5 Best USB Headphone Amp in 2020

Music is an essential part of our lives. We use headphones to immerse ourselves into music using the best USB headphone amp and most people (including me), cannot imagine our lives without headphones. But most of you might not be getting the best out of your headphone experience especially given the compression engines used by music streaming companies. Keeping this in mind, users who might want to up their experience to some extent through dedicated hardware can find plenty of headphone amplifiers online. However, some of these amplifiers or DACs (digital-to-analog converter) can be bulky, and given that most users rely on portability, these units don’t quite work out.

ProductBrandNamePrice
MonolithMonolith Hi-Res DAC Headphone AmpCheck Price on Amazon
NEXTDRIVENextDrive Spectra Portable USB DACCheck Price on Amazon
AudioQuestAudioQuest - DragonFly Red USB DAC/Headphone AmplifierCheck Price on Amazon
ANTOGOOANTOGOO XtremPro X1 Portable USB DAC Headphone AmplifierCheck Price on Amazon
AudioQuestAudioQuest DragonFly Black v1.5 Plug-in USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone AmpCheck Price on Amazon

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This is where portable USB headphone amps come into the picture. A quick look through Amazon will reveal that there are plenty of them available, but picking the best model becomes quite difficult. This is why we’ve compiled a list of the best USB headphone amp in 2020.

So let’s have a look.

Best USB Headphone Amp

Best USB Headphone Amp

1) Monolith

As the name suggests, this portable headphone amp comes with a sleek design and uniform shape. For those unaware, this would appear no different than a standard USB memory stick. One end of the amp comes with a USB plug, while there’s a 3.5mm headphone port on the bottom. The design gets slightly thicker towards the bottom to accommodate the headphone jack. This device comes with the ESS ES9018K2M chip on board and utilizes the efficient 32-bit HyperStream DAC.

It’s incredible that the manufacturer has managed to cram in volume control buttons on this small device, although the buttons can be hard to operate in a hurry. It seems like this amp works only with computers. The company makes no mention of mobile (Android/iOS) compatibility in its listing. Despite being a relatively new product on Amazon, the product has already raked in decent reviews from the customers, so be sure to check it out.

Best USB Headphone Amp

2) NextDrive Spectra

This is a simple yet effective amp for your headphones and comes in a wired design, allowing for easy storage and portability. Despite its size, this amp provides hi-fidelity sound thanks to the SABRE 9018Q2C 32-bit DAC on board. What’s even better is that the company sells this product in multiple variants depending on the device you own. Choices include micro USB, standard USB, as well as USB C. For use on a mobile device, the user has to ensure that the phone has USB OTG (on-the-go) compatibility. This shouldn’t be a concern for newer smartphones, though.

The sleek design as well as the power packed functionality makes this a hot favorite in the segment. The best part about this particular offering is that it doesn’t require batteries to operate, and it doesn’t have any buttons on board either. This means you simply have to plug in the necessary peripherals and you’re good to go. This is designed for smartphone users who want a DAC devoid of any bulk. 80% of the customers who bought this product have given a five star rating, so we highly recommend you to check it out.

Best USB Headphone Amp

3) AudioQuest DragonFly Red

The first of the two DragonFly amps we’re going to talk about today, this is the slightly improved version which packs 2.1V output capable of supporting practically any headphones available in the market. It uses a 32-bit Sabre DAC, so you can be assured of getting the best sound quality out there with this product. It doesn’t have a battery since it generates power from the USB host (phone or computer). There are no buttons either, which means it’s incredibly easy to operate.

It should work with smartphones as well, although you will be required to buy an additional adaptor for the OTG functionality on Android devices. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t offer variants with multiple connectivity options, so customers are limited to plugging this into USB A outlets. This aspect makes it ideally suited for laptops and computers as it barely takes any space. Considering the design and the hardware used here, it’s no surprise that nearly 76% of the customers gave this  a five star rating.

Best USB Headphone Amp

4) XtremPro X1

This pretty much resembles a USB memory stick, much like the majority of the USB headphone amps we’ve discussed in this article. It comes in Gray, but there are no other variants available. It utilizes a 24-bit ESS Sabre 9023 DAC, offering the best in the business. The XtremPro X1 also comes with a 64 position analog volume control. Customer reviews suggest that it’s better than most USB headphone amps out there and is better suited for computers. While it can be used on smartphones as well, power consumption could be an issue.

But if you’re near a power outlet and charging your phone back up is not a concern, then it completely makes sense to plug it onto your smartphone using a USB OTG cable. The company offers a 12-month replacement warranty for this product, so you can be assured of its quality.

5) AudioQuest DragonFly Black

The second DragonFly amp on this list, this version looks eerily similar to the aforementioned model, save for the Black exterior. In terms of functionality, it’s slightly less powerful compared to the Red, and features a 1.5v output, which should theoretically cover most headphones in the market with a few exceptions. Much like the DragonFly Red, this amp comes with a streamlined design and the company’s iconic dragonfly logo on top. It resembles a USB thumb drive, so carrying it around is extremely easy.

The company mentions that this DAC works with most Apple and Android smartphones, although you will require an adapter to allow plugging in a USB A device. There are no buttons or volume controls on board, so you’re simply going to plug this into your device and start enjoying the music. The biggest difference, however, is that this model is significantly cheaper than the DragonFly Red, which might be enough reason to pick this. However, if you’re seeking performance, we strongly recommend the Red. Be sure to check them out.

ProductBrandNamePrice
MonolithMonolith Hi-Res DAC Headphone AmpCheck Price on Amazon
NEXTDRIVENextDrive Spectra Portable USB DACCheck Price on Amazon
AudioQuestAudioQuest - DragonFly Red USB DAC/Headphone AmplifierCheck Price on Amazon
ANTOGOOANTOGOO XtremPro X1 Portable USB DAC Headphone AmplifierCheck Price on Amazon
AudioQuestAudioQuest DragonFly Black v1.5 Plug-in USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone AmpCheck Price on Amazon

* If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.