What Does a Headphone Amp Do?

What Does a Headphone Amp Do?

What Does a Headphone Amp Do? If you crave better audio quality in your day-to-day life a headphone amp may be just what you are looking for. Although it is a luxury, a headphone amp can transform your listening experience by using what is called a DAC, or digital-to-analog converter. They are used to improve the sound quality, volume, and depth of your music. Headphone amps can provide great benefits, but they are not necessary for every type of listener. If you are trying to decide whether a headphone amp would fit into your lifestyle and fit your needs, we’ve got you covered.

How do Headphone Amps Work?

How do Headphone Amps Work?
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This type of device converts the digital audio that comes out of smartphones or computers into analog low-voltage signals. The headphone amp enhances the quality of your music as it travels between your primary device and your headphones. Headphones with a higher impedance (see below) require more voltage for high quality and powerful sound.


When understanding the way in which headphone amps work, knowing the role of impedance is useful. Headphones with high impedance will benefit most from the addition of a headphone amp. These types of headphones lack the power to let the full potential of your music shine. High impedance means strong resistance to electrical signals and that they require more power to produce a sufficient sound, which is where headphone amps can help.

An impedance of 100 ohms is considered to be high in headphones. Higher quality headphones tend to have a higher impedance, while smartphones and computers run on the lower end, around 35 ohms. Note: when looking into incredibly expensive headphones, you may find remarkably high impedance, in which case these headphones may come with a dedicated amplifier.

Do You Need a Headphone Amp?

Do You Need a Headphone Amp?
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As technology evolves, audio quality can sometimes suffer. Especially when it comes down to your everyday listening during your commute, poor audio could put a damper on a day. If you feel like the sound coming from your headphones isn’t living up to your standards, you may like to consider the addition of a headphone amp. Adding this device to your technological repertoire could give your music the boost that your current device cannot. 

Headphone amps are typically more beneficial when used in conjunction with over-the-ear headphones, rather than in-ear or earbuds. The latter tend to perform well enough without the assistance of an additional, external amp. This type of device is generally paired with high-quality headphones that simply have a higher impedance.

Additionally, it is handy to note that noise-canceling headphones also will never require a headphone amp, as they are designed with an internal one.

The Use of a Headphone Amp

Headphone amplifiers surely are an extra cost, however, they prove to be extremely useful in many scenarios. Whether you are seriously invested in music because of a job, or for pleasure,  they will improve the overall sound and dimension of each song. Professions such as recording, producing, and audio/sound engineering reap the benefits of headphone amps to ensure they are creating the best sound. Audiophiles alike put headphone amplifiers to work to bask in the full potential of a track powered by such a device.

The Benefit: Improved Audio Quality

The Benefit: Improved Audio Quality
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By transforming the sounds coming out of your primary device with the help of a middle-man headphone amp, the audio entering your ears becomes of much higher quality. This device will provide a much clearer and crisper sound, as well as a wider range of volume.

Whether you enjoy loud music to get in the zone, to hear in great detail, or simply to have an elevated listening experience, a headphone amp’s ability to overcome a device’s natural volume limit will have you listening to the way you’ve always dreamed of.

Conclusion – What Does a Headphone Amp Do?

Headphone amplifiers transform the sound that comes out of a pair of headphones with the help of a digital-to-analog converter. This is what extracts the high-quality audio from more expensive sets of headphones. These headphones generally require more power to produce a quality sound, which is where the headphone amplifier comes in. However, a headphone amp can also be of use to improve the sound quality or volume potential of lower-quality headphones. A headphone amp could be a great purchase for both professional settings and for personal enjoyment.

Written by Starlettah Rienhardt

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