Buying a headphone amplifier allows you to enjoy a much more intimate listening of music, but this should not be seen as nothing esoteric.
One question you could ask yourself is: Why should I buy a dedicated headphone amplifier if fewer and fewer audio amplifiers have a headphone output?
In fact, the benefits are many and important:
- Greater musicality
- Increased functionality
- Better ability to drive all kinds of headphones
Optimized music performance for headphones
The headphone outputs on an audio amplifier or CD player do their job perfectly: you connect a headphone and you get the sound. Nothing more, nothing less.
There are no headphone outputs that are not really usable; all of them serve their purpose, but the fact remains that this type of integrated outputs often represent the weakest and least optimized part of the entire design of these devices, especially when it comes to stereo amplifiers or low-end and cheap CD players.
So, even when it is present, the headphone output is very often of very low quality level.
Let's face it: if there is, it is just for the sake of it, but it is certainly not the strong point of a cheap CD player or stereo amplifier. It should be seen and considered only as a "plus", nothing more.
You should know that, if the amplification of the headphone output is not properly isolated from the rest of the circuit, the result will be a very noisy output, with degraded audio signal and low quality.
This happens very often, for example, in the headphone outputs present in some CD players: these outputs, in fact, are often subject to the interference of the reading mechanism and produce a sound that has very little of Hi-Fi.
Therefore, in light of the considerations we have made so far, it should be evident that, although we have a pair of good headphones, these can be used properly only by connecting them to a dedicated headphone amplifier.
Connected to the analogue RCA output of a source (such as a CD player or a music server), or to the USB port of a computer, your headphone amplifier will be immune and isolated from all the above problems and will be able to play music in the best possible way.
In addition, one of the additional and most important advantages of using a separate headphone amplifier is also to be able to manage much better the different impedances that characterize the various models of headphones, and in particular those more demanding headphones that require more power to be driven properly and to be able to better express their musical potential and timbre.
A dedicated headphone amplifier allows, therefore, to benefit from greater dynamics and an optimized timbral output and therefore better.
In this way, you can make the most of even the most expensive audio headphones, those of the Hi-Fi and Hi-End band that, however, have a purchase price all in all still affordable for the enthusiast who wants to get great music listening.
Mobility, flexibility and readiness for the digital world
Most headphone amplifiers are designed to be compact, often portable.
Thanks to the adoption of an often small and compact form factor, the frequent presence of an integrated analogue digital converter (USB DAC), many models of headphone amplifiers are absolutely in step with modern times and offer adequate support for digital audio.
By connecting it via a USB port to a computer, the headphone amplifier also becomes a true Audio DAC converter.
Some of these models equipped with Audio DACs also have a pre-out output and can therefore be used as a basis for creating an audiophile system dedicated to listening to digital music.
Buying a headphone amplifier, therefore, offers the advantage of better music performance. In addition, as digital audio media and liquid music become more and more popular, these amplifiers are set to become increasingly popular.