The Best Headphone Amp for the HEDDphone

September 05, 2023

The Best Headphone Amp for the HEDDphone

The HEDDphone (One & Two), like other high-impedance headphones, requires dedicated amplification to achieve a satisfactory level of loudness and unlock its full potential. While we provide you with everything you need to use the HEDDphone from the moment you get it, you should ensure that you also have appropriate amplification ready so that you can get the most from its unique technology and design. 

Why does the HEDDphone require amplification? 

The short answer is that amplification is needed to allow the Air Motion Transformer driver within the HEDDphone to deliver its world class sonic clarity and accuracy. Without it, you simply won’t get the full experience. 

The slightly longer answer is that what makes the HEDDphone unique is its use of an AMT driver capable of reproducing a frequency range from 10Hz to 40KHz. This is possible thanks to HEDD's patented Variable Velocity Transform (VVT) technology, which allows for a redesign of the driver with folds that vary in both width and depth, thus allowing for an even and precise reproduction of lower frequencies – something typical AMT drivers are not capable of doing. 

As a result, inside your HEDDphone is a large folded Kapton diaphragm, with the magnetic gap of the driver having the size of the deepest fold. The higher the gap, the higher the magnetic flux (heavier magnets) or electrical signal (higher amplification) must be to deliver enough sound pressure level (SPL). A headphone amplifier helps provide this additional force and allows the AMT driver within the HEDDphone to work as it was intended to and deliver an exceptional sonic experience. 

What are the amplification requirements for the HEDDphone? 

Choosing the right, and ideally most efficient, amplifier for your HEDDphone requires starting with the amplifier’s power output specifications. This should exceed the HEDDphone’s requirements so that it can provide an adequate dynamic range and prevent distortion at high volumes. 

While the HEDDphone can work with headphone amplifiers that provide a minimum of 200mW of amplification, we recommend at least 1 Watt (1000mW) / 32 Ohms at 1kHz or more. The more power your amplifier can provide, the more sonic accuracy you can expect at low listening levels.  

Which amplifiers do you recommend for the HEDDphone? 

Like headphones, the right amplifier is often down to what your needs and preferences are. You should consider the tonal balance and sound signature you prefer, as well as your intended uses, and start from there as different amplifiers will provide different sonic characteristics. As with all HEDD products, the HEDDphone offers a precise and neutral sound, and is therefore ideally suited for an amplifier with a similar approach that avoids coloring sound through its amplification. 

This said, we’re friends with a few amplifier manufacturers that we use internally and often collaborate with on public demos. As such, we can recommend the following three headphone amplifiers as ideal companions for the HEDDphone:  

  1. RME ADI 2 / 2-4 
  2. SPL Phonitor X 
  3. Zaehl HM1 

These three models perfectly compliment the HEDDphone’s honest and transparent sound and give you a range of options for power and control, whether you’re seeking high-end pleasure or professional reliability. 

The RME 2-4 Pro SE (which retails at 2499€ incl. VAT) offers powerful, clean amplification with great digital control. Michael Zaehl’s HM1 (retailing at 7999€ incl. VAT) is arguably a modern classic within the world of pro and hifi audio, giving you fantastic analogue sound with a choice of different sound circuits and two excellent EQ bands. Lastly, the SPL Phonitor X (available at 2999€ incl. VAT) is another great choice that lets you widen the sound stage with a crossfader matrix in order to simulate a speaker-like listening environment (other amps in the Phonitor series are also recommended). 

Best Headphone Amp For HEDDphone

The HEDDphone TWO with the RME 2-4 Pro SE (top), Zaehl’s HM1 (middle), and SPL Phonitor X (bottom).  

What else do I need? 

Aside from dedicated amplification you should not need anything else to be able to enjoy the HEDDphone as it comes with: 

  • its own travel case
  • an additional set of ear pads
  • one 2.2 m unbalanced cable with a 6.35 mm termination
  • one 2.2 m balanced cable with 4.4 mm termination
  • one unbalanced 6.35 mm to 3.5 mm adapter
  • one balanced 4.4 mm to XLR adapter

All of which should provide you with the necessary options to connect the HEDDphone to your setup and dive into things. 

If you would like to test the HEDDphone, feel free to reach out us via info@hedd.audio so we can recommend a local HEDD dealer or event where demoing is supported. Alternatively you can also use our store locator to find your nearest HEDD supported shop. 

For further details about the HEDDphone our dedicated support team is also available at support@hedd.audio and would be glad to answer any questions you may have.

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