7 Best Amps For 250-Ohm Headphones (Wired & Wireless)

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  • Discover the best amps for 250-ohm headphones
  • Sift through the complex world of jargon, specs, and requirements
  • Do 250-ohm headphones need an amp? Check out our post here!
  • Also, check out our separate post on the best guitar headphone amplifiers.

Whether you’re a music producer, mix engineer, or audiophile, you’ll want the best amp to maximize sound quality from your 250-ohm headphones.

Well, you’re in the right place as this article will cover the 7 best amplifiers available today so you can choose the right unit for your situation.

What Is The Best Amp For 250-ohm Headphones? 

It’s important to note that the best amp for 250-ohm headphones will ideally have an impedance of around 32 ohms to ensure the highest possible sound quality. Anything else is going to be a matter of taste.

Also, you’ll want your amp’s impedance to be 8 times less than your headphones. Quick math means you’ll need a 32-ohm amp for 250-ohm headphones.

With this in mind, I recommend the Schiit audio tube amplifier for its unique sound or the iFi hip amplifier for its portability and high overall quality.

If you’re looking for something cheaper, I’d suggest the FiiO K5 Pro or the iFi ZEN Air, as they both come in at under $200. 

Our top 7 amps for 250-ohm headphones include:

  1. Schiit Audio Vali 2 Headphone Amp (Our Pick)
  2. iFi Hip Amplifier (Best Overall)
  3. FiiO K5Pro ESS Desktop DAC & Headphone Amplifier (Best Budget)
  4. iFi ZEN Air
  5. Little Bear B4-X
  6. XDUOO XD-05 Plus
  7. Mayflower O2

1. Schiit Audio Vali 2 Headphone Amp (Our Pick)

Our Pick
Schiit Vali 2 Headphone Amp and Preamp

Vali 2 is one of the most affordable and versatile tube hybrid amps on the market. It delivers plenty of power for hard-to-drive headphones—and also provides the low noise you need for sensitive cans.

Why We Love It:
  • Excellent dynamic range
  • Sleek, professional-grade design
  • RCA input and outputs
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  • Excellent dynamic range 
  • Sleek, professional-grade design 
  • 2-year warranty 
  • Tube amplifiers
  • RCA input and outputs 
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty.


  • Price is on the higher end
  • Doesn’t come with a DAC

While this amp is the most expensive of the bunch, you are getting a superior product.

The Vali inputs 1W into 32 ohms which is perfect for 250-ohm headphones. It has a low gain mode for low noise sound quality with sensitive headphones.

You also get a visible tube preamp that you can use with your power amp or powered monitors.

The sound quality combines solid mid-range, deep bass, impressive highs, and excellent dynamic range.

Overall, I like this amp because it’s “fool-proof,” and you can’t go wrong with an amp that is adaptable to a wide variety of 250-ohm headphone sensitivities.

2. iFi Hip Amplifier (Best Overall)

Best Overall
iFi Hip DAC Headphone Amplifier

The hip-dac2 replaces the inferior DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Convertor) and amp circuitry in smartphones, tablets, PCs, and Macs to vastly improve headphone sound. Connect your playback device via USB, plug in your favourite corded headphones or in-ear monitors, and the hip-dac2 delivers a sound brimming with bold dynamism and fluid refinement.

Why We Love It:
  • Comes with bass-adjustment
  • Warm and bright sound quality
  • Lightweight and portable
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  • Comes with bass-adjustment / bass-boost button 
  • Warm and bright sound quality


  • Unusual design

The iFi Hip amplifier looks like an external hard drive, but it delivers excellent sound quality at a good price.

This unit acts as both a DAC and a headphone amplifier. It has balanced audio circuits to reduce unwanted noise and artifacts caused by unbalanced audio. It is capable of streaming high-res PCM audio up to 384kHz. 

3. FiiO K5Pro ESS Desktop DAC & Headphone Amplifier (Best Budget)

Best Budget
FiiO K5Pro ESS Desktop DAC & Headphone Amplifier

The K5Pro ESS headphone amps achieves new heights in sound quality and comes with a high level of resolution sound. It allows you to take advantage of digital audio with optical inputs (up to 96kHz), making it convenient for connecting various music players and digital interfaces.

Why We Love It:
  • RCA line-out for high-quality output
  • Compatible with most headphones
  • Handles low or high impedance headphone
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  • Supplied with RCA line-out for high-quality output to other sources
  • Compatible with most headphones  


  • Doesn’t feel very durable

The FiiO K5 Pro is a versatile DAC and headphone amp at a budget price.

