Sennheiser headphones are great. If not, the best headphones on this planet.
Here’s how to make them 99 percent perfect with headphone amps.
That is the best amps for Sennheiser HD 800, HD 800 S, HD 650, HD 660 S, HD 600, HD 700, HD 560 S and HD 580.
The pinnacle of headphone amps.
This tiny amp packs a lot power to drive high impedance headphones.
A headphone amp/DAC combo that comes close to perfection.
The pinnacle of headphone amps.
This tiny amp packs a lot power to drive high impedance headphones.
A headphone amp/DAC combo that comes close to perfection.
Last update on 2023-01-29 at 06:06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Does A Headphone Amp Improve Sound Quality?
First, you need to know what a headphone amp and impedance rating are.
Impedance rating is simply how difficult it is to power a piece of audio equipment. The higher the impedance rating the more difficult it is to power the headphones or audio equipment.
Most headphones have low impedance ratings (30 Ohms or lower) making it easy to connect them to something like your smartphone, laptop, or desktop.
High-end audiophile headphones have high impedance ratings (30 Ohms or lower) require a significant amount of power to drive them successfully.
Casually connecting these headphones to a laptop, smartphone or desktop won’t be enough to power the headphones. So, you will be left with a sub-par listening experience.
That’s where a headphone amp comes in. This piece of electronic equipment drives enough power into high impedance audiophile headphones to sufficiently power them.
So, it sounds better, clearer, and louder than when you directly connect it to a laptop, desktop, or smartphone.
To put it simply, a headphone amp is a piece of audio equipment that amplifies the power delivered to high impedance headphones which greatly improves sound quality.
As compared to using a high impedance headphone without one.
Do Sennheiser Headphones Need Amplifiers?
Not all Sennheiser headphones need an amplifier. Each Sennheiser headphone has its own impedance rating and that determines if it needs a headphone amp or not.
For example, the Sennheiser HD 650 has an impedance rating of 300 Ohms. Such a high impedance rating requires a headphone amp to successfully drive if you want the best listening experience.
Let’s look at another headphone – Sennheiser Urbanite. It has an impedance rating of 18 Ohms which doesn’t require a headphone amp to drive it.
As a matter of fact, using a headphone amp might cause a blowout of the drivers. Too much power can cause problems for low impedance headphones.
How Do I Choose a Headphone Amp?
So you have gotten yourself a high impedance audiophile headphone.
Now the next thing is to know how to successfully drive it to provide the best listening experience.
And how do you do that? You do it with a headphone amp. Here’s how to choose a headphone amp for your high impedance headphone.
Portable or Desktop
This is the biggest thing you have to consider when getting a headphone amp – portability or stationery.
Portable amps are smaller so you can put them in your pocket or bag. Portable amps run on battery power. These are great options if you like to move around a lot with high impedance headphones.
Desktop or stationary amps as the name suggests are for one place only and plugged directly into a power source. Desktop amps are preferred when you have a complete audio setup or studio.
No rule says you can’t get both. In fact, having a portable and desktop amp is highly recommended.
DAC Included or Excluded
DAC short for digital to analog converter is responsible for converting digital sound (which is stored as 0s and 1s) into analog before outputted.
You could buy a DAC separately from a headphone amp or can get a headphone amp with an in-built DAC.
Most electronic devices that play audio have built-in DAC so it might not be necessary to get a headphone amp + DAC.
However, just to be on the safer side getting a headphone amp + DAC will be a better option than a headphone amp without a DAC.
Bluetooth or Wired
A Bluetooth headphone amp takes convenience to another level. You connect your headphones to your Bluetooth headphone amp and then connect the amp to the phone by Bluetooth.
One less cable if you find your wires getting tangled a lot. Portable amps mostly have this feature of Bluetooth or wired connectivity.
Most headphone amps are in the USD50 – 120 range. Headphone amps with more features and capabilities easily surpass the USD500+.
How much you are willing to spend or your budget controls what type of headphone amp you want.
The higher your budget the better amp you can get. Low budgets require you to make some compromises.
The good news is that most headphone amps in the USD50 – 120 range are good quality.
Sennheiser HD 560 S, HD 559, HD 569 & HD 580 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do You Need an Amp For Sennheiser HD 560 S?
The Sennheiser HD 560 S has an impedance rating of 120 Ohms. A headphone amp is required for the best listening experience when using the Sennheiser HD560s.
Do You Need an Amp For Sennheiser HD 559?
No, you don’t need an amp for the Sennheiser HD 559. The HD 559 has an impedance rating of 50 Ohms which is easy to power without a headphone amp.
Do You Need an Amp For Sennheiser HD 569?
No, you don’t need an amp for the Sennheiser HD 569. The HD 569 has an impedance rating of 23 Ohms which is easily driven by PC, smartphones, TV, etc.
Do You Need an Amp For Sennheiser HD 580?
Yes, you need an amp for the Sennheiser HD 580. The HD 580 has an impedance rating of 300 Ohms requiring sufficient power to drive it.
Sennheiser HD600, HD650 & HD660s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do You Need an Amp For Sennheiser HD 600?
Yes, you need an amp for the Sennheiser HD 600. The HD 600 has an impedance rating of 300 ohms and a good amp is required to sufficiently drive it.
Do You Need an Amp For Sennheiser HD 650?
Yes, you need an amp for the Sennheiser HD 650. The HD 650 has an impedance rating of 300 ohms and a good amp is required to sufficiently drive it.
Do You Need an Amp For Sennheiser HD 660 S?
Yes, you need an amp for the Sennheiser HD 660s. The HD 660s has an impedance rating of 150 ohms and a good amp is required to sufficiently drive it.
How Many Ohms Are The HD 600?
The HD 600 has 300 Ohms as its impedance rating.
How Much Power Do I Need to Drive A HD 600?
You need at most 200mW (max output current) or 8V (max voltage) of power to drive an HD 600. Anything higher and you will destroy the drivers and circuitry of the Sennheiser HD 600.
Are The HD 6xx Hard to Drive?
Yes, the HD 6xx is hard to drive. It has a high impedance rating which makes getting a headphone amp very important.
Connecting the HD 6xx to your laptop, smartphone or MacBook is going to result in some serious sub-par listening experience.
So yes, the HD 6xx is hard to drive and headphone amps are required for the best audio listening experience.
Can You Use HD 6xx Without Amp?
Yes, you can use the HD 6xx without an amp. However, without an amp. Anything you connect the HD 6xx won’t have sufficient power to drive it resulting in a sub-par audio experience.
For this reason, headphone amps are recommended to use with the HD 6xx.
Do You Need A DAC For HD 660 S?
No, you don’t need a DAC for the HD 660s. The only time you need a DAC is when your audio equipment, laptop, smartphone, PC, etc. is not able to convert digital sound to analog.
How Many Ohms Is The HD 660 S?
The HD 660s has 150 Ohms as its impedance rating.
Sennheiser HD800 & HD800s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do You Need an Amp For Sennheiser HD 800?
Yes, you need an amp for the Sennheiser HD 800. The HD 800 has an impedance rating of 300 ohms and a good amp is required to sufficiently drive it.
Do You Need an Amp For Sennheiser HD 800 S?
Yes, you need an amp for the Sennheiser HD 800 S. The HD 650 has an impedance rating of 300 ohms and a good amp is required to sufficiently drive it.
Best Amps For Sennheiser HD 800 and HD 800 S
- Great price-to-value
- Solid construction & components
- Balanced & Unbalanced outputs
- Tubes can be changed
- Stock tubes suck
- Focus is more on the balanced output
The Loxjie P20 is a hybrid headphone amp that has a great price-to-value ratio. This headphone amp can deliver balanced & unbalanced outputs.
However, the headphone amp leans more on the balanced output and delivers that better. It powers the balanced mode better and more efficiently than the unbalanced mode.
This makes it great for users who have a lot of balanced headphones and for the Sennheiser HD 800 and 800 S. Moreover, the Loxjie P20 has a solid construction.
Very good build quality with compact size. These also come with stock tubes that are decent but can be changed for better ones.
Doing so will greatly improve the audio quality and performance of your Loxjie P20. This headphone amp will easily power high impedance headphones that is if you use the balanced output.
Furthermore, it’s available for under USD100 which makes it a great buy. Because at that price point, it’s difficult to find a solid headphone amp that gets the job done.
Overall, the Loxjie P20 is a headphone amp that sounds great, is affordable, and can drive high impedance headphones.
We highly recommend this as the best headphone amp for Sennheiser HD 800.
- DAC and AMP combo
- Very well-built
- An overabundance of features and inputs for the price
- Will effortlessly drive just about any headphone
- Excellent sound and performance for the price
- Brushed-metal enclosure easily picks up fingerprint smudges
- Poor shielding
- Counter-intuitive menu controls
- Volume control takes a long time to adjust
The Monolith desktop amp makes your Sennheiser HD 800 S sound 100 times better. Packed with a lot of features and controls.
This desktop headphone amp – a DAC and amp combo –has enough power to not only drive the Sennheiser HD 800 S but also drive other high impedance headphones.
Connecting your headphones to this amp will give you clarity, detail, separation, space, breadth, depth, and balance in abundance.
Moreover, this is a very well-built device made from brushed metal. There are a few downsides to using the Monolith desktop amp though.
First, putting your phone beside it causes interference because of its poor shielding. Second, the volume control takes a long time to adjust properly.
