Best Guitar Headphone Amp 2024 - Guitarsite Results

Make your practice productive and less disruptive by using the best guitar headphone amp. Choose from our selection of the best guitar headphone amps, and get tips on what features to look for.

Best Overall
Fender Mustang Micro

Fender Mustang Micro

Fender cleans plus other amp models in a compact bug type amp format, with onboard effects.

Best Rock Tone
VOX AmPlug 2

VOX AmPlug 2

Get the classic rock vibe with this compact headphone amp. Great mids and crunchy overdrive tones, straight to your headphones.

Best Value

Valeton Rushead Max

A guitar headphone amplifier with a range of voicings that expand your tonal palette as you quietly practice.

Best Features
Boss Pocket GT

Boss Pocket GT

Boasting the best editing and play-along features. The Boss Pocket GT's full capabilities are unleashed via a mobile app.

Best in Innovation
Boss Waza-Air

Boss Waza-Air

Integrating Boss' Waza engineering into a headphone amp with a gyroscope feature for the most immersive practice experience.

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As the name implies, a guitar headphone amp allows you to quietly listen to your guitar playing via headphones.

This is especially useful for electric guitars, but it can work with electric and acoustic guitars (acoustic-electric).

Covered in this guide are the widely used bug-type amps, which plug directly into your guitar. But we also feature other types that are just as useful.

If you’re a beginner, a guitar headphone amp allows you to experience what an actual amp sounds like without the usual loud volume associated with real amps.

Whether you are looking for something for jamming or you intend to seriously hone your chops, this updated list of the best headphone amps for guitar will make it easier for you to choose.

You will need a set of headphones to use most of these, so we recommend you also look at this guide to The Best Closed-Back Headphones.

Sweetwater

Best Guitar Headphone Amp 2024 - Detailed Reviews

Fender Mustang Micro

Best Headphone Amp (Overall)

Fender Mustang Micro

Fender Mustang Micro

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The Fender Mustang Micro brings the popular Mustang amp tones and features in a headphone amp format. It separates itself from the competition by having more effects and tone options.

0
Out of 100

Manufacturer: Fender

 

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The Fender Mustang Micro brings the signature Mustang amp sound in a headphone amp format. It separates itself from the competition by having more effects and tonal adjustments in its device.

Tonal versatility is the main reason why people love the Mustang Micro. The many sounds you can get out of this unit make quiet and boring practice into a fun one.

The convenience of Bluetooth and USB-C direct recording is a welcome addition. This makes the Mustang Micro worth your money.

The physical controls can be improved, though. A compatible software editor that can edit parameters via Bluetooth would be nice.

Fender secures a spot in this guide by loading the features of their Mustang series amps into the compact Mustang Micro, a bug-type guitar headphone amplifier unit.

What sets this one apart is the use of newer technology, including Bluetooth compatibility (for playing with your favorite audio/backing track) and USB-C connectivity for direct recording, essentially making this unit double as a guitar audio interface.

Having more amp models and effects is another noteworthy advantage of this unit. Like the Mustang amps, it comes with Fender’s digital GTX stomp and amp models, with up to 12 amps and 13 effect types to play with. This allows for much more sonic flexibility than the competition offers, albeit at a higher price point.

Like its bigger Mustang amp siblings, this unit excels in clean to mid-gain tones, although its high-gain options are not that bad as well.

These features are powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can run up to 6 hours per charge.

Even with its size limitation, Fender could still equip this unit with essential controls for tweaking the amp, effects, EQ, and volume.

The plug angle can be adjusted to accommodate different guitars and even basses, and it can also be folded for easier storage.

With its modern features and big brand backing, the Fender Mustang Micro is surely a device worth investing in.

 

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Controls: On|Off, Amp, EQ, Effects, Modify
Headphone Output: 1/4″ Plug
Headphone Jack: 1/8″ Stereo
Effects: 12 different amp models, 11 FX Models (Reverb, Modulation, Delay, Combination), EQ
Battery: Lithium-ion battery rechargeable via USB (6hrs playing time)
Weight: 51g (0.11 lbs)

Classic Rock Headphone Amp

VOX AmPlug 2

VOX AmPlug 2

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

At its core, the Vox Classic Rock has the tone of vintage, overdriven tube amps that are cranked to their sweet spot. It’s got great mids and crunchy overdrive tones, all in one compact device. Even amp modelers and guitar processors have difficulty emulating this sound. 

