Best Headphones For Classical Music – Enjoy Your Favorite Symphonies On The Go

best headphones for classical music

Best Headphones For Classical Music - Enjoy Your Favorite Symphonies On The Go

The best way to listen to classical music is to immerse yourself in it. Besides listening to a live orchestra, the best way to fully immerse yourself in the melodies is with a pair of quality headphones.

Unfortunately, finding the best headphones for classical music can be incredibly tricky. Manufacturers are making headphones based on what people are most commonly listening to. Unfortunately for classical music lovers, most people like their headphones to sound base-ey.

To make things even worse, the headphone market is unimaginably large. This makes finding the best headphones for classical music incredibly tricky.

Thankfully, you're at the right place. With my help, you'll be sporting a pair of classical headphones in no time!

I've picked the six best classical music headphones you can find on the current market. As a bonus, I've also compiled a short classical headphones FAQ.

In a hurry? After 26 Hours of Research, We Recommend:

best headphones for classical music - AKG K702

After all the tests and comparison, this speaker is, hands-down the best choice for center channel speaker. 

Why they are the best?

  • Wide sound stage
  • Neutral soundscape
  • Excellent quality
  • Very comfortable
98/100
our score

sourses
31

RESEARCHED SOURCES

617

REVIEWS CONSIDERED

26

hours researching

31

products compared

Last Updated: October 2022

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best headphones for classical music available for those who are interested in enjoying the classic  the best possible way. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best headphones for classical music currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Headphones For Classical Music Compared

Product

Design

Driver Type

Impedance

Sensitivity

Our Rating

Current Price

Polk Audio S35

Open-Back

Dynamic

62 ohms

105 dB

98/100

Audio Technica ATH MSR7GM

Closed-Back

Dynamic

35 ohms

100 dB

94/100

Beyerdynamic DT 880

Semi-Open-Back

Dynamic

250 ohms

96 dB

90/100

Philips SHP9500

Open-Back

Dynamic

32 ohms

101 dB

80/100

Sennheiser HD 600

Open-Back

Dynamic

300 ohms

97 dB

85/100

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro

Open-Back

Dynamic

250 ohms

102 dB

83/100

6 Best Headphones For Classical Music - Reviews And Recommendations

Picking the best headphones for classical music can be quite tricky. You can easily end up with a pair that won't just underperform but also burn a hole in your wallet. Thankfully, you're at the right place.

I've spent dozens of hours on research and went through hundreds of different models to bring you this list of the best headphones for classical music. I made sure to include a wide variety of models from every price range.

best headphones for classical music - AKG K702
Our Rating: 98/100

AKG is one of the world's best headphone manufacturers, and their K702 headphones prove it. AKG K702 is just one of four headphone models AKG launched as a celebration of their 65 years in the business. However, unlike other 65th-anniversary flagship models, the K702 has the best sound quality for classical music.

The Design

The first thing that blew me away about these headphones is their build quality. You can really see how much time AKG's R&D department spent on making the K702 feel high-quality. The AKG K702 features a combination of metal, leather, and plastic.

The earcups are made out of plastic, while the headbands feature two metal wires with a suspended leather strap that rests on your head. Although there's no headband cushion to speak of, the AKG 702 headphones are quite comfortable to wear. If you have a bigger head, you might feel slight discomfort, but only after a couple of hours of wearing them.

I especially love the velour on the ear cups - it's incredibly soft. It makes wearing these headphones for classical music a joy. The removable ear pads are surprisingly soft and thick enough to keep the drivers away from your ears.

I have nothing bad to say about the design. Maybe AKG should have worked a bit on the headband, but that's just a minor complaint.

The Performance

AKG K702 has an open back design. While this has its advantages, it also has some disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is the lack of noise isolation, which means the K702 headphone is not a great pick if you're planning on wearing them in crowded places. On top of that, they "leak" a lot of the sound. However, the sound stage and sound quality are otherworldly!

The K702 headphone is incredibly neutral sounding. They do have some bass in them, but you should skip these headphones if you like listening to base-ey music. These headphones are all about that mid-range. The mids are incredibly crisp and clear. These headphones' overall tonality is perfectly neutral, and I especially love how vivid the vocals are.

My only issue is the treble range. It's a bit high for neutral headphones, but nothing major. The sound stage is what makes these headphones one of the best choices for a classical music fan. It's incredibly clear, and you won't have any trouble picking up different instruments in the melody.

Pros

  • Incredible sound stage
  • Neutral soundscape
  • Very comfortable
  • Amazing overall sound quality

Cons

  • The headband could've been better designed
best sub under $200 - Yamaha 10" Powered Subwoofer
Our Rating: 94/100

You can't talk about hi-fi headphones without mentioning Audio Technica. This company has an incredible success track in making reasonably priced headphones all about the listening experience.

Audio Technica ATH MSR7GM headphones are no exception. They deliver incredibly clear sound out of the box, and they're comfortable to wear, too!

The Design

The first thing that went through my mind when holding the ATH MSR7GMs is how big they are. But the oversized design actually serves a purpose. It ensures they fit almost every head size.

Just like the AKG 702, Audio Technica ATH MSr7GM features two metal wires with a suspended headband. However, unlike the K702, the MSR7GM headband has cushions for additional comfort. Unfortunately, the headband is a bit too loose for my comfort, but the metal wires still have more than enough spring in them to keep the headphones firmly in place.

The earcups are built out of high-quality plastic and feature thick and comfortable ear pads. This means you don't have to worry about the drivers touching your ears. You won't have any trouble enjoying your favorite classics for hours on end without any discomfort.

The only issue I have with them is the audio cable. It's quite stiff and non-detachable. This narrows down their use case to just home listening. 

The Performance

Just like the previous model in the list, Audio Technica ATH MSR7GM also features an open-back design. This means the soundscape is much more spacious, which makes them perfect for classical music.

The sound quality is incredibly crisp and clear. Although the highs are a bit too brash, the mid-range is more than decent. The low-end is present, but just enough to give more depth to the sound. This means they're not that suitable for listening to different genres like rap or techno.

