Why use a portable headphone amp?

By | December 16, 2010

Now, you may have found this site and might be wondering “why would I need a portable headphone amp?” After all, don’t most MP3 players have plenty of power at their disposal to run most headphones without amplification, and isn’t it a bad thing to turn your headphones up too loud?

To answer the last question first – yes – it is a bad thing to have your headphones too loud. And this is something you should always be aware of when using an MP3 player with headphones. Most MP3 players with in-ear type headphones can already go plenty loud enough to damange your hearing – but volume and noise isn’t necessarily what we’re after by adding a portable headphone amplifier. The main problem with your MP3 player is that typically the output from the onboard amplifier will be very weedy – this means that for long bass notes and for high impedance headphones, the amplifier may struggle to power them adequately. A portable amplifier added between your MP3 player and your headphones alleviates this – whilst it can add volume, the amp primarily looks to add and aid the clarity of the sound coming through your MP3 player. Because the MP3 player is not being pushed so hard to cause distortion, you will almost certainly hear a massive improvement in the quality of sound coming from your player via a portable headphone amp.

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