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9 Best Headphone Amp under $100 – Top Recommended Products

Headphone amplifiers are useful for many audio-related situations. Whether you have a home studio, or you’re an engineer for a massive stadium, headphone amplifiers are an essential bit of kit for many situations. This guide looks at the best headphone amps under $100, providing you with a detailed review of the best models in this price range. 

We provide you with an explanation of the different types of amps and outline some important things to consider when choosing a new headphone amp. 

If you’re looking for the best budget headphone amplifier under $100 keep reading!

What Is A Headphone Amplifier?

A headphone amp is an electronic device used to control the audio signal sent to a pair of headphones. These have many useful applications in any situation where headphones are needed, such as recording studios, live concerts, or even just to have more control over your computer volume. 

Headphone Amps typically have a source input connection that receives audio signals from another device such as a mixer or pc. This signal is then amplified through the circuit and sent to the output jack, where a pair of headphones would be connected.

Recommended: 6 Best Headphone Amp | Premium to Budget Options

Who should buy a headphone amp for under $100?

Because amplifiers are relatively simple pieces of gear, you don’t need to spend too much money to get a quality piece of kit. For this reason, headphone amps in this price range are suitable for most types of users. 

The only reason to buy a more premium headphone amp is perhaps if you ran a high-quality studio and needed something with more functionality. Or if you are a real stickler for sound quality, and are looking for an audiophile-grade headphone amp to enjoy listening to music through. 

Types Of Headphone Amps

There are a few different types of headphone amp, each better suited to certain use cases. 

Certain headphone amps come with particular features.

There are a couple of different ways to distinguish between them.

One primary categorization is whether the amp uses a tube or discrete circuitry. The main difference is that tube amps have a warmer, richer sound, but one that is less faithful to the original recording. Tubes impart a particularly colorful character to the sound that is often favored by audiophile listeners, although rejected by studio engineers who need a cleaner response. 

Discrete headphone amps are better in listening situations where accuracy is essential. This generally applies to any music or audio production situations where the user needs to hear exactly how the audio is constructed, with no coloration. 

A further distinction between headphone amps is whether they are digitally enabled, or purely analog. Digital headphone amps feature a USB connection, allowing them to be used with a computer. This allows for a greater level of functionality, and some even work as audio interfaces with recording potential. 

See the end of this review for tips on how to choose the right kind of amp for your needs. 

9 Best Headphone Amp under $100

These are the 9 best budget headphone amps on the market today. 

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The Fiio K3 is a digital headphone amplifier with super hi resolution audio support. This isn’t your typical kind of headphone amp, clearly being more suited towards audiophiles with digital tastes. 

This amp uses a Type-C USB as the source input and operates as a digital to analog converter. This will provide a much cleaner, higher quality signal than the native headphone output of a laptop, computer, or phone. 

Whilst the quality is high, the overall functionality of this headphone is rather limited as it is missing any kind of analog input. You can’t plug anything into this that doesn’t have the right kind of USB connection. 

That being said, there are a couple of switches on the front that let you tweak the sound a bit.

Product Specification

  • Type – Discrete, Digital
  • Inputs – USB-C
  • Outputs – Coaxial, Optical, 3.5mm headphone, 3.5mm Balanced, 3.5mm line
  • Channels – 1
  • Controls – Master volume, bass boost switch, gain switch 
  • Other Features – Hi-res DAC audio support

Pros and Cons

  • Supports super hi resolution audio (up to 384kHz/32bit)
  • A wide range of output connections
  • Super clean amplification
  • USB connection
  • Digital only input 
  • May need some adapters for gear

Conclusion

This isn’t a general purpose headphone amp, and has a relatively specific purpose – digital to analog conversion. If this style of amplifier is the kind you need, then it will provide a fantastic listening experience, and is capable of extending to frequencies far beyond the limits of most other headphone amps. This is a truly high resolution listening experience.

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2. Mackie HM-4

Mackie HM-4

A Super Simple 4 channel headphone amp and mixer, the Mackie HM4 is the ultimate companion for small recording sessions. This affordable device is made by the renowned audio manufacturer Mackie. 

The HM series is a range of low-cost but reliable quality headphone mixing amps. You can also find this in 12 and 16 channel variations which are more suitable for larger sessions. The range itself uses fairly simplistic designs, but is made in such a way to be quick and easy to use. 

The HM-4 features a single stereo input which is sent to 4 stereo headphone outputs. Each output has its own gain control which can be used to independently set the channel level.

