I just got myself some nad hp 50 headphones to play music on the go with and i was thinking if i should get a portable headphone amp as well?

Im thinking about the Soundkey cause it seems convenient..

Do you think it will improve the sound compared to it being plugged in straight to my sony xperia compact 1?

I tried connecting them to my amp at home (Denon AWR-x2100w) and i do notice a bit of difference, seems more nuanced and the bass comes through more.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


Aug 29, 2019
Ah okey, thanks a lot for the info ElectronicVices! Very informative. I know very little about how speakers, headphones, amplifiers and DAC work but iv'e grown to love listening to music with in good quality/fidelity. So it is the DAC part of my Denon amplifier that makes it sound better.. Wouldn't a Soundkey or Dragonfly Red increase the quality compared to the onboard DAC of the Sony xperia compact 1? I also have a pair of Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro that I use with my Denon Amp at home but Im starting to wonder if the sound out of those would be improved with the Dragonfly Red for instance.. or if the Denon Amp headphone output is as good or better.
Overall that is a relatively easy load to drive for just about any amplification source, including your Sony. To hit 90db SPL ("volume") you only need .04 milliwatts which is extremely low power requirements. Most home receivers have an output impedance that is extremely high roughly between 120 and 470 ohms. This results in less control over the movement of the headphone driver ("speaker") and can result in more but less defined bass. The "more nuanced" aspect is more than likely related to the DAC section of the Denon or EMI from the phones internal antennae(s) and the "bass comes through more" related to the lower dampening factor (the driver can extend more, if not as cleanly). I doubt you will notice much improvement so definitely start small on the upgrades. The end goal is to enjoy what you hear, don't worry about what others would think as long as you like it.