15 Best Portable Headphone Amps with DACs 2020

If you are looking for the best portable headphone amps to boost your headphone sound performance, you’re in the right place.

In this review we feature the best headphone amps and DAC combos that can really bring out the best sound quality in your headphones. They have digital to analog converters and multiple output options for you to connect your headphones to different devices including desktops and laptop devices. They also come with volume gain and bass modes for you to customize your listening experience. If you are looking for the best portable headphone amps, be sure to check out our top picks below!

Not sure what to choose? Our editors highly recommend the FiiO K3 portable headphone amp for its versatile connectivity and sound performance.

Best Portable Headphone Amps – our top 3 picks

Top 3 Portable Headphone Amps
FiiO K3Audioengine D1FiiO E10K
FiiO K3 Portable Headphone AmpAudioengine D1 Portable Headphone AmpFiiO E10K Headphone Amp
✔️16 to 150Ω impedance

✔️Versatile outputs

✔️Quality design

✔️16 to 600Ω impedance

✔️24-bit DAC

✔️USB, optical inputs

✔️16 to 150Ω impedance

✔️24-bit/96kHz

✔️Portable Design

Compare the Best Portable Headphone Amps

PictureAmpHeadphone ImpedanceDAC OutputsWeight
FiiO K3 Portable Headphone AmpFiiO K316 to 150ΩAnalog 3.5mm, optical and coaxial82g
Audioengine D1 Portable Headphone AmpAudioengine D110 to 600ΩAnalog 3.5mm, RCA500g
FiiO E10K Headphone AmpFiiO E10K16 to 150ΩCoaxial, stereo PCM78g
Monolith THX Headphone AmpMonolith 12445910 to 600ΩAnalog 6.5mm, 4-pin XLR900g
LOXJIE P20 Headphone AmpLOXJIE P20501 to 600ΩAnalog 3.5mm, XLR600g
FiiO A3 Portable Headphone AmpFiiO A316 to 150ΩAnalog 3.5mm92g
M-Audio Bass TravelerM-Audio Bass Traveler16 to 150ΩAnalog 3.5mm30g
FiiO BTR1K Headphone AmpFiiO BTR1K16 to 150ΩAnalog 3.5mm20.5g
FiiO E17 Alpen 2 Portable Headphone AmpFiiO E17 Alpen 216 to 150ΩAnalog 3.5mm110g
AudioQuest DragonFly USB DAC Headphone AmpAudioQuest DragonFly DAC16 to 32ΩAnalog 3.5mm22g
iFi Micro DAC Headphone AmpiFi Micro iDSD DAC16 to 600ΩRCA, SPDIF Coaxial308g
FiiO i1 Portable Headphone AmpFiiO i116 to 32ΩAnalog 3.5mm11.5g
Micca OriGen G2 DAC Amp ComboMicca OriGen G216 to 600ΩAnalog 3.5mm, optical170g
Topping NX1 Portable Headphone AmpTopping NX116 to 300ΩAnalog 3.5mm79g
Sound Blaster X G6 Portable Headphone AmpSound BlasterX G616 to 600ΩAnalog 3.5mm144g

View the Best Portable Headphone Amps Below

#1 Best Portable DAC Amp: FiiO K3 Portable Headphone Amp

FiiO K3 Portable Headphone Amp

FiiO K3 Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 16 to 150Ω
  • Power Supply: Type-C USB
  • Outputs: 3.5mm, coaxial, optical
  • Inputs: USB
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz – 80kHz
  • Dimensons: 70 x 58 x 22mm
  • Weight: 82
  • Additional Features: Double pass filter for stable power
ProsCons
✔️High performance headphone amp

✔️Multiple output options

✔️Built-in DAC combo

🚫LED lights a little bright

🚫Only supports one output source at a time

The FiiO K3 is one of the best portable headphone amps you can find that delivers really good sound performance with numerous connectivity options. It is capable of decoding up to 384kHz/32 bit PCM and native DSD256 for quality sound performance.

The sound quality on the FiiO K3 is really good – it gives your headphones a good boost in audio performance and you can also tweak the bass settings for a more bass-heavy sound signature. The sound signature is crisp and clear, and the amp sensitivity works well for volume adjustment control across a variety of different headphone impedances.

This headphone amp comes with a modern USB-Type C input interface. The USB-Type C ensures a more reliable and stable connection. The K3 amp also implements over-voltage protection (OVP) and a double-filter circuit to ensure power supply stability.

For older devices, this headphone amp also supports two modes of USB audio 2.0 and USB 1.0.

