Music plays an important role in our life, no matter what! I really don’t think there would a single one who doesn’t love to listen music. With all the music devices comes the already built headphone amplifier, not only in the smartphones but also in the tablets and laptops.
|FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier
|Check On Amazon
|Nobsound NS-08E Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier
|Check On Amazon
|Bravo Audio V2 Class A 12AU7 Tube Multi-Hybrid Headphone Amplifier
|Check On Amazon
Then what’s the need of an external headphone amplifier? To all the dedicated music lovers, a headphone amp is a must. To increase more power and boost the sound quality, headphone amp is the best choice to go with.
5 Best Headphone Amps Under $100
There are hundreds of headphone amps available in market and when comes many choices comes the confusion. But we’re here to throw away all your confusion and with our top picks under $100. I just hope you have a happy reading and your search ends here.
Before diving into the ride of the best headphone amps under $100 let me tell you the important considerations while buying a headphone amplifier-
- Budget- Of, course everybody has a different pocket allowance.
- Build Quality- Basically considered for the design quality
- Portability- It should be easy to carry
- DAC- The Digital to Analog Converter to audio info
- Impedance- Refers to the resistance and it should be higher
Let’s move on to the list now.
- FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amp
- Nobsound NS-08E Amplifier
- Bravo Audio V2 Tube Multi-Hybrid Headphone Amp
- AudioQuest DragonFly Black v1.5 Plug-in USB DAC
- FiiO Q1 Mark II Native DSD DAC Amplifier
1.FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amp
FiiO E10K USB DAC is available on Amazon at $75.99 and has got 4.2 stars out of 5. The headphone amp is well known in the market cause of its durability. FiiO comes in black color with its dimensions be 0.83 * 1.93 * 3.11 inches.
Talking about its chip set, FiiO headphone amp’s internal DAC chip has a PCM102 that is able to handle PCM files up to 24-bit/96kHz. This PCM chip enhances the sound quality using its linear filter.
For reducing the noise, the DAC has a low-pass filter that keeps away the noise and you only will listen the music. The vibe and the feel with FiiO E10K USB DAC and headphone amplifier is actually commendable.
Also, the headphone amp has the bass boost circuit to enhance the sound quality and reducing the noise.
With FiiO E10K headphone amplifier you can have multiple connections that includes a front-panel headphone jack, a real panel line output, and a rear panel coaxial digital output and these connections are for transmitting your digital audio to the destination.
The headphone amp also offers you the USB connectivity to connect your laptop or any other device with itself using the micro USB connection.
FiiO E10K is highly portable cause of its sleek design and brushed aluminum shell. In this budget, FiiO E10K is the best headphone amp and according to the customer reviews, the performance it has with a good headphone is remarkable.
Moving on to its control features, the headphone amp has a 3.5mm headphone jack on the front panel along with one On/Off bass switch and a volume knob, that’s it.
With the package, you’ll get the amp obviously, some stick-on rubber feet along with a 3 inch USB to micro USB cable. The headphone has rare compatibility issues and works really fine with almost all the devices.
One of the customer’s review said, he had a HD650 and tried a few headphone amps, none of them worked the expected but when he went with the FiiO E10K, it started working so well.
Out of the total of 100% global ratings, FiiO E10K headphone amp has a 5-star rating from 72% people, 4-stars from 14%, 3-stars from 5%, 2-stars from 3%, and the rest 6% gave it only 1 star.
- In-built DAC
- This product is the value for money
- The aluminum used in the design makes it even more strong
- Variety of Connections
- Compatible with all the devices
- The switches are not made up of metal rather they’re of plastic
- USB cable length is quite shorter
2.Nobsound NS-08E Amplifier
Nobsound NS-08E has got 4 stars out of 5. This is the best headphone amp in terms of looks and design. If you’re one of those who focus more on the outer physical appearance then this is the one.
Also, just to clear this thing, Nobsound NS-08E headphone along with its amazing looks is the best in terms of performance too. The headphone amp features a 6J3 vacuum and valve tube that produces the warmer tube sound.
Nobsound NS-08E headphone amp uses the circuit to lower the noise and enhance the sound quality and ultimately resulting in the powerful bass and treble.
This headphone is available on Amazon at a price value of $50. It has a vintage kind of look in black & copper color with vacuum and valve tube placed over it. Nobsound NS-08E is considered as a hi-fi tube headphone amp that is known in the market to produce >=1100mW at 32 ohm.
Also, the headphone can drive 18~600 ohm headphone and headsets. In terms of performance and sound quality, this is one of the best headphone amps to be picked to your bucket.
The tubes placed over the headphone amp are 6J3 vacuum and valve tube, both these tubes are replaceable and these tubes makes the sound warmer. Nobsound NS-08E uses the upgraded circuit that works as the noise cancellation that means it keeps away all the background noise and what you’ll hear is only the crystal clear music.
There’s an amazing balance between the bass and the treble of headphone amp. This headphone amp can also be used as a stereo preamplifier for other speakers as well as amplifiers too.
No doubt, Nobsound NS-08E is really good in its own but if you wanna go with the better and a level up preamp function, then you can either refer to the NS-10P. Nobsound NS-08E has a CNC aluminum shell in a very small size that makes it strong and durable.
