V-Moda has come out with a new Lightning to 3.5mm cable that costs $101. This might seem like yet another expensive penalty for Apple’s decision to remove the audio jack from its iPhones, but the price is on par with other companies’ Lightning to 3.5mm cables, like Master & Dynamic’s for $69 and Shure’s for $100. Belkin offers one at the low end for $35, but it lacks some of the technical advantages that V-Moda says it’s offering.
Bundled within the 17.5-gram cable is a 24-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC), a headphone amp with 31mW of power, and a three-button control with a microphone for using Siri voice, navigating through music, making calls, and more. V-Moda says it will work with “most brands” of headphones with detachable 3.5mm ports, including models from Beats, Philips, Hyper X, Audio Technica, and more. The cable is 53 inches long (nearly 4.5 feet), and it comes with a one-year warranty. Beyond that window, V-Moda also has an “Immortal Life Program” with no expiry date, entitling you to 50 percent off a replacement if your cable ever dies.
All of these cables are being ushered in because when Apple got rid the audio jack on the iPhone, it also got rid the digital-to-analog converter. DACs now have to be located in dongles, cables, or headphones. Apple’s $9 Lightning to 3.5mm dongle does contain a DAC and amp, according to iFixit, but V-Moda’s cable is a way to skip the dongle life and get components that, knowing V-Moda, are likely to produce great audio.
Is it worth the big price jump to upgrade from V-Moda’s regular cable (or any other) and Apple’s Lightning to 3.5mm dongle to V-Moda’s new all-in-one offering? Well, that’s up to you. Is the convenience of plugging straight in and not worrying about losing dongles a priority?
But no matter if you stick to cheaper options and live the dongle life or decide to bite the bullet on a $100 cable, one thing is certain: the future of headphone cables looks expensive.