The unit offers 3 gain adjustment levels, allowing you to use it with almost any pair of headphones at comfortable volume levels. With a price tag close to the $199 mark, this amp is very affordable for most users. 

4. iFi ZEN Air

iFi Zen Air DAC

In terms of audio quality, the ZEN Air DAC delivers extremely high-resolution audio. It features RCA outputs to feed a Hi-Fi system or self-powered speakers and a PowerMatch feature that adjusts the gain so that it functions at the right level for your headphones.

Why We Love It:
  • Analog volume control
  • Very low noise and distortion
  • Affordable price
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  • Analog volume control
  • Very low noise and distortion
  • Affordable price
  • Very light and portable


  • There are better-sounding options out there

The ZEN Air is a DAC and headphone amp in one portable package. 

This unit is a solid choice for beginners and intermediate musicians. It comes with analog volume controls, allowing you to reduce the volume while maintaining sound quality. If you’ve already got an amp, you can use the ZEN Air as a pure DAC.

The sound quality is a noticeable improvement over a stock sound card with solid and clean bass, but the overall sound profile has a neutral and less impressive tone than others in this list. 

5. Little Bear B4-X

Little Bear B4-X Portable Dual-Mono Headphone Amp

Lightweight and portable, the Litlle Bear B4-X headphone amp delivers a full, delicate and soft sound. Uniquely designed and convenient to carry, this headphone amplifier comes with a battery, which lets you listen to your favorite tunes indefinitely.

Why We Love It:
  • Rechargeable lithium battery
  • Great, sleek-looking design
  • Warm sound quality
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  • Rechargeable lithium battery 
  • Great, sleek-looking design that is portable 
  • Warm sound quality


  • Users have reported occasional cut-outs
  • Interference from cell phones
  • Custom charger means spare parts are hard to find

The Little Bear B4-X is a dual-mono vacuum tube amp designed to complement professional-grade headphones like DT 990s. 

The design looks sleek in gray and black alongside a transparent section that shows off the two internal vacuum amps.

This unit is more portable than others in this list, but it can suffer from intermittent cut-outs and interference from nearby cell phones.

6. XDUOO XD-05 Plus

XDUOO XD-05 Plus

With the XDUOO XD-05, you can have a versatile DAC and headphone amplifier that's portable and easy to use. Bluetooth is built-in and pairs with Bluetooth DAC amps, USB devices, and coax/optical sources.

Why We Love It:
  • Portable
  • Paired with portable Bluetooth headphone amp
  • USB, coaxial/optical, AUX inputs
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  • Comes with a bass toggle
  • Portable enough to fit in your pocket 
  • Can be paired with any portable Bluetooth headphone amp
  • USB, coaxial/optical, AUX inputs


  • Lots of reported issues from customers 
  • Unreliable USB-C port 
  • Need to install drivers if using on PC

The XDUOO XD-05 is a versatile and portable DAC and headphone amp. This unit looks like a mini car stereo that will fit in your pocket. It has built-in Bluetooth that can pair with any portable Bluetooth DAC amp, and you get USB, coax/optical, and AUX inputs.

Overall, this amp gives you simple functionality alongside more options than other amps in this list, including a bass toggle. 

7. Mayflower O2

Mayflower O2

The O2 is an open-source amplifier that focuses on benchmark performance and low cost. The end product is a solid, uncolored amplifier that boasts some of the best-measured performance in its category.

Why We Love It:
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Stylish and sleek design
  • Increased clarity
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  • Excellent sound quality is clean and clear


  • Design looks cheap 
  • Sound clips if input voltage and gain are high enough
  • Does NOT include a DAC

The O2 offers a full aluminum build which means it is heavier than other amps in this list. It comes with a 1/8 inch input and the choice of 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch outputs. 

The overall design and build look “cheaper” than other amps and USB DACs in the $300 price bracket, but users rave about the impressive sound quality, which is clean and clear

Do I Need A Headphone Amp, A DAC, Or An Audio Interface? 

It depends on what you’re doing. If you’re a music producer or want to make music, it would be wise to get an audio interface as it will have a built-in headphone amp and DAC while allowing you to record with a DAW.

If you own a pair of high-quality studio headphones (or “cans”) and you don’t make music, then a headphone amp will be fine. 

What Is the Difference Between a Headphone Amp And An Audio Interface? 

A headphone amp will give a pair of higher quality / higher-maintenance headphones the extra energy it needs.

