Are looking for a headphone amp that will boost the sound quality of your headphones? Do you want to bypass those standard crappy amps circuits that won’t allow you to hear the real music?
Here I come with the Top 5 Best Headphone Amps you can buy for Under 100 Dollars. Based on my personal experience and with hours of researching through many blogs, These five bad boys got the spot on this list.
But, Which Amp is best suited according to your needs? which one provides you great value for your money?
So, What are the Best Headphone Amps Under $100?
Creative Sound BlasterX HD Audio Headphone Amp
AudioQuest DragonFly Black DAC Headphone Amp
FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier
Mackie HM Series, HM-4 Headphone Amp Mixer
Syba Sonic USB DAC Stereo Headphone Amplifier
These are some of my personal favorites Headphone Amps that have stuck out compared to many, many others for their Build Quality, Portability, and Overall performance. Let discuss each of these in detail.
Top 5 Headphone Amps you can buy Under 100 Dollars
As Always, I’m going to start this list with my favorite model:
1. AudioQuest DragonFly Black DAC Headphone Amp
Very Compact Light-Weight Body
In-Built DAC works Excellent
Help to Save your Battery Power
Compatible with So Many Devices
USB Type-A & Female 3.5 mm Stereo Plug
Colorful LED’s for different file sizes
Build Quality & Design:
As you can see in the picture, this is a very compact and light-weight USB-like model considering the technology inside it. It can easily fit inside your pocket wherever you go.
On one end, it has a USB type-A connection that you can plug directly into your laptop’s port, whereas on the other end, you’re getting a female 3.5-inch stereo mini-plug connection, where you can connect either your headphones or a whole audio system.
AudioQuest introduces a new micro-controller chip here which allows it to run at low power, unlike its previous versions which are hungry for your battery life.
Coming towards the Quality of Sound, you’ll notice an instant improvement in the overall sound quality over the typical built-in output jacks on your laptops and smartphones.
The In-built DAC with this Amp gives you great subtle little details, overall nice resolution & dynamics with a transient response to your music.
Overall, This dragonfly has a clearer, tighter presentation which enhances your music up to a whole new level. (You muct hear the ‘Africa’ by ‘Toto’ through this amp!)
Ease of Use:
This Black Dragonfly Amp v1.5 is more portable than its previous versions, not just in terms of its dimensions but in compatibility. You can connect this amp with your computers and mobile devices (both iOS & Android) easily.
Also, the LED light given on the top brightens up in different colors according to the file size playback. It gives you Green color for 44.1kHz, blue light for 48kHz, amber for 88.2kHz, and for 96kHz, it shows Magenta color light.
Definitely, this is not a must-have feature in a headphone amp, but it comes in very handy and also looks very cool. 🙂
Check the Demo:
Very Compact Size, Excellent Portability
Amazing Details & Enhancements with DAC
Save Battery Power
Compatible with almost all Gadgets
96KHz Playback Limit
With all these superb things packed inside this little stick, this is the best portable headphone amp for under $100. Check out the best deal you’re getting on Amazon NOW!
2. FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier
Weight: 77 gm
20Hz -20KHz Frequency Response
Bass Boost & Smooth Volume Knob
Sleek Aluminum Body gives Portability
Improve Dynamics & Speed of your Music
Optimized Low-Pass Filter
Build Quality & Design:
The FiiO E10K comes with a solid metal aluminum body with a sleek case, that will look amazing on your desk. On the front end, it has a 1/8 inch headphone jack plug, a solid round gain dial, and a bass switch between them.
Whereas on the other end, you’re getting input and output ports. It has a micro-USB input port, coaxial digital output, and one switch for high/low gain settings.
All the bass boost switch, gain switch, volume knob, and also a headphone jack, everything feels so rugged. Especially the volume knob has a nice satisfying click when you turn it on.
When it comes to the sound, The first thing you’ll notice is the slight bump in the bass response, thanks to the bass boost switch that provides you smoother and more powerful listening experience.
It adds clarity, dimension, an extra bit of soundstage, and also improves the dynamics and speed of your music.
I am not saying this will give you a premium-level sound quality but, by considering its price range, it provides you with very clean sound and does its job pretty well.
