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Review: Apple vs Google USB-C Headphone Adapters

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What model number is your Apple dongle (starting with an A and written on the cable wire of the dongle, don't trust the packaging). And what music player are you using on Android?
A2049 and Amazon Music player on a Galaxy S20. I'll try using another player and see how it goes.
 
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It
Are these measurements still accurate? I just got an Apple dongle and tried it with the Focal Utopia, which I was excited about as I thought they would be the one set of high-end headphones I could use with a phone. I did the following calculations:

Focal Utopia impedance: 80 ohms
Apple adapter power at 33 ohms: 31 mW
31 mW * (33 ohm / 80 ohm) = 12 mW

Focal Utopia sensitivity: 104 dB / mW
Max volume = 104 dB + (3 dB * log2(12)) = around 112 dB

That should be quite loud. But even when I turn the volume all the way up, the headphones are just barely listenable. I'm getting maybe 80 dB.

Anyone know what's up here? I know it seems silly to connect $4,000 headphones to a $9 DAC, and I of course have a desktop rig, but I was actually looking forward to this working. The calculations say it should but it's not.

Is the Apple adapter louder on iPhone? I'm using it with an Android phone.
It is well known that the Apple USB C dongle doesn't work well out of the box in most, if not all Android phones. You can try USBAPP or better yet, try listening with a PC. On my PC is loud enough for me at 80% volume with Sennheiser HD600.

Edit: I see that you're using a Galaxy S20, on my 4G Exynos S20+ USBAPP works fine, but it's still less loud than with my Windows 10 PC.
 
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I tried using the dongle on my PC in exclusive mode and wow, it's way louder now. I have the volume at 15%, while I had it at 100% on Android.

This is working like I'd expect now. I guess it was just my phone limiting the maximum volume.
 

bobbooo

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I tried using the dongle on my PC in exclusive mode and wow, it's way louder now. I have the volume at 15%, while I had it at 100% on Android.

This is working like I'd expect now. I guess it was just my phone limiting the maximum volume.
Did you try Neutron Player or UAPP on your phone? They should get the Apple dongle to comparable volume as on PC.
 
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So, the EU version of this dongle is crap? I read some comments telling about lower wattage of EU version of the dongle but didn't understand quite sure. I was going to buy it to use on my imac (MRQY2TU/A).
 

Frank Dernie

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So, the EU version of this dongle is crap? I read some comments telling about lower wattage of EU version of the dongle but didn't understand quite sure. I was going to buy it to use on my imac (MRQY2TU/A).
I haven't bought a portable headphone item for a while but I had 2 iPods, one bought in the US one here in the UK and the UK one had the mandatory EU hearing protection limit on power, which was noticeable on power hungry headphones.
It seems the max power used to be set to avoid hearing damage with the supplied earphones, which were very sensitive, so not ideal for power hungry ones. Goodness knows what they do nowadays since the dongle is supplied on its own.
 
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I haven't bought a portable headphone item for a while but I had 2 iPods, one bought in the US one here in the UK and the UK one had the mandatory EU hearing protection limit on power, which was noticeable on power hungry headphones.
It seems the max power used to be set to avoid hearing damage with the supplied earphones, which were very sensitive, so not ideal for power hungry ones. Goodness knows what they do nowadays since the dongle is supplied on its own.
Oh I see, I'll use this with an SHP9500 + V-moda boompro mic combo. It has 32ohm impedance.
 

ripmixburn

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I bought one without hesitation for use with my 2018 MacBook Pro… but then was wondering how it compares against the MBP‘s built-in headphone out jack. Has this been measured?
 

vortexor

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I haven't bought a portable headphone item for a while but I had 2 iPods, one bought in the US one here in the UK and the UK one had the mandatory EU hearing protection limit on power, which was noticeable on power hungry headphones.
It seems the max power used to be set to avoid hearing damage with the supplied earphones, which were very sensitive, so not ideal for power hungry ones. Goodness knows what they do nowadays since the dongle is supplied on its own.
Dear Frank, can you please send me a link where i can buy the US-Version(MU7E2AM/A) in UK or elsewhere in the EU? Would be very helpfull because i cant find anything at the moment.
Thanks and best regards, Simon
 

Frank Dernie

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Dear Frank, can you please send me a link where i can buy the US-Version(MU7E2AM/A) in UK or elsewhere in the EU? Would be very helpfull because i cant find anything at the moment.
Thanks and best regards, Simon
Sorry Simon, no idea.
I bought mine in the USA since I used to go there often for work.
 

