If you want the best quality sound from your cans then you need to invest in a top-quality headphone amp. Here are our favourites.

The headphone amplification circuity included in a typical source (for example, a smartphone) or amplifier is rather basic, and rarely offers the kind of sonic transparency the same product manages through its other outputs.

Dedicated headphone amps are a better option as they're designed with greater care, and have the electrical characteristics required to get the best sound from your headphones.

Many modern headphone amps now include a built-in DAC, so you can hook up the likes of a laptop and create a compact, but very effective and entertaining desktop hi-fi system.

Whether you're looking for a budget headphone amp or can stretch your money towards a top-of-the-line effort, here are several options to choose from.

MORE: Best DACs 2016

MORE: DACs: everything you need to know

Best headphone amp under £150
Our Rating 
Read the full review »

Tested at £130

Compare latest prices

This tiny DAC/headphone amp remains one of our favourites for its USB-stick size and fine sonic talents. Clear, detailed and with a fantastic sense of timing.

MORE: Audioquest Dragonfly v1.2 review

Also consider...
Best headphone amp under £500
Our Rating 
Read the full review »

Tested at £250

Compare latest prices

The range of inputs makes this ideal to use with any laptop or smartphone. The engaging performance and detail retrieval is remarkable at the price.

MORE: Oppo HA-2 review

Also consider...
Best headphone amp under £1000
Our Rating 
Read the full review »

Tested at £850

Compare latest prices

A top-class choice for amplification, but you'll need a source and a pair of headphones of similar quality if you want the best from it.

MORE: Pathos Aurium review

 

See all our headphone amp reviews

Best headphone amp under £1500
Our Rating 
Read the full review »

Tested at £1200

Compare latest prices

A supremely capable headphone amp which doubles as a talented, if feature limited, stereo amplifier. Treat the DAC as a nice bonus.

MORE: Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier review