Getting best quality audio out of lightning port to headphones

Hello Rooners,

I am currently trialling Roon in anticipation of getting a decent quality end point (Naim Uniti Atom). For the moment, I am seeing what Roon can do sending music to either my Apple TV 4K, my Ipad Air 2 or my iPhone XS.
I am aware that the Apple TV 4K will reduce the quality of the streamed file to CD quality, (I am also trialling Tidal, so some files are allegedly better than CD quality via MQA).
Also, if I am listening through either my iPad or iPhone via my wireless headphones, the sound quality gets reduced by Roon as (I am guessing), bluetooth cannot cope with the quality of the MQA file. However, if I connect my headphones to my iPad Air 2, (which is an older iPad with a headphone jack), Roon is telling me that the file goes through the headphone in it’s original format, see attached image.

My ears would agree that this sounds better than via Bluetooth, which makes sense.

However, my iPhone XS, being a new device, does not have a headphone jack, so, unless any of you clever folk know of a work around, I am stuck with less than optimal sound when listening from my iPhone, right?

I am guessing there is no adapter that I can put into my lightning connector on the iPhone that would allow the MQA files be played “uncompromised”?

Thanks for any guidance!


If you want portability and MQA, an AudioQuest DragonFly is your best bet. You’ll also need the lighting-USB connector.

If you’re happy to go slightly larger there’s a few other portable+USB DAC’s that will do the job - Mytek’s Clef, Meridians Explorer, iFi Nano or xDSD. If you’re willing to forego MQA there’s a bunch more (the Chord Mojo being the crowd favourite)


Ah ha, thanks for the suggestions…