Accessories makers are gearing up their Lightning Connector headset offerings, in anticipation of the iPhone 7.
A few headphones for Lightning connector of the iPhone are already on the market. The $800 Audeze EL-8 Titanium is touted as the first headphone with lightning connector. While so far the Lightning connector headphones are for audiophiles, this might change with the iPhone 7. One of the first iPhone 7 rumors says that Apple drops the 3.5mm jack, forcing iPhone 7 owners to use wireless headphones or headphones with Lightning connector.
The advantage of the Lightning connector is an all digital connection. The data from the songs stored on your iPhone can go directly into a digital amplifier of the connected headset.
Japanese HD headset maker Radius is offering with the Radius HP-NHL 11 one of the first Lightning connector earbuds. The Radius HP-NHL 11 are a variant of the Radius HP-NHR11 earbuds that come with a gold plated 3.5mm mini plug.
These Radius High-MFD system in-ear headphones feature 13mm drivers with 5Hz to 40,000Hz range and 25Ω±15% impedance. the High-MFD system uses an additional magnet to increase the sensitivity for improved sound quality. The 24bit 48KHz digital amplifier is built into the small remote control on the cables.
Radius offers the NePLAYER Lite app to play Hi-Res audio files. The Radius HP-NHL 11 Lightning Connector headset is on sale in Japan. I have spotted them offered by Japanese importers on eBay for about $350.
In case the iPhone 7 is indeed coming without 3.5mm jack, then the selection of Lightning Connector headphones will explode. Consumers will need to pay attention to the details of the specifications to understand the sound quality the Lightning Connector headphones offer.
It will be interesting to see how low-priced Lightning Connector headphones can go. The Lightning connector headphones require a digital audio decoder, which makes them more complex than the regular analog headphones.
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The lowest priced Lightning Connector headset I could find are from Brightech, on sale on Amazon for $44.95. The specifications say that the headset has a 24-bit DAC. I do not believe though it delivers the same quality as the $300 and more expensive headphones for the Lightning port.