The demise of the 3.5mm SPC phone jack

Discussion in 'Home Theater and Stereo' started by GSmitty, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. GSmitty

    GSmitty Member

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    I'm going to ramble, again, about some observations and opinions about the future of smaller headphone's. (This could be over the ear, enclosed, buds, etc...) Not the higher end set of headphones with the full size headphone jack.

    As I was trying to decide if I was going to limp along with my Samsung S6 until probably 2020 timeframe until jumping into 5G related equipment, I got caught up in the cell phone shift away from the 3.5mm SPC. I'll exclude Apple in this conversation, with the exception of assume any BT Head Phone wold be Apple compatible. From what I can see, Apple does seem to have the highest potential combination of sound quality from a phone to a headphone speaker, via their proprietary connections and software... I'll exclude it, because I do use Android more then Apple (Wife has an iPhone, but does not use headphones with it, or ear buds for the matter either...

    USB-C seems to be the current favorite for 'wired' headphone connections (And other 'wired' connections too, like to a car audio, an external DAC or DAC/AMP combo, etc.). I have one friend who had to shift to add a Type C adapter to his 3.5mm headphone jack. As I understand at least part of the reasons for this shift away from 3.5MM by the phone manufactures, is driven by reduction of space required. The Micro USB C just takes less space... And, many feel the USB C, will allow for a more positive/secure connection, then 3.5MM (And others, do not feel the quality of sound is improved, actually some fell currently demised, in these earlier examples of USB C driven headphones.

    When you jump to 'non wired', well you still have WiFi, but most are now at least sporting BT 4.3, and last 12-18 months or so, BT 5.0 has become more the norm.

    Leaving codec's out of this for the current ramblings (Too easy to go in too many directions on codecs in relation to sound. I'm more interested in the wired vs non wired future path at this time. Understanding that a sub decision will dive me into the codec's involved too...).

    I did decide, mostly for RV traveling data streaming reasons (Verizon Grand Fathered Unlimited Data on my phone. Wife's iPhone is via ATT&T, and we also have Nighthawk MIMO, with roof top eternal MIMO antenna for data too.), to go ahead and buy a new unopened box Samsung S8 - to bridge me over to 5G in the future. (I suppose that indirectly did dip into different codec's, as the S8 will have the Qualcomm aptX HD, which will at least bring 24 Bit transmission capability. (Frankly, for casual walking around and hiking with tunes, if I do go the Bluetooth route, would be adequate.).

    So rambling continues into a questions and request for opinions:

    -What other changes for Headphones and other connectivity to devices, is taking place other then the shift from 3.5MM SPC to USB-C?

    -If going to a 'wired' smaller headset or IEM's. Is 3.5MM with adapter when needed to USB-C the way to go? Or is just jumping to USB-C, and then having adapters back to 3.5MM where needed, the way to go?

    -If going Bluetooth 5.0, what smaller headset or IEM's would you point me at?

    -What other questions should I be asking, that I'm not up enough on these shifts to know I should ask about:)! ?

    -While I think (Think, as I'm still researching.) this is all about Cell Phone feed to say Headphones. What if I were to add in a 'pocket size' wired DAC/AMP into the mix? Oppo HA-2SE is used by a friend... (And to him that is 'Hi Fi', as he does is now upgraded to some Alexa speaker for around his home listening:)!)

    Budget would be in two groups. 1) $200-350 range; 2) $350-599 range.
    (This would be for head phones, and I'd ask for the same range for DAC/AMP choices too.)

    I believe this completes my ramblings for now. Best to all of you,
    Smitty
     
  2. DYohn

    DYohn Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    This is the solution I've used for the past couple of years with the iPhone 8 and X.
     
  3. GSmitty

    GSmitty Member

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    DYohn - So this is to a 'wired' headphone set. As I recall, Apple will not play well with Qualcomm even on BT 5.0 aptX HD, using their own Apple Play(?) for wireless streaming support. Do you use any BT or Wireless Headphones?

    TIA,
    Smitty
     
  4. DYohn

    DYohn Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    No bt or wireless and no streaming, sorry
     
  5. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    This becomes a simple equation for me because a cell phone is not and never will be an audiophile source. Between the practicality of getting high res files on it and all the noise of having an entire computing device packed into like 3 cubic inches just find a good pair of Bluetooth headphones and move on.
     
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  6. John F

    John F Active Member

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    Although I use bluetooth earbuds almost exclusively, I want the option of a wired connection. There are occasions where I find that bluetooth is unreliable.
     
  7. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    Then my solution is to attach a 3.5 to Lighting adapter and leave it on those headphones at all times.
     
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  8. GSmitty

    GSmitty Member

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    Sure agree that phone sourced music will not deliver High Fidelity (I have 'cans' in our RV for some pretty decent sounds, especially early in the AM while the wife is sleeping.). I've been getting out and walking for exercise around different towns as we travel (Not our hikes in the wilderness, no sounds then, as we're listening for the wildlife around us:)!). I'm looking for an improved audio experience with either BT or possibly 3.5MM wired sounds. IEM's are one way to go, but want to be able to still hear some of the sounds around me (Traffic, etc.). So probably some sort of open on ear equipment. I do need to have my phone with me. Not opposed to having a pocket size DAC/AMP, and have not ruled out a DAP. I like the less wires of Bluetooth, and Android base would like to have aptX HD capability. (Which I do understand contradicts the not opposed to pocket size DAC/AMP or DAP....)

