So, if you have recently gotten into high-end audio, you know how crucial decent equipment is. If you are someone who uses headphones, you need to power them properly. To do this, you need a decent DAC for the source and a decent AMP for power. We will be focusing on the latter for today. High-impedance headphones require a lot of power. In fact, you can’t power certain headphones without an amplifier at all.
High-end headphones can have an impedance as high as 600Ω. The onboard audio on the motherboard usually doesn’t have that high of a rating. This is why we say sometimes an amplifier is so crucial. Amplifiers can also add some extra detail and range to sound quality. So, enough with the background, let’s get to business. Here are some of the best headphone amplifiers money can buy.
The first product on our list is the Sony TA-ZH1ES from the Signature Series and it is a solid-state headphone amplifier. Apart from the headphone amplifier, there is a high-end DAC embedded in it. The DAC of this beast supports a 32-bit 768 kHz playback, which is a huge improvement from most of the DACs available in the market. The chassis of this amplifier is built very innovatively which restricts the vibrations, leading to better sound quality.
The headphone amplifier supports up to 600-Ohm impedance, which means that you can easily hook it up with the best of the best headphones. A lot is going on within the heavy chassis of this amplifier, offering audio enhancements, and especially the DSD Remastering Engine provides miraculous accuracy.
Overall, we believe that if you want a headphone amplifier and do not own a high-quality DAC as well, this setup will prove to be a heavenly experience and you should definitely consider it if you can pay the huge price.
Rupert Neve Designs RNHP is a special headphone amplifier, which looks like a piece of electrical equipment from the 20th century. One should not judge the quality of this headphone amplifier, however, on the sole basis of the looks, as this headphone amplifier is better than most of the headphone amplifiers in the market, despite having a relatively lower price. The amplifier does look bad but it has a very solid build.
The sound quality of this amplifier can be described as “clean”, with very accurate frequencies, and feels very tight and punchy. The headphone amplifier supports headphones with impedance ranges of 16-600 Ohms, covering almost all the headsets. There is no gain switch on the amplifier which reduces the ease of use a bit, although setting up the amplifier was really easy.
We believe that if you want a powerful headphone amplifier that does not embed a high-end DAC in it then you should consider buying this product.
3. DarkVoice 336SE
Best Tube Amplifier
- The tube amp provides a lively experience
- Tube rolling
- The amplifier provides marvelous aesthetics due to tubes
- The LED light is shockingly bright
- The stock tubes are not that impressive
Category: Tube Amp | Provides DAC: No | Headphone Impedance Support: 32-600Ω
DarkVoice 336SE is a tube-based headphone amplifier, with a lot of qualities that the solid-state amplifiers do not possess. First of all, the amplifier looks really great, especially when the tubes are lit and one can feel the aroma of novelty in the air when that happens. The blue LED light of the amplifier does distract the user a bit and the manufacturer really should have used low-brightness LED. The stock tubes of the amplifier are not of great quality, which is why we will advise you to change the stock tubes with better aftermarket tubes.
With a setup like this, the headphones provide really soothing audio and it almost feels like one is hearing the performance live. The impedance support of this amplifier is enough to support extreme-end headphones and you should not worry about the amplifier not being able to maximize the sound levels of the headphones.
Overall, this headphone amplifier provides a supreme audio experience. If you prefer a livelier sound instead of a stronger one then you should definitely go for this product.
FiiO Q5 is a product for those people who like to move a lot or who do not want to have a bad audio experience even during traveling or during a workout in the gym. The headphone amplifier provides a compact design and does come with a built-in DAC for a better experience overall. This is particularly great for people who want to use their high-end headphones with their mobiles. The headphone amplifier supports the decoding in Apple products and is fully compatible with all the iPhone models.
The DAC provides a 32-bit 384 kHz playback which is enough to play even the extreme quality audio files. The headphone amplifier also provides great amplification and offers a detailed and balanced sound and does not show brightness in any of the certain frequencies, although the bass boost button of the amplifier can be used to provide the infamous bass, which of course comes down to personal tastes. One thing important here is that the high frequencies feel a bit blurry and not as clear as some other high-end amplifiers. The amplifier comes with a lot of accessories but the quality of these accessories is not up to the mark, we will say that if you own high-end cables, better use those.
With features like Bluetooth audio, swappable amps, RGB lights, and a 3800 mAh power bank, this headphone amplifier has really packed a lot of features within the stylish chassis and if you want a cheap good-quality headphone amplifier with portability as your main concern, you should give it a go.
5. Schiit Audio Magni 3
For Budget Users
- Unbelievable sound quality for the price
- The impedance support is impressive
- Can be easily considered by even low-end users
- Quality control is not that good
- Large power supply adapter
Category: Solid-State | Provides DAC: No | Headphone Impedance Support: 1-600Ω
Schiit Audio Magni 3 is a famous product and leaves a lot of other high-end amplifiers in the dust. This headphone amplifier is much cheaper than other products but its quality suggests otherwise. With a beautiful silver-color body and large knob, the amplifier provides great looks along with ease of use.
The impedance support of this headphone amplifier is really impressive and at just a fraction of the price of other amplifiers. The audio feels very clear and one cannot believe that it is the result of a cheap headphone amplifier like this one. The knob on the front does tend to have some issues in terms of quality control and the power supply adapter feels troublesome to set up but nothing is perfect anyway.
If you are not very much into perfection and want a great overall headphone amplifier for your high-end headphones then this product will fulfill your needs greatly, as there is no competition to this amplifier at this price.