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The fundamental difference between Lightning headphone and 3.5mm headphone

With the unveiling of the new Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Apple is ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack completely and switching to the lightning jack instead. You may know that using the lightning jack can reduce thickness on the iPhone 7 and potentially offer better sound. But do you know the fundamental difference between 3.5mm headphones and lightning headphones?

First, as you may know, the music files are processed using a digital method and stored as a digital signal. But in order for our ears to hear the sound, the audio must be an analog signal. And when using traditional 3.5mm headphone to listen to music, there is a built-in DAC (digital-to-analog converter) unit inside smartphones which transfers the digital signal to an analog signal and delivers the sound to the earbuds.

In the latest model iPhone 7 and 7 Plus offerings from Apple, the 3.5mm headphone jack is abolished and only the lightning jack exists. Lightning jack has been a digital interface for data transfer and charging since it was created by Apple almost exactly 4 yrs ago to the day. (Sept. 12th, 2012) The key advantage is that it can receive the digital signal of the music directly. From the above explanation, it can be concluded that the fundamental difference between 3.5mm headphones and lightning headphones is the former is the transferred analog signal, and latter uses the direct digital signal instead.

The DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) in lightning headphones is put inside the cabled controller, and because the DAC is separately located in the controller and the digital signal comes through directly via lightning connector, the lightning headphones can receive a full 48khz 24-bit high-resolution signal, while the 3.5mm headphone can only support a maximum 44.1kHz 16-bit signal. Anyone interested in sound quality knows that high resolution digital sound can reveal infinitely more details of the music the way that the artists intended it to sound. We combine build quality with sound quality in order to make sure our customers using lightning headphones can enjoy ultimate the listening experience.

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