The unit is powered by a 12v cable which comes supplied. The amp doesn’t have any other features, so it is on the simpler end. Sometimes you need something basic but effective, and this is it. 

Product Specification

  • Type – Discrete, Analog
  • Inputs – 1 x Stereo ¼” TRS
  • Outputs – 4 x Stereo ¼” TRS
  • Channels – 4
  • Controls – 4 independent volumes
  • Other Features – NA

Pros and Cons

  • Super simple and easy to use
  • Highly affordable
  • 4 channels with independent gain
  • Average sound
  • Limited inputs and outputs

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an affordable multi-channel headphone amp, the Mackie HM series is a great choice. This is an effective solution for small sessions involving multiple headphone listeners. The sound quality was pretty good too. 

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3. Fosi Audio T20

Fosi Audio T20

This Bluetooth tube headphone amplifier combines the best of analog sound with digital convenience. The Fosi T20 is a hybrid amp, a blend of the old world and the new.

This amp features two 6J4 tubes for a warm analog sound. It also features bass and treble controls, which can be used to cut or boost frequencies. The overall sound is fantastic, and the fact it can be tweaked makes this even more attractive. 

This amp has a decent range of connectivity, with the option to play audio from either an RCA input or a Bluetooth source. This means amps can be connected to both analog devices like record players, and modern digital devices like phones and laptops. The outputs include headphones and speakers too.

Product Specification

  • Type – Tube, Analog
  • Inputs – 1 x Stereo RCA, Bluetooth
  • Outputs – 3.5mm Headphone, Wired Speaker Outs
  • Channels – 1
  • Controls – Volume, Bass, Treble, Power
  • Other Features – Uses 2 6J4 Tubes

Pros and Cons

  • Warm analog tube tone
  • Tone controls with variable bass and treble cut/boost
  • Bluetooth connection for phones and laptops
  • Colors the sound, good for some listeners, not clean enough for others
  • Takes a while to warm up for best sound

Conclusion

This is a great choice for listeners who enjoy a few different formats. If you use both analog and wireless gear, this headphone amp is a good choice. This is more suitable for solo listening rather than multi-channel monitoring.

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4. FiiO BTR3K

FiiO BTR3K

The FiiO BTR3K is another fantastic digital headphone amp with modern connections and a high-resolution converter. This device features pristine audio quality and can be connected via USB or wireless to your digital devices like phones, laptops, and TVs. 

This headphone converter is a surefire tool for improving the quality of your headphone listening experience. If you care about audio quality, the standard converters built into phones and other devices will not suffice. They use basic amp circuits. Using an external hi-res headphone amp like this ensures the highest quality, cleanest sound when listening on this kind of device. 

Product Specification

  • Type – Discrete, Digital
  • Inputs – Bluetooth, USB
  • Outputs – 1×2.5mm, 1×3.3mm headphones
  • Channels –  1
  • Controls – Volume, smart control
  • Other Features – Built-in mic for smart assistance, Hi-res audio, app control

Pros and Cons

  • Bluetooth and smart assistant enabled
  • Super hi-res audio quality
  • Studio-quality sound
  • Decent controls
  • Limited to Bluetooth input only
  • Only one output
  • No analog functioning

Conclusion

This headphone amp from Fiio is a great choice if you need a wireless Bluetooth amplifier. It offers excellent audio quality and smart features like voice assistance, and even its own control amp. This amp isn’t suitable for many other kinds of use though as it lacks any form of analog input – it only works through USB or Bluetooth. 

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5. Donner DEL4

Donner DEL4

The Donner Del4 is another decent 4 channel headphone mixing amplifier. 

This amp features 4 independent stereo outputs with a single stereo input. This amp is suitable for home studio sessions, and larger monitoring conditions with up to four listeners. 

This amp is completely analog and works well with most kinds of mixing desks and audio interfaces. Each channel has its own gain control, so you can set the volume separately for each user. The housing of the device feels sturdy too, so it will survive the bumps of an active life.

It uses quarter-inch connectors so you can connect it to most types of headphones, although it comes with adapters too for use with smaller plugs. This amp doesn’t have much else going on but is affordable and effective for its use cases.