When it comes to soundstage, it's on par with the K702. I had no trouble sensing the distance between different instruments. You won't have any trouble picking up the distance and depth between different instruments, and, thanks to amazingly crisp details, you'll be fully immersed in your favorite classics.

The treble range is a bit too harsh at times, but I think that has something to do with the recording and not the headphone drivers.

Pros

  • Reasonable price range
  • Open-backed design
  • Excellent sound quality and frequency response
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear

Cons

  • The audio cable is a bit too stiff
best semi open-back headphones for classical music - Beyerdynamic DT880
Our Rating: 90/100

Beyerdynamic is another fantastic brand that offers some of the best headphones for classical music on the market. The DT 880 model offers excellent build quality and flexibility.

If you're looking for a high-quality semi-open headphone, the Beyerdynamic DT 880 will meet your expectations. 

The Design

Just like most of Beyerdynamic's headphones, this headphone model has an excellent build quality. Unlike most of you would expect, the DT 880 model is very light and flexible. The connection joints are pretty strong, so you won't need to worry about cracking or breaking.

When it comes to the ear cup design, they're big and ride around the ears offering great comfort. What's more, they're covered with velours, so they feel very soft. The headband can't be removed, but it's covered in leather and well-padded with foam. If you prefer a removable headband, we recommend you go with the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium model.

The clamping pressure in this model is good, and you can adjust it for better comfort. The downside of these headphones is that they come with a hard-wired cable. 

The Performance

Although these pair of headphones have a semi-open design, they will leak some sound and allow for ambient noise. However, compared to open-back models, these semi-open headphones do offer some isolation.

This model offers good and balanced sound quality. They offer a boost in hi-fi, which is good news for avid violin fans, but not that good news for people who like bass in their listening experience. The bass isn't powerful, but it's present. The midrange frequency response present, and it will offer you a neutral and intimate sound.

When it comes to the soundstage, it's spacious and engaging. What's more, you'll be able to hear instrument separation with good detail retrieval, which makes these headphones a fantastic choice if you want to listen to classical music. 

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Semi-open
  • Excellent quality
  • Spacious soundstage
  • Excellent clarity and details

Cons

  • Non-detachable cable
best budget headphones for classical music - Philips SHP9500
Our Rating: 80/100

The Philips SHP9500 headphone is the perfect choice for those who want to enjoy classical music without breaking their bank. If you’re not too picky about the build quality and need headphones for the average everyday usage, the Philips SHP 9500 will perfectly suit your needs.

The Design

Even though these headphones have a simple metal and plastic construction, they will remain comfortable throughout many listening hours. Because of the simple construction, these headphones are very light. The headband is double-layered with a cushion so that the headphones sit comfortably around your head.

What’s more, the ear cups have a breathable design making these headphones the ideal choice in hot climates. You can be sure that the Philips SHP9500 will offer maximum comfort wherever you go.

The newer model of these headphones comes with a 5ft cable that offers you the ability to move around and multitask freely without interrupting the symphonies you’re listening to. However, the Philips SHP9500 has no sound isolation or noise cancellation, so make sure the volume is not high when using them in public.

Overall, this headphone's construction is pretty solid, and you can enjoy classical music while doing other activities. 

The Performance

For their price, the Philips SHP 9500 headphone offers a surprisingly good sound quality. They deliver well-balanced mids and highs, as well as good bass for a neutral sound stage. 

The fidelity in these headphones isn’t ideal, but we can freely say it’s satisfactory. However, if you’re an audiophile, the Philips SHP 9500 isn’t the best choice for you. The bass in these headphones isn’t crunchy; instead, it is quite average. The sound can get grainy when you turn up the volume.

If you aren’t looking for the best listening experience and want nice headphones to enjoy your classical music while lying around the house or multitasking, these headphones are a fantastic option. 

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
  • 5ft cable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Average build quality
  • Average bass
  • No sound isolation
Our Rating: 85/100

The Sennheiser HD 600 has been around since 1997, and they're still one of the best pair of headphones you can find on the market.

If you're aiming at a great all-rounder, the Sennheiser HD 600 is the headphone to go.

The Design

The Sennheiser HD 600 has an open-back design, so make sure the volume is not too high when you're in quiet public places. However, there's not much to talk about when it comes to the overall design because it's pretty average.

They're made mostly from plastic; only the headphone's grill and headband adjustment arms are made out of metal. Even though they're made from plastic, the quality is excellent.

The Sennheiser HD 600 model is modular, which is a big advantage. The headband, shell, drivers, and earcups can be easily replaced without any specific tools. This headphone is very light, making it sit comfortably around your head.

The headband is also very comfortable because it's well-padded and soft so that there won't be any hotspots while wearing them.

The earcups are padded with memory foam, and their shape fits perfectly around the ears. When it comes to the clamping force, it's high when you buy them. However, after some time, the clamping will reduce, making them very comfortable to wear.

The Performance

The bass of the Sennheiser HD 600 is fantastic. However, one minor downside is that they lack the punch and quantity you would get with a closed-back design. Neither than that, this headphone accurately reproduces the low-end frequency response, and the mid-range frequency response is natural and clear.

You'll be able to hear acoustic instruments, bowed, and vocals in great detail. The treble also offers details. However, in some recordings, it may sound overemphasized. This can sometimes be a downside, but it'll also add more life and detail to dull recordings.

When talking about the soundstage, it's not very wide, but it's accurate. The soundstage in the Sennheiser HD 600 offers a nice and intimate sound making this model excellent headphones for classical music. 

Pros

  • Great frequency range
  • Nice build quality
  • Modular
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Lack of punch in the bass
  • Limited soundstage
Best Midrange Classical Muisc Headphone - Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
Our Rating: 83/100

If you're looking for the perfect combination of price, performance, and quality, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro will definitely meet your expectations. These are truly some of the best headphones for classical music.

Although some may argue that the price is too high, compared to other high-end models, it isn't.

The Design

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro are open-back headphones that offer great build quality and comfort. The build quality in this headphone is so good that we can say they're almost built like a tank. If you're a real audiophile, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro will definitely offer you a professional experience.

