Apple's Lightning EarPods and 3.5mm adapter do have DACs

Apple has ditched the analogue 3.5mm headphone jack in favour of pushing punters towards Lightning headphones, using an adapter or buying wireless headphones - and this has thrown-up more than a few questions.

One such query was how Apple would manage the business of converting your digital music into an analogue signal. Could the iPhone 7 Lightning connection now take analogue audio? Or was there instead a DAC inside the new Apple Lightning EarPods? And what about the £9 Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter for standard headphones?

And now it has been confirmed, as we figured must be the case, that both the EarPods and the adapter do have their own DAC. Vietnamese website Tinthe as done a thorough 'teardown' of both bits of kit and revealed two different DACs, most likely made by Cirrus Logic.

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The DAC in the EarPods was labeled "338S00140 / A0QK1623 / TW", while the adapter was marked "338S00140 / A0MU1621 / TW". It's perhaps no surprise that the cheap adapter has a different, potentially less sophisticated DAC chip.

Apple has also today confirmed to What Hi-Fi? that the adapter does indeed have a DAC. How well other headphones will work with the Apple adapter remains to be seen, from sound quality to any in-line controls, not to mention how good the Lightning EarPods will sound in their own right.

Look out for our in-depth reviews coming soon.

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[via 9to5mac]

Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is Content Director for T3 and What Hi-Fi?, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for more than 15 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).