Product Specification

  • Type – Discrete, Analog
  • Inputs – 1 x ⅛”, 1x ¼” stereo TRS
  • Outputs – 4 x ¼” TRS headphone connections 
  • Channels – 4
  • Controls – 4 x independent gain controls

Pros and Cons

  • Affordable multi-channel headphone amp
  • Independent gain controls
  • Includes adaptors
  • Limited input connections

Conclusion

This four-channel headphone amp is another top recommendation for the practice room or basic home studio. This would also make for a great choice in larger gigs and concerts, say an orchestral performance, where complex monitoring setups are required. Although if you have the budget I would recommend going for something a little more fully-featured. 

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6. AIMA A07 TPA3255

AIMA A07 TPA3255

This multi-purpose amp is a solid solution for many types of listening setups. The operation is totally analog, so there’s no Bluetooth here. This only features an RCA input, although you can plug other things in using an adapter. This is a simple amp, with the main purpose being to boost the volume of a record player or similar device, or power passive speakers. 

It features a basic 3.5mm headphone output and offers a single control for volume. This amp sounds nice and clean, with a very low noise floor and minimal interference. I think the best use case for this amp would be someone who just needs a simple amp for their audio gear, or who wants to use headphones with something that lacks the proper amplification.

Product Specification

  • Type – Discrete, Analog
  • Inputs – 1 x Stereo RCA
  • Outputs – 3.5mm aux, stereo speakers
  • Channels – 1
  • Controls – Master Volume, Power

Pros and Cons

  • Simple to use
  • Decent sound quality for price
  • Lacks inputs and outputs

Conclusion

This amp is probably too basic for most use cases, so I could only recommend it if you know that this is the thing you need. Otherwise, I’d recommend going for something with expanded functionality. 

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7. Behringer MICROAMP HA400

Behringer MICROAMP HA400

If Behringer is known for anything, it’s for providing workhorse quality audio gear at very reasonable prices. 

This Behringer headphone amp features 4 separate channels, each with its own output and gain control. The input accepts either a quarter or eight-inch TRS cable, so you can plug this into many devices like phones, laptops, and MP3 Players. Anything with the right kind of aux output. 

The overall build quality is decent, and these will last for many years to come. The sound quality does leave something to be desired, sounding a little flat in my opinion. Although at this price you wouldn’t expect anything mind-blowing. These amps will perform well in a range of audio situations. These are easy enough for anyone to use too, without any complex setup, or even any areas where it can go wrong. –

Product Specification

  • Type – Discrete, Analog
  • Inputs – 1 x ⅛”, 1x ¼” stereo TRS
  • Outputs – 4 x ¼” TRS headphone connections 
  • Channels – 4
  • Controls – 4 x independent gain controls 

Pros and Cons

  • Reliable Behringer quality
  • 4 independent output channels
  • Compact and durable
  • Lacks input connections
  • Mediocre sound quality

Conclusion

This is another solid choice for those situations where 4 pairs of headphones are required. Whilst it does only include a relatively limited set of features and inputs, if you need a four-channel mixer, this is as affordable and reliable as it comes. 

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This is a slightly expanded four-channel headphone mixer. It features a USB powering cable and a few additional features. This amp can be powered either from a wall plug or a USB. Although it is important to note the USB connection does not act as a digital to analog converter. You can’t play audio through the connection, you can only power the device. 

Besides the four independent channel controls, this also includes a master input volume, so you can change the level of all channels at once. It also features a switch for toggling between mono and stereo modes. This can be useful in certain monitoring situations when stereo audio isn’t suitable.

All the circuitry is housed in a sturdy metal enclosure, and the components used feel high quality. You should expect this to last many years of consistent use. The audio quality is relatively good too, and the amp had enough power to create loud output across all channels at the same time. 

Product Specification

  • Type – Discrete, Analog
  • Inputs – 1x ¼” stereo TRS
  • Outputs – 4 x ¼” TRS headphone connections 
  • Channels – 4
  • Controls – 4 x independent gain controls, 1 x input gain
  • Other Features – Mono/stereo modes

Pros and Cons

  • 4 independent channels
  • Decent sound
  • Mono and stereo switch
  • Limited inputs

Conclusion

This is one of the better four-channel headphone mixing amplifiers on this list. It features a slightly expanded set of features which gives it an extra edge over the other models. You really can’t go wrong with this one. The sound quality was also impressive. A neat feature of this device is the USB powering option, meaning you can power this device just by connecting it to a computer, you don’t even need to use a wall socket. 

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ART is a longstanding producer of audio equipment in the studio scene. Their years of experience ensure their products are designed with intention, and highly suitable for studio environments. 

