Headphone amplifier product comparison: How to find the best product for your needs in 2023

Guide: How to buy the right headphone amplifier

Headphone amplifier: Music lovers and audiophiles with demanding sound swear by them: headphone amplifiers. These small devices amplify the signal and ensure a significantly higher level of detail and a more precise spatial representation of the sound image. But not only sound enthusiasts get their money's worth, headphone amplifiers are also a worthwhile investment for gamers who value accurate sound reproduction. Many models can also be used on the move and can be easily connected to the computer via a USB port. The top models convince with a high resolution and a low distortion factor in order to emphasize even the finest nuances of the music. Some of the most searched terms for headphone amplifiers are “best headphone amplifier”, “high-end headphone amplifier” and “headphone amplifier test winner”.
Best recommendation
FiiO K5pro desktop headphone amplifier and digital analog converter
Price-performance winner
Headphone amplifier CREATIVE Sound Blaster Play!3, USB DAC
Headphone Amplifier IFI Hip-dac Portable, DAC Headphone Amplifier
Headphone amplifier FiiO E10K Olympus 2 digital analog converter
Headphone amplifier FiiO K3 (E30) digital analog converter
Headphone Amplifier FiiO Q1 Mark II, Apple & PC Digital Analog
Headphone Amplifier Nobsound Douk Audio U3 Mini Class A Stereo
ModelFiiO K5pro desktop headphone amplifier and digital analog converterHeadphone amplifier CREATIVE Sound Blaster Play!3, USB DACHeadphone Amplifier IFI Hip-dac Portable, DAC Headphone AmplifierHeadphone amplifier FiiO E10K Olympus 2 digital analog converterHeadphone amplifier FiiO K3 (E30) digital analog converterHeadphone Amplifier FiiO Q1 Mark II, Apple & PC Digital AnalogHeadphone Amplifier Nobsound Douk Audio U3 Mini Class A Stereo
The Best productscoreprice.com1,5Very good!Headphone Amplifier
Price-value for moneyscoreprice.com1,9goodHeadphone Amplifier
TOP Productsscoreprice.com1,6goodHeadphone Amplifier
TOP Productsscoreprice.com1,7goodHeadphone Amplifier
TOP Productsscoreprice.com1,8goodHeadphone Amplifier
TOP Productsscoreprice.com2,0goodHeadphone Amplifier
TOP Productsscoreprice.com2,1goodHeadphone Amplifier
frequency response10 Hz – 768 kHzk. A.no manufacturer informationkA20 Hz - 80 kHzk. A.20Hz - 30KHz
max output powerkAk. A.400 milliwatts150 milliwatts320 milliwattsk. A.1.300 milliwatts
for headphones up to:300 Ω300 Ωno manufacturer information300 Ω150 Ω150 Ω600 Ω
outputs2x 6,35 mm jack, RCA3,5 mm jack3,5 mm jack3,5 mm jack3,5mm jack, 2,5mm jack, coaxial digital output, optical digital output3,5 mm jack, 2,5 mm jack (TRRS)2x 6,35 mm jack
inputscoaxial and optical digital input, stereo RCA, unbalanced USBUSB, 3,5 mm jack (mono)USB-C, 3,5mm jackUSB3,5 mm jack3,5mm jack, USBstereo L/R RCA
iPod/iPhone compatible
including DAC
chargeable via USB
  • the amplifier path and the signal processing are supplied separately
  • many entrances
  • small and light
  • fits in every pocket
  • for mobile use
  • compatible with iOS devices
  • DAC included.
  • good workmanship
  • Often no driver installation necessary
  • Bass Boost switchable
  • very high power output
  • digital outputs incl.
  • very long battery life
  • very small and light
  • clear sound
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The best headphone amplifiers in the test & comparison:
Choose your test winner from our top recommendations.

