Bose produces powerful, quality-sounding headphones.
But if you prefer to listen to your music at a louder volume, you might need a headphone amp (amplifier).
Do Bose Headphones Need An Amp?
Bose headphones, and many other Bose products, have a built-in amplifier. For this reason, there is no need to purchase an additional amp. Any wireless pair of headphones do not require any form of amplification. Older headphones with a high impedance may need an additional amp.
If you use headphones for casual listening purposes, the term “headphone amplifier” is likely new to you.
Keep reading to learn more about headphones amps and which Bose products need them.
Let’s get started.
What Is a Headphone Amplifier?
A headphone amplifier is usually a small black box with a series of dials and ports on it.
But what do they do? To understand what a headphone amplifier does, you need to understand what an amp does and how headphones work.
An amp is responsible for taking power from the listening source and converting it into the sound you hear.
You’ve likely heard the term “amp” used in reference to a guitar.
While a musician can play their guitar without an amplifier, the sound will only travel a few feet.
If the musician wants their music to reach more people, they’ll need a way to “amplify” the sound.
So what does the musician do? They plug their guitar into an amp!
The amp picks up the vibrations and sounds produced by the guitar.
Using the electrical power supplied to the amp, it reproduces those sounds and vibrations at a louder volume.
The same process takes place in your headphones, just on a smaller scale.
Most headphones, whether corded or not, have their own internal amps.
If you’re using headphones with a cord, they have no power source of their own.
Instead, these headphones get their power from the device they are plugged into.
For example, if you’re listening to music on your phone, it is supplying your headphones with the power they need to play the music in your ears.
In most cases, the listening device can produce enough power for the headphones to reproduce the music at an audible volume.
However, if the headphones require more than the normal amount of power, they may need an amp.
But how do you know if your headphones need more power?
The amount of power required to play sounds at an audible volume is listed as the impedance level by the manufacturer.
Impedance is the device’s resistance to current.
This unit is measured in ohms.
Generally, headphones with an impedance of fewer than 35 ohms produce sound at the proper volume.
Additionally, headphones that have an impedance of 100 ohms won’t require an amplifier.
However, if the listening device can’t supply enough power for the headphone’s higher impedance, you may consider a headphone amp.
Everyday devices such as phones, iPods, and MP3 players, cannot power headphones that have an impedance level higher than 100 ohms.
So some corded headphones need an amplifier, but what about wireless headphones?
Wireless headphones don’t need an amp.
Wireless headphones do not draw any power from the listening device.
Instead, these headphones have their own amplifier and power source.
The amplifier in wireless headphones is a part of its digital to analog converter, or its DAC.
The DAC is what allows the headphones to play the sounds produced by the listening device.
Since most of Bose’s headphone collection is wireless headphones, you won’t need a headphone amp.
What if your Bose headphones don’t need an amplifier, but you want to listen to music at volumes louder than your Bose headphones can produce? In other words, can you hook up an amplifier to headphones that don’t need one?
You shouldn’t use a headphone amplifier with headphones that don’t need them.
The speakers Bose puts in your headphones are only built to play sound at a certain level (or decibel).
If you increase the power supply to the headphones and crank the volume, you could blow the speakers.
Unfortunately, blowing the speakers with a headphone amp is not covered by the warranty either.
Not only could listening to music at a louder than necessary volume damage your headphones, but it could damage your ears.
The recommended listening volume is 85 decibels, and chances are, your headphones already produce sound louder than this volume.
So Bose headphones don’t really need an additional amplifier, but which headphones do?
Headphones that need an amplifier are those with lots of extra features.
While you might think that Bose’s noise-canceling technology might require more power than your phone can supply, this is not the case.
Bose produces their headphones to work with most everyday devices.
In general, the only headphones that need an amplifier are those used by professional musicians in a recording studio.
Bose doesn’t sell any headphones dedicated to recording; however, they do sell plenty of other headphones.
Currently, Bose has 15 different headphone models for sale on their website.
Only three of these headphones have cords: the Bose QuietComfort® 35 II Gaming Headset, the SoundComm B40 Headset, and the ProFlight Series 2 Aviation Headset.
However, only one of these models uses its cord to receive power: the Bose QuietComfort® 35 II Gaming Headset.
Although the Bose QuietComfort® 35 II Gaming Headset does use its cord to get power from the gaming controller, it can be used without it.
This means that the headphones have their own power source and have no need for an amplifier.
One sign that you won’t need an amp with a Bose product is the fact that the company doesn’t sell any headphone amps of their own!
That said, Bose does list one instance where you might need a headphone amplifier on their website.
However, this does not pertain to Bose headphones.
Rather, you might need a headphone amp when using the Bose Wave Radio.
Although radios are typically used to listen to music out loud, there may be some instances where you want to listen at a lower volume or in private.
In these instances, you’ll need to use headphones.
Unfortunately, the Bose Wave Radio is not designed to connect to power corded headphones.
On the Wave Radio, there is not a dedicated headphone jack.
Bose recommends plugging a headphone booster/amplifier into the variable output jack.
The headphone amp will ensure that your headphones receive enough power from the radio.