jd73

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 9, 2002
5
4
Nashville, TN
So I just moved up from a 6s to an 8 Plus and absolutely love it - massive step up in overall speed, camera, battery life, etc. However, as an audio guy I'm already livid with the loss of the headphone jack. I had resigned myself to using the dongle in the car, assuming the audio quality would be what I was used to. WRONG.

The 8 Plus has some serious audio software issues when using the supplied lightning to 1/8" headphone adapter. Anytime the phone plays audio from iTunes, there is a serious amount of white noise (hiss). It kicks in when you start playback, and goes away about 3 seconds after you stop playback - reverting to complete silence. Other audio playback is just fine (YouTube, Safari, etc.) - it's just the Music app. All options are off (no EQ, no Soundcheck, no volume limit, volume at max). Also tried turning all radios off (Airplane mode, no Wifi or BT) - happens no matter what.

And while playing, the overall sound quality is significantly reduced compared to the direct headphone out of the 6s; the 8 Plus is quieter, less "punchy" (dynamic), high end isn't as clear... it sounds remarkably like listening to the same song via cassette vs CD.

I'm an audio engineer so of course my ears are tuned to this stuff, but my 14-year-old daughter can easily hear this stuff too - it's night and day. I'm hoping by some dumb luck I just got a bum adapter - I'll know later today when some replacement options show up. Incidentally, this is in a BMW 328i via Aux in. The 6s sounds awesome; 8 Plus sounds terrible.

In the meantime, anyone else having this issue? It definitely seems to be a software issue because as I said, it's just the Music app that does this - other playback is fine...
 

roeiz

macrumors 65816
Sep 13, 2010
1,030
580
Interesting to see what can be done and whether it’s a general problem or specific.
 

yanki01

macrumors 68040
Feb 28, 2009
3,570
1,677
I'm no audiophile but hopefully those who have experienced this can make a report to apple and hopefully it's a software issue. i still have the iP6 but going with the X coming up - i'll lose the headphone jack.
 

sirgib

macrumors 6502a
Jun 18, 2012
692
781
I agree - on my BeyerDynamic DT770 Pro headphones, everything sounds heavy on the bass, and lacks definition. Muffled even.
My 5s was much clearer with the same set of headphones.
 

TravisPNW

macrumors 6502a
Sep 15, 2017
653
924
Renton, WA
No problems with 8 Plus audio here... but my car has bluetooth audio and I use a LG Tone HBS 912 bluetooth headset when I'm out and about...
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
9,569
13,764
Have you checked the sound when you use the Lightning earbuds that came with the iPhone? I get surprisingly good sound on my iPhone 7 Plus.

Everything is okay with the dongle, but I haven't used it recently to see if I'm having the same problems you are. I don't use my iPhone on my car stereo anyway. If I were to, it would play via Bluetooth. And my 25 year old car..forget about it. We just sing for ourselves when I drive that old friend.
 

henree

macrumors newbie
Sep 19, 2017
8
1
Have there been any tests to determine if Headphone quality has been reduced? I am coming from an Iphone 5. And the my headphones sound noticeably worse. I wonder if the lightening headphone adaptor can reduced the quality of sound. Or maybe the it is just a different chip used in the hardware.
 
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madKIR

macrumors 6502a
Feb 2, 2010
849
801
NYC
That's a deal breaker for me! I guess, I'm just keeping my 6S Plus then. Can anyone confirm if that was the issue with the 7/7 Plus as well?
 

Suckfest 9001

Suspended
May 31, 2015
1,748
2,475
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Anyone with a lightning port can try out the adapter for themselves and see if they notice any difference. i sure didnt with my fidelio x2s
 

wlossw

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2012
1,079
1,012
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Nope. Always wireless. Great for mowing on the riding mower, kills the low freq diesel engine sound rather well.

So I think the problem OP is experiencing is that the lighting to 3.5mm adapter included in the box contains a DAC of dubious quality, and as such wired connections are not as good as previous iPhones. In my case I haven't plugged in a set of headphones since last year when I switched fully to bluetooth. I couldn't be happier.
 
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jd73

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 9, 2002
5
4
Nashville, TN
OK, so the plot thickens. Apparently it's pretty well known (and tested) that Apple's own lightning > headphone adapter contains circuitry that is lower quality than previous model's headphone outs:

http://bgr.com/2016/09/20/iphone-7-headphones-jack-sound-test/

Those figures shouldn't make as much of a difference as I'm hearing though. The impedance mismatch is potentially a big deal when using some cars' aux inputs, so that could be part of it.

Anyway, I ordered a better quality adapter from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071LNLFZ8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

...and it works great. Sounds essentially identical to the quality I was used to hearing straight out of my 6s. So, I don't know if my particular Apple adapter is faulty, but it sure doesn't work well with certain connections. Interestingly enough it sounds fine with studio-quality wired headphones - it's just the car system it has trouble with.

So, with the 3rd party solution, I have good sound back AND the ability to charge at the same time. It's also a metal casing and decent quality cable vs. the Apple $9 super flimsy option.

There ya go!
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
9,569
13,764
OK, so the plot thickens. Apparently it's pretty well known (and tested) that Apple's own lightning > headphone adapter contains circuitry that is lower quality than previous model's headphone outs:

http://bgr.com/2016/09/20/iphone-7-headphones-jack-sound-test/

Those figures shouldn't make as much of a difference as I'm hearing though. The impedance mismatch is potentially a big deal when using some cars' aux inputs, so that could be part of it.

Anyway, I ordered a better quality adapter from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071LNLFZ8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

...and it works great. Sounds essentially identical to the quality I was used to hearing straight out of my 6s. So, I don't know if my particular Apple adapter is faulty, but it sure doesn't work well with certain connections. Interestingly enough it sounds fine with studio-quality wired headphones - it's just the car system it has trouble with.

So, with the 3rd party solution, I have good sound back AND the ability to charge at the same time. It's also a metal casing and decent quality cable vs. the Apple $9 super flimsy option.

There ya go!
Thanks for the information and the solution!
 

taxi_driver

macrumors member
Sep 26, 2017
77
12
OK, so the plot thickens. Apparently it's pretty well known (and tested) that Apple's own lightning > headphone adapter contains circuitry that is lower quality than previous model's headphone outs:

http://bgr.com/2016/09/20/iphone-7-headphones-jack-sound-test/

Those figures shouldn't make as much of a difference as I'm hearing though. The impedance mismatch is potentially a big deal when using some cars' aux inputs, so that could be part of it.

Anyway, I ordered a better quality adapter from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071LNLFZ8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

...and it works great. Sounds essentially identical to the quality I was used to hearing straight out of my 6s. So, I don't know if my particular Apple adapter is faulty, but it sure doesn't work well with certain connections. Interestingly enough it sounds fine with studio-quality wired headphones - it's just the car system it has trouble with.

So, with the 3rd party solution, I have good sound back AND the ability to charge at the same time. It's also a metal casing and decent quality cable vs. the Apple $9 super flimsy option.

There ya go!

stumbled on your thread/post and the amazon link here was broken - could you share again? thanks!
 
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xmonkey

macrumors 6502a
Jun 30, 2016
671
912
CA
stumbled on your thread/post and the amazon link here was broken - could you share again? thanks!
Also curious which one the poster went with. The Lightning adapter sucks, quite frankly. My 6S sounded a hell of a lot better, the difference was noticeable right away.

@jd73 please chime in :) So far the one I'm looking at is the Blucoil Aqua (the previous name this product went under didn't have such favorable reviews, however). I'd go with the FiiO i1 but I have no idea what they are thinking with that long cable.
 
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sktn77a

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2010
12
0
Sorry to resurrect such an old post but I'm having the same issue with my (new) iphone 8. I'm sure it's going to be the same with all lightning port iphones. The sound quality using the apple lightning to earphone adapter is absolutely awful. I have 2 apple adapters and I bought 3 others from amazon and ebay. All sound the same (yuk). My SONY earphones sounded wonderful through my old Samsung Galaxy S7 but the same earphones through the iphone 8 and its adapter sound terrible. Interestingly, the apple lightning earphones sound just fine when plugged directly into the iphone's lightning port I don't think the solution suggested above (buying a different adapter from Amazon or e-bay) is going to work.

And, yes, I'm an "Audiophile" but that doesn't mean I'm a fruitloop(!) I just recognize good sound quality and can tell when all is not well!
 
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ab2c4

macrumors regular
Sep 21, 2013
196
127
I am glad this topic was responded to and pushed up. I too am very interested in recommendations for which headphone dongles sound the best if the Apple one sounds that bad. I ask because I am switching to iphone this year and I only use wired earbuds.
 

Suckfest 9001

Suspended
May 31, 2015
1,748
2,475
Canada
Kind of tired of reading about these. If you were an "audio engineer" you wouldn't use an iPhone's built-in DAC. You'd do the only thing sensible and get a USB DAC and use an app like Neutron to play the music. Neither the built-in headphone ports nor the lightning adaptor were made for people who take audio seriously, come on get real
 

sktn77a

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2010
12
0
There's nothing wrong with the sound quality from the iphone itself - use Apple's lightning earphones and everything sounds fine. The problem starts when you use their adapter. Then, previously good-sounding earphone sound awful.

If you're tired of reading these posts, don't read them!
 

snipr125

macrumors 6502a
Oct 17, 2015
865
1,104
UK
The headphone adaptor that comes with the iphone 8 plus has quite low amplification and a low end cirrus logic dac in it so not good for driving headphones. I got a Fiio K1 headphone adaptor for £35 which sounds excellent (sound stage, instrumental separation etc). The lightning earpods are also quite good when used with silicon earskinz tips.
 
Last edited:

bevibrant

macrumors newbie
Jul 13, 2020
2
0
Hi, just wanted to comment that the amplification issue (for me anyway) was tied to the Volume Limit option that I had set on my iPhone 8+. When I disabled it, the loudness through the earpod + lightning adapter was sufficient. I can't speak to whether the quality is still as bad or not since I'm not an audiophile. Just wanted to share my 0.02. Thanks!
 
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