Are you on the lookout for some good quality headphone amps that are not expensive to own?
If yes, then you’re at the right place.
Typically, headphones work as soon as they’re plugged into your audio device and no special equipment is needed to run them. But what if you’re looking to experience more than what you’re listening to, especially if you own a pair of Hi-Fi headphones?
That’s where headphone amps come in, they help improve your listening experience by increasing the level of signals that reach your ears. It’s these little gadgets that are capable of providing you with an immersive experience and helps improve the detail of the music you’re listening to.
Headphone amps are available in a range of sizes and come with different capabilities. Some of the best headphone amps in the world are not American or European… They’re Chinese. These guys know exactly what they’re doing and have been able to produce some really high-quality headphone amps that are cheap to own.
So, if you are new to the music scene or if you’re on a budget, then you can give these great headphone amps a go.
So without any further delay, here are the 8 Best Chinese Headphone Amps of 2021:
|Top 8 Best Chinese Headphone Amps||Features||Best For|
|Fiio BTR5||550mAh battery, |
Xmos XUF208 DAC
|Overall Best Chinese Headphone Amp|
|SMSL SP100||NES5532 DAC, |
RCA, 3.5mm Audio jack
|Best Chinese Tube Headphone Amp|
|GGMM A2||500mAh battery, |
SBC, AAC, aptX Low latency,
|Best Portable Chinese Headphone Amp|
|Fiio E10K||PCM5102 DAC, |
Micro USB/3.5mm Audio jack
|Best Low-Noise Chinese Headphone Amp|
|Nobsound NS08E||6J3 Vacuum Tubes, |
3.5mm Audio in-out
|Best Chinese Headphone Amp under $50|
|Shanling UP4||550mAh battery, |
ESS Sabre DAC,
LDAC, aptX Low latency, AAC, SBC
|Best Chinese Headphone Amp under $100|
|Neoteck NTK059||1500mAh battery, |
HD Audio clarity,
3.5mm Audio in-out
|Best Chinese Headphone Amp for Beginners|
|Fosi Audio T20||DA2120A DAC, |
6J4 Vacuum Tubes, 100W RMS Audio output,
aptX, aptX Low latency
|Best Chinese Bluetooth Headphone Amp|
Best Chinese Headphone Amp
The best headphone amplifiers in the market are actually priced under $200. These headphone amps are some of the best in the world and offer you an uncompromised listening experience.
Here are the best Chinese headphone amps you can find on sites like AliExpress and Amazon.
FiiO BTR5 – Best Overall Headphone Amplifier
The FiiO BTR5 is the most complete headphone amp in the market right now and costs $109.99.
This Hi-Fi Bluetooth headphone amplifier offers extremely detailed reproduction of sound and uses an independent control chip (XMOS – XUF208) for ultimate decoding performance.
It comes equipped with a Bluetooth 5.0 receiver and can deliver studio-quality sound whether you’re using wired headphones or wireless.
Another great point to note is that the BTR5 features balanced 2.5mm and single-ended 3.5mm audio outputs and can be controlled via the FiiO smartphone application.
This flagship portable Hi-Fi headphone amplifier offers Qualcomm aptX and LDAC, has an OLED display embedded in the body and is so small that it can easily be pocketed.
|Bluetooth Version & Chip||V 5.0 / CSR8675|
|USB DAC||Xmos XUF208|
|Battery Capacity & Life||550mAh;|
3.5mm headphone output – 9 hours
2.5mm headphone output – 7 hours
|Battery Charging Time||1 hour 30 minutes|
|Supported Audio Formats||SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Low Latency, aptX HD, LDAC|
SMSL SP100 – Best Headphone Tube Amplifier
The SP100 is a unique headphone amplifier that comes with a vacuum tube allowing you to enjoy Hi-Fi clear, warm and dynamic tube sound on your headphones. This headphone amplifier is available on Amazon and can be yours for $76.99.
