Lightning to micro USB alternatives (aka tired of bulky Apple cables)

  1. Sarcasmo
    For those of us that want to stream music from an iPhone/iPad to a DAC (Hugo/FiiO Alpen etc) with a micro USB input the choice has been somewhat limited of late. I tend to use this type of setup when mobile, so I want the cables to be as compact as possible. This has meant the more traditional route of an Apple lightning to USB adapter (CCK) paired with a short standard micro USB cable, or buying a custom built cable for $100+ minimum.

    Recently a few new cables have come out that are compatible with the latest iOS firmwares (iOS 11.3 at the time of writing) and I thought I'd report back the cables with which I've had success.

    Penon Audio Blue Micro USB to Lightning Cable ($38):

    This is a short right-angled cable similar to the now discontinued FiiO L19 cable. It's braided and very flexible, although the lighting side is a little bulky and may be an issue with some iPhone cases out there. There seem to be reports that this is only working with iOS 11.2.6, but I'm using it with iOS 11.3 on an iPhone 7 linked to a Sony NW-ZX300 in DAC mode right this moment(!) and I've also tested it with the hardware listed below.

    Meenova Lightning-to-MicroUSB Cable, 2018 version ($14 for 15cm version, $15 for 1.2m version):

    This is a straight plastic coated cable with alloy plugs. The lightning plug is a little larger then the micro USB side, but it's small enough to fit all of the cases available in my household.

    Hardware tested:
    iOS devices: iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, iPhone 7, iPhone 7S, iPad Air 2 (all iOS 11.3).
    DAC devices: RHA L1 (micro USB port), FiiO E17K Alpen 2, Sony NW-ZX300 with a WMP-NWM10 22pin->micro USB adapter.

    Software tested: Apple Music (yeah I know!), Onkyo HF Player, Neutron, FLAC Player, HiBy Music.
    Source media: FLAC up to 24bit/96KHz, DSD up to DSD64 and streamed music from Apple Music.

    I think it would be fair at this point to state that this is just an informational post to let people know what's out there and what's worked for me. It's not a review and it certainly does not (and will not) cover sound quality aspects of the cables as I personally have never been able to tell properly shielded, undamaged USB cables apart, so I wouldn't be of any help anyway.

    N.B. Both of these cables were bought by myself and I've had no contact with either supplier.

    I hope this may be of some help to some of you out there and I'm willing to run any tests I can if people need me to try something slightly different.

    EDIT: iOS 11.3.1 update: both cables are still working perfectly.
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
    Anaz likes this.
  2. Anaz
    Great info, thank you!
  3. Sarcasmo
    I'll update the thread as new iOS updates are released. Updated for 11.3.1.

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