iPhone 8(+): DAC / Audio - Sound quality with headphones?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by hemon, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. hemon macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2014

    I would like to know how the iPhone 8(+) performs in terms of audio - sound quality over the headphones compared to others iPhone (6 or 7). This can influence my question about to buy it.

    Thank you
  2. HDFan macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    If you are concerned with the best sound quality what kind of headphones are you using? Are the source files lossless with good provenance?
  3. hemon thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2014
    ALAC/FLAC with Sennheiser ie80

  4. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    The dac and amplifier are all housed in the lightning to 3.5mm adapter. It should therefore sound identical to any other iPhone using this adapter as the signal leaves the phone in digital form.
  5. Solomani macrumors 68040


    Sep 25, 2012
    Alberto, Canado
    The 8 has slightly better stereo speakers, tho maybe the OP only wants sound quality into headphones.
  6. spooky23 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2013

    IE80 ! Yeah boi !
  7. AppleZombie macrumors 6502a

    Oct 27, 2012
    I recommend 1more beats lightning headphones. They come with a 24bit DAC. Only problem is you cant charge your phone while using the headphones. Pioneer also makes some with an external DAC that allows you to also charge.

    BTW, has anyone figured out how to download FLAC?
  8. HDFan macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    The question related to whether or not you could hear a difference if there were a difference between the DACs. If you don't have good headphones (which you have) or a good audio source then the DAC (unless absolutely horrible) likely isn't going to play a major part in sound quality.

    Then there is also the issue of the personal "hardware". I have several DAC's (Meridian, Oppo) along with good headphones but since I can't hear to 20K the DAC is the least important thing in the signal chain. For me it's all in the recording.

    If the DAC quality is significant for you then you might want to consider an external DAC such as the Dragonfly:


    They now offer MQA support, so you should be able to stream Tidal MQA albums (typically 24 bit/96kHz), on your iPhone.
  9. daffie macrumors 6502


    Dec 31, 2010
    That would be awesome news. I may get myself a dragonfly red for my Oppo PM-3 headphones.

    Btw I thought Tidal only supports playback of MQA files in the desktop version?
  10. hemon, Sep 27, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017

    hemon thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2014
    So my update:

    I bought the iPhone 8 and compared to the iPhone 6 and again to the iPad Pro 10.5, then I bought the Audioquest Dragonfly Red.

    These are my conclusions:

    1. I think that the iPhone Adapter sounds a little better (= better soundstage and warmer) than the iPhone 6 headphone sound (yes, I know that tests claims something else!)
    2. With the Adapter, both iPhone 6 and 8 sounds the same (= quality and volume)
    3. The iPad Pro 10.5 sounds better than the iPhone 6 / iPhone Adapter (better quality and volume)
    4. The Dragonfly Red improves the audio quality noticeably
    5. Again, both iPhone 6 and 8 and iPad Pro sounds the same with the Dragonfly Red

    Now I have to decide if I want to keep the Dragonfly Red or instead to buy the Mojo, which should be much better but also expensive (180€ vs 500€).


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9 September 23, 2017