A aggregate beef echoed beyond the internet a brace of years ago aback Apple appear that it was bottomward ye olde 3.5mm headphone atrium from the iPhone 7 – and, of course, from all consecutive iPhone models, including the new iPhone XS, XS Max and XR appear in 2018. The acumen for this was simple – accepting rid of the 3.5mm adapter accustomed Apple to abate the weight and the array of the new iPhones alike added – but that still larboard millions of iPhone users with a austere headphone headache.
All new iPhones do still accommodate a set of Apple’s little white EarPods, aloof as they accept consistently done – but those EarPods now accept a Lightning adapter for alive into the iPhone, rather than the old 3.5mm audio connector. But, of course, the bargain little EarPods don’t accommodate actual acceptable complete quality, which is why so abounding bodies still adopt to buy bigger headphones from added manufacturers for alert to their music.
Apple would absolutely like anybody to opt for Bluetooth wireless headphones, such as its own AirPods, but the compression techniques acclimated by Bluetooth beggarly that wireless headphones still can’t bout the audio affection provided by accepted alive headphones (especially as Apple doesn’t abutment the high-quality AptX adaptation of Bluetooth on iOS devices).
If you adopt to stick with an absolute set of 3.5mm alive headphones that you absolutely like again it is accessible to buy an adapter. And, in fact, Apple did accommodate a Lightning adapter with the iPhone 7, 8 and X aback they were aboriginal launched. Unfortunately, that’s no best the case with the iPhone XS and added models alien in 2018.
You can still buy Apple’s Lightning To 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter for £9/$9 from the Apple Store, but it’s additionally accessible to buy non-Apple alternatives from audio specialists, such as Fiio’s i1, which provides above complete quality, but costs about £35. Some manufacturers, such as Audeze and Bowers & Wilkins additionally accomplish their own Lightning cables for use with their own headphones.
Serious audiophiles can additionally opt for a carriageable DAC – digital/analogue advocate – such as the accepted iFi ambit or the Chord Mojo to absolutely accord their audio affection a boost.
But mucking about with added adapters and cables is consistently a nuisance – abnormally aback you’re travelling and aloof appetite to bung in your headphones with minimum fuss.
The simplest advantage is to buy a new set of alive headphones with their own Lightning connector. These ambit from affordable in-ear headphones costing beneath than £50 to high-end hi-fi models for £500 or more.
Lightning headphones accept added advantages that admonition to absolve their added cost, as the agenda audio arresting allows you to footfall up from acceptable 16-bit (CD-quality) audio to high-res 24-bit audio that is commensurable to the adept recordings produced in the collapsed (we alive in achievement for the day that Apple discovers hi-res audio and makes its all-inclusive library of music accessible in hi-res architecture on Apple Music and the iTunes Store).
With all this in mind, here’s our adviser to the best Lightning headphones currently accessible for the iPhone and iPad. For affairs admonition accompanying to added types of headphone, see our best alive headphones and best Bluetooth wireless headphones.
They’re big-ticket – actively big-ticket – but the Audeze SINE headphones angle out in a cardinal of ways. You can buy the SINE with a accepted 3.5mm audio cable for about £400/$450, but this slightly added big-ticket archetypal awash on the Apple Store includes both a 3.5mm cable and a appropriate ‘Cipher’ cable, which has a Lightning connector, DAC, amplifier, and microphone congenital into it as well. That’s absolutely smart, as it agency you’re not bound to aloof application the SINE with the best contempo iPhones and iPads.
They’re neatly advised too, with bedlam earpieces that sit calmly on your ears, and adjustable chaplet with acute covering trim. The earpieces additionally bend collapsed so that you can blooper them into a bag aback you’re travelling.
More important, though, is the agitating complete that the SINE produces. Audeze claims that these are “the world’s aboriginal on-ear collapsed alluring headphones” – a technology currently alone acclimated in a scattering of high-end audiophile headphones. We’ll leave the techno-babble for accession time, but the end aftereffect is a absolutely bright and abundant complete that is a amusement for your ears. It works decidedly able-bodied for gentler acoustic and archetypal tracks, area the headphones can aces out every little detail and nuance. But there’s able bass in there too, so you can still pump up the aggregate aback you appetite to get your aberration on.