Ease of Use:
Talking about ease, I’ll say, this is a palm-sized amp that provides excellent portability due to its strong build quality.
You can easily connect your headphones to this amp from 16 to 150 Ohms (Basically, all the entry-level and standard headphone models). It gets easily connected with your source and ready to deliver you amazing sound quality.
Check the Video:
Pretty Powerful Headphone Amp
Great Aluminum Body Case
Amazing Bass Boost & Gain Switch
Add Clarity & Improve Dynamics of Sound
Value for your Money 🙂
No Mic Input is Available
With a rugged body and stylish design, this is one of the best headphone amplifiers under 100. If you like this DAC and Headphone Amp Unit, you should check the cheapest deal on Amazon.
3. Creative Sound BlasterX G5 HD Audio Headphone Amp
Weight: 145 gm
Built-in SB-Axx1 Audio Processor
Native 7.1 Surround Sound Support
120dB USB Digital Audio Converter (DAC)
Illuminated Backlit Volume Control
Comes with Stereo Output
4-pole Headphone-out with Mic
Supported Over Many Operating Systems
Build Quality & Design:
This Pocket size Sound BlasterX G5 delivers you amazing sound performance whether it is for your PC, Mobile, even a gaming console. It comes in a nice looking sleek design, rectangular shape body with half-hexagon angled edges having a matte black finishing on it.
Coming towards the design, You’re getting a gold-plated headset jack on the left and a microphone jack on the right side with a round volume knob in the middle feels solid enough. Overall it has a great stealth proof body.
This soundcard is widely popular in the gaming industry, thanks to the feature called “Scout Mode”, which design to amplify higher frequency sound and for better audio positioning.
To get the most out of this headphone Amp, you should download their BlasterX Acoustic Engine Software. It allow you to enhance your music through so many awesome features like immersion control, dynamic range restoration, low-frequency boost, dialog boost, and automatic levelling.
It also allow you to adjust the master volume levels, volume mixer settings, and configure playback settings to create your own custom sound profiles for better experience.
While Experimenting, At every instance, this bad boy increases the sound quality and makes the music even more richer.
Ease of Use:
Due to its slim designed body and light-weight, this amp is very easy to carry. With so many plugs are included, you can connect it to whole lot of gadgets including your laptop, all popular gaming consoles, and some other media players.
Once you connect it to the source, just plug your headphone into the headset jack of the amp and enjoy the new level of enhanced musical experience.
Check the Demo:
SB-Axx1 Audio Processor
Give Amazing Boost in Sound Quality especially for Gaming
Light-Weight, Pocket Size Design
Fully Versatile with its Free Software
The Bass seems to little Flat
With so many presets included and other amazing features, this is the best headphone Amp for gaming. If you like this Sound BlasterX headphone amp and willing to read more on other customer reviews, you can check the best deal on Amazon.
4. Mackie HM Series, HM-4 Headphone Amp Mixer
Weight: 225 gm
Single Stereo Source for 4 Headphones
Solid Tank-like Construction
Separate Control for Each Output
Stereo Y Cable Input
No In-built DAC
Build Quality & Design:
Mackie HM-4 is considered one of the best desktop headphone amps under 100 dollars. It has a solidly constructed metal body that almost feels like a small brick in the hands.
You’re getting four knobs (which feel extremely sturdy), which offers separate control for each headphone output.
On the upper-face, you get four headphone output jack plugs and one input plug (Stereo Y Cable) along with the plug for the 12V Power supply (Adapter is included in the box).
Talking about quality, it just a simple headphone amp having a very reasonable price. it doesn’t come with a DAC but definitely can fulfill your need for an Amplifier perfectly.
It provides you amazing sound quality and you can hear the difference as soon as you plug-in this bad boy. It makes your sound louder, clearer and enhances some of the details from the mid-range frequencies.
It delivers an ultra-low noise floor with a somewhat high headroom. Overall, I think I give a lot of serious value for the money we are putting into it!
Ease of Use:
Its rugged constructed and super compact metal body makes it durable. Although, It weighs almost 225 gm which is relatively high as compare to the above-listed amps on this list.
It allows you to shares a single stereo source with up to 4 pair of headphones and adjusts their levels separately, which comes very handy if you wants to listen to the source with other peoples together.
