If you want to buy the best Headphone Amp under 100 Dollars, then you'll LOVE this guide.
Choosing the best portable headphone amp for your smartphone isn't a complex task if you know what you're looking for...
...however I DO NOT want you to get lost in market with recent cheap knock offs that have launched recently.
The one thing that I like about choosing any Headphone Amp is:
"Costlier isn't always better."
Hence you'll see; I won't be mentioning amps close to $100 but rather starting from $30... up to $80.
However if you're looking for much Headphone Amp and full-fledged DAC; I'd recommend to check my previous guide about it. (Opens in New Window)
So without wasting much time, we'll get straight into the important part of this post.
But... Before that:
What is a Headphone Amp? Why’d you need one?
“I am not going to get into the fundamental of Sound Amplification and talk about Electrical Science, however I’d try to explain it in the most simple way possible.”
If you want more detailed answer, visit this link.
Well you can say:
"I’ve already invested in headphone costing more than $100; now why would I need to spend more money on a Headphone Amp?"
The answer is simple:
If the headphone you bought has impedance less than 80 Ohms, then guess what?
You DON'T need an amp!
However if it’s greater than 80 Ohms then you'd definitely need one.
All Electronic devices from which you can listen music; come embedded with an Amp...
...however considering we all listen to music via Smartphone, Desktop PC or Laptop, then the Amp inside it isn’t powerful enough to power headphones with higher Impedance rating. (Greater than 100 Ohms)
You can hear music from your smartphone; if you couple it with a high impedance headphone like Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro (250 Ohms), however the sound quality wouldn’t be something you’d be satisfied with.
To make the headphone perform to its full potential and hear more details along with loud sound, you’d need a headphone amp.
Hence we require the best Headphone Amp under 100 Dollars that doesn’t costs much, works as a DAC and offers excellent sound quality.
3 Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Portable Headphone Amp under $100
#1: Do you really need a Headphone Amp?
Many-a-times; I’ve seen people so much excited about buying Headphone Amp that they completely forget if they even need one.
One thing we need to remember is; Headphone Amp is not an add-on accessory, rather it’s a solution to drive your headphones to full potential. [Tweet This]
Here are three scenarios when you DO NOT need a Headphone Amp:
- Low-Impedance Headphones: Is your headphone Impedance rating less than 80 Ohms? If yes! Then you don’t need a Headphone Amp.
- In-Ear Headphones: If you own in-ear headphones like Sennheiser CX 300 II or MEElectronics Sport-Fi M6 or any other; no matter what the price, then you don’t an amp because they have small drivers and do not need external amplification.
- Active Noise Cancelling Headphone: If you own Active Noise Cancelling headphones like Bose QuietComfort 25 or the Monster Inspiration then you don’t need a headphone amp because they already come embedded with one... and coupling an external amp will do very little difference.
#2: Where will you use it?
If you're always on the move and carry your music with you, then it’s highly suggested to buy an extremely portable headphone amp that can either sit in your pocket or can be clipped to your shirt.
However if you want to amplify music from both your smartphone as well as PC, you can go for Headphone Amp that comes with DAC facility.
Which means; you can connect the amp to PC via USB cable and listen to music by connecting your favorite headphone to the amp.
#3: How much are you willing to spend?
Budget is an important factor that takes a major part in our buying decision.
Though the list is about the best Headphone Amp under 100 Dollars; it doesn’t features Amps in the range close to that, it features all best portable Headphone Amp from $30-$80.
And in this case, higher price doesn’t means better sound quality... it just means better build quality and extra features.
Hence you won’t find noticeable sound quality difference in a $30 amp compared to a $80 amp having better features.
Since we're done talking about theory, let's get on to the meatier part of this post... i.e. the Top 5 Best Headphone Amp under 100 Dollars.
#5: Brainwavz AP001 Portable Headphone Amplifier
Well to start off I thought I’d rather put a small and highly portable headphone amp; hence the people who just want to have a small and the best portable headphone amp won’t have to go through the entire list.
At price of $30, it certainly deserves to be in our list of Best Headphone Amp under 100 Dollars because it ticks all the right places.
It’s very small with a size that of a matchbox and can power two headphones at the same time; which I believe is totally awesome.
Brainwavz AP001 design is pretty unique compared to the best portable headphone amp I’ve used or seen.
There’s a keyhole kind of design at centre which houses LED indicators inside it.
Coming to its features; it supports headphones and earphones which have impedance of 16 – 150 Ohms; which is pretty awesome considering the price it’s offered at...
...and offers 120% increase in original sound output.
It has 12 hours of battery life and gets full charged within 2 hours.
Brainwavz AP001 supports frequency response of 16-100K Hz and all this packed in a weight of just 15 grams.
"What more could you expect from a best Headphone Amp under 100 Dollars which offers Dual Headphone support, high frequency response and very small design all for a price of just under $30."
The only problem one could face is the battery life of just 12 hours, making it required to charge every 3 days. Check its full review here.
#4: Fiio E07K Andes Portable Headphone Amp and USB DAC
If you’re looking for the best headphone amp under 100 Dollars that works great and also acts a Style Statement...
...then Fiio E07K is the way to go.
The way this best portable headphone amp is designed makes it looks like a Portable Music Player with an OLED display and Button at its sides with glass finish at the front.
However it’s just a Headphone Amp and DAC with OLED display as an added advantage.
For start Fiio is an excellent audio brand known for its Headphone Amps and DACs...
...and the E07K is its proud product.
The best part is... with an OLED display, this headphone amp allows you to adjust your sound as per your choice.
