Picture Sunday: 9$ dongle rescues the Apple iPhone 7

The star of this week’s Picture Sunday is the 9$ dongle for the iPhone 7. Check out other recent Picture Posts Here, and Here

Relevant links:

RMAA: Apple iPhone 7 24-bit
THD and jitter: Apple’s Lightning to 3,5 mm Headphone Adapter VS iPhone 6
RMAA: Apple’s Lightning to 3,5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter 24-bit
Larry Ho’s Facebook thread
Heis’s appraisal of it

Lil Wayne is firing in my wife’s iPhone 7, is blasting from my FitEar MH335DW, is vocal frying my eardrums at a volume of 4/16 through Apple’s 9$ Lightning to 3,5mm Headphone Jack Adapter. I don’t agree that removing the headphone jack was a courageous move. Forcing users to use a dongle in order to enjoy wired headphones is something of a dick move.

But damn does the dongle perform. It spits absolute volume equivalent to the iPhone 6’s maximum output. It spits slightly less hiss than a stock iPhone, and appears to suffer less EMI interference. Best yet, it sports as low an output impedance as exists. Measurements bear out its capabilities. At normal listening levels, you’ll be hard pressed to better it.

Head-fi peeps seem to like the 7.

I’m torn. Apple sticking with the iPhone 6 design for three years is a shame. It’s an ugly, slippery, haptically poor design. Even if you liked the iPhone 6, your old coverall case won’t work. The shifted camera is to blame. For audiophiles, the 7 does nothing the iPhone 6, or, for that matter, the iPhone 5, can’t do. What it does that neither stock 6s nor 5s do is force you to listen to one of the most stable headphone outputs out there. And it’s 9$. And no one is forcing you not to spend more for placebo.

Upgrade your 6’s and 5’s OS to iOS 10, spend 9$ for the dongle, and zip away to measurably one of the purest experiences this side of an iPhone and Mojo. If this were a review, I’d say: ‘ho hum’ to the 7 and ‘well done’ to the dongle. As it’s a hodgepodge, I’ll let the below do the honours.

Well hum.

3.6/5 - (8 votes)

Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.


  • Reply November 13, 2016


    Strange that people who bought this thing seem to be all but happy with sound quality. See here http://www.apple.com/de/shop/product/MMX62ZM/A/lightning-auf-35%E2%80%91mm-kopfh%C3%B6reranschluss-adapter

    • Reply November 13, 2016

      ohm image

      It would be stranger yet if these folk found themselves listening to a volume-controlled, time-unlimited double blind ABX test properly conducted. Because placebo runs high in the anti 9$ dongle camp.

      And I understand why.

      Not only is it a dick move to remove the headphone jack, but what you buy, or use in its stead is a cheap feeling, cheap-looking, defy-all-best-guesses adapter.

  • Reply November 13, 2016

    dale thorn

    In a comment to iFixit’s teardown, linked from Innerfidelity, the ‘why’, assuming that iOS 10 may not have been necessary to enable the dongle, is simple enough: Apple does as much as possible to force O/S upgrades, and this was a splendid opportunity.

    • Reply November 14, 2016

      ohm image

      Splendid indeed. I’m actually not not a fan of the system, but the marketing, viz., being courageous, is a horrible, untruth bomb. Whatever the ancillary facts, the dongle is awesome.

      • Reply November 14, 2016

        dale thorn

        I have 3, 2 were bought separately. On the iPhone 7-plus, they don’t impress me as much different from the headphone jack on the iPhone 6s-plus, but I have to admit that I was surprised they sound as good as they do. I don’t have any way to protect it in portable use, from all the twists and turns, and the thin dongle cord being yanked around by the heavier kevlar-covered headphone cord. So I’ll ignore that and keep a backup handy, and see how long they last. In any case, if I could get a small Lightning-connector DragonFly-on-a-cord, that would be the cat’s meow.

  • Reply November 14, 2016

    dale thorn

    Addendum: If the DragonFly-in-a-cord were terminated by MicroUSB, Apple makes a tiny Lightning cap for the MicroUSB, so that would work…

  • Reply November 21, 2016


    I couldn’t agree more. I use the dongle with my iPod touch 6th gen, and it’s simply remarkable! The sound improvement is very noticeable. Kudos to Apple!

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