Connect iPad & iPhone To Headphone Amps & DACs

iPad & iPhone - 3 Ways To Connect Amps & Dacs

3.5mm Connector

It's easy to plug your Shure SE846 earphones or Fostex TH900 headphones into your iPad, iPhone or Apple laptop.

To Connect earphones and in-ear-monitors: Select 3.5mm Stereo Rt Angle Plug Premolded from our "Connector" pulldown menu.

To Connect headphones: Select Oyaide 1/8" Diameter Stereo Plug when connecting Fostex or other full-size headphones.

Adding audio gear such as headphone amps and Digital to Analog Converters is more involved. Moon Audio receives hundreds of emails every month asking how to connect Apple iDevices such as iPhones and iPads to headphones, amplifiers and DACs (Digital Analog Converters).

iPhones and iPads require a Digital Analog Converter with an Apple authenticity chip to pull Apple's digital signal. Some headphone amps and DACs have Apple chips in them and some such as the popular and favorite Chord Hugo do not.

Apple idevice + CCK + cable workaround for headphones

Apple iDevice + CCK + cable workaround for Chord Hugo

Apple's design means there are 3 ways to connect audio gear such as headphone amps and DACs:

  1. Buy headphone amps and DACs with Apple authenticity chips
  2. Create an audio cable workaround (a Moon Audio specialty)
  3. Settle for the lesser sound quality provided by Bluetooth connection (not recommended)

A. DACs & Amps with Apple Chips


RAL & CEntrance DAC Amps with Apple Chip

DACs / headphone amps with Apple chips we recommend:

These DACs and headphone amps are manufactured with Apple authenticity chips so they can pull digital signal (music) directly from iPhones and iPads.


New Apple Approved Dragons

When connecting to DACs & headphone amps that have Apple chips don't forget to add Moon Audio Apple Approved Silver Dragon cables for the best sound:

Silver Dragon 3" (portable) Silver Dragon .5 Meter (office)

Chord cable workaround for apple idevices

Chord cable workaround for Apple iDevices

B. Chord Hugo Apple iDevices Cable Work Around

We also love and highly recommend the Chord Hugo DAC and headphone amp. Chord Hugo doesn't have an Apple chip at this time. Chord Hugo cannot connect directly to Apple iPads and iPhones.

Connect your Chord Hugo to your iPad or iPhone with audio cables in 5 easy steps:

  1. Buy a Silver Dragon USB or Black Dragon USB Cable.
  2. Buy an Apple Camera Connection Kit (CCK) in the Lightning or the 30 pin version (iPad, iPhone 4, 4S, plus more Apple 30 pin versions).
  3. Connect Silver or Black Dragon USB cable to your Chord Hugo.
  4. Connect your Apple CCK to your iPad or iPhone.
  5. Connect your Dragon to your Apple CCK.

Connection Hugo + iDevice USB cable solution

C. Chord Hugo to Apple via Bluetooth

Connect chord via bluetooth

Connect chord via Bluetooth

Chord Hugo connected to iPhones and iPads with Bluetooth doesn't provide optimal sound quality. Unlike Chord Electronics, Apple is not using the latest technology - AptX Bluetooth.

Until Apple improves its Bluetooth technology, we do not recommend connecting Chord Hugo via Bluetooth. Crazy to pay for the best headphones and audio gear and only to listen to inferior sound. There may be places such as your car where pairing an iPhone with your car's stereo is acceptable. At this time, we don't recommend Bluetooth as a means for connecting amazing pieces of audio gear such as the Chord Hugo.

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