Category Amplifiers

FiiO Q5 Review – A State-of-the-art Bluetooth Headphone Amplifier with aptX and DSD Technology

The subject of this review fits well with the company's previous accomplishments - FiiO's mobile DAC/AMPs have always impressed with their creative features and compact size. This time, the FiiO Q5 Bluetooth headphone amplifier comes with the flagship CSR8675 chip from Qualcomm for the wireless interface, supporting Bluetooth 5.0 and standard codecs, including aptX. It also uses the popular XU208 chip for USB for the maximum possible resolutions for the DAC. With advanced wireless capabilities, a sandblasted aluminum chassis, exemplary build quality, and top-notch sound with either 2.5mm balanced or 3.5mm unbalanced output, the Q5 Bluetooth headphone amplifier should likely be a must-have for anyone who uses a smartphone as an audio source. It is very likely to be an excellent device. But it’s worth taking a closer look and unveil all the information we find in this review.

Creative Sound Blaster E5 Review – High-resolution Desktop USB Amplifier for Video Games

Portable headphone amplifiers are particular devices, especially when they're designed for gaming. Gamers are not very familiar with audio devices, so they may not be aware of their existence. Even fewer people may understand the application of such things. Unless your gaming PC is equipped with a high-end sound card, you don't know what the sounds, music and effects in the game are supposed to sound like, mainly because your computer can't play them back properly. A headphone amplifier is a device that powers your gaming headphones or speakers to get the most out of them, sometimes with plenty of adjustments (equalizer, bass boost, listening modes, etc.) to improve the sound quality The Sound Blaster E5 is primarily a headphone amplifier for your iPod, but that’s just the beginning of its capabilities. The Sound Blaster E5 can also be used as an external sound card for computers running OS X or Windows. It can also be used as an external stereo microphone for your computer or smartphone.

FiiO E18 Review – Headphone Amplifier for Android Smartphones

The FiiO E18 Kunlun is a compact device that combines a DAC, a headphone amplifier, an external PC sound card and a smartphone power bank. The main purpose of this device is to act as a DAC in an Android smartphone. All in all, for music lovers who like to listen to music on the go, the E18 has all the features to make you fall in love with this device, unless there are internal problems or the sound quality/power reserve is not good enough.

Chord Mojo Review – The Heavy-duty, Portable Headphone Amplifier You’ve Always Needed

The Mojo is convenient, incredibly easy to use, and sounds great, but it's certainly not the most portable headphone amplifier on the market. There is no doubt that this is a high-end audio product, and if its features are to your liking, the Chord Mojo can offer you a lot of fun and possibilities. Still, is the Mojo a revolution in portable audio? Read our review of the Chord Mojo and see for yourself. The conclusion depends on your taste, application, and synergy with your equipment.​ Having a modest price of under $100, the wireless SoundSurge 90 is the second most expensive pair in TaoTronics’ noise reduction lineup below the SoundSurge 55. The SoundSurge 90 also features Hybrid ANC with Bluetooth 5.0, dynamic 40mm drivers, voice assistance, and a 35-hour battery. But how do they work?

iFi xDSD Review – Multi-purpose High-end Portable Bluetooth Amplifier for Headphones, Laptops, Smartphones and Digital Players

iFi is no stranger to the portable audio market, and the 'X' series marks another step in the company's development for delivering the highest quality of innovation, from design to functionality. As the first product in this series, the xDSD portable headphone DAC/amplifier, is the company's very first Bluetooth device. It's convenient, compact, stylish, and works so well that you can't complain about its setup. However, the question we want to answer in this review is: who should buy the iFi xDSD headphone amplifier and why?

Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus Review – Highly Versatile and Efficient Headphone Amplifier

Cambridge Audio's 'DacMagic Plus' digital-to-analog converter is a modern version of the 'DacMagic' with an improved USB interface, Bluetooth support, and a more powerful built-in headphone amplifier, making it a versatile product for audiophiles and music lovers. The DacMagic is one of the company's most successful products in recent years. It owes its success to its versatility, the fact that it has a USB input, and a budget-friendly price. The technology it presents is hard to find even in costly CD players, having installed an advanced, sophisticated upsampling DSP from Anagram Technologies. Despite all that, the Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus is the latest version of the DacMagic and features an improved USB interface, Bluetooth support, and a more powerful built-in headphone amplifier, which should suffice the needs of the demanding customers even better.

AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt Review – Best Smallest Portable Headphone Amplifier

Launched in 2012, the DragonFly USB stick was an instant hit. This tiny plug-and-play device contained a high-resolution 96/24 digital-to-analog converter and a surprisingly powerful headphone amplifier. The original DragonFly was only compatible with Macs and PCs, but these advantages alone made it an incredible success. The real breakthrough came in 2016 with the DragonFly Black and DragonFly Red; AudioQuest drastically reduced power requirements, and the Black and Red now work with Android and iOS devices. Today, we take a look at the DragonFly Cobalt, the company’s latest stick-size headphone amplifier painted in an attractive “Cobalt Blue” color. It features the latest ES9038Q2M chip from ESS and the PIC32MX274 USB controller from Microchip. DragonFly Cobalt also contains AudioQuest’s proprietary USB jitter reduction circuitry and a new digital filter that provides more correct phasing than the filter in the previous Red model. Although the Cobalt has an improved USB chip, the maximum sample rate for PCM files is still 96/24.

FiiO A5 Review – Portable Headphone Amplifier

The FiiO A5 is an amazing combination of good headphone sound reproduction, build quality, and fighting power at a very affordable price. It is an upgraded version of two of our customers' favorite amplifiers, the FiiO E12 and FiiO E12A, with the "E" series replaced by the "A" series. In terms of sound quality, the A5 is now rated higher than the E12, the latter being more affordable. The amplifier is one of the company’s portable headphone amplifiers, and like its other products, it’s well built. The controls work well, the volume control increases the volume smoothly, and the sound quality is good when playing lossless audio formats. Power and volume are excellent. If you want to boost the volume of high-impedance headphones or improve the sound quality of low-impedance headphones, this is the amp for you.

Fostex HP-A3 Review – High Value RCA Digital-to-Analog Converter with Headphone Amplifier

Some devices were launched several years ago and are still in production, even though competitors continue introducing the latest technologies. Meanwhile, some Chinese manufacturers are improving their offerings and releasing new drivers and amplifiers every year. But as a consumer, is it more cost-effective to opt for new audio equipment than to buy timeless equipment? In this article we’ll talk about Fostex HP-A3, a high-value 32-bit amplifier + DAC with a USB power supply. It’s a compact desktop headphone amplifier with convenient controls and an attractive model with multiple connectors: USB, optical, headphone output, and speaker. This allows it to be used with headphones, integrated into a home audio system as a stand-alone DAC, used in the studio with active monitors, and can even be used as a USB-S/PDIF digital converter.

Creative Sound Blaster X3 Review – Sub $150 Desktop Headphone Gaming Amp

Creative is a renowned brand that has been making a name for itself among enthusiasts for decades, often offering unique solutions. At CES 2018, for example, the company unveiled its Super X-Fi surround sound technology. The device that implements this technology is the Creative Sound Blaster X3, a USB DAC (digital-to-analog converter) with a headphone amplifier that delivers virtual 7.1-channel surround sound and offers multiple ways to enhance the sound coming from your computer or gaming console. This gaming headphone amplifier is very flexible in terms of connectivity, supports PS4, PC, Mac, Android, and iOS devices and audio adjustability, and features Creative’s audio technology that simulates 3D sound in stereo headphones.