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Home » 6 Best AMPs for Headphone Under $100

6 Best AMPs for Headphone Under $100

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It’s easy to use headphones—just plug them into your phone, tablet, or computer. All of the above devices already have a headphone amplifier built in. So, why do you need a headphone amplifier that isn’t built in? The sound quality and details will be better with an external headphone amplifier. If you have high-end headphones (with a high impedance), you will need an external amplifier with more power to drive them. Help us find you the best headphone amp for less than $100.

If you want to listen to music better, the next step is to get a headphone amplifier. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get one. There are some good headphone amps that cost less than $100 that are good for both new users and more experienced ones.

List of the 6 Best AMPs for Headphone Under $100

1. The FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

 1. The FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

  Get it now on Amazon.com

Some of the best headphone amplifiers are made by the well-known company FiiO. Most of the headphone amps made by this company have been very cheap and have great sound quality.

The aluminum used to make the FiiO E10K Headphone amp combo makes it strong and long-lasting. On the front, there is a 3.5mm (1/8″) headphone jack, a switch for turning the bass on and off, and a volume knob. On the back, there is a coaxial out port, a line out port, a switch for high and low gain, and a USB port for power.
A warning: It didn’t have enough power to run headphones with a resistance of 300 Ohms. It will work great with headphones that have a low impedance, and it’s probably the best headphone amp we can recommend for under $100.

2. AudioQuest DragonFly Black v1.5 Plug-in USB DAC, Preamp, and Headphone Amp

 2. AudioQuest DragonFly Black v1.5 Plug-in USB DAC, Preamp, and Headphone Amp

  Get it now on Amazon.com

In 2012, the first Dragonfly DAC/headphone amplifier came out. Two years later in 2014, they launched the Dragonfly v1.2 (discontinued) (discontinued). The AudioQuest Dragonfly v1.5 is now out.

It has a small size that lets you put it in your pocket. Taking a look at how it was made, the housing is made of metal and has a soft, rubbery finish. There is also an LED on the DAC/Headphone amp that shows the sampling rate of the music files it is working on.

Because of its size and USB port, it’s a great way to improve the sound on your PC or laptop. It can be used with both Android and iOS phones. Still, you will need some adapters that don’t come with the kit.

The DragonFly Black can put out 1.2 volts of power. If you need more power, the DragonFly Red has a higher power output of 2.1 volts and costs about $200 more. This is one of the best amplifiers for headphones you can get for less than $100.

3. Fosi Audio Q4: Mini Stereo Gaming DAC and Headphone Amplifier

 3. Fosi Audio Q4: Mini Stereo Gaming DAC and Headphone Amplifier

  Get it now on Amazon.com

The unit is small, and its shell is made of metal to make it feel high-quality. The Fosi Audio Q4 has a number of inputs on the back. One is optical, one is USB, and the other is coaxial. On the back, there is also the 5V DC input that is needed for it to work. Your desktop can have two RCA audio outputs that can be hooked up to amplifiers or powered speakers.

There are three knobs on the front: one for the bass, one for the treble, and one for the volume. Which could be helpful for quickly tuning sound without having to download drivers, software, or change sound settings. Also on the front is a jack for headphones and a switch with three options for the input.

4. The Syba Sonic 24bit USB DAC Stereo Headphone Amplifier

 4. The Syba Sonic 24bit USB DAC Stereo Headphone Amplifier

  Get it now on Amazon.com

Syba was started in 2001, and the company says they follow three simple rules: “superior product quality, competitive prices that are still affordable, and excellent customer service.”

This unit can be powered by USB and has both digital (optical and coax) and analog (RCA) outputs. It does not need a driver. On the front, there are line-in, mic-in, and 1/4′′ and 1/8′′ jack outputs. Also on the front is a switch that lets you choose between three hardware EQ modes: bass boost, default or direct, and treble boost. The big volume wheel on top makes it easy to change the volume quickly.

The fact that the Syba Sonic 24bit works with both PC and PS4 consoles could be appealing to gamers.

5. Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier Nobsound NS-08E

 5. Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier Nobsound NS-08E

  Get it now on Amazon.com

Nobsound (Douk Audio) is a company that has helped most audio consumers get good products at good prices. For high-quality amplification, the NS-08E uses both tubes and transistors. The tubes are used to boost the sound before it goes to the solid-state part of the amp, which sends the sound out.

The case is made of CNC aluminum and the amp is well-made. The size is small enough to fit in your hand. The two tubes that come out of the top can be replaced with the same model 6J3 or with models 6J4, 6J5, 6K4, and many others.

The Nobsound NS-08E headphone amp can power headphones with impedance values from 24 to 600 ohms. Which is pretty amazing considering how much this amplifier costs. The Nobsound NS-08E will also look great on your desk, which is a bonus.

6. HELM Audio Bolt USB-C Portable DAC/AMP

 6. HELM Audio Bolt USB-C Portable DACAMP

  Get it now on Amazon.com

This USB-C device is very interesting and almost made the list. However, it costs $109, which puts it over our $100 budget. But it’s likely that you could find it for less than $100 during certain times of the year.

You might think that the product is just a simple USB-C to 3.5mm adapter because it is small. Don’t get it wrong—the HELM Audio Bolt is a very portable DAC and amplifier that works with Android and iOS smartphones and PC/Mac computers.

This small device has been approved by THX and can play MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio. The LED changes color to show you what kind of sound is being played. Blue means SD audio, red means HD audio, and magenta means MQA audio.

Conclusion

There are a lot of DACs, amplifiers, and pre-amps on the market, and they all cost different amounts. I hope this list of headphone amps for under $100 will help you decide which one to buy next.

Before you buy a headphone amplifier, you should always set a budget, check the build quality or materials used, the reputation of the brand, the impedance, and other specs, and read reviews from people who have used it.

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