With greater demand for higher sound quality whilst on the move some manufacturers have come up with a novel way of getting you the quality you demand – earphones with integrated DACs.
The earphone manufacturer Zorloo has designed the ‘World’s First’ digital earphone, the bizarrely named Z:ero, which plugs directly into the Micro-USB port on your smartphone to provide you with digital audio output. With a Wolfson DAC and a headphone amplifier crammed into the in-line control, the Zorloo Z:ero is definitely more portable than carrying around a separate DAC and amp.
Previously audiophiles on the move would have to carry around amplifier/DAC combos such as the FiiO E18
But Zorloo aren’t the only people to offer headphones with built-in DACs. Sony has already released the MDR-1ADAC, a set of over-ear headphones with a built-in DAC, and Philips demoed their new NC1L noise cancelling headphones at CES 2015, which has an integrated 24-bit DAC designed to give Apple users superior audio via the Lightning port on their device.
Zorloo may not have gotten there first, but incorporating DACs into earphones and headphones may be the start of a new trend as manufacturers look to target the more discerning smartphone audio enthusiasts.
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The iPod, iPad and iPhone house the majority of the market’s music which unfortunately means the majority of the market is not exercising the true potential of their music files. The issue with i-devices is that they do an excellent job of housing music files but not in converting them.
This is where the iDo comes in handy. After connecting and playing through the device the iDo bypasses the original DAC and uses its own. It extracts the original file that is stored in the Apple device and delivers bit-perfect, low jitter, audiophile quality music. An absolutely necessary accessory for any music player not using a high quality DAC – which means the majority of them!