You have to turn it several times and wait to get them to the right volume. Finally, the menu controls can be a bit confusing.
Although as time goes on you will get used to it. This doesn’t change the fact that the Monolith desktop amp is a high-performance device that is considered the holy grail of sound.
This easily takes the spot of the best headphone amp for Sennheiser HD 800 S.
- Fully balanced headphone and line outputs
- Great build quality and understated aesthetic
- Neutral and transparent sound
- Versatile connectivity options
- HiRes Bluetooth receiver
- Extremely low noise floor without distortion
- Not for low impedance headphones
This is a monster headphone amp and will totally destroy low impedance headphones – be warned!
The Topping DX7 Pro has a high impedance output making it the perfect choice for high impedance headphones.
And in turn, the Sennheiser HD 800 and HD 800 S.
Considered the pinnacle of headphone amps in audio quality and balanced output – better imaging and natural sound of instruments and voices.
The Topping DX7 Pro is a high-performance amp that will deliver amazing and transparent sound quality that is consistent in all audio sources.
And the best part? Playing music over Bluetooth connection doesn’t diminish the sound quality. You also have several connectivity options.
Look, the Topping DX7 Pro is a no-nonsense amp that delivers high-quality audio output for high impedance headphones. It’s quite expensive alright.
But, it’s one of the best investments you can make when it comes to audio equipment.
We highly recommend this as the best headphone amp for the Sennheiser HD 800 and HD 800 S. This audio equipment will not disappoint.
Just don’t connect low impedance headphones to it or you will be in for a nasty surprise.
- Beautiful design
- Lots of power
- Built like a tank
- Produces clean and accurate sound with detailed soundstage
- Very hard to drive planars
- A balanced DAC is recommended for this
Made and designed by one of the most renowned audio engineers – Rupert Neve.
The same person who had the Beatles, Aerosmith, and Nirvana as his customers, has brought his expertise to you.
This headphone amp is built for a thing only – provide excellent sound and detailed soundstage.
This audio equipment has been optimized to drive and power your headphones to provide sound like no other.
Once this amp is plugged in. You will listen to your music all over again. Because this will reveal sounds that you have never heard or known didn’t exist.
In short, Rupert Neve Designs headphone amp is a precision headphone amplifier for producing excellent sound quality.
Just make sure to get a balanced DAC for it. This is easily the best headphone amp for Sennheiser HD 800 and HD 800 S.
This also makes it perfect for high impedance headphones.
Best Amps For Sennheiser HD 600, HD 650, HD 660 S and HD 700
- Full work day battery life
- Very small and portable
- Superb EQ
- Powerful amp for a portable device
- Great sound quality
- Plastic body
- Small buttons
- Micro USB
- Your Bluetooth source has to support LDAC or AptXHD for the best sound quality
- Headphones with microphone cables won’t work
Portable amps solve the problem of listening to music with high impedance headphones.
However, the ones on the market are not done right.
But, the EarStudio ES100 MK-2 is an exception – a portable amp done right with a few downsides. This portable amp can drive high impedance headphones.
It will easily drive Sennheiser HD 6xx, HD 600, and HD 650 and comes with a ton of functionality that can be done on the app.
The app doesn’t just control the volume but gives you full functionality over every aspect of the device.
For a portable amp, battery life is important. Poor battery life means less time to listen to your favorite music.
To our surprise, the EarStudio ES100 can last on average 14 hours. A pretty decent amount of time compared to the competitors.
The biggest strength of the amp though is the sound quality. Portable amps are notoriously known for poor sound quality. But this sounds great.
With the latest Bluetooth connection, the sound quality sounds almost as good as wired connections.
Overall, the EarStudio ES100 has a lot going on making it the best portable headphone amp for Sennheiser HD6xx, HD 600, and HD 650.
It does have a few downsides like its plastic body, small buttons that are hard to press, and a micro-USB port in this day and age.
However, this is a piece of solid audio equipment.
- Low power, low heat
- Compact form factor
- Serviceable 1080p performance
- No auxiliary power connector
- Not great for high-performance gaming
Big, bold, and lots of power. The Drop headphone amp will easily drive and power the Sennheiser HD 650, HD 660 S, and HD 700.
This is a powerful amp that focuses on delivering a clean and neutral sound quality with almost non-existent distortion.
Furthermore, the build quality is one of the best and strongest. Made from brushed metal giving it a good amount of weight and protection to the internals.
Unfortunately, this construction has made it bulky. Anyways, it wasn’t meant to be moved around in the first place.
To sum it all up, the Drop + THX AAA 789 has lots of power that will drive high impedance headphones.
It also delivers clean and balanced sound quality with no distortions.
This easily makes it the best headphone amp for the Sennheiser HD 650, HD 660 S, and HD 700.
