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The Best Headphone Amp for Every Budget: Our Top 5 Picks

January 29, 2024 
BY DAN SPENCER
Last Updated on January 29, 2024

Have you ever felt the need to turn your headphone’s volume up, but it was already at maximum setting? Sometimes, you sense the sound quality isn’t the best either. If that’s the case with you, you may be in need of a headphone amp.

Primarily, finding the best headphone amp isn’t a straightforward process. With new products released now and then, the choices become too many. That’s why we gathered our top five recommendations for every budget in the following list. So, keep scrolling.

Included in this guide:

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best Overall
Rupert Neve Designs RNHP 1-Channel Precision Headphone Amplifier

Rupert Neve Designs RNHP 1-Channel Precision Headphone Amplifier

  • High-quality amplification for any pair of headphones
  • Specialized 24-volt design for optimized amplification
  • Multi-input options (+4dBu Line, RCA, and 1/8" stereo inputs)
4.3
Check Price
Runner-up
Mackie HM-800 8-channel Headphone Amplifier

Mackie HM-800 8-channel Headphone Amplifier

  • Eight channels with separate auxiliary inputs
  • Input Select and stereo/mono switches for each headphone output
  • Heavy, rugged design for maximum durability
4.6
Check Price
Top Pick
Art HeadAmp6Pro 6-channel Headphone Amplifier

Art HeadAmp6Pro 6-channel Headphone Amplifier

  • Six individual channels for high-power headphone amplification
  • Eight-segment LED metering on each channel
  • XLR and 1/4-inch inputs and outputs (TRS-balanced)
3.9
Check Price
Top Pick
PreSonus HP4 4-channel Headphone Amplifier

PreSonus HP4 4-channel Headphone Amplifier

  • Four individual high-power headphone outputs (6.3 mm Stereo)
  • Dedicated volume control for each channel
  • -98dB noise floor for super quiet operation
4.6
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Lowest Price
Behringer MicroAMP HA400 4-ch Headphone Amp

Behringer MicroAMP HA400 4-ch Headphone Amp

  • Four separate headphone outputs
  • Individual volume knobs for each channel
  • Stereo and dual mono operations
4.5
Check Price

Related Article: Understanding Impedance In Headphones: From Ohms To Audio


The Best Headphone Amp (Top 5)

The Rupert Neve Designs RNHP is a product of the Rupert Neve company. As such, you can only imagine how fantastic of a headphone amplifier it is.

Drawing from the known RND 5060 Centerpiece, this product delivers outstanding performance. It ensures a dedicated amplification, driving a range of headphone types effortlessly.

The unit boasts a near-zero ohm output impedance, minimizing frequency-based impedance shift. Consequently, it guarantees consistent and accurate audio reproduction.

Whether in the studio or on the road, the RNHP amp is your reliable option for sonic excellence.

Pros
  • It offers incredibly vivid sound with precise calibration for any source input.
  • It delivers spectacular bang for your buck.
  • It has a durable body that can be adaptable in different environments.
Cons

This superb headphone amplifier redefines multi-user monitoring with its eight independent channels. Due to such a feature, it’s a go-to choice for professional studios and group recording sessions.

Delivering high-power output on each channel, it can accommodate many headphone types easily. Plus, the seven-segment LED metering for each channel provides real-time feedback on signal levels.

On top of that, the Mackie HM-800 8-channel headphone amplifier promises high-fidelity playback. That’s because it has a frequency response of 20Hz—20kHz combined with low distortion and noise levels.

Pros
  • It contains multiple inputs and outputs, allowing you to adjust the sound to your particular needs.
  • It provides ample power on each channel to suit a variety of headphone types.
  • It has a selectable mono/stereo operation, ensuring adaptability to different monitoring setups.
Cons
  • The unit’s size and weight can be off-putting for those seeking a light and portable option.
  • The +19dB gain may fall short for some headphones with higher impedance.

With six independent high-power amplifying channels, this headphone amplifier is a fantastic choice. It enables you to adjust your audio experience with bass and treble EQ control per channel. Plus, the dual-function pan/mix controls help you achieve precise channel balancing.

Conveniently, each channel boasts a stereo auxiliary input, providing versatility in connecting extra audio sources. Moreover, the unit comes with both front- and rear-mounted headphone jacks for extra practicality.

