Headphones with higher impedance are needed for high volume sound output. The Fostex th996 is such a high impedance headphone. Anyway, to use these headphones, the computer or the phone must have enough driving power.
In most cases, the device can not supply enough juice to the headphones. To get the best use of headphones like the FostexTH900, Amplifiers or amps are used. So for the optimum result, we must use the best amp for Fostex TH900.
But it is not easy to select the best amp. The amps available can be divided into two categories, portable and desktop amps. Under these categories, you will find hundreds of amps. So the situation gets confusing.
Anyway, I am here to guide you. I have reviewed the best amps for Fostex TH900 here. Have a good look at my discussion to select the best one!
- Do You Need An Amp in 2022?
- Best Amp Type for Fostex TH900
- Best Desktop Amp for Fostex TH900
- Best Portable Amps for Fostex TH900
- Are these best for the Fostex TH900 MkII?
Do You Need An Amp in 2022?
It is not a must to use an Amp in 2022. There are many alternatives for an amp in the current era. Modern-day headphones are manufactured with great designs. They are highly efficient and can work with low-volume devices.
Also, a Bluetooth headphone comes with an amplification system. So you can not use an amp with it. There is room for using amps with wired ones. But there are plenty of alternatives of amps for headphones. Cmoy is such an alternative to the amp.
You can get high-quality headphones instead of amps. Then the headphone will have enough strength to collect enough juice from the sound source. You will not have to buy an amp or other alternatives if you have great headphones.
Are DAPs instead of Portable AMPs Useful?
Yes, DAPs instead of portable Amps are useful. The function of DAP and amps are similar. Both of these work to increase the power of the sound. However, there are some dissimilarities between the Daps and portable amps.
The DAPs are smaller in size. However, you will have to compensate for the sound output. The quality and power of the sound produced by the DAPs are inferior to amps. But that depends on the price too. Anyway, amps are quite big.
Though portable amps are small, they are bigger than DAPs. The cost of the portable amps is high too. But this cost is worth it. The sound produced by the amps is of very high quality. If you have the budget, a portable amp will be the best choice.
How Does MacBook Pro M1 Pro Instead of Stacks Work?
The MacBook Pro M1 works excellent instead of Stacks. The MacBook Pro M1 comes with an M1 chip. Apple has highly emphasized the sound delivery system of this chip. As a result, it can handle headphones with high impedance.
The MacBook Pro M1 also comes with a high impedance port. As a result, it handles high impedance headphones without any problem. This is possible due to the high power and functionality of the M1 chip.
We have checked headphones with 300 ohms impedance, and the sound delivery was excellent. The Fostex TH900 impedance falls under this category. So the MacBook can easily handle these headphones.
So if you have this MacBook, there is no need to get an amp for using high impedance headphones.
Best Amp Type for Fostex TH900
Getting confused while choosing the best amp for Fostex TH900 is very common. There are different types of amps available in the market. All of them have their benefits. So you have to be very careful about your priorities while choosing the amp.
But you don’t have to get worried. I have tested a bunch of amps with the Fostex TH900. Based on my experience I have prepared the following table. Have a look at it!
|Factors||Stack Amps||Desktop Amps||Combo Amps||Tube Amps|
|Volume||Higher||Highest||Lower||Sufficient but Different Than Others|
|Best For||Beginners||Professionals||Gigging||Experimenting With Sound|
|Space Requirement||Needs Less Space||Needs Big Space||Takes More Space Than Desktop Amps||Small in Size|
|Price||Cheap||Value for Money||Expensive||More Expensive|
All your doubts about different kinds of amps for Fostex TH900 should be clear now. Select your priorities first and choose the best amp for your Fostex TH900.
Best Desktop Amp for Fostex TH900
iFi Zen DAC Signature & iFi Zen CAN Signature 6XX Combo
Reasons to Buy
- Excellent sound output by the combo.
- Very little noise generation.
- The tuning quality is very high.
Reasons to Avoid
- The cost of the two amps becomes very high.
The first product on my list is a combo of two products. The reason for using a combo is to get their optimum performance. This amp combo is made by combining iFi Zen DAC Signature & iFi Zen CAN Signature 6XX. Let us check their advantages.
The Zen DAC Signature comes with high resolution audio. It is a complete upgrade to the previous Zen Dac amps. The iPower X power supply used with this amp provides better than ever audio experience. This amp is also very finely tuned.
Premium parts have been used to get undistorted sound. The DAC Signature sounds great at any volume because of its excellent sound engineering. Overall it is a treat to your ears.
