Best Headphone Amp 2018: When it comes to listening to music, the best way to listen to music that may come to your mind is using a headphone. Headphones obviously have a unique charm and deliver the perfect aura of music to your ears. What you might not know about using a headphone is that it can provide better delivery of the same using if you use some more instruments with it.
The best way to amplify the music of a headphone is by using a headphone amp. You can use a headphone amp to get better detail of every song you listen to. Here you will know more about the best portable headphone amp and other information about using a headphone amp.
How to evaluate Headphone Amp
Headphone amps often keep changing in their specifications and technologies. You might be using an outdated version of the same headphone amp. Mostly, the latest headphone amps are the best for any user. The latest headphone amps come with the best of the technologies and have the best design.
There are certain areas which you need to consider before buying a headphone amp. Some come at a lower price but lack in specifications. Others have a superior sound quality but may compromise the stylish design. It takes extensive testing to get to know the value of a headphone amp. The best USB headphone amps are a good balance of everything. The best headphone amps have a superior sound quality and have a good price rating. They are neither very stylish nor very outdated.
They are a perfect value for your money. And when it comes to delivering the superior performance, the best USB headphone amps provide the best sound quality. Most headphones require a headphone amp to amplify their sound quality. After all, they are speakers and you need to amplify their music quality by some value. Some headphone amps are easy to use because you just need to plug in these headphone amps to your phone to use them. But there are some other headphone amps which provide better quality because they are made for superior sound delivery.
How does Headphone Amp work?
A headphone amp is usually a small amplifier which you can connect to your headphone jack or the output of an audio source to amplify the music. If you consider a headphone amp in terms of physics you will find that a headphone amp takes a very high impedance as input and produces an output with lower impedance.
These devices produce higher volumes and superior quality when you compare them with other less expensive and smaller headphone amps. A headphone usually provides power output in the range of 10 mW to 2W and can range up to 6W. These devices can increase the volume of a headphone because they provide extra voltage which increases the volume.
Most headphone amps are specifically designed to produce higher output. Such devices can even increase the volume of headphones that are probably too quiet. This is a simple electronic device and therefore attracts several DIY amateurs with its simple design. The internet houses several designs and models of such headphone amps which are designed by enthusiastic designers.
- These devices vary largely in their cost as well as complexity.
- These devices are mainly based on the op-amp specifications.
There are several types of professional headphone amps. The ones that are most popular and widely used by the public are the Sub-mixing capable headphone amps and the Distribution headphone amps.
- Sub-Mixing capable headphone amps : This type of headphone amp allows a user to adjust the various specifications of the music coming from the source. This type of amplifier is often used in combination with a playback device and other sub-mix devices. The users can change the settings of the music like the bass, treble etc.
- Distribution headphone Amps : This type of headphone amp can derive input from a single source and provide output to multiple points. These are mainly used as distribution amplifiers to amplify a single source and send it to multiple devices.
Based on these specifications there are several top-quality headphone amps available in the market. Here are some of the best headphone amps you can buy and use to have a great time listening to your music.
Best Headphone Amp: High Range
SPL Phonitor 2
This comes from the top headphone amp designer Sound Performance Lab. This brand designs one of the best qualities of headphone amps. The Phonitor 2 is specifically designed for the non-professional music lovers. You can use this device to reduce the noise level thereby increasing the volume quality substantially. It provides the best performance at higher frequencies. It is designed in such a way that you get almost all the control options handy. This is one of the best headphone amps out there and it comes in price range of $$$$.
Sennheiser HDVD 800 Headphone Amplifier with DAC
This is an updated version of headphone amp from the popular brand Sennheiser. It garnered a lot of public hype and honestly, it lived up to the expectations. It provides great volume boost by reducing the noise level. It produces highly glorifying sound and the sound quality is original and feels deep and real. It comes at a very reasonable amount in range of $$$$. It is one of the best headphone amps available in the market.
Woo Audio WA7
If you want a lightweight and less expensive headphone amp, this is the perfect buy for you. This is also the best looking and most stylish headphone ever. It has a bountiful of features. It reduces the distortion and noise to very low levels and produces high quality awesome music. This headphone amp is best priced at $$$.
Headphone amps are best suited to enhance the performance of music. You get to listen a totally different type of music with a headphone amp. The best headphone amps are the perfect companions to your headphones. Headphone amps can improve your sound quality by great levels.
