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macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 24, 2006
Los Angeles
Hey friends,

I have a pair of audeze LCD-x (only 20 ohms) headphones for mixing and studio use on a Mac Pro with all the proper gear driving them, but I was thinking about using my 16-inch MacBook Pro for writing on the road from time to time. Is the 3.5mm jack capable of high fi audio ie 32bit 192hz+ or should I just go get a usb dac?



macrumors 68000
Mar 19, 2014
20ohms can probably be served by the AudioQuest DragonFly Red, it is the most painless and portable USB DAC that's meant for laptop usage.

If you go bigger with a dedicated box type DAC+headphone amp, there is a sea of choices and most are adequate unless you need extreme S/N ratio or cleanness.
Last edited:

Dominus Mortem

macrumors regular
Aug 3, 2011
I use 16ohm headphones on mine all the time without an external DAC. The internal one sounds awesome, no need to substitute it.

What you really want is an amplifier. Also be aware that it's not just ohms that affect how loud your phones respond to sound, but the sensitivity does too, they kind of go hand in hand.

I use the Chord Mojo amp on mine when I want to use my less ohm-friendly phones, such as my Mr. Speakers Ether Flows. It's the best amp I have found for portable use.


macrumors 68000
Mar 19, 2014
Yeah I have a fiio q5s on the way, just thinking i might be able to get away without it
I see no reason to not use it. The form factor seems quite manageable, and if you still find that big/clumsy then like suggested above you can get the AQ DragonFly (or any dongle type DAC), or even just use the MBP onboard 3.5mm jack.

I believe both the speaker/3.5mm jack can do up to 32-bit 96kHz 2ch floating point. At least that's what my 13"MBP 2018 says, don't think the 16" has upgraded or even changed the audio chip.
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