Finally, the design overhaul we have all been waiting for has been bestowed upon the masses, satiating our need for the latest and greatest from the wizards at Apple.
From the new OLED screen to the dazzling tech hidden within the new form factor, the iPhone 8 is truly impressive, not to mention the all new future-proof iPhone X.
Still, there is one feature that continues to anger die-hard fanboys and fangirls the world over. The continued glaring absence of a 3.5mm headphone jack.
$999 And STILL No 3.5mm Jack?
When Apple first announced the removal of the trusty ole analog port people were furious. It would seem time does not heal all wounds as people are still not happy about it, but they shouldn’t be.
The Lightning port is actually a blessing in disguise. Just because your old headphones won’t plug into means nothing… VHS tapes don’t work in Bluray players, but we love our HD movies don’t we?
Utilizing a 48kHz full-digital connection, the possibilities for super HiFi “smart” headphones are endless.
If fact, a few intrepid companies have already capitalized on the benefits of the digital Lightning port and released some truly creative headphones that would do well to accompany any iPhone 8.
Top Performing Lightning-port Cans for iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X
Below are some of the best headphones released specifically to work with Apple products. They are MFi certified, a.k.a “Apple-approved” and offer a variety of features not available with either old fashioned 3.5mm headphones or even new bluetooth models like the crappy “Airpods” (See: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Apple Airpods).
So without further delay, here are the brightest and most clever cans currently on-market:
Below we break down what makes each of these models unique and why they deserve to be in our round-up of top performing headphone options for new iPhones. If we missed a particularly great set of cans let us know in the comments below and we’ll gladly give it a review!
The Fashionable and Sleek Libratone Q Adapt
The Q Adapt come in both the traditional looking over-ear form and the more commuter-friendly earbud form. Both are equally aesthetically pleasing. The on-ear model is a bit bigger, looks more comfortable for long listening sessions, and comes with a slightly higher price tag than the earbud model which looks like THE perfect travel companion for any new iPhone user.
From a dedicated app you can adjust the active noise cancellation properties and find tune your sound like very few other headphones can do.
Any downsides? Well, they don’t have the heftiest of bass, so if you’re a big hip-hop fan they might not fully satisfy, however for the train ride to work or at the gym where you might want to drown out background noise, you can’t beat the active noise cancellation.
The Solid, Mid-Priced 1More Triple Driver
While the Libratone Q Adapt take the price for the “best dressed” it is the Triple Driver earbuds from 1More that come packing heat.
As their name denotes, the 1More Triple Drivers actually have 3 separate drivers inside (most headphones have you guessed it, just one driver). With different drivers handling different sounds, the 1Mores easily hammer out solid bass without distorting the mids or high trebles.
To futher enhance high-end each bud contains 2 armatures, which are in essence mini tweeters that take the work load of producing satisfying mids and crystal high response. The 3rd driver, the dynamic driver backs everything up with deeper mids and rumbly bass.
These badboys are fully MFi certified as well, have a built in DAC (that’s “digital-analog converter) producing true HiRes audio all via a kevlar reenforced lightning cable.
The Original HiFi Lightning On-Ears: The Philips Fidelio M2L
The Fidelio M2L are the old boys on the block here but are thus perhaps the most tested and reliable model, having launched waaay before Apple decided to kill the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Philips is a massive player in consumer audio and they were truly ahead of the curve with their lightning-terminated Fidelios.
If Libratone’s bluetooth cans aren’t for you then you will want to consider the Fidelio M2Ls as they are not bluetooth and instead utilized a lightning cable that plugs directly into your Apple device.
With a built in DAC and amplifier they take full advantage of the lightning connector’s ability to transmit both data (the music itself) as well as power (electricity) to produce some of the best sounding headphones at an attainable price point.
Featuring a closed back (for minimal sound leakage) as well as Philips proprietary Bass Reflex System (BRS) these are great all-around performers for the dicerning Apple user.
With a frequencey range of 7025,000Hz these have one of the broadest response ranges in the list here, running 107db of sensitivity with less than .1% distortion (THD) Philips engineering experience really shines through in this classy yet understated set of cans.
The Entry-Level HiFi Experience: The Audeze Sine
If you just won the lottery and are considering buying the iPhone 8 Plus or the iPhone X you will want to buy a pair of headphones that match the design and quality of the phone you are pairing them with. For that, don’t look any further than the Audeze Sine.
Released a year ago already the Sine are some of the highest reviewed audiophile quality lightning-dedicated over-ear headphones to be released to date.
From the sexy all black metal design to the detachable Cipher cable these are truly expertly crafted specimens of lightning-cable technology.
Designed in conjunction with Designworks, a subsidiary of BMW (yes, that BMW), the Sines look the part of serious audio-lover.
Utilizing a unique planar magnetic design, which utilizes a thin-film driver and powerful magnets, the Sine have some of the most rich and accurately reproduced sounds on this list, partly thankful to the magnetic drivers (usually only found in $1,000+ headphones) as well as the unique Cipher cable which integrates a 24-bit DAC to produce truly spectacular sounds.
The Undisputed Champion of Lightning Headphones: The Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature
Finally, the newest model to the list here but sporting some of the most luxurious materials is the Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signatures. These are B&W’s flagship model, designed to work with a multitude of audio sources with removable/swapable cables which include a lightning cable to pair with Apple devices.
The P9s were launched in celebration of 50 years of quality audio engineering at Steyning Research Establishment in West Sussex England. From the Saffiano leather from Italy to the Alcatara travel case, these things just ooze luxury.
It’s not all show with the P9’s however, as they sport some of B&W’s most cutting edge audio tech including their semi-pistonic diaphragm to their magical floating earcups to creatively angled transducer units, these cans don’t just talk the talk but walk the dang walk as well.
Lightning Cans Summary
There are dozens of other Lightning-cable headphones on the market and more being released every month as more and more people shift to the 3.5mm jack-less world.
The fact of the matter is change is sometimes difficult, especially when it involves something you’ve become attached to, physically and metaphorically speaking.
If not for painful change though you’d still be dating that loser “Larry” or “Chad” from High School, would still be rewinding your VHS tapes when you finish a movie, and still be carrying around boxes of cassettes in case you felt like listening to music.
A Lightning-only world is a lot to take in at first, but it is the future and we should fully embrace it.
Last update on 2021-05-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API