Best Lightning Cable Headphones

Now that Apple has combined ports and done away with the headphone jack entirely, its phones are getting…more interesting. For those who want a generation 7, lightning-compatible headphones suddenly got a whole lot more interesting, because normal headphones just won’t cut it anymore. Of course there’s always Apple’s latest Lightning cable or wireless earbuds, but if you want to branch out a little and find high-quality headphones for your needs, it’s time to look elsewhere. And we can help!

We’ve got a mid-range model that’s good for nearly anything, a lightweight model for the most budget-conscious, and a sky’s-the-limit model for those who want one of the best over ear headphones we’ve found with Lightning compatibility!

JBL Reflect Aware – $200

JBL Reflect Aware
While sporty, these noise-cancellers are good for anything.

These are technically “sport” earphones, but they have features that make them suitable for any purpose. That includes adaptive noise control that helps eliminate background noise, along with the ability to splice in a certain amount of surrounding sound so that you aren’t surprised while on a jog. In fact, this noise cancellation highlights one of the unexpected benefits of using a Lightning cable connector: Typically active noise cancellation is a cumbersome feature because it requires a separate source of power, often an additional battery pack. With a Lightning cable, power and sound can coexist, which means there’s no need for another battery pack. Thus, we get lightweight earphones that still have impressive noise cancellation abilities.

Brightech Pure Lightning Earphones – $50

Brightech Earphones
Brightech has an affordable Lightning cable solution.

These highly affordable headphones have built-in volume control that ranges from -100dB to +12dB, with a clear focus on surprisingly powerful bass and a wide frequency range. While there’s no inline mic, there are on-cable volume controls for quick adjustments. If you are looking for a pair of simple headphones with surprisingly good in-ear sound, this Brightech option may be a better choice than Apple’s own earphones.

However, it’s important to note that while the phrase “noise cancellation” is thrown around for these earphones, it’s simply passive noise blocking caused by the commonplace silicone tips. That’s nice, but it’s not something to base your buying decision on.

Audeze EL-8 Titanium Closed-Back Headphones – $800-$1,300

Audeze EL-8
Super expensive – and one of the best lightning headphones around.

Now we come to the elite model – see our Audeze EL-8 review – a pair of over ear headphones that really blows away the competition. The frequently response is 10Hz to 50kHz, which you may recognize as well beyond what humans can even hear. In fact, these headphones revel in overkill. They come with a built-in mic, remote, sound isolating qualities, a built-in amp, and DAC capabilities. Really, we’re surprised they are only stereo, instead of offering some kind of never-seen surround sound. The problem, of course, is the price. These may be one of the best Lightning cable headphones, but you have to pay a whole lot for it, beyond most budgets. That’s why this Audeze model is third on our list.

Tyler Lacoma

When he isn't enjoying the beautiful Northwest outdoors, you can find Tyler on business and tech sites, writing about the latest news, analyzing trends, and generally making the Internet a more interesting place.

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