A big advantage of the DT 1990 Pro headphone is that the cable is detachable. As for the earpads, they're padded with soft memory foam that will fit well around your ears. However, the earpads are hard to replace.

The headband is padded and lightweight making them an excellent choice if you want to wear them for extended periods of time. You can multitask or chill around your house while listening to your favorite symphonies, and you won't even notice you have them on.

Overall, we can say that the construction is outstanding. However, if you're not a fan of the open-back design, we recommend you go with another model.

The Performance

When it comes to sound quality, it's a bit tricky to evaluate because the DT 1990 Pro has two different sounding headphones. The "A" earpad version offers a natural frequency response, while the "B" version offers a nice bass boost.

The soundstage is amazing. You'll have the feeling that an orchestra is playing around you. The resolution is just breathtaking.

The treble is also excellent, while the highs can sometimes be too energetic for some tastes. The midrange responsiveness is not fantastic but combined with the low and high delivery; everything evens out. 

Pros

  • Wide soundstage
  • Very comfortable
  • Excellent clarity

Cons

  • Earpads are hard to replace

Headphones For Classical Music FAQ

what to look for in a center channel speaker?

Should I Go For Open-Back Or Closed Back Classical-Music Headphones?

One of the first things you need to consider when looking for the perfect pair of headphones for classical music is what type will best work for you. Headphones come in two flavors: open-back and closed-back headphones- each with its own set of pros and cons.

As the name suggests, closed-back headphones feature a closed earcup design. This means that the headphones are not "drawing in the fresh air," which means the sound is a lot more base-ey. On the other side, closed-back headphones are excellent when you're on the go because they cancel out the noise.

Open-back headphones feature an open earcup design. This means they're always drawing in the fresh air, which results in a wholly different soundscape. Open-back headphones are much more natural sounding and are just perfect for immersing yourself in classical music soundscapes. Unfortunately, these headphones are terrible when it comes to isolating the outside noise. This is why their best for home use.

Over-Ear, On-Ear, or In-Ear Headphones?

Besides choosing between a closed-back and an open-back design, you also have to consider how you like wearing them.

You can choose between over-ear, on-ear, and in-ear headphones.

Over-ear headphones are best for listening to classical music. They offer the best sound quality for classical music. Unfortunately, they're also the bulkiest of the bunch. This is why they're best for enjoying classical music at home. Of course, you can wear them when on the go, but you'll start feeling the weight pretty quickly.

On-ear headphones rest on your ears, and they're the most common. While not offering the same sound quality as over-ear headphones, they're still more than decent at delivering the right frequency range for classical music. On top of that, they're perfect when you're on the move.

In-ear headphones are also incredibly common. Although you might think they're not that capable due to their small size, they're just as capable as over-ear headphones. On top of that, their noise isolation capabilities are second to none. This makes them perfect if you like listening to classical music while working out.

What Type Of Drivers Are Best For Classical Music?

When it comes to earphone drivers, there are three main types:

Dynamic drivers are the most common. In fact, most classical music headphones on the market feature dynamic drivers. This type of driver features a voice coil that's attached to the diaphragm that produces the sound. Dynamic drivers are more than capable of producing the right frequency range for classical music, and they don't require an amp to work.

Planar magnetic drivers are a step up from dynamic drivers. They feature two permanent magnets that move the diaphragm. The two magnets remove any distortions from the sound. While they're excellent at reproducing classical music in its glory, planar magnetic drivers are very expensive. On top of that, they're quite heavy, which is why they're mostly reserved for professional studio headphones.

Electrostatic drivers are the newest contender on the market. These drivers utilize incredibly thin stationary diaphragms that resonate when you introduce them to electrical current. Although they produce the cleanest sound out of all other headphones on the market, they're quite expensive.

What Are Classical Music Headphones Power Requirements?

The headphone power requirements are determined by impedance and sensitivity. When on the lookout for the best headphones for classical music, these two features are quite essential.

Impedance is measured in ohms and represents the amount of current your classical music headphones can withstand before burning out. Headphones can feature an Impedance anywhere between 8 and 600 ohms. The more ohms, the more power you need to make them work. Just keep in mind that you must have an output with the same impedance.

Sensitivity, measured in dB, refers to how loud your classical music headphones can get. With high sensitivity headphones, you won't have to crank up the volume on your playback device to hear your favorite classics. This is where impedance comes into play - the louder the headphones, the higher the impedance. This is why you should always look for a sweet spot of high-sensitivity with low impedance (around 32 Ohms)

What Is The Sound Stage?

Besides sound quality, another essential feature to look out for in the best headphones for listening to classical music is the sound stage. The sound stage gives your spatial recognition of every instrument in the playback—the better the sound stage, the better the instrument separation.

This feature is essential when it comes to enjoying classical music. Classical music includes a wide array of frequencies that all play at the same time. And when it comes to soundstage, open-backed headphones are second to none.

What About Headphone Comfort?

Classical music pieces have a pretty long runtime. For instance, Gustav Holst's "The Planets" has a runtime of 30 minutes. This is why you must find yourself a comfortable headphone.

I recommend you get a headphone that has an adjustable headband and (if possible) a detachable cable. When it comes to ear cups, the most comfortable material is memory foam, but keep in mind that that costs extra.

After it's all said and done, we recommend:

best subwoofer under 200 - Yamaha 10-inch powered subwoofer

After all the tests and comparison, this speaker is, hands-down the best choice for center channel speaker. 

Why they are the best?

  • Wide sound stage
  • Neutral soundscape
  • Excellent quality
  • Very comfortable
98/100
our score

Best Headphone Amp Under 100 – Get Crisp Headphone Sound Without Breaking the Bank

Headphone amp

Best Headphone Amp Under 100 - How To Get Crisp Headphone Sound Without Spending Too Much

So, you just purchased a pair of those high-end headphones but you're still having issues getting them to sound good? If that is the case, you need a headphone amp that'll breathe in new life into your headphones.

Headphones are, by far, the best way to enjoy your favorite tunes. To ensure you get the best possible sound, you need an amp to drive your headphones.

Unfortunately, if you're uninitiated, finding the best headphone amp can become quite the task. Although their function is simple, the sound headphone amps deliver can vary from brand to brand.

What's more, you also have to consider how much power your headphones can handle, and what source device are you going to use.

Thankfully, you're at the right place. In this article, we've gathered the top 7 best headphone amps under 100 you can find in 2022 and we've compiled a comprehensive buyer's guide.

In A Hurry? After 36 Hours Of Research, The Winner Is:

dragonfly amp

Why they are the best?

  • The soundscape this amplifier produces is incredibly clear and natural
  • It can drive all kinds of headphones - from low-powered to high-powered
  • It comes in a durable aluminum chassis
  • It's very compact
  • It's pretty simple to set-up
98/100
our score

sourses
26

RESEARCHED SOURCES

589

REVIEWS CONSIDERED

34

hours researching

24

products compared

Last Updated: October 2022

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best amps for headphones available for those who are interested in enjoying the best sound in the best possible way. The best 7 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best amp for headphnes currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Best Headphone Amp Under $100 Compared

Product

Input Ports

Output Ports

Amp Type

Our Rating

Current Price

Polk Audio S35

1 x 3.5mm audio jack

1 x 3.5mm audio jack

Portable Solid State

98/100


Audio Technica ATH MSR7GM

1 x 3.5mm audio jack

1 x 3.5mm audio jack

Desktop Solid State

95/100

Beyerdynamic DT 880

1 x 6.3mm audio jack

4 x 6.3mm audio jack

Desktop Solid State

90/100

Philips SHP9500

1 x 3.5mm audio jack

1 x 3.5mm audio jack

Desktop Vacuum Tube

93/100

Sennheiser HD 600

1 x 3.5mm audio jack

1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x 2.5mm audio jack

Portable Vacuum Tube

97/100

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro

1 x 6.3mm audio jack

1 x RCA audio jack
1 x Optical port
1 x Coaxial Port
1 x USB-PC port

Desktop Solid State

92/100

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro

1 x 3.5mm audio jack

1 x 3.5mm audio jack

Portable Solid State

96/100

Why Buy A Headphone Amp Under 100?

Headphones work on the same principle as your speakers. Both headphones and speakers need amplifiers to work properly. Whether it's your earbuds, computer speakers, or your smartphone - all these devices have an in-built amp.

But why would you need an external amplifier then?

amp deimos

A built-in headphone amplifier from your smartphone, for instance, is limited by size and power. This is because you don't need a lot of power to drive a pair of earbuds.

On the other hand, external headphone amps can deliver much more power, which allows you to drive high-end headphones. On top of that, a headphone amp can also filter out the noise from the output, resulting in a cleaner sound.

While it's not recommended, you can plug in a regular pair of earbuds in an external amp to get a cleaner sound - just don't turn up the volume if you don't want to blow them out.

amp deimos2

Best Headphone Amp Under 100 - Reviews And Recommendations

Picking the best headphone amp under 100 was no easy task. The market is full of all kinds of models that deliver incredible sound quality. This is why we've made sure to include as wide of a selection as possible.

We included both desktop and portable models, as well as solid-state and tube amps. If none of our top picks fit your needs, keep on reading to learn how you can find the best headphone amp under 100 in our comprehensive buyer's guide.

1. AudioQuest DragonFly Black v1.5 - Best Portable Headphone Amp Under 100

dragonfly amp
Our Rating: 98/100

Way back in 2012, AudioQuest launched the first series of Dragonfly DAC/headphone amplifiers. AudioQuest Dragonfly headphone amplifier became an instant hit thanks to its compact form factor and solid sound quality.

Since then, AudioQuest released five other revisions of these amazing devices with the DragonFly Black v1.5 being the best headphone amp under 100.

The Design

At first sight, the DragonFly looks no different than a standard USB drive. This USB DAC/headphone amplifier comes in a compact size so it can easily fit in your pocket.

The chassis is built of metal with a soft rubbery finish. For any type of user feedback, there is a single LED that indicates the sampling rate of the tune you're currently playing.

As for a volume knob or any other buttons, the AudioQuest Dragonfly doesn't come with any. The volume control for this USB DAC/amp is handled by the source device.

This USB DAC/amp doesn't come with a battery but is instead powered via a USB port. This means that you will have to buy a micro-USB adapter if you want to use it on your smartphone.

When it comes to inputs, this USB DAC/amp comes with a single 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Performance

AudiQuest DragonFly audio DAC/amplifier prodes excellent sound. The richness and detail this headphone amp produces is simply amazing. The soundscape is much more transparent and immediate than what you get from listening to music straight from your computer's in-built DAC/amp.

Since Dragonfly Black v1.5 USB DAC/headphone amp is capable of providing a power output of 1.2 Volts, it's perfect for driving low impedance headphones and those that are just more power-efficient.

If you need more power, AudioQuest DragonFly is also available in a version that provides 2.1 volts of power output, but that will cost you double the original price. 

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Durable

Cons

  • No volume knob
  • Only one type of headphone output

2. FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier - Best Desktop Headphone Under 100

FiiO E10K USB DAC
Our Rating: 95/100

FiiO is one of few companies that managed to turn the headphone amp market on its head. They consistently produce and introduce new headphone amps that offer impressive audio performance while being affordable.

FiiO E10K USB DAC and headphone amplifier is no different. This little amp is capable of driving all kinds of headphones without bringing a hole in your wallet.

The Design

The chassis on this headphone amplifier is built out of aluminum, ensuring extreme durability. On top of that, the aluminum also ensures this amp doesn't weigh a ton. The bottom features rubber stands so you don't have to worry about it sliding around your table whenever you want to plug in your headphones.

The front panel on this headphone amp features a 3.5mm headphone jack, an off/on bass boost switch, and a large volume knob. The knob is very satisfying to use, offering just enough resistance and clickiness when you turn it.

On the back panel, you will find a coaxial port, a USB cable power input, a line-out port, and a gain switch.

Our only complaint about the design is the material used for the bass boost and gain switches. They're made out of plastic which is notorious for breaking easily.

