Are headphone amps mostly hype?
Headphone amps are something I've been wondering about but never took the plunge, because in the back of my mind I keep thinking that they won't add much benefit. My critical listening is done on my near-field monitors (Klein + Hummel O 300D's), and I only use headphones when tracking or if it's really late at night. I've read people's buyer's remorse from getting headphone amps, stating that the only thing it did was make things louder (as opposed to the typical audiophile gushing of "tighter bass, wider soundstage, more airy highs...etc). I don't want to end up like one of those guys and then turn around to sell mine off on ebay. Can you guys comment on this? Are headphone amps mostly hype or they really do make a significant difference in sound quality (as opposed to just making things louder)?
And would even something in the lower-end like the Headroom Total Airhead make a significant difference, or you really gotta spend hundreds of dollars to hear a real (and compelling) difference?