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- The CNC small-sized aluminum shell makes it durable and stronger
- Rear-panel line output
- Micro USB connection
- 18-months warranty
- Lifetime technical support
- Solid workmanship
- Frequency range- 20Hz-30kHz
- Lacks in-built DAC
- Short USB cable
- Large wall wart
3.Bravo Audio V2 Tube Multi-Hybrid Headphone Amp
Bravo Audio V2 Tube Multi-Hybrid Headphone Amp’s actual price is $67.99 but if you’ll order it now, you can grab this amazing headphone amp in $59.99 that means at an offering of 12% and you can save $8.
Bravo Audio V2Tube has got 4.1 out of 5 stars. This headphone amp is the favorite of many people because of its durability and small size. With its small size comes the portability. Audio V2 is highly portable and easy to carry as of its small size and light weight.
The headphone amp really looks like a model of a lighty fort. Basically, it’s pretty good in its looks. On the top plate of the headphone amp, there are 2 cutouts, the first one for the tube and the second one for the large capacitor.
It’s completely transparent and that’s the attractive feature of the Bravo Audio V2 Tube Multi-Hybrid headphone amp. The large capacitor on the top plate remains always on the top only.
Coming on to its control features, the headphone amp on its front panel has a 3.5mm minijack input port, a volume knob, and a 6.3mm headphone jack port along with the RCA inputs on the side.
Moving on to its backside control, Bravo Audio V2 has an on/off toggle switch and a connection power port for the wall wart on the back panel. The headphone amp weighs only 1.1 pounds and its exact dimensions: 1.7 * 3.1 * 3.1 inches.
- Light weight
- Easy to carry
- Budget friendly
- Durable and Portable
- High-quality Shuguang 12AU7 tube
- Tiny powerhouse
- Uses the Japanese ALPS potentiometer
- Gets hot while in use
- Its open design is really cool in looks but heat sinks out of it and that’s risky
- Knobs are sensitive, handle with care
4.AudioQuest DragonFly Black v1.5 Plug-in USB DAC
This is literally one the smallest and the bestest headphone amp from AudioQuest. Along with this AudioQuest Dragonfly v1.5 USB DAC you’ll also get a Jitterbug USB data and power noise filter package.
There are two color variants- the Red and the Black. Along with the color also changes the features too. With the Red Dragonfly USB DAC, you’ll get a double output of 2.1 volts while with the Black one comes the output of 1.2 volts.
Its super smaller size makes it highly portable and out of all the listed headphone amps, the AudioQuest Dragonfly v1.5 plug-in USB DAC is the highly portable that can easily fit in your pockets and you can carry it with yourself anytime anywhere.
Out of the total of 5 stars, this headphone amp has got 4.4 stars. The entire headphone is made up metal with soft rubbery texture finishing over the outings. Earlier the headphone amp was pretty much expensive but its new price makes it quite affordable and actually the best headphone amp in this budget.
With Dragonfly v1.5 plug-in USB DAC, there are no compatibility issues, the headphone is compatible with your smartphones, laptops, and tablets, with all your smart devices.
Since there is a price drop in the headphone amp that makes many people to think if there’s something with the quality also, Well! To make this thing clear, let me tell you, despite of the price drop there’s no compromise done with the quality rather the quality has been improved including the ESS 9010 DAC that converts the digital to analogue.
AudioQuest is in the industry for a very longer time and the brand is known for its quality assurance. They never compromise with the quality and the customer satisfaction is their topmost priority.
The headphone amp consumes low power that makes it ideal for you smartphones as well as your tablets. This is something we can call, “small package, big sound.”
- Compact design
- Lower power consumption
- Portable & Durable
- Can be paired with any smart phone, all you need is a small adapter
- Can support any file format
- No DSD support
- Distortion issue
- Quackery audio
5.FiiO Q1 Mark II Native DSD DAC Amplifier
FiiO Q1 Mark II Native DSD DAC Amplifier is available on Amazon at a price value of $99.99 in Black color. The Lightning connector type headphone amp has a 3.5mm micro USB jack for the audio input.
It produces an amazing sound quality using its XMOS platform that enables the headphone amp to decode multiple formats up to 384kHZ/32bit PCM and also the DSD256 i.e. indicated by the green light. So, this XMOS platform is responsible for its high-end performance.
Coming on to the technology used, FiiO Q1 Mark II Native DSD DAC headphone amp uses the ADC volume adjustment mechanism that actually makes the ADC curve and solve the problems like-
- if there is volume imbalance between left and right channels;
- keeping away all the noise out so that the focus is only over the music;
- if volume enhancement is required or not;
- proper placement of the knobs
The headphone amp is really so good in looks with its matte black finish all over its body. The entire body of the FiiO Q1 Mark II is made up of metal that also prevents it from the electromagnetic thing.
Also, when the headphone amp is connected with an iPhone, it still performs the way as it always do, there is no compromise with the sound quality at all.
On the front panel, there are switches and volume knob. It’s quite easy to rotate the volume knob and thanks to its maximized diameter. With the switches, you can adjust the gain, the trebel, and the bass level.
- Portable & Durable
- Output power over 190Mw
- Impedance 16-500 ohms
- Good battery backup
- Great sound quality
- It can create a problem cause of its shape when used with the smartphone
This is all about the best headphone amps. All these listed headphone amps are under $100. This list is completely budget friendly and now you can choose any of these as per your personal preferences and requirements.
Though all these headphone amps are really good in their own and we’ve already mentioned the factors that are considered before preparing this quick guide. Rest all depends on you and your choice now. Good Luck!