The Performance

When it comes to audio quality, the Fiio E10K is simply amazing. The sound is warm yet clear and when used with a PC allows you to clearly distinguish between mids and the bass.

This headphone amplifier comes with an in-built DAC that filters lots of background noise out of the sound providing you with a clean listening experience. The DAC can handle a sampling rate of 24-bit/96 kHz.

Thanks to the gain switch, this headphone amplifier can drive all kinds of headphones. No matter your headphone impedance, you can be certain this amp will be able to drive it. It can even drive smaller active speakers, but not as efficiently.

Pros

  • Durable aluminum chassis
  • Features a high-quality built-in audio DAC
  • Can drive both low-powered and high-powered headphones

Cons

  • No RCA output
  • The switches are made out of plastic

3. Behringer Microamp HA400 - Best Multichannel Headphone Amp Under 100

BEHRINGER HA400
Our Rating: 90/100

If you're setting up a home studio, or just need an affordable multichannel headphone amp, look no further than the Behringer Microamp HA400.

Whether you're setting up a studio or in recording, this headphone amps is a godsend since it allows you to plug in up to four headphones at once so you can check out your mix using different settings and different headphones.

With a price point that's just a fraction of what a high-end amp, this is one of the best headphone amps under 100.

The Design

The design of the Behringer Microamp HA400 is nothing short of solid. It built out of high-quality materials that can take quite a beating before breaking.

The chassis on this headphone amp is built out of powder-coated metal and features rubber stands on the bottom. The overall construction is solid and feels like it's made to last.

The front panel features four-volume knobs for controlling the headphone output and a single LED indicator for power. There is no power switch, which is a bit inconvenient since you'll have to plug it out from the wall each time you're done with it.

The back panel features a 12V power adapter port, and five 6.3mm headphone jacks - one for input and four for audio output. So, if you're using 3.5mm headphones, you should get an adapter.

The Performance

The performance of this headphone amp perfectly reflects its price.

The built-in DAC serves only to amplify the signal it gets from your sound source. This means you will be able to hear some noise when at full volume.

On top of that, if you have all four headphones plugged in and crank the volume all the way up, you'll notice the frequency response fall off dramatically.

When it comes to power output, this headphone amp can handle everything from 16 to 600 ohms of impedance. This amplifier can even drive low-powered active speakers, although we don't recommend it.

Even with the negatives, the Behringer Microamp HA400 is still one of the best headphone amps you can buy for very little money.

The front panel features four-volume knobs for controlling the headphone output and a single LED indicator for power. There is no power switch, which is a bit inconvenient since you'll have to plug it out from the wall each time you're done with it.

The back panel features a 12V power adapter port, and five 6.3mm headphone jacks - one for input and four for audio output. So, if you're using 3.5mm headphones, you should get an adapter.

The Performance

The performance of this headphone amp perfectly reflects its price.

The built-in DAC serves only to amplify the signal it gets from your sound source. This means you will be able to hear some noise when at full volume.

On top of that, if you have all four headphones plugged in and crank the volume all the way up, you'll notice the frequency response fall off dramatically.

When it comes to power output, this headphone amp can handle everything from 16 to 600 ohms of impedance. This amplifier can even drive low-powered active speakers, although we don't recommend it.

Even with the negatives, the Behringer Microamp HA400 is still one of the best headphone amps you can buy for very little money.

Pros

  • Solid construction
  • Can handle up to four headphones at once
  • Can drive any type of headphones
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • No power switch
  • Muddy frequency response when at high volume

4. Nobsound NS-08E Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier - Best Tube Headphone Amp Under 100

 Nobsound NS-08E
Our Rating: 93/100

So far we haven't mentioned a single tube amp. Well, that's about to change! Introducing Nobsound NS-08E, an excellent choice for audiophiles that are looking for that warmer tube audio.

Nobsound (Douk Audio) is a Chinese company well known for producing quality audio products at affordable prices. The Nobsound NS-08E is no different. This hybrid tube amp comes with HI-FI tubes that deliver a unique sound.

The Design

Nobsound NS-08E is a hybrid amp. This means it utilizes vacuum tubes for pre-amplification while the solid-state part handles the output of the audio.

The build quality is quite impressive for such an affordable tube headphone amplifier. The front panel is built out of brass and features a large volume knob. What's more the front panel houses the 3.5mm headphone jack for both the input and the output.

The back panel is quite uneventful and features a red power button and a power adaptor port. 

The rest of the chassis is built out of aluminum with two holes for the Hi-Fi vacuum tubes.

For a tube amp, we expected it would also feature a rca input or an optical/coaxial port, but you only get the 3.5mm jacks. Still, when you factor in the price, this is more than enough connectivity.

The Performance

Since the Nobsound NS-08E is a tube amp, it's a cable of driving headphones of all kinds. Whether you have a 16 or 600-ohms pair of headphones, you can use this stereo amplifier to drive them.

For a tube amp that's so affordable, the NS-08E provides excellent sound output. The tubes serve as a sort of bass boost since we noticed the sound is much beefier. The soundstage overall is quite wide.


Unfortunately, because this is a tube amplifier, you will have to get accustomed to background hissing and buzzing when the tubes get warm. You can mitigate this if you try a different power adaptor, but don't hold your hopes up.

Even with the buzzing issue, the Nobsound NS-08E is one of the best headphone amps for those that are looking for a warm-sounding amp. If you're looking for a better sound than your computers' audio DAC, give this amp a spin.

Pros

  • Can drive headphones with impedance between 16 and 600 ohms
  • Solid construction
  • Satisfying volume knob
  • Hybrid design

Cons

  • The power cable is too short
  • Hissing and buzzing in the background when the tubes get warmer

5. Douk Audio Little Bear B4-X - Best Portable Headphone Amp Under 100

Our Rating: 97/100

Next on our list is another NobSound/Douk Audio product. This time we're talking about one of the best portable headphone amps you can buy.

The Little Bear B4-X portable headphone amp boasts excellent performance and innovative design. Not only is this amplifier portable, but it also utilizes vacuum tubes.

If you're looking for a durable yet affordable portable tube amp, look no further than the Bear B4-x.

