A few months ago, I started renting a small office space because working at home (a small apartment in Japan) with a toddler is very difficult. When I used to work from home, I had a pretty high end headphone listening setup on my desk.

This is a pricey setup, so I didn’t want to bring it to my office space. In reality, it’d probably be fine because Japan is a very safe country. However, I don’t think I could sleep at night without my gear safe and sound at home.

Anyway, I finally got around to figuring out what to do with the RME ADI-2 FS and Focal Utopia headphones (the Shure KSE1200 IEMs are usally in my backpack). Since I no longer have a desk at home, I decided to set everything up next to my bed. That was quick and easy, but then I realized I needed a source to play music. My bedside table is very small, so there was no way I could comfortably put my iPad Pro or 16" MacBook Pro on it.

After some reseach, I decided to go with my iPhone 11 Max. I figured it was the best candidate for the job because it’s small and I keep it on the bedside table at night anyway. To connect my iPhone to the RME ADI-2 FS, I purchased an Apple Lightning to USB 3 adapter. This adapter is great because it has a Lightning port in addition to the USB port. This means it’s possible to charge while listening to music at the same time – something that was impossible with Apple’s original Lightning to USB adapter for whatever reason.

Right now, I’m just using Apple Music (I have an Apple One family plan) for playback. I used to have TIDAL, but it’s hard to justify the $29/month just for music. To be honest, I don’t have any complaints regarding the sound quality. Perhaps I’d be able to hear a difference if I did an A/B test between Apple Music and TIDAl, but I don’t want to pay up for that potential revelation because both outcomes would be equally disappointing.

  • If TIDAL sounds better than Apple Music, I have to live with knowing the music I’m listening to every night can sound better. Again, I can’t justify paying $29/month for TIDAL when a month’s subscription is the same price as a pack of diapers for J.
  • If TIDAL doesn’t sound better, then that’s a waste of money (I’m not sure what their refund policy is, but I’m not eligible for the free trial anymore).

In any case, I’m very happy with the new setup. In fact, I’m going to go listen to some Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 right now.

Good night!