One of the big reasons why people like this headphone amp so much that, It has a big round audio dial on the upper-face, which comes very handy for quick and easy audio adjustments.
On the backside of the amp, you get a mini-USB port for connecting it with your Computer, a coaxial and optical port for your digital audio from the source, and left-n-right channels for your RCA cables which allow you to connect it into something like speakers.
Whereas on the front side, you get two headphone jacks (3.5 mm and 6.3 mm) along with a mic input which allows you to record and monitor at the same time.
The point when you plug this amp into your system, you’ll notice an overall improvement in the quality of the sound, also give a boost to it.
The Digital to Analog convertor is in-built in this headphone amp, which help you bypass the computer’s audio and deliver you an enhanced version of it.
If I said in one sentence, you can achieve the maximum potential of the sound system of your computer in just a couple of minutes.
Ease of Use:
All the controls (volume knob and other switches) gives you stronger feel and are very easy to control. without any kind of extra fluff, this model done its work properly.
I won’t say it is the best headphone amp in terms of portability, due to its relatively heavyweight but still, it is a compact size small amp that can easily rest on your desk and continue to perform its job without any problem.
How to Choose the Best Budget Headphone Amp Under $100?
The main job of any headphone amp is to improve the overall sound quality of the headphone and almost all modern amps do their work. But, other than sound quality, there are numerous factors that you should consider.
1. Build Quality
If you’re looking a portable small sized headphone amps, then you need to be concern about this factor. Usually, I recommend to go with amps that have at a least a metal body.
Also, you should check for the quality of the knobs and other switches. If you’re going for cheaper amps, also check if input and output jacks work properly.
Note: Stick with brands (like I mentioned above!) to avoid such issues.
2. Size and Weight
This is also one of the important factors while choosing a headphone amp. Do you an Amp that fits in your pocket next to your phone, or the one that sets on your desk near your laptop?
Both types of Amps have their pros and cons and no one superior to the other. If you go for a portable headphone amp, it mostly comes with features like BlueTooth, relies on battery life, and of course very easy to carry. (and That’s why I love them!)
On the other side, Desktop Headphone amps required to plug-in into the wall, and they are more focused on the sound quality as compare to the portable ones. You just have to decide, what thing is more important for you, Portability or Sound Quality?
If you’re listening to any kind of digital music (like any streaming service), you need one DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) to convert that digital audio into analog sound, otherwise, you won’t be able to hear it?
But, All the smartphones, laptops, and other tech gadgets that play music already have one. But again, we’re going for a headphone amp because we want a more awesome sound than the standard circuit.
Many so-called audio experts suggest you to put one DAC box between the source and your amp for better sound quality (And they are right…), But Personally, I like those USB like little sticks (Just like #2nd Amp from our list) that has the amp and full DAC inside them.
That’s how you pick the best headphone amplifier for yourself. It’s easy, isn’t it? 🙂
Are Headphone Amplifiers Worth it?
All the headphones required an amplifier in order to amplify the sound to the level where we can hear it. The main reason to choose the headphone amp is, the standard miniature circuits that come with your smartphone or any other music player, are a little bit under-powered.
Those built-in amp circuits unable to give that enough boost to the audio signals to get the most out of it. That’s where external headphone amps come into the play.
They significantly enhance the sound quality as soon as you plug your headphone into them. And many modern amps are now also available with so many new features like Bluetooth and stuff.
I definitely think, If you really want to do justice with your music, if you want to hear what a real music is, you should at least consider one budget headphone amp.
What is the Best Affordable Headphone Amp Under 100 Dollars?
You Might Already Guess:
AudioQuest DragonFly is the best headphone Amp to buy for under 100 dollars.With its super compact size and advanced technology, It delivers amazing sound quality.
But, that’s maybe just my choice according to my needs. Which Amp do you like the most? What factor do you prefer the most, Budget or Portability? Put down all your thoughts in the comment section, so that it can help other readers to make their decision more wisely.
Also, don’t forget to share this list with your friends and family on your social handles, that wouldn’t just make my day, but make my year!
Hii, My name is Vishal Dorge and I am from India. I am the Creator of this site and want to help people just like you and me who enjoy music through the heart and want to learn it, especially about the guitar. Read More About Vishal Dorge Here