Introduction – A Word or Ttwo About Headphone Amps

Most of the world uses headphones to listen to music on the go, but there are times when that’s not enough. Ambient noise, car sounds, whipping winds – there’s a manifold of factors that can ruin your experience by snuffing out the volume of your headphones.

If you’re facing these kinds of problems, we might have a solution for you. Headphone amplification device (shortly called just headphone amps), are a thing now, and, plainly speaking, they boost the volume of your headphones (among other things). These little beauties can be used to remove the negative factors that are ruining your music time.

We have placed the buying guide at the bottom of this 10 Best Reviews. If you need to study the Headphone Amp buying guide, just go ahead and read the guideline first and then start looking at these headphones one by one. If you already have deep knowledge on Headphone amp and don’t need to revise your mind, just dive into 10 Best Headphone Amplifiers that were made by prominent leaders on the headphone market:

Reviews of 10 Best Headphone Amps

1FiiO A3 Portable Headphone Amplifier

FiiO’s A3 Portable headphone amplifier is one of the best selling headphone amps on the market. It’s the first headphone amp in our review that’s labeled as “average” considering the price, but it’s not too expensive.

Anyhow, it features a massive bass boost when compared to other standard headphone amps, it can work up to 16 hours when fully charged, and it’s highly durable overall. Anyhow, most people are easily dissuaded by its plain design – this shouldn’t be a problem, though, as there’s more to it than just looks.

Pros & Highlights:

  • Moderately expensive
  • Massive bass boost
  • Micro USB ports
  • Superior features
  • Amazing performance
  • Highly durable due to aluminum construction

Features:

  • Micro USB ports
  • Blue LED-lit screen
  • Up to 3.5 decibels at 60 Hz frequency
  • Four hours charging time
  • Works up to 16 hours when fully charged
  • OPA1642 preamp
  • AD8397 amp
  • Aluminum body construction
  • Works at 16-150 Ohms

2PreSonus HP2 Personal Headphone Amplifier

PreSonus HP2 headphone amp belongs to the bottom bracket of the “expensive” price point range, but you’ll see soon enough why it’s so highly valuable for the cash.

First of all, it can operate on 9V batteries or DC adaptors. Furthermore, it comes supplied with dual female connectors and a single stereo phone connector, there are volume & pan control knobs, as well as Stereo & Mono switch.

The backlit LED indicators can show you the battery lifetime, but there’s more. A whole set of complementary features comes with each package, including a mic stand, a belt clip, a mount socket, and the 2m cable.

Pros & Highlights:

  • Compact and small
  • Easy to use
  • Moderately expensive
  • High performance
  • A set of complementary features

Features:

  • Volume and Pan controls
  • Powered by 9V batteries or DC adapters
  • Stereo headphone amp
  • Two XLR connection inputs
  • Stereo phone connector
  • Stereo/Mono switch
  • Battery LED-lit indicator

3ART Pro Audio HeadAmp 4 Four Channel Headphone Amplifier

ART’s Pro Audio HeadAmp Headphone amplifier is moderately expensive, but it boasts supreme levels of reliability and performance. When it comes to boosting your headphone’s volume, you won’t have to sweat about a single thing – it’s extremely easy to use it, and it will definitely last you for years.

On top of all, there is a total of 8 outputs and 4 channels for you to utilize. Plainly speaking, this is one of the best headphone amp models for the money.

Pros & Highlights:

  • Moderate price
  • Four channels
  • Fairly easy to use
  • Various inputs and outputs
  • Solid performance and reliability

Features:

  • 8 outputs
  • 4 channels
  • 1/8″ and 1/8″ inputs & outputs
  • Lower noise and distortion
  • Custom stackable metal case

4FiiO A5 Portable Headphone Amplifier – Titanium

FiiO‘s A5 Portable headphone amp features only the best parts, and it excels in performance, reliability, and durability. Needless to say, this is one of the best headphone amps that money can buy, as it offers more than it demands.

Surely enough, it’s quite expensive, and most people don’t like the notion of paying extra for small amps. Anyhow, if you take all of the majestic benefits into consideration, you’ll find A5 to be extremely valuable for the cash, even though it costs a lot.

