What Is Headphone Impedance? Top Full Guide

What Is Headphone Impedance Top Full Guide 2022
  • Anthony

“What is headphone impedance” is a popular question on Google. The headphone impedance of a headphone is the measure of the electrical resistance to the audio signal passing through it. The unit of measurement is ohms. A lower impedance headphone will have a higher voltage output, and a higher impedance headphone will have a lower voltage output.

What Does Impedance Mean in Headphones?

What Does Impedance Means

Simply put, headphones are electrical devices, and every electronic component has some level of resistance. The resistance in the headphone’s driver unit is referred to as headphone impedance.

Headphone impedance is typically between 8 to 600 ohm, with most consumer headphones having a 32-ohm impedance. If the headphone impedance of a headphone is high, it takes more power to operate. Therefore we must use external amplifiers to boost the power to the appropriate levels.

Higher Impedance Headphones

Higher impedance levels are sometimes referred to as 25V, 70V, and 100V. High-impedance headphones are intended for studio-like uses. This headphone impedance normally requires more voltage to reach a stable listening level, much as headphones with greater impedance (25 ohms and beyond) need more power to achieve high audio volumes.

Higher-impedance coils have greater winding, resulting in a better motor system with fewer compromises, better overall sound, and increased bass reproduction.

However, the disadvantage of higher-impedance headphones is that they demand more power and do not function well with your iPod or MP3 player. These are now built for professional studio applications, allowing them to consume the necessary power to outsource hi-fi audio.

Lower Impedance Headphones

Lower-impedance headphones often contain fewer windings and a thicker cable than higher-impedance headphones. Most low-impedance headphones (less than 25 ohms) need less power to provide high audio volumes. So, in general, these low-impedance headphones are intended for mobile, portable music players, computers, and other portable devices.

Lower-impedance headphones enable you to receive a louder volume with less battery consumption on your smart portable device than higher-impedance headphones. The sole disadvantage of this kind of headphones impedance is that it cannot be used with a strong amplifier due to their low threshold limit; otherwise, blowout occurs.

But Which One Is Better Low or High Impedance?

But Which One Is Better Low or High Impedance

High impedance headphones (greater than 100 ohms) are often from the 1990s. Back then, resistors were employed to reduce the output power of speakers, making the circuit more cost-efficient.

However, high impedance headphones cannot be powered by mobile devices. Therefore, experts who needed professional equipment to use these headsets were only used.

Because commercial headphones are often used with mobile devices, we want low impedance headphones that can be powered by mobile devices such as iPods, mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.

Very low impedance headphones are of poor quality, unable to create accurate sound, while very high impedance headphones need specialist equipment. However, we have struck a balance at 32 ohms for today’s requirements. This headphones impedance is common in commercial headphones. It compromises not being too low and not being too expensive for commercial mobile device use.

Sensitivity of Headphones

Sensitivity is the measurement of a headphone’s loudness at a given power level. It refers to how little power a headphone driver needs to begin producing sound and how loud they can be at a certain standard power level.

The standard sensitivity rating for headphones is a 1KHz specific frequency at a 1mW power level.

Headphones have a sensitivity range of 90dB to 105dB, and headphones that exceed or precede this figure may be deemed exceptionally sensitive or insensitive.


Distortion happens when the source provides more power than the headphones can handle, and the listener hears a crackling sound instead of music.

Here is when impedance matching comes into play. Impedance matching is done to minimize distortion and get the most out of your headphones.

The impedance of the amplifier and the headphones impedance of the headphones are compared and matched such that the source impedance of the amplifier is less than the load impedance of the headphones.

As a result, low impedance headphones are not suggested for professional usage when an amplifier generates the output.

Frequency and Impedance

Headphone drivers are intended to generate frequencies ranging from 20Hz to 20KHz. Almost all headphones and earbuds are capable of this, except extremely badly constructed headphones, which should be avoided entirely.

Another element to consider is resonance frequency. It is the frequency at which the material readily vibrates and often breaks. As an example, consider the opera singer is smashing a wine glass. They both work on the same principle: when the opera singer hits the resonance frequency of the glass, it breaks.

While designing headphone drivers, we must pay great attention to the driver’s behavior at its resonance frequency and manage it so that it does not behave erratically.

What Is Headphone Impedance?

  • Impedance is a highly technical measurement that is difficult to describe without using mathematics and scientific language. We’ll simplify it and divide it into low and high impedance headphones.
  • Most headphones with low impedance (usually less than 25 ohms) need minimal power to achieve high audio volumes. Low impedance headphones, for example, will operate well with equipment with poor amplification, such as portable music players, phones, and other portable devices.
  • Higher impedance headphones (about 25 ohms and above) need more power to provide high audio volumes. As a consequence, they are protected against overloading damage. They are also compatible with a wider variety of audio devices.
  • DJ headphones typically vary in resistance from 25 to 70 ohms.
  • When employing higher powerful amplifiers, headphones with low impedance are more prone to “blowouts.” Connect a low-cost set of earbuds with low impedance (say, 18 ohms) to a DJ mixer, crank it up to 11, and you’ll probably blow them out.

Note: If you’re purchasing high impedance headphones (such as the Beyerdynamic DT-880-Pro’s at 250 ohms), you should conduct an extra study on the equipment you’ll utilize.

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Are higher impedance headphones better?

High impedance is preferable because it produces higher sound quality. On the other hand, low impedance equipment is more suited for casual listening on phones or computers. Because it requires large specific equipment, high impedance equipment is oriented at professional usage or audiophiles.

Is 32 impedance good for headphones?

What is impedance in headphones? The headphones impedance most typically seen on commercial headphones is 32ohm or less. These headphones are often best suited for consumer devices with built-in amplifiers due to their low ohmage.

Which is better, 16 ohm or 32-ohm?

Are 16-ohm headphones better than 32-ohm headphones? If that’s the sole distinction, they’re neither better nor worse. A lower impedance headphone may be better suited to a voltage-restricted amplifier rather than a currently limited amplifier.


Headphones with low impedance are typically easier to drive than headphones with high impedance. This means that they can be used with a wider range of devices, including portable music players. Low-impedance headphones also tend to be more sensitive to producing louder sounds with less power.

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