10 Best Headphone Amps for 2022

Dave Mostert
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Even though a lot of people don’t realise it, headphones require amplification just like any other speakers.

Headphones are passive and can’t produce sound on their own.

That’s why they always come with quite flimsy wires, which usually end up fraying and eventually breaking after a few months of use.

This can cause dramas, especially if you’re at the gym or working out on the go.

The solution? Invest in an amplifier.

You can hook your headphones directly to an amplifier, so you can listen to your favorite tunes without worrying about your headphones breaking.

Before we jump straight to the reviews of best headphone amps, let’s quickly review the six key criteria you should consider before making your choice.

Now, let’s get to it —.

The 10 Best Headphone Amps For Your Money in 2019:

  • Best Headphone Amps Comparison Chart
  • Razer Gunmetal
NameCategoryProduct
FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone AmplifierBest OverallFiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier
4-Channel Portable Stereo Headphone AmplifierBudget Pick4-Channel Portable Stereo Headphone Amplifier
DR Pro Tripod Mic StandUpgrade PickDR Pro Tripod Mic Stand

1. FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

Our rating: 9 / 10

FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

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Pros:

  • Good value for price
  • Compatible with a variety of mobile devices
  • Very compact and portable size
  • Excellent build quality
  • Sufficient power output for iems and headphones alike
  • Zero hiss operation
  • Gain switch
  • Additional bass boost switch
  • Flat, clean sound profile
  • Sound quality can be easily tweaked through various mobile apps

Cons:

  • Small screen
  • Quite a few tiny buttons
  • Gain switch, while good, doesn’t make a difference for most headphones
  • Bass boost switch is a bit too heavy on bass boost

The FiiO E10K USB DAC and headphone amplifier is a high quality piece of equipment that’s made with a very solid construction. It’s very compact and portable and can be easily carried in your back pocket.

This device gives you more than adequate power for iems, but may not be enough for larger headphones like the Grado SR60s. This device is compatible with a variety of Apple and Android devices, and connects through a 3.5mm jack.

2. 4-Channel Portable Stereo Headphone Amplifier

Our rating: 8 / 10

4-Channel Portable Stereo Headphone Amplifier

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Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Well-built and solidly constructed
  • Includes a power adapter
  • Has a detachable power cord
  • Supports both 1/4 and 1/8 inch inputs so you can use your own cables
  • You can adjust the bass and treble independently
  • Comes with a three-year warranty
  • 110 decibel output capability
  • A one-size-fits-all earpiece
  • Two additional inputs for other devices

A portable four-channel stereo headphone amp is a must if you need to use headphones for your home or studio audio equipment. It is a small audio device that simply connects your music device to your speakers.

If you are looking for the best headphone amp in the market today, Pyle Products PHA40R should be your first choice. This product comes with an adapter and can be operated with it or on battery. Also, it is pretty lightweight so carrying it around isn’t a problem.

3. FiiO A3 Portable Headphone Amplifier

Our rating: 8 / 10

FiiO A3 Portable Headphone Amplifier

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Pros:

  • Class A/B amplifier
  • 4.5" TFT screen with 320×240 screen resolution
  • 128Mb on-board memory
  • Plays MP3s, WAV, FLAC, APE, CC and WMA formats
  • Made in Japan
  • 2200mAH Battery for up to 10 hours of playing time
  • Can charge via USB as well as battery
  • Very low internal resistance
  • Feedback cancellation capability
  • Dimensions: 6.5" x 4" x 1"

Cons:

  • Some units don’t come programmed and you may have to send it back to FiiO
  • It does not have a remote control

The new improved FiiO A3 Portable Headphone Amplifier is one of the best rated devices on the market that can boost or amplify the volume on your headphones from 64% to 200%. This enables your smartphone, mp3 player or any other portable device to play songs with enhanced audio quality through your favorite headphones.

4. Nobsound NS-08E Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier Hi-Fi Valve Headphone Amp Stereo Audio Preamplifier

Our rating: 7 / 10

Nobsound NS-08E Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier Hi-Fi Valve Headphone Amp Stereo Audio Preamplifier

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Pros:

  • Provides great sound and deep lows
  • Comes in an affordable price
  • Built-in headphone amplifier
  • Detachable RCA audio input connector

This is a Vacuum Tube with Hi-Fi Preamplifier Headphone Amp NS-08E, which can amplify the sound from the computers and music players, and turn it into a better acoustic vibration.

