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Essential's second module brings back the headphone jack

Essential's Audio Adapter HD gets fancy with its hi-res DAC, but the real attraction is the reintroduction of the headphone jack.

Published onJune 8, 2018

  • Essential announced the Audio Adapter HD, the PH-1’s first new module since its launch.
  • The Audio Adapter HD module features a headphone jack and a high-res DAC.
  • Along with the module, Essential also announced a partnership with MQA and TIDAL, along with a new PH-1 bundle.

Even though Essential might eventually be on the chopping block, you would not know it from the company’s recent software updates. That run of surpassed expectations continues today, when Essential announced the PH-1’s first attachment module since its launch.

Called the Audio Adapter HD, the module adds a headphone jack and a high-resolution ESS Sabre DAC that has an “audiophile-grade amp.” Not only does this mean you can listen to high-quality audio, but you can also finally listen to music while the PH-1 charges.

Along with the new adapter, Essential also announced the PH-1’s Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) certification. In short, MQA lets you digitally store recorded music in a file small enough to download, yet uses a similar bandwidth to that required of CD-quality streams. This allows you to listen to music how the artist intended without it taking up a massive amount of space on your device.

A quick look at Android P beta on the Essential Phone

It just so happens that TIDAL features thousands of MQA songs available for streaming. As such, Essential teamed up with TIDAL to offer PH-1 owners a free three-month subscription to TIDAL’s HiFi tier. Typically, the HiFi tier sells for $19.99 each month.

Essential did not stop there and also announced a $499 bundle that includes the PH-1 and a pair of Earphones HD. The earbuds work over USB Type-C, feature 9.5mm drivers, and typically sell for $99.

According to Essential, the Audio Adapter HD will be available sometime this summer. Weirdly, the Audio Adapter HD will work with “almost” all types of 3.5mm headphones.

We do not know which headphones will not work or how much the module would go for. Still, new hardware is surprising for a company that is reportedly close to flat-lining.

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