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Driving headphones from phones without 3.5mm socket

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by nails666, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. nails666

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 17, 2007

    Posts: 1,127

    Location: Kent, UK

    Hi, with so many phones now dropping the 3.5mm headphone socket I was wondering what the options are for driving proper headphones from them? In this context I'm thinking of headphones like the Sony MDR-1A that can be driven fine from most phones and not super high end cans that have always needed a dedicated amp.
    I know many of the phones come with usb -> 3.5mm adaptors, are they generally just a pass through of the analogue signals, i.e. the DAC is still in the phone, and do they work as well as driving directly from the phone used to?
    If not then is some form of portable usb DAC/AMP required now?

    Thanks for any thoughts.
  2. MrRockliffe

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 14, 2014

    Posts: 2,367

    Location: Hampshire

    You've just opened a can of worms.

    On the Android side of things, the dongle situation is a mess, with no standard way of doing it.

    Some phones have the DAC inside them, others in the dongle.

    This makes it extremely tricky to find the right dongle (if one isn't already included), and almost impossible to find a pair of USB C earphones/headphones.

    See here:

  3. EsaT


    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 5,210

    Location: Finland

    Good way to try to force people to buy now also headphones as brand accessory.
  4. neil_g


    Joined: Dec 9, 2007

    Posts: 9,788

    Location: South Hampshire

    Used the huawei USBc adapter but it was super flimsy.

    Now use www.ear-studio.com. Not cheap but I can run balanced on the go now with LDAC Bluetooth audio. Just about runs the 660s.

    My previous comments..

  5. nails666

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 17, 2007

    Posts: 1,127

    Location: Kent, UK

    Ah right, I thought it might be something like that. So buying different dongles is a bit of a minefield but I can't find any reviews of how good from an audio quality point of view the dongles are once you have one that works.
    Has anyone on here actually used one yet? The reason I'm interested is that I'm considering getting a OnePlus 6T but listen to a lot of music at work and don't want to end up comprising the quality of that.