The aerial bulk agency that the SINE won’t be for everyone, but their able architecture and accomplished complete affection accommodate a future-proof set of headphones that point the way to the aing bearing of high-res audio.
Strictly speaking, the P9 Signature doesn’t absolutely accommodate a Lightning connector, but if you can allow £699 for these top-of-the-range headphones – not to acknowledgment £1000-plus for one of the latest iPhones – again advantageous accession £40 for B&W’s alternative Lightning cable isn’t activity to breach the bank.
The accessible affair about the B&W Lightning cable is that it artlessly replaces the accepted 3.5mm cable, so you don’t accept to anguish about accustomed about any added adapters or cables. It additionally includes in-line controls for arena your music, aloof like a accepted cable, forth with B&W’s own high-quality DAC (digital/audio converter) for hi-fi complete quality.
And, yes, the P9 headphones are actively expensive, but the affection is obvious, from the soft, covering earpieces – hardly angled inwards to actualize the aftereffect of complete advancing from in front, rather than the abandon – to the custom-designed brownish hinges on the chaplet that anticipate accordance that adeptness affect the complete quality.
There’s no noise-cancelling tech, but the over-ear architecture agency the headphones go appropriate over your aerial and do a acceptable job of blocking out accomplishments noise. It’s a closed-back design, yet the P9 headphones do a agitating job of creating an open, atmospheric sound.
And aback B&W played us the announced accession to Lou Reed’s The Raven, the aftereffect was absolutely awful – as admitting the apparition of the gravel-voiced fable was continuing appropriate aing to us as he intoned the words of Edgar Allan Poe. Added accepted music sounds abundant too, with a rich, balmy accent that doesn’t cede any detail, and a adulatory bass that’s aided by the over-ear design.
We absolutely admired the iSine 20 from Audeze, although at at £599 they’re apparently a bit big-ticket for best people.
The latest accession to the Audeze ambit is the iSine 10, which has a agnate architecture – with the ample earpieces on both sets of headphones attractive like the Tie Fighters from Star Wars – but a lower £399 bulk tag that is a bit added manageable. That bulk additionally includes both a Lightning cable and a accepted 3.5mm audio cable so – clashing best Lightning headphones – you do still accept the advantage of application them with added accessories too (or you can buy the headphones with aloof the 3.5mm cable on its own for £349).
And you’ll appetite to use them all the time, as the iSine 10 headphones absolutely complete great. They use a ‘planar magnetic’ architecture that – bald of the techno-jargon – produces a absolutely absolute and abundant sound. They’ve got abundant ambit too, activity appropriate bottomward to 10Hz so that they can handle abysmal bass that escapes abounding cheaper headphones and speakers, and again activity appropriate up to 50kHz for high-res audio files (rumoured to be advancing to the iTunes Store soon).
The alone affair that adeptness avert some bodies is that the iSine 10 has a ‘semi-open’ design, agnate to the added acceptable on-ear headphones favoured by abounding hi-fi buffs. This does admonition them to aftermath a rich, all-embracing sound-stage that absolutely wraps your arch in a amphibian billow of complete – but it additionally agency that some of the complete leaks out and adeptness abrade added bodies if you abrasion them on the alternation to assignment in the morning.
Works with: Lightning and 3.5mm connectors
It’s a bit pricey, but Sennheiser’s Ambeo isn’t aloof an accustomed set of headphones with a Lightning adapter anchored on to the end of the cable. Sennheiser refers to the Ambeo as a ‘smart headset’, and there’s a huge bulk of audio technology congenital into the headphones – both for arena music and additionally for recording audio from the apple about you.
At aboriginal glance, the Ambeo looks like a adequately accepted set of in-ear headphones, with earpieces that angle over the aback of your ear to accumulate them in place. And, as always, there’s the brand Sennheiser complete that combines amore and detail, and is acceptable for aggregate from affable acoustic sounds to blatant bedrock or ball music.
The Ambeo additionally includes noise-cancellation technology to block out accomplishments babble aback you’re travelling. However, it balances this with a ‘transparent hearing’ advantage that allows you to pay absorption to cartage and added babble in adjustment to abstain accidents aback you’re out on the alive burghal streets.
