Gorgeous headphone amp isn’t just ear candy

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Lust List Oppo Amp
The Oppo headphone amplifier is almost as beautiful as the iPhone you're going to connect it to.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Lust List: Oppo HA-2 portable headphone amplifier and DAC

What kind of audiophile nerd do you have to be to shell out 300 clams to “improve” your iPhone audio? Well, that’s what it is going to cost you to convert your digital audio into analog goodness with style.

You can find cheaper options than the Oppo HA-2 portable headphone amplifier, but few as elegant and sleek.

Apple now sells Lightning headphones that are super-expensive

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Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 14.03.01
The Audeze EL-8 Titanium headphones are great quality. But they'll cost ya!
Photo: Apple

For a company which keeps its future plans on the down-low, Apple sure is serious about getting us to believe the rumors that it’s ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack for future generations of iPhone.

At least, that’s going by the fact that Apple has just started selling $800 Audeze EL-8 Titanium headphones — at both its online Apple Store and select brick-and-mortar retail outlets in the U.S. and Canada.

Will Apple alienate iPhone fans by ditching the headphone jack?

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FNF2
Apple could be about to kill another technology.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has famously killed popular technologies when it believes they’re past their best — and it could be gearing up to kill one more. According to recent rumors, next year’s iPhone 7 will ship without the 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of a thinner form factor.

Friday-Night-Fights-bug-2Understandably, a lot of fans are unhappy about that prospect, which would mean all our existing headphones wouldn’t be compatible with the next iPhone — at least not without a (pricey) adapter. But could it be a move that pays off in the long run? Are there pros that outweigh the cons?

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight between Cult of Android and Cult of Mac as we battle it out over these questions and more!

Klipsch on-ear headphones deliver crisp, clear, booming sound

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These lightweight cans deliver heavy sound.
These lightweight cans deliver heavy sound.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Lust List: Reference R6i On-Ear Headphones by Klipsch

Sometimes you just need a solid, great-sounding set of wired headphones. They don’t need to charge up like my Bluetooth favorites do, nor do they require pairing (or repairing, like several models I’ve used).

Earbuds are great, too, but for extended listening sessions, I prefer on-ear headphones. They are less sound-isolating — I don’t need to hear my own breathing all the time.

Apple would be stupid to drop the iPhone headphone jack

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iPhone 6 headphone jack
We will miss you, headphone jack. If those rumors are true.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

If Apple is really planning to kill the iPhone headphone jack in the model it reveals next year, it’s ditching 60 years of history.

Rumors that the next iPhone could do away with the industry-standard 3.5mm port in Apple’s relentless pursuit of thinness have been around for a while, but they’re seeing a resurgence thanks to a post on a Japanese blog. The article cites “a reliable source” that claims the Cupertino company will shave 1mm off the phone’s thickness by dropping the just-way-too-fat jack in favor of proprietary Lightning connectors.

But if Apple actually does this, it’s kind of a huge deal.