Should You Choose Dac/Amp for Headphones? What Difference Will They Make?

dac/amp for headphones

Make Life Click is reader-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. More details

It goes without saying that HiFi headphones do not come in cheap. Yet, DAC/AMP for headphones is still a must-have for many audio enthusiasts. This additional accessory does make the total cost amp up significantly. And to many that are new to the HiFi world, this extra expense can seem totally unnecessary.

But is it really? Is the external audio gear just for show? Well, if you want to get to the bottom of the topic, you need to continue reading!

Latest: Sony’s Highly Praised XM3 Earbuds Return to their Least Price Point

What Is a DAC?

dac/amp for headphones

DAC stands for digital to analog converter. And as the name suggests, this component will transform the digital data into an analog wave. For example, the song you are playing through a streaming service will come in a data of 1s and 0s. And the DAC will convert that data and pass it to the headphones in sound waves.

Now, you might be thinking that if smartphones and laptops already have a built-in DAC, why would anyone need an external one? The thing is, the built-in DACs are not that well capable of handling high-bitrate audio files. And if you compare the bit rates of an audio file, you will notice that the differences are night and day.

What is an Amp?

dac/amp for headphones

Amp, otherwise known as an amplifier, is basically a device that will boost the power of the source signal. At its core, the headphone amplifier will boost up the analog signals. And as a result, the signals will be louder, which will make them more audible through your headphones.

Why Should You Get a DAC/AMP for Headphones?

dac/amp for headphones

As mentioned, the device you will use to play music will have a built-in DAC. However, you can enjoy the high bit-rate music with an external DAC. And in a nutshell, high bit-rate audio will offer you a studio-grade listening experience, which you will not get from the built-in DAC.

Likewise, your device will also have an amp inside. However, if you want to pair it up with high-end headphones, you will notice that the sound is very muted. For that reason, the shopping lists of audiophiles will contain DAC/AMP for headphones along. 

Editor’s Pick
iFi GO blu – Portable Bluetooth 5.1 Headphone Amplifier

The latest Qualcomm 5100 series Bluetooth (only input) iFi GO blu DAC supports Bluetooth 5.1 in all current and future formats

Now, if getting two dedicated devices seems a bit too much for you, you can always get a headphone dacamp combo. In fact, if you are lucky, you can get the best headphone AmpDAC combo within a budget.

However, even the best budget headphone amp/DAC might be a little too much for you. In that case, you can easily set up a portable AMP DAC by yourself

Read More: Best Ways to Get Audio From Your Blu-ray Disc Player?


To recapitulate, if you are still thinking about whether DAC/AMP for headphones changes things, it does! With those two components, you can make your high-end headphones provide all that it has to offer. And those devices will let you enjoy the accurately produced sound.

Images: iFi website

Slava is a man of mystery and no-one seems to know exactly where he is at any point in time. When he isn't enjoying writing about all things audio and technical he can be found researching his next project of interest. The man never rests.

This post was last updated on 2024-05-20 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.

Helpful? Sign up and get more interesting posts like this. No Spam.

Get access to insights, deals, competitions and giveaways. Unsubscribe anytime.

* indicates required

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.