Headphone Amplifiers

If you are not convinced you need a headphone amplifier, please read this article first.

Audio-gd Master 9

Audio-GD Master 9 Review (26)

This is without doubt the best headphone amplifier I have ever tested. I’ve never heard such transparency and clean sound before. Besides this it manages to have a very neutral and natural sound presentation. I think this is one of the best headphone amplifiers in the world and it comes at a very small price considering the performance it offers. It should be taken as an example by a lot companies from the west.

Read the full review here.

Audio-gd Precision 2

Audio Gd Precision 2 Review (11)

Ok, let’s forget that Precision 2 is a speaker amplifier for the moment, and a great speaker amplifier from what I’ve seen until now. So we would have a 1000 $ headphone amplifier. I don’t know any other headphone amplifier at that price to beat it for that matter, if you get my point. Adding the very good speaker amplifier, it makes this product to have one of the best perfomance / price ratio I’ve ever seen in this market.

You want a great speaker amp and a great headphone amp and don’t have money for both? Well, Precision 2 will solve your problem with one shot.

Read the whole review here.

Oppo HA-1DAC / Headphone Amplifier

OPPO HA-1 Review 0

I have forgotten to add this amplifier on this page and I am sorry for that. This little dude is extremely potent and can be proudly included in my short list that contains the amplifiers which impressed me the most.

HA-1 is inherits some of the most impressive features that I found in Master 9 and at half the price, considering that it also is an all in one unit that includes a very good DAC inside.
Read the whole review here.

Simaudio Moon 430HA

Simaudio Moon 430HA review

Reviewing the 430HA was a pleasure. Moon managed to achieve a very pleasant sound once more. It’s a very hard balance to get between smoothness-musicality-transparency-energy, but Simaudio managed to achieve it.

I am pleased to see that Moon finally entered the headphone market and with such a product. The price is a bit steep and they do have competition, but if you want a good headphone amplifier, you should definitely consider the 430HA.

Read the full review here.


Decware Taboo MK3

decware taboo mk3 review

I recently got this amplifier and I must say that I am really impressed by it. This is my first tube amplifier, and I expected to be slow and mellow sounding. Was surprised to hear that it is very energetic and has very good treble extension for a tube amplifier.

It also  has excellent transparency, opening the window to your music, letting the fresh sound come to you. The soundstage is  very, very spacious and the instrument separation top notch. It also has good transients and very good instrument extension offering a very detailed but smooth and very fluent & natural presentation with wonderful deep and punchy bass.

Beware that with efficient headphones you might hear a hum, as it was designed for power hungry headphones like Audeze LCD-3 and LCD-2, and it doesn’t have a gain switch, but from what I understood, the newer models will. 

Read full review here.

iFi iDSD Micro 

ifi micro idsd review

iFi Micro iDSD was a really nice surprise. I never expected this quality at that price. I didn’t feel like I was listening to a portable unit at all. I felt like listening to a full blown desktop rig. Actually, I think it might beat a lot of more expensive and bigger desktop rigs.

I found both DAC/Headphone amplifier sections to be very good and to offer quality well  above their price.

Read full review here.

Burson Soloist / Conductor

Burson Conductor

I love this amplifier from Burson. It performed excellently with every headphone I gave it,  from full blown ones like Sennheser HD800, Audeze LCD-2, LCD-3, LCD-X to IEMS like Sennheiser IE800 or IE80, etc.

The design is simple and it has a very good build quality with a thick and sturdy aluminium case.

This is a neutral, energetic and powerful amplifier with very good PRAT, good details, fast transients, fast & controlled bass with good treble extension. It also has a smooth and musical presentation with which Burson achieved a very balanced and pleasent sound.

This is a very hard to beat Solid State headphone amplifier and you have to pay a lot to do that.

Bakoon HPA-21 Review


While not the most musical amplifier I have heard and I feel that is kind of overpriced, the bakoon hpa-21 does have some qualities that impressed with Audeze LCD-2 and LCD-3 as it has the cleanest and the most transparent sound I have heard in a solid state headphone amplifier. It also has a good soundstage, very good details but lacks some body and musicality.

FiiO E12A

FiiO E12A Review (3)

FiiO manages to amaze me constantly with their new products and the prices they come on the market. The E12A is no exception. It took FiiO X5 to a completely other level. I think that only now I’ve really listened to the DAC inside X5. The level of transparency, details and energy the E12 is capable of is just astonishing from my perspective.

Even if it is called the IEM edition, it did a great job even with my Sennheiser HD800 and LCD-X. It did however shine even more with IEMS and very efficient headphones, as it brought the Shure 535 LTD and IE800 to a whole other level of transparency, details, energy and level in general.

Read full review here.

FiiO E12 Mont Blanc

fiio e12 review

Offering an impressing 880 mW @ 32Ω, the FiiO E12 is a great piece of gear that deserves all your attention if you are looking for portability.

It can drive all of the power hungry iems / ciems or portable headphones out there. It can also drive the Audeze LCD3 and Sennheiser HD800 to a decent level.

I don’t think it has competition at it’s price & performance.

Read the  full review here.

Creek OBH-21 

creek obh21 review

I am glad I had the chance to listen to it, as it brings a lot in it’s small package. To be sincere, I wasn’t expecting this much from it, so I can say it surprised me a little.

One other thing I didn’t expect is the fact that it has a very good synergy with HD800, having a good prat, good bass, detailed mids, well extended treble without being bright .

I have also tested Audeze LCD2 a little with it. It was quite nice, but it felt under powered for it.

It is very good at it’s price and would make an excellent first amp or for a “portable” sound system for the workplace.

While this unit is out of production, I think that the new OBH-21 MK2 will easily take it’s place as it really impressed me with Focal Spirit Classic, Professional and even Sennheiser HD700.

Read the full review here.

FiiO X3

FiiO X3 Review

At this price the X3 is a steal as it has a decent amplifier besides it’s dac. I loved it with all the headphones I tested it with, even with HD800 with which made a very good pair sound wise – good bass, engaging and warm sound with no sibilance or brightness.

I even liked the LCD3 with it, though not as much as HD800 which was a better match.

Even though I would recommend the X3 paired with the E12 with LCD3 & HD800, it did a decent job by itself.

So you can take your HD800 from your desktop rig and listen to it in your bedroom for a few hours without a problem.

Read the full review here.

FiiO E17

Fiio E12 Review

I recommend this small dac/amplifier to anybody who wants to enter this hobby or anyone that needs a portable system. I use this at the office and did a wonderful job with Focal Spirit One, Spirit Classic & Professional, AKG K550, Sennhseiser Momentum &  Amperior, and even Audeze LCD-X.

This is a fun and engaging amplifier that offers full, energetic sound with deep and punchy bass and a smooth and sweet midrange.