This Monstrosity



When Apple removed the 3.5mm jack from the iPhone, I was annoyed. They'd bought Beats, and I assumed (still do) it was a long term play to only allow Beats to have officially endorsed Lightning headphones, and effectively erase most of a market. Given my reasonably heavy personal investment in headphones, this is irritating. I mean sure I could have just not bought a new iPhone but come on.

Apple's inclusion of a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter with new iPhones solves half a problem - you can now use your headphones. Unless your battery is about to die - then you have to use that Lightning port to charge. Super courageous.

If you trawl head-fi, or keep reading here, you'll discover that Apple's USB-3 Camera Connection Kit will allow you to use a low-powered USB device, and daisy-chain Lightning, meaning that you can charge and run a low-power USB DAC to give you that 3.5mm port. I mean, sure, it looks ridiculous, but you can do it.

It's still pretty early for this configuration, but more and more stuff is coming out. USB DACs aren't exactly a new concept, but powered ones are another thing to charge, and I can't be bothered with that, so I went for the AudioQuest Dragonfly Red, and if you ignore all the inconvenience, the audio quality is noticeably better, especially with a decent pair of headphones. I'd love to give the Chord Mojo a proper spin, but I'd rather have a Nintendo Switch so that's going to have to wait.