There’s a microphone on the ascendancy cable for demography articulation calls on your iPhone, but the Ambeo additionally has two appropriate ‘3D microphones’ on the earpieces, which – aback acclimated with the Ambeo app – can be acclimated to almanac stereo complete and amalgamate it with video clips that you shoot with your iPhone camera. This can add an added audio ambit to any video that you shoot on your iPhone, although it’s primarily aimed at vloggers and film-makers who appetite a quick and accessible way of recording high-quality complete on an iPhone.
The Ambeo app includes added appearance too, such as EQ controls for adjusting the sound, and the adeptness to affairs a appropriate ascendancy on that can accomplish a cardinal of altered functions.
We’ve been cat-and-mouse for JBL’s Reflect Acquainted Lightning headphones for a while now, but they are now in banal and accessible to ship.
We had the befalling to analysis them out at the CanJam headphone-fest in London recently. The Reflect Acquainted earphones are actual abundant advised for antic use, and are sweat-proof and water-resistant so that you can absolutely assignment up a diaphoresis aback you’re appliance and again aloof accord them a quick bathe every now and then. The cables are athletic and tangle-free for alfresco use, and they’re additionally cogitating for added assurance aback you’re out on the streets.
And, of course, they accept a Lightning adapter for your iPhone, and a congenital DAC (digital to alternation converter) that handles the agenda audio arresting from the iPhone. The audio affection is absolutely good, with affluence of detail on the mid- and college frequencies, and a nice, boomy bass complete that will admonition to get you motivated during your workouts. There’s no Bluetooth, though, and the Lightning cable is fixed, which agency that you won’t be able to use the Reflect Acquainted with added types of accessories unless you buy an adapter (which Apple will apparently advertise for a baby fortune).
The Reflect Acquainted has a noise-cancellation advantage that will block out accomplishments babble in the gym, or on a alternation or plane. However, the ‘adaptive noise’ affection in the JBL app lets you aish out the noise-cancellation, so to speak, so that you can let some of the accomplishments babble in through either or both of the earpieces. That’ll be accessible for alfresco workouts, as it will admonition you to break acquainted of cartage and added hazards while you’re anguish the pavement.
Read next: Best alive & action headphones
Philips was one of the aboriginal companies to aftermath Lightning headphones, and its ML2 headphones are still one of the best affordable options if you appetite to go bottomward the Lightning route.
These are on-ear headphones, with an adjustable chaplet and soft, bedlam earpieces that sit firmly, but comfortably, over your aerial while listening. All the controls are congenital into the right-hand earpiece, with a baby punch for adjusting aggregate and a distinct on that you tap one, two or three times in adjustment to pause, or to skip advanced and backward. That’s a little fiddly to get acclimated to at first, and there’s no congenital microphone either, so you’ll accept to authority your iPhone up to your aperture if you appetite to booty a call.
There’s some allowance for advance there, but the M2L still delivers the appurtenances aback it comes to complete quality. The M2L includes a high-res (24-bit) DAC for arena the agenda arresting that comes through the Lightning connector, and this articulate abundant aback arena a array of rock, acoustic and archetypal pieces. The abysmal bass was a little echoey, so determined ball admirers adeptness adopt article with a firmer bass sound, but the M2L will still assignment a amusement for best types of music.
The disadvantage of the Lightning connector, of course, is that the M2L will alone assignment with contempo iPhones and iPads, so you won’t be able to use them with any non-Apple accessories at all. However, Philips does accomplish a agnate – and hardly cheaper – set of Bluetooth headphones, alleged the M2BT, that will assignment with a added ambit of devices.
We’re big admirers of Libratone’s AirPlay and Bluetooth speakers, so we were on the buzz to them as anon as we heard that the aggregation was ablution its new ambit of Q-Adapt headphones. The larger, Q-Adapt On-Ear headphones accept already fabricated it into our account of top Bluetooth headphones, and now this In-Ear archetypal has accustomed – although this time Libratone has absitively to canal Bluetooth for a alive affiliation with a Lightning interface.
One of the advantages of the Lightning interface is that it provides abundant adeptness to accommodate noise-cancellation appearance after the allegation for a abstracted battery, and that helps to accumulate the Q-Adapt In-Ear headphones absolutely ablaze and compact, with a absolute weight of aloof 20g. You can additionally acclimatize the noise-cancelling advantage to let in as abundant – or as little – of the accomplishments babble as you like, which could be accessible aback you’re out on the streets and allegation to watch out for cartage and added sounds about you. Libratone says that the noise-cancellation doesn’t put too abundant of a cesspool on your iPhone’s battery, so you should still be able to accept all day continued after killing your battery.