We really liked that this amp supports multiple interfaces with dual headphone jacks (3.5mm and 2.5mm), 3.5mm auxiliary line out, coaxial and optical digital outputs. This allows you to connect to almost any digital source which is really convenient.

The K3 headphone amp uses ADC volume control which eliminates channel volume imbalances and also allows you to easily adjust the volume to a more accurate and finer degree. This allows you to match headphones with all kinds of sensitivity for different listening needs.

The volume knob is 45 degrees etched onto its surface and well-sized to allow easy turning. There’s also an RGB light that indicates the kind of digital audio input into the K3.

The Verdict? The FiiO K3 is definitely one of the best portable headphone amps you can find that delivers superb sound with great sensitivity levels. It has numerous input connectivity options for a wide range of digital audio sources, and is equipped with more accurate ADC volume and gain / bass switches.

#2 Best DAC Amp Combo: Audioengine D1 Portable Headphone Amp

Audioengine D1 Portable Headphone Amp

Audioengine D1 Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 10 to 600Ω
  • Power Supply: USB
  • Outputs: RCA stereo, 3.5mm
  • Inputs: USB, optical
  • Frequency Range: 10Hz – 25kHz
  • Dimensons: 89 x 10 x 2mm
  • Weight: 500g
  • Additional Features: Supports 24-Bit 192 kHz Audio
ProsCons
✔️High quality 24-Bit 192 kHz audio

✔️Digital and optical input options

✔️Supports high-impedance headphones

🚫Volume knob has no markings

🚫Slightly pricey headphone amp

If you are looking for a full-fleged DAC amp combo, you can’t go wrong with the Audioengine D1 24-Bit DAC Headphone amp. The D1 is a premium DAC and headphone amplifier for desktop computers, TVs and laptops which completely bypasses your computer’s sound card or headphone output and sends audio through USB or optical. The result is the best possible sound quality you can hear with your headphones with strong signal gain. It’s one of the best portable headphone amps built for audiophiles and we highly recommend them.

The D1 headphone amp is highly versatile and features USB and optical inputs, with RCA outputs. It is USB powered with no separate power supply needed. It also works with Apple TV or any audio source with optical output, or any audio system with mini-jack or RCA.

This headphone amp can stream bit-perfect 24/96 HD audio, as well as process digital audio up to 24-bits and same rate up to 192kHz. It is based on high-performance AK4396 DAC for optimal sound performance for HD audio output.

Audioengine D1 Portable Headphone Amp Connections

Apart from its premium design, the sound quality and performance of the Audioengine D1 literally blows everything out of the water. The sound is pristine and clear, and the volume gain is sensitive enough to accommodate headphones with different impedances.

The Audioengine D1 headphone comes with a 2 foot USB cable, setup guide and micro-fiber bag for easy storage.

The Verdict? The Audioengine D1 is one of the best DAC amp combos we’ve seen for audiophile listening. They are some of the best portable headphone amps that stream bit-perfect HD audio and deliver really nice sound quality with crystal clear sound without a hint of a distortion. It also has its own internal processing circuitry, bypassing your computer’s sound card or headphone output.

#3 Best Portable Headphone Amp: FiiO E10K Portable Headphone Amp

FiiO E10K Headphone Amp

FiiO E10K Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 16 to 150Ω
  • Power Supply: Micro USB
  • Outputs: Coaxial, stereo PCM
  • Inputs: USB
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Dimensons: 79 x 49 x 21mm
  • Weight: 78g
  • Additional Features: Selectable bass boost
ProsCons
✔️PCM supported up to 24-bit/96 kHz

✔️Selectable bass boost feature

✔️Quality DAC chip

🚫Plastic volume knob

🚫Not suited for high-impedance headphones

If you are looking for a portable USB DAC headphone amp, the FiiO E10K is definitely a great choice. It is a high resolution headphone amplifier that is customizable and designed to improve your laptop’s audio quality through its PCM5102 DAC chip, and can handle PCM files up to 24-bit/96 kHz. Overall, the FiiO E10K is one of the best portable headphone amps you can find that delivers clean and clear sound quality.

This headphone amp is designed to improve audio quality of your headphones through a linear filter, with reduced delay and internal silence on changing tracks with no phase shifts. We particularly liked the fact that it has an optimized low-pass filter and selectable bass boost circuit that are designed for a low noise floor in all sonic states.

When we tested the FiiO E10K amp, we found the sound quality warm and detailed after a few hours of breaking in. It brings out the best in your headphones with sensitive volume controls and enough power for higher impedance headphones. It enhances the overall sound signature of your headphones without causing them to sound artificial.