The Design

The shape of the Bear B4 amplifier closely resembles a flask. It's very thin, ensuring it will comfortably fit inside your pocket.

The chassis is built out of brushed aluminum and is extremely durable. We especially lowe the little window in the body so you can see the two vacuum tubes that are driving this amp.

The front panel features dual-mono 3.5mm and 2.5m headphone jacks as well as a volume knob and a 3.5mm input jack. The volume knob is nothing less than perfect. It's perfectly clicky while remaining smooth.

The back panel is quite uneventful and features a power adapter port and the on/off switch. While you would expect this amplifier to charge via a Micro-USB port, that's not the case. Instead, this portable amp utilizes a regular 12V power adapter.

When it comes to battery life, this comes with a 1000 mAh battery. The battery will last you for around four hours before you have to recharge it.

The Performance

If you're a fan of warmer tube sound, this amp should be on the top of your shopping list. The vacuum tubes deliver a beautifully soft and warm sound output for a superb listening experience.

We haven't noticed any background noise while using this amp, and for a good reason. This portable headphone amp is chock-full of circuit solutions that minimize sound signal pollution.

Unfortunately, you won't be able to drive 600 ohms headphones. Instead of this, this portable headphone amp can handle headphones from 16 to 300 ohms.

Pros

  • Very durable
  • Excellent audio output
  • Decent battery life
  • Incredible design

Cons

  • Doesn't use a USB cable for charging
  • Some finishing details could be better

6. FX Audio DAC-X6 - Best Versatile Headphone Amp Under 100

FX Audio DAC-X6
Our Rating: 92/100

The FX Audio DAC-X6 is still a relatively unknown name in the world of Hi-Fi enthusiasts. It first appeared on Aliexpress, and soon it came over to Amazon.

The FX Audio DAC-X6 is a digital audio converter/amplifier from a relatively obscure Chinese manufacturer. It boasts excellent input/output options and more than decent audio output.

If you're looking for an amplifier that produces a better sound than an in-built digital audio converter on your PC or Laptop, you should definitely give the DAC-X6 a try.

The Design

The construction of the FX Audio Dac-X6 is pretty solid for an affordable amplifier. The chassis is built out of aluminum alloy that's incredibly durable. The whole construction of this headphone amp is on par with high-end models.

The front panel is just as amazing as the construction. There are two metal switches for power and input that perfectly clicky and solid. Next to the switches, you will find the 6.3mm headphone jack and a large volume knob.

The back panel is where this headphone amp really shines. Besides the power adaptor port, you will also find RCA input, optical, coaxial, as well as a PC-USB input. Thanks to a wide selection of inputs, this amplifier is an excellent pick if you're building a studio room.

The FX Audio DAC-X6 comes with a USB cable for the USB interface and a power adapter.

The Performance

When it comes to performance this DAC/headphone amp is capable of driving all kinds of headphones ranging from 16 to 600 ohms of impedance.

The DAC portion of this amplifier can handle any sampling rate so don't worry about using fidelity.

The sound output is pretty decent for such an affordable amp. The soundscape is pretty natural and excels in gaming. We've played a couple of COD Warzone matches and were blown away by the audio produced by this amplifier.

Our only gripe is the low hissing background sound you get when the volume is turned all the way up. Still, this is an excellent headphone amplifier for the money.

Pros

  • Best headphone amp under 100 in terms of connectivity
  • Solid construction
  • Excellent sound output

Cons

  • Low hissing background sound when at high volume
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack output

7. Neoteck 3.5mm Headphone Amplifier - Best Durable Headphone Amp Under 100

Neoteck 3.5mm
Our Rating: 96/100

If you're looking for a portable headphone amplifier that can withstand quite a beating and has a decent battery life, we're happy to introduce Neteck 3.5mm headphone amp.

And since this amp is capable of driving headphones with up to 500 ohms of impedance, the Neoteck headphone amplifier an excellent pick for both novice and experienced audiophiles.

The Design

The Neoteck Headphone Amplifier is built of CNC aluminum that's completely scratch-proof. The chassis has a matte finish and is very compact in size. Measuring only 3.7 x 2.5 x 0.5 inches, this is one of the most compact amplifiers on the market.

The front panel hosts a 3.5mm jack s for input and output, as well as a gain switch and a volume knob. The switch is built out of plastic which isn't ideal since plastic isn't the most durable material.

The volume knob is pretty satisfying to turn. It offers just enough resistance and has a soft click that's on par with a desktop amplifier.

The battery inside this amplifier is rated at 1500 mAH. In real-world terms, this amplifier provides you with around eight hours of battery life per charge.

The charging is done via a Micro-USB cable. The Micro-USB charging cable is included with the amplifier, which is good news because you don't have to go out and buy one.

The Performance

When it comes to performance, this amplifier is pretty impressive. The Neoteck produces a clear, noise-free, and enhanced sound.

Whether it's listening to your favorite music or checking out your latest mix, you can rest assured this amplifier will deliver great sound.

Even when the volume is turned all the way up, there is no hissing or buzzing in the background.

Long battery life in combination with excellent output makes the Neoteck one of the best portable amplifiers you can buy on the current market.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Lacks other types of input connections

Best Headphone Amplifier Under 100 - Buyers Guide

amp for headphones

Now that you're familiar with our top picks for the best headphone amp under 100, it's time to learn all you need to know about these devices.

We guarantee that after reading this guide, you'll be equipped with all the knowledge you need to find the best headphone amplifier for your needs.

What Is A Headphone Amplifier?

Before you even start looking for a headphone amp, you should ask yourself do you actually need one. To find out the answer to this question, you need to know what a headphone amp is.

A headphone amp is a low-powered amplifier that raises low-voltage signals from a source device (smartphones, laptops, PCs, etc.) to a sufficient level so that they are converted into soundwaves by the drivers inside your headphones.

A headphone amplifier is no different than a regular amplifier, it just operates at a lower scale.

If you own a pair of headphones with high impedance, you need an amplifier for the best sound quality.

Types Of Headphone Amps

Headphone amplifiers come in three flavors. Some amplifiers are completely portable since they come with a battery while others are desktop only and require a beefer source of power.

