Skip to main content

Master & Dynamic’s new Lightning and USB-C cables are the high price we pay for killing the headphone jack

Master & Dynamic’s new Lightning and USB-C cables are the high price we pay for killing the headphone jack


Turns out, courage costs $50 to $70 dollars, depending on what phone you have

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Image: Master & Dynamic

When companies like Apple and Google removed the headphone jack from their newest flagship phones, we always knew that users would have to pay the price for the “courage” to move on from the trusty 3.5mm standard. And thanks to Master & Dynamic’s new Lightning-to-3.5mm and USB-C-to-3.5mm headphone jack cables, we now know exactly how much that decision will cost: $49 for USB-C users, and $69 for Apple’s Lightning jack.

It’s not that both those cables don’t make sense — if you’re using a pair of wired headphones with a swappable cable, it’s almost certainly easier to use a cable that lets you plug directly into your phone without worrying about an adaptor. But at $49 to $69, that price is far, far too high.

Image: Master & Dynamic

For comparison, Master & Dynamic’s regular 3.5mm-to-3.5mm headphone cable, which also has the same upscale design, materials, along with the built-in remote and microphone, costs $29. That’s already costlier than most 3.5mm cables; you’re paying a premium for that Master & Dynamic branding and design, after all. But somehow that still looks affordable compared to the company’s new USB-C and Lightning cables.

And given the difficulty in finding reliable cables for either of the two types — between USB-C’s maddeningly different levels of quality and adherence to specifications, and Apple only recently allowing companies to even make 3.5mm to Lightning cables — it’s not like there are a whole lot of good alternatives out there.

There is a small silver lining — Master & Dynamic is celebrating the launch of the cables with a 50 percent off sale, running from today until April 29th, which brings the cost down to $25 and $34.50 for the USB-C and Lightning cables, respectively.

But once that sale ends, we’re stuck again with expensive cables, pricey headphones, or dumb dongles. I hope that extra space inside the phone was worth it.