The FiiO E10K connects to your laptop via micro USB connection which also doubles as a power source. It offers a variety of connections including a front panel 1/8 headphone jack, rear panel 1/8 line output, rear-panel coaxial digital output which allows you to sound digital audio to another source.

It also features a LMH6643 op amp which is designed for transient response and driving more power to your headphones, making them suitable for high-impedance headphone use.

The build quality on the FiiO E10K is very nicely made with a portable design. It features a sleek, brushed aluminium shell and chassis for long-term use. There’s also a front blue LED light when the unit is turned on.

The Verdict? The FiiO E10K is hands down one of the best portable headphone amps you can find. It delivers quality sound through its PCM5102 DAC chip, and is DAC Amp combo that really delivers on sound quality. The amp is also very well constructed and portable, making it great for portable listening applications.

#4 Best Desktop Headphone Amp: Monolith THX Headphone Amp

Monolith THX Headphone Amp

Monolith THX Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 10 to 600Ω
  • Power Supply: AC power
  • Outputs: Analog 6.5mm, 4-pin XLR
  • Inputs: Optical, coaxial, USB
  • Frequency Range: 1Hz – 40kHz
  • Dimensons: 8.7″ x 7.8″ x 2.0″
  • Weight: 900g
  • Additional Features: THX AAA technology
ProsCons
✔️Audiophile-grade headphone amp

✔️Multiple connectivity options

✔️Dirac surround sound, THX enabled

🚫Volume knob not sensitive

🚫Requires AC power handling

The Monolith THX 124459 is one of the best desktop headphone amps you can find. This headphone amp features THX AAA technology with dual AKM 4493 DACs and dual AAA 788 modules for superb sound amplification. It also has Dirac Sensaround II decoding for a much wider soundstage and crystal clear music reproduction. Overall, they are some of the best portable headphone amps for desktop and PC computers that are built for higher impedance headphones.

This headphone amp is engineered for balanced sound operation – each THX stereo amp modules operates in a bridged configuration to maximize power output for each channel, while each DAC operates in mono mode.

The dual AKM 4493 DACs also supports PCM inputs up to 768kHz and a direct digital input stream of 6/11 2 MHz. The headphone amp also has RCA, XLR, optical, coaxial and USB inputs for connectivity to your computer or laptop devices.

In terms of sound performance, this headphone amp maintains full, flat and clean sound response across the entire audio frequency range. The sound quality is consistent throughout all volume levels and does not distort at high volumes. It produces very clean sound amplification without any artificial enhancements.

If you have high impedance headphones like planar magnetic headphones, the Monolith headphone amp is actually pretty fun to use. The EQ and Dirac surround options can be used to push up the lower ends and give some cross-feed with deeper bass reverberations.

The amp also has some nuanced EQ controls which you can use to tweak the overall sound settings. One key advantage that this amp has over other amps is producing clean sound at lower volume levels without distorting.

The Verdict? The Monolith THX 124459 is one of the best portable headphone amps for desktop computers, as well as a wide variety of digital music sources. It produces some of the cleanest sound quality we’ve ever heard, and delivers consistent sound performance even at lower volume levels. Overall, this is a quality headphone amp designed for audiophile sound and we highly recommend them.

#5 Portable Tube Headphone Amp: LOXJIE P20 Portable Headphone Amp

LOXJIE P20 Headphone Amp

LOXJIE P20 Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 501 to 600Ω
  • Power Supply: 12V source
  • Outputs: 3.5mm, XLR
  • Inputs: Line-in
  • Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20kHz
  • Dimensons: 148 x 70 x 128mm
  • Weight: 600g
  • Additional Features: 6N3 tube amp
ProsCons
✔️Suitable for high-impedance headphones

✔️Clean and loud volume

✔️Polished volume knob

🚫Feels like a solid state amp

🚫Amp gets heated up after hours of use

If you are looking for the best portable tube headphone amp, go for the LOXJIE P20 amplifier. It is one of the best tube amplifiers that we have tested, delivering superb sound quality and much better soundstage than we had expected. This headphone amp is a cost-effective option for those looking to a get portable tube amplifier that delivers quality sound performance.

The LOXJIE P20 uses 6N3 electronic tubes with carefully tuned circuitry. It has powerful circuit output of up to 600mW at 64 ohms. This is a fully balanced headphone amplifier with a balanced input interface.

We also liked the volume controls which are produced by JRC Japan – the volume knob is sleek and very sensitive to volume and output gains. The entire headphone amp is made from aluminium CNC with very fine workmanship, and the quality shows in its clean and sleek appearance.

The P20 headphone amp is a really good headphone amp when it come with sound performance. It delivers really smooth sound quality and soundstage. The balanced configuration on this headphone amp preserves space, clarity and sonic imaging.