Hence you can adjust controls regarding Bass, Treble, Balance and Gain Level Adjustment from 0, 6 and 12 dB.
Design wise it has brushed aluminium finish all over the body just like the Fiio A3 and Glass Finish at the front with only a small portion containing the OLED display.
At left it has Volume Up/Down Buttons, Menu and Power On/Off Buttons...
...whereas the right features a Hold Toggle; all the buttons on Fiio E07K have a Silver Aluminium Finish.
At top it has two Headphone Jacks whereas the button features Mini USB port and a slot that lets it dock to Fiio E09K.
For users looking for technical features, then this headphone amp supports impedance from 16 – 150 Ohms and for audiophiles, the good news is it provides 96kHz/24-bit signal which means you can expect audiophile grade sound from it. [Check Full Review]
"Expect the low impedance support, Fiio E07K Andres definitely deserves to be in our list of best headphone amp under 100 Dollars and it offers excellent features with a touch of style."
#3: Topping NX2 Headphone Amp and USB DAC
Topping may not be a renowned brand but its Headphone Amplifier NX1 and NX2 are making pretty good noise recently.
If you look at the images, you can easily say that it’s very slim for a Headphone Amp that works also as a DAC having length of 11cm which doesn’t make it entirely portable.
The reason why we’ve included it in our list of Best Headphone Amp Under 100 Dollars is because:
- Retains an Industrial Grade Headphone Amp Design
- Provides Total Harmonic Distortion of 0.0001% at 32 Ohms
- Provides Battery life of 100 hours with built-in 1000 mAh battery
The battery is what increases its size.
As you can see, Topping NX2 isn’t the best looking Headphone Amp out there because it retains that industrial design which gives it a professional look.
The big question:
How much Headphone Impedance does it supports?
Upto 300 Ohms; which is an ideal choice unless you’re going for Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium.
Though it doesn’t comes with features like Dual Headphones Support or Built-in Mic it definitely provides what it says. Also check what other users have to say on via this forum thread.
The company also includes two silicon band and 5 velcro pieces so as to attach it behind your smartphone.
Though it’s just a fix rather than a solution, so be careful before doing it.
"My last words would be... the Topping NX2 is not your fancy Headphone Amp but it does what is marketed and hence is featured in our list of best Headphone Amp under 100 Dollars."
#2: Creative Sound Blaster E1 Headphone Amp with Mic Support
Creative is a renowned brand when it comes to audio products and Creative Sound Blaster E1 is their best products in best headphone amp category and hence in featured in our list of best Headphone Amp under 100 Dollar.
At first look; the E1 looks very small...
...but don’t get fooled as it packs whole awesome hardware inside.
Compared to previously mentioned Brainwavz AP001, the Creative Sound Blaster E1 is a major step with 25 hours of battery life and support for 600 Ohms of Headphone Amplification.
This is serious business for a price just over $30.
This best portable headphone amp over $30 also supports dual headphones at same time... [Tweet This]
...moreover it also has a built-in mic which can be used to receive/end calls.
The E1 also has shirt clip at the back and can be easily taken anywhere considering it weighs only 25 grams.
I like the fact that Creative provided bright Orange Stereo and USB cable inside the box which can quickly grab attention.
The best part is you can even the E1 as a DAC and connect it to your PC as an external sound card.
"All-in-all the Creative Sound Blaster E1 is an excellent product for best headphone amp under 100 Dollars with 25 hours of Battery Life and support for 600 Ohms Headphones and built-in mic support."
You just cannot go wrong for the price just over $30 you spend on these.
The #1 Position is Locked! Click on any one button. Share the article, and see who holds the #1 Position!
There are few products that I see on Amazon.com with a complete 5/5 stars and Poweradd Headphone Amp is one of it.
And hence why it not only deserves to be in our list of best headphone under 100 Dollars; it actually tops it.
Now it’s not as fancy as other Headphone Amplifier in our list but it does have a good design if not great with a full plastic body and weighs only 55 grams.
It offers support to headphones with Impedance from 8 Ohms to 600 Ohms which is highest among other amps mentioned in the list.
This best portable headphone amp also features Bluetooth 4.0 with AptX which allows you to wirelessly connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth and enjoy your music.
However I’d do like to mention an important point... this headphone amp connects wirelessly to your smartphone via Bluetooth, but to connect it to your headphones you definitely need to do it via Stereo cable.
For just under $40, it also offers some pretty cool Audio Modes with LED indication:
- Green LED indicates Dynamic Bass Boost Mode
- Purple LED indicates a 3D Surround Stereo Mode which would go best with Surround Sound Sounbar Speakers
- Blue LED indicates a standard mode with only amplification and no modification to your music
It comes with a 1300 mAH battery which can this portable amp alive for upto 60 hours... whereas to save some juice you can even connect your smartphone to this amp via AUX cable to save some juice.
Lastly I would like to conclude by saying that the Poweradd definitely deserves to be in our list of Top 5 Best Headphone Amp Under 100 Dollars with the feature company is offering just under $40 which makes it solid buy.
I believe you must have unlocked the Best Headphone Amp on #1 position?
If you haven't done it till now, I strongly suggest you to do it. This helps you let your friends know on social media the kind of awesome content you're reading online.
So why not show it to them? It may also help, if they're too looking to buy the Best Portable Headphone Amp under $100.
However, I do hope you enjoyed this article.
I'd be filled with awesomeness if this guide helped you zero on your next Headphone Amp.
Just let me know in the comment section if you actually did.
Thanks for stopping by, have a great day ahead.