HeadRoom Desktop Amp/DAC

General Information

The center of your desktop-based listening universe arrives in a small-footprint, lusciously curved black aluminum chassis surrounded by protective molded urethane bumpers. The HeadRoom Desktop Amp delivers an integrated solution for all demanding audiophile headphone listening situations in both digital and analog domains regardless whether it's a headphone-only or a monitor-oriented application. So no matter if you connect to an iPod, laptop/PC computer, portable CD/DVD player, HeadRoom Power Amps, pre-amp, turntable phono stage, big home theatre, component stereo system, gamer box, or custom audio front-end, this nook-sized 'made in Montana, USA' HeadRoom rig driving your favorite reference headphones will transform personal and near-field headspace into pure sonic nirvana.

The Swiss Army Knife of Audio

Along with the standard dual analog RCA inputs, the 'DAC' (Digital-to-Analog-Converter) input in the HeadRoom Desktop Amp allows the ability to connect any digital audio source directly to the unit via optical or co-axial digital inputs, OR from a computer’s USB connection. Go ahead and hook up everything at the same time -- up to five sources -- and then effortlessly select between them at the flick of a switch. That's just one of the many flexible "Audio Swiss-Army Knife" design features of our amazing HeadRoom Desktop headphone amp; The Desktop Amp can also easily act as an advanced switching center [i.e., 'pre-amp'] for all your various audio sources as it feeds into our own HeadRoom Power Amps nestled within a near-field, speaker-based Audiophile Desktop System on your workstation.


The front panel of the Desktop Amp sports both full-size 1/4" and mini-plug 1/8” [3.5mm] stereo headphone jacks for use with most headphone terminations. The amp will easily drive two headphones simultaneously. A 3-position gain switch on the front panel lets you select the operating range for headphones with any impedance/efficiency rating. Discrete crossfeed and filter switches allow the user to adjust the audio presentation to your particular tastes, and, of course, an on/off power switch is also handily located on the front. The Desktop Amp has a rear panel connection for the included +/-15VDC linear regulated AC power supply. The rear of the amp also has a 2 independent sets of RCA-plug analog inputs with an input selector switch to choose your source, allowing you to have two analog sources connected to your Desktop Amp at all times. The Desktop Amp can also be used as a simple pre-amplifier, and features a variable RCA-plug output on the rear panel suitable for hooking up to powered bookshelf /computer speakers or for linking the HeadRoom Desktop Amp to a larger amplifier or home theatre system. The rear output can be defeated by a front panel switch when listening solely to headphones.

Electronics Module

The 'electronics module' is the internal circuit board chiefly responsible for the amp's sound quality. The module found in the Desktop Amp is the 'Home' electronics module which uses Burr-Brown 2134 op-amps while adding a series of constant-current sources to force everything into true "Class-A" biasing. This 'Home' analog module is tightly coherent, seamlessly smooth, and very accurate-sounding with precise musical detail resolution, an ultra-wide dynamic range extension, and an expressive, nuanced musical presentation throughout the entire frequency range.

Digital to Analog Converter (DAC)

A DAC allows your HeadRoom unit to accept any digital audio signal and convert it to warm analog sound using premium chip set electronics. The DAC then sends that converted analog audio signal to the headphone amp stage of the Desktop Amp for final clean amplification into your headphones. The HeadRoom 'Home' DAC is based on the Cirrus CS4398 chip which is their top-of-the-line, flagship DAC. There is frankly not too much we can do here at HeadRoom to make it sound even better but, as always, we give it a darn good shot. One thing we CAN do in-house is employ crazy-expensive Burr-Brown OPA627s op-amps in the audio chain of the DAC, which is exactly what happens in the 'Home' DAC stage. This installation offers superb overall audio performance from any digital-output audio source, an organic analog-like timbral smoothness, and cogent musical detail resolution while pushing the DAC stage into critical "Class-A" performance bias.

Power Supply

The HeadRoom Desktop Amp comes stock with a good-quality linear-regulated AC power supply 'brick'. However, for maximized timbral/tonal clarity, quickened dynamic range extension, and precision musical detail resolution, we VERY highly recommend employing our Desktop Power Supply which will deliver significantly improved sound quality across the board. Also available separately is the international-use / all-voltage Astrodyne Universal Power Supply ($119usd) which offers nice audio performance gains over the linear AC 'brick' power supply always included with our HeadRoom Desktop (& Micro) units. The Astrodyne handily works anywhere in the world you can find an AC outlet! If you need help choosing your own HeadRoom amp, please contact us for personalized help by emailing sales or calling our knowledgeable sales staff at 800.828.8184. You can also learn more about our electronics modules, D-A converters, and volume controls under our "Product Resources" link. If you would like a particular configuration of Desktop Amp not offered on this page, please visit our Special Order Amp page to learn about available tweaks and unique special-ordering information.


The Desktop Amp does not include any interconnect cabling. A USB cable will allow you to hook up your Desktop Amp to a computer. If using the optical input, you will need an Optical Digital Cable, and if you are using coaxial inputs then take a look at this coaxial cable. To hook up your Desktop Amp to a portable audio player with an 1/8” (3.5mm) output, you will need a mini 1/8" to 1/8" cable. We recommend the using coaxial inputs then take a look at this Cardas 6 inch or 12 inch mini to mini cables, or for longer runs we suggest the Cardas 1 meter or 2 meter versions. If you are using a source with an RCA output, you will need an RCA cable. Or, take a look at all of our cables.


The HeadRoom Desktop amp measures 6 ¼” x 6 ¼” x 3 1/3” tall and weighs in at around 1.8 lbs of lovely audiophilic delight. All HeadRoom Desktop products are hand-built in Montana, USA.

Latest reviews

Pros: Plenty of power, incredibly low noise floor, convenience
Cons: A little expensive
I've written a pretty detailed review of this in its own thread, so I'll just say that I love this amp. The integrated DAC is incredible and leaves me wanting nothing else from it. It has all of the features I could possibly want in a combo unit. Powers my HD650s cleanly to painful volumes with no problem whatsoever. It brings out the best in every single pair of my headphones. 
I also use it as a preamp for my monitor speakers. I couldn't be any happier with this purchase.


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