If you are using audiophile-grade headphones, the LOXJIE P20 is definitely a headphone amp you should get to add smoothness and warmth to your headphone sound signature. The P20 takes off sharp edges in music frequencies for a very satisfying listening experience.

The Verdict? The LOXJIE P20 is one of the best portable headphone amps with really balanced circuitry and sound performance. It’s the ideal tube amp for audiophile grade headphones, and delivers fully balanced sound with great volume output. The amp is also very well-made with fine aluminium workmanship, giving them a sleek and portable finish.

#6 Best Budget Headphone Amp: FiiO A3 Portable Headphone Amp

FiiO A3 Portable Headphone Amp

FiiO A3 Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 16 to 150Ω
  • Power Supply: Internal battery
  • Outputs: 3.5mm stereo
  • Inputs: USB
  • Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20kHz
  • Dimensons: 91 x 56 x 13mm
  • Weight: 92g
  • Additional Features: ALPS potentiometer
ProsCons
✔️Efficient power design

✔️Aluminium body and chassis

✔️Internal battery (16 hours)

🚫Amp is not magnetically shielded

🚫Need to turn on the gain to hear improvements

The FiiO A3 is one of the best portable headphone amps you can find on a budget. It is a simple and powerful headphone amp that can be used for headphones ranging from 16 to 150 ohms. This headphone amp comes with a gain switch for matching output to headphone power requirements.

We really enjoyed the sound performance of the FiiO A3 headphone amp. The amp itself is made from quality components with an efficient design, utilizing OPA1642 preamp and AD8397 amp section for improved circuitry performance.

The sound from the FiiO A3 is very clean and true to the original music recording. You can push it to full power and never experience a hint of any distortion. There are no artificial highs or lows with this amp, just pure amplified sound performance.

If you prefer more bass output, there’s also a fully discrete bass boost circuit that increases output by 3.5dB at 60Hz with the bypass turned off. We didn’t feel that this made much of a difference, but you can try it out with different headphones to see if it increases the overall bass performance.

The A3 headphone amp looks very sleek and sounds premium. It is crafted from an all-aluminium body and chassis, providing magnetic shielding against EM interference.

Finally, it also comes with a built-in 1400mAh internal battery that provides up to 16 hours of playtime.

The Verdict? The FiiO A3 is one of the best portable headphone amps available on a budget. It delivers really clean sound and is suited for headphones between 16 to 150 ohms. The design and style of this amp is simplistic and minimalist, and provides all the power for a clean and refined listening experience.

#7 Best Headphone Amp under $100: M-Audio Bass Traveler Portable Headphone Amp

M-Audio Bass Traveler

M-Audio Bass Traveler Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 16 to 150Ω
  • Power Supply: Internal battery
  • Outputs: 3.5mm
  • Inputs: USB
  • Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20kHz
  • Dimensons: 46 x 45 x 15mm
  • Weight: 30g
  • Additional Features: Dual headphone outputs
ProsCons
✔️Works for two sets of headphones

✔️8 hours battery life

✔️Integrated boost switch

🚫Not shielded; picks up interference

🚫Plastic construction

The M-Audio BassTraveler is one of the best portable headphone amps with dual outputs and 2-level boost for enhanced audio listening. This headphone amp comes with two 1/8-inch headphone jacks which conveniently transforms audio components with one headphone output into a two output audio source.

We liked the sound quality on the M-Audio Bass Traveler amp. It delivers clean and nice volume boost without artificially enhancing the signal performance. The amp is also equipped with a rotary volume knob which you can adjust according to your volume preferences.

The sound quality remains consistent and clear even at very low volumes, which is definitely an added plus.

Despite its small and ultra-portable size, the M-Audio Bass Traveler is compatible with high-impedance headphones with an impedance of 16 to 100 ohms. It also has a 3-level gain switch to boost the signal level with crisp and clear sound.

Furthermore, M-Audio Bass Traveler amp comes with long-lasting 8 hours of rechargeable lithium polymer battery for hours of listening time. It also uses a micro USB port for battery charging which is pretty convenient.

There’s also a bright LED indicator for power on, battery charging and low battery warnings. The amp uses a 1/8 inch output connector with a 3.5mm stereo input jack.

The Verdict? We have no doubt that the M-Audio Bass Traveler is one of the best portable headphone amps you can find. Despite its small and compact size, it delivers really crisp and smooth audio performance with loud volume output. It also uses the universal 3.5mm input / output configuration which makes it compatible with most headphones.