The complete affection is acceptable for a set of in-ear headphones in this bulk range, with a abounding bass complete that works able-bodied for pop and bedrock music. Libratone additionally provides six different sets of ear-tips to accomplish abiding you get a absolutely acceptable fit. Admittedly, the Q-Adapt In-Ear headphones can’t absolutely bout the subtlety and accurateness of some of the added big-ticket Lightning headphones that are now available, but at an RRP of £159 (and a artery bulk about £139 or less), they are one of the best affordable sets of Lightning headphones we’ve apparent so far, and a acceptable advantage if you aloof appetite a absolutely failing set of headphones that you can backpack about in your pocket.
Works with: Lightning connectorAlso accessible from: John Lewis
Pioneer offers article altered to added Lightning-enabled earphones with the RayZ Plus – the adeptness to use the headphones and allegation your iPhone or iPad at the aforementioned time. While it’s not a groundbreaking feature, it’s a awful requested affection – abnormally for iPhone 7 and later users that don’t accept the advantage of application alive headphones.
But RayZ Plus offers abundant added than aloof the adeptness to allegation and accept to music at the aforementioned time. The earphones avowal acute babble abandoning that can be adapted on-the-fly for use in altered environments. While the action takes about 10-15 abnormal overall, it’s appealing absorbing and can block out the majority of accomplishments babble for a adequate alert experience.
However, Pioneer additionally realised that there will be situations area people need to be acquainted of their surroundings. That’s why the RayZ Plus additionally appearance HearThru approach that let’s in ambient sound, activated via the app or via a programmable acute on on the earphones.
They’re able too: abundant like Apple’s wireless AirPods, RayZ Plus can ascertain aback they’ve been removed from your aerial and will abeyance music accordingly. It’ll additionally resume your music already you’ve put them aback in, although we’ve begin the accurateness to be a bit hit-and-miss during our time with the earphones.
Most importantly, the RayZ Plus aftermath astounding complete quality; audio is ample with a absolute antithesis of bass and acute that can be adapted via the committed RayZ app for iOS if required. In fact, they are so absorbing to us that they accept become our go-to headphones for accustomed use.
You can’t accept a account of the best Lightning headphones after Apple’s own EarPods, adapted for the absolution of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and alien with the latest models too. A brace will address with every new flagship buzz too, which is acceptable account because the absence of the 3.5mm jack.
The acceptable account is the EarPods with Lightning adapter additionally account with tonnes of added Apple articles – to be precise, every distinct iPhone, iPod and iPad that has a Lightning port. Easy.
You can additionally buy a brace alone if you allegation a added or don’t have an iPhone 7 (or later).
Although the Nuraphones are wireless, they accept a proprietary connector. Normally that’s an annoying affection but actuality it agency you can use the headphones with a cardinal of altered cables, including Lightning.
It’s actual absurd you’ve acclimated any headphones like Nura’s. They adeptness attending like adequately accepted over-ear headphones but they additionally accept an in-ear section, too. It’s an odd awareness that you’ll accept to get acclimated to but the technology on action actuality could be account it.
We don’t acquisition them the best adequate headphones about due to the design, but the complete affection are appearance are article absolutely special.
The aboriginal time you use Nuraphones, they will comedy a ambit of tones to map your claimed hearing. Already it apperceive what frequencies you’re added or beneath acute to, it will actualize a contour different to you. You adeptness not accept how acceptable it is – try addition else’s contour and you won’t like the complete as much.
Furthermore, the architecture agency that while the in-ear drivers do best of the approved work, the alien cups accept bass drivers for an adjustable ‘immersion mode’. This is best declared as like accepting sub woofers in your headphones and you’ll feel the bass rather than apprehend it.
A G2 software amend to the app brings added features, too. Namely alive babble cancelling with a ‘social mode’ so you can apprehend what’s activity on about you after demography the headphones off.
They’re an affordable £349 and accessible from Amazon and Nura. You can apprehend a abounding analysis over on Tech Advisor.
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