Headphones, on their own, have limitations. I have always found it irritating when trying to watch video content or a movie when — even with my volume maxed out — I can’t hear what’s happening. This occurs regardless of whether I’m using earbuds or noise-canceling headphones. The good news is that the best headphone amp fortifies volume without detracting from the overall sound quality.
I have used applications in the past to increase volume. But they never seem to work as well as a genuine amplifier. So, if you want amplified audio without sacrificing quality, then the best headphone amp is an affordable necessity.
How the Best Headphone Amp Pumps up the Volume
An amp, otherwise known as an amplifier, helps boost audio volume. Whether the device is a pair of headphones, a speaker, or another device altogether, amps work by increasing low-voltage signals. These signals better excite the magnets in audio devices to more efficiently increase the audio without losing quality.
There are three qualities to consider when searching for the best headphone amp unit:
First, portability is important if you want to amplify audio sent to your headphones from a mobile device like a laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
Second, you also need to consider whether the amp unit has a rechargeable internal battery. If it does, how long does this battery’s charge last?
And third, you must account for the number of output jacks. For most affordable non-portable models, you should seek a unit with at least four channels.
Either way, it’s only natural to have some questions about the best headphone amp models.
Will the best headphone amp alter sound quality?
The best headphone amp models will amplify sound input without deteriorating its quality.
Will a headphone amp require batteries or a wall outlet charger?
It depends on whether you get a portable unit or a standard unit.
Portable units do, generally, have rechargeable batteries.
What size headphone jack do I need to use with a headphone amp?
The best headphone amp units support standard 3.5-millimeter headphone jacks.
What range of impedance and resistance do the best headphone amp models support?
Most of the best headphone amp models support an impedance of 16 to 300 ohms.
Do the best headphone amp models support multiple outputs?
Most home units support multiple outputs, while most portable units only support a single output.
How We Reviewed
We reviewed the best headphone amp models by researching data from multiple sources. In addition to online customer reviews, we also researched video reviews from YouTube.
Also, we turned to reviews from SoundGuys and WhatHiFi to culminate the most accuracy.
Introducing the 10 Best Headphone Amp Models
The best headphone amp models’ have a wide range of prices, though there are many inexpensive options for people on a budget. While these products are numbered, they are in no particular order.
1. Proster Headphone Amplifier
The first of the best headphone amp models is a Proster product, and it is as versatile as it is compact. We loved that it not only works with headphones, but also MP3 players, mobile phones, desktop computers, iPods, laptops, and even CD players.
Also, be aware that this model works with the standard 3.5-millimeter headphone jack.
Additionally, this model features an aluminum alloy shell that shields against and reduces signal interference. We also liked that it has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which the manufacturer claims provides up to eight hours of continuous usage.
Plus, the manufacturer includes a USB charging cable, and it has a charging indicator to measure current levels of power.
Its interface is simple, consisting of just a power button, headphone jack, and volume knob.
2. Schiit Magni 3
The next of the best headphone amp models comes from the audio brand Schiit.
It has a 2000-milliwatt rating and 32 ohms of electrical resistance. One thing we liked about it is that it has three separate pre-amp outputs. That way, you can connect it to desktop monitors or speakers in addition to headphones.
The manufacturer claims that it’s highly versatile, too. You can use it with any in-ear monitors (IEMs) types of headphones as well as hard-to-drive planar models.
3. FIFINE Stereo Headphone Amplifier – N6
FIFINE manufactures the next best headphone amp on our list. But this model has two key advantages over the previous two alternatives.
First of all, it’s a great budget option. Second of all, it has four separate channels and outputs, so you can amplify audio through more than just a pair of headphones without needing to remove and connect audio equipment.
However, this model requires electricity from a wall outlet, though the manufacturer does include a 12-volt charger.
We did like that this model has a one-year warranty too, so you’re protected from manufacturing defects and broken parts. Online reviewers said that this model suffers no loss in fidelity and that they were surprised at its performance level.
4. Behringer Ultra-Compact 4-Channel Stereo Headphone Amplifier
This Behringer amplifier is more directly comparable to the previous amp unit as opposed to the first two. This model is another basic model, and it also requires power from a 12-volt wall cable.
Like the previous model, this amp also has four channels, each with its own separate volume control knob. Unfortunately, some online reviewers claimed that this model badly distorted sound in their experience, though they did like the individual volume knobs.