#8 Portable Bluetooth DAC Amp: FiiO BTR1K Portable Headphone Amp

FiiO BTR1K Headphone Amp

FiiO BTR1K Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 16 to 150Ω
  • Power Supply: Internal battery
  • Outputs: 3.5mm
  • Inputs: USB, Bluetooth
  • Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20kHz (aptX)
  • Dimensons: 24 x 50 x 11mm
  • Weight: 20.5g
  • Additional Features: Bluetooth with aptX
ProsCons
✔️Latest Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX

✔️Improved DAC efficiency

✔️32 levels of volume

🚫Short wireless range

🚫Battery runs out quickly with Bluetooth

The FiiO BTR1K is one of the best portable headphone amps with Bluetooth and a USB DAC. This headphone amp comes with an all-new Qualcomm QCC 3005 Bluetooth chip to support Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX and AAC connections. It also comes equipped with a high-performance DAC which provides improved performance with 1.5 times output power and 120dB SNR.

Sound-performance wise, the FiiO BTR1K delivers really clean and smooth volume performance. We did not hear any distortion at high volumes or any transmission lip-sync issues while streaming music from Bluetooth. The headphone amp does have quite a lot of power and can drive headphones with an impedance of 150 ohms without any issues.

We particularly liked the fact that the FiiO BTR1K amp is able to provide 32 levels of volume adjustments, which provides much greater precision and sensitivity when setting your desired volume. The wireless Bluetooth connectivity on the FiiO amp is stable and consistent, and provides a very clean sound signature without any artificial enhancements.

In addition to Bluetooth connectivity, the FiiO BTR1K comes with a built-in microphone, one-touch NFC pairing and smart assistant support. The headphone amp is also equipped with a 205 mAh battery which takes only 1.5 hours to fully charge but allows for 8 hours of playback time. The standy time on this amp is also enhanced up to 140 hours long.

In terms of connectivity, the FiiO BTR1K supports Type-C USB connections. It also supports USB DAC for direct headphone signal conversion.

The Verdict? The FiiO BTR1K is hands down the best portable Bluetooth DAC amp available. It supports the new Type-C connector with USB DAC functionality, and also supports up to 8 hours of playtime on a single charge. The Qualcomm QCC 3005 chip supports the latest Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX, SBC and AAC audio codecs. If you are looking for the best portable headphone amp with Bluetooth connectivity, the FiiO BTR1K is a great choice.

#9 Best FiiO Portable Amp: FiiO E17 Alpen 2 Portable Headphone Amp

FiiO E17 Alpen 2 Portable Headphone Amp

FiiO E17 Alpen 2 Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 16 to 150Ω
  • Power Supply: Internal battery
  • Outputs: 3.5mm stereo jack
  • Inputs: Micro USB, caoxial, 3.5mm
  • Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20kHz
  • Dimensons: 104 x 62 x 13mm
  • Weight: 110g
  • Additional Features: Doubles as an external sound card
ProsCons
✔️Versatile connectivity options

✔️Low pass filter for efficient power

✔️Good battery life

🚫Screen scratches easily

🚫Slightly pricey headphone amp

After all these years, the FiiO E17 Alpen 2 amp is still one of the best portable headphone amps available. It is essentially a portable headphone amp that delivers a tonne of versatility and functionality with crystal clear sound performance. If you are looking for a digital amp with lots of input options and sound optimization features, go for the FiiO E17.

Compared to its predecessor, the FiiO E17 Alpen 2 comes with the new OPA1622 as a low pass filter and OPA1642+LMH6643 in an OP+BUF architecture for faster processing. These components provide smoother and much more refined audio performance.

We really like the control that the FiiO E17 gives over your music. It has digital bass, treble, gain and volume controls which you can tweak to adjust the EQ settings. This gives you plenty of configuration options, and allows you to get the best sound performance from your headphones.

This headphone amp comes with the standard mini USB interface which allows you to connect to your PC for digital audio and charge the 1500 mAh internal battery.

It also features a 3.5mm stereo headphone output which is suitable for 16 to 150 ohm headphones. The max output current is 80mA, with a total harmonic distortion of 0.003% @ 1KHz. This means that you’ll get practically no distortion with this headphone amp at max volume levels.

In terms of input options, this headphone amp has a 3.5mm SPDIF input (optical and coaxial) digital connector to receive PCM signals of up to 24-bit/192kHz. It also supports 3.5mm analog line-lin for use with other audio sources.

There’s also an 18-pin multi-functional interface if you decide to use this amp together with the FiiO L7 or E9 docks.

The Verdict? We really liked the sound performance and versatility of the FiiO E17 Alpen 2 headphone amp. It’s definitely one of the best portable headphone amps that deliver really clean and punchy sound performance, and has multiple input options for compatibility with a wide range of digital music sources.

