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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This Week In Headphoolia #26 (up to 8/19/17): Viet-Fi, Schiit-y Tour, SBC vs apt-X, MythBusters, Monster Assistant, Etc

Today’s priorities, first mountain of dishes, next, a new installment of This Week in Headphoolia, a semi-humorous attempt to round up some of the action in the world of headphones. Just like the last few weeks, things are grouped by product type instead of medium. But videos will be easily pointed out for those reading at work or prefer text…

NEWS NOISE

Because Siri and Cortana and Bixby and Alexa and Google Assistant are not enough, Monster decided to give their headphones a Voice Assistant. None of the above of course, it had to be something else, a thing called Melody from a third party.

We survived the iPhone dropping the headphone jack. Can we survive the Google Pixel doing this? One of the leaks for the upcoming 2017 Pixel phones at GSM Arena suggests that there’s no headphone jack in the 2017 Pixel. Crisis time? Google often signals big changes with their Nexus/Pixel phones, will other Android manufacturers follow? So far, Apple’s impact has been fairly minimal as you can see from the fairly short list of smartphones without a headphone jack.

How USB-C audio is implemented is also a factor. Apple and HTC prefer digital-out only [the HTC 10 is the last major HTC release with a headphone jack], while some of the other Android manufacturers support both USB-C digital out and analog out. What will Google do?

And will Android users accept it like iPhone users or will there be a rebellion against Google? Some hardcore Android fans are already sore on Google for the untimely demise of the Nexus line.

TOUR GUIDE

AudioHead gives the internet a 2 minute video tour of the new Schiit Audio customer-facing store in Southern California. They also have an accompanying blog-post of their adventures. Video YouTube-embedded below…

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This Week In Headphoolia #25 (up to 8/12/17)

Time flew again, and we have a new edition of This Week in Headphoolia, a semi-humorous attempt to round up some of the action in the world of headphones. Just like the last few weeks, things are grouped by product type instead of medium. But videos will be easily pointed out for those reading at work or prefer text…

NEW PRODUCT LAUNCH VIDEO:: FIIO

Fiio is taking product launches to the masses with a 2-hour video of their latest product launch event. The audio is in Chinese with english subtitles. This is human-edited translation, not YouTube’s helter skelter automated one. The launch features a number of products including the F9 triple-driver IEMs along with Q and X series products. You can also find the video YouTube-embedded below:

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This Week In Headphoolia #24 (up to 8/5/17)

With IFA looming large on the horizon now, we have a new edition of This Week in Headphoolia, a semi-humorous attempt to round up some of the action in the world of headphones…

Just like the last few weeks, things are grouped by product type instead of medium. But videos will be easily pointed out for those reading at work or prefer text…

AMPS, DACs, DAPs, DUCKS

Archimago is back with Part #2 of their measurements post on the SMSL A6 running as a DAC. [as a refresher, here is Part #1]

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Something Looks Different? Title Font Size Decreased

Does something look different since the last time you visited?

You are correct! It does! I have decreased the size of the individual blog-post titles to something more reasonable. So no more giant headlines filling up the page. Please leave a comment to opine on this (or anything else) or use the online contact form.

This Week In Headphoolia #23: Goodbye iPod Nano and Shuffle (up to 7/29/17)

Another week is gone, so here we are, a new edition of This Week in Headphoolia, a semi-humorous round-up of the week that was in the world of headphones. The soundtrack for this edition is Lana del Rey’s “Lust for Life”, streamed on an iPod over Wifi to the Philips SHP-9500S, whose detailed review I keep promising but it’s still remains in my head and in my chicken-scratch notes 🙂

In this edition too we continue with a mixed media format, with the division of the sections being on the product type instead of the medium. Videos are easy to tell, because I mention either YouTube, duration in minutes or “video” in the line 🙂

GOODBYE iPOD Nano and Shuffle

Nepenthe for the Lost Lenore! The iPod Nano and Shuffle have officially been …shuffled out [sorry, low-hanging pun, couldn’t resist] of the Apple music player line-up. But the iPods are not dead. Apple is continuing the iPod Touch line and it is doubling the storage options in the two remaining iPod Touch models at the $200 (32GB) and $300 (128GB) price points.

Details on this broke out at the Business Insider with additional coverage at Ars Technica. The Verge, ever the emotional types, take a look at the history of the Nano.