    And CJ did spot my known family problem - I've been known to over analyze things... just a tad:)!
     
  9. GSmitty

    GSmitty Member

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    In the spirit of just moving on, and getting some tunes... I've got these ordered:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HYMWSGY/?tag=homthelou-20

    I'm going to go to Best Buy and try on some of the different Shure head gear to see how comfortable it is... (I wear a ball cap for sun protection while walking, so looking for either loosed wired up the back of the neck. Or the headbands type designed to rest un the back of the neck...)

    Will certainly not be the first time that I've spent a few hundred dollars to experiment:)!

    Best to you all - and if anyone has any more 'Did you consider these...' - would still welcome seeing them:)!
     
  10. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member Donor

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    This is the answer IMO.
     
  11. John F

    John F Active Member

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    That would be acceptable to me, although by the time this comes necessary, I would hope that earbuds would be available with lightning connectors.
     
  12. DYohn

    DYohn Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    Remember that phones without headphone jacks also lack DAC chips, so anything that plugs into a Lightning connector must also contain a DAC. The DAC in the little Apple "adapter" sounds great for talking on the telephone, but terrible for music, IMO.
     
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  13. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member Donor

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    Worse than bluetooth for you?
     
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  14. DYohn

    DYohn Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    Well I've never actually used BT for music so I can't say.
     
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  15. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member Donor

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    That's what I though you might say. Would be interesting for someone to compare. But, I switched back to CDs in the last month or so and my daughter wanted a record player, so I'm afraid I might enter that rabbit hole.
     
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  16. GSmitty

    GSmitty Member

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    Well now I've done it. I was explaining to my wife why I was just going to go with the BT approach as a compromise between ease of use and sound quality. She understood wanting ease of use for while walking around town. But she asked would not a dedicated unit that you could also use with your Massdrop HD6xx cans provide you with a possible dual approach. One for ease of using while hiking, and another to make it easier for you (Me) when I'm up early in the AM outside with the two trips in/out (Each one, as she points out, disturbing her and the dawg:)!) of the coach to move my HD6xx's gear for listening to with the fire and sunrise coming. (Appropriately fortified with Coffee and Kahlua:)!). She suggested that I cancel the BT order. And take a bit more time to research the different options of buzzwords and acronyms I had just tossed at her. (BT 4.x vs 5.0, aptX HD, Phone > DAC > Amp, Phone > DAC/AMP, Dedicated DAP, Balanced vis Non Balanced cords (HD6XX now have Balanced cords feeding them.) Etc., Etc.

    I confessed to her that I was just not as up on this side of things as I should be, and thus might be making a decision that I might regret later on. And something she said, and she is a smart woman, is if I could find something that might cost a little more now - but provide multiple solutions for different listening needs, take the time to try and get closer to it on the first buy. (Somehow, that could have been a dig, to what she calls my wires and shiny little gizmo graveyard of equipment (But we all know that someday, when the answer 42 fails us - one of those wires, and or shiny gizmo's may save the world/universe!!)

    So, I've canceled my BT Wired unit. And am now diving into DAP's and DAC/AMP's... And, I've raised my budget to $500-700 (Still needing a smaller headphone, or maybe I'll try IEM's.) included with that price range. I've never been afraid of buying used gear (Still have a pair of Paradigm Studio 40's being used in the family - from a member here!) And I've only almost been burned once, but caught onto the scam just in time. For sure an exception, as I've made good Email friends with many of the items I've bought, and or sold, over the years...

    I'll dig a little deeper, before making a decision on direction...

    Appreciated the comments here. CJ's was kinda of a reality check... And I got to say, I'm a lucky man when the Dear Wife suggests I go slow, and not add to the graveyard collection, by buying from a more refined decision knowledge point So into the internet I'll go...

    Happy New Years to you all, and best for 2019!!!
    Smitty
     
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  17. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    This goes back to my comment. A phone is not a hi-fi device to start with. Of course @GSmitty you can plug a Dragonfly into an iPhone if you really want a real DAC.
     
  18. DYohn

    DYohn Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    CJ, while you may not think of a phone or a DAP as a hi-fi device, I'll put the sound quality of my iPhone X playing ALAC files using the Denon music app through my V-Moda Vamp Versa DAC/Amp to my 1-More quad-armature IEMS up against pretty much any other headphone setup. To me it is pretty darn hi-fi indeed and rivals the sound quality I'm getting from more than $10K worth of dedicated head-fi gear sitting at my desk.
     
  19. John F

    John F Active Member

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    I would also be interested in this comparison.

    For those who have tried it, a good reference point (for me) would be Apple's earbuds through the lightning adapter vs through the headphone jack. Anyone do this comparison?
     
  20. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    Sure, but you've just done a ton of work around that has ZERO to do with your phone having a 3.5mm jack. I have no desire to "put music on my phone" at all. It plays what is built into the Apple native music app. I'm not loading another app, downloading lossless files, managing a sync process, hooking the phone up to a DAC and amp etc. At that point the phone is a storage device, not a hi-fi DAP (IMO).
     

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