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Desktop Headphone Amps - Icon Audio

The headphones socket on most amplifiers and computers is rarely optimised for sound quality, and often serves simply as a tick on the features list designed around a simple PCB. A dedicated headphone amplifier is designed to overcome this by driving your headphones properly to get the very best sound quality via computer, streaming, CD or vinyl. We also sell portable headphone amplifiers for getting the best sound from your phone or portable player on the move.

Headphones have become an increasingly viable way of enjoying hi-fi and audiophile quality sound in your home, with many stunning full sized headphones available varying in style, size and price. However, no setup is complete without a quality, dedicated headphone amplifier, which can truly turn many pairs of headphones into a reference quality component. The difference that can be achieved by using a purpose designed amplifier can be truly staggering, which is why we keep a range on permanent demonstration in our showroom. Our knowledgeable staff are always happy to assist in arranging a demonstration or offering advice. We also offer Free Next Day UK Delivery on all of our in stock products.

Icon Audio is dedicated to the design of pure valve amplifiers and hi-fi separates. Inspired by vintage valve amplifiers with the finest circuit designs and build quality, Icon Audio believes the warm valve sound offers much musical enjoyment.

Icon Audio have been designing amplifiers since 1999 in the UK. From the beginning their amplifiers were awarded “best buy” and “five stars” by British Magazines like HiFi News, HiFi Choice and HiFi World. Recently, the MB845 mono blocks became "Reference Standard" in the HiFi world along with PS1 and PS3 phono stages.

Since the beginning, their product selection has included a range of integrated valve amplifiers that are widely considered to be class leaders, alongside a selection of premium "monoblok" valve power amplifiers and valve pre amplifiers and phono stages. Icon Audio have also released valve based CD players and high sensitivity hi-fi loudspeakers designed to match very effectively with valve amplification.

Unlike some other branded valve amplifiers that are put together cheaply or require manual biasing of the valves, most of Icon Audio's designs are "self biasing", meaning that you don't need to go through this process so regularly. As with all valve amplifiers, we always recommend allowing them to warm up for 5+ minutes before playing music, and such patience is richly rewarded.

The rated power of a valve amplifier tends to be lower than comparable solid-state integrated amplifiers, but providing effective matching between valve amp and speaker, this is not a concern, and in most scenarios, few other amplifier designs can beat the warm, lifelike sound of awell set-up valve amplifier. 

For advice on speaker matching, that's what we're here for! If you'd like to upgrade to a valve amplifier, call or e-mail us for specialist expert advice. We also have several Icon Audio models on demo in our showroom where you can listen and try before you buy.

One key advantage of specialist dedicated headphone amplifiers is the ability to drive headphones better than those included in most products and portable audio players. The purpose built amplification and increased power result in greater volume, dynamics, presence and soundstage. Many amplifiers are designed to be used with a range of headphones, while others may be specifically voiced to work with particular headphones.

Music on the go has become a daily occurrence for many people – using portable media players, smartphones and tablets to enjoy audio and video content when commuting or out and about. Being able to store an entire music collection on a tiny device has led to a demand for quality headphones to improve playback, and in turn a demand for quality portable headphone amplifiers to draw more fidelity, finesse and power out of our devices and music collections.

A key specification to consider when selecting a headphone amplifier is impedance. Just like loudspeakers, the ease of driving a pair of headphones differs from model to model. Some headphones may require more power than others, as well as a headphone amplifier with a higher output impedance in order to drive them suitably. Therefore, matching the impedance of your amp to your headphones is important in unlocking their potential and squeezing every last drop of performance out of your headphones. Some models feature multiple headphone inputs which offer different impedances, allowing you to use multiple pairs of headphones with your amplifier, and to impedance match with more precision for the best possible sound.

A headphone amplifier is the same as an amplifier designed for hi-fi usage, only designed to power smaller drivers, typically delivering much lower power and having a higher output impedance. Just like a stereo amplifier, headphone amps can utilise different components and circuitry to achieve different tone and sound characteristics. We offer a range of valve based headphone amplifiers, which offer the warmth and richness that is often associated with valve amplification for your headphones.

Desktop Headphone Amps - Icon Audio

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0844 50 403 50

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0121 224 7300/7401

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