Submitted Date 12/25/2018

Just about everyone loves music. In this day and age with the advancement of the smartphone, most of us use our smartphones to listen to our favorites tunes, especially with the emergence of streaming music service. Convenient right? Well that was until, according to popular opinion, manufacturers removed the headphone jack. Ugh, right? With the trail that the iPhone and Android’s Essential phones made, most phones have followed suit of removing the beloved headphone jack. With the emergence of new technologies such as USB-C, and Bluetooth 5, they were removed. So most of us are mad. Mad at all we’ve invested into our headphones, simply being able them into the headphone jack and call it a day, and now it’s been snatched right from under us. So what do we do? Music without a jack?


First, what’s the issue. From my understanding there’s about 3 main issues:

1) You can’t use your headphones anymore

2) How do I charge my phone and listen to music now?

3) Quality


So you can’t use your headphones that you’ve spent 10s and 100s of dollars on, or can you? Well you can, with a few options. One would be a headphone adapter like USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapters (some call them dongles), like the one that comes with the Razer Phone and Razer Phone 2, OnePlus 6T, HTC 11, and the like. Razer USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter has an internal THX DAC* for a Hi-Res music listening experience. These adapters are very cheap at $8-$20 (OnePlus*, HTC*), and come with the manufacturer’s smartphones. Then you have Bluetooth wireless headphone amplifiers like the AQUA+ by Nexum* or GET by Bluewave.* These work with Android and iPhone. AQUA+ amplifies audio performance of standard music resolution to what they say is 32-bit/384k audio performance, and GET offering Bluetooth 5* and AptX HD audio performance for audiophiles. I have both and they both have great performance. Find out more about AptX HD as you read on.

GET by Bluewave

AQUA+ by Nexum

USB-C Adapter (Razer & OnePlus)


How do I charge my headphone and listen to music now? Well, you can do this by using exactly what most are against, Bluetooth. That’s exactly how you do it. Most people use their smartphones constantly because it’s their all-in-one, go-to device. We use our smartphones for phone calls, text and instant messaging, music listening, video streaming, etc. With that, our phones tire dead, quickly. We’re used to being able to continue doing all these wonderful things by just plugging our phone in, in these times of needs. Well, even though we don’t have headphone jacks anymore to be able to use those USB ports to charge our smartphones at the same time as listening to music via our headphone jacks, Bluetooth, whether USB-C or Lightning ports, allows you to still be able to use our USB ports to charge your smartphone and listening to music. If you already have a pair of Bluetooth wireless headphones, you can just plug your smartphone in and charge it, since you’re wireless and don’t need to use the USB-C or lightning ports to listen to music.

So no more headphone jack, so where goes the quality of my music? Well, it doesn’t really have to go anywhere. A lot of these solutions like Bluetooth maintain basically the same quality of your headphones through the 3.5 headphone jack, especially for those who aren’t audiophiles, and are just an average music lover and listener.

As for Bluetooth, with the emergence of the future without a headphone jack, Qualcomm and Sony created audio codes that would allow you listen to Hi-Res audio video Bluetooth via their AptX HD and LDAC technologies respectively.

AptX HD* by Qualcomm promises an indistinguishable music listening experience than that of high resolution audio (from a 3.5mm headphone jack hi-res audio music listening experience). AptX HD enables 24-bit/48KHz music quality over Bluetooth wireless. It also promises to enhance audio performance for standard audio resolution, like for those of casual music screamers, ala Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon Music. WhatHiFi* also explains this technology in great detail really well. I personally own a pair of AiAiAi wireless headphones* with AptX HD, and the music listening experience is amazing. So if you’re invested in Hi-Res audio, there are options. These headphones also include a 3.5 headphone jack as well to work with USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapters.


LDAC* by Sony is another hi-res audio technology, but even better than Qualcomm’s AptX HD, at least as far as audio performance. LDAC offers 24-bit/96KHz hi-res audio. As opposed to AptX HD that offers 576kbps bitrate audio performance, LDAC offers 990kbps bitrate optimal audio performance. You remember back in our iTunes days or even just recently, we would make sure we would purchase our content in 320kbps so we could get the best audio quality? Well now just think about this in comparison. However, Android Authority* explains this LDAC technology best. Both of these technologies come built into Android Oreo (8.0), and Android Pie for Android users to use, via Settings > Developer Options. 1MORE offers triple-driver in-ear headphones with this LDAC technology,* which I also own that offers exceptional performance.


1MORE Triple-Driver BT In-Ear Headphones


Of course if you don’t care or have a worry about charging and just want to have great audio performance, there are USB-C earphones. HTC offers their U-Sonic Adaptive earphones with their high-end smartphones with BoomSound performance that works and comes for their smartphone. I’ve owned them and they are some of the best performance headphones or earphones I’ve ever owned. OnePlus offers USB-C bullet earphones* that have a built-in internal DAC that offers hi-res audio performance at 24-bit/96KHz. I have them and they are definitely phenomenal, and they are only $20. Razer offers their Hammerhead USB-C earphones* for their Razer Phone and RazerPhone 2, but are a bit pricey at $80-$100. They also have a built-in internal DAC supporting 24-bit/96KHz audio performance. These USB-C earphones do have compatibility with other smartphones besides the manufacturer’s, but the Razer Phone earphones offer the best compatibility.

Razer Hammerhead USB-C earphones

OnePlus USB-C bullet earphones

Note: For audiophiles with FLAC, ALAC files and the like, check out Hi-Res audio players check out HiBy Music,* and DoubleTwist Pro.*


More and more manufacturers are offering options for great audio experiences and are creating their own solutions, so there are options, some more affordable than others. I just want to let you know, you have options.


Additional Links(*):


Razer USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter has an internal THX DAC - https://www.razer.com/mobile/razer-phone-audio-adapter

OnePlus - https://www.oneplus.com/oneplus-type-c-adapter

HTC - https://www.htc.com/us/accessories-b/#!pid=htc-u12-plus&acc=usb-c-digital-to-3-5mm-htc-u11

AQUA+ by Nexum - https://www.nexum-design.com/aquaplus

GET by Bluewave - https://www.bluewaveaudio.ca/product/get-wireless-hifi-headphone-amplifier-bluetooth-headphones/?v=7516fd43adaa

Bluetooth 5 - https://www.bluetooth.com/bluetooth-technology/bluetooth5/bluetooth5-paper

AptX HD - https://www.aptx.com/aptx-hd

WhatHiFi - https://www.whathifi.com/advice/aptx-hd-bluetooth-what-it-how-can-you-get-it

AiAiAi wireless headphones - https://www.whathifi.com/advice/aptx-hd-bluetooth-what-it-how-can-you-get-it

LDAC - https://www.sony.net/Products/LDAC/

Android Authority - https://www.androidauthority.com/sony-ldac-codec-790690/

1MORE offers triple-driver in-ear headphones with this LDAC technology - https://usa.1more.com/products/1more-triple-driver-bt-in-ear-headphones

OnePlus offers USB-C bullet earphones - https://www.oneplus.com/oneplus-type-c-bullets-earphones

Razer offers their Hammerhead USB-C earphones - https://www.razer.com/gaming-audio/razer-hammerhead-usb-c-anc

HiBy Music - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hiby.music&hl=en_US

DoubleTwist Pro - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.doubleTwist.androidPlayerPro


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  • David Pyle 4 years, 11 months ago

    Wow! You put a lot of thought into this one. Nice work.