The 4 Best Headphone Amps Under $1000 in 2022

by Alex.   Last Updated On August 10th, 2022.
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Having a higher end headphone amp for your professional level headphones is important, especially if you expect to get a full range of sound that meets or exceeds the level the manufacturer intended.

There are a wide range of headphone amps, and amp/DAC combinations (know the difference between amp and DAC here), that can work for headphones of all styles. This includes smaller earbuds and IEMs, all the way to studio level professional over-the-ear cans.

This article aims to take a closer look at several high-end headphone amps (see also headphone amp under $500) that offer a range of features you may find valuable. We took a close look at the input and output options, power offerings, and different features to see what may work for you and what might not be important.

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Comparison of the Best Headphone Amp Under $1000

Best All-Around Headphone Amplifier Under $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Topping DX7 Pro LDAC Headphone AmplifierTopping
DX7 Pro LDAC Headphone Amplifier
Best Balanced THX Headphone Amplifier Under $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Monolith THX AAA Balanced Headphone AmplifierMonolith
THX AAA Balanced Headphone Amplifier
Best True Native Headphone Amplifier Under $1000See On Amazon
photo of the iFi Audio Micro iDSD Signature Headphone AmplifieriFi Audio
Micro iDSD Signature Headphone Amplifier
Best Portable Headphone Amplifier Under $1000See On Amazon
photo of the iFi iDSD Diablo Purist Portable DAC/Headphone AmplifieriFi
iDSD Diablo Purist Portable DAC/Headphone Amplifier

Reviews of the Best Headphone Amp Under $1000

For audiophiles looking for a simple yet powerful headphone amplifier, look no further than the DX7 Pro for both USB and Bluetooth connections.

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  • Size
    • 9.45 inches x 14.57 inches
  • Input/Output
    • USB
    • Optical
    • Coaxial
  • Features
    • ES9038Pro chipset for Amp/DAC
    • CSR8675 chipset for Bluetooth 5.0
    • Multiple input connection options

The DX7Pro is a high quality headphone Amp/DAC combination that works great with a wide variety of applications. You can use it as a direct digital-to-analog converter to achieve 24-bit and 96 kHz, or use it as a preamp with your favorite audio output device. Additionally, it serves as a direct headphone amp and offers high definition audio output with a variety of protocols including APIX LL, APX HD, SBC, AAC, and others.

While the exterior design is rather simplistic, you’ll find it delivers exactly what you need without having to look past fancy decorations and unnecessary switches. The volume control knob is large and easy to reach, and the back panel is full of various connection options making this Amp/DAC combination unit a great choice for audiophiles and professional audio editors.

What We Like

Simple design delivers exactly what you need

Can be used as a preamp with ease

Includes a built-in digital-to-analog converter

Know Before Buying

DAC output mode makes headphone amp uncontrollable

Volume controls are digital for balanced channels

IR unit can be prone to malfunction and breaking

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For anyone looking for an affordable and powerful, very well balanced THX focused headphone amplifier, the Monolith is your answer.

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  • Size
    • 15.6 inches x 11.9 inches
  • Input/Output
    • XLR balanced
    • 3.5mm jack
    • ¼” jack
  • Features
    • Offers THX triple-A technology
    • Three gain settings for compatibility
    • Various input options

The Monolith is a very well balanced and powerful headphone amplifier with a small footprint. It’s made from an all-metal exterior chassis that gives it a durable feel. The connections are copper and offer a range of options including 3.5mm jack and one-fourth inch jack. Additionally, with the THX AAA technology, you’ll hear exceptionally low levels of distortion or noise when pushed to the max.

The Monolith offers three very responsive gain settings. They are sensitive and quick to adjust when you need to make any changes. You’ll be able to fine tune the sound you get out of any headphones or IEMs to give you the best return on sound possible. The XLR input is balanced, while the 3.5mm and one-fourth inch are single ended giving you a versatile selection of options that won’t need adapters.

What We Like

Made from high quality machined metal

Connects with a 4-pin mini DIN

Gain settings are very responsive

Know Before Buying

May need a reasonable break-in time

Illumination lights may burn out quickly

May hear some slight noise with HiFi audio

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Small in size but large in power, the iFi Audio Micro iDSD is a great option for anyone looking to get that extra boost from their professional IEMs or headphones.

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  • Size
    • 17.2 inches x 6.7 inches
  • Input/Output
    • USB A
    • USB C
    • S/PDIF digital
    • S/PDIF optical
    • 6.3mm jack
    • 4.4mm jack
    • RCA line
  • Features
    • Support for native hi-res audio formats
    • Wide range of input and output options
    • Long lasting battery for great portability

The Micro iDSD offers audiophiles and casual listeners a range of options when it comes to both input and output, as well as offering excellent sound reproduction via two dual-core high quality Burr-Brown chips. You’ll be able to decode true native and high resolution audio formats to a max of 32-bit and 768 kHz.

This unit is fully portable, and offers a solid 8-12 hour battery life. Additionally, you can still use the full range of features on this headphone amp while it’s actively charging. At a larger size, however, it can feel rather bulky and be somewhat heavy when using it portably. If you can get past the larger and heavier size, the high quality components used in this amplifier can create an expansive and immersive soundstage that is hard to find in other amps within this price point.