 

0
Out of 100

Manufacturer: Vox

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The AP2-CR did a nice job of emulating the midrange emphasis and crunchy overdrive flavor commonly associated with classic rock tunes.

The “bite” when digging into the strings makes this amp ideal for practicing solos and improvisation. More importantly, there’s enough transparency with its overdrive.

Surprisingly, notes seem to decay organically in Classic Rock, similar to tube amps, which is a big plus. Chords sound detailed and full, but only in low—to mid-gain levels.

Speaking of gain levels, driving this classic guitar headphone amp up too much results in muddy-sounding chords and fizzy single-note lines. This is unfortunate but understandable, given this unit’s price and target market.

The muddy tone is especially noticeable when using single-coil pickups, but thankfully, it’s not as muddy when switching to a humbucker.

What sets this one apart from other AmPlugs is its switchable (color-coded) “Mid-Boost” Mode. It lets you choose between Mid-boost Off (Green), Mid-boost 1 Lo (Orange), and Mid-boost 2 Hi (Red).

This feature adds a virtual switchable booster circuit into the unit, emulating many rock guitarists’ commonly used boost pedal + amp setup.

Naturally, this headphone amp cannot replicate a Vox AC30-style clean tone. But you can get good clean tones by turning the gain knob all the way down in Green mode (Mid-boost Off).

The Orange and Red modes have better dirt and gritty clean tones, though. Meanwhile, the mid-boost works really well with a Strat, as it lets you hear the nuances of your playing better.

This is a great practice amp for fans of classic rock’s signature gnarly guitar tone. If you want high quality tones for practicing your favorite rock tunes, this is it.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Controls: On|Off|Standby, Volume, Gain, Tone, FX Controls
Headphone Output: 1/4″ Plug
Headphone Jack: 1/8″ Stereo
Effects: Chorus, Delay, Reverb
Battery: 2 x AAA Batteries
Weight: 40g (0.08 lbs)

Headphone Amp

Valeton Rushead Max

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

A headphone amplifier that is versatile, affordable, and compatible with any pickup type. The Rushhead Max from Valeton features a range of voicings that covers different musical styles, and it does so while maintaining a very accessible price tag.

0
Out of 100

Manufacturer: Valeton

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The Valeton Rushead Max lets you choose between the most commonly used amp types: “CL” (clean tones based on US-made amps), “OD” (crunchy overdriven tone based on popular UK amps), and “DIST” (based on modern high-gain amps), and switching between these amp voicings is done on its easy to use streamlined interface.

Tone shaping is done via the included tone, gain, and level knobs. These tweaks can also better accommodate different pickup configurations and types, allowing you to get good tones regardless of the guitar type you use.

On the effects side, it has a switch that lets you choose between 3 essential modulation types, including tremolo, chorus, and flanger.

This headphone guitar amp comes with ambient effects, including delay and reverb, with an option to use both simultaneously. These effects add realism to the electric guitar headphone amp sound you hear through your headphones.

Other features include aux input jack and the ability to charge the unit via USB. These are packed in a typical lightweight plastic housing with a fixed plug that directly mounts on your guitar’s output jack.

On the downside, Valeton stated that it has no warranty document available online. After contacting them, they confirmed that the warranty was processed through the seller.

But if you’re looking for a budget-friendly yet versatile guitar headphone amplifier with many effects options, this amp is for you.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Controls: On|Off, Level, Tone; Ambient, Mod, & Gain Selector Switches
Headphone Output: 1/4″ Plug
Headphone Jack: 1/8″
Effects: Reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo and flanger
Battery: Onboard USB charge (5 hrs playing time)
Weight: 68g (0.14 lbs)

Headphone Amp

Blackstar Amplug 2 Fly

Blackstar Amplug 2 Fly

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

High gain distorted tones is usually reserved for big amps that are driven hard. But Blackstar managed to pack a good emulation of this high gain tone into the Amplug 2 Fly.  And they even added their signature ISF control, which allows for expanded voicing and tone shaping.

