The rumor was true; the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7S are not equipped with a mini-jack input. Yet, the iPhone still features a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and a stereo amplifier? but they are only connected to the smartphone?s integrated speaker and not to the lightning connector, which is the only output capable of carrying sound as a digital signal.
New Lightning-jack adaptor with integrated DAC
In order to use a standard set of headphones or earbuds, you?ll need a female Lightning to 3.5mm mini-jack adaptor featuring an integrated DAC and headphone amplifier.
Since everything fits into an extremely small space, one shouldn’t expect outstanding musical performance, but at least the option exists.
Some headphone manufacturers knew this was coming and already offer models which can be connected to your device?s Lightning port and feature an integrated DAC and amplifier. For example, the removable cable of the Philips Fidelio M2L, Audeze EL-8 Titanium and Audeze SINE Cipher host a DAC and a headphone amplifier. In the near future, battery-powered headphones will no longer use the iPhone as a power source, and they will thereby guarantee audiophile-grade performance.
What is the best way to enjoy a hi-fi listening experience with an iPhone 7 and a set of headphones?
No mystery here, if you want to enjoy high-fidelity sound with an iPhone 7, or any other iPhone, you will have to use a portable headphone amplifier with an integrated DAC. Digital audio stream up to 24 bits/192 kHz is transmitted to the DAC, which then converts the signal and sends the music in analog format to its powerful integrated amplifier. In this case, it is necessary to use the Apple Lightning to USB adapter.
Another possibility is using your iPhone 7?s wireless connection. The smartphone is fitted with a Bluetooth 4.0 controller, and many Bluetooth headphones and Bluetooth earbuds are compatible. Make sure to pay extra attention to the type of Bluetooth codec handled. While all Bluetooth headphones are compatible with iPhones, using an AAC compatible model is highly recommended. With such a model, no additional compression is needed when listening to files purchased on iTunes (M4A). The same applies to Bluetooth speakers.