A headphone amplifier is a device used to boost the signal of an audio source, such as a music player or a computer, to drive a pair of headphones. Headphone amplifiers are typically used when the source device cannot provide enough power to drive the headphones to a sufficient volume or when the source device has a low-quality headphone output that affects the sound quality.
There are a few situations when you might need a headphone amplifier:
If you have high-impedance headphones: Most headphones have an impedance of around 25-60 ohms, which is low enough that most devices can drive it. However, some high-end headphones have an impedance of 100 ohms or more, which can require more power to drive to a sufficient volume. In this case, a headphone amplifier can help boost the signal and drive the headphones to a louder volume.
If you want to improve sound quality: Some devices, particularly portable ones like smartphones, have low-quality headphone outputs that can negatively impact the sound quality. A headphone amplifier can improve sound quality by providing a clean and powerful signal to the headphones.
If you want to drive multiple pairs of headphones: Some headphone amplifiers have multiple outputs, allowing you to connect and drive multiple pairs of headphones simultaneously. This can be useful if you want to share music or movies with friends or family or if you want to use multiple pairs of headphones in a recording studio or other professional setting.
In general, you don't need a headphone amplifier unless you are experiencing issues with the volume or sound quality of your headphones when connected to your source device. If you are happy with the volume and sound quality, a headphone amplifier is unnecessary. However, if you are an audiophile, chances are you won't be satisfied with the built-in headphone outputs. Then check out our selected DAC/headphone amps collections!