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Old Oct 16, 2012, 11:35 AM   #1
Meerkatdawg
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Lightning to 30 Pin Adapter Sound Quality

Well after 3 weeks of waiting, my Lightning to 30 Pin Adapter arrived and all I can say is what a disappointment. It works with all my docks and even in my car. No problem there but that's about all the benefit.

It doesn't fit correctly. It's a bit loose and doesn't sit flush with any of my previous Apple cables. This I can live with. The worst is to come.

Sound quality is awful. Through 4 separate systems and the car too. I can't quite explain. It's not muffled, more like the sound has been filtered. There's no top and the bass feels like it's coming through in blocks. Switching between the adapter and a 3.5 jack connector is completely different. Even with the same file on a different iphone (3GS), the sound quality is hugely degraded on the iphone 5.

It's unusable apart from allowing me to use older apple cables for charging. I'd be better just returning it and buying the cheaper micro usb to lightning connector as that's about as much use as I'll get out of the 30 pin adapter.

Would this be due to it being digital only instead of analogue? Should I expect this or is anyone having the same experience? I'd love to get your feedback and know I'm not alone. I hope it's a dud and a one off. I'm imagining it's sadly not.
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 12:49 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Meerkatdawg View Post
Well after 3 weeks of waiting, my Lightning to 30 Pin Adapter arrived and all I can say is what a disappointment. It works with all my docks and even in my car. No problem there but that's about all the benefit.

It doesn't fit correctly. It's a bit loose and doesn't sit flush with any of my previous Apple cables. This I can live with. The worst is to come.

Sound quality is awful. Through 4 separate systems and the car too. I can't quite explain. It's not muffled, more like the sound has been filtered. There's no top and the bass feels like it's coming through in blocks. Switching between the adapter and a 3.5 jack connector is completely different. Even with the same file on a different iphone (3GS), the sound quality is hugely degraded on the iphone 5.

It's unusable apart from allowing me to use older apple cables for charging. I'd be better just returning it and buying the cheaper micro usb to lightning connector as that's about as much use as I'll get out of the 30 pin adapter.

Would this be due to it being digital only instead of analogue? Should I expect this or is anyone having the same experience? I'd love to get your feedback and know I'm not alone. I hope it's a dud and a one off. I'm imagining it's sadly not.
I will do some tests when I get home from work today, with this setup:

iPhone 5 -> Lightning to 30-pin -> 30 pin dock cable with lineout -> reasonably high end Denon receiver with good JBL speakers

I will compare direct headphone to line out and let ya'll know the result. If anyone else wants to test, please do. Lots of this sort of tests will tell us if the OP's adapter is defective or if it's a design flaw of the adapter.
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 01:11 PM   #3
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Mine works great in my car. Sound quality is at least as good as the audio from the CD player to my ears. Better than the quality I was getting with my iPhone 4S previously, which was also putting out a high-pitched whine (documented in this Apple support forum discussion) in my car.
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 02:04 PM   #4
Meerkatdawg
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Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post
I will do some tests when I get home from work today, with this setup:

iPhone 5 -> Lightning to 30-pin -> 30 pin dock cable with lineout -> reasonably high end Denon receiver with good JBL speakers

I will compare direct headphone to line out and let ya'll know the result. If anyone else wants to test, please do. Lots of this sort of tests will tell us if the OP's adapter is defective or if it's a design flaw of the adapter.
That would be great. I really am hoping that it would be a one off. There are always going to be some products with problems and if it sounds good to everyone else then I'm probably just lumbered with a dud for replacement.

----------

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Originally Posted by r6girl View Post
Mine works great in my car. Sound quality is at least as good as the audio from the CD player to my ears. Better than the quality I was getting with my iPhone 4S previously, which was also putting out a high-pitched whine (documented in this Apple support forum discussion) in my car.
Well I'm using AAC 256 kbps so I'd never expect it to equal my CDs, but its well off the other iPods. Phone with aux jack sounds great though.

----------

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Originally Posted by r6girl View Post
Mine works great in my car. Sound quality is at least as good as the audio from the CD player to my ears. Better than the quality I was getting with my iPhone 4S previously, which was also putting out a high-pitched whine (documented in this Apple support forum discussion) in my car.
Well I'm using AAC 256 kbps so I'd never expect it to equal my CDs, but its well off the other iPods. Phone with aux jack sounds great though.
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 02:51 PM   #5
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I only have ALAC encoded music, and if you're right, it sounds like it's time to grab a pre-pre-gen Nano.
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 03:05 PM   #6
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This lightning transition has been painful.

Lightning works with nothing I own now, adapter or not, and there are NO lightning products out there.

FAIL.
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 03:32 PM   #7
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This lightning transition has been painful.

Lightning works with nothing I own now, adapter or not, and there are NO lightning products out there.

FAIL.
i just hope you realize that isn't Apple's fault.
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 03:50 PM   #8
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i just hope you realize that isn't Apple's fault.
How isn't it Apple's fault? They roll out a new connector (when, admittedly, one of the previous standards like USB would be just fine). They didn't have to.

One thing that isn't their fault - car stereos don't do AudioUSB normally. They've been lazy and just taking the analog output from the iPhone. We'll see if that changes. That being said - I have an iPod classic and I use that in my car.
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 04:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dwalls90 View Post
This lightning transition has been painful.

Lightning works with nothing I own now, adapter or not, and there are NO lightning products out there.

FAIL.
First.world.problem.
The one thing you own now that it doesn't work with is your car stereo. Use an analog headphone jack cable. The horror.
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 05:52 PM   #10
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I tried comparing audio output between the line-out from a 30 pin to lightning adapter and the headphone jack, and couldn't tell the difference between them.

The lightning adapter's output was a bit louder than the headphone jack at full volume.

