Are you not satisfied with the lower sound offered by your headphones? The good news is you don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars to buy another pair of headphones; instead, you can simply buy an amp to improve the audio volume and quality.

Amp, the short form of 'amplifier', is a device that increases the existing volume range of the headphone by offering more output power.

The following reviews the best headphone amps shortlisted on the criteria such as available features, connectivity, and affordability.

Our Selection Process

Before proceeding, it’s essential to discuss the functionality of a headphone amp to set your expectations right. It amplifies the headphones’ output sound; however, it doesn’t enhance the accuracy or clarity of the original sound. Nonetheless, the key benefit of using a headphone amplifier is that it doesn’t distort the audio at the higher sound, which is a plus.

The two characteristics determine the quality of the best portable headphone amp - sensitivity and impedance. For instance, impedance represents the total amount of power required by the headphones, while sensitivity determines the peak audio.

It won’t be helpful to connect the amp to a headphone with higher sensitivity and low impedance. Generally speaking, a headphone with more than 32-ohm independence can benefit from headphone amps offering impedance ranging from 60 to 80 ohms.

The desktop headphone amps may or may not include a digital-to-analog converter (DAC amp). If the laptop or cellphone doesn’t have an analog headphone jack, it’s best to buy a headphone amp with a built-in DAC. This way, the headphone amplifier will first convert the digital inputs into analog audio and then transfer it to the headphone amp.

Now let's take a look at our review of the best headphone amplifiers.

VOX AP2AC amPlug 2 AC30 Amplifier

Best All-Round Headphone Amp

VOX AP2AC amPlug 2 AC30 Amplifier

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Why You Should Buy It

We have great news if you don’t want a headphone amp that can cost you an arm and a leg. The VOX AP2AC amPlug 2 AC30 is one of the best headphone amps featuring an improved analog circuit that guarantees clean and loud sound.

One of the most significant advantages of buying this portable mini headphone amp is the availability of three power amp modes allowing the users to customize the sound. These effects include Delay, Chorus, and Reverb.

Another plus is the improved folding plug mechanism which the musicians can rotate 180 degrees to plug into headphones or guitars. The extended battery life offers 17 hours of continuous playtime, which is excellent.

The VOX AP2AC amPlug 2 AC30 is available in various colors, designs, and functionality, such as bass, blues, classic rock, lead, clean, and metal. For instance, the bass headphone amplifier is exclusively designed for low frequencies, while the class rock offers a high power of 100 watts.

What to Look Out For

Look no further if you want a small, compact headphone amp weighing only three ounces. The VOX AP2AP amPlug 2 AC30 amp is a budget-friendly headphone amp with two AAA batteries that offer extended hours of music listening while traveling.

On the other hand, the headphone amplifier features a plastic construction due to the inexpensive price tag. Nonetheless, the plastic is sturdy, ensuring the amplifier's longevity.

Mackie HM Series Amplifier

Best Bang For Buck Headphone Amp

Mackie HM Series Amplifier

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Why You Should Buy It

If you want to share music with your friends, the Mackie HM Series amp features four pairs of headphones, which is excellent.

You don’t have to worry about the headphone output volume; everyone can personalize and control the volume accordingly with this headphone amplifier. Hence your friend can turn up a notch while you can listen to the soundtrack comfortably at less volume.

Having a compact size doesn’t mean the amplifier can't produce better sound volume. On the contrary, the advanced analog circuitry guarantees a lower noise floor and higher headroom.

The exterior features a heavy-duty steel body that houses switches and potentiometers. Also, the headphone amplifier offers a premium feel in your hand, ensuring a safe investment.

What to Look Out For

The Mackie HM Series amp has everything from sound quality to user flexibility for all music lovers. It’s a perfect portable headphone amp for quiet stages and studios.

Other features include 12 volts AV adapter with ¼ inches stereo input and four ¼ inches fully balanced outputs.

Due to the steel construction, the amplifier feels heavy at eight ounces. Nonetheless, the robust construction makes it ideal for a band with personal practice space.