On top of that, some amps come to utilize transistors for amplifying sound output, while others utilize vacuum tubes.

Before committing to a headphone amp under 100, it's best you consider what type works best for you.

  • Portable Headphone Amplifier

Portable headphone amplifiers, as their name suggests, are portable so you can carry them wherever you go.

What's more, a portable headphone amp is lightweight, slim, and compact so you can easily carry it in your pocket.

A portable headphone amplifier usually comes with a battery, but there are also models that need an external power source to work.

Portable headphone amps are best used for mp3 players or if you want to get the absolute best sound output from your smartphone.

If you own a pair of headphones that don't require high power input, a portable headphone amp is the best choice for you.

  • Desktop Headphone Amplifier

A desktop headphone amp is much bigger than its portable counterpart.

These amplifiers are powered by adapters that you plug into your wall power socket.

Desktop amps are more powerful than portable amps and usually feature multiple input and output connections. If you own a pair of powerful headphones that require high power input to work properly, a desktop amp is the best choice for you.

Headphone Amp Type: Tube, Solid State, and Hybrid

Besides portable and desktop flavors, headphone amps also differ on how they work.

Depending on what they utilize to amplify the signal, headphone amps can use transistors or vacuum tubes. Some utilize both. Let's learn more about them!

  • Tube Amplifiers

Vacuum tube technology is almost a century old. Still, vacuum tube headphone amplifiers are still as popular as they've always been. Musicians especially love tube amps because they're incredibly flexible for audio production.

The first thing you need to understand about this technology is how it works. With that knowledge, you can best determine whether you need a tube headphone amplifier.

Vacuum tube amplifiers work by utilizing a triode - the three electrodes you see inside the vacuum tube. The filament between two electrodes heats up and frees electrons for improved electrical performance while the third electrode is there for improved electrical performance. The result of these electrodes is a warm sound pallet that's ever so slightly distorted.

Most people love pushing the vacuum tubes to their max so they can get that signature distortion only a tube headphone amplifier can produce, which is something a soli state amplifier simply can't do.

The biggest advantage of this type of headphone amp is tube rolling. If you don't like the sound a particular tube produces, you can always swap it out for a different one because most amps are designed to have replaceable tubes.

The biggest disadvantage to tube amps is the tubes themselves. Not only do they have a limited lifespan, but they're also very expensive. Vacuum tubes are notorious for shorting out, burning out, and even cracking.

  • Solid State Amplifiers

A solid-state headphone amplifier utilizes a diode, transistors, and a whole slew of other electronics to amplify the audio electrical signal.

The transistor inside a solid-state amp consists out of a positively charged silicon layer called the emitter that's sandwiched between two negatively charged layers called base and collector.

The positive layers of the transistor take electrons from the negative layer to conduct electricity. The transistor draws current from the base layer and amplifies the signal according to the current supplied to the base layer.

Solid-state headphone amplifiers usually feature multiple transistors that work in tandem to produce better sound quality.

This type of headphone amp is quite widespread and incredibly affordable. And unlike vacuum amps, these headphone amps also come in a portable variety.

If you're on a tight budget and need a portable stereo amplifier, you can't go wrong with buying a solid-state amp.

  • Hybrid Amplifiers

Some amps aren't just tube amps or solid-state amps, but are a mix of both - these are your hybrid amps.

Hybrid amps utilize a vacuum tube for the preamp stage and a solid-state transistor for the power section.

Hybrid amps represent the best of both worlds - you get that warm tube sound and the preciseness of the transistors.

Hybrid headphone amps are still pretty rare and usually cost an arm and a leg. Still, they're worth every penny.

Impedance

All headphones have an impedance. Some models have low and some high impedance.

Impedance is another word for how much an electrical current can resist a current or an electrical load. This means that high impedance headphones show more resistance to the electrical signal, which is why you need an amplifier to drive them.

If you own a pair of high-end or studio headphones, they're probably high impedance and need a headphone amp to work correctly.

Impedance is measured in ohms and you can usually find out this spec in the product description.

Even if you own a pair of low-impedance headphones, you can still greatly benefit from a headphone amp. Like we mentioned above, tube amps provide a completely different sound quality to what you're phone's built-in amp is capable of.

Source Device Connections

In the world of amplifiers, a source device is anything that provides the audio signal to the amplifier. It can be anything from a record player, to your phone.

It's essential that you figure out what's going to be your main source device is going to be because headphone amps don't come with lots of jacks.

If you're planning on playing your favorite music from a digital device, make sure you get a headphone amp that comes with a built-in DAC. We'll talk about digital to analog converter (or DAC) a bit later, what's important for now is that you'll easily recognize if a headphone amp has one because it will come with easier a USB jack, or an optical or coaxial jack.

If you're going to be playing music from an analog source, look for a headphone amp that has an RCA jack.

Output Connections

Output connections are the jacks you plug in your headphones into.

Headphone amps usually come with either a 3.5 mm or a 6.3 mm headphone jack.

3.5 mm headphone jack is the most common output. However, most high-end headphones come with 6.3 mm connections.

So, is there are difference ins oud quality between these two connections?

When it comes to sound quality, there is no difference between 3.5 and 6.3 connections. Still, 6.3 jacks have other advantages over all other connections. For starters, thanks to their big cross-sectional area, they're much stronger. On top of that, a 6.3 jack is almost impossible to bend or break. Lastly, because of the bigger surface area, a 6.3 mm jack allows for finer audio connections.

3.5mm vs. 6.3mm

Balanced vs. Unbalanced Cable Connections

The discussion about balanced or unbalanced connections is usually about cables. So, is it worth investing extra bucks into a balanced cable? Is there any audio difference between balanced and unbalanced audio cables?

An unbalanced cable has only two conductors. One for the audio signal and the other for grounding. If you cut open an unbalanced cable, you'll find two wires - one that carries the audio signal and the other that's used as the ground/shield. The ground wire also provides a bit of shielding from RFI signals. The problem is that this shielding isn't sufficient, resulting in some RFI and hum.