Jimbob54

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Dear Frank, can you please send me a link where i can buy the US-Version(MU7E2AM/A) in UK or elsewhere in the EU? Would be very helpfull because i cant find anything at the moment.
Thanks and best regards, Simon
Ebay will provide, BUT you are taking a chance on both the legitimacy of it and also whether it really is the US version. I looked a while ago and by the time youve paid shipping etc you were better getting one of the other super dongle dacs (Meizu/ tempotec etc) new from the manuf.
 

Arnoud

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I received the A2155. I use stock Android 10 and UAPP.
First impression: That sound... it is just awful !
It sounds worse then my onboard Qualcomm (ZTE Axon 10 Pro), worse than Tempotec HD (non Pro), worse then CharmTek T22 or eSynic DAC...
 

vortexor

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I received the A2155. I use stock Android 10 and UAPP.
First impression: That sound... it is just awful !
It sounds worse then my onboard Qualcomm (ZTE Axon 10 Pro), worse than Tempotec HD (non Pro), worse then CharmTek T22 or eSynic DAC...
The model in this review is: A2049 MU7E2AM/A
 

Arnoud

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The model in this review is: A2049 MU7E2AM/A
A2049 is the US version, A2155 the EU version. The discussion I read here is about both.
I cannot imagine the difference between the two to be that big unless they use an entirely different DAC in EU.
 

L5730

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A2049 is the US version, A2155 the EU version. The discussion I read here is about both.
I cannot imagine the difference between the two to be that big unless they use an entirely different DAC in EU.
The output voltage is half, with the EU version. The other measurements (made elsewhere) also didn't look as good. They seem to be two different devices. Moulded plastic casing so it's a tough job for anyone to show the innards without trashing them in the process of opening.
 

P_M

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Hi @amirm
any chance you could repeat this test at least for the apple dongle all the way out to 100khz ? The reason I am asking is because recently when using this dongle to play a signal on my iphone and record it on my pc using a usb interface I noticed a pretty strong 44khz spike. At first I doubted the interface (m-audio c400) but then I noticed that the spike is not there from other sources. So its likely coming from the dongle. An indication that the dac in the dongle does not have good sampling rate/ultrasonic filtering. Would be great if you can confirm. I suggest using higher test freq like5khz as I noticed it more at higher frequencies.
Thanks.
 

bobbooo

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Hi @amirm
any chance you could repeat this test at least for the apple dongle all the way out to 100khz ? The reason I am asking is because recently when using this dongle to play a signal on my iphone and record it on my pc using a usb interface I noticed a pretty strong 44khz spike. At first I doubted the interface (m-audio c400) but then I noticed that the spike is not there from other sources. So its likely coming from the dongle. An indication that the dac in the dongle does not have good sampling rate/ultrasonic filtering. Would be great if you can confirm. I suggest using higher test freq like5khz as I noticed it more at higher frequencies.
Thanks.
Think you might be right about the poor ultrasonic filtering. Here's Reference Audio Analyzer's measurements (Lightning version, but I suspect this would be the same as the USB-C version):

ad_alias.png



Interestingly, the EU version of the adapter, model A2155, is actually better in this respect (although this could be due to using Neutron Player):

ad_alias_EU.png
 
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P_M

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What I see is far worse, the alias artefact is quite strong probably because I am using a full scale (0db) signal, although a single tone only.
I also observed that its particularly worse when the signal is in the 5-7Khz range. I will post a pic when I can.
 
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