Lightning Headphone Adapter Digital or Analogue?

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by Mac 128, Sep 17, 2016.

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Does the Lightning Headphone Adapter Have a DAC?

  1. Yes

    100.0%
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Mac 128 macrumors 601

    Mac 128

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    #1
    Now that they've torn down the iPhone 7 and found the same quality DAC as in the current 6s, and discovered a third audio amp with unknown function on the logic board, who thinks Apple has quietly updated the MFi specs to permit analogue audio to be output by the Lightning connector for the first time?

    If so, then the 3.5mm to Lightning Headphone Adapter likely has no built-in DAC, ADC, or amp. That would certainly explain the low $9 price tag, and the unchanged $29 EarPods price tag. It would also explain why the 3.5mm headphone jack and Lightning adapter output sound identical on the same iPhone.

    If true, it opens up a whole new cheap analogue audio device market for MFi licensors, as well as unlicensed products, just like back in the days of 30-pin dock connectors. It also creates some real confusion as to just what an audio device with "Lightning" connector is, and what the customer is actually getting.

    With such a big revelation, why has nobody ripped one of these things apart to confirm what Apple's crammed inside, if anything? I have one siting here since Thursday, which for $9, I would have torn into already if I'd know I was going to have to wait this long. Surely I won't have to wait much longer?

    What do you think? What are we going to find inside the Lightning adapter and EarPods included in the box?
     
  2. Mac 128, Sep 17, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016

    Mac 128 thread starter macrumors 601

    Mac 128

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    #2
    Seriously ... why hasn't somebody dived into this? Are they waiting for Monday to break a huge news story about Apple's MFi specs changing to support analogue audio over Lightning?

    Have Apple's MFi specs changed? Would they announce it if it had?

    It does seem Apple has modified their MFi specs to the detriment of their previous licensee's products.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads...“bricked”-set-of-lightning-earphones.1992848/

    Also, the adapter triggered the "not compatible" message until I upgraded my SE to iOS 10. I should not have gotten that message since Apple has published MFi Lightning audio specs. So they definitely changed something.

    Phil said something curious during the keynote which was that 'Lightning was always capable of being used for audio', as if it wasn't being done -- but Apple published Lightning audio specs 18 months ago, and of course there have been Lightning audio products on the market since then. So one almost wonders if Phil wasn't alluding to "analogue" audio when he said that. If so, it's a MAJOR change to MFi specs.

    Man I wish somebody would tear the adapter and EarPods down already ...
     
  3. austriak macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2011
    #3
    Listening to the exact same thing on my iPad Pro 9.7, I tried the lightening EarPods, 3.5 mm EarPods using the lightening adapter, and the 3.5 mm EarPods in the headphone jack and there is no difference in sound at all.
     
  4. ogs123 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    #4
    I think you're right. I also wish that someone had already tear down the adapter. It probably has a special chip that enables analogue audio when connected to an iOS 10 device.
     
  5. dirk gently macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Location:
    MN
    #5


    a couple people have finally hacked into them. Looks like a DAC. Well, it must technically be a stereo dac, stereo amp and a mono-adc in that chip. The IC on the reverse side is the standard one that all lightning cables have, i guess.
     
  6. Mac 128, Sep 19, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016

    Mac 128 thread starter macrumors 601

    Mac 128

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    #6
    Thank god! And thank you for posting!

    Well that answers that. Exactly what should be in there.

    I wonder what the specs are for comparison against the 6s DAC chipset?
     
  7. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #7
    So far the reports on quality are quite good. Measurements are showing perhaps a slight reduction in dynamic range - too small to notice - and an improvement in output impedance - which is noticeable. Very clean, flat output with no noise even on most sensitive IEM's. Most are reporting better sound than the 6s jack, nearly as good as or equal to the 6 jack which has been the gold standard for driving the most sensitive IEM's.

    I suspect Apple priced this so low to ameliorate the pain of transition and to undercut a flood of crummy adapters from Asia.
     
  8. adamneer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #8
    One thing I intend to do is to buy an extra adapter and cut off the female end and solder it directly to a regular line out cable (or perhaps the jack end of an older pair of Apple headphones I've got so I end up with a nice clean Lightning to line out cable without the weight of 2 terminals and their extra bulk. Since I like to keep a set of earbuds in my laptop bag, I'd rather keep the included adapter with those and keep the line cable in my car for my usual audio connection.

    Of course more convenient would be to buy a premade lightning to 1/8" cable, but I've yet to find any, and now that it's been established that there's some amplification going on in the adapter, I'd rather not leave that up to a cheap OEM.
     
  9. Mac 128 thread starter macrumors 601

    Mac 128

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    #9
    Except Lightning isn't compatible with anything else but the iPhone 7 and newer iOS devices. There are no Lightning headphone adapters yet. Maybe eventually that would work. But for now you're better off with an old set of earbuds and keeping the adapter.
     
  10. adamneer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #10
    ?

    The only use for the cable I have would be to leave the 1/8" plugged into the line in connection on my car stereo and plug the Lightning directly to my iPhone 7 if AT&T ever decides to send it to me. I don't plan on converting a non-lightning pair of headphones to lightning - that would be pointless. I honestly wish Apple had included the previous analog headphones with the 7 (saving them on R&D costs) and used those savings to provide either 2 adapters, or preferably one adapter and one full length male 1/8" to lightning cable.
     
  11. Mac 128 thread starter macrumors 601

    Mac 128

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    #11
    I guess I'm confused, I thought you said you would cut off the Lightning plug, and splice it onto the end of an old pair of EarPods, to get rid of the double connector bulk.

     
  12. adamneer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #12
    I should have specified why I'd use old headphones - I'd cut off the headphones and use the cord, so I'd end up with a matching white iphone cord made of nearly identical materials, as opposed to using a 3rd party mismatched cord.
     

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