USB-C Audio Is "Dead"

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Megalith, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    Smartphone manufacturers were confident that USB-C would supplant the 3.5mm headphone jack for users who demanded a wired listening experience, but CES activity has suggested otherwise: USB-C headphones were practically nowhere to be found at the show. Android Authority believes they failed to catch on due to their complexity, which has led to myriad compatibility issues. Audiophiles say they might as well bring the headphone jack back.

    Since USB Type-C headphones are on life support, the headphone jack seems more of a necessity than ever. But if it doesn’t return: we’re left without a feasible option for physical mobile audio ports. While Bluetooth is a decent feature, it’s not going to satisfy everyone, and the wireless standard has its issues as well. Ultimately, the USB Type-C headphones endeavor was a half-baked mess of competing standards that led to missed opportunity after missed opportunity.
     
  2. Twisted Kidney

    Twisted Kidney 2[H]4U

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    Ummm? It's called "Bluetooth"...
     
  3. viper1152012

    viper1152012 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Most of the Bluetooth headphones I have tried sound like crap. Even the m50bt dont sound as good at the th200.

    Settled on a quiet comfortii because of the sound stage, but my plug in cans just can't be beat.... Good try wireless options.
     
  4. viper1152012

    viper1152012 [H]ard|Gawd

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    My fav is when someone buys a pair of like 50$ Bluetooth headphones and they say they sound great, then I drop mine on their head and their whole outlook on life changes.... Priceless
     
  5. Nexus6

    Nexus6 Limp Gawd

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    At least with the introduction of bluetooth 5.0, I have to agree. The bandwidth available to modern bluetooth (2Mbps) is more than sufficient for lossless quality audio playback, particularly when combined with aptX HD.

    Just got a CIPHER bluetooth module for my Audeze iSine 20s and I can't tell the difference between it and the hardwire.
     
  6. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq [H]ard|Gawd

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    Bluetooth headphone stereo, using the latest advaanced codecs, is OK (almost CD quality), but with a headset (two-way audio), Bluetooth is equivalent (by design) to 1960's era telephone calls.

    I changed to using a wired headset because clients were sometimes hard to understand over Bluetooth.
    Not going back.
     
  7. Twisted Kidney

    Twisted Kidney 2[H]4U

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    I have a set of Bose I love and (don't shoot me) Air Pods sound pretty good as well. I'm not into bulky headsets when I go for a run.

    Still less reliable than a cable, but anyone buying USB-C headsets is nuts, better to use an adapter with a regular headset that will work with your home stuff as well.
     
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  8. viper1152012

    viper1152012 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Well I don't shoot because everyone has an opinion and I too don't want flamed,

    However I agree buying a usb C specific set sounds like a terrible idea.
     
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  9. Reimu

    Reimu [H]ard|Gawd

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    USB-C based DAC though should stay alive.
     
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  10. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

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    For audiophiles sound quality will always trump convenience.

    For everyone else, those for whom WiFi is fast enough over hardline, for whom consoles are good enough over PCs, for whom integrated graphics are just fine:

    Bluetooth will also be good enough. It is the future.
     
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  11. MaZa

    MaZa 2[H]4U

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    Bluetooth isn't an answer, it compresses the audio even more and reduces the sound quality. And for USB-C headphones I presume they offload the DAC work and amplification for headphones. I do not have high hopes for how good DAC and AMP and battery that gives them enough juice they can fit inside a headphone while still leaving enough room for the driver.

    Yes, bring back 3.5mm jack. It is so universally used, not only for headphones but AUX inputs aswell. Dropping it was always a stupid idea.
     
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  12. skydriver

    skydriver Limp Gawd

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    I’m not gonna lie here I am looking forward to seeing people have to use a usb-c dongle with their setup to go back to a jack. See how they like that dongle crap we all had/have to endure lol

    I hope this is true not sure why we can’t have a “common” headphone jack crossing fingers !
     
  13. skydriver

    skydriver Limp Gawd

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    Isn’t this article about head hacks coming back?
     
  14. Tiburon1186

    Tiburon1186 Gawd

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    There was no point to it. Don't fix what isn't broken. 3.5mm forever!
     
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  15. mrwizardno2

    mrwizardno2 Limp Gawd

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    Agreed. Let's bring back the 3.5mm. Bluetooth sounds like trash. :-/
     
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  16. Nexus6

    Nexus6 Limp Gawd

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    It's not 2008 anymore. Read up about aptX HD and Bluetooth 5.0.

    It's lossless compression. Nothing is lost. It's literally the same 24 bit audio you can listen to through a cable.
     
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  17. MaZa

    MaZa 2[H]4U

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    I admit I am not aware of the latest Bluetooth trends. Thats great news and a huge leap forward. But still that leaves all the dac and amplification work for the headphone and whatever super tiny and low power device they can fit inside the cans.
     
  18. DeeFrag

    DeeFrag [H]ardness Supreme

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    Witchcraft!!
     
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  19. DF-1

    DF-1 2[H]4U

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    why did we stop using the 2.5mm headphone jack? i know 3.5 is the standard but the other one worked too, even with a microphone.
     
  20. MaZa

    MaZa 2[H]4U

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    Because 3.5 is the standard as you said, together with the ~5mm one. Dropping the headphone jack size into 2.5mm would leave out 99.99% of the portable headphones so whats the point? Might aswell go bluetooth then, which they did or are trying to do. 2.5mm is used for very specialized stuff only these days.
     
