Aug 13, 2018339 views

What Apple compatible headphone DACs/amps are people using?

What iPhone/iPod/iPad compatible DACs are people using? I can’t believe that Apple still insists on making life more difficult for playing music. It seems that most popular DACs/amps are not terribly Apple friendly. I know that I could use a lightning to USB with some products, but then I’d also need a powered USB hub to avoid errors. Meh. I know that I could wirelessly stream via Bluetooth or WiFi to something with a digital out, but it seems most of those products aren’t very good quality or just impractical (an Apple TV just to stream music??).

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Meridian Explorer2 with the Apple adaptor. I prefer the Meridian over the Dragonfly Red. Shame the Meridian is now discontinued.
Newer generation iOS devices including the iPhone 6 require Apple's Lightning to USB Camera Adapter (part number MD821ZM) (advertisement). Again, connectyour DAC from the USB output of the adapter. First, connect Apple's dongle to your iDevice and plug the USB cable into the provided USB port.
In addition to the FiiO Q1 Mk2 I mentioned above, the Topping D50 DAC is also listed as supporting iOS, but that's a different category of device.
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FiiO Q1 Mark II is a MFi Certified(Made for iPhone, iPad & iPod) portable amplifier & DAC, and this really work good with iOS devices give a try to it. and fix your iTunes error 40 by visiting
I use a FiiO Q1 Mk II with my iPhone, and it works great. Battery is enough to last a whole day at work, and it comes with a compatible Lightning to Micro USB cable. Its very easy to use, just plug and play.
For mobile devices, the battery-powered but more expensive Oppo HA-2SE is the best choice because it’s the most versatile DAC/amp out of the box. It has USB and Micro-USB inputs, a Lightning adapter, and its own internal rechargeable battery, which can even charge your phone in a pinch. Get more detail about headphone amp at
Thanks for the info. I did consider a mobile DAC like this. What’s up with the sketchy link?
Glad you liked my info :)
Anyone tried the Fiio i1?
I use the dragonfly red with the apple USB adapter. Sounds pretty good and you can charge your phone at the same time.
Funny, I was looking at Dragonfly Red right as you posted. It’s hard to believe that something so tiny can be remotely close to these giant, expensive pieces of equipment that do the same small task. I may give it a go, considering that there aren’t many other good choices for iOS.
Don't have the red but use an older Dragonfly 1.2 with my work laptop... really solid source in my opinion. Never tried it with my work iPhone but it drives most of my headphone collection well.
You've hit upon the single most important factor in why Apple hasn't made it into my personal audio chain(s). They don't give me enough flexibility in listening to audio on my terms. I use Apple products for work (and have zero issues with that purpose) but I'm all Android/Windows for my portable and home audio needs. Can't help too much, my friends that arelocked into the Apple ecosystem use an ES100 bluetooth amp/dac with their iphones but I've never done more than listen from the headphone out of mine.
It’s ridiculous isn’t it? Also ironic considering that Apple as It is today was essentially built on a music player. I do own the ES100, which is a nice little piece that plays well with iOS devices. It doesn’t compare to my Bottlehead Crack with Sennheisers, but may be my “good enough” choice away from my computer.