Buying Guide and Setting Up
If you are one of those tech-savvy persons who want their entire gadgets right from smart phones, speakers, cameras, headphones to Laptops with glistening HD screens, top notch with superior quality features, high-end performance and look for every minute detail and read aplenty reviews before investing in gizmos, then you should be aware of the fact that you can enrich your music listening experience by investing in a headphone amplifier.
Yes! You read that right. By investing in a headphone amplifier, you get that extra edge music experience. Just plug into your amplifier and voila! You are ready to enjoy your music playlist. In fact, if you have invested in the right kind of amplifier it can even over shadow your speakers! But wait, what kind of amplifier is best one for you or which one of them is suitable for the task you particularly need it for?
With a myriad of options available in the market and each and every amplifier’s features quite intimidating when compared to the other one, you’ll be left confused from a plethora of options available in the market. No need to worry as here’s a guide for you all to choose the Best USB Headphone Amplifier to have an enthralling experience with your headphones.
What is a Headphone Amplifier
Your smart comes with a pre-installed amplifier to convert the digital signals into analog signals. But it’s not quite up to the mark. For all those audiophiles who are so much into music and owns spectacular headphones yet want more- Headphone Amplifiers are made just for them.
A headphone amplifier enhances the sound quality of your headphone by eliminating electrical impedance. The sound quality of headphone improves and the performance increases manifolds. While there are built-in amplifiers in your mobile phones, computers; if you want to improve the sound quality of your headphones, you can go for numerous external amplifiers available online.
Types of Headphone Amplifier
They can be classified into broadly three categories:
- Digital to Analog Convertors (DACs)- DACs convert audio files stored in your computer into analog signals for best experience as the sound quality of existing format is not well up to the mark.
- Desktop Headphone Amplifiers- They are most suitable stereo systems, home theater systems as well as computers.
- Portable Headphone Amplifier- the built in amplifiers in our smart phones, music players, laptops or iPods do not produce superior sound quality. This is why you need to have portable headphone amplifier to experience that aesthetic music listening moment whenever you are on the go. They are very small in size and its unique compact design can fit into your palm.
What kind of a Headphone Amplifier is the best to invest in
The first and foremost priority for many of us is portability. We usually plug-in our headphones while we are traveling from one place to another or while playing video games. So you surely want to go for portable Amplifier rather than anything bulky. There are various amplifiers available which weigh as light as 92g and are so tiny in size and compact and sleek in design that it will occupy very little space in your bag or can be kept in a pocket.
Amplifiers are available in low as well as high-ends. so it very well fit into everybody’s budget. Of course, as the price go high, its features increases manifolds and its sound quality enhancement techniques increases as well, Such as noise-cancellation, Bluetooth option and much more. But no need to lose your heart, as amplifiers even on the lower end tends to work fine. So if you are using a cheap headphone and buy an amplifier which is light on your pocket, do not worry! Just sit back, relax and enjoy as your amplifier will leave you with an exhilarating experience.
What’s the point of carrying an amplifier wherever you go if it doesn’t even last for 12 hours? Buying an expensive amplifier doesn’t guarantee a good battery backup. Just check beforehand the potency of the battery installed in amplifier and for how long will it work when fully charged. Also, make sure that it comes with USB Cable or wall charger for easy charging. You don’t want to roam around finding a particular type of charger for your amplifier.
RMS (root-mean-squared) Power
The RMS is the power driven by the amplifier into the headphones. This means it is the range of how loud or how low the sound will be. Just remember that 85 decibels for an extended period and 120 decibels for short period can hamper your hearing ability. Make sure your amplifier doesn’t damage your ears at its peak.
Wonderful Complexity of Gadgets
Well, if your amplifier carries a lot of knobs, discs, and buttons, you’ll be left confused wondering what these are for. In fact, you may put leave it in some corner of your room never to use it again! So be cautious before buying one that it is very simple in use and not ultra hi-tech so that even a 5-year-old child knows how to use it.
After all, you don’t want to waste one full day reading the manual and unfolding its hidden secrets.It’s highly recommended that you invest in your amplifier after thorough research online just as you would have done before buying your new home theater system or a smartphone. While there’s a constant dilemma whether to invest in a good quality headphones or setting aside some amount for amplifiers, there’s no doubt that amplifiers do wonders for your stereo systems, laptops or headphones and works like a dedicated machine by giving high-end performance.