An audio interface is a one-stop shop for musicians. These offer the ability to convert digital information to analog audio signals, the ability to plug in instruments to record, a built-in headphone amp, and even more versatility for musicians and music producers. 

An audio interface is for those involved in music production, while a headphone amp is for music listeners looking to boost quality. 

What Is The Difference Between A DAC And An Audio Interface? 

A DAC converts digital information to audio signals. Phones and laptops have built-in DACs, but these produce lower quality than a dedicated DAC.

If you work with sound and want the best sound possible, you may want to get a dedicated DAC.

An audio interface has a built-in DAC, but this may provide lower quality (but certainly not “lacking”) than a dedicated DAC. 

What Is The Difference Between A Headphones Amp And A DAC?

The two are very similar but do different things. A headphone amp provides the necessary power to connect headphones with a higher impedance (usually 50 ohms or higher).

A DAC converts digital sound information to analog sounds. Many DACs will come with a built-in headphone amp. 

Do Headphone Amps Have A DAC? 

Yes, most headphone amps have a built-in DAC. Almost every device has a DAC – laptops, phones, and tablets. A standalone DAC may yield better results, but this is typically only important to audiophiles. 


What Are High-Impedance Headphones? 

Most commercial headphones, such as AirPods, Beats Headphones, and others that you find at a tech store, will be about 32 ohms, which is low impedance.

Alternatively, professional sound quality headphones will be above 50 ohms, which is considered high impedance. 

Are High-Impedance Headphones Better? 

Typically, high-impedance headphones are better because they are designed to obtain the highest quality sound. They also sound better because of lighter voice coils, allowing higher sound quality to permeate within the device. 

What Is The Best Amp For Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Headphones? 

The best amp for Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones will have 32 ohms. If you have the money to spend, I’d recommend the Schiit Audio Vali 2 or the iFi Hip amplifier.

If you’re a beginner or on a budget, I’d recommend the FiiO K5 Pro or the iFi ZEN Air. 

Are 250-ohm Headphones Worth It? 

250-ohm headphones are worth it if you’re interested in a more dialed frequency response and sound quality.

For most headphones users, they are not worth it, but if you want to critically assess sound, whether that be through mixing or mastering a song, then they could be worth it.

As a music producer and mix engineer, I didn’t feel they were necessary, but everyone is different. 

Can A Phone Run 250-ohm headphones? 

Maybe. In many cases, a phone cannot power 250-ohm headphones, but in some cases, they can.

It is not recommended to do this in the long term because you’ll have to max out the volume sensitivity on your phone beyond the normal range.

To offer perspective, most earbuds and commercial-grade headphones for casual music listening are around 32 ohms.

Can A PC Run 250-ohm Headphones? 

Most computers will not be able to run 250-ohm headphones; however, some will. It is not recommended in the long-term as the ideal amplifier for 250-ohm headphones (to get the best quality) is 32 ohms, while most computers are less than 10 ohms.

Do You Need A DAC For 250-ohm Headphones? 

Yes, you will need a DAC for 250-ohm headphones. You will need a DAC for listening to music with a phone, mp3 player, TV, and anything electronic.

Most computers, audio interfaces, and headphone amps will have a built-in DAC of varying quality. 

Are 250-ohms Good For Gaming? 

Yes, in terms of sound quality, but they are unnecessary for gaming unless you’re looking to gain a competitive advantage in the highest tiers of gaming competition. 

Otherwise, 80 Ohms is more than enough for gaming. 250-ohms is typically recommended for professional studio musicians and audiophiles when working with precisely detailed sounds. 

The difference in sound quality between 80 Ohms and 250 ohms is insufficient to warrant the extra hardware and expense for gaming, and the competitive advantage is low.

You’d be better off turning the volume up!

Wrapping Up

250-ohm headphones, being of a higher quality than headphones with a lower impedance (lower ohms), require higher maintenance.

They are typically only used by those looking to work with studio-quality sound.

Suppose you are interested in working with studio-quality sound and are considering 250-ohm headphones.

In that case, I’d recommend the Schiit Audio Vali 2 Headphone Amp and the iFi Hip as two solid, cant-go-wrong amps to pair with them.

If you want an amp under $200, I recommend the FiiO K5 Pro ESS or the iFi ZEN Air.

Everybody’s setup is different, so be sure to do some more reading to find which is best for your needs!

Before you go, check out our guide to Headphone Impedance (Your Ohms Questions, Answered)!