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The most obvious and instant feature of a headphone jack adapter is converting a device’s plug to fit a new format.
But the real, long-term benefit is extending the life of your favorite old earbuds or headphones. Just because a new device has an updated input, doesn’t mean you’ll need to discard the headphones or earbuds you love and have had for year. One adapter can breathe new life into an old pair, and keep it going for generations to come.
Materials inside these adapters can vary pretty widely, including copper, silver, gold, plastic, and steel. A jack adapter isn’t a new concept either, since a device’s inputs will inevitably evolve with technology, and there’s always an add-on for older inputs to keep them from becoming obsolete. The first phone-connectors were made in the late 1800s for use in telephone switchboards, while the more familiar 3.5mm inputs were made in the 1950s for use with transistor radios’ earpieces. Today, these type of adapters go beyond just headphones too, and can also be used to connect up your car’s aux cable, a laptop, or even a mixing board.
Some listeners may be going wireless and getting on the Bluetooth bandwagon, but there are still reasons to stick with wired for a while longer. Even though being tangle-free is a nice perk, and snagging your cable on doorknobs can be infuriating when it rips the buds out of your ears, a wireless connection can be spotty too. Some Bluetooth buds still need to re-connect and sync up every time you want to listen to something, which results in an unwanted and annoying lag time before you can get your music going. With wired, that’s never an issue. Having a reliable connection, since you’re plugged in directly to the source, means everything is instantaneously in your ears, with strong and uninterrupted sound transmission as long as the adapter holds up.
These four adapters can keep your buds going as the years, and devices, progress over time.
1. MOBOREST 3.5mm M to 6.35mm
The second generation of this shiny audio adapter reliably converts a 6.35mm to 3.5mm, delivering crisp and clean audio right to your headphones or device.
They’re made of solid brass copper to specifically prevent corroding, while providing an uninterrupted signal, which can have a longer lifespan than plastic or gold plating.
2. Apple Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter
Apple famously ditched the headphone jack on all iPhones a few generations back, causing a rift among users who didn’t want to give up their earbuds with an old-school 3.5mm.
But here’s some good news for them, and for your buds – this lightning to 3.5mm adapter lets you quickly and easily plug in an old set of cans to any new iPhone running iOS 10 or later, including iPod Touch and iPads as well.
The mic on your buds will still work too, as this can handle both output and input (as well as end and receive calls).
3. Youmotu 2 in 1 Lighting Charger Adapter
For the iPhone users who want the best of old and new audio, this splitter is a solid compromise that lets you use both at once.
Plug in and charge up your phone through the lightning adapter while still listening to music through the 3.5 mm headphone jack. It’s compatible with all versions of iOS Lightning devices, and transmits sound in crackle-free 24-bit, with a 48kHz output.
However, while this adapter does let you double-up your ports and adjust volume, be aware it doesn’t allow you to take calls.
4. Elebase USB C to 3.5mm Adapter
This adapter easily connects up to a USB-C port, opening up the option to plug your 3.5mm buds or AUX cord in.
While it can’t do phone calls, the audio transmission signal is clear and high-quality, thanks to the built-in DAC chip and copper construct. It also fits through most thick phone cases too.
It’s also built to bend. The exterior is double-braided, and the casing is crafted from aluminum alloy (as well as ribbed at the ends) making it tough enough to resist daily twists and pulls.