Is it true that off brand 30 pin to Lightning adapters won't play music?

TH55

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Nov 5, 2011
3,023
107
I'd rather not spend $30 on the Apple brand version if possible. I found one by Sharper Image at Marshalls for $8.
 

terraphantm

macrumors 68040
Jun 27, 2009
3,678
507
Pennsylvania
True. The Apple version has a built in digital to analog converter that allows the audio playback. That's part of why it's so expensive.
 

TH55

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Nov 5, 2011
3,023
107
True. The Apple version has a built in digital to analog converter that allows the audio playback. That's part of why it's so expensive.
Ahh so will it sound worse than if the cord/device I was hooking it up to was lightning to begin with?
 

Winona Northdakota

macrumors 6502a
Dec 27, 2010
580
1
Ahh so will it sound worse than if the cord/device I was hooking it up to was lightning to begin with?

No. The Lightning port is pure digital. There is no analog video or audio like the original 30 pin dock connector. It's up to 3rd party devices to provide that support. It makes sense. I would rather feed the digital to an external processor anyway for audio or video output.
 

TH55

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Nov 5, 2011
3,023
107

Winona Northdakota

macrumors 6502a
Dec 27, 2010
580
1
Is it true that off brand 30 pin to Lightning adapters won't play music?

If you are looking for a way to play audio from the lightning connector to your car radio, this works well:

http://store.griffintechnology.com/iphone-5/itrip-auto-for-ipod-ipad-and-iphone-with-lightning-connector

If it's just a Lightning with audio D/A converter, this'll work. I can't vouch for the sound quality of the D/A converter, though it's about $15.00:

http://www.i-adapters.com/products/lightning-adapter-with-audio
 
Last edited:

urda

Suspended
Jun 15, 2010
258
17
San Francisco Bay Area
Honestly you're going to save yourself from a lot of wasted time and headaches trying to get third party adapters to work just by buying a REAL apple cable.

I have a 30-pin connector in my car (Hyundai), which I can't really change. I had to do something when I upgraded to my iPhone 5 years ago. So i bought the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter (0.2 m) on the day of the iPhone 5 launch. I bought this one because it will still fit with cases, and gives a little extra cord length in the car.

I have used it almost daily since Sept. 21, 2012. It has been left in the car during all seasons, so both very hot and very cold days. The only minor issues I have with it has been some discoloration due to dirt collection on the rubber of the cord.

Seriously, it's worth just going straight to apple for this. It will last, and it will work correctly for sure.
 

AutoUnion39

macrumors 601
Jun 21, 2010
4,888
900
I have a RadioShack one that I've been using for about a year. Seems to work in every car I've tried it in.
 

Vertigo50

macrumors 65816
Apr 11, 2007
1,197
131
I second urda's post. Just get the Apple one. I know $30 is a lot, but I went through 3 different brands to try to find a cheaper alternative before I finally just spent the $30 and it finally worked properly.
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
6,360
2,825
Ahh so will it sound worse than if the cord/device I was hooking it up to was lightning to begin with?
Possibly. The DAC in the Apple adapter is not very good, so it doesn't sound all that great. Whether it will sound better or worse connected directly via lightning will depend on what you are plugging the Lightning cable in to and how picky you are. The Apple model doesn't have any egregious faults like hiss, buzzing hum, etc. it's just not a great DAC implementation.

No. The Lightning port is pure digital. There is no analog video or audio like the original 30 pin dock connector. It's up to 3rd party devices to provide that support. It makes sense. I would rather feed the digital to an external processor anyway for audio or video output.
Changing the DAC that the device is attached to can definitely change the sound. See above - the DAC from the 30-pin adapter is audibly inferior even to relatively inexpensive external DAC's.
 

TH55

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Nov 5, 2011
3,023
107
Honestly you're going to save yourself from a lot of wasted time and headaches trying to get third party adapters to work just by buying a REAL apple cable.

