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Tips for Buying the Best DAC Headphone Amp for Your Budget

Are you looking to improve the sound quality of your headphone? Or perhaps, you are just looking to replace the DAC as a way to repair a broken headphone set.

Regardless of your specific needs, there are specific insights that can be helpful when attempting to buy a DAC headphone amp on a budget.

For your benefit, we’ve put together this guide, highlighting exactly what a DAC headphone amp is, how much it costs and four tips when buying the best DAC headphone amp for your specific budgetary restraints.

What Is a DAC Headphone Amp?

A digital to analog converter, also known as a DAC, takes digital data and transforms it into an analog audio signal before sending the sound to the amplifier. A DAC headphone amp is a connection between the DAC and the amplifier.

While every modern day computer, laptop, tablet and smartphone contain a DAC, they are usually low quality and don’t allow for high quality sound to come through. By purchasing your own DAC headphone amp, however, you can significantly improve the overall sound emitted through your headphones.

How Much Does a DAC Headphone Amp Cost?


So, how much does a DAC and headphone amp cost? On average, a quality digital to analog converter costs between $200 to $1,000. You can find them for cheaper, but the point of purchasing your own DAC is to improve over the original DAC that came with the device, which means you typically want to pay more and get a higher quality DAC headphone amp.

With that said, if you are on a more limited budget, you can find a high quality DAC headphone amp for as little as $100 if you are willing to take the necessary steps in order to find the one that is right for you.

1. Determine Your Budget

First and most importantly, it is important to establish your budget before searching for the best DAC headphone amp for you personally. By establishing a budget before you begin shopping around, you can prevent overspending on a DAC headphone amp or wasting money on a low quality DAC in an attempt to save money.

The first step in establishing a budget for your DAC headphone amp is to determine how much you care about the sound quality. While with some products paying more is not necessary in order to get quality, with a DAC headphone amp it typically works to where the more you are willing to spend, the higher quality you get, as long as you do the proper research.

If you just want a DAC amplifier that works better than the original and don’t care about the best possible sound experience, then you can save some money and go with a lower budget. If you want the best of the best sound experience, then you will obviously need a higher budget.

2. Determine The Type of Headphone Amp You Should Buy

After setting your budget, it’s time to determine the type of headphone amp you want. Here are a few key considerations you should make when determining your exact desires:

  • What do I want out of the quality of sound?
  • How big do I want the DAC headphone amp to be?
  • What devices do I plan to use with the DAC headphone amp?
  • Will I only use the DAC headphone amp with my headphones?

By asking yourself and answering these four questions, you should have a better idea of what exactly you want out of your DAC headphone amp. As a result, you will be able to easily spot the perfect DAC amp when you see it. Since you will have already established a budget, you can only consider those that are within your price range, which should narrow the options significantly as well.

After setting your budget and determining what type of DAC headphone amp you should buy, you should have a fairly short list of DAC headphone amps that are right for you.

3. Talk to Others and Check The Reviews

After narrowing your list down to just a few of your favorite DAC headphone amp that are within your budget and meet your exact needs, it is time to find out more about the selected products.

The most powerful marketing tool, which is also the most accurate way for buyers to determine the quality and durability of a product, is word of mouth. While word of mouth is typically thought of as asking a friend about a product and gauging his reaction, it comes in many different forms, including product reviews.

If you are shopping online, then you will be able to check the product reviews and purchase all in one stop. If you plan to purchase from a store that sells tech devices, then you will need to go online and find the reviews of the products before purchasing. However, if you purchase your DAC headphone amp in store, than be sure to ask the tech salesman which DAC headphone amp he recommends and explain to him your budget, specific needs and the ones in particular you have your eyes on.

4. Check for Sound Quality

While this is much more difficult to do if you plan to purchase online, it can be extremely beneficial to check the DAC headphone amp for sound quality before purchasing in store. After all, that is the main reason for buying a DAC headphone amp.Once you narrow your decision down to just a few, if not the final, product(s), you can verify and be confident in your purchase by testing it out in the store. If it works well and sounds good, then you are good to go.


If you plan to purchase online, however, you won’t be able to test drive your DAC headphone amp. However, you can check the product reviews and look for comments directly relating to the sound quality allowed by the DAC headphone amp. If the reviews are good, then you can feel confident that you are getting one of the best DAC headphone amps.

What are your best tips when selecting a brand of audio equipment? Leave a comment with your preferred brands and products in the section below.

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