On the other hand, the Zen CAN Signature is another amazing amp made by iFi. It consists of iPower 2 for powerful sound delivery. The bass frequencies are controlled through SpaceX. This is a very well functioning bass delivery system.
You can see that both the Zen DAC Signature and Zen CAN Signature provide excellent audio. They can power any headphones for you. The amazing thing about these two amps is that they work more well when paired together.
The combo of them will provide the best sound output you can get. From bass, trebles, melody, and voice, the amps can handle everything perfectly. But these amps come at a high cost. Yet the output you will get is worth the money.
Fostex HP-A4 24-Bit Amp
Reasons to Buy
- High Definition sound output.
- Supported by both macOS and Windows OS.
- Synchronizes well with the Fostex TH900 and Fostex Music Player software.
Reasons to Avoid
- Do not buy it if you have macOS below 10.6.1.
The second desktop amp I am going to review is the Fostex HP-A4 24-Bit Amp. This amp is an upgrade to its previous A3 model. With this upgrade, several positive changes were brought to the amp. Let me describe the performance of this amp to you.
The best thing about this amp is that it is supported by both Windows and macOS. However, the macOS version must be above 10.6.1 for the functionality of the amp. The HP-A4 24-Bit runs on the latest Window operating systems too.
So you don’t have to think much about your PC software before getting it. By installing the driver of the amp, you will be able to use it. This amp comes with a 2-gain staging level. There are significant differences between high and low gains.
The output of the amp gets boosted because of this level. The output will increase up to 10 dB without even touching the volume knob. The playback mode is high definition. That means the sound will be crystal clear and there will be zero noise.
The user will be able to raise the volume without distorting the sound. The HP-A4 is 11 inches long and 7 inches wide. So it is a very big amplifier. Since the Fostex HP-A4 24-Bit Amp is a desktop amplifier, the big dimensions won’t be any problem.
iFi ZEN CAN Balanced Amp & iFi Zen DAC Converter Combo
Specifications of iFi ZEN CAN Balanced Amp:
- Dimensions: 11 x 6 x 2 inches
- Weight: 1.8 Pounds
- Connectivity Technology: Wired
- Form Factor: Over Ear
Specifications of iFi Zen DAC Converter:
- Dimensions: 6.22 x 3.94 x 1.38 inches
- Weight: 1.08 Pounds
- Mounting Type: Plug Mount, Tabletop
- Interface Type: USB
Reasons to Buy
- Crystal clear sound is produced.
- Modern technologies are present in the amps.
- The amps are very stylish and smartly designed.
Reasons to Avoid
- The price is high and takes more space than a single unit.
The last product in the desktop amp category is another combo. This combo is made with the iFi ZEN CAN Balanced Amp & iFi Zen DAC Converter. The Zen CAN and Zen Dac are backdated versions of the Zen DAC Signature and Zen CAN Signature.
The price of these two amps is quite less than the signature versions. So the cost of making the combo reduces here. However, the cost will still be high because of using two amps. So you will have to consider your budget.
Both the Zen DAC and Zen CAN generate sound with high power. So they are perfect for the Fostex TH900. The noise and distortion produced by the amps are ultra-low. Thus the quality of the sound gets improved by miles.
The connectivity of the Zen DAC is very easy. It also comes with ultramodern technologies. You will get the true bass mechanism, variable analog volume controller, and other specs with the combination.
Overall your listening experience will improve a lot. If you want to get a combination of Zen DAC and Zen CAN, but have a tight budget, you can try this combo. I can guarantee that you will be completely satisfied.
Best Portable Amps for Fostex TH900
iFi Micro iDSD DAC Headphone Amp
Reasons to Buy
- Excellent build quality.
- Lots of power.
- The sound produced is warm with rich tones.
Reasons to Avoid
- The amp can not be carried in a pocket.
The first portable amp I am going to review is the iFi Micro iDSD DAC Headphone Amp. As the name implies, this is a type of DAC amp. That means this amp converts digital sound into audible analog sound in its amplifying process.
This one is a very popular amp for headphones. It delivers sound at high power. Amps amplify sound waves. That means increasing the power of the sound output. If an amp is rated with high power output, that means it can amplify sound at that power.
So power delivery is very significant for amps. The iFi IDSD DAC Headphone Amp can deliver about 4000 mW of power. This is a big number for portable amps. Besides power delivery, another important aspect of portable amps is their battery life.
Portable amps will not be connected to a power source always. So it needs a big battery life for longer performance. This amp has mid-range battery life. It runs about 6 to 12 hours on battery. So the user won’t be able to pass a full day without recharging.