I have a 30-pin connector in my car (Hyundai), which I can't really change. I had to do something when I upgraded to my iPhone 5 years ago. So i bought the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter (0.2 m) on the day of the iPhone 5 launch. I bought this one because it will still fit with cases, and gives a little extra cord length in the car.

I have used it almost daily since Sept. 21, 2012. It has been left in the car during all seasons, so both very hot and very cold days. The only minor issues I have with it has been some discoloration due to dirt collection on the rubber of the cord.

Seriously, it's worth just going straight to apple for this. It will last, and it will work correctly for sure.
Yeah I would actually prefer to buy the Apple one I just want it in black and they only have white.

----------

Possibly. The DAC in the Apple adapter is not very good, so it doesn't sound all that great. Whether it will sound better or worse connected directly via lightning will depend on what you are plugging the Lightning cable in to and how picky you are. The Apple model doesn't have any egregious faults like hiss, buzzing hum, etc. it's just not a great DAC implementation.



Changing the DAC that the device is attached to can definitely change the sound. See above - the DAC from the 30-pin adapter is audibly inferior even to relatively inexpensive external DAC's.
This is the adapter I am running my iPhone to http://usaspec.com/product.php?ProductID=55&forceShowProduct=1

It is made for the 4/4S, it connects through the XM radio connection and plays music from my iPhone and displays artist/song text. Will I take a hit in sound quality using Apple's 30 pin to lightning adapter so I can use it w my 6?

----------

If you are looking for a way to play audio from the lightning connector to your car radio, this works well:

http://store.griffintechnology.com/iphone-5/itrip-auto-for-ipod-ipad-and-iphone-with-lightning-connector

If it's just a Lightning with audio D/A converter, this'll work. I can't vouch for the sound quality of the D/A converter, though it's about $15.00:

http://www.i-adapters.com/products/lightning-adapter-with-audio
Thanks, I actually already have a hookup I just need an adapter for my iPhone 6 since the hookup is 30 pin.
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
6,360
2,825
Yeah I would actually prefer to buy the Apple one I just want it in black and they only have white.

----------



This is the adapter I am running my iPhone to http://usaspec.com/product.php?ProductID=55&forceShowProduct=1

It is made for the 4/4S, it connects through the XM radio connection and plays music from my iPhone and displays artist/song text. Will I take a hit in sound quality using Apple's 30 pin to lightning adapter so I can use it w my 6?

----------



Thanks, I actually already have a hookup I just need an adapter for my iPhone 6 since the hookup is 30 pin.
Since that is analog input only you have to have some sort of DAC and the Apple adapter is by far the most straightforward for you. It's unlikely you'll be disappointed with the sound.
 

terraphantm

macrumors 68040
Jun 27, 2009
3,678
507
Pennsylvania
The apple adapter should be fine. Even if you could notice the difference in sound quality in an ideal setting, the fact of the matter is that the noise floor in a car is high enough to drown out most extra details.
 

JT2002TJ

macrumors 65816
Nov 7, 2013
1,020
442
Honestly you're going to save yourself from a lot of wasted time and headaches trying to get third party adapters to work just by buying a REAL apple cable.

I have a 30-pin connector in my car (Hyundai), which I can't really change. I had to do something when I upgraded to my iPhone 5 years ago. So i bought the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter (0.2 m) on the day of the iPhone 5 launch. I bought this one because it will still fit with cases, and gives a little extra cord length in the car.

I have used it almost daily since Sept. 21, 2012. It has been left in the car during all seasons, so both very hot and very cold days. The only minor issues I have with it has been some discoloration due to dirt collection on the rubber of the cord.

Seriously, it's worth just going straight to apple for this. It will last, and it will work correctly for sure.

I did the same in my '08 Audi A4. Until I got this.