This headphone amp has all the quality and features you need in a small monitoring device. It provides four separate controls for each channel and offers an excellent sound with plenty of volumes. 

You can find a few different models within this range, so there are larger sizes with more channels if you need them. This is a great amp for production or recording situations and makes headphone monitoring sessions a lot more convenient. 

The overall feature set of this amp is relatively limited though, and it offers no additional functions or tools. 

Product Specification

  • Type – Discrete, Analog
  • Inputs – 1 x ⅛”, 1x ¼” stereo TRS
  • Outputs – 4 x ¼” TRS 
  • Channels – 4
  • Controls – 4 x independent gain controls 

Pros and Cons

  • Affordable and portable
  • Multiple independent channels
  • Limited features and inputs

Conclusion

This is another decent four-channel headphone amp. If you are loyal to the ART brand you may want to pick this up. It does lack features, but it makes up for it in price and efficiency. There are no unnecessary bells or whistles, this gets straight to the point and does it well. Reliable, affordable, and effective, this headphone amp is a great choice for any studio artist on a budget, or multi-user monitoring situations.

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Factors to consider when buying headphone amp under $100

When choosing a new headphone amp there are a few things to consider to ensure you choose the best type for your needs. 

Type

At the start of this guide I mentioned a few of the different types of headphone amps you can find. This is one of the most important considerations, as not all headphone amps will work in the way you require. The main differences are whether it’s Tube v Discrete, or Analog v Digital. 

The rule of thumb, producers need digital discrete amps, whereas pure listeners may prefer analog tube amps.

Controls

Think about the kind of controls you need. You may only need basic volume control for a simple setup. Although some people may require more complex amps with advanced functionality. 

If you are using the headphone amp alone, without any other audio gear it may be wise to go for a model that includes a built-in equalizer. This way you can tweak and tune the sound of the amp easily, to get a better response for your headphones or the music you are listening to. 

Output Channels

You can find headphone amps with almost any number of output channels. From humble single output amps to monstrous 16+ outputs. Again, this really depends on your use case. If it’s only for one person to use at a time, a single channel will suffice. If the amp is for a more advanced studio setup, perhaps with multiple people needing their own set of headphones, you may be better off buying something with 4 or more channels. 

Inputs

There are a couple of things to think about here. The main thing is what are you planning to use as the source for the headphone amp. Not all headphone amps have the right input connections for all types of gear or sources. You may be using it with older equipment that comes with an RCA output, or you may be planning on listening to music from your computer. Either way, make sure you choose an amp that has the inputs you need for your sources.

Some high-end amps offer multiple input sources, sometimes even with configurable routing, although this is rarely seen in amps below $100.

How Did We Choose The Best Headphone Amp Under $100

To review this list of headphone amps we performed rigorous and objective testing.

In all situations, the same music was used to test the amps. We connected the amps to the same audio interface, making sure the levels were always set to the same level. We tested the amps with a single pair of headphones – a pair of Beyerdynamic No products found..

To test them, we took turns to listen to the same track, swapping between headphone amps to compare their sound and features. 

FAQ

What is the frequency response of headphone amps under $100?

The frequency response of a headphone amp determines which frequencies it can handle, in turn having an effect on the quality. 

Below $100 there can be a fair amount of range. Basic amps around $30 can be pretty limited, although devices at the top end of the spectrum tend to have a relatively decent frequency response.

Generally, for Amps in this range, you should expect a frequency response between 20hz and 15-18khz.

The human hearing range is between 20hz and 20khz. Although most people’s ears degrade below 16 kHz in their adult years. 

Ultimately the wider range, the higher quality. If your amp has limited low frequencies, then it will lack bass. Limited high frequencies and it will have a comparatively muffled sound.

What is the Noise Floor of a headphone amp?

The noise floor describes the amount of unwanted noise present in the Audio signal. Due to interference, all electronic signals create a level of noise. 

The noise floor is a measurement that describes the lowest volume level of present noise. Lower noise floors are better and result in reduced perceivable noise.

Signal to noise ratio is another important measurement that describes the relative level of noise against the level of the wanted signal. 

Cheaper amps terms to have a higher noise floor, resulting in a worse, dirtier sound

Do headphone amps under 100 dollars come with a gain switch?

It depends on the particular model. Some budget headphone amps have a gain switch, although not all of them do. 

Final Thought

Thanks for reading. You should now have a good idea of the best headphone amps under $100, and understand the different types and recommended use cases.