If you are one of those Gaming enthusiasts or a music maniac and wants to keep yourself locked in your virtual world, investing in the headphones alone is not right. Buy an amplifier meeting your budget ends and needs to give you a resonant experience. Amplify your way of listening music from today!
Best Headphone Amp - FiiO A3 Portable Headphone Amp
With a majority of the headphone manufacturing companies rolling out devices with a huge amount of power and performance, the requirement for headphone amplifiers, which increase the power supplied to headphones, has come into prominence. Depending on various performance levels, the cost of a headphone amp can vary right from as low as $15 to as high as $1000.
Why Should you Buy this Headphone Amp?
If you are looking for a headphone amp with great specs and, at the same time, which comes within your budget, the FiiO A3 portable headphone amplifier is definitely worth looking at. This is the best portable headphone amp for you with a not-so pricy tag and still packing in some serious power. This makes it the best overall product for your requirement.
Good things about FiiO A3 Headphone Amp
The FiiO A3 portable headphone amp is a pretty compact device which is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It sports an aluminum body and chassis, and is strong and sturdy. The body also provides shielding from external electromagnetic interference to the audio output. It has a knurled volume knob for ease of rotation to adjust the volume, and the knob is attached to a highly sensitive ALPS potentiometer. It also has toggle switches for enhanced use. A 1400mAH battery is used to power the amp for upto 16 hours of usage. It weighs only 92 gm, which is a lot lesser than even the iPhone 6, which is said to be the lightest phone ever. This design makes it easy for us to carry it in our pockets or hold it in our hands with comfort and ease.
This headphone amp connects to any device via a USB jack, and the output can be taken from the 3.5mm jack present on the device. A USB port is a standard port present on every laptop or PC. This makes the A3 the best USB headphone amp in this class. With this, connectivity is not going to be an issue at all.It covers the whole audible frequency of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, providing for a complete listening experience without missing out on anything, whether it be listening to high resolution audio files or just enjoying your favorite soundtrack on your favorite headphones.It has a toggle switch for high/low gain which can be adjusted according to the requirement. Another switch has been provided for easily switching the bass-boost on and off.
The A3 is designed for high-performance headphones. Accordingly, it has a high resistance range of 16 – 150 Ohms. Basically higher the impedance, higher we can take the overall sound quality in the headphones to be. So a range such as this means it can amplify signals to devices as small as earphones of all kinds right up to most of the high-performance over-the-head headphones used by the likes of professionals and gamers. It can easily power all but the most power-hungry headphones in the market.
Inside the FiiO A3 Headphone
The components used in the A3 have been expertly selected and used so as to provide the maximum power and quality at the same time to amplify sound and keep it crystal-clear. Its pre-amplifier section is based on Texas Instruments’ TI OPA1642 series of op-amps which include ultra low distortion, low-noise and excellent mid-frequency range resolutions. The advantage is that these op-amps are fully specified exclusively for audio applications. The power amplifier section relies on Analog Devices’ AD8397 for great bass control and smooth device characteristics. This judicious selection of components makes the A3 one of the best headphone amps with a more-than-satisfactory overall performance.
No headphones are complete with a fully loaded bass system. In this respect, the A3 does not disappoint. It consists of a fully discrete bass boost circuit which increases the output by 3.5dB at a frequency of 60Hz. It produces enough bass with a gentle swell of sound, at the same time preserving the overall sound quality. The bass system can also be switched off if needed for audio without any bass.
FiiO A3 Headphone: Price
The amp is also priced very competitively striking a fine balance between price and performance without compromising on either. At a price tag of $60, it is definitely the best value-for-money headphone amp you can buy in the market, thus making it the best headphone amp under $100.
Full specifications of the FiiO A3 portable headphone amp
- Dimensions: 91.2mm x 56mm x 13mm
- Weight: 92 gm
- Frequency Range: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
- Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) >108dB
- Distortion and Noise (THD+N): 0.004% (at 1kHz)
- Battery Capacity: 1400 mAh
- Charging time: 4 hours
- Functioning time: 16 hours
- Impedance Range: 16 – 150 Ohms
Top 10 Best Headphone Amp Reviews 2018
These are some of the best headphone amps available in the market. You can choose one according to your needs and you won’t regret. These headphone amps provide the best quality for their price.