ViseeO Tune2air WMA1000 by ViseeO

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B52LLJ6/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_RJhpub1N7631H

I now use Bluetooth. I also have this before the Bluetooth adapter, not sure if it is needed but it drops the old 30 Voltage to the lower lightning voltage.

iPod / iPhone Charging Adapter Converter - Convert 12V to 5V - Converts Old iPod Dock, iPod Alpine, Pioneer and Car Hook Ups to 5V Allowing You to Charge the New iPod and iPhones-Black

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00495JZTY/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_ZMhpub1NTHJD0
 

TH55

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Nov 5, 2011
3,023
107
Since that is analog input only you have to have some sort of DAC and the Apple adapter is by far the most straightforward for you. It's unlikely you'll be disappointed with the sound.
Oh ok, so the XM hookup that it's using isn't digital?

----------

The apple adapter should be fine. Even if you could notice the difference in sound quality in an ideal setting, the fact of the matter is that the noise floor in a car is high enough to drown out most extra details.
Ok cool, thanks. I just wish they had it in black but oh well not that important.
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
6,360
2,825
The apple adapter should be fine. Even if you could notice the difference in sound quality in an ideal setting, the fact of the matter is that the noise floor in a car is high enough to drown out most extra details.
Eh, there is a lot more to sound quality than just detail. It's true that I first noticed the poor performance of the adapter in my car with an expensive system in it, but adding an external quality DAC made an even bigger difference in my completely stock Prius system. (The usb input DAC in the Prius turns out to be abysmally bad though - far worse than Apple's)

Still in a world of bluetooth and compressed streaming audio, most are unlikely to notice or care.
 

TH55

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Nov 5, 2011
3,023
107
I did the same in my '08 Audi A4. Until I got this.

ViseeO Tune2air WMA1000 by ViseeO

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B52LLJ6/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_RJhpub1N7631H

I now use Bluetooth. I also have this before the Bluetooth adapter, not sure if it is needed but it drops the old 30 Voltage to the lower lightning voltage.

iPod / iPhone Charging Adapter Converter - Convert 12V to 5V - Converts Old iPod Dock, iPod Alpine, Pioneer and Car Hook Ups to 5V Allowing You to Charge the New iPod and iPhones-Black

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00495JZTY/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_ZMhpub1NTHJD0
That's awesome, so you can still use your phone while listening to music, I like it. The only thing I like about plugging it in is that it charges my phone out of sight, I have it installed in the small cubby below the stereo.
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
6,360
2,825
Oh ok, so the XM hookup that it's using isn't digital?

----------

No, I suspect it's just the analog connection that the external XM receiver is using. In order to be straight digital it would have to have its own DAC and that device doesn't.
 

JT2002TJ

macrumors 65816
Nov 7, 2013
1,020
442
That's awesome, so you can still use your phone while listening to music, I like it. The only thing I like about plugging it in is that it charges my phone out of sight, I have it installed in the small cubby below the stereo.

My A4 came with Bluetooth phone. There was no Bluetooth audio on my generation A4. My slot is in the glovebox, before going Bluetooth I had a 30 male to female extender before the 30 pin to lighting adapter. Now with Bluetooth audio I select iPod and can control my music from my factory controls, or pick pandora...
 

Winona Northdakota

macrumors 6502a
Dec 27, 2010
580
1
Possibly. The DAC in the Apple adapter is not very good, so it doesn't sound all that great. Whether it will sound better or worse connected directly via lightning will depend on what you are plugging the Lightning cable in to and how picky you are. The Apple model doesn't have any egregious faults like hiss, buzzing hum, etc. it's just not a great DAC implementation.







Changing the DAC that the device is attached to can definitely change the sound. See above - the DAC from the 30-pin adapter is audibly inferior even to relatively inexpensive external DAC's.

I have no argument against this. I personally advise getting something well crafted, though it all depends on what the user wants. Some people are overjoyed with using their headphone jack as a line out jack, while I personally am mortified at the thought. To each their own.