Pros & Highlights:

  • Quite expensive
  • Genuine, simple design
  • Superior in virtually all fields of performance
  • Clear sound at all times
  • Extremely powerful headphone amp

Features:

  • Signal/Noise ratio – 115 dB
  • Harmonic distortion – approximately 0.002%
  • A single switch for High/Low
  • Compact and practical design
  • Titanium color

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5Syba Sonic SD-DAC63057 24bit USB 2.0 plus Stereo Headphone Amplifier

Syba‘s Sonic SD-DAC63057 headphone amplifier comes in different variations, each holding a different value and price. There is a total of 7 different specification sets, including the 24bit, 96Khz, 3.5mm audio, Solo amplifier, Bass booster, Dac with Equalizer, Digital to Analog converter, and Tone control.

It’s safe to say that Syba’s Sonic SD-DAC63057 24bit headphone amplifier is the most versatile headphone amp on the market. The only downfall is that each variation costs differently, so the price ranges from measley $30 to over $100.

Pros & Highlights:

  • Incredibly versatile
  • Supports 0.25″ jacks
  • Plug & Play method of operation
  • Decently affordable

Features:

  • Operation – TI LM4562 USB powered
  • Sampling rate 24-bit/96 Khz
  • De-Pop function – Suppress Pop noise
  • Compatible with 3.5mm (0.25″) headphone jacks

6Creative Sound Blaster E1 Portable Headphone Amplifier

with Integrated Mic and Dual Headphone Jacks for PC and Smartphones

Creative‘s Sound Blaster headphone amp is among the few cheap headphone amps that excel in performance. It comes supplied with a set of outstanding features, and it’s more than valuable for the cash. All in all, Sound Blaster E1 should be your first choice if you’re searching for a high-quality headphone amp for little cash.

Pros & Highlights:

  • Relatively cheap
  • Sound Blaster comes in “Wireless” and “Hardware Acceleration” variations
  • Powerful amplifier that boasts 600 Ohm of power
  • Built-In Li-Ion batteries that can last up to twenty-five hours
  • Great features

Features:

  • Six hundred Ohm of power
  • 106db SnR output
  • Headphone splitter
  • Built-In Li-Ion batteries
  • Built-in mono mic
  • SBX Pro Studio suite
  • Crystal Voice feature

7TOPPING Portable Headphone Amplifier

 

The sixth item on our list is Topping‘s NX1A portable headphone amp. Basically, this headphone amp is the only budget variant of a high-quality headphone amplification device, but the price alone can’t say too much about it.

This amp is incredibly small and compact, making it extremely easy to use. This amp will reduce distortion in the sound and enhance the range of dynamics, offering premium-quality audio as a result. All in all, Topping’s NX1A holds quite a value for the cash.

Pros & Highlights:

  • Literally, a bargain;
  • Convenient design;
  • Small and compact;
  • Decent features;

Features:

  • Small, sleek construction
  • Low-noise circuit
  • Distortion reducer
  • Dynamics enhancer
  • Compatible with MP3, MP4, mobile phones, and PCs

8SMSL sApII TRA6120A2 Big Power High Fidelity Stereo Headphone Amplifier

We’re entering the upper bracket of the “moderate” price point category with SMSL‘s sApll TPA6120A2 headphone amplifier. This model excels in durability and easiness of use, but it comes equipped with only several channels.

All in all, the minuscule drawbacks and flaws can be easily compensated for by the vast majority of pros and potential benefits, such as smooth signal channel, superior durability, and balanced power distribution. In summary, this little headphone amplifier holds quite a value for the cash.

Pros & Highlights:

  • Smooth signal channel
  • Very durable
  • Moderate price
  • Balanced power distribution
  • Corrugated lows

Features:

  • Two-way switch circuit
  • 3.5 earphone seat
  • RCA block
  • High connection between inputs and outputs
  • PSE certified

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9Behringer AMP800 Four Channel Headphone Amp

Pros & Highlights:

  • High-tech design
  • State-of-the-art technology and features
  • Extremely valuable for a high-end headphone amp
  • Good for the price, even though it’s not too affordable
  • Majestic performance
  • Compact headphone amp

Features:

  • The 9.5″ amplifier system
  • Four independent high-power amp sections
  • High sonic quality
  • Phones Level Control
  • Accurate 6-digit screen LED-backlit
  • Two balanced stereo inputs
  • Level & Balance Controls

10Samson S-Amp 4-Channel Headphone Amp

Samson‘s S-Amp 4-Channel Headphone amp is pretty plain, but still quite powerful. It’s one of the last items on our list that belongs to the “affordable” price point category, but it stands out from the rest of the bunch by being more powerful and easier to use.

