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Removal of the headphone jack : the future or a marketing scheme?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by aertus, Oct 22, 2017.
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  1. jfvny
    If I can tack onto this discussion, this article mentions that aptX has pretty much the same audio quality as SBC; has anyone found that to be the case?
    Asking cos I can clearly tell the difference between AAC (from iPhone) and SBC when using bluetooth, and am thinking of an aptX adapter for my pc, but if quality improvement is negligible...
    aptX is only a minor improvement over SBC. AAC is a much better codec.
    Slaphead, RockStar2005 and jfvny like this.
  3. jfvny
    If only they created AAC bluetooth transmitters....
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  4. Slaphead
    A bluetooth transmitter/receiver is exactly that - just a bluetooth transmitter/receiver. You can send any data you like over that connection, and as AAC is just data there's nothing stopping AAC being transmitted and/or received over bluetooth except for when manufacturers fail to include it as a codec in the software/firmware.

    The actual codecs (AptX, SBC, AAC, LDAC) themselves are just a software/firmware implementation which compresses the audio. The resultant data is then wrapped into the bluetooth protocol and then transmitted. On the receiving end the data is then unwrapped from the bluetooth protocol, and then the audio is decompressed and played

    There really are no such things as specific AptX, SBC, AAC or LDAC, bluetooth transmitters.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  5. jfvny
    I'm kinda new to the whole bluetooth audio thing, but as I understand it bluetooth devices can't all transmit using the AAC or aptX codecs over the A2DP profile. I'm not sure if this is due to hardware or licensing issues? The default method of using the SBC codec isn't all bad, but does lose sound quality and has latency issues.

    If you do know how to make a PC transmit audio using the AAC codec without additional hardware though, I'd be more than happy to learn :)
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  6. aertus
    sorry for this late reply but yes i do agree with you and bring out good points. It seems to me the headphone jack is something akin to the wheel. Its been there forever it doesn't seem to change much. But it's weird that all these years and there hasn't been something superior to that. Companies cliam the USB type C is taht exactly superior replacement.

    however, what i think is going to happen with the industry is that the DAC/amp combo is going to move to wireless headphones similar to the sony mdr1000x. Even though i have a sony phone and have the ability to use LDAC technology which is higher bitrate technology than even APTx, I have never paired my sony phone with another sony speaker or wireless bluetooth so i can't vouch for its quality. But it seems we might move something towards like that where the DAC/AMP will be on board with the headphone and the DAC/amp would be much better than whats inside an lgv30 for example. IT's both good and bad.
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  7. aertus
    LDAC is sony prioprity technology. You do need another device that supports LDAC to be able to use it and from what i hear its a legitimate technology.
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  8. RockStar2005
    That's what I've been sayin' too. It just would make a LOT more sense and be a lot simpler if ALL headphones came with a high quality amp/DAC already built into it. Then even if it was wireless you'd still be guaranteed to get the best sound possible, although for wireless it still would be slightly under par vs. wired. Does the MDR-1000X have a high quality amp/DAC in it?? I wasn't aware of it having one.

    We have to consider the alternatives too. Right now, from all the reading I've done,the BEST wireless headphones (no NC included though) out there are the $550 Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT, which don't use a DAC. Instead, the signal is kept digital b/c AT claims the conversion to analog that is performed by traditional DACs degrades the signal, and so the signal is kept digital until the last possible moment...................."The ATH-DSR9BT utilizes Trigence Semiconductor’s Dnote chipset to receive the digital audio signal from a Bluetooth wireless transmission, process and transfer it to the driver where the digital pulses of the chipset move the voice coil and diaphragm forward and backward to create the sound waves heard by the listener." It doesn't have LDAC, but it does feature AptX HD, which is probably about the same as LDAC. If this results in a better sound than most (or all?) DACs can produce, then AT may dominate the HP industry one day. I am not a fan of their HPs, but this one is more than intriguing.
  9. bigshot
    Is he claiming that analogue signals aren't carried cleanly through wires from amp to headphones? Because that would be the argument for putting the DAC at the absolute last point in the chain. I suppose if the amp was in the headphones, it would mean that they could design a custom amp to perfectly suit them. But it would be a pain to charge both the source AND the headphones. I'd rather just charge my phone and not have to charge anything else.

