Unboxing the Google USB-C Headphone DAC/amp

After betraying microSD fans, Google decided to betray the 3.5mm headphone jack as well with their 2017 Pixel 2 smartphones, making it the most high profile Android phone without a headphone jack. With that, the need for a USB-C headphone adapter (DAC/amp) for anyone wanting to use their 3.5mm headphones became mordant 😉

So Google released one such adapter of their own, taking USB digital audio and converting it to analog. After initially pricing it higher than Apple’s Lightning adapter (SAD!), Google brought the price all the way down to $9 with free shipping to boot at their own store.

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(ENDED) Summary of headphone offers in the official and leaked Black Friday Ads

The 2017 Black Friday is over and so is Cyber Monday. But if you are interested in headphone deals, fear NOT! We got you covered 365x24x7 with our parallel Headphone Deals Blog which also has a full-text FREE RSS Feed so you can follow the action any which way you like…

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Unboxing the House of Marley Uplift II (EM-JE093) earphones

I believe these are the first “wood” earphones I’ve touched if memory serves me well. We have a new unboxing post for you, text and pictures, no annoying audio/video, it is a second generation model, the House of Marley Uplift II (EM-JE093) earphones.

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Unconventional Headphone Hacks

This is a brand new diary-style post that I will keep adding to it over time. As the title suggests, we’ll have unconventional and off-beat headphone hacks. Randomness is key here 🙂 They are posted in reverse chronological order, so the newest ones will appear at the top. You can read them in any order, this is not a book 🙂

#1: BEANIES AS EARPHONE HOLDERS

Do you have earphones that refuse to stay in your ears? Are you looking for a way to “encourage” the earphones not to fall out of your ears so easily? Well, how about a beanie hat? Wearing it on top of the earphones gently holds them in place, so they are less likely to fall out of your ears. Or even if they get out of the ear, they won’t fall on the ground or drop into your drink 🙂

Note though that depending on your situation, they may slightly alter the perceived sound signature, especially if the earphones don’t isolate very well (by design or you can’t find a perfect eartip fit).

This is mayhaps more helpful when the weather co-operates. I’m not sure how many people would be willing to wear a beanie in 100+ F / 40+ C degree weather 🙂

List of Smartphones Without a 3.5mm Headphone Jack

LATEST UPDATE: November 1 in 2017 ~ Razer joins the list of “traitors” :)… the big Google day, the Pixel 2 ditching the headphone jack with Google releasing $159 wireless but not truly wireless “Pixel Buds”. The War for the Headphone Jack got real!

Even the best of futurists sometimes have a hard time beating a coin toss with their predictions, so I have no way of knowing where the headphone jack will be in five or ten or twenty or thirty years from now. At the moment however, it reigns supreme in smartphones, despite some high profile defectors to the Lightning cable (Apple) and USB-C (a few Android models).

Given the situation today, it is a lot easier to keep track of the smartphones that do not have a 3.5mm headphone jack, rather than keep track of all the ones that do (the vast majority of them). There is only a handful of defectors so far. 2016 created a mini panic, but as of mid 2017, the existential crisis that was predicted did not materialize.

Samsung’s Galaxy 8 co-flagships along with the LG G6 and Sony XZ*, Huawei P10 flagships continued to embrace the headphone jack. Heck, even the brand new iPad Pro 10.5″ has a headphone jack 🙂 But the year is not over yet, we are still waiting for the new Note 8, LG V30, Pixel 2, iPhone 8, Moto Z flagships.

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New Headphones Tracker

LATEST UPDATE on 10/25/17 – the Beats Studio 3 is here (hide them from your audiophile friends!)

This is version II of the “New Headphones Tracker”! Version I was at our deals blog, but this is a better place for it, since the former focuses on quick short posts, while this focuses on longer and more reference-y posts. Here we will keep track of some of the latest and hardest to find new headphones.

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Headphone Jack Crisis Episode II: The Google Menace

Episode I of the “Headphone Jack Crisis” was triggered by Apple when they removed the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 models in the Fall 2016. I never got around to writing about that contemporaneously, but I am writing about Episode II: The Google Menace! About a year after Apple, Google is removing the headphone jack for their new PIXEL 2 flagship smartphones!

LATEST UPDATE: 10/17/17 – this post is presented “diary style”. The latest updates are on top…

THIS IS GOOGLE’S VERSION OF APPLE’S MFI?

Apple has its famous MFI (Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad) program with certified products. Google is now implementing their own [apparently forgetting that they are not an iOS monopoly like Apple], and they now have an official list of “Made for Google” headphones whose common thread so far is supporting “Google Assistant”. The wired headphones on the list have USB-C input, and in addition to the PixelBuds, they have these models so far:

  • Libratone QAdapt In-Ear USB-C
  • TMA-2 Modular Presets
  • upcoming Master & Dynamic earphones? (because the models listed there are all 3.5mm plugs)

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Smartphones with Bluetooth 5

LATEST UPDATE: October 4, 2017 – the Pixel 2 phones are here, and they support Bluetooth 5, but not just that, they also support LDAC, apt-X and apt-X HD…

Bluetooth is a tug of war between convenience and compression. Some vow never to use it on the grounds of the additional compression step. Others will under certain circumstances. Certainly, after one ruins enough headphones and earphones during specific tasks and activities, one may be more inclined to give bluetooth a chance, at least during those activities.

Which brings us to Bluetooth 5, a point of hope and hype that you can listen over bluetooth without noticeably sacrificing audio quality. It is too early to tell as of June 2017, as we only have a couple of smartphones and no headphones supporting Bluetooth 5. But IFA is just around the corner, and so is CES 2018, so we should expect more action on this front in the next few months.

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