#10 Best USB DAC Amp: AudioQuest DragonFly USB DAC Headphone Amp

AudioQuest DragonFly USB DAC Headphone Amp

AudioQuest DragonFly Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 16 to 32Ω
  • Power Supply: USB powered
  • Outputs: 3.5mm stereo jack
  • Inputs: USB
  • Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20kHz
  • Dimensons: 12 x 19 x 62 mm
  • Weight: 22g
  • Additional Features: 32-Bit ESS Sabre Conversion Chip
ProsCons
✔️Small USB DAC amp

✔️Decide 24-bit/96kHz

✔️Crystal clear sound

🚫Slightly pricey portable amp

🚫Only works up to 60 ohms headphones

The AudioQuest DragonFly USB DAC Headphone amp is undoubtedly one of the best USB DAC amps you can find. This multi-functionality USB DAC comes equipped with a 32-bit ESS 9010 Sabre DAC which connects to laptops, tablets and smartphones to deliver clean and refined sound performance. It also has the ability to decode resolutions up to 24-bit/96kHz, and can play any file type regardless of resolution. Overall, the DragonFly is one of the best portable headphone amps designed as a USB stick.

This versatile DAC amp delivers really clean sound performance. We found the sound quality from this amp detailed, transparent, rich and vibrant with crystal clear volume levels. It’s actually surprising how much power you can get out of this USB headphone DAC.

The fixed output from the DragonFly amp feeds preamp or AV receivers. It also uses asynchronous transfer which ensures digital timing integrity. It has a medium output (1.2 volts) that drives a wide range of headphones with an impedance of 10 to 32 ohms.

Furthermore, this USB DAC amp also works with Apple and Android phones and tablets when paired with a simple adapter.

The Verdict? The AudioQuest DragonFly is one of the best USB DAC amps you can find. It delivers really pristine sound quality with good volume gain, and significantly lower power consumption than the original DragonFly model. It’s a cost-effective option to boost audio signals for a satisfying headphone listening experience. If you are looking for a USB-sized amp, the DragonFly is really among the best portable headphone amps you can find.

#11 High-End Headphone Amp: iFi Micro DAC Portable Headphone Amp

iFi Micro DAC Headphone Amp

iFi Micro DAC Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 16 to 600Ω
  • Power Supply: AC powered
  • Outputs: RCA, Coaxial
  • Inputs: USB, Coaxial, SPDIF
  • Frequency Range: 10 Hz – 90kHz
  • Dimensons: 158 x 68 x 28 mm
  • Weight: 308g
  • Additional Features: Three power output modes
ProsCons
✔️High-fidelity headphone amp

✔️Versatile input options

✔️Wide soundstage with bass boost

🚫May affect sound clarity on boost settings

🚫Some connectivity issues with SPDIF

The iFi Micro DAC Headphone amp is a high-end headphone amp designed for audiophile music performance. It’s specifically designed to produce high-resolution audio formats natively with its Dual Core Burr Brown DAC processing chip. This allows media files to be unchanged for true high-fidelity sound performance. Overall, this is an extremely powerful and one of the best portable headphone amps that can bring out the best sound performance in high-impedance headphones.

This portable headphone amp delivers really powerful sound performance with full-dynamic range. They are suited for high-impedance headphones from 16 to 600 ohms, and is equipped with a direct drive circuitry which delivers a whopping 4,000mW of power per channel. It also supports three power output modes (Economy, Normal and Headamp Turbo) so that you can adjust the power and gain for all headphone types.

In fact, the sound performance improvement that we got from other headphone amps is actually easily noticeable. There is great vocal clarity, separation and soundstage. The low-end bass feels tight and punchy without muddying into the midrange frequencies. They really do bring your headphones to life with pristine sound quality.

Furthermore, the iFi Micro comes with 3D Matrix Plus and XBass Plus technology for wider soundstage and bass boost features. It also uses AMR Global Master Timing for super-low phase-noise and jitter, while the built-in iPurifier rebalances the USB signal to reduce jitters and packet errors.

The headphone amp is constructed with a stylish black matte finish and durable lightweight aluminium case. It comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that delivers up to 12 hours of playback on a single charge. The headphone also uses SmartPower USB that can be used as a power source to charge another device when not in use.

Finally, the iFi Micro features multiple connectivity options including the ability to connect to your iPhone or Android, digital audio player or tablet using USB input or a ¼ inch adapter. You can also use the USB 3.0 to connect to your PC or Mac and RCA line out to connect with active speakers. There are also SPDIF Coaxial, optical and 3.5mm auxiliary with a digital coax output.