    How do digital pulses move a voice coil without a DAC? That makes no sense.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  10. RockStar2005
    Is he? You mean me? lol Please clarify bigshot.
  11. bigshot
    Sorry, I meant the person who told you about the A-T DACless headphones.
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  12. RockStar2005
    Ok lol.

    Well it's really just what AT is saying. They claim (and I'm not disputing it) that when a DAC is involved (I'm sure this especially applies to cheaper/lower quality DACs), there is some level of "signal degradation" which occurs during the DAC's conversion process that these particular AT headphones don't use at all. From what I understood, there is NO DAC used, even at the end. To repeat, they say: "The ATH-DSR9BT utilizes Trigence Semiconductor’s Dnote chipset to receive the digital audio signal from a Bluetooth wireless transmission, process and transfer it to the driver where the digital pulses of the chipset move the voice coil and diaphragm forward and backward to create the sound waves heard by the listener." I don't fully understand the last part either lol, but if it's not using a DAC, then that is truly revolutionary.

    Well people have to charge their headphones anyway if they're wireless. So yeah. lol In a perfect world, that would be fine by me IF the sound quality was equal to a wired connection. These companies need to continue to do WHATEVER they can to get people interested in premium headphones. By eliminating hassles like cables and external amp/DACs (etc.), this will get more people interested in buying these better headphones, especially since so many phones no longer even come with headphone jacks.
  13. bigshot
    Just googled it. It looks like it cuts up the bluetooth into multiple digital signals that go to a speaker with multiple coils. The speaker itself has some sort of DAC built in, but they don't go into detail on the speaker, just the chip processing the standard digital audio into the proprietary digital format.
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  14. RockStar2005
    Yeah, and see, when I e-mailed them about it several months ago, they DID indicate that there was SOMETHING LIKE a DAC near or in the speaker driver, but that it was not a DAC in the traditional sense. So I'm not sure what to make of it really because we don't seem to have ALL the facts.

    Below are snippets of the e-mail response a rep who was very kind sent back to me:

    The Dnote system keeps the audio signal entirely in the digital domain from the source right through to the driver, thereby eliminating the opportunities for disruption or distortion that occur in the conversion stages employed in traditional systems. The digital pulses generated by the chipset directly excite the voice coil(s) of the driver to move the diaphragm forward and backward to create the sound waves heard by the user. To address your point, yes, there is a conversion happening, but we don’t refer to it as a DAC because it doesn’t work like the traditional DAC we’re all familiar with in the audio industry. This is a completely new and different technology than we’ve ever seen in the past. In order to make the Pure Digital Drive technology we engineered the drivers from the ground up. A unique four-wire voice coil is used in the ATH-DSR9BT to provide precise control of the diaphragm displacement, resulting in improved accuracy in the audio representation.

    Answering the analog question is definitely a bit tricky due to the proprietary essence of the Dnote technology. Ultimately, the sound wave that you hear is technically analog, but how it’s produced doesn’t follow the typical conversion route and is definitely digital much longer than in other systems.

    There is no traditional DAC in this headphone, the Dnote chipset processes the unmodified digital signal from the source into density controlled pulses which energizes the voice coil creating the analog signal from the driver. The “conversion” takes place at the driver.

    A traditional DAC is not used, so the signal is not in an analog form until you hear the output from the driver. That is why we say the conversion takes place at the driver. You are correct in recognizing that this is a different way of producing sound through the Dnote technology of Trigence.

    So it's a DAC-like component that is placed in the driver, but it doesn't function like a traditional DAC does. So I guess they can honestly say there's no DAC, technically anyway. lol
  15. aertus
    that makes no sense to me at all and seems like marketing BS. Im pretty LDAC would sound better becausse it still has to rely on the bitrate. LDAC is better than APTx which sony headphones support which means that it doesnt matter what fancy thing it uses it wouldn't sound better because LDAC is higher bitrate and therefore more details of the music would go through.

    the newest sucessors to mdr1000x shoudl be the best wireless right now. I feel like AT is relying on marketing gimmacks.
    RockStar2005 likes this.
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