Now you know why I’m using the iPod Touch for the soundtrack of today’s Headphoolia round-up 🙂

Reality has a funny way of manifesting things. Just as the iPod Shuffle is dying, the world of crowd-funding is bringing out an iPod Shuffle type of a device for offline Spotify music listening. A (over)(re)view of this at Engadget

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This Week In Headphoolia #22: Can Jam 2017 London, and more (up to 7/22/17)

Now that we are in “Game Of Thrones” season, these will be posted on Saturdays instead of Sundays. It makes things easier 🙂 This is installment #22 of “This Week in Headphoolia”, a semi-humorous round-up of the week that was in the world of headphones. You can find the previous 21 installments in the Headphoolia archives.

The soundtrack for this week’s installment is the new Coldplay EP Kaleidoscope on repeat (more of a punishment really), streaming through the smartphone to the Philips SHP9500S.

LONDON CAN JAM 2017

CAN JAM 2017 happened in London, and The Headphone List was there, sharing some of their experience in text and pictures at their website!

Also there was AORNIC, giving us nice glimpses of the show in a 17 minute video which you can also find YouTube-embedded below…

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This Week In Headphoolia #21: New Blind Testing Experiment [week ending 7/16/17)

Game of Thrones Season 7 begins today and while you may be anxiously waiting for it, here’s a new edition of our weekly e-zine (okay, round-up?) that is “This Week in Headphoolia”. This covers up to Sunday 7/16/17. If you finish this and need more, check our previous 20 installments in the Headphoolia archives.

We are going to use a similar format as the previous installment that came out mid-week. Both video content and text-and-pictures articles are mixed together in each category. They are however easily designated in each entry, so if you have a strong preference either way, you can tell easily. Yes, this is a two for one special this week, we posted two installments 🙂

AUDIO SHOWS

It’s Los Angeles Audio Show time, aka LAAS, and Innerfidelity was there with a nice text and pictures report on their website, and also seven video clips added to their YouTube Channel featuring, so far, Chord, Cayin, Campfire, Astell and Kern, Ultrasone, and more.

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This Week In Headphoolia #20: CANJAM (and Winter) Are Coming (up to 7/9/17)

All apologies for the delay in publication of this edition. I had assembled all the articles on time, but then pre-PrimeDay madness hit, and wasn’t able to post it by Sunday night. This only covers up to Sunday 7/9/17, so another edition will be posted by Sunday covering this week. A two for one special this week 🙂

Today’s “soundtrack” while preparing: I am riding an “Elephant” with White Stripes, playback through the Fiio X1 with the Philips SHP9500S open-back over-ears, which I’m finding, while not bad at all, they are definitely over-hyped in terms of sound. But then again, they are a sub-$60 over-ear headphone with long-time wearing comfort whose comfort puts to shame many much more expensive models…

CAUTION: this is posted earlier in the day than usual, which means my brain is “fresher”, which means a dramatic increase in bad puns and seques (plural noun per Bing) than usual 🙂

In this edition, I am grouping posts by headphone size, rather than drawing the line on video versus text-and-pictures. Let me know if you have a preference on groupings and categorizations 🙂

LONDON CAMJAM 2017 PREVIEW

Headfi is back with another studio production, a 52 minute video preview of the 2017 CanJAM in London. No, not Kentucky, London, England 🙂 You can also find it YouTube-embedded below…

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This Week In Headphoolia #19 (up to 7/2/17)

Another week is in the books, and so it is time for another one of our little “e-zines”. If you missed any previous episodes, you can find them all waiting for you in the Headphoolia archives. If you want to get them as soon as they are published, we have a free full-text RSS Feed. The soundtrack for this week’s edition is Rush’s especially-steampunky “Clockwork Angels” (which is also a book written by (trigger warning for OG Dune fans) Kevin Anderson).

EXPERIMENTS

Trigger warning for Reddit Admins. A Zeos video is next! In this 35 minute video, Zeos and Chewbacca perform a Sony MDR-Z1R burn-in experiment! The first comment (pinned) in the YouTube comments includes a user-generated frequency analysis (files available through Google Drive).

OPINIONS

The Sony MDR-Z1R measurements and reviews created a bit of a kerfuffle among some audiophiles, and Tyll is back with a new post opining on the whole situation and his approach going forward.

If you have a couple of hours to spare, there is a loooooong discussion of this in the Super Bestest Audio Friends forum.

This article from 1992 was resurfaced at Stereophile and still rather relevant, “The Improvement Disease”. It talks about audio in general, not headphone-specific.

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