What is Headphone Impedance?

If you're part of the audiophile community or just starting your journey into high-quality audio gear, you've probably come across the term "impedance". But what is headphone impedance? And how does it interact with the power output of your amplifier? Let's dive in and unravel these concepts.

What is Headphone Impedance?

Headphone impedance is a measure of how much the device resists the flow of electrical current. It's measured in ohms (Ω), and higher impedance headphones typically require more power to deliver high audio levels. Conversely, low impedance headphones require less power and are more suitable for devices with low amplification like smartphones or portable music players.


Think of impedance as the audio world's version of a narrow mountain road. The narrower the road (higher the impedance), the harder it is for a car (electrical current) to get through. In contrast, a wider road (lower impedance) makes it easy for cars to pass. So, headphone impedance is a measure of how much the device resists the electrical current flow.

Impedance Matching and Power Output

Impedance matching is about ensuring that your amplifier's output impedance is compatible with your headphone's impedance. In an ideal world, the amplifier's output impedance should be less than 1/8 of the headphone's impedance for optimal audio quality.

Power output, on the other hand, is about how much power your amplifier can deliver to your headphones. The amplifier needs to provide enough power for the headphones to function optimally, without overpowering them and risking damage.

What Impedance is Right for You?

The right headphone impedance depends on your specific audio gear and listening preferences. If you're using a portable device, low impedance headphones like IEMs might be your best bet. If you have a dedicated amplifier, you might lean towards higher impedance headphones like full-sized headphones for potentially better sound quality.

Matching Your Headphones with the Right Amplifier

Matching headphones and amplifiers is not just about the technical specs; it's also about the sound quality and your personal preferences. The key is to understand your gear and make informed decisions. At Apos Audio, we offer a range of products to meet various power and impedance requirements.

The Final Note

Understanding headphone impedance and power output can enhance your audio experience. By considering these factors, you can match your amplifier and headphones for optimal sound quality.

Apos Audio offers products from brands like FiiO, Topping, and Matrix to Audeze, HIFIMAN, and Meze Audio, giving you ample choices to find your perfect match.

Keep the Music Playing

Explore our Price Match Guarantee, Free Shipping Guarantee, and One-Year Transferable Warranty to see how Apos Audio puts customers first. Check out more in-depth articles on the Apos Audio Blog.

Remember, understanding what headphone impedance is, is just part of the big picture. Keep the music playing, and enjoy the journey.