Even with a medium-sized battery, the amp weighs about 1.54 pounds. It is quite heavy for a portable amp. The size of the iDSD DAC amp is quite big too. If the battery life was more, this huge weight and big size would be compensated.
iFi xCAN Portable Headphone Amplifier
Reasons to Buy
- This amp has extended battery life.
- The xCan amp can be carried easily.
- High-quality materials are used in the amp.
Reasons to Avoid
- Very less power delivery.
Let’s move on to our second product iFi xCAN Portable Headphone Amplifier. This is another popular portable amp manufactured by iFi. This amp is relatively older than the other products on our list. It was first released in 2018.
Though the amp is 3 years older, its specs are still very modern. It comes with very long battery life. The amp can run on its battery for 12 to 18 hours. So the user can easily go a day without recharging the amp. This is a very good option for travelers.
However, the power delivery of this amp is very low. It can generate power up to only 1000 mW. So the sound produced by this amp will have less power than the iFi Micro iDSD Amp. That means the sound will not be loud like the other two products.
This is a matter of concern for many music enthusiasts. Anyway, this less power delivery has been compensated by its size. The xCAN Portable Headphone Amplifier is very lightweight. It weighs only 11.8 ounces. So the user can easily lift it.
It has a length and width of 3.74 and 2.62 inches only. The thickness of this amp is 0.75 inches. So the thickness is small too. The miniature dimensions make the xCAN amp very portable. It can be adjusted in the pocket easily.
iFi iDSD Diablo DAC Amplifier
Reasons to Buy
- The amp has extended battery life.
- The dimensions of the amp are very small
- High power delivery.
Reasons to Avoid
- The amp is costly.
It’s time to review the last portable amp of the day. Now I have the iFi iDSD Diablo DAC Amplifier in my hands. This amp was manufactured in 2021. So this is a very recent model. It is the latest model of a portable ampere in today’s list.
Let’s check its specifications without wasting any more time. The iDSD Diablo amp comes with extended battery life. A powerful LiPo battery is used with the amp. The battery can run this portable amp for about 6 to 12 hours.
This is a very long time for portable amps. The battery capacity of this amplifier is greater than the other two models.
The power delivery of this amp is very high too. It generates about 4100 mW power. This is the highest power generation among my reviewed products. So the Diablo amp comes with both extended battery life and high power generation.
The weight of the iDSD amp is only 11.6 ounces. This is also the lightest amp among the 3 amps I am reviewing. The dimension of these amps is very less too. It is only 6.54 inches long and 2.83 inches wide. The thickness of this amp is about 0.98 inches.
From these dimensions, you can easily understand that this amp is very easy to carry. The Diablo DAC amp is extremely portable. You can buy it for your headphones if you stay out for a huge portion of time. The amp won’t disappoint you.
Are these best for the Fostex TH900 MkII?
In the above discussion, I’ve shown the best desktop and portable amps for the Fostex TH900. The manufacturers made the Fostex TH900 MkII an upgrade of the TH900. So you might wonder if the above-mentioned amps are best for Fostex TH900 MkII also.
Yes, they are best for Fostex TH900 MkII too. The MkII model was a huge upgrade over the TH900 model. Unlike the LG Quad DAC and DAP, the primary hardware of these headphones is the same. Both come with 25 ohms impedance & equal frequency.
Because of these similarities, both these headphones will run with the same amps. So if you already own a Fostex TH900 and an amp for it, you don’t have to worry while upgrading. You can upgrade to Fostex TH900 MkII and use the same amp.
Do headphones need an amp?
Yes, sometimes headphones need an amp. However modern headphones are highly efficient. They perform without an amp and deliver high-quality sound. If you are using noise-canceling headphones, you will not need an amp. An amp is needed if you use high impedance headphones with less sensitivity.
What ohm is best for listening?
80 ohm is best for listening. You can do gaming with this ohm too. But 80 ohms will not be sufficient for all types of work. For professional sound mixers and engineers, headphones with high ohms are needed. For doing such work, at least 250-ohm headphones are required.
Can a PC drive 250-ohm headphones?
A PC usually can not drive 250-ohm headphones. By adding a sound card to your personal computer, you can increase its driving power. Recent MacBooks can drive 250 ohms too. However, this driving force also depends on the sensitivity of the headphones. Headphones with more sensitivity are easy to run.
This is all on the best amp for Fostex TH900 article. I think that now you can easily select the best amp based on my discussion.
If you don’t travel with your Fostex TH900 and use it only on your PC, get a desktop amp. And if you take the headphone out with you, you must get a portable amp.