Can Headphone Amps Power Speakers? Important Facts

If you were going to use an amplifier, it had to be on a system that required and could sustain the high volumes it would produce. This is why many believe speakers and amplifiers go hand in hand. Largely due to speakers being dependent on amplifiers.

As the average person gets access to devices such as high-powered speakers and amplifiers, the need to understand which of these devices work together becomes far more pertinent.

Unfortunately, Headphone amplifiers cannot work with speakers. This is because speakers require a larger amount of power compared to headphones. Headphone amplifiers are only able to generate 1 watt of power.

Speakers require a lot of power, as you might know, which means they require amplifiers that generate a considerable amount of power to drive them. Many speakers are produced for consumer usage that has built-in amplifiers within them. However, for speakers to be used more passively, you need to purchase a standalone power amplifier.

But let’s dive deeper into understanding how a normal power amplifier differs from a headphone amplifier. Furthermore, we’ll discuss more reasons why headphone amps cannot power those speakers.

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Why Headphone Amplifiers Cannot Power Speakers?

We talked about this earlier, but in this section, we’ll go into more detail regarding why precisely headphone amplifiers cannot power speakers. The major point here to remember is the power output of the devices. The requirements of a speaker simply outweigh the effective power output of a headphone amp.

So now we know that the power output of a headphone amplifier simply cannot supply enough power to speakers, but what are other reasons why this particular pairing cannot work? Let’s discuss a few more aspects that affect this relationship negatively.

And recognize why you probably shouldn’t use a headphone amplifier on your speakers.

1. Lack Of Connectors On Headphone Amplifiers

Electronic devices nowadays are becoming incredibly versatile, with so many devices being able to demonstrate compatibility with a variety of other different devices. However, this isn’t true for all new electronics, and certainly, there still exist some that require such specific attachments to work properly.

The thing with headphone amplifiers is that they do not currently have the compatible slots required, wherein speaker cables can be fixed. This is a massive problem. So even before you begin to check whether your headphone amp will work with a speaker, you run into the trouble of connecting the two devices.

If you want to check if your headphone amplifiers can connect with particular speaker cables in the correct slots no less, then you will have to find a do-it-yourself guide, to do so. Sadly, there do not exist many such devices that can give you such an advantage, and you will be forced to use other methods to connect.

We believe that the time and effort spent trying to make a headphone amplifier even compatible with a speaker can be better utilized elsewhere.

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2. Headphone Amplifiers Have Low Output Voltage

Any good amplifier is based on one important facet. This directly impacts its ability to amplify the systems to which it is connected. Any decent headphone amplifiers are usually rated by how much output voltage that particular amplifier can deliver.

Headphone amplifiers are primarily constructed to discharge only a very small amount of voltage signals. These voltages can be as low as a few nanovolts. Nanovolts clearly do not have a strong enough voltage output to get powerful speakers to work with such amplifiers.

3. High Output Impedance May Alter Frequency Response

All headphone amplifiers have a certain output impedance. This is the effective resistance of an electric circuit or component within the amplifier when introduced to alternating current. These alternating currents arise from the combined effects of ohmic resistance and reactance.

In the case of most headphone amplifiers, however, the output impedance exists in the range between 0.6 – 51 Ohms. However, just by recognizing this range, we understand why it might not be compatible with speakers, most of which have an input impedance of 4 to 12 Ohms.

When looking at the ideal circumstances for an amplifier to function, you generally want to have an output impedance that must be eight times less than the speaker’s input impedance. As an example. if you’re using a speaker with an input impedance of 8 Ohms, you should necessarily have an output impendence that is more or less 1 Ohm.

In the case where the is high output impedance, as most headphone amplifiers usually have, then this will certainly affect the frequency response of the audio signal being sent from the headphones. To understand this concept further, headphone amps can simply not send accurate audio to the speaker.

The inability of headphone amps to send accurate audio to speakers directly affects the quality of the sound. So now we understand that most headphone amps that you will be using will have an output impedance that is far too high for the speaker’s input impedance. This is why the systems will not work together properly.

4. Heat May Damage Headphone Amplifiers

Perhaps the final reason headphone amplifiers do not work with speakers is because how they are negatively affected due to the connection. This is because even if someone connects their headphone amps with their speakers and ignores audio quality and other factors discussed.

They still have to deal with the negative impact of the headphone amps themselves. This occurs because the headphone amps are forced to overwork themself to meet the potential requirements that might exist on the side of the speakers, as well as their specific power requirement.

When the headphones are unable to generate enough power to meet this requirement, then the amplifier begins to get hot. This heat is generated as a direct result of the overworking of the amplifier’s internal systems. As the amplifier overheats, damage begins to accumulate on heat-sensitive parts of its circuitry.

This can be disastrous if you’re hoping to later connect your actual headphones with that headphone amplifier because the damage could cause the two systems to not function properly and cause additional issues for you as the user.

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Why Are Power Amplifiers Better At Powering Speakers?

By this section of the article, you should probably have realized the fact that a headphone amplifier simply cannot power a speaker. This is why we’re here to explain to you the best type of amplifier that can work with speakers.

The best type of amplifier that works with speakers is a power amplifier. This is the most efficient and capable amplifier system to work with speakers. The power amplifier matches the power rating that is compatible with your speakers. This provides them a boost in volume and quality without sacrificing anything from the audio itself.

Unlike headphone amps, power amplifiers are made to drive devices such as speakers, and it is for this reason that they are designed to play audio at a much louder volume. The components within a power amplifier are appropriately bigger, corresponding with the size difference of a regular speaker as compared to a headphone.

Power amplifiers, however, require a lot more current. This gives them the ability to fuel the voltage requirements associated with loudspeakers. So if you’re aiming to amplify speakers, then we suggest using a power speaker instead.

And that’s pretty much all you need to know about why a headphone amplifier doesn’t work with a speaker. Simply put, the headphone amplifier does not generate the prerequisite power to fulfill the requirements needed in a speaker.

Ultimately, using a headphone amp with a speaker can cause damage to your headphone amp, and if this does not happen, then the quality of the audio produced will be severely crippled. It is for this reason that rather than use a headphone amp, we suggest that you think about purchasing a power amplifier.

For further questions and queries, let us know. Till next time! Ciao.

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