Nobsound NS-08E is a high-grade vacuum tube operated with Hi-Fi Headphone Amplifier Vacuum Tube. It is with high fidelity, ultra-low distortion, low noise, particularly suitable for high sensitivity headphones with balanced armature.

This vacuum tube headphone amplifier could relieve a lot of external noise and reproduce your favorite music better and clearer. With this vacuum tube headphone amplifier, you can enjoy the colorful music and sing with it!

5. Creative Sound Blaster E1 Portable Headphone Amplifier

Our rating: 7 / 10

Creative Sound Blaster E1 Portable Headphone Amplifier

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Features a dual input
  • Sleek and compact design
  • Supports two devices at a time
  • Permits simultaneous control of two devices
  • 3.5mm and 6.3mm jack for universal use
  • The matte finish does not scratch easily

(Black)

This Creative Sound Blaster E1 portable headphone amplifier has a 3.5mm and 6.35mm jack for universal use. At present, it features a dual input that permits simultaneous control of two devices.

Moreover, this model features a sleek and compact design that is ideal for everyday use and travel. It supports the use of two devices at a time and permits simultaneous control. With this dual-input design, you can play games on your PC while simultaneously taking calls from your smartphone. This is an excellent feature that’s not available in high-end models.

6. DR Pro Tripod Mic Stand

Our rating: 6 / 10

DR Pro Tripod Mic Stand

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Pros:

  • Studio quality with added durability and stability
  • Compatible with all kinds of microphones, including condenser and dynamic models
  • Made from sturdy construction materials
  • Telescoping boom allows for flexible positioning of the microphone
  • Attractive design that fits easily with the decor of your room
  • Can be used for recording a wide variety of instruments as well
  • Tripod stand increases stability and durability
  • Features 360-degree revolving boom arm
  • Very affordable price tag

The DR Pro Tripod mic stand with telescoping boom is a fantastic choice for those who want to get the best experience from recording their audio content. It comes from a respected manufacturer of audio equipment and has been designed to provide a stable and durable set up for any type of microphone. You can use it with different types of microphone, including condenser and dynamic models. The material used in the construction ensures added durability.

The Stand is also highly versatile, as it allows you to use it for recording a variety of instruments from vocalists to drummers.

The stand features a telescoping boom arm that allows you to adjust the microphone to the exact location you want it to be. You can use the boom arm for 360-degree movements and still ensure that the microphone stays in place.

7. Behringer Microamp HA400 Ultra-Compact 4-Channel Stereo Headphone Amplifier,Silver

Our rating: 6 / 10

Behringer Microamp HA400 Ultra-Compact 4-Channel Stereo Headphone Amplifier,Silver

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Pros:

  • Small enough to fit in your pocket
  • Come with a strap for easier storage
  • Fits most types of earphones and headphones
  • Provides great audio quality
  • 3.5 mm input/output jacks
  • Two-year warranty
  • 240 mW power
  • Can be used for sound monitoring

Cons:

  • Limited setting for bass boosts
  • No sound isolation

Available in black or silver, these little amps are super small and light, making them easy to carry around and the ideal choice for anyone who’s always on the go. This product has the added benefit of a strap, so you can easily wrap it around your neck or place it inside your pocket.

This product is also really easy to use as it doesn’t need any additional equipment to operate. It’s perfect for use in small, cramped spaces because of its compact design. The 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response ensures you’ll be able to get quality sound out of your product. You’ll even get two bass boost settings.

8. Monoprice 611502 Mini Headphone Amplifier

Our rating: 6 / 10

Monoprice 611502 Mini Headphone Amplifier

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Adjustable, so it's great for guitar or bass
  • Can work with many headphones
  • Utilizes a high-voltage, low-noise amplifier design

Cons:

  • Because it's small and lightweight, it can easily get knocked around
  • The volume knob is quite small and can be difficult to adjust

When it comes to cheap headphone amps, there's one model that consistently tops the list: the Monoprice Headphone Amplifier for Guitar, aka Tube Overdrive. This little gem is affordable, pretty, and it sounds great.

The amplifier boasts some great specs with a high-voltage, low-noise power supply, and a BUFFERED output that allows for the use of guitar pedals and effects. It's also very lightweight, so you can easily take it on the go with you. The unit also sports a 3.5mm input jack and volume control knob for headphones and recording gear.