0
Out of 100

Manufacturer: Blackstar

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For something small, the Amplug 2 Fly comes with the best features found on the popular Blackstar Fly mini-amps.

This includes 3 selectable channels (clean, crunch & lead) and the ability to change the voicing from British to American style via the ISF knob.

It even lets you use effects that include reverb, delay, and chorus right on the unit.

For compatibility with different body types, Blackstar designed the plug to be foldable which allows for up to 180 degrees rotation.

It runs on 2 AAA batteries for up to 17 hours and has an auto power-off feature for longer battery life. Finally, it has an aux-in jack plug for jamming along with your favorite backing tracks.

If you love Blackstar amps, this is a no-brainer. This is a good, budget-friendly way to get the familiar brand sound you’re accustomed to.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Controls: On|Off, Gain, ISF, Volume, Effects/Tap Tempo
Headphone Output: 1/4″ Plug
Input: 1/8″ Aux Plug
Headphone Jack: 1/8″
Effects: Reverb, Delay & Modulation (3 presets for each effect)
Battery: 2 x AAA batteries (17 hours playing time)
Weight: 40g (0.08 lbs)

Headphone Amp

Boss Pocket GT

Boss Pocket GT

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

This headphone amp is designed to be the ultimate practice tool. It has a long list of effects and amp models derived from the Boss GT-1 multi-effects pedal. Only this one is more compact, and practice friendly, with expandable controls and features.

0
Out of 100

Manufacturer: Boss

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Similar to the GT-1 pedal, the Boss Pocket GT carries the same Boss GT sound engine present in it’s multi-effects sibling.

Editing effects is now easier through the Pocket GT mobile app. To make things more fun, Boss also introduced its session mode.

This feature allows you to stream YouTube videos and jam along with them. This eliminates the need for an additional aux cable, making it a convenient option.

Navigate through the video easily using its markers. But the really cool feature is that you can assign specific effects within the sections of the video.

For example, you can set a clean tone for a section, then crunch and a soaring lead tone. Once set, the effects selected will automatically change depending on which part of the video you’re in.

In addition to that, you could also access a ton of presets directly from Boss’ library. 

For recording, the Pocket GT also doubles as a USB interface, allowing you to use it to record guitar directly into a computer. You can also use it to play bass.

It’s a versatile tool you can use for practice or even performance. Use it wireless with its built lithium-ion battery, allowing 4 hours of playing time, or use it while charging. 

All in all, if you’re looking for a guitar headphone amp that will facilitate a great practice or jam experience and has great tones, the Boss Pocket GT is for you. It can take time to learn the most of its features, but it will be worth your while to better enjoy modern and vintage gear emulations.

A more stripped-down and pedalboard friendly alternative to the Pocket GT is the Electro-Harmonix Headphone Amp. 

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Controls: On|Off, value, gain, level, reverb, select, Bluetooth, tuner/exit, play, replay, forward
Input: 1/4″ Jack & 1/8″ Aux
Headphone Jack: 1/8″ Stereo
Effects: 108 types
Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (4hr playing time)
Weight: 160 g (0.35 lbs)

Guitar Headphone Amp

Boss Waza-Air

Boss Waza-Air Wireless Headphones

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

There’s no downplaying the success of Boss’ Waza line of amps. The Boss Waza-Air Headphones integrates the best features of their Waza amps, into a pair of wireless headphones.

0
Out of 100

Manufacturer: Boss

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This Waza Air is an all-in-one wearable option, very different from the market standard bug type amps. 

Instead of plugging into the guitar and then delivering the sound through a wire into your headphones, the Boss Waza Air guitar amp headphones is completely wireless. It operates similar to regular Bluetooth Headphones, but with features that cater to electric guitar playing.

Using a transmitter attached to the guitar, this device gives you untethered freedom of movement without compromising sound quality, as expected from a Boss Waza amp.

Editing is made easier using the Boss Tone Studio App. It is straightforward and provides an actual pedalboard tweaking experience to it.

It has 2 separate Bluetooth connections: one for the app editing function via Bluetooth MIDI and music playback using Bluetooth audio streaming.

Inside the Waza Air headphones are Waza guitar amp models and effects to provide the essentials of a standard guitar rig.

But the stand-out feature of the Waza Air is its gyroscope, which promises to capture the feel of a physical amp in a room. 

Given that this is a new thing in the guitar world, the technology is not yet perfect, with some inaccuracies at times. The main issue though, is its price tag, which is quite steep compared to the many cheaper options available.

Regardless, this device is certainly an innovative approach to headphone amps. One that can give you a nice practice experience. 

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Controls: [POWER] switch, [VOLUME] knob, [CH UP] button, [CH DOWN] button, [Bluetooth] multi-function button
Input: TRS 1/4-inch phone type, CHARGE (DC IN 5 V) port: USB Micro-B type
Headphone Jack: Transmitter in jack: 1/4-inch TRS phone type
Effects: Over 50 customizable effects (mod, delay, and reverb)
Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery, supplied from the CHARGE (DC IN 5 V) port (12 hrs playing time)
Weight: 320 g (0.70 lbs

Headphone Amps for Guitar

Mux Mighty

NUX Mighty Plug Pro 3

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The Nux Mighty Plug 3, aka Mighty Plug Pro, has a lot of nifty functions for something so cheap. This guitar headphone amp is an amp modeler with built-in  effects, and it can load IR responses.

0
Out of 100

Manufacturer: Boss

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What makes the Mighty Plug Pro stand out is the many functions that you can get from it.

With a huge library of amp, FX, and cabinet emulations, the tone-shaping option from this small unit is massive. It also has an acoustic simulator for getting acoustic like tones.

Although it has a mobile app (which makes editing easier), the ability to control your tone using the device is a great option.

A USB-C output you can use for audio streaming and recording.

Just don’t expect it to sound like a premium guitar amp, but with its intuitive controls, you can get some good and inspiring tones for practice.

If you want a headphone amp with lots of tone choices at an affordable price, the Nux Mighty Plug 3 is a great option.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Controls: On|Off, Volume Control
Headphone Output: 1/4″ Plug
Headphone Jack: 1/8″
Effects: GATE, CMP, EFX, EQ, MOD, DLY, RVB
Battery: 3.7V / 1450mAh (5hrs playing time)
Weight: 70g (0.15 lbs)

Things To Consider When Buying A Headphone Guitar Amp

Bug-Type:

Because of their convenience and cable-less operation, bug-type headphone amps become very popular. It’s as simple and portable as it gets. Simply plug straight into your guitar, and a pair of headphones into these amp models. Set tone adjustments and you’re ready to practice quietly virtually anywhere.

Headphones:

Some manufacturers have integrated the amplifier component into the headphones. This allows you to plug the headphones straight into your electric guitar simply. Tweak the parameters to your liking, and play away.

Newer designs can emulate a virtual space, recreating how an amp behaves in a real-world setting. Factors like positioning and movement to or from a physical speaker.

Tone Versatility:

Some come in the shape of a compact unit. This will require a separate cable going to the electric guitar. These amp models usually include multiple effects, amp simulation, recording, and many more.

Power/Battery Options:

To make practice more conducive, you want your guitar headphone amps to have the most power options. It can be 3rd party batteries, built-in rechargeable batteries, or power adapters. The more options you have, the better.

Box and Stompbox:

Some come in the shape of a compact unit. This will require a separate cable going to the electric guitar. These amp models usually include multiple effects, amp simulation, recording, and many more.

Practice-Friendly Features:

If you’re looking to improve your playing technique, then nifty extras that help you play better are welcome. Headphone amps that can play backing tracks can make practice more inspiring.

It also helps keep your timing sharp and locked in. Other features to look out for include built-in tuning and the ability to record and play loops. So again, it boils down to what you really want, be it straightforward convenience or versatility.

Conclusion: Are you curious about a headphone guitar amp that was not included in this list?  What is the best guitar headphone amp for you and why? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Alexander Briones

Lead Author

Jerome Arcon

Contributor: Research and Supplemental Writing

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