A balanced cable, on the other hand, has three conductors - one for positive signal, one for negative signal, and one for ground/shield. If you cut open one of these cables you'll find four wires - R+, R-, L+, L- and the grounding wire. When an audio signal goes through a balanced cable, it passes through the positive and negative wires which pick up the same noise and cancel it - resulting in a better sound and a broader soundstage.

Whether you need a balanced cable or note comes down to personal preference. If you're an audio quality purist, we recommend you go for a set of balanced cables alongside the headphone amp.

DAC

Although most people are unaware of it, most devices capable of audio playback come with an in-built DAC.

A DAC or digital to analog converter is a chip on your playback device that takes the digital signal and converts it into analog.

Until a couple of years, external DACs weren't very popular and you could usually find them inside recording studios or as a part of a diehard audiophile setup.

However, with the growth of audio formats like FLAC, people got dissatisfied with the quality of the in-built DACs on their playback devices and started buying external ones.

The list of our top picks for the best headphone amp under 100 most models come with an in-built DAC, but you can still buy an external one if you want to further refine the audio quality.

Build Quality

Lastly, you should consider the build quality of a headphone amp. We gave our best when curating the list above to include only durable devices, but still, a few with shoddy build quality managed to slip through.

If you need a portable amp, we recommend you get one that's built tough. This way you're ensuring it won't break down due to the normal wear and tear that comes with portability.

If you need a desktop headphone amp, you can go for one that's shoddily built. Just make sure you don't drop it or pull on the knobs too much.

Best Headphone Under 100 - FAQ

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

It all depends on the model and the brand you pick. Some headphone amps under 100 come with a selectable impedance or gain switch so you can set the impedance according to your headphones. This allows these headphone amps to work with a wide range of headphone impedance, which makes them extremely versatile.

What's the frequency response on headphone amps under 100 dollars?

For the uninitiated, frequency response is the range of audio frequencies that a particular headphone amp can reproduce. Unfortunately, there isn't a fixed frequency response and different amps support a different frequency range.

What's the noise floor on headphone amps under 100 dollars?

The noise floor is how much the amp adds to the audio signal before sending it to the output device. Usually, all headphone amps add some level of noise to the audio signal to amplify it.

Keep in mind, that the lower the noise floor, the better the audio quality the amp will produce.

The noise floor is usually stated in -dB or Volts. Still, you can find some manufacturers that refer to it as signal-to-noise ratio and state it in dB or dBA.

Conclusion

Here we are at the end of this long journey. All that's left is to declare a winner.

Although finding a clear winner for the best headphone amp under 100 was incredibly difficult, we decided it was the AudioQuest DragonFly Black v1.5. Although it doesn't come with many input/output options, its DAC capability and soundscape make it worth every penny.

headphone and amp

After it's all said and done, we recommend:

dragonfly amp

AudioQuest DragonFly Black v1.5

Why they are the best?

  • The soundscape this amplifier produces is incredibly clear and natural
  • It can drive all kinds of headphones - from low-powered to high-powered
  • It comes in a durable aluminum chassis
  • It's very compact
  • It's pretty simple to set-up
98/100
our score

Best Budget Audiophile Headphones of 2022 – How To Enjoy Your Favourite Music On A Budget

Best Budget Audiophile Headphones of 2022 - How To Enjoy Your Favourite Music On A Budget

Best Budget Audiophile Headphones of 2022 - How To Enjoy Your Favourite Music On A Budget

There's an incredibly vast choice of high-end headphones, and many are utilizing a myriad of high-tech bells and whistles to make your listening experience comfortable and unique.

But what if you want pure sound quality without tacked on features like companion apps, noise cancellation, leather padding, and other elements that drive up the price without making the sound output any better?

With a pure emphasis on sound quality, audiophile headphones are a testament to outstanding sonics - rather than showcases of the latest tech.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the money to buy a pair of audiophile headphones since they can cost upwards of a couple of hundred dollars. This is because these headphones feature high-quality drivers and are usually built out of premium materials.

With that said, quite a few audiophile headphones are circulating the market that won't cost you an arm and a leg. I've spent quite some time researching the best budget audiophile headphones and compiled my findings in this article.

So, if you're interested in the best budget audiophile headphones, keep on reading! As a bonus, I've also compiled a short buyer's guide!

In a hurry? After 35 Hours of Research, We Recommend:

Best budget audiophile headphones - Best audiophile headphones overall

Why they are the best?

  • Thanks to the open-back earcup design, these headphones offer an incredibly neutral sound stage.
  • The padded earpads and headband make them incredibly comfortable to wear.
  • Although they're built out of mostly plastic, these headphones feel high-quality.
  • An excellent choice for those who want to enjoy the true sound of music while laying back at home.
98/100
our score

sourses
35

RESEARCHED SOURCES

600

REVIEWS CONSIDERED

35

hours researching

36

products compared

Last Updated: October 2022

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best headphones for classical music available for those who are interested in enjoying the classic  the best possible way. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best headphones for classical music currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Budget Audiophile Headphones Comparison List

Product

Design

Driver Type

Impedance

Sensitivity

Driver size

Our Rating

Current Price

Sennheiser HD 600

Open-backed

Dynamic

300 Ohm

97 dB

40 mm

98/100

Audio Technica ATH MSR7GM

Closed-Back

Dynamic

38 Ohm

99 dB

45 mm

95/100

Grado SR80e Prestige Series

Open-backed

Dynamic

32 Ohm

99.8 dB

40 mm

93/100

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

Closed-back

Dynamic

80 Ohm

96 dB

45 mm

90/100

1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones

In-ear headphones

Hybrid

32 Ohm

99 dB

n/a 

85/100

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro

Closed-back

Dynamic

32 Ohm

105 dB

50 mm

84/100

Top 6 Best Budget Audiophile Headphones - Reviews And Recommendations

Finding the best budget audiophile headphones for your needs can be quite a chore. The market is saturated with headphone models that each come with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

But, don't worry - you're at the right place. I've done the research for you and compiled it into this nifty list of best budget audiophile headphones you can find on the current market.

So, let's begin with the best of them all and move on from there.