Apple Nixed Your Headphone Jack? The HRT i-dSp Has Your Back

As we predicted, Apple just released the iPhone 7 and it’s missing one critical component for audiophiles—a headphone jack. Luckily, HRT (High Resolution Technologies) also just released the i-dSp digital sound processor to let Apple users continue to use wired headphones.

Let’s face it—Bluetooth technology has a long way to go until it delivers the same sound quality as a hard-wired headphone connection. The bandwidth is simply too limited, especially with older Bluetooth headphones. With so many options for higher-resolution audio than MP3 and higher bitrate streaming plus so much onboard storage on phones, it’s ridiculous to downgrade the sound through a Bluetooth pipeline. And not every device has Bluetooth. Surely there are people left in the world who use the headphone jack to connect their iPhone to a real stereo system to stream Pandora, right? The HRT i-dSp (MSRP: $70, exclusively on Amazon) uses the Lightning connection and the i-dSp’s built in digital-to-analog converter to deliver high quality sound to wired connections.

The HRT i-dSp has advanced digital signal processing and a high-quality headphone amplifier. It connects to a Lightning-to-USB Camera adapter cable, unfortunately not included. It plugs the USB end of the adapter into a recessed port, making for a very streamlined package. It measures 3.4” x 0.81” x 0.50”, and weighs just 0.4 ounces. It should be noted that there is a non-iOs version (HRT dSP, MSRP:$70) as well that weighs only 0.2 ounces and measures 2.1” x 0.80” x 0.30”.

"In addition to providing a ready-made connectivity solution for the millions of headphones out there, the i-dSp is engineered for improved sound quality, thanks to its proprietary digital Sound processing and built-in high-performance headphone amplifier," said Mike Hobson, Chief Executive Officer at HRT in a press release.

The i-dSp supports a variety of audio formats including MP3, AAC, FLAC, PCM, and Apple lossless. It also supports many streaming audio and video formats, and the firmware is upgradeable for future updates. It supports sample rates up to 96kHz/24-bit. It draws 50 mA, and is said to minimally drain the battery output of the iPhones. You cannot charge the iPhone while using this device. Thank you, Apple.

HRT’s i-dSp (and the non-iOs dSp) is a great solution even if your phone still has a headphone jack—the improved sound quality from the digital signal processor and headphone amplifier is worth the price. However, it would be nice if manufacturers left the 3.5mm jack on their phones, at least until wireless options become better quality without any degradation in sound. Until that time, it looks like the i-dSp is the way to go.

Perrin1710's picture

It seems silly that HRT, Audioquest c.s. still rely on the Apple Camera kit to connect to the Apple portables. Wouldn't it be much more convenient for users to have a dac that connects directly to the lightning interface? Or would this make the peripherals much more expensive? With the numbers of Dragonflies being sold I would suspect a business case for a direct connected device with the advent of the iPhone7.

BadCommand's picture

And to have to have yet another DAC, then connected to a apple camera adapter hanging off your $700+ iphone is just comedy. Maybe with all the cord hanging there you can open a zip line ride and recoup some of your ill placed money.