Best Budget Headphone AMP

Headphone amp’s main function is to boost the sound quality of your music. It sounds better than when you plug them plainly into a phone or a computer. These amps allow your headphone to maximize their potential as you hear more detailed and clear sound. In order to get this quality and to increase the sound level of your headphone, it’d be better to opt for a good  and cheap headphone amp.

The prices of headphone amps differ, from the very expensive ones to the expensive ones and to the budgeted ones. We’ll be looking at the best budget headphone amps you could ever come across. Let’s first discuss what a headphone amp is and why you need a headphone amp.

BEST BUDGET HEADPHONE AMP Review

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Let’s look at the best budget headphone amps at different prices and sizes that you can ever come across.

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CYRUS SOUND KEY

The award-winning headphone amp is an awesome piece plus it is extremely affordable. It is built to fit all kinds of file types like FLAC, AAC, and MP3. A good pick for both audiophiles and casual listeners.

Cyrus Audio Gaming soundKey DAC & Headphone Amplifier - Each (Graphite)

Cyrus Sound Key gives enough room for each instrument making each prominent thereby producing a fantastic sound quality. This quality is extremely pronounced when listening to a more quiet and calm track compared to high-sounding tracks.

The amp effectively reveals tiny details and opens up such recording smooth and nice while giving the melody a widescreen aspect. The overall result of this is always a balanced detailed soundstage that will leave listeners engrossed in the performance.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Dimensions: 2.3 x 5.4 x 0.8cm – HxWxD Inputs: micro USB – B
  • In-built DAC Sampling rate: 24bit/96kHz
  • Weight:18g
Pros
  • A compact headphone amp
  • Produces clear and open sound
  • Gives details to instruments.
Cons
  • Not as dynamic as other amps.
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AUDIOQUEST DRAGONFLY PORTABLE HEADPHONE AMP

This is a basic USB headphone amp dac that corresponds with portable headphones, mobile phones, laptops, and speakers when paired via an adaptor. You can worry less about compatibility with your headphone as it comes with a 1.2volts output which is compatible with most headphones. Moreover, it also has a 32-bit ESS 9010 DAC and plays every type of music file irrespective of its firmness from MP3 to hi-res.

AudioQuest DragonFly Black v1.5 Plug-in USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amp Bundle with iFi Ear Buddy Audio Attenuator Cable for 3.5mm Headphones & IEMs, Blucoil USB-A Mini Hub and 3' USB Extension Cable

The amp produces an awesome sound quality plus it is portable and compatible with many other portable devices. Moreover, like a USB amp, it corresponds with almost anything and plays different kinds of music files.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Dimensions: 1.2 x 1.9 x 5.7cm- HxWxD Inputs: USB
  • Sampling rate: 24bit/96kHz In-built DAC
Pros
  • Compatible and portable amplifiers
  • Impressive sound
  • Convenient
  • Low distortions
Cons
  • Sound quality might depend on headphones’ quality.
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NEOTECK HIFI PORTABLE HEADPHONE AMP

This model of headphone amp dac comes in an aluminum design in a compact and portable size which makes it lightweight.  The headphone amp produces an original stereo sound with no distortions even with the input and output jacks.

Neoteck Portable 3.5mm Headphone Amplifier with Bluetooth 5.0 Receiver, Two-Stage Gain Switch, HiFi Headset Amplifier, Aluminum Matte Surface

Additionally, its battery is chargeable which can last for up to eight hours after a single full charge. The amp does not select systems as it is compatible with several devices. Neoteck hifi is mostly considered for its portability and compatibility.

FEATURES

  • 16-150 Ohms Resistance
  • Portable and compatible
  • It has a long battery life of up to eight hours
Pros
  • Great quality sound
  • No distortions
  • Strong build
Cons
  • Could be slow when the device is close to the phone
  • Might not cover every type of headphone
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FIIO E10K USB HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER DAC FII

This amp model uses a USB connection to connect to systems or other devices. Both the front and the rear panel of the device have a ⅛ inch headphone jack output together with a digital output that allows the transfer of digital audio to other devices. Moreso, there’s a PCM103 DAC chip that can contend with up to 24bit/96kHz PCM files.

FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier (Black)

There is also the Linear Audio Filter which helps reduce internal silence, delay, and improve sound quality when changing tracks. FIIO E10K is made of an aluminum shell that vouches for its durability.

The included features like the linear filter, low-pass filter, and bass boost all work towards improved sound quality with no delay or silence between tracks. Moreso, there are multiple outputs for more headphones connection and for transferring digital audio to other devices. This is an amazing feature as more than one or two headphones can be connected to just a single amp and at the same time can directly transfer digital audio to other devices.

FEATURES

  • PCM103 DAC
  • Linear audio quality filter
  • Has several outputs
Pros
  • Strong build yet weighs light
  • Detailed and smooth sound quality
  • Regulator for low gain and high gain modes
  • Low distortions
Cons
  • Requires connections at all times.
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SABAJ AUDIO PHA2 PORTABLE HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER

This model uses PPA61 20A2 amp chips together with a built in headphone amp (Sabaj patented power module) that drive headphones with high resistance. Sabaj Audio is a very good headphone amplifier that has a micro USB input and a 5v power supply to choose from. It is compatible with all types of headphones as it has a low and high-resistance headphone jack design. It also features active speaker connection and amplifying sound due to its RCA analog signal.

Sabaj PHA3 Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier 2X6J9 Low Ground Noise Integrated Stereo Amp Audio HiFi Output Protection for Headphone

Moreover, Sabaj is mostly considered for its compatibility as it works with all kinds of headphones and at the same time has 2-power sources. It is aluminum-made which ensures its durability. It is grouped with the best because it gives a warm, clear, and transparent sound for its price.

FEATURES

  • An 85sB channel separation
  • Built-in Sabaj Patented boosting power
  • RCA analog signal input
  • Corresponds with 80 ohms to 60 ohms
  • CNC aluminum cabinet
  • 5V power input
Pros
  • Warm and transparent sound
  • 2-power sources
  • Sturdy device
  • Great quality for its price
Cons
  • The volume knob might feel a bit cheesy
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AIMPIRE AX50 PORTABLE HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER

Aimpire AX50 is also aluminum-made and it is lightweight, portable, and durable. The amp can be used on the go as it has shields against EM interference and a battery that can last up to 10 hours. It is compatible with devices like laptops, mobile phones, and headphones. The headphones correspond with the power of the Gain switch and Bass boost which utilize the OPA2140*2 PREAMP and the  BUF634*2 amp for detailed sound quality.

AIMPIRE AD10 Mini USB DAC CSS XMOS XU208 ES9018K2M OPA2134 Audio Amplifier Decoder (D10 Silver)

Aimpire AX50’s gain switch, bass boost, and EM interference shielding all work towards a better sound quality for your headphones. It is compatible with most headphones, portable, lightweight, together with the added advantage of lasting battery life.

FEATURES

  • Compatible with several devices
  • Consists of a Gain switch and Bass boost
  • Up to 10 hours battery performance
Pros
  • Immaculate Bass
  • Lightweight but solid feel
  • Transparent highs and mids
Cons
  • Cable tends to be Static at times.
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BEHRINGER AMP800 4-CHANNEL HEADPHONE AMP

This Behringer model is an ultra-compact 9.5’’ 4-channel amp that gives high-quality audio projection compatible with all types of headphones. The amp is suitable for both studio and stage use as it allows multiple tracking of music at the same time meaning at least two persons can listen on playback with each individual monitoring and regulating their personal sound level.

Behringer AMP800 Four Channel Headphone Amp

FEATURES

  • 4-independent high powered amp sections
  • 2-balanced main inputs
  • Up to 8 headphones connections
  • A 6-digit LED input meter
  • Independent controls
Pros
  • Standard-quality sound
  • Powers up to eight sets of headphones
  • Sturdy and stylishly built
  • Compact, lightweight, and portable amp
Cons
  • Construction could be a little frail
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ART HEADAMP 4 CHANNEL 8-OUTPUT STEREO HEADPHONE AMP

Art HeadAMP has 4 multi-channels that allow for connection of monitor amp to a headphone or other outputs allowing a loud play for the benefit of performers in a studio. It is a fast-growing amp that delivers more than it’s worth. ART headAMP can be used both for studio projects or at home.

