Most people thought that Essential was dead and had probably given up hope of getting the Audio Adapter HD dongle for headphones that the company had been promising for a long time. Things haven't exactly been smooth at Essential with the Essential Phone not selling well and the company announcing back in May that it was canceling its second-generation smartphone and considering selling itself. Last month Essential laid off 30% of its staff, and with those layoffs, any hope of the promised Audio Adapter HD launching dimmed. However, today we learn that Essential has launched the Audio Adapter HD as promised.
The adapter launched yesterday and owners of Essential phones were hungry for the little accessory and gobbled them all up quickly. Essential later tweeted that it had sold out of all the limited-edition dongles, but noted that it would have more in stock next week. The Audio Adapter HD isn't a cheap device; at $149 it costs about half what the Essential phone itself sold for during the Amazon deal last summer that saw the price drop to $280.
Audio Adapter HD is designed for the PH-1 smartphone and has high-resolution ESS Sabre DAC with hardware MQA rendering; input is 24-bit, 96 kHz and the dongle has MQA rendering up to 32-bit, 384 kHz. An audiophile-grade amp inside the dongle is claimed to be able to drive audiophile-grade headphones with studio quality sound, featuring MQA and
The adapter clicks to the phone, and the phone can still charge while the dongle is connected. It's made out of high-grade materials with a 100% machined titanium housing that promises to be very durable. Connectivity for headphones is via a standard 3.5mm headphone adapter positioned to fit all types of headphones. An LED glows in different colors to indicate master quality, standard, or