Someone in my family recently bought an OPPO Find X3 Neo and asked me how they can continue to use their favourite Sony cabled headphones with it.

I know that the Find X3 series of phones have a built-in DAC (digital-to-analog converter) so buying an active USB-C to headphone jack adaptor which also has a DAC built-in could potentially reduce the audio output quality and active ones are much more expensive.

I asked OPPO Australia what they recommended and their answer was:

“There isn’t a particular adapter as the audio quality will depend on the quality of the headphones. However, using an “passive” adapter rather than an “active” adapter might result in better audio quality”.

I looked on Amazon to find a passive USB-C to headphone jack adapter and found a UGREEN branded one for less than $10. I’ve bought other UGREEN accessories before so I was confident it would be good quality and this was confirmed by a review from Aussie buyer Zersty:

“I have an Oppo Find X3 Pro which has its own DAC. That means two things; it only has to pass through a signal and because my device isn’t a Google Pixel/Samsung note 10/10+ / iPhone / iPad / iPad Pro, itโ€™s going to work. If you have any of thought devices, this is not the product for you. This information is in the description but judging by the number of one star reviews because itโ€™s not working with one of the aforementioned devices, the biggest problem with the product is the people buying it.”

Zersty makes a very good point. Unfortunately some phone brands or models include a DAC built-in to the phone and others don’t.

The lack or inclusion of a DAC has never been made very clear in the specifications or marketing of smartphones apart from LG which was famous for the audio output quality of its Quad DAC but alas no longer sells its phones in Australia.

One thing is clear and that is for Pixel phones, Samsung phones and Apple phones as well as iPads if you connect cabled headphones to them via a passive USB-C to headphone jack adapter you won’t get any audio output. These phones and tablets need an active USB-C to headphone jack adapter with built-in DAC.

3 Comments
newest
oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chris

do you have a recommendation for an adapter that works with the pixel 6? I only really use headphones on a flight every now and then so have never really seen the benefit to pay $300+ to upgrade from my already good but older wired heaadphones but would like to keep on using them now I don’t have a headphone jack.

Dave

so they get rid of the 3.5 to claim that it is space issue, but a dac shouldn’t take that much more. what a ripoff.

pdf

> buying an active USB-C to headphone jack adaptor which also has a DAC built-in would reduce the audio output quality.

I don’t think that’s how that works.

If you have a passive adapter, the internal DAC will be used (if available), whereas if you have active adapter, it will function as a USB DAC/soundcard. So, which one sounds better will depend on the relative quality of the DAC and amplifier in each solution.

The external DAC will probably be more expensive than a passive cable though.