It runs on the NE5532 classic audio chip that makes it a dual low-noise, high-speed audio operational amplifier and can support a maximum of 300Ω-21mW x 2 power while being capable of driving 32~600Ω headphones with ease.
Considered a user-friendly amplifier, the SP100 allows you to adjust the volume easily with a single dial, it comes with a visualized LED digital screen, TOCOS volume potentiometer, offers better control of current, voltage and resistance.
The SP100 is compatible with a DAC decoder allowing better amplification and has been designed for audiophiles, Hi-Fi enthusiasts and even great for beginners.
|Output Power||32Ω – 95mW x 2;|
64Ω – 77mW x 2;150Ω – 40mW x 2;300Ω – 21mWx2
|Inputs & Outputs||RCA / RCA, 3.5mm, 6.35mm|
GGMM A2 – Best Portable Headphone Amplifier
The GGMM A2 is a portable Bluetooth headphone amplifier that offers ultra high-definition decoding and can support high-impedance headphones up to 600 Ω. This compact headphone amplifier can be bought online for $33.59.
This headphone amplifier uses the latest SRC sampling chip along with a Hi-Fi DAC chip to increase the sampling rate of the audio to 32bit/384kHz.
Along with the world-renowned CSR Bluetooth chip, the A2 supports aptX, SBC/AAC Bluetooth encoding format and the powerful performance of the chip ensures lossless audio, low-latency, high-speed and a stable transmission.
You can switch the decoding rate from 16bit/44.1kHz to 32bit/384kHz simply by pressing a single button on the amp. This will let you enjoy dynamic music with extremely low distortion.
|Bluetooth Version & Chip||V 5.0 / CSR713TL8|
|Battery Capacity & Life||500mAh; 10 hours|
|Battery Charging Time||3 hours|
|Supported Audio Codec||SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Low Latency|
Fiio E10K – Best Low-Noise Headphone Amplifier
The E10K is one of the most promising mini DAC and headphone amplifiers in the market and is available for $75.99. It’s capable of handling PCM files up to 24bit/96kHz resolution and is capable of improving the overall audio quality through a linear filter.
This headphone amplifier is customizable and designed to improve the output quality by using the PCM5102 DAC chip-set. It comes with optimized low-pass filters and selectable bass boost circuit delivering low-noise at all times.
It comes with multiple ports that include a coaxial out, and line out apart from the headphone out that’s situated at the front next to the volume control and bass gain toggle switch.
|Sampling Rate||24bit / 96kHz|
|SNR||105 dB （A-weighted）|
|Inputs & Outputs||Micro USB; 3.5mm headphone jack|
Nobsound NS08E – Best Headphone Amplifier Under $50
The Nobsound NS08E is a Hi-Fi tube amplifier that offers up to 110mW at 32Ω and is capable of driving Studio headsets that have a rating of 18~600Ω. This headphone amplifier is available at a bargain price of $50.00.
It is equipped with the 6J3 vacuum and valve tube that offers a warmer tube sound making it perfect for other amplifiers and active speakers apart from headphones. The tubes are replaceable so you can either customize it by using alternate tubes or replace these when they’re burnt out.
The case of the amp is made from CNC aluminum and its heart is an upgraded circuit that ensures lower background noise, powerful bass and excellent treble. This headphone is not pocketable because of the tubes, but it is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
|Frequency Response||20 Hz – 30 kHz|
|Headphone Adapter Impedance||18~600Ω|
|Inputs & Outputs||3.5mm audio in; 3.5mm headphone jack|
Shanling UP4 – Best Headphone Amplifier Under $100
The UP4 is a portable Hi-Fi Bluetooth amplifier that offers better sound and more power. It features a minimalistic design combining aluminum and glass panels to form a sleek rounded body. This headphone amplifier can be bought for $99.00 on AliExpress.
It supports LDAC and aptX allowing it to connect to any device offering the highest possible quality. The LED indicator embedded in the body will flash different colors depending on the codec that’s currently being played.