Art HeadAmp6 6 Channel Headphone Amplifier
The HeadAmp6 6 Channel Headphone Amplifier is one of the best headphone amplifiers in the market. There are plenty of reasons that this gadget is one of the most appreciated headphone amplifiers. With an ability to power up to 18 headphones at the same time, this headphone amplifier also fits into your budget. It is perfect for both the music lovers as well as the professionals.
Features and Benefits
- A complete powerhouse for music lovers – This headphone amplifier can connect to up to 18 amplifiers simultaneously. This will enable you and your friends to enjoy the music at the same time. The quality of the music from this amplifier is the best suited to make you rock.
- Perfect control options – This tool has the best sound control options to enhance and boost your music’s treble, bass etc. The sound is also noise free and perfectly soothes your ears.
- LED metering tool – The LED metering system provides the best precision and accuracy.
- Multiple Functions and various audio options – The amplifier comes with various available functions which you can use to amplify your music. There are also several other options which enhance the quality of the music.
- Provides numerous headphone jacks so that you can enjoy the music in a group
- The master volume control provides an array of options to change the quality of music
- The LED metering tool is also a great addition.
- The price is set too high
- Input options are limited
FiiO A3 Portable Headphone Amplifier (Black)
According to a survey, this is the best portable headphone amp in the market. It is also the best headphone amp under 100. The high-power battery is one of the best additions to this headphone amplifier. This boosts the music levels by several times. The body of the gadget is made of aluminium which makes it stylish.
Features and Benefits
- Stylish Design – The body of the headphone amplifier is made of aluminium and looks very stylish. The chassis of the gadget is sturdy and looks very handsome. The body also shields the tool against electromagnetic interference.
- Superior Sound Quality – The headphone amplifier amplifies your music by several times and provides the best sound quality. It also provides several sound control options to control the treble, bass and other properties of any music.
- Powerful battery backup – The powerful 1400mAh battery provides good backup and you can now listen to music anytime anywhere. This makes it one of the best USB Headphone Amps.
- Fits your budget – At such a lower price, it is obviously the best budget headphone amp.
- The powerful battery backup provides good portable option
- The aluminium body looks very stylish
- The tool fits your budget and provides the best sound quality
- The headphone amp is not that sophisticated and does not provide many sound quality options.
- Bullet Point 2
ART HeadAmp6 Pro 6 Channel Professional Headphone Amplifier With EQ
This is one of the best professional headphone amps available in the market. This headphone comes with a variety of functions and sound control options which provide you with a great amount of freedom to listen to your favourite songs in the best possible way. It has a good monitoring system and lot more functionalities.
Features and Benefits
- Professionalism at its best – With this headphone amplifier, you get all the professional sound control options to turn yourself into a musical master.
- Multiple Monitoring Systems – This tool comes with multiple monitoring systems which make it easier for you to listen to your music the right way without mixing it with other songs.
- Good channel options – This headphone amp provides multiple channel options through which you can listen to your best songs.
- This is one of the best professional headphone amplifiers
- The functionalities and options provided in this headphone amp are of top quality
- You can listen to your songs in a whole new way
- This tool is not for the normal home user, it is too costly
AKG HP4E - 4-channel Headphone Amp
One of the many reasons to buy this headphone amp is its low price. Several reviews and ratings made this headphone amp the best budget headphone amp for the year 2014. There are several other reasons to buy this headphone amp. This is the perfect headphone amp for your home use.
Benefits and Features
- Small and compact – This is one of the most compact headphone amps available in the market. The lightweight of this headphone amp is one of the major reasons for its popularity.
- Multiple power supply options – This headphone amp comes with multiple power supply options which make it easier to fit any conditions.
- Fits into your budget – This is one of the best headphones for you because this is one of the most budget-friendly options.
- The price of this headphone amp is very affordable
- The multiple power supply options make it easier for you to carry it with yourself
- The compactness of the headphone amp is a great benefit
- This headphone amp is mostly suited for domestic applications
Audio-Technica Wireless headphone amplifier AT-PHA50BT BK
This Japan made lightweight and truly budget friendly headphone amp is aptly made for the home users like you. This headphone amp perfectly suits your budget and when it comes to providing the feel of the royal music, it is simply the best. It is the best buy option for headphone amps.