PreSonus HP4 Amplifier

Best High-End Headphone Amp

PreSonus HP4 Amplifier

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Why You Should Buy It

The PreSonus HP4 amplifier features a funky and attractive exterior with accessible and easy-to-use controls. It’s one of the loudest headphone amplifiers, which offers clean and precise sound. Also, the level controls offer the desired flexibility to select from the available, more comprehensive volume range.

It’s a four-channel amplifier with four headphone outputs available on the front panel. All these channels have an individual power output of 150W, which is excellent. Not only that, but the offered noise floor of all the channels is as low as -98 dB.

The users can select between mono or stereo, balanced or unbalanced input, which is another plus for the users. You can also sum the stereo input signals to mono, customize the headphone sound levels and mute the monitor outputs.

Using a rack tray, you can mount the PreSonus HP4 amplifier on the tabletop. However, you need to purchase the tray separately.

What to Look Out For

Due to the available features and elegant exterior, the PreSonus HP4 amplifier comes with an expensive price tag. It’s a featureful amplifier offering different modes, such as control room monitor control with level control as well as a monitor mute button.

On the downside, the cable with the amplifier is relatively short, restricting the band movement.

Behringer MICROAMP HA400 Amplifier

Best Budget Headphone Amp

Behringer MICROAMP HA400 Amplifier

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Why You Should Buy It

A lower price tag doesn’t mean you need to compromise on the available features, and that’s precisely what the Behringer MICROAMP HA400 amp stands for. It’s a dynamic four-channel desktop headphone amp compatible with all kinds of headphones.

It’s essentially a compact music distribution system that amplifies and distributes the sound to four headphones.

It’s a real deal-breaker for the studio drummers and engineers to mix the sound or listen to the final mix by connecting the headphone to ¼ inches stereo output. Also, the potentiometers offer smooth rotation, allowing users to select the desired sound quality conveniently.

This tiny and lightweight amplifier of 6.7 ounces features four stereo headphone amplifiers that guarantee exceptionally loud sound with minimal noise floor.

The headphone amplifier comes with a DC 12V adapter, so you don’t have to buy a separate one.

What to Look Out For

Whether you are an individual musician or a band, the Behringer MICROAMP HA400 amp is a one-for-all and all-for-one amp distributing input sound to four connected headphones.

The power amplifier comes with ¼ inches input; hence you need to purchase a ¼ inches adapter if you have been using a ⅛ inches, RCA, or balanced XLR input.

Best Headphone Amps FAQs

You must be excited to buy a compatible headphone amplifier to enjoy rock music and a loud sound. But first, you need to check the power your headphones can support and buy an amp accordingly to immerse yourself in the world of music.

Is It Worth Getting a Headphone Amp?

If you prioritize sound quality or have headphones with lower audio quality, it’s best to invest in good-quality headphones amps.

If you are a musician, producer, DJ, or gamer, you should use a headphone amp to improve the existing sound setup. The primary objective of using desktop headphone amps is to offer more power to the headphones to ensure great sound quality.

How Should I Buy a Good Headphone Amp?

Thanks to evolving technology, manufacturers now design portable headphone amps compatible with several headphones. The first feature to look for in a good headphone amp is the balanced output power to determine the maximum loud audio. Other features to look for are EQ functionality, build quality, and affordable pricing.

Can Amp Damage My Headphones?

A headphone amplifier can only damage the headphone if you connect a desktop amplifier with more than enough power to one that can’t support that power. Hence, it’s essential to keep in mind the power imbalance while buying a compatible headphone amp that won’t damage the headphone.

Do Bigger Amps Sound Better?

Definitely, a headphone amp with more power certainly offers detailed sound. However, the only condition is that the headphone should be able to support the headphone amplifier power; else, the desktop amp will damage the headphone for good.

Also, note that high-power headphone amplifiers are usually bigger in size and more expensive. Finally, they are designed to offer loud sound; hence their performance isn’t at par at lower volumes.

Final Thoughts On Best headphone Amp

There are all kinds of headphones available in the market, from cheap to premium quality. A headphone amplifier might not enhance the sound quality of a low-quality headphone; however, it certainly boosts the sound levels of average or high-quality headphones.

Find the right headphone amp for yourself and enhance the performance of your headphones.

Happy Shopping!

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