Equipped with 2 ESS Sabre ES9218P chips, the audio output is clear and powerful with low output impedance allowing it to be power efficient. You’re able to easily switch between 3 different gain settings (low, high and dual DAC/boost) and even 4 sound altering digital filters to experience different forms of sound.
The Shanling UP4 is nice, compact and even is NFC compatible allowing you to pair with any device that supports NFC with a single touch. It’s multi-functional and can be used as a USB DAC/Amp or as an external sound card.
|Bluetooth Version & Chip||V 5.0 / CSR8675|
|DAC Chip||ESS Sabre ES9218P x 2|
|THD||0.003% (LDAC/A-W / 0.5V / 32Ω)|
0.003% (0.5V / others / A – W / 32Ω)
|Battery Capacity & Life||550mAh; 15 hours single ended, 10 hours balanced|
|Battery Charging Time||2 hours|
|Supported Audio Codec||LDAC, HWA(LHDC), aptX HD, aptX Low Latency, aptX, AAC, SBC|
Neoteck NTK059 – Best Chinese Headphone Amp for Beginners
The Neoteck NTK059 is a portable headphone amplifier that comes with a two stage gain switch and is perfect for beginners. This amplifier is available for $30.99 making it rather cheap and perfect if you’re starting off.
It is delicate and compact making it pocketable and produces remarkable sound with minimal distortion. This amp can drive headphones that carry a rating of 16~150Ω making it best suited for Hi-Fi headphones.
The body is crafted from aluminum metal and has a matte finish. It offers noise reduction and distortion with enhanced dynamics, pure stereo sound effect and HD voice music sound quality.
The Neoteck NTK059 can be connected to a range of devices and comes with a 3.5mm input and output modes. The battery is a large capacity 1500 Li battery that allows you to stay plugged in for more than 8 hours.
|Battery Capacity & Life||1500mAh; 8 hours|
|Maximum Power Output||250mW in Impedance 16Ω|
|Input/Output||3.5mm audio-in; 3.5mm audio-out|
Fosi Audio T20 – Best Bluetooth Headphone Tube Amplifier
Fosi Audio’s T20 is a budget friendly low-latency Bluetooth tube amplifier for headphones. IT offers stereo output at 100W RMS and features a built-in speaker protection circuit. This amplifier is available at a reasonable price of $89.99.
It comes equipped with two 6J4 tubes offering clear audio sound. These tubes can be replaced with others making this amplifier perfect for 16-64Ω headphones. It’s small and compact but powerful making every listening experience a Hi-Fi one.
The T20 runs on Bluetooth 4.2 and is powered by a CSR64215 chip that supports aptX and aptX low latency allowing you to enjoy superior wireless performance. You’re able to stay connected to the T20 via Bluetooth even at a distance of 12 meters.
|Bluetooth Version & Chip||V 4.2 / CSR64215|
|Supported Audio Codec||aptX, aptX low-latency|
What to look for in a Chinese headphone amp?
Well, the first thing to note is that not all Chinese headphone amps are built the same. In order to pick the best headphone amp, there are a couple of things you need to look into first.
- Size – A headphone amp is something that’s meant to be small and compact since it’s being connected to your headphones and not a full fledged home theater. Check for one that can be placed in your pocket or backpack and does not weigh too much.
- Connectivity – Again, in terms of connectivity as well, not all amps are built the same. Some come with Bluetooth whereas others might remain analog and require you to plug in the 3.5mm audio cable.
- Price – Another thing to consider when buying a headphone amp is the price of the device. Chinese headphone amps are affordable and you wouldn’t have to spend more than $100 to get a really good Hi-Fi amp.
While there are hundreds and possibly thousands of headphone amplifiers out there in the market today, the products listed are some of the most sought after headphone amps you can find online.
There’s a headphone amp available for every type of audiophile and as a personal recommendation, i’d suggest you go in for the GGMM A2 or the FiiO BTR5 as these two offer impressive sound quality.
At the end of the day, make sure you go in for something you’re comfortable with, whether it’s based on size, price, connectivity among other things.