3 Ways to Upgrade Your Headphones

For true music lovers, a pair of headphones is more than just a pair of headphones. With a quality pair not only can you listen to music, but you can hear deep inside of it. The right headphones can make you feel as if you’re actually part of the song.

Sadly, we don’t all have hundreds of dollars to spend on top notch options. But, listening to music on low quality headphones can completely ruin the experience. There’s nothing worse than headphones that provide no bass or those that sound tinny.

Thankfully there are ways to improve the sound and make your headphones sound better than ever. Keep reading to learn three tips for improving your headphones so that you can best enjoy your favorite music.

  1. Use a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC)

We use digital-to-analog (DAC) converters every day, but rarely do we notice them. All laptops, phones, tablets, and computers use them. It’s the hardware that allows us to hear any type of noise.

Before sound waves ever enter your ears, they exist in digital form. An audio file is made up of tons of ones and zeros that make up the song. In order for you to listen, the numbers have to be converted, which is what a DAC does.

While most technology today has a DAC, the built-in standard ones are typically low quality. While standard DACs get the job done in converting digital files to analog, the produced sound is rarely impressive. The good news is that you can increase headphone audio quality by outsourcing the DAC.

Not fond of the idea of another piece of hardware? The good news is that DACs are typically small and discrete and attach via USB. While there are DACs that are quite expensive and large, you can find a much smaller unit, like the Chord Mojo. This DAC, and similar ones, will produce some of the best sounds you’ve ever heard.

  1. Use a Headphone Amp

Running your audio through a headphone amplifier will give you a noticeable upgrade to your music. Amps are beneficial in that they boost the volume of your audio. This means that you can get quality audio at low volumes. Amps are also beneficial in that they deepen and color the sound. With the right headphone amp, you’ll find it extremely hard to take off your headphones. Listening to music becomes less of a pastime and more of an addiction.

When choosing an amplifier, you can choose between tube, solid, and hybrid states. Tube amps give audio a warm and somewhat distorted sound. Solid state doesn’t offer warmth but improves audio accuracy and precision. Hybrid state amps can offer a mix of the two, depending on the brand and quality.

When paired with other hardware, such as a DAC, you can immensely improve the audio that your headphones produce. Amps can range anywhere from $80 to hundreds of dollars, depending on the brand and type.

  1. Listen to Higher Quality Music

While this tip doesn’t necessarily have much to do with your headphones, the quality of music you listen to has a huge impact on what your headphones play in your ears. No matter if you listen to The Doors or Ariana Grande, you want to make the musician you’re listening to sound as good as possible.

To do this, you’ll need to focus on the signal chain. This is the path that audio takes when it leaves the headphones and enters your ears. The signal chain includes the hardware and software that converts audio into sound waves. The stronger the signal chain, the better headphone audio you’ll have. This starts with the music you’re playing.

While the best quality music comes from CDs and vinyl records, we all know this isn’t possible with headphones, especially when on the go. Since we live in a world of streaming, you’ll want to find a service that doesn’t compromise in terms of sound quality. Some of the top options include:

  • Tidal
  • Spotify
  • Apple Music

With a better quality input, you can expect a better quality output. So before jamming to your favorite songs, be sure they’re streaming at a quality rate.


For audiophiles, listening to music is much more than a daily task. Instead it’s a way of life and it offers an experience like nothing else. If you don’t have the budget to pay for high-end headphones but still want to get the most out of your music, be sure to use these three upgrades to take your sounds to a whole new level.