9. FiiO A1 Silver Portable Headphone Amp A1

Our rating: 5 / 10

FiiO A1 Silver Portable Headphone Amp A1

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Pros:

  • Small and light
  • Affordable solution for audiophiles on a budget
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Features a relative OLED display
  • Universal source selection

Cons:

  • Bass levels could be better
  • Might not have enough output for multi-amping
  • Screen positioning might not be ideal for some people

Our pick for best headphone amp in 2020 is the FiiO A1 Silver Portable Headphone Amp Amp. As the successor to the popular amplifier, FiiO decided to stick to a small and light design for the A1B. In fact, the amp weighs just 2.6 ounces, which means you can carry it around in your pocket without feeling any weight. And since it’s so light, it doesn’t need an external power source.

As for sound quality, the brand didn’t stray too far from the A1, so there’s very little difference between the two with respect to sound quality. The amplifier supports most audio sources and is compatible with the vast majority of headphones. In addition, it also features a high-resolution OLED screen for you to see the selected setting, current volume, and other adjustments.

10. M-Audio Bass Traveler

Our rating: 5 / 10

M-Audio Bass Traveler

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Pros:

  • Accepts input from any source with a headphone jack
  • Works with both Mac and PC computers
  • Two 4-ohm output jacks and one 1/4-inch output jack
  • Super-compact design with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Onboard battery provides up to eight hours of playback
  • Volume and gain controls for easy adjustment

The last two years have seen an influx in the use of headphones; local commuting, long-haul flights, just listening to music at home; all have increased the thirst for efficient, affordable headphone amps.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best headphone amplifier?

The best headphone amplifier may not be all that important for your listening pleasure if you listen exclusively at home and think a headphone amplifier is completely unnecessary.

However, for any audiophile who listens to music at work, on a plane, in the car or on a noisy train, a headphone amplifier becomes a useful tool. They allow you to play loud music without bothering those around you.

Using high-quality headphones with an amp already built-in is an equally good solution, but it comes with some serious drawbacks. For starters, the best amps are far more expensive than the best IEMs (in-ear monitors, like earbuds).

How do I choose a headphone amp?

The first thing to consider before purchasing a headphone amp is to determine whether you really need an amp at all. Let's start with on-ear headphones. On-ear headphones do not require an amp because they are balanced for higher resistance, typically around 32 ohms or more, which is a normal resistance for most earbuds. However, earbuds do typically require an amp, typically in the range of 10-100 ohms.

The second thing to consider is the efficiency rating for the headphones. The lower the number, the heavier the weight and the harder they are to drive. The efficiency is defined as the amount of energy needed to push the headphones to a certain decibel level, for example, 90 dB.

Will a headphone amp improve quality?

Yes!

The biggest complaint about most headphones is that they tend not to sound balanced. A lot of them are too loud, muddy, or too bass-heavy. Many times there is also very little voice clarity.

A headphone amp, such as the O2 by HifiMan, AK 240 Gen 3, Objective 2 by Peachtree Audio, XCAN V2, and Cocktail Audio, fixes all of these problems. With an amp, you’ll hear the full spectrum of sound that a studio intended you to hear. You will experience clear, crisp sound that shows off what your headphones can truly do. No more canned headphones!

Are tube headphone amps worth it?

When creating a recording intended for public consumption (as in music for others to listen to), it is best to record into a microphone. This produces a high-quality performance, not to mention it is easy to start and stop.

What if you want to record some thoughts so you can put them on a digital audio recorder? You may use your smartphone on this task.

For years, there has been some concern regarding this method. Many people say that the file created by your smartphone is not of the best quality and furthermore, it may have an undesirable distortion.

This situation is where the headphone amp comes in.

You can use a headphone amplifier as the headphone output on an audio recorder. This is a tool that prevents any distortion from occurring in the first place.

You simply plug the headphone output of the amplifier into your smartphone and plug your headphones into the amplifier.

Conclusion

The key to buy the best headphone amplifier is to get one that can enhance your listening experience with your phones, and that’s exactly what we’ve done for you here.

But that also begs another question: what is the best thing for you? We’d strongly suggest taking a look at our key consider sections, and make a judgement call from there. We –ve put them all side by side for you, so you can see all of the major differentiators at play.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone AmplifierBest OverallFiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier
4-Channel Portable Stereo Headphone AmplifierBudget Pick4-Channel Portable Stereo Headphone Amplifier
DR Pro Tripod Mic StandUpgrade PickDR Pro Tripod Mic Stand