  21. travm

    travm Limp Gawd

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    Because it defeated the purpose of being smaller when you had a jam an inline 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter in it.
     
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  22. MMitch

    MMitch Limp Gawd

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    Couldn't you use an adapter (or adapting cable to minimize the hard connection at the phone) to use your 3.5mm ? This solution seems viable to their "reduce size of the phone" reason they keep pushing for removing it...

    Is there adapting cable instead to minimize that too ? (I didn't google fyi) Pretty sure a 1 or 2 feets 2.5mm to 3.5mm exist out there..
     
  23. piscian18

    piscian18 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Ive been on the bluetooth train since the original motorola H9s? and its just now "ok" I have Jaybird X4s. I would never argue that it compares to a good set of powered wired or powered wireless, but that stuff is just not convenient for working out and running around, for me. I wish theyd just develop a good wireless codec, standard and chip for headphones. bluetooth is trash.
     
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  24. Jim Kim

    Jim Kim 2[H]4U

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    Our phones will never be waterproof again if the bring back the 3.5mm headphone jack. /sarcasm
     
  25. MaZa

    MaZa 2[H]4U

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    True. Although that would be one tiny ass (and possibly easily broken) adapter, I am such a disorganized person that would lose it all the time.

    *Edit* this would be the case if it were a solid adapter. But a short cable style adapter, yeah you are actually on to something. That could have been a good idea if the size was genuinely a concern and not the need for selling overpriced proprietary stuff.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
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  26. DF-1

    DF-1 2[H]4U

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    the 2.5<->3.5 adapters work just fine.
     
  27. MaZa

    MaZa 2[H]4U

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    Yeah I realise that now. I was first thinking of solid adapters and feared it would snap easily in a pocket but then I remembered that cable style adapters do exist.
     
  28. El Derpo

    El Derpo Limp Gawd

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    aptX HD is not technically lossless. It has a 4:1 compression ratio. It's also limited in that both the device and your headphones need to support aptX HD to get the high quality audio. The headphone jack makes things a lot less complicated.
     
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  29. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    As already stated, AptX HD isn't lossless. Nor is LDAC, or any other Bluetooth codec. However, these newer high definition codecs are high quality enough that you'd be very unlikely to be able to tell them apart from lossless.

    Also Bluetooth 5.0 does nothing for audio transmission at all. It's a pretty common misconception that BT 5 improves range or data rate, and that this will benefit audio transmission. It doesn't. Bluetooth is divided into Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). All of the improvements in BT 5.0 apply only to BLE, however audio transmission is only done through Bluetooth Classic (which hasn't changed since BT 4.2).
     
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  30. Sonicks

    Sonicks [H]ard|Gawd

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    I used to think all BT audio solutions sucked but it turned out that the iPhone 6S BT was garbage.

    Once I got the XS Max, BT audio became bearable. Think it comes down to the BT protocol used by the source rather than the endpoint.
     
  31. El Derpo

    El Derpo Limp Gawd

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    If you want higher quality audio out of your iPhone’s Bluetooth, make sure the headphones you are using explicitly state they support the AAC audio codec, otherwise you are just going to be using garbage SBC. Apple has never implemented aptX and now they probably never will because aptX is a Qualcomm technology and they’re not exactly getting along right now.
     
  32. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq [H]ard|Gawd

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    I heard a rumor that the iPhone 12 was going to have a 3.5mm headphone jack,
    and the reason they were going to give for that was:
    COURAGE.

    I heard that rumor right here, as I was typing this.
     
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  33. Nolan7689

    Nolan7689 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Meh. Bluetooth is good enough for me, I mean it’s a fucking phone. If I want hifi listening it isn’t going to be off of a pocket device, and acting as if it should be anything else is asinine as is most things audiophiles bitch about.
     
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  34. Conker

    Conker 2[H]4U

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    The headphone jack is time tested and mother approved. It will last another 15 to 20 years at least. The headphone jack gives you more flexibility on what kind of headset or earbuds you want to use anyways.
     
  35. El Derpo

    El Derpo Limp Gawd

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    Most of my listening is in my car as I drive all day for work. I have a lot of music in my phone. Just because it doesn’t make sense to you is completely irrelevant. These “pocket” devices cost upwards of a grand these days. It’s not absurd to expect great things from them.
     
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  36. Nolan7689

    Nolan7689 [H]ard|Gawd

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    It’s illegal to use headphones while driving I believe so....there’s that.

    Anyways yeah I listen in my car too. Still not my preferred hifi experience because it is not ever going to be ideal, hence my comment of the pocket device, they enable music in non ideal listening situations and bitching that the music isn’t perfect is fucking ridiculous.
     
  37. El Derpo

    El Derpo Limp Gawd

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    I clearly meant the speakers in my car. :rolleyes:

    How do you figure?
     
  38. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics I don't get it

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    Any chance for a 3.5 -> USB-C adapter?
     
  39. El Derpo

    El Derpo Limp Gawd

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    They already exist.
     
  40. gxp500

    gxp500 Gawd

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    Once apple switches to usb-c everyone will start pumping out usb-c headphones.
    Since apple has they're own lightning port and samsung/lg still have headphone jacks the market just isn't there, yet.
     
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