I also notice that the lightning adapter does NOT require USB power to output audio. (someone else claimed this in another post)

So, I suspect your adapter is flawed. Go get it exchanged.
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 07:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DarwinOSX View Post
First.world.problem.
The one thing you own now that it doesn't work with is your car stereo. Use an analog headphone jack cable. The horror.
If you had spent, say, $1200 on a stereo head unit that was "compatible with the iPhone", would you still be saying that? Car stereos are very expensive. To buy one because of a certain functionality and then have Apple mess with that without providing backwards compatibility is pretty lame. To blow it off like you are doing is even worse.

How about this. Why don't you junk your iPhone and use a landline? The horror.
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 07:43 PM   #12
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Actually I was just thinking the same thing with the OP while driving around with my iPhone 5 connected to my OEM Acura RL stereo via the lightning to 30pin 0.2m adapter.

Something just sounded different compared to what I was accustomed to with my iPhone 4...

Of course this was during my normal commute so I had no time for critical listening.

Perhaps the D/A convertors that Apple used in the cable adapters are not as good as the ones that they used to build into the devices themselves...
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Old Oct 17, 2012, 03:49 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Meatwad View Post
If you had spent, say, $1200 on a stereo head unit that was "compatible with the iPhone", would you still be saying that? Car stereos are very expensive. To buy one because of a certain functionality and then have Apple mess with that without providing backwards compatibility is pretty lame. To blow it off like you are doing is even worse.

How about this. Why don't you junk your iPhone and use a landline? The horror.
And it DOES work... with the specific iPhone in production (at the time it was advertised as working with iPhone). Should it work with the iPhone 17? Why not?

Why does Apple bear the burden of making sure everything is backwards compatible? If you don't want it, don't buy it, or at least test it first and THEN decide.

You upgraded (and CHANGED devices). Some of my OLD electronics don't play nice with my NEW ones.

Welcome to reality. Sorry it's been such a rough trip.
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Old Oct 17, 2012, 04:11 PM   #14
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And it DOES work... with the specific iPhone in production (at the time it was advertised as working with iPhone). Should it work with the iPhone 17? Why not?

Why does Apple bear the burden of making sure everything is backwards compatible? If you don't want it, don't buy it, or at least test it first and THEN decide.

You upgraded (and CHANGED devices). Some of my OLD electronics don't play nice with my NEW ones.

Welcome to reality. Sorry it's been such a rough trip.
Speaking as someone who builds consumer technology products for a living, from a big company that I'm sure you use - the reality is that you do something like this and you take heat for it. We get to complain. That's the reality. Sorry it's a problem for you. You can always stop reading.
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Old Oct 17, 2012, 05:37 PM   #15
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And it DOES work... with the specific iPhone in production (at the time it was advertised as working with iPhone). Should it work with the iPhone 17? Why not?

Why does Apple bear the burden of making sure everything is backwards compatible? If you don't want it, don't buy it, or at least test it first and THEN decide.

You upgraded (and CHANGED devices). Some of my OLD electronics don't play nice with my NEW ones.

Welcome to reality. Sorry it's been such a rough trip.
This is the wrong and arrogant approach. Think like this all you want, but if Apple continues to do so, it will hurt their bottom line. They have a great product, but no company is invincible.

If it's no big deal, why don't you upgrade all of my accessories for me?

Likely the meeting with 3rd parties Apple is now holding, is meant to bridge the gap with this problem - because it IS an issue.
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Old Oct 17, 2012, 07:00 PM   #16
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I have 3 adapters - two 20cm ones and one short & stubby one. All 3 sound & work just fine. And I have good car stereos.
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Old Oct 18, 2012, 02:06 AM   #17
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People on head-fi.org seem to report good sound quality with the adapters, so that's promising. Glad I finally got mine - can't wait to use it with my car stereo
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Old Oct 18, 2012, 04:06 AM   #18
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Good to see other people haven't had problems. Must just be a bad 'un. I'll get a replacement sorted.
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Old Oct 18, 2012, 08:25 AM   #19
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Good to see other people haven't had problems. Must just be a bad 'un. I'll get a replacement sorted.
I'm beginning to think this too, MAYBE. No one knows because we all have vastly different setups, so it will take an exchanged unit to know for sure.

That said, maybe the reason these adapters were delayed was due to poor quality yields, and maybe the early adopters are being hit with just that - a crappy accessory.
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Old Oct 19, 2012, 07:32 PM   #20
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This is the wrong and arrogant approach. Think like this all you want, but if Apple continues to do so, it will hurt their bottom line. They have a great product, but no company is invincible.

If it's no big deal, why don't you upgrade all of my accessories for me?

Likely the meeting with 3rd parties Apple is now holding, is meant to bridge the gap with this problem - because it IS an issue.
Wrong.

Arrogant would be demanding that manufacturers continue to support old electronics because I say so and regardless of the impact to their bottom line.

Nope. I won't be upgrading anything FOR you. It's not a big deal either. You aren't entitled to free upgrades for life, just because at one point it worked with an OLD version of their product.

Why is that so hard to grasp?
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Old Oct 19, 2012, 08:14 PM   #21
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I have 3 adapters - two 20cm ones and one short & stubby one. All 3 sound & work just fine. And I have good car stereos.
Concur. My adaptor sounds excellent in my car. Perhaps even a bit better than the 30 pin.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 11:58 AM   #22
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Tried it in my car system (Audi Bose sound system). Plug iPhone 3GS into system using an30pin connector directly to radio, play iTunes song, quality good. Unplug the iPhone 3GS, plug the 30pin to lightning adapter onto the 30pin connector, plug the iPhone 5, play the same iTunes song, quality mediocre.

I hope it's just a bad batch they had... Going to the Apple store soon to find out.
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