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Thread: Which Ways Connecting Headphones/Speakers To Smart Phones/Computers Has Best Sound Quality

  1. #1

    Question Which Ways Connecting Headphones/Speakers To Smart Phones/Computers Has Best Sound Quality

    Hi,

    What kind of ways(wireless-bluetooth, wifi. 3.5mm jack. or cables) connecting a headphone/speakers to a smart phone/computer has the best sound quality?

    I'm trying to purchase a headphone and computer speakers, but do not know where to start.

    Any advice is appreciated.

    Ed

  2. #2
    It's really hard to tell without specific information of what specifically you are getting and what you would like to connect to...

    To answer generally, it depends on what the engineers spent the most time perfecting. So the first place to start would be to ask what the brand suggests...

    As an example of one of multiple options available, in my case, I connect a chord hugo to my iphone using an Apple CCK (Camera Connection Kit ), and can play high resolution files that are on my iphone using the Onkyo app...

    Once you settle on something, please ask your question again.

    Good Luck

  3. #3
    Hi,

    I'm trying to get a headphone and computer speakers for my iPhone 6 Plus(iOS 10.3.2) and 17-inch, Mid 2010 MacBook Pro(OS X El Capitan 10.11.6).

    I have a few options in mind but do not know which is better.

    Headphones:

    Bose QuietComfort 35 - Wireless(Bluetooth), Wired(Audio cable for wired connection)

    Bang & Olufsen BEOPLAY H9 - Wireless(Bluetooth)

    Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature - Wired(3.5mm stereo jack)

    Computer Speakers:

    Harman Kardon Aura Studio - Wireless(Bluetooth), Wired(AUX-IN)

    Harman Kardon Aura Plus - Wireless(Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay), Wired(3.5mm stereo jack, optical cable)

    KEF LS50 Wireless - Wireless(Bluetooth 4.0 with the aptX codec, 2.4GHz/5GHz Dual-band Wi-Fi), Wired(Asynchronous USB Type B, TOSLINK Optical, and RCA Analog) - What the heck are those...

    So, which ones are better? What are the pros and cons for each product?

    BTW, the Harman Kardon Aura Plus comes with "optical cable". It's "sound quality" should be better right?

    Thanks.

    Ed

  4. #4
    Addicted to Best! The Smokester's Avatar
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    Hi Ed,
    I think if you specified your higher purpose we could focus better on an answer.

    Are you looking for a system to take on an airplane? Play at the office in a cubicle? Listen while working on the computer at home? Be your main home critical listening system in a space-constrained apartment?

    In these scenarios the compromises between musical reproduction and ambient noise suppression might be quite different.

    So, please clarify so we can supply helpful (hopefully) input.

  5. #5
    [WBF Founding Member] Addicted to Best! JackD201's Avatar
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    Given that you are using an iPhone 6 Plus which has limited internal memory, I will guess you are primarily streaming or listening to owned compressed files. IMO the weakest link of any phone would be the headphone amplifiers built in. I would look at an external portable headphone amplifier first. As for headphones, that's like recommending underwear to a stranger. It's just too personal LOL. I am at this point in time biased towards wired rather than Bluetooth for headphone use. Even for sports, there are models where playlists can be loaded directly onto the headphones. Even for water sports! Bluetooth eats up battery life like Cookie Monster at Mrs. Fields.

    As for the speakers, I would say just do Airplay. The provided inputs, I think are more for laptop or desktop connections.
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  6. #6
    Hi,

    I'm trying to get a headphone and computer speakers for my iPhone 6 Plus(smartphone) and Mid 2010 MacBook Pro(laptop) mainly for listening to music from YouTube and songs I ripped from my CD collections while I'm at home.

    I already have a stereo system at home so basically I'm just trying to find a headphone and speakers that would work with my iPhone and Mac. An external portable headphone amplifier would be nice, but good headphone amplifiers are expensive, and I'm not planning to get one. So maybe just a Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature? (I don't like the retro style of the B&W P9 Signature, and that's one major reason I'm still searching for a good headphone.)

    I need a computer speaker more than a headphone now, because my external display for my MacBook Pro(laptop) does not have a build-in speaker. So I need to find an external computer speaker.

