You may have a pair of headphones that requires more power to drive, or has a higher impedance then your iPhone or iPad can output. You want to use those headphones with your iPhone or iPad, but find yourself in a pickle because of this. Don’t worry, with a portable headphone amp you’ll be able to use most headphones with your iPhone or iPad.
To use high impedance headphones with your iDevice, you’ll need three things, a portable headphone amp, a line out cable, and if you’re device has a lightning connector; an Apple Lightning to 30-pin Adapter cable.
A portable headphone DAC/Amp that I recommend is the Fiio E17. I’ve always had very nice transparent sound when using this DAC/Amp. It can drive most headphones up to 300 Ohms of impedance. Another plus about the E17 is it can be used with your computer too using USB! Keep in mind though that when using the Fiio E17 with your iDevice, it will only act as an amp and not a DAC.
Now, to use the E17 with your iDevice, you will need a line out cable. Fiio makes one of these that I recommend called the Fiio L9. You might notice that this is a 30 pin adapter. This will work fine if your iDevice has this type of connector, however Apple switched over to the lightning connector years ago. Chances are, that’s the type of connector your iDevice has. To fix this issue, Apple sells a Lightning to 30-pin Adapter cable. You can buy one of these cables from Apple directly, or an authorized Apple reseller. Please note, the Fiio E17 and L9 will ONLY work with the Apple Lightning to 30 Pin Adapter!
You should now have the E17, the L9 and the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter cables. Now, to use your E17 with your iDevice you simply connect the L9 cable to the Lightning to 30 Pin Adapter cable, plug the lightning end of the adapter cable into your iDevice, and plug the L9’s 1/8” audio plug into the E17’s AUX input jack. All that’s left to do is turn on the E17, select the AUX input and plug your headphones in.
Enjoy the great sound you can get with the E17’s amp over the built in one on your iDevice!