Back when Andy Rubin’s Essential Products company was still an ambitious startup brimming with promise, surrounded by hype and untouched by controversy, we were told to expect not just a phone like no other, but also an ecosystem of modular accessories possibly giving Motorola a run for its money.

Fast forward a year, and you’d be hard-pressed to deem the Essential 360 Camera a hit. The PH-1 itself may have not sold enough copies to warrant a sequel, despite frequent discounts and bundle deals, as well as objectively impressive recent software support.

But even as the company’s fate hangs in the balance, a brand-new mod is officially scheduled for a commercial release “later this summer”, which feels like a pretty good sign for an imminent Essential Phone 2 announcement as well.

The Audio Adapter HD combines a high-resolution ESS Sabre DAC with hardware MQA rendering, an audiophile-grade amp capable of driving demanding high-impedance headphones, and yes, a good old fashioned 3.5mm audio jack.

In short, it’s an audiophile’s wet dream, although unfortunately, mum’s the word on retail pricing. While waiting for the Essential Phone’s second snap-on accessory to see daylight, you’ll be happy to hear a software update is already rolling out with MQA support for studio master quality sound.

Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) technology gives you a “lossless audio experience in a smaller size so you can experience the sound of the original recording”, and because you need to hear this type of “first-class” audio content to understand what Essential is talking about, you now get free three-month access to Tidal HiFi.

New and existing Essential Phone owners will receive a promo code for the premium music streaming service after entering their email address here, although if you’ve ever subscribed to Tidal, you’re obviously not eligible for this sweet freebie.

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