We highly recommended this headphone amp.
- Small footprint
- Transparent sound
- Lots of power
- Internal power supply
- Balanced XLR inputs
- Not great for IEMs
- The XLR output is the same as 6.35mm
The SMSL SP200 is a powerful amp great for power-hungry and high impedance headphones. At the same time providing clean, incredible, and distortion-free sound.
It will check all the boxes in terms of sound quality. A very impressive feat for an amp with a small footprint.
One thing to note is that the SMSL SP200 is not a true balanced amp but can give balanced outputs.
But, it doesn’t matter because this has low noise, high power, and minimal distortion. So, it being balanced or unbalanced is not a problem.
Next is the build quality which is well-made thanks to the aluminum.
Overall, the SMSL SP200 is a high-power headphone perfect for driving high impedance headphones.
It’s also a solid inexpensive alternative to the Drop + THX AAA 789.
Just don’t plug in IEMs into the SMSL SP200 because of the high-power output.
We highly recommend this as the best headphone amp for Sennheiser HD 600 and HD 650. You won’t go wrong with this headphone amp.
- Great build quality
- Plenty of power and can drive dynamic and planar magnetic headphones
- Great value at its price point
- Amazing sound quality with detailed soundstage
- No gains control
- Remote is required to properly program the device
The SMSL M500 is a DAC/amp combo done right. This device supports MQA audio short for Master Quality Authenticated.
MQA audio is a method of digitally storing and capturing master recordings as files that can be downloaded and stream.
The majority of MQA audio or music can be found on Tidal. The SMSL M500 has plenty of power to drive high impedance headphones.
This will easily drive the Sennheiser HD 600, HD 660 S, HD 650, and HD 6xx easily.
It will also provide more than enough power for dynamic and planar magnetic headphones known to be notoriously difficult to drive.
The sound quality of the SMSL M500 is fantastic with a detailed soundstage. And it has an in-built DAC making it the perfect audio equipment if you like to stream your audio online.
When it comes to build quality, the SMSL M500 is built like a tank.
All in all, the SMSL M500 is like a dream come true in terms of it being a DAC/amp combo audio equipment.
But, it does have its downsides. First is the lack of gains control. The second one is the remote is required to properly program the device.
Losing the remote means you can’t program it the way you want to.
Still, with these downsides, the SMSL M500 remains the best amp/DAC For Sennheiser HD 660 S, HD 600, and HD 6xx.
Best Amps For Sennheiser HD 560 S & HD 580
- Compact size and made from high-quality materials
- Plenty of connectivity options
- Easy to set-up
- Great sound
- Better AMP/DAC combos out there although they are more expensive
- Not the strongest 3.5mm jack
The Fosi Audio Q4 is a solid budget amp/DAC. But with most budget equipment there are a few compromises to bring it to that price.
First is the 3.5mm output, one of the most important and used components of audio equipment.
Improper handling can easily destroy the jack and the Fosi Audio Q4’s jack is not particularly strong.
So you have to take extra care when using it. The last one is that there are better amp/DAC combos out but at a more expensive price point.
As mentioned earlier, this is a budget device and so there will be compromises. Aside from these two, the Fosi Audio Q4 gets a lot of things right.
The construction is solid being made from high-quality materials. The amp will last a long time. Next is the numerous connectivity options allowing you to connect to multiple devices.
It’s also easy to set up – truly and plug and play device. Finally, for a budget amp/DAC the audio quality is great.
Awesome for general uses and if you prefer a lot of bass and treble in your music.
To sum it all up, the Fosi Audio Q4 is the best amp/DAC for Sennheiser HD 560 S. Plenty of power to drive the headphones with great sound quality.
- Nice looking amp/DAC combo and fantastic build quality
- Lots of power
- Lots of connectivity options
- Plug and play
- Balanced and amazing sound quality
For under USD150, the FiiO K5 Pro amp/DAC combo comes close to perfection. In its price range, nothing comes to it.
A powerful amp/DAC that will easily drive the Sennheiser HD 580 and other high impedance headphones including magnetic planar headphones.
And the sound quality is amazing presenting a neutral sound profile with no distortion and a quiet sound floor.
Moreover, the FiiO K5 Pro is beautifully designed and has a fantastic build quality. You also get plenty of connectivity options to connect to multiple devices.
And setting it up is very easy – plug and play to be precise. Look, just buy this DAC/amp.
You won’t be disappointed. Easily one of the best amp/DAC for Sennheiser HD 580 and other high impedance headphones.
Headphone amps are what make your high impedance headphones sound great.
The majority of audio sources do not provide enough power to drive these kinds of headphones.
And that’s what makes headphone amps more important. That’s it for the best headphones for Sennheiser HD series.