3.5mm Audio Jack vs. USB Type-C Port: Who Wins This Music Battle?


A revolution of sorts began in 2016 that is now in full swing. The familiar face of our audios, the 3.5mm headphone jack, is now paving way for the USB Type-C ports. The music battle has begun.


Is it too soon? Was it inevitable? What will happen to your favorite old and new all song? Well, hang on as this write-up will try and answer all of these questions and more in the next few minutes.


An Apple a Day….


It was a moment of euphoria for some and nostalgia for others as Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, announced the replacement of 3.5mm audio jack with Usb type-c ports for iPhone 7. A truly remarkable move considering that iPhone is celebrating its 10 years’ anniversary this week.


Now other smartphone manufacturers like Motorola and LeEco too seem to be taking the same path and changing the way people used to listen all songs.



What’s the Fuss?



We hear sound via sound waves which travel through the air and hit our eardrum. This is the Analog way. The music songs on your smartphones do not use analog but Digital system in 1,0 binaries.


[You can check out this link for further info on Analog and Digital, here]


Now when you plug in your headphones in 3.5mm to eagerly hear those mp3 songs (downloaded with much anticipation from online music sites) something interesting happens!


With mp3 music format being lossy format (it has some data loss since it reduces the file size), your smartphone converts it into analog to give you full uncompressed data or audio to enjoy. This process is done with the help of a DAC or Digital to Analog Converter.




This DAC converts the signal to analog and provides the power to your earphones.


What’s Different with USB Type-C?


With USB Type-C, the DAC process still remains active, however there is some difference. This port keeps digital music more or less digital in their delivery to the headphone thereby eliminating the need for any real conversion. The digital processing is done inside the earphone and not on your cell phone, thus making the sound hugely better.


Now note here, many people do not know that there is a DAC inside their headphones as well. And in this scenario, it is this DAC (and not on cell phone) that converts the signal.


Listen to free online songs, check the whole new music library here


Pros and Cons


Let’s start with some demerits of USB Type-C:


  • The lack of USB Type-C accessories is surely gonna be a problem in the near future. Earplugs with this port will be hard to get in the beginning, as the digitial transition will need some time


  • Those who download latest mp3 songs will have to eventually shell out some cash to buy these new type-c earphones, which will be expensive. Due to complex DAC circuits in them their cost are not going to be pleasant right now



Not all is so gloomy and doomy, take a look at the bright side of things –


  • The high performance amplifiers combined with full digital signals and high fidelity sound is what you will get by ditching the old 3.5mm headphones for the type-c. What it means is that the Audio Quality is going to be remarkably improved.


  • The new ports are a blessing for people who want thinner phones, lesser space used, better bass quality in songs, better noise control, better smartphone battery life, better audio control


Write back to us about what you think of this issue. How much will you miss the current headphones or how impatient you are to try your hands on the new ones? Till then, thanks for reading

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