ear or in ear)?

Thanks.
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Re: Lightning or Wireless Headphones

Post by Music Lover » 2016-09-12 13:20

Apple's "lightning to 3.5mm adapter" must have a DAC right? Just checking as lightning output on older iPhones were digital if I remember correctly.


How many hours do you intend using them daily?
Some BT devices have quite poor battery life. And please also consider the radio frequency (RF) exposure.

These look like a stylish and smart alternative.
http://www.earin.com

As you know, Bluetooth was designed to use as little processing power as possible and to transmit voice for a phone call, so ultimate fidelity wasn't considered.
And the BT compression is in addition to whatever compression the source file on your phone has.

But there is hope!
- BT is a standard för transmitting audio, where an OPTIONAL codec (i.e. compression algorithm) can be used in addition to the standard SBC codec (aptX codec is one exemple)
- if the receiving device (=headphone) can decode the original source file the audio can be transmitted without compression! The downside is higher power consumption, so in reality it seems nobody considered that option.
(I'm not into headphones so I may have missed any brand offering uncompressed BT audio)

But I have seen some devices offering aptX codecs. However, not sure iPhone7 support that.

Summary
Search for the best Lightning hard-wired headphones obtaining lossless transport (don't forget the Apple Earpods With Lightning Connector) and compare the sound quality with Apples Lightning adaptor & your present 3.5mm hard-wired headphones

As an option, compare with Apple's own BT AirPods. As they using the new proprietary W1 chip, does they offer better sound quality? (the "own by Apple" Beats latest headphones also use the W1 chip).

Please report your findings.
Good Luck!
It's all about musical understanding!

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Re: Lightning or Wireless Headphones

Post by rowlandhills » 2016-09-12 16:57

Thanks ML. Some good thoughts there.

Yes, the adapter has a built in DAC, as Lightning is digital only.

There's been some discussion of whether the iPhone 7 supports aptX but no-one seems to have given a conclusive answer yet. May need to wait until they actually start being delivered to find out - in my case, next Friday! :)

I'll try the provided Lightning earpods, but I've struggled historically to get apply earpods to stay in my ears...

Will certainly report back once I get the phone and start to play around with any options.
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Re: Lightning or Wireless Headphones

Post by stefan » 2016-09-13 09:35

Surely, there is now a market for "lightning to 3.5mm adapter" of better quality than what Apple provides. If you have phones that you like I would stick to that and wait and see what comes up.

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Re: Lightning or Wireless Headphones

Post by Tendaberry » 2017-01-07 11:54

I'm in the same situation the OP. Apparently the DA in the supplied adapter is of very poor quality, so the sound is actually worse than with iPhone 6. I'm thinking of going with the Apple lightning to camera adapter + an Audioquest Dragonfly Red DA/Headphone amp. Has anyone tried that?

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Re: Lightning or Wireless Headphones

Post by rowlandhills » 2017-01-07 12:22

I've ordered one of these through Kickstarter:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/99 ... hone-7-cha

I have a pair of the same company's M4 earphones, which I find tuneful. Their "mission statement" is positive too, although it doesnt reference tunefulness or musicality specifically:
It was for the love of music. It was the respect for all musicians of the past, present and future. It was for the struggling instrumental buried under the heavy bass line. It was for the audiophiles craving that crystal clear and mind-blowing detail.
Of course, the downside of being a kickstarter is that you never know quite when you're going to get it...
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Re: Lightning or Wireless Headphones

Post by rowlandhills » 2017-01-07 12:24

Although I'm also taking another approach and going to listen to the B&W P5 and P7 wireless phones soon too.
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