Introduction to Headphone Amplifier Reviews
With the wider proliferation of high quality headphones in the marketplace, a need for more dedicated sources of quality amplification has followed. A proper headphone amp used to be seen only in tandem with expensive electrostatic headphones or in a recording studio. Not anymore. In the quest to develop higher resolution headphones, a number of models now present a more challenging load to drive to their fullest potential. This applies to many models of both home and portable headgear.
Typically, an easily driven headphone presents a load of about 16 - 50 ohms. These headphones can be comfortably driven with most portable devices alone. Anywhere above this level of impedance and you will not generate adequate volume using your average portable device. Most home preamplifiers will continue to be fine driving loads up to 100 ohms, after which a dedicated headphone amplifier is in order. Many higher end home headphones, for example, will have impedance ratings of 250 and 600 ohms.
Today, a wide array of headphone amplification is available to use in conjunction with both portable and home equipment, with prices varying accordingly. They range from tube to solid state amplification. Some have built in DACs and USB connections for use with computers. Some of the portable units are robust enough to allow you to take your home headphones on the go, while some of the home units will feature both standard and balanced connections for various headphone types.
Through our reviews, featuring both subjective analysis and bench testing, we will help narrow down the best amplifier match for your given headphone need.