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Best Portable Headphone Amplifiers of 2018

Derrick Zinj

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Looking to pick up a portable headphone amp to make your music louder, more clear, and orchestrated? If so, you’ll find use in this page due to the fact that we’ve outlined our recommendations for some of the best units in the market.

Portable headphone amplifiers are a great option for anyone that wants to improve the quality of sound coming out of their headphones. Generally speaking, lower quality headphones will not benefit much from the usage of the amps. However, as the quality of the headphones increases so too does the potential benefit of the portable headphone amp. Now onto the most pertinent elements to consider when purchasing one of these amps for yourself.

Be sure to take a closer look at the above mentioned portable headphone amps and see if they fit your unique demands and desires. If none of the above-recommended portable headphone amps match your style, be sure to look through the “related products” sections of each product page.

 

Featured Considered When Buying a Portable Headphone Amplifier

  • Price – Easily one of the most influential components of purchasing portable headphone amplifiers is the price. Portable headphone amps come in a wide range of price points. On the high end, expect to spend $1,000 or more. There are also options available for the more frugal-minded ranging from $30 to $200.
  • Compatability – The headphones to be used are important to consider when purchasing an amp. The lower quality headphones will not benefit much, if at all, from the use of an amp. Higher quality headphones (at least $100) would be far more compatible with any portable headphone amp. Another aspect of compatibility is the connection point. Some amps will take a USB to connect to your device while others will work with a simple 3.5 mm jack.
  • Impedance – As mentioned above, the quality of the headphones makes a tremendous difference in the effectiveness of any portable headphone amp. One important way to measure this quality is by looking at the impedance of your headphones. Impedance, measured in Ohms, refers to the strength of an electrical signal. In this case, the signal is the sound. Headphones can range vastly in their impedance from 16 ohms all the way to 600 ohms. The impedance should match up relatively closely with the music player and the portable amp. Doing so will provide the best results.
  • Resolution – The quality of sound desired should influence which headphone amp is ultimately chosen. If more clarity and detail are needed in your listening, then the high-resolution sound is the way to go. High-resolution sounds use a higher sampling rate than lower quality sounds such as those coming from .mp3s. A quality headphone amp will improve the strength of the channel the sound is flowing through, and it will ultimately improve the resolution of the sound. The degree in which quality is improved will vary depending on the bit-rate supported by the chosen amplifier.
  • Battery Life – A top feature of the portable headphone amplifiers to consider is the battery life. Battery life on these portable amps varies from around 15 to 25 hours of use. These figures do depend on the level of use. Factors like bass boost, headphone power requirements, and even volume will play a major role in actual battery performance. If you are on the go frequently, then opting for the longer battery life would be a good option. If you consider yourself to be more stationary but need to listen away from home on the occasion, the shorter-lived devices will serve you just fine.

 

Popular Portable Headphone Amp Brands

  • Fiio
  • NeoTeck
  • TEQStone
  • Toppling