5. LVY Portable Headphone Amplifier
The LVY Portable Headphone Amplifier is another contender for the best headphone amp, and it’s well-suited for people looking for a lower end, basic option.
One advantage this model has over the previous two units is that it is more compact and offers portability. It does, unfortunately, only offer one headphone jack, so you can only use it with one device at a time.
However, it does support standard 3.5-millimeter devices and has a load impedance of 16 to 300 ohms. Naturally, as a portable unit, it doesn’t require the use of a wall outlet charger since it has an internal battery.
The manufacturer claims that the battery has enough capacity for up to 15 hours of continuous use.
One online reviewer reported that near the higher end of the volume’s range, they started to hear crackles. But others claimed this model provided great sound quality for mobile devices, including iPods and iPhones.
6. Nobsound Douk Audio 100W Mini Bluetooth 5.0 HiFi Power Amplifier
Nobsound manufactures the next best headphone amp on our list, and it has features unlike any of the previous models. Even though it’s a low- to mid-range product, it has the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology.
It has a 3.5-millimeter auxiliary input jack as well as speaker inputs. However, note that this model doesn’t have an internal battery, so you will need to anchor it to a wall outlet with its 19-volt power supply.
Plus, the manufacturer claims this model doesn’t have any power sparks issues, and that it has a built-in circuit protector to guard your speakers.
We did like that it has separate treble and bass tone controls. This model also has a fairly long 18-month manufacturer warranty and life-long technical customer support.
7. FiiO E10K USB DEC Headphone Amplifier
The FiiO E10K USB DEC Headphone Amplifier is another prime example of the best headphone amp on the market. This model is mid- to high-range, though it does have a PCM102 DAC chip, which can handle PCM files up to 24 bits at 96 kilohertz.
The manufacturer claims this unit provides improved audio quality with a linear filter and reduced delay and internal silence. Furthermore, FiiO claims that it has an optimized low-pass filter to provide a low noise floor.
Additionally, this model comes with a micro-USB cable, which allows you to charge its battery from your laptop.
We liked how compact it is and that its interface design is elegantly simple. There is only one headphone jack, one on and off switch, and one volume control knob.
Interestingly enough, an online reviewer complained that this amplifier caused their computer to crash, though the root cause could be any number of ancillary reasons unrelated to the amplifier.
8. Proster Headphone Amplifier 16-500Ω
The Proster FiiO E10Kis on the low- to mid-range of the spectrum and represents another suitable option for one of the best headphone amp models.
Like most other portable models, this unit features a matte aluminum exterior. It also has a gain switch so you can match output to your headphones.
We also liked the longevity of this portable unit’s internal battery. As the manufacturer claims, it allows for 16 hours of continuous use. Its other features include a signal-to-noise ratio over 100 decibels and a maximum of 500 ohms of resistance.
9. ART HeadAMP 4
The FiiO E10K is also a suitable multi-channel output amplifier for headphones. This example of the best headphone amp model leans more toward the higher end of the market.
It features both eighth-inch and quarter-inch inputs and outputs and has four separate volume knobs for each channel. However, it does not have an internal battery and is constrained to a wall outlet.
As the manufacturer claims, it has lower noise, lower distortion, and more output to help magnify audio levels without inferior quality.
10. Monolith by Monoprice Liquid Spark Headphone Amplifier
This FiiO E10K amplifier rounds out our picks for the best headphone amp currently available.
Monoprice proudly claims that because of this unit’s DC technology and lack of capacitors, its design does not harm sound quality. Furthermore, it features laser JFETs (a type of transistor) for differential input stages.
We also like its compact design. But while it is a portable model, we wish it had more than one output jack.
We also took note of its warranty and money-back guarantee. Not only does it have a one-year repair warranty, but it also has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Boost Your Favorite Audio with the Best Headphone Amp
Whether you need a portable unit for improved audio with a mobile device or a home unit as part of a home entertainment solution, the best headphone amp is imperative to a quality listening experience.
Where are sound-boosting apps available, though they are an inferior solution and lead to a loss of sound quality.
Instead, we suggest investing in one of the best headphone amps to get the most out of your audio entertainment.
Have any tips or tricks for boosting audio, either with or without a headphone amp? Let us know in the comments below!
Last update on 2021-01-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API