Face it. The trusty and reliable 3.5mm audio jack is going away faster than we would like. With companies making the switch to USB Type C, many are going the route of eliminating the 3.5mm audio port in favor of slimmer builds. Manufacturers are now switching audio to the USB C port where there is arguably more functionality out of it. They’re also forcing users to go wireless since the improvements in Bluetooth sound quality and battery life have improved to much better levels now.
Now we have to use USB C adapters, USB C earbuds, or simply go wireless. No matter how much we complain, we might as well start accepting that the 3.5mm audio jack will be gone in a matter of years.
Here are six great options for staying connected through USB C or wireless connectivity.
Zinsoko Type-C to 3.5mm Audio Headphone Stereo Sound Port Adapter – $6.99 at Amazon
The easiest and cheapest method of connecting through USB C is by getting an adapter. Many of the smartphones that only use USB C for audio probably come with an adapter, but there is a good chance you will lose it or forget it at home. At $6.99, the Zinsoko adapter is a cheap third party alternative. You might want to get a couple to protect the investment in the earbuds you already own. The materials and lightweight nature of this adapter make it a solid investment.
New Bee T1 USB Type C Earbud Ceramic Housing Noise Isolating Earphones – $39.99 at Amazon
There are very few available earbuds or portable audio devices that use USB C directly, but NEWBEE has released a solid set. The earbuds are made with a USB C adapter which means you’ll never have to use an adapter ever again. Priced at $39.99, you get a solid value considering these use a high-quality ceramic housing to produce high-end sound. These are designed to play lossless audio and truly take advantage of the USB C port’s design.
Jaybird has been making wireless earbuds for almost a decade. That’s just about longer than anyone else on the planet, and its latest X3 sport earbuds are proof it knows what it is doing. I reviewed the X3 Sport Wireless earbuds a couple of weeks ago and think they might be the best of 2016. They are extremely comfortable, have customizable sound through the Jaybird Mysound app, have great eight hour battery life, and are reasonably priced at $129.99.
LIVV PRO – $299.99 at livvheadphones.com
For those of you who like big sound while staying active, look no further than LIVV audio. The LIVV Pro Wireless Headphones are the first of its kind. They offer premium sound quality in an active style build. They have huge drivers that offer incredible sound. Lows are explosive, mids are balanced and the highs are extremely detailed. It’s rare to find a set of cans that can pick up the nuances in music like picking at guitar strings, or even foot tapping to keep along to the rhythm, but these manage to do it.
You can go truly wireless with the LIVV Pro and its 8GB of onboard memory. Simply drag and drop the music to the internal memory through the computer and you can go on a run without your smartphone. The LIVV Pros are so good you can even enjoy them even while not active.
Mee Audio X7 Plus Bluetooth Earbuds – $49.99 at Amazon (on sale, save $50)
For those of you with smaller budgets, one of the best values for your money is the Mee Audio X7 Plus Bluetooth earbuds. I reviewed them in the first half of 2016 and found the sound quality to be superb.
The first generation X7 earbuds ran into water resistance issues, but that issue has now been worked out. The X7s even made Consumer Reports as one of the best wireless earbuds of 2016 and I completely agree.
With the aptX driver installed, it makes the X7s sound incredibly clear. I think they’re so detailed that they rival any wired headset in the same price range. At $49.99 the Mee Audio X7 wireless earbuds are a fantastic value.
For those with a big budget
Master & Dynamic MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones – $549.99 at masteranddynamic.com
Many people use music as a form of entertainment as background noise while working, driving, studying, reading or working out. However, some of us love our music and think it is in an entertainment category all on its own.
I’m one of those music lovers. Master & Dynamic reminded me how much I love my music with the MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones. They sound so rich and detailed that I find myself looking forward to getting home, sitting in a chair, sipping on a nice glass of whiskey, laying back and closing my eyes while enjoying music. With a set of wireless headphones like these, it is far more relaxing and enjoyable to listen to music than it is to zone out on Netflix.
The MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones are a masterpiece. The drivers are huge and the build is second to none. The lambskin earpads are incredibly comfortable, and the overall fit is so comfortable I find myself falling asleep with them on my head -and I am one heck of a picky sleeper.
For those of you with big budgets, you have to try these headphones. They are easily the best wireless over-ear headphones in the premium category.