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Oppo HA-1 Headphone Amplifier


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Tyll,  Do you think it is worth it just to use as a DAC with the DSHA-1?  I'm currently using the Pico DAC + DSHA-1 in the office. 

 

I moved my DSHA-1 to the bedroom, and just use the HA-1 in my (home) office now.

 

It's got a great headphone out--use it!

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Photo review:      

I wouldn't be so sure about that.

Guess I'll have to get one and play around with it a bit.

Tyll,  Do you think it is worth it just to use as a DAC with the DSHA-1?  I'm currently using the Pico DAC + DSHA-1 in the office. 

 

FWIW Shelly, after a brief evening of listening, using the DAC in the HA-1 for both amps, I slightly prefer the Supra as a headphone amp. The HA-1 amp is great, definitely not bright, but there is a slight hardness in the midrange (male vocals) and less bass bloom. Years of loud live amplified music have made me prefer bass bloom, YMMV.

 

Impressions subject to change as my brain burns in, and I haven't tried the balanced output on the HA-1 yet.

 

I see nothing to complain about regarding the DAC in the HA-1. Haven't compared to the Neko yet directly.

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Just read the innerfidelity review, i basically 100% agree with skylabs impressions. He nailed what i was trying to say about the midrange.

I havent had an hd650 for some time but I'm thinking this would be a great match.

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I'm not interested in the Matrix X-Saber Dac. I measured and do have room for the Oppo.

 

For reference, the X-Sabre is slightly better sounding than my Oppo 105 DAC.  Not sure how the DAC section on the HA-1 measured up to the 105 DAC.

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:palm:  I hadn't noticed that skylab had written that. 

 

Just read the innerfidelity review, i basically 100% agree with skylabs impressions. He nailed what i was trying to say about the midrange.

I havent had an hd650 for some time but I'm thinking this would be a great match.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Using JRiver to upsample everything to DSDx2 > HA-1 > HD800

 

Not sure if there is any difference between this and redbook but its cool to see "DSD 5.6448 MHz" on the screen. :)

 

RHCP MFSL of "Mothers Milk". Jesus these guys were amazing back in the day.

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  • 2 weeks later...

well my Metric Halo is acting up and need to send it in for service so I ordered the Oppo.  Gives me a solid 30 days to decide if I like it enough i keep it as a utility infielder or at the worst ship it back to Mountain View. 

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well my Metric Halo is acting up and need to send it in for service so I ordered the Oppo.  Gives me a solid 30 days to decide if I like it enough i keep it as a utility infielder or at the worst ship it back to Mountain View. 

 

sweet, looking forward to your impressions.

 

if nothing else I know you'll love the screen and fit n' finish.

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it's stupid good for $1200 on day one. I tend to decide on gear by listening to the new thing for a week or so pretty exclusively then go back to my baseline set up for comparison.  So far it is astonishingly clear, clean and balanced top to bottom. I am missing some of the wetness I get in the midst with the jh13s or the metric halo/extreme set up. As an amp it is way cleaner than the extreme but maybe not as musical. 

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it's stupid good for $1200 on day one. I tend to decide on gear by listening to the new thing for a week or so pretty exclusively then go back to my baseline set up for comparison. So far it is astonishingly clear, clean and balanced top to bottom. I am missing some of the wetness I get in the midst with the jh13s or the metric halo/extreme set up. As an amp it is way cleaner than the extreme but maybe not as musical.

Agreed, I find it is missing the sweetness you might find with other gear, but in terms of detail retrieval and faithfulness to the recording its hard to find fault.

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Agreed, I find it is missing the sweetness you might find with other gear, but in terms of detail retrieval and faithfulness to the recording its hard to find fault.

 

I also noticed that it can't render the soundstage & able to provide precising imaging as better amps (GS-X MKII).  Still it is one heck of a deal for the price.  I also find it not as good as the HR Ultra Balanced Desktop.

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  • 4 months later...

Bryan, I'm using it now as a preamp in my speaker system.  Takes digital in from a Sony SACD (for 16/44) and a laptop, and analog in from my Sony HAP-Z1ES.  Preamp out to Job 225 amp, and Gallo Strada 2/TR-1 speakers.

 

Overall, can't complain at all; I think it was JP# that said this was stupid good for the $, and I agree.  Maybe it's a pre-read review biasing me, though, but I like the headphone out a bit more than the preamp outs.  Resolution is great, but it sounds a bit lean in the mids and can get a bit brittle on top.  NOTHING at all bad, I never feel the need to turn it off; but not as good as some of the better I've had/heard; and I don't get that sense from the headphone out.  Apples to oranges, of course....

 

That review I allude to mentioned that headphone out is a class A design, and the pre outs have opamps in the path.  Could be the reason, or again may just be pre-bias.

 

I have a 1/4" to L/R RCA adapter cable, I need to try that at some point to drive the amp, and compare to regular pre out.  Just haven't bothered so far except for an early test using another power amp.

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A few of us have played around with this... did anyone test its use specifically as a digital preamp? If so, any thoughts?

 

I use the preamp out to drive a pair of $100 M-Audio computer speakers. Video games sound great. ;)

 

seriously no issues but I can't make any comments on fidelity given the speakers.

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I use it as a preamp in my office system and I really have zero complaints.  The tech is really nice to have and sound quality is great.

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  • 5 months later...

Consensus here and the other usual sites seems to be that the HA-1 is a good deal, generally performs above its pricing tier. Quite an attractive package considering its connectivity options.

I don't have experience with SABRE-based DACs, and I think I know enough to realize the DAC chip alone doesn't totally define how a DAC may sound, but I have read that the 9018 and the HA-1 DAC in particular may be a bit rough/strident in the upper frequencies (of course that depends on what it's being compared to). If I invest in the HA-1 and like it enough as-is is to use it for a while, but then want to eventually try to improve things using a dedicated DAC (multibit Schiit or similar), would the HA-1 be considered a good foundation as an amp into which a better (balanced or unbalanced) DAC could be fed? Is there some sonic characteristic of it as an amp that would prevent it from being worthy of a better DAC?

With an LCD-X & SRH1540 and occasionally HD600, I've been using a Cypher Labs Theorem 720 which provides a "sweet" and musical presentation, but when using them with more powerful amps I have experienced that they do (obviosuly) scale appreciably with more wattage/voltage on tap. Tried a couple of intergrated AV amps and iFi micro iDSD, widened the soundstage for sure but totally lacked the "musicality" and/or finesse of the Theorem.

What I'm after is resolving with details but more musical than analytical. Considered a Burson, but I got the impression that they're not worth the cost and probably not a match for me sonically. Then I learned that TTVJ does have the Conductor/Conductor SL 9018 at a good discount, which brings them at or under the cost of HA-1.

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