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Expert Headphone Amplifier Recommendations:
In the headphone amplifier test & comparison you will find out how to choose the right product

At a glance
  • A headphone amplifier is a device that amplifies the audio signal from a music player or hi-fi system before sending it to the headphones. The result is higher volume and better audio quality that's perfect for the music lover or audiophile. Some of the most important characteristics of a headphone amp are its size, power, connectivity and sound quality.
  • Many headphone amps have additional features such as bass and treble controls, giving the user the ability to make their preferred sound adjustments. There are also portable and desktop versions, each suitable for different uses. Another important feature is the compatibility with different headphones, since some amplifiers only support certain types of headphones.
  • A quality headphone amplifier can also help improve the sound of high-end headphones and minimize distortion or noise. However, it is important to note that a headphone amplifier is only really useful if the audio signal from the device is already of high quality. A good choice of headphone amplifier is therefore dependent on the needs and budget of the user.
Headphone Amplifier

This is how you find the best product in the headphone amplifier comparison

In our headphone amp buying guide, we will look at the different types of headphones and explain which amp best suits your headphone.

There are two main categories of headphones: dynamic and electrostatic. Dynamic headphones are the most common type of headphones and are typically found in portable devices such as MP3 players or smartphones. They are also the cheapest type of headphones. electrostatic Headphones however, are superior in terms of sound quality and are therefore mainly used in professional audio setups.

Several Headphone Amplifier Recommendations see our table with our Headphone Amplifier buy recommendations. If you do this for the Headphone Amplifier Reviews interested and which ones Headphone Amplifier Bestsellers there is, this guide will give you a lot of useful information about it.

Our headphone amplifier recommendation on Amazon:

FiiO K5pro desktop headphone amplifier and digital to analog converter with a resolution of up to 32 bit / 768 kHz
  • Excellent digital / analog converter - AKM AK4493 with 768 kHz, 32 bit and DSD512
  • Numerous inputs on board - coaxial and optical digital input as well as stereo RCA
  • Of course also compatible with the PC - Asymmetrical USB input with XMOS XUF208 chip

Overview of different types of headphone amplifiers

amplifier is not the same as an amplifier, the models are different. They also differ in sound, price and longevity. Other factors such as size also play a role that differentiate headphone amps from one another. But which amp is the best for your needs? Whether it's a FiiO headphone amp, a Behringer headphone amp, or a Conrad headphone amp is secondary. If you get one Overview of the latest models on the market we also recommend a headphone amplifier test. You can get a basic overview of the different types in the following table. 

tube amp

This tube amp model is ideal for electric guitar players, bass players or owners of HiFi-Investments. The device has a very special status in stage technology. All tubes are the oldest amps and therefore not as powerful as the competition. However, the all-tube is still popular today because it can produce a very warm sound. Older records in particular benefit in terms of sound quality. Still, tube headphone amps are the most prone to wear and tear and come at a premium price point. Even headphones with an amplifier cannot be used immediately. It always takes a while to reach the right operating temperature. On the other hand, full pipes tolerate overloads well.


Transistor is a compact headphone amplifier. They get less hot during use than tube models with headphone amps. The device is therefore ideal for on the go, for example if you want to listen to music outdoors with a mobile phone and headphones. The number of possible connections is limited. But you can at least expect AUX and a tuner. Transistors are particularly useful for music defined by bass. The device usually does not cope well with overload. 

digital amplifier

This is also a fairly compact device. Therefore it is also very suitable for mobile use. The core competence of digital power amplifiers is the combination of the properties of all tubes and transistors. The variety of connection options is particularly advantageous here. Whether USB, SPDIF or coaxial, digital amplifiers have a large selection of inputs and outputs. For this reason it is very generic. The sound is quite muted compared to transistors, but the quality is similar. In addition, the power consumption of this device is lower than other amplifiers. 