The Verdict? If you are looking for a high-end headphone amp to go with high-impedance headphones such as the Sennheiser HD800s, go for the iFi Micro DAC Headphone amp. It’s one of the best portable headphone amps that delivers superb sound quality and clean sound output, and represents a great investment for those looking to foray into audiophile-grade amps.

#12 Best Lightning DAC Amp: FiiO i1 Portable Headphone Amp

FiiO i1 Portable Headphone Amp

FiiO i1 Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 16 to 32Ω
  • Power Supply: Lightning port
  • Outputs: 3.5mm
  • Inputs: Lightning port
  • Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20kHz
  • Dimensons: 45 x 9.5 mm
  • Weight: 11.5g
  • Additional Features: Supports lossless 48kHz
ProsCons
✔️Apple MFI certified DAC

✔️Works with most iPhone devices

✔️Built-in microphone for calls

🚫Does not work for headphones above 32 ohms

🚫Some issues with device recognition

The FiiO i1 portable headphone amp is one of the best lightning DAC amps you can find. It is an Apple MFi certified digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and headphone amplifier designed specifically for iPhone devices. The digial audio signal enters through the Lightning connector, while the analog audio signals are pushed out through the 3.5mm output. This allows for compatibility between your headphones and Apple devices with sound amplification built-in. It’s one of the best portable headphone amps designed for iPhone and Apple device users.

Although the FiiO i1 is a small and compact amp, it has a drive ability of 16 to 32 ohms – which covers quite a range of headphones. Do note that the supported USB sample rate lossless 48kHz may change to up to 192kz depending on changes to the LAM module.

Furthermore, the FiiO i1 amp not only supports lossless audio formats as well as a high signal-to-noise ratio with low distortion. The amp also supports high-definition voice calls to give you crystal clear conversations with its built-in microphone.

With that said, we did find a couple of issues with the FiiO i1 headphone amp. Although the i1 is an Apple MFI certified product, it sometimes doesn’t register as a headphone adapter when plugged into the lightning port. You have to unplug and re-plug into the device a few times before it gets recognised as a headphone device.

The Verdict? The FiiO i1 is practically the best lightning DAC amp currently available. It’s Apple MFI certified with an input interface for the standard lightning plug and an output interface for the 3.5mm stereo jack. It does have pretty good sound boost and uses the power supply from iPhone or iPad port. Overall, it’s one of the best portable headphone amps with lightning connectivity for Apple devices.

#13 Best Budget DAC Amp Combo: Micca OriGen G2 DAC Amp Combo

Micca OriGen G2 DAC Amp Combo

Micca OriGen G2 Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 16 to 600Ω
  • Power Supply: Internal battery
  • Outputs: 3.5mm, optical
  • Inputs: USB 2.0
  • Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20kHz
  • Dimensons: 116 x 51 x 47 mm
  • Weight: 170g
  • Additional Features: PCM audio up to 24-bit/192kHz
ProsCons
✔️Supports PCM up to 24-bit/192kHz

✔️Highly versatile headphone amp

✔️Wolfson WM8740 Stereo D/A Converter

🚫Does not come with USB-C cable

🚫Awkward input positions

The Micca OriGen G2 is one of the best budget DAC amp combos you can find which doubles as a USB DAC and preamplifier. The G2 is designed as a studio grade digital amp which support high resolution PCM audio up to 24-bit/192kHz. This makes it great for compact desktop computer audio systems and powered monitors. You can also use the OriGen+ to bypass your computer’s sound card for clean music sound output. Overall, the OriGen G2 is one of the best portable headphone amps you can find and we highly recommend them.

The digital components of the OriGen G2 include a C-Media USB 2.0 high-speed 480Mbps audio controller and a Wolfson WM8740 stereo DA converter. This combination provides asynchronous decoding and conversion of PCM audio up to 24-bit/192kHz. The advanced audio stream inferace support includes both ASIO and WASAPI Push/Event output modes.

Furthermore, this portable headphone supports stereo analog line level and combination optical S/PDIF digital outputs. It has enough power to support headphones with 16 to 600 ohms.

In addition, there are selectable USB or optical S/PDIF digital inputs for flexible source connections. The selectable gain design provides drive capability for downstream amplifiers with low noise and low interference.

The sound quality on the OriGen G2 is really crisp and clear, particularly if you are running high-impedance planar magnetic headphones through them. The sound is crisp and clean, and you can crank up the volume without experiencing a single hint of distortion.

Finally, this headphone amp is crafted with an anodized aluminium top plate with a solid machined aluminium volume knob. This gives it a sleek appearance and a premium look.

