1. Tom Westrick's Avatar
    Just to clarify, I'm not going to ask about OEMs that ditch the headphone jack. That's been discussed elsewhere and I don't agree with them removing it.

    This is about headphones that can use USB-C as an input. I know certain high power headphone brands like Beyerdynamic and Sennheiser do okay if you listen to them straight from the headphone jack on a phone, but to really get them to shine you need to run the audio through an amp first. Also, certain manufacturers have started making headphones that end in a male Lightning plug for the iPhone.

    I haven't dug into the official USB-C documentation, but since USB-C headphones carry both power and audio at the same time, would a theoretical pair of Beyerdynamic headphones that use a USB-C plug even need an amplifier to unlock their full potential? Additionally, do you also see a situation where a manufacturer creates headphones with a detachable cable, and includes a 3.5 mm to USB-C, a 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm and a 3.5 mm to Lightning cable in the box, or would that eat into margins too much?
    01-26-2017 06:45 PM
  2. Jerry Hildenbrand's Avatar
    Different power.

    A headphone amp boosts the analog audio signal, 5-ish volts is way too much so you would need a regulator and something to handle the excess heat if you wanted to use the power supply as an amp. I'm sure it could be done, but in the end would look very much like an existing amp.

    Right now, what USB audio can do really well is send out a digital signal. You get a set of headphones built like Bluetooth headphones with it's own dac and amp and you could have great audio that's controlled by something other than the volume and software mixer in your phone.

    USB audio can be superior. But while all the kinks are being worked out keeping a headphone jack is a good idea for people who need something that can work with existing equipment.
    02-02-2017 01:33 PM
  3. bstryd's Avatar
    Exactly what I was wondering. Great info and good question - thanks.
    02-03-2017 11:24 AM
  4. Tom Westrick's Avatar
    Different power.

    A headphone amp boosts the analog audio signal, 5-ish volts is way too much so you would need a regulator and something to handle the excess heat if you wanted to use the power supply as an amp. I'm sure it could be done, but in the end would look very much like an existing amp.

    Right now, what USB audio can do really well is send out a digital signal. You get a set of headphones built like Bluetooth headphones with it's own dac and amp and you could have great audio that's controlled by something other than the volume and software mixer in your phone.

    USB audio can be superior. But while all the kinks are being worked out keeping a headphone jack is a good idea for people who need something that can work with existing equipment.
    I appreciate the response. I was intrigued by Audio Technica's new headphones that are "purely digital", that use a Micro-USB port for their wired input and have AptX HD support. I was tempted to pre-order a pair, but I'm trying to get rid of as many non-USB-C things as I can.
    02-03-2017 05:58 PM

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