What is a headphone amp?

A headphone amplifier, simply put, boosts the signal to your headphones. If you're reading this, you're probably looking to get more from your quality headphones. A headphone amp can do just that.

A headphone amp raises the low voltage audio signal from your source to a level that can be converted into sound waves by your headphones. It works like the amps used to power large speakers, just on a smaller level.

They come in all shapes and sizes, from portable battery powered ones such as our Classic headphone amplifier, to desktop wall powered amps, to professional level 8 channel monsters that are fitted in racks.

Do I need a headphone amp?

Most audio sources, such as a PC, smartphone, turntable or music player, have some sort of amplifier built in. Unfortunately, most built in amplifiers aren't very good, and therefore don't offer very good sound quality or volume.

If you have headphones that cost more than a few cups of coffee, then you will most likely benefit from a good quality amplifier. The higher the quality of your headphones, the higher the potential benefit of a headphone amp.

Benefits of a headphone amp

You might have noticed that as you increase the volume through your headphones, you can hear different instruments or levels in the music that weren't there before. But if you put the volume too high up it hurts your ears! A good headphone amplifier will increase the signal of all levels in the music at differing volumes, allowing you to hear more of the music. Hopefully giving you a more complete and quality listening experience.

If you're simply looking for volume, a headphone amp can provide that too.

Impedance and sensitivity

Some headphone have high impedance, which means they resist the electrical signal being fed into it. These are the headphones that really do need an amplifier, and a lot of older headphones were built with high impedance.

Impedance is the reason that higher end headphones might sound horrible at lower volumes if they don't have an amplifier. An amplifier increases power and performance across the entire frequency spectrum.

Sensitivity is how effectively an electrical signal is converted into sound by the headphones. It's measured in sound pressure level per milliwatt, so headphones with lower sensitivity need more power to effectively deliver the sound.

Our amplifiers will power any headphones with an impedance below 300 ohms and a sound pressure level above 85 dB SPL/mW.

The bottom line

Hopefully you know a little bit more about headphone amplifiers now, and you'll know that if you have anything close to a decent pair of headphones, or care about the quality of your listening experience, then you could certainly benefit from a decent headphone amplifier.