Our headphone amplifier bestseller on Amazon:

Creative Sound Blaster Play! 3 - USB DAC amplifier and external sound card, black
  • High-resolution 24-bit 96-kHz USB-DAC playback
  • Headphone amplifier enhances listening experience
  • Best connectivity of the two worlds

Pros and cons of different headphone amp types

In the high-end headphones category, you have the choice between three typical amplifier types. Here is a rundown of the pros and cons of these amplified headphones. 

Tube amp advantages & disadvantages


  • Very good sound
  • great for turntables


  • Not so strong
  • High wear
  • Expensive

Transistor advantages & disadvantages


  • Compact
  • Good for mobile use


  • Bad elasticity
  • Fewer connections 

Digital amplifier advantages & disadvantages


  • Compact
  • Lots of connections
  • Low energy consumption


  • No known disadvantages
Headphone Amplifier

What types of headphone amplifiers are there?

There are two main types of headphone amps: solid-state and tube amps. Transistor amps tend to be more affordable and easier to find, but tube amps tend to have better sound quality. Headphone amplifiers take the audio signal from your music player and amplify it so you can hear it through your headphones. They usually have a headphone output jack and some also have high-quality speaker outputs. Some models also have multiple connection options, so you can use them with different types of amplifiers or connect multiple pairs of headphones. When choosing a headphone amplifier, pay attention to the desired sound quality, the type of connection and the size and weight of the device.

Why do you need a headphone amplifier?

A headphone amplifier is a device that can be used to increase the volume of headphones. Headphones usually have a low amplifier, which can lead to low volume. A headphone amplifier can increase the volume of the headphones, making them louder and easier to hear. Also, headphone amplifiers can improve the sound quality of headphones by providing a cleaner and clearer signal. Amplifiers are also for Smartphones beneficial as they can improve the sound quality of phone calls and music playback.

How can you recognize a good headphone amplifier?

When looking for a good headphone amplifier, there are a few things to look out for. First check the impedance of the headphones you are using. Most high-quality headphones have an impedance of 50 ohms or more. If your headphones are lower impedance, they may not work well with a headphone amplifier. Second, check the connector type. Most headphone amplifiers have a 3,5mm jack connection or an RCA connection. Some higher-end models may also have Bluetooth connectivity. Third, pay attention to the sound quality. A good headphone amplifier will improve the sound quality of your music, making it clearer and more detailed. Finally, check if the DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) is of good quality. A good DAC will improve the sound quality of your music even further.

What is DAC and why is it necessary?

DAC stands for Digital to Analog Converter and is important for converting digital signals to analog signals. This is useful for headphones and speakers as it allows them to more accurately reproduce the sound. Headphone amplifiers and other audio devices often have DACs built in to improve sound quality.

Can a headphone amplifier be used for the iPhone?

Yes, the iPhone can be used as an amplifier. Analog audio signals are converted to digital signals by iPhone's built-in ADC (analog-to-digital converter). These digital signals are then amplified and sent to the speakers.

Can you hear the difference between cheap devices and high-end?

Can you hear the difference between high quality and cheap devices? This is a common question, especially for those who are new to the world of audio engineering. Unfortunately, the answer is not as simple as a yes or no. It depends on a variety of factors, including the type of device, the quality of the recording, and your personal hearing. In general, however, high-end units have better amps and fuller sound than their cheaper counterparts. If you want to test this yourself, you can find numerous reviews of headphone amplifiers on the Internet.

What connections should I look out for?

There are some important connections to look out for when setting up your audio system. First, the connection between your analog sources (turntable, tape deck, etc.) and your amplifier is crucial. Make sure to use good quality cables and if possible none Adapter to use. Second, the headphone jack on your amp is also important. If you're using good quality headphones, you need to make sure they're plugged in properly and getting a good signal. Third, the cinch or RCA jacks on your amplifier are used to connect digital sources (e.g. CD players) or external speakers. Again, you should use quality cables and avoid adapters. Finally, the USB input of your amplifier is used to connect digital devices such as Desktop or phones. Use a high quality USB cable to get the best sound quality.

