Some of you may have seen that there are a few earphones sporting a USB-C connector, or even a Lightning connector for Apple devices, but how do these actually work?
Well, all devices that have a headphone jack have internal circuitry that uses a DAC (digital to analogue converter) and then a headphone amplifier. The quality of these components varies a lot between devices, but most suffer from a certain amount of noise and hiss that is detrimental to the overall sound quality.
USB-C or Lightning earphones have this circuitry built into the connector itself, meaning the phone sends the digital data to the earphones and the conversion is done there. This gives the earphone maker a chance to match the specific circuit to a specific pair of earphones/headphones for optimal power and quality. This also means that the circuit is detached from the main board which is a common source for interference and noise.
Whilst not as common as Bluetooth models, USB earphones are on the rise and are an excellent choice if you have a device that has no headphone jack. They offer better sound quality than Bluetooth models along with being more convenient than using a dongle or external DAC/Amp.
Within our range of headphones, we have the new SoundMAGIC E11D which includes a 24bit capable DAC, along with a 4-core cable for balanced signal transmission. These have been getting great reviews in the press, being some of the best USB-C earphones available on the market.
If you don’t mind adding an extra device to get that extra bit of quality out of your regular wired earphones, then take a look at the Cyrus SoundKey. This little DAC/Amp gives you a great step up in clarity and control.