Benefits and Features
- Budget Friendly – This headphone amp is one of the best-suited headphones for a low budget. This is one of the best in its price range.
- Small and lightweight – This headphone amp is very small and is lightweight. You can carry it with yourself and get the feeling of the royal music anywhere and anytime.
- The cost of this headphone amp is very affordable
- The lightweight and compactness makes this headphone amp very portable
- This gadget is only suited for domestic use.
SMSL sApII TPA6120A2 Big Power High Fidelity Stereo Headphone Amplifier
These types of headphones amplifiers enhance the sound of your smartphone or the speakers of your desktop or car. The quality of this amplifier is also very nice as there is the minimum loss in the quality in these headphone amplifiers and they provide strong bass. If you will look at its price then you will find that according to its price, this product is superb. These qualities of this amplifier make it one of the best headphone amps under 100.
Features and Benefits
- Boost power and bass – This headphone amplifier boost the power of the speaker as well as the bass of the speaker.
- Plug and play – It is a very easy to use. You just need to plug it in and enjoy.
- Small and Portable – It is very small in size and can be carried easily from one place to another making it one of the best portable headphone amp.
- It can fully charge in just 10 minutes and that charge is long lasting as well.
- The quality is even improved after using this amplifier.
- There are no as such cons found till now.
Little Dot MK2 MKII 6J1 X2 6N6 X2 Headphone Amp Amplifier Pre-Amp Tube
This headphone amplifier is, however, little costly but the features of it nullify its cost. This headphone amplifier increases the quality of sound, output impedance, dynamic range and harmonic distortion.
Features and Benefits
- Improve the sound quality – when you connect the speaker of your devices with this then the quality of sound is increased greatly.
- Strong Bass – It provides strong bass to the voice of the speakers.
- The incredibly loud sound is provided by this headphone amplifier.
- The quality of sound is also very nice and the reviews of this product are proof of its quality.
- You need to off it after using it for 4 to 6 hours as it heats up after 4-5 hours.
- There are no other cons that you can find in this headphone amplifier.
Syba USB DSD DAC / Headphone Amplifier Digital To Analog Converter (SD-DAC63107)
This is also one of the best headphone amplifiers and the reason is its outstanding quality of sound and it is very loud sound. It is a digital audio playback system. It can be connected with USB very easily and this feature makes it one of the best USB headphone amp.
Features and Benefits
- Good Sound Quality – the sound quality of this headphone amplifier is also superb which makes it worth buying at its cost.
- Easy to Install – It is very easy to install it. You just need to plug it and then play. It is not at all difficult to use.
- It can be used with all android, windows, and MAC.
- Its treble, bass and balance selector works really very well.
- Some of the people have faced problem regarding its connectivity with Windows 10 and Mac.
FiiO E17K (E17) Alpen 2 Portable Headphone Amplifier
It is also a very good headphone amplifier. The sound quality of this amplifier is really very nice. This can be connected via a USB and coaxial digital to analog converter. If you will go through with its price, its quality and its reviews then you will find that it is the best budget headphone amp. It is small in size making it completely portable.
Features and Benefits
- External sound card – This headphone amplifier can be used as an external sound card for all your electronic devices.USB- It can be connected with USB for charging and for data exchange.Coaxial cable – It has a coaxial cable for the conversion of data from analog to digital.
- There is a control wheel in this amplifier for the control of gain, control of volume and control of the bass.
- It can be charged in 3 hours 40 minutes and then can be used continuously for 15 hours.
- It is portable and easy to carry.
- Check out the reviews of this, no one has faced any problem in this headphone amp till now.
OPPO HA-2 Portable Headphone Amplifier & DAC
This is also one of the best headphone amplifiers available in the market. The quality of sound is incredible, the bass is also very strong and size of it is also very small making it easy to carry. This can also act as a portable charger for your phone. You can also have a look at its reviews. All these features collectively make it a very good headphone amplifier.
Features and Benefits
- Easy to use – It can be connected with any device whether phone or desktops and that for both windows and Mac and can be connected very easily. It is just the type of plug and play.
- Portable charger – It can act as a portable charger for your phone.
- The ultimate quality of sound.
- Strong bass.
- Difficult to look for.
Wrapping it up
With an impressive performance sheet and a very decent price for such a power packed device, these headphones amps worth every penny you spend, and definitely the best budget headphone amp to go for.