Do you know about powerful amplifier for studio headphones?

Since I have been in the process of acquiring headphones for my home studio, I need to know all the ins and outs about headphone amplifiers with high ohms.

For example, I am interested in 80 ohm headphones. What happens to the 80, 250 or 600 ohm models and the relatively cheap headphone amplifiers (<€ 100)?

In fact, the headphones that I like have a power of 100mW (Custom Studio), when my sound card (Sound Blaster ZxR) only reaches 80mW at the headphone output. I deduce that I will have power problems at a high volume, around 70-80%, although Creative states that they should support headphones with many ohms.

Do these amplifiers do what they promise? Amplify the sound with enough power to perfectly support 80, 250 or 600 ohm headphones while maintaining a high volume level without distortion?

I have seen compact 4-channel models. It really seems that there are not many options, and manufacturers seem to hide the technical specifications of these devices.

Another issue is how the amplifier can influence the audio quality of the original source. I like how my Sound Blaster ZxR counts, and I don’t want an amplifier to transform the sound in any way. That it was exactly the same as the original, but more powerful, obviously, to support the most demanding headphones.

Although he now chose to acquire 80 ohm headphones, perhaps later he acquires one of 250 ohm. It is always better to look to the future.

Can we discuss these things in this thread? Do you have experience on studio headphone amplifiers for PC?

Here is an example: Auna HA-4CH

chose to acquire 80 ohm headphones

I would use a headphone amp for anything above the consumer 32 ohm cans, my self.

Can we discuss these things in this thread? Do you have experience on studio headphone amplifiers for PC?

I personally own a Behringer MicroAMP HA400 and I quite like it. No discernible noise. Just boosts the signal. I power a pair of 55 ohm cans with it. Sound great. It also powers 16 ohm and 32 ohm consumer headphones quite well. Overall, it is a simple and cheap option that in my opinion sounds great.

Yes. From what I’ve been seeing, it seems that many music devices begin to experience power difficulties with more than 32 ohms. It is advisable that the output is even more powerful than the headphones themselves, to ensure that there is no lack of power when the headphones are playing several frequencies at the same time (high power demand).

According to this manual, the Behringer MicroAMP HA400 has an output of 80 ohm with a maximum output power of 40mW. The headphones that I have as reference are 80 ohm but with a power of up to 100 mW (power handling capacity). So, with this data, this amplifier would fall short. I suppose I am making the right comparisons.

At least it should provide 100mW, and if more, even better.

By the way, the device only needs to be an “amplifier.” It is not necessary to include a “DAC”. There are a few compact devices that bring both.

This is a cheeky copy of the Auna HA-4CH. Both are the same.

This other one has at least one on / off button. I appreciate this detail.

I have a Mackie HM4. It’s ok, but it is also not the strongest. Look for this one:

It’s a clone of a 500€ amp.

Interesting the Superlux:

Read this comment. It has no waste!

Another, the Magni:

Another, the JDS Labs Objective 2 (this is much more expensive, about € 180):


Another: ART HeadAMP 4

This only supports up to 47 ohm at each output. You have to look at all this with a magnifying glass.

Another: PreSonus HP4
I think this model could be worth it. But I don’t like it at all, and it’s for € 115.

From what I’ve seen so far, I don’t find a model similar to these characteristics:

  • Price <100€
  • Amplifier only (no DAC).
  • Amplifier with a wide frequency range 30Hz to 30Khz
  • 2 headphone outputs (for what else?)
  • RCA and / or jack inputs.
  • A pair of large size volume control wheels.
  • On / off switch.
  • Current transformer included, external or internal (without battery compartment).
  • The amplifier only amplifies, does not color.
  • Device simpler than those typical of 4 outputs. But with high quality electronics.
  • Important that the volume wheels do not scratch in their use, they are of high quality.
  • 4 non-slip support legs. Your design should be for desktop.
  • Powerful output for each headphone jack, over 100mW, compatible with at least 250ohm without high volume distortion. That is, that 80 ohm headphones at 100mW work perfectly at the maximum volume that is capable. And that the amplifier can still handle headphones of greater ohm, up to 200/250 ohm if possible.

The last point is very important for me. The amplifier must be able to increase the volume to the maximum without any distortion.

If someone finds something similar to the characteristics that I have mentioned, please say it here.

Hm, all my audio interfaces so far were quite capable to power my high ohm dt880 (250ohms). Presonus, TC Electronics, my Korg M3, all can power the headphone to a good (too loud) loudness.

I often have the feeling that the audio hardware industry sells a lot of stuff you do not need, and then their technics doesn’t seem to have developed that much in the last 20 years.

I am practically certain that some of my audio or HIFI equipment is not capable of supporting high impendance headphones. In fact, there is something very strange about all this. It is as if the manufacturers did not agree on how the technical specifications of the equipment should be exposed, much less on the headphone output jack. Often, the user will not know what power and resistance his headphone jack supports.

Now, you look for different devices, including headphone amplifiers. Observe the technical specifications. It is a mess. It seems on purpose to really hide the capacity of each amplifier, and thus sell more. Total, in the name it says “amplifier”, right?

The truth is that many devices are only ready to support up to 32 ohm in the headphone output, approximately. From there, you will have problems or serious problems to increase the volume to the maximum and the headphones of greater impendance sound correctly, with all the power they can deploy.

It can also happen that, far from being heard badly, it is simply heard too low at maximum volume. From a general point of view, this is a bit of shit. It is necessary to chain different devices to be able to use powerful headphones with high impedance conditions. Do not settle for 60 or 70% of the volume. Obviously, it is not a matter of being deaf.

Just thought I’d come back with a bit of an update. Picked up a pair of 250 ohm cans. Powering them with my Behringer MicroAMP HA400. At “middle” gain, they are quite loud. I have had no issue powering these moderately high impedance cans with this amplifier. Just my experience with the device.

In summary, I have powered a pair of 32 Ohm, 55 Ohm, two pairs of 60 Ohm, and now this pair of 250 Ohm phones with the amplifier. All of them sound great, with plenty of volume at or below “middle” gain on the amplifier. I’m tempted to grab some resisters and my multi-meter to measure current output at different impedance, but have yet to do so. I’m curious as to how everything is wired internally.

Got similar amp, art headamp 4, also 250 ohm beyerdynamic cans have healthy volume at half level/round 12 o clock. Clear sound as far as I can judge, enough power, no background noise.

4 ports with individual volume control are useful if you’re using multiple pairs of cans (I use two, one clear and one for getting the bass right, and a pair of speakers also plugged into the amp).

I bet those have enough power to blow/break cans and ears if you turn up fully, so be careful with such amplifiers.