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If you’re spending big on a pair of headphones, a dedicated headphone amplifier will make them sing much more than if you were to simply plug them into a computer or  phone. A headphone amp is designed to sit between your source/amplifier and headphones, and can be the basis of a compact and effective desktop hi-fi system.

So what should you look for in a headphone amplifier? Analogue inputs mean you can plug in a traditional source, such as a CD player, but more modern amps boast digital inputs and a built-in DAC. This is ideal if you’re listening to music stored on a computer.

Size and portability are also key considerations. Some of the below will happily slip into a jeans pocket and, with the right cables and connectors, can even be paired with a mobile phone. Other models command that you clear your desk. So, decide whether you’ll be listening to your headphones on the move or solely at home.