The Verdict? The Micca OriGen G2 is one of the best budget DAC amp combos you can find that delivers really clean sound performance. It has selectable USB and optical S/PDIF digital inputs for flexible source connection, and comes with a dedicated DAC for high-quality sound conversion. If you are looking for one of the best portable headphone amps on a budget, go for the Micca OriGen G2.

#14 Small Headphone Amp: Topping NX1 Portable Headphone Amp

Topping NX1 Portable Headphone Amp

Topping NX1 Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 16 to 300Ω
  • Power Supply: Internal battery
  • Outputs: 3.5mm
  • Inputs: USB
  • Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20kHz
  • Dimensons: 90 x 58 x 14 mm
  • Weight: 93g
  • Additional Features: Built-in 1000mAh battery
ProsCons
✔️Impressive soundstage performance

✔️Transparent and neutral sound

✔️Built-in battery component

🚫Volume gain not as much as expected

🚫Not suited for high-impedance (>300 ohms) headphones

The Topping NX1 portable headphone amp is one of the best small headphone amps you can find. It has an output power of 150mW (32 ohms) with a wide frequency range of 20 Hz to 100 kHz. This headphone can be used to power headphones with an impedance range between 16 to 300 ohms. Overall, these are some of the best portable headphone amps with a small and compact design, and we highly recommend them.

We really liked how versatile the Topping NX1 amp is. It has a built-in battery that delivers 40 hours long play back time on a single charge. The amp also features a micro USB charge port and features intelligent charging with battery indicator.

The sound performance of the Topping NX1 is crisp and very clear. We were surprised at how clean the sound performance of this headphone amp was. It delivers high resolution audio that does not distort at high volume levels, and you can play music all day without hearing the amp clip out.

Furthermore, the NX1 amp is crafted with a full aluminium case which gives it a durable feel. It also has an intuitive volume knob which you can use to adjust the volume output according to your preferences.

The Verdict? The Topping NX1 is hands down one of the best portable headphone amps you can find. This amp delivers crisp and clean sound performance, and comes with a micro USB charge port. Despite its small size, the amp can deliver a maximum of 40 hours of playback time. The sound quality is crisp and refined, and supports headphones with up an impedance of up to 300 ohms.

#15 Best Headphone Amp for Gaming: Sound BlasterX G6 Portable Headphone Amp

Sound Blaster X G6 Portable Headphone Amp

Sound BlasterX G6 Portable Headphone Amp Specs:
  • Impedance: 16 to 600Ω
  • Power Supply: USB 2.0
  • Outputs: 3.5mm
  • Inputs: Micro USB, TOSLINK Jack
  • Frequency Range: 40 Hz – 15kHz
  • Dimensons: 111 x 70 x 24 mm
  • Weight: 144g
  • Additional Features: 130 dB HD Gaming DAC
ProsCons
✔️Compatible with PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo, PC

✔️7.1 immersive surround sound

✔️Built-in external sound card

🚫Minor firmware issues

🚫SBX modes may distort sound quality

The Sound Blaster X G6 is hands down the best portable headphone amp for gaming with an external USB sound card with Dolby Digital 7.1 virtual surround sound. It can be used to upgrade your gaming audio on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC devices. The G6 amp also boosts gaming features such as Sidetone volume control and profile buttons.

The good thing about the Sound Blaster X G6 is that is allows for full audio customization and enhanced audio realism with immersive 7.1 surround sound. This provides accurate sound, bass boost and in-game voice communication enhancements. It also has Scout Mode which enhances in-game audio cues and surround 3D effects.

Sound performance wise, the Sound Blaster X G6 provides better separation between instruments and a wider soundstage. You can hear the clear distinction in details and audio soundtracks, giving you a more realistic gaming experience. It also supports 32-bit 384kHz with very little distortion, allowing you to stream the highest level of detail and audio fidelity.

Furthermore, this portable headphone amp supports 7.1 virtual surround sound and Dolby Digital. It adds an incredible surround sound environmental effect to your headphones and works for both games and movies.

The Dolby Digital decoding is definitely one of the best stand out features of this headphone amp. The difference in console games and movies is very noticeable with virtual 3D surround sound.

Finally, each audio channel on this headphone amp is individually amplified to deliver pristine and authentic audio quality. It has an ultra-low 1 ohm impedance which drives nearly all headphones all the way to studio grade 600 ohm headphones.

The Verdict? The Sound Blaster X G6 is definitely one of the best headphone amps for gaming. It delivers full surround sound performance with very clean sound output and little distortion. The headphone is built primarily for gaming consoles, but can also connect to PC and desktop devices as well. It also has a portable design with a sleek aluminium finish.