    I did not know what audio ports my MacBook Pro has, so I posted my questions at Apple Community, and someone told me that my MacBook Pro has a "combination analog/optical audio out port. An optical/Toslink connection to this port would be best". So does that mean the "Harman Kardon Aura Plus which comes with optical cable would be a good choice"?

    One stupid question, an external portable headphone amplifier + a headphone or a good headphone(with the iPhone build-in amplifier), which has better sound quality, and which do you prefer? Sony has portable headphone amplifiers and headsets. Do I need to buy them both? Do I need to buy a Sony Hi Res Player to work with the amplifier and headphone?

    BTW, I know that Home Theater Systems that use Bluetooth can have problems linking with TVs. But that was many years ago when I was looking for a home theater system. Are the Bluetooth headphones/speakers better now?

    Thanks.

    Ed

  7. #7
    I think you can get "good" sound if you plug in quality headphones, such as the B&W P9, into your iphone. If you use the Onkyo app on the iphone it will even be better.

    To take it up a notch, if you want to get "shti in your pants" great portable sound, stretch your budget a bit and get a used chord hugo. The hugo is by far the most impressive hifi product in the last five years... The market should be flooded with these, as the new hugo 2 is coming out, if it's not out already (go to hifishark.com to search) .... In a portable setup, you will feed the hugo from your iphone and get musical bliss wherever you travel in the world...and it is a pretty good dac in a non-portable system, so you can use it as a DAC with your macbook and computer speakers for an outstanding setup...

    Good Luck

    I don't know much about wireless, but the Kef LS 50 wireless speakers have been getting great review. One is here: http://positive-feedback.com/reviews...-loudspeakers/

    Another is here: http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/kef-ls...e-year-so-far/

    Good Luck!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by EDLIU View Post
    Hi,

    I'm trying to get a headphone and computer speakers for my iPhone 6 Plus(smartphone) and Mid 2010 MacBook Pro(laptop) mainly for listening to music from YouTube and songs I ripped from my CD collections while I'm at home.

    I already have a stereo system at home so basically I'm just trying to find a headphone and speakers that would work with my iPhone and Mac. An external portable headphone amplifier would be nice, but good headphone amplifiers are expensive, and I'm not planning to get one. So maybe just a Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature? (I don't like the retro style of the B&W P9 Signature, and that's one major reason I'm still searching for a good headphone.)

    I need a computer speaker more than a headphone now, because my external display for my MacBook Pro(laptop) does not have a build-in speaker. So I need to find an external computer speaker.

    I did not know what audio ports my MacBook Pro has, so I posted my questions at Apple Community, and someone told me that my MacBook Pro has a "combination analog/optical audio out port. An optical/Toslink connection to this port would be best". So does that mean the "Harman Kardon Aura Plus which comes with optical cable would be a good choice"?

    One stupid question, an external portable headphone amplifier + a headphone or a good headphone(with the iPhone build-in amplifier), which has better sound quality, and which do you prefer? Sony has portable headphone amplifiers and headsets. Do I need to buy them both? Do I need to buy a Sony Hi Res Player to work with the amplifier and headphone?

    BTW, I know that Home Theater Systems that use Bluetooth can have problems linking with TVs. But that was many years ago when I was looking for a home theater system. Are the Bluetooth headphones/speakers better now?

    Thanks.

    Ed
    Not a stupid question at all, but a portable amp like Chord Mojo with headphones that cost $150 or more will likely beat out the iphone with $1K headphones. I listen to chord hugo with $350 Cardas headphones and it's pretty frigging amazing.

  9. #9
    Addicted to Best! The Smokester's Avatar
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    A site devoted to all things headphone which might be helpful is here:
    www.innerfidelity.com
    This site ranks and reviews headphones of all descriptions (including Bluetooth), headphone amps, portable dacs and in ear monitors.

  10. #10
    Another thought here: I know you mention youtube in your post, and I love you tube also, but I think if you get a Tidal subscription ($20/ month, less if you go for 6 months) for CD quality sound, it will greatly improve any computer speaker or headphone rig... The quality of source material you pump into your system will define your experience...

    Tidal with my $250 audio engine speakers sounds pretty good... and it sounds phenomenal through my Chord Hugo with $350 Cardas headphones, and it sounds astounding through the same Hugo with $1200 headphones

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