ART HeadAMP4 Eight Output Stereo Headphone Amplifier

Moreso, it amplifies and regulates up to four headphones at once. It is either driven by a headphone amp signal or line-level signal and it features ⅛ inputs and ¼ output ports which help give an extremely low distortion. It is suitable for both home project and studio project usage. Typically, it adds headphone output to many other devices like workstations, iPod players, computers, mixers, and the likes.

FEATURES

  • Controls up to 4 headsets at a go
  • ⅛ inch & ¼ inch inputs and outputs usb port
  • Ideal for home and studio use.
Pros
  • Effect clean signal with constructed unit
  • Great sound quality
  • Sturdy, lightweight, and compact build
  • Lasting design
Cons
  • Absence of audio cable connector
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AURIS AUDIO HA2 SE

Auris Audio HA2 SE has an amazing look and aside from the looks, it helps maximize the potentials of headphones to the fullest. The amp has a wood and leather finish- where it got its look from, helping headphones produce no form of noise or distortion but great sound quality.

Auris Amplify Portable Hi-Fi Bluetooth Adapter Receiver for Headphone Amplifier with 32bit DAC Amp, LDAC, aptX HD, aptX, AAC, Clip and 3.5mm AUX Output, Black

The sound quality of the amp is unusually clear, detailed, and transparent with an open soundstage. It is not so cheap compared to the other amps but a few more dollars can get you all what you want in a headphone amp in Auris Audio HA2 SE.

FEATURES

  • 16-600 Ohms output impedance
  • 3x RCA inputs
  • 4x PL95/ EL95 tube amps + 1x ECC input tube amps
  • Leather and wood casing
Pros
  • High-quality sound
  • No form of noises or distortions underneath
  • Compatible with several devices
  • Easy connections
Cons
  • Could be a little more expensive.
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Headphone amps are low-powered amps meant to raise the voltage of the device it’s connected to. The headphone amp brings it to a stage that can be changed into sound waves to the speakers in the headphone just like regular amps powered speakers. It is a music device that increases the detail and volume levels of the signal from sound systems.

The headphone amp is designed to be between the source and pair of headphones which is the basis for an effective and compact hi-fi system.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN AN HEADPHONE AMP

Firstly, be sure of the analog sound inputs which allow you to plug a CD player. However, there are more modern amps that emphasize digital inputs and built-in DAC for wider compatibility.

Another thing to put into consideration is portability. There are some amps that will require you to clear your desk and can not be easily moved around. That doesn’t sound just right. You can go for the smaller ones that can be easily slipped into a jean pocket and can be paired with a mobile phone through the cables and connectors.

A choice has to be made whether you’d like to listen to your headphones on the move or maybe solely at home.

WHY A HEADPHONE AMP

The headphone amp helps headphones to work appropriately and to have enough power for a reasonable volume and at the same time scout their maximum potential. The dedicated headphone amplifier is basically needed for headphones whose sounds refuse to be unheard even at the maximum volume due to impedance, this is where the amp comes to play.

For headphones whose impedance is between 1 to 32ohms, it will function well, but for headphones whose impedance is between 33 to 100 ohms, it’s a bit tricky you’ll need the amp. Typically, these amps are for headphones with short electrical impulses.  and so an external amp is necessary.

USING THE HEADPHONE AMP

Using the headphone amps does not require any technical skill, all that has to be done is to plug it in. Every amp has its specified connection, but mostly, you always only have to plug it via an input or output channel.

When using it with a computer or mobile phone, a USB or an adaptor may be needed for the amp to function with it. Basically, some amps come with the feature of bass and volume regulator while some do not.

 

CONCLUSION

The various budget headphone amps we’d just looked at are the best you can find on the market. The prices vary and so are the features and functions, you can choose the one that works for you best based on the functions and price range. Moreover, ensure to read again the right ways to use your headphone amps to monitor them and make them last longer

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Lucas Carrolhttps://www.themodernrecord.com
Being in love with music his whole life, Lucas started this blog as the “go-to” place for the most accurate and detailed information about the world of music, and especially pianos! Having worked in a music store for over 10 years, Lucas has found passion in helping others choose the most suitable instrument for them. He is now happy to share his knowledge of the industry here, at themodernrecord.

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