What We Like

Up to 12 hours of battery life when used

Can be used while actively charging

Dual chips offer four-channel signals

Know Before Buying

USB ports can feel lacking in durability

Portable, but large and not pocket-sized

May not be powerful enough for studio cans

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Stylish and fully portable, the Diablo Purist is an excellent Amp/DAC combination (see also DAC under $1000) that can bring a large amount of power in a smaller and more compact package.

See On Amazon
  • Size
    • 6.54 inches x 2.83 inches
  • Input/Output
    • USB A
    • S/PDIF digital
    • S/PDIF optical
    • 6.3mm jack
    • 4.4mm jack
  • Features
    • Long lasting battery with up to 12 hours of use
    • Extremely low distortion with high bass reproduction
    • Exceptionally high quality sound resolution

The Diablo Purist offers audiophiles, professionals, and casual listeners a fully portable and high quality headphone Amp/DAC combination in a small and compact size. It features a high quality dual core Burr Brown chipset to handle all true native file formats with a maximum resolution of 32-bits and 768 kHz. With a variety of output options, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite audio on earbuds, IEMs, headphones, and other devices.

The Diablo Purist is fully portable and can offer up to 12 hours of battery life on a single charge. However, some devices may be power hungry leading you to need an external and separately purchased battery bank. The Diablo Purist can be used to the full extent of its abilities while actively charging, which makes it great for at home or on the go use whether you are using it with your PC or laptop, or a mobile device such as iPhone, Android smartphone, or another portable device.

What We Like

Small and compact size, perfect for travel

Stylish and sleek exterior design and color

Dual core Burr Brown chipset for 768 kHz

Know Before Buying

May need separate battery pack for some devices

Some units have power connection issues

LED light can be dim or impossible to see in daylight

See On Amazon

Buyers Guide

Things to Consider When Buying a Headphone Amp

Sound Quality

podcast equipment, studio, technology.

Obviously, the sound quality should be your first consideration when deciding on a headphone amp. Afterall, your high quality headphones will only be as good as the amplifier they are connected to.

One of the biggest things to consider with sound quality is the power output of the amplifier, and how it compares to your headphones. For example, the increased power from an amplifier can remove the bottleneck on your headphones, boosting their sound output to the high quality level the designer and manufacturer intended.

Impedance Levels

Impedance is often misunderstood or overlooked but can have a direct relation to the sound quality. Some headphones will require a higher impedance level than others, especially if you are comparing full cans to small earbuds. High-quality studio cans will not be able to be used with some devices without an amplifier as those devices cannot provide the right amount of power for those cans.

It’s always important to take a look at the ohms rating on your headphones and then compare it to the power output of your audio device. If your device is lower than what your headphones require, you will have very poor sound quality when listening to any audio.

Construction and Design

Headphone amps should not only perform their job well, but should also be well made and look good too. The build quality is definitely something to consider before making your purchase, silver or gold plated connections, secure USB ports, and more can all play into how well an amplifier is constructed.

Additionally, you don’t just want your amp to look like a block of metal or plastic. You want it to look stylish and sleek, or perhaps even be discreet, so it doesn’t detract from the rest of your audio equipment. There’s nothing wrong with selecting one amplifier over another simply due to the design aspect and aesthetics, so take some time to consider what looks good to you.

Price and Value

While a reasonable price and the value for money is subjective and will be unique to each person, it’s always important to take a bit of time and consider the value of the amplifier you are considering. Compare it to others that offer the same features and see if there is a drastic gap in the price.

Some name brand amplifiers can cost almost double what a lesser known brand may cost, even though the internal and external components are nearly identical. Paying for the brand name is not always the best value, and in some cases it’s difficult to recommend a model because of this.

If you are looking for a cheaper headphone amp, we made a review here for the headphone amps under $500.

Which Headphone Amp Works For You

After taking a look at the potential features each headphone amplifier can offer, and why it might or might not be important to you, let’s now take a look at which headphone amp would be better for your needs. It can depend on the general use or location you have in mind for your headphone amp.

Gaming Amps

There are a range of headphone amps that were made with gamers in mind. These amps can provide 7.1 virtual surround sound to give you a more immersive experience in games of all types. Additionally, these amps also provide microphone support to ensure you have the best communication options available with your gaming teammates.

One of the biggest benefits to using a gaming amp is that you can have a better situational awareness. For example, when exploring buildings in looter/shooter games, you can easily hear the footsteps of the enemy and have a precise direction of those footsteps. This can give you an edge when it comes to competitive gameplay.

Desktop vs Portable Amps

There are both portable amps as well as stationary amps that will remain on a desktop. Deciding on which one you want most can help narrow down your search for the right headphone amp.

Portable headphone amps are battery powered, so may only end up giving you a few hours of usable time before they need to be recharged. However, for those that travel a lot or want to enjoy high quality music while commuting, a portable headphone amp is definitely the choice for you.

On the other hand, a stationary amp will normally be able to offer more features than a portable amp can. It can also offer more power since it is not limited by battery life. However, a stationary amp is not able to be taken along on car rides without a separate battery bank which will be large and obtrusive.

Conclusion

Best All-Around Headphone Amplifier Under $1000
Best Balanced THX Headphone Amplifier Under $1000
Best True Native Headphone Amplifier Under $1000

Finding the best headphone amplifier for your needs isn’t exactly cut and dry. It will take a bit of time and consideration on your part to decide what features are most important to you. When looking for a headphone amp at this price point, it’s vital that you thoroughly consider the pros and cons of each feature and how they compare to other similar models before taking the plunge and making a purchase.