All in all, this headphone amp features four stereo outputs along with individual controls for each one, four channels, and 18 V AC adapter. It’s safe to say that you’ll have a hard time finding a better headphone amp in the price range.

Pros & Highlights:

  • Decently affordable
  • Supremely reliable
  • Four channels
  • Individual controls for each of four headphone outputs
  • Complementary feature – the 18 V AC adapter

Features:

  • Four channels
  • Four stereo outputs
  • Individual volume controls
  • Stereo 0.25″ input
  • 18 V AC adapter

Headphone Amplifier Buying Guide: What are you looking for?

First of all, you should make a difference between single, dual, triple, and quad-channel headphone amps. Of course, there are some models that come equipped with over 10 channels, but those are not consumer-grade.

Sennheiser HDVD 800 Headphone Amplifier with DAC
Sennheiser HDVD 800 Headphone Amplifier with DAC

Furthermore, there are budget and high-end headphone amps likeSennheiser HDVD 800, but we will discuss these in the section below. All in all, you first need to decide which headphone amp is best for you, before all else. A short list of headphone amp types:

  • By price – budget, average, and high-end
  • By design – bulky, average, small, and ultra-small (sometimes called “compact”)
  • By the number of channels – single, dual, triple, quad, and above
  • By performance – consumer-grade and professional

Once you’ve understood these types, you can narrow down your selection.

For instance, you’re low on cash, so you want a budget headphone amp.

Furthermore, if your need for it isn’t so dire, you may want to overlook the design, so both the average and compact headphone amp will do.

On top of that, you might want to consider your housemates, roommates, or your significant other. If you’re living alone, or

if you’re the only one who’s using the headphone amp, a single channel will do.

However, if you intend to share this amplification device with more people, you might want to consider models that are supplied with multiple channels.

Lastly, do you intend to use the headphone amp for parties (if you’re a DJ, for example) and other professional things, or do you just want to boost your music experience?

There’s a huge difference in performance and price when it comes to professional headphone amps, so casual listeners are advised to go with the consumer-grade option.

How far will you go concerning the price?

Understanding the price point categories will give you more insight about the product you’re searching for. The value, performance, durability, outstanding featuresall of these things are taken into account when determining the price of an item, and that applies to all things, not just headphone amps.

Anyhow, let’s address the issue of price.

Any sane person would want to pay the least amount of cash for the best possible outcome, but where do we draw the golden line? Actually, the answer to this question is simple – it’s in you.

First of all, you will want to determine the urgency of buying a headphone amp. A working-class casual listener only has so much to spend, so, if you’re really in a pinch with cash, you might want to save up for a better model.

Furthermore, the price isn’t always the truest indicator of quality. For instance, we’ve included some cheap models that excel in virtually all fields of performance. Last, but not least, there’s value. “Value” is the category that’s often represented as a ratio between cost and efficiency. Sometimes paying top dollar helps, sometimes it doesn’t.

Outstanding features and how to recognize them

Let’s assume that you’re a layman when it comes to headphone amps, and that you don’t know what features you should look out for.

This is perfectly fine, as there are people who don’t know that such things exist.

Anyhow, let’s get straight to the point. You want a headphone amp that has an equalizer option (or at least compatible with an equalizer option). This option is not supplied to all models, but it’s extremely valuable as it allows you to customize the sound output.

Furthermore, it would be great if the model you are considering to buy is compatible with the latest hardware (MP3, MP4, smartphones, and such). The Audio booster is one of the most basic features, but it wouldn’t hurt to know what it does. Different brands name this feature differently, and there are some models that combine EQ with Audio booster.