As more phones are removing headphone jack nowadays, people are starting to go with wireless headphones. However, for some of us that already have a wired headphones that we love, a Bluetooth receiver with more sophisticated DAC and amp section could be a good solution. Audio Technica has been in this market since at least 2014 with their AT-PHA50BT. This product I featured here, is AT-PHA55BT, the successor that released late last year in Japan.
Personally, I like the convenience to disconnect myself from wire between my phone and my headphones, so lately my collection of Bluetooth receiver has been growing. The AT-PHA55BT is one of my favorite and perhaps have the most unique character that separate itself from the rest.
One of the issue I had with Nintendo Switch is the headphone output quality. Due to how compact it is and the fact that it houses an active cooling fan inside the same housing, caused audible hiss to carry over to the headphone output. The issue, in particular, made worse in sensitive IEM, while Switch itself isn’t capable at driving full size headphone very well. The use of standard USB-C port in Switch gave me some hope, but USB audio support isn’t there at launch.
Then the 4.0 update came and some big features finally arrive. Important one like system transfer finally there and addition of video capture allow sharing great moment as easy as holding the screenshot button. But the most important feature for me is not mentioned anywhere in the changelog and it is the USB audio support. Yes! Switch finally allow you to use external USB DAC.
I have never been an audiophile myself, although I love to own a good pair of headphones, I didn’t worry much about my setup. My personal belief is that to upgrade audio quality, a good pair of headphones is a lot more important than anything else. Of course, a good source is important, but I’m also in the camp that couldn’t distinguish a lossless file with a good compressed one (iTunes AAC files for example, is generally good).
But I have always been curious how a separate DAC/AMP could do to improve my setup. Is it worth upgrading over the on-board sound from my setup? So FiiO recently released Q1, an entry-level ($69.99) portable DAC/Amp and I decided to give it a test myself.