Are there alternatives to headphone amps?

There are a few alternatives to headphone amps. One option is to use speakers instead of headphones. To do this, you can connect the loudspeaker output of your device directly to the loudspeaker input of your amplifier. Another option is to use a headphone amplifier that does not require batteries, such as B. the FiiO E17K Alpen 2,5mm Balanced Headphone Amplifier.

Use headphones that are as sound-neutral as possible!

If you're looking for a pair of headphones for studying or working, you'll want a pair that are sound neutral. This means they don't emphasize bass or other frequencies, which can be distracting. Bluetooth headphones are a good choice if you want to avoid cables.

Our headphone amplifier insider tip on Amazon:

iFi hip-dac headphone amplifier for Android, iPhone with USB input, outputs: 3,5 mm unbalanced, 4,4 mm balanced (only...
  • Portable Design - Your music will never stop with 6-8 hours of battery life (depending on usage) and a slim,...
  • ✅ High-resolution audio – from Spotify to Tidal MQA to MP3 and beyond, play any high-resolution...
  • Powerful amplifier - to suit your style, listen to in-ear monitors or drive over the ear headphones...

How to choose the right product

When looking for the right headphone amp, it's important to consider the type of signal the amp will be used for. For example, if you want to amplify an audio signal from a mobile device, consider a model with a built-in DAC or converter. If you are looking for a quality amplifier for use with speakers, you should look for a model with a tube preamp. If you're looking for a portable amp to take with you on the go, consider a battery-powered model.

Some of the most popular headphone amps on the market include the Fiio E10K and the iFi Nano Amp. When choosing between these two models, it's important to consider the impedance of your headphones. The Fiio E10K is designed for headphones with an impedance of up to 150 ohms, while the iFi Nano Amp is designed for headphones with an impedance of up to 600 ohms.

If you are looking for a quality headphone amp that delivers clean and clear sound, either of these two models would be a good choice. However, if you are looking for an amplifier that can add extra bass or distortion to your music,

The most popular headphone amplifier brands and manufacturers

You like to buy a good headphone amplifier, a headphone amplifier test is often helpful. The following manufacturers and brands can be found here particular:

Here you will find one large selection from manufacturers. Whether it's a portable headphone amp, a cell phone headphone amp, or a circuit headphone amp, you can find what you're looking for from these companies. 

Our headphone amplifier bestsellers on Amazon:

Bestseller no. 1
Best Price Square Headphone Amplifier, 4 CH Stereo HA400 by BEHRINGER
  • Manufacturer Part Number: HA400
  • Manufacturer Name: BEHRINGER
Bestseller no. 2
eSynic HiFi Headphone Amplifier Portable Amplifier Audio rechargeable headphone amplifier with 1,2m USB cable and ...
  • HiFi Headphone Amplifier- Specially designed for headphones. Used for high-end, high-impedance headphones....
  • Two-stage gain switch - A two-stage gain switch improves the signal input of the...
  • High Quality - Aluminum alloy housing can reduce signal interference and is heat resistant. Aluminum matte...
Bestseller no. 3
HiFi Headphone Amplifier 16-300Ω with HiFi Amplification Switch Amplifier for 1000mAh Rechargeable Headphones with Audio Cable...
  • 16-300Ω HiFi headphone amplifier: HiFi headphone amplifier with resistance 16-300Ω, SNR≥120dB and THD + N 0,0003%, ...
  • Gain switch: The two-stage gain switch improves the signal input in the amplifier price for optimal...
  • 1000mAH rechargeable battery: It uses a rechargeable lithium battery with a capacity of 1000 mAh, which ...

How long does it take to publish a Stiftung Warentest Headphone Amplifier Selection?

At the Stiftung Warentest, there are currently various items in the test phase and are being examined on the test bench from a wide variety of perspectives. If a Stiftung Warentest Headphone Amplifier Test is included, it will be published in the month of its testing in the magazine "Test" or can be accessed online at test.de.  


