• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Review: Apple vs Google USB-C Headphone Adapters

SiW

Active Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
226
Likes
82
It might be interesting to compare both of Apple’s $9 dongles.... this review is USB-C to 3.5mm (from a Windows PC), there’s also Lightning to 3.5mm (from a recent iPhone)

Would like to see that as well :)
 

Timbo2

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
Messages
501
Likes
399
Location
USA
@amirm Do you have an Android phone with USB-C you can test this with? I've read that Android phones only recognize one sample rate on the built in driver and that the volume was quite low. Folks were unsuccessful at having any applications with a built in bit-perfect driver properly recognize the Apple dongle.
 

derp1n

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2018
Messages
479
Likes
629
@amirm Do you have an Android phone with USB-C you can test this with? I've read that Android phones only recognize one sample rate on the built in driver and that the volume was quite low. Folks were unsuccessful at having any applications with a built in bit-perfect driver properly recognize the Apple dongle.
He mentioned the volume issue in the initial post when testing with his Samsung S8+.
 

Darwin

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2017
Messages
304
Likes
139
Now please forgive me as I go drown out my sorrows as an ex-Microsoft guy having to recommend an Apple product....

:) I know you are being tongue in cheek but I do a lot of work with Microsoft and they are long over any issues with other technologies. I think it's a key reason for their massive success of late. There are more Linux servers in Azure than Windows and I just installed the latest version of Visual Studio for Macintosh yesterday :)
 

JJB70

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 17, 2018
Messages
2,905
Likes
6,169
Location
Singapore
This review further confirms the idea I tried to convey to users here --- laptop / phones / dongles today are so good that you don't even need a DAC/amp. This is especially true if you're using Apple's products (iPhone, Macbook Pro). In measurements those $1000 DACs may perform better, but your ear is not good enough to tell the difference in a blind test.

Also bear in mind these dongles have ADC feature as well.

It is one of the dirty secrets of audio that many devices have audibly transparent DACs and that if they are up to driving your headphones to the volume you want (and not all are with high impedance and inefficient headphones) then you really don't need a separate DAC. I use my Sony Xperia XZ Premium phone connecting headphones directly into its headphone jack and the sound quality is excellent. To be honest, when I've compared it with various external DACs I've never felt there was any need to get a separate unit although the volume can be a bit anaemic with less efficient headphones.
 

aleksander

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2018
Messages
18
Likes
11
Would pairing this with JDS Atom better than most dac/amp combo such as E10k, DFB etc?
 

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
9,610
Likes
12,066
Would pairing this with JDS Atom better than most dac/amp combo such as E10k, DFB etc?
The E10k just got upgraded to the K3 which I'm sure will be no slouch. An all-in-one is always handy in terms of footprint on your desk.

But in raw performance? Atom + decent DAC will be best value yes. You could use the apple usb-c until you buy a topping D50 or Khadas tone board or better if you ever feel like doing that :D the annoyance would be the 1V output rather than the average DAC's 2V line-out. You will need to go for high-gain mode much more quickly.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,995
Likes
245,357
Location
Seattle Area
Have you tried it on Android with an different app?
I have not. Is there a free one to try? Don't feel like spending money on USB Audio Player right now. :)
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,995
Likes
245,357
Location
Seattle Area
Would pairing this with JDS Atom better than most dac/amp combo such as E10k, DFB etc?
It only has 1 volt output instead of usual 2 volts. So your gains on the amp will go down and won't be able to achieve maximum power on Atom.

Note everyone: you need USB 3.0 to use this. At least I couldn't get them to work with USB-2 ports.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,995
Likes
245,357
Location
Seattle Area
It might be interesting to compare both of Apple’s $9 dongles.... this review is USB-C to 3.5mm (from a Windows PC), there’s also Lightning to 3.5mm (from a recent iPhone)
Unless you can show me how I can get that one to run on Windows, it will be a pain to test.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,995
Likes
245,357
Location
Seattle Area
:) I know you are being tongue in cheek but I do a lot of work with Microsoft and they are long over any issues with other technologies. I think it's a key reason for their massive success of late. There are more Linux servers in Azure than Windows and I just installed the latest version of Visual Studio for Macintosh yesterday :)
Indeed. I was just having lunch with a Microsoft person and he was explaining the same to me.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,995
Likes
245,357
Location
Seattle Area
Teardown? Please....?
It would be fully destructive as I have to cut it open and likely damage it. So let's wait to make sure there are no other questions and then I might explore that.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,995
Likes
245,357
Location
Seattle Area

Timbo2

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
Messages
501
Likes
399
Location
USA
I have not. Is there a free one to try? Don't feel like spending money on USB Audio Player right now. :)

HibyMusic is free, albeit a bit buggy when I last tried it. It supports bit perfect, but didn't work when someone tried it with the Apple adapter. Myabe you will have better luck with your specific phone.
 

rebbiputzmaker

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 28, 2018
Messages
1,099
Likes
463
Unless you can show me how I can get that one to run on Windows, it will be a pain to test.
It really should be the exact same dac/amp chip inside both Apple convertors.
 

wiggum

Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Messages
97
Likes
64
Thanks for the review.:D

This dongle is my first Apple product that I ever bought, and I found the sub-bass to be better than my Android phone. The max. volume that can be achieved seems to vary with the phone.

On my Zenfone 3, the volume is sufficient. If your phone is rooted, you can probably edit the mixer_paths.xml file and increase volume.

P.S. Even though SQ is good, the adapter seems to be fragile. Many have reported that the old non-USB to 3.5mm adapter doesn't last long because the cord is very thin. I have put tiny amounts of super glue around every joint in the adapter.:p Let's hope it survives atleast a year.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom