The Role of a Headphone Amplifier is to drive your set of headphones, in the same way an amplifier would be used to drive a set of passive speakers in a PA system on stage. Most electronic devices come with a built in headphone amplifier, which is what makes the audio signal loud enough to hear. Devices such as TVs, CD players and almost anything else with a headphone jack will output comes with one of these amplifiers, but a niche market of audiophiles is always on the hunt for the best headphone amplifier to get the most out of their cans.
Ordinarily these headphone amps can power between 10 mW and 2 W – a fraction of what a PA amplifier could provide, but more than enough to make for an audio clarity and volume to make even the most road hardened music fan happy.
Best Model of Headphone Amp
FiiO E6 Portable Headphone Amplifier
It is hard to look much further than the FiiO brand for headphone amplification on the go. It may not be used in studio environments (though it could do the job) but it is so versatile and designed specifically to enhance the listening environments we often find ourselves in during this modern age of portable audio. This will fit (and greatly improve) the following:
- iPods and MP3 players
- Mobile Phones
- Portable DVD Players and Other Portable media
The features of the FiiO include:
- Three EQ settings, two of which are bass orientated and the other is designed for a flat set of frequencies.
- Volume Control – Volume control without compromising sound or risking distortion, one of the big advantages of using a headphone amp.
- Handy Clip to attach to clothes or bag, making it extremely portable.
- Slick case for carrying around, take it to the gym or on the bus just as easily.
ART HeadAmp4 Headphone Amplifier
This Art Headamp4 model is a great little amplifier for using in a studio or desktop environment, offering four headphone outs each with its own volume control, designed to help out in a studio or rehearsal room by hooking up band members to quality audio playback. This amp features excellent, low distortion sound quality with both 1/4 and 1/8 inch outputs and inputs, so no need for pesky and annoying jack adapters (always a big bonus and a help with audio quality).
This isn’t just for studios and rehearsals, and can be just as well used for home entertainment, for example if a few people wanted to listen to music nice and loud without disturbing room mates. This is not easily ‘portable’ as such but does come with a carry case made of sturdy metal so you can take it out and about with you (though you might get some funny looks whipping it out on the bus).
There are many more models of headphone amps available, and in many cases you get what you pay for, but the two I have mentioned cover most bases for any audiophile. Don’t forget that any of the links you use on this site are affiliate links and we will earn a commission on them.