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best headphone amplifiers

The Best Studio Headphone Amplifiers for Distribution & Sub-Mixes

Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Grace Designs
M920
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Bottom
Line
An unbelievable amplifier plus an entire monitoring system for two headphones & two sets of studio monitors.
Pros
Six types of inputs. Decibel level display. Two headphone outputs. Cross-feed bleeding. Sample rate detection. Mono option. Comes with a remote control.
Cons
Some complain that it reveals too many imperfections in low-quality audio signals, but that's technically a good thing when mixing & mastering.
Best Bang for the Buck
Presonus
HP60
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Bottom
Line
A cheap & reliable way of getting six quality, independently controlled headphone outputs for recording a band.
Pros
The 'More Me' feature lets band members adjust their own levels relative to the mix. Has a talkback feature with a footswitch so nobody has to remove their headphones.
Cons
Not meant for listening to high-quality audio sources, only for rough playback when recording groups in the studio.
Best Budget Pick
JDS Labs
Objective2 + DAC
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Bottom
Line
From the DIY master of the audiophile community, pre-built to bring you high-end quality at a lower cost.
Pros
You jump into top of the line amplification and conversion at a fraction of the cost through the removal of frivolous features.
Cons
Doesn't come with power adaptor. Adapter connection on front. 1/8th inch headphone output instead of 1/4 inch. No output for monitors.

The best studio headphone amplifiers are not the overly expensive audiophile amps with exposed tubes and a dash of pixie dust. Those are for personal use designed to look magical enough to fool consumers into spending far more than remotely necessary. As us professionals know, the way a piece of studio gear looks has nothing to do with the audio quality it can produce...

TL;DR - Best Budget Pick: JDS Labs Objective2 - Best Overall: Grace Designs m920