When looking for a good headphone amplifier, it is important to consider a few criteria. On the one hand, the amplifier should support the impedance of the headphones and, on the other hand, it must offer enough power. You should also consider which connection you prefer and whether you might also need a DAC.

All in all, it is worth investing some time in finding the right headphone amplifier. If you follow these tips, you will definitely find what you are looking for and can finally enjoy your music to the fullest!

Youtube video recommendation for the headphone amplifier test & comparison:

What are the advantages of a headphone amplifier? Fried Reim inspired us.


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Which of the manufacturers has been given a place in their headphone amplifier comparison?

For this headphone amplifier comparison, we limited ourselves to a number of major manufacturers in the ranking. You can see models from the following manufacturers here Fiio, Creative, ifi, Fiio, Fiio, Fiio and Nobsound with a representative selection of the best products.

How expensive or inexpensive are the products from the headphone amplifier comparison?

For costly Headphone Amplifier Products, all of which are of high quality, must be priced up to about 175,00 € calculate. There are cheaper products about 21,15 €.

Which item achieved the title of price-performance winner in our headphone amplifier comparison?

If you are interested in the best price-performance ratio for an item, you can compare it in our headphone amplifier comparison Headphone amplifier CREATIVE Sound Blaster Play!3, USB DAC make a good purchase as a price-performance winner.

How did the editors assess the ranking in the headphone amplifier comparison?

After thorough research on function, own test results or publications such as a Stiftung Warentest test report or other independent specialist testers, the editorial team crowned the article FiiO K5pro desktop headphone amplifier and digital analog converter to rank 1, followed by Headphone amplifier CREATIVE Sound Blaster Play!3, USB DAC, Headphone Amplifier IFI Hip-dac Portable, DAC Headphone Amplifier, Headphone amplifier FiiO E10K Olympus 2 digital analog converter and Headphone amplifier FiiO K3 (E30) digital analog converter.

In addition to the first place and the best price-performance ratio, which products are among the top products in the headphone amplifier comparison?

The selection was largely influenced by popularity and the best ratings in customer reviews. In addition to the leading products in the headphone amplifier comparison, the following are also top products FiiO K5pro desktop headphone amplifier and digital analog converter, Headphone amplifier CREATIVE Sound Blaster Play!3, USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier IFI Hip-dac Portable, DAC Headphone Amplifier represent

Further links and sources too headphone amplifier

How did you like our headphone amplifier comparison?

4.4/5 - (54 reviews)

  1. Luke Hoffman says:

    Can I also use the headphone amplifier as a preamp?

    1. Customer Support - Advisor says:

      Hello Lukas Hoffmann,

      Your feedback on our headphone amplifier comparison is invaluable to us. Thank you for your active participation!

      Yes, the headphone amplifier can also be used as a preamplifier. You can connect it to external power amplifiers or active speakers to further amplify and enhance the sound.

      Best regards from the support team to Dargun.

  2. Yair says:

    How long does the battery of this headphone amp last?

    1. Customer Support - Advisor says:

      Hello Yair,

      We are grateful for your comment and your commitment regarding our headphone amplifier test & comparison. Thank you very much!

      The battery of this headphone amplifier lasts about 10-20 hours depending on the usage time. However, you should note that battery life will vary depending on volume and other factors.

      Best regards from the support unit to Geislingen an der Steige.

  3. Simon Hoffman says:

    Which headphones are compatible with the headphone amplifier?

    1. Customer Support - Advisor says:

      Hi Simon,

      We really appreciate your comment and your interest in our headphone amplifier test & comparison. Thank you!

      The headphone amplifier is compatible with most headphones, but you should pay attention to the headphone impedance. The headphone amplifier is designed for headphones with an impedance of 16 to 300 ohms. If you are not sure whether your headphones are compatible, please feel free to contact our support.

      Best regards to Bebra.

      support specialist

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