All in all, the Art HeadAmp6Pro is an excellent and comprehensive headphone amplifier solution. It delivers meticulous control and flexibility for professional multi-user monitoring in various audio production settings.

Pros
  • It allows for precise channel balancing and mixing capabilities for optimal monitoring.
  • It integrates signal processing conveniently through the front panel main insert jack.
  • Its main inputs enhance the unit’s compatibility with many audio sources and equipment.
Cons
  • The lack of front auxiliary inputs for each channel may disappoint some users.

This specific headphone amplifier can be a fantastic choice for many reasons. Principally, the four channels with separate volume control ensure a highly personalized monitoring experience. Plus, the balanced/unbalanced ¼" TRS I/O provides connectivity flexibility.

Additionally, the amplifier’s wide frequency response captures audio details with clarity. On top of that, such a fantastic unit can double as a control room monitor controller. Such a feature offers additional functionality for studio setups.

So, however you decide to use it, the PreSonus HP4 succeeds in delivering precision and reliability for many applications.

Pros
  • It provides ample power output of 130mW per channel, ensuring a high dynamic range.
  • It contains a MONITOR MUTE button for quick control over the monitor output.
  • It allows you to daisy chain multiple units together via Monitor Outputs for smooth connectivity in larger studio setups.
Cons
  • You can only connect one stereo input from a single sound source.
  • It may be a limiting option for those seeking a unit for larger recording settings.

The Behringer MicroAMP HA400 should be your go-to choice for a headphone amp if you’re on a tight budget. It’s a four-channel unit, allowing for personalized, multi-user adjustments.

Designed for high-quality audio performance, this amplifier delivers pristine sound in many different audio environments. Plus, the option for stereo or dual mono operation adds additional flexibility.

So, for such an impressive price point, this headphone amplifier doesn’t disappoint at all. It’s easy to use, functional, and portable as well.

Pros
  • It can be a perfect choice for users with cost constraints.
  • Its compact size makes it convenient for on-the-go usage or setups with limited space.
  • It comes with a DC 12 V adapter for maximum versatility and convenience of power options.
Cons
  • It may lack advanced features found in other, more sophisticated models.
  • It has limited input/output options compared to higher-end headphone amplifiers.

Related Article: The Top 5 Best Studio Headphones For Mixing In 2024


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do headphone amps really make a difference?

Yes, headphone amps can make a significant difference. They provide more power, improving audio quality and dynamics.

How to know if the amp is powerful enough for your headphones?

Check the headphone’s impedance and sensitivity. Then, choose an amplifier with sufficient power output (⅛ or less) to match the requirements of your headphones.

Can having an amp damage your headphones?

Yes, amplifiers that deliver too much power can damage your headphones. That's especially true for those with lower impedance. Therefore, you always need to consider equipment specifications.

What is the difference between a headphone amplifier and a DAC?

The headphone amplifier focuses on boosting the power of the audio signal. On the other hand, the DAC converts digital audio signals into analog signals. That said, some devices can integrate both functions to improve the overall audio quality.

Do headphones with 47 ohm impedance need an amplifier?

Headphones with 47 ohm impedance may not necessarily need an amp. However, using a suitable one can enhance the audio quality remarkably.

Product Recap

What’s great about the best headphone amps is that you can find many options to choose from. Yet, such a blessing can turn into confusion if you’re not sure what you’re looking for.

Overall, our top recommendation is the Rupert Neve Designs RNHP. It’s a standout choice ideal for those who can’t risk compromising audio quality. As for the close runner-up, it’s the Mackie HM-800. It’s a durable unit that isn’t far less functional than the Rupert Neve.

Lastly, if you’re looking for an affordable solution, the Behringer MicroAMP HA400 is for you. It performs amazingly, having all the basic monitoring needs.

If you found this guide helpful, please consider subscribing to our blog for more music production tips, product reviews, and buying guides. Also, you can support new content by contributing to our tip jar.

"Some of the links within this article are affiliate links. These links are from various companies such as Amazon. This means if you click on any of these links and purchase the item or service, I will receive an affiliate commission. This is at no cost to you and the money gets invested back into Audio Sorcerer LLC."

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