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Oustanding Chinese Headphone Amp: Cayin (Spark) HA-1A [Review] - Page 4

post #46 of 80
Wow. I just stumbled onto this thread... did I read that it retails for less than 400$?

Isn't Cayin (Spark) the company that makes the Prima Luna ?

hmmmm there may be another contender...
post #47 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint_1
Isn't Cayin (Spark) the company that makes the Prima Luna ?
I did not know that before.
But Google confirms that Spark makes Prima Luna.
Spark is one of the honest, reputable hi-end companies in China.
They are actully putting out original designs instead of copying famous brands or taking OEM orders and secretly selling modified versions under a different name.
Some other Chinese audio electronic companies are doing lots of shady things.
post #48 of 80
Yeah. This is the first I've seen of the HA-1A, but the Prima Luna got some damn fine reviews -- one by no less than Art Dudley... I thought about buying one for my 'tube intro,' and then I started thinking about SETs, and then I realized I couldn't afford speakers! haha
and here I am
post #49 of 80
Does anyone have any input about the merits of the Cayin amp relative to the Eddie Current/Laconic EC-01?

Chad
post #50 of 80
Thread Starter 

Cayin HA-1A is in US market again

I was at Stereophile's home entertanment show 2006 in LA.
I met someone who told me he saw a Cayin HA-1A on display at the show.
It looks like Cayin HA-1A has distributors again in the US.
The price was quoted around $650.
My experience is that a reliable, responsible distributor will cause the price to go up 60% compared to Asian prices (tariffs, shipping, dealer profit, customer service, warranty repair all add up).
Export version to Taiwan (discontinued) used to cost $400, $400*1.6 = $640
In China the price is below $300, but export verisons should have better components than domestic verisons.
post #51 of 80
This amp caught my eye in the new Acoustic Sounds catalog. Ferbose do you still have yours? Are you still happy with it?

Any other owners that can recomment this amp for the $750 asking price?

TIA
post #52 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab
This amp caught my eye in the new Acoustic Sounds catalog. Ferbose do you still have yours? Are you still happy with it?

Any other owners that can recomment this amp for the $750 asking price?

TIA
I still have mine and I now use Groves Tubes re-issued Mullard 12AX7, Sylvania NOS 12AU7, and JJ EL84. The noise is now even lower, basically inaudible with K501. With SR225, the noise is still quite audible. It is a great match for my K1000 and K501. I plan to audition a Almarro A205A at home to see if it betters Cayin HA-1A.

As a stand-alone headphone amp, it is probably worth $500. Only if you plan to use its other functions, like driving speakers or as a pre-amp, then $750 for this amp may be worthwhile.
post #53 of 80
Nice review Ferbose! Having recently picked up a K1K this amp caught my interest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferbose
I still have mine and I now use Groves Tubes re-issued Mullard 12AX7, Sylvania NOS 12AU7, and JJ EL84. The noise is now even lower, basically inaudible with K501. With SR225, the noise is still quite audible. It is a great match for my K1000 and K501. I plan to audition a Almarro A205A at home to see if it betters Cayin HA-1A.

As a stand-alone headphone amp, it is probably worth $500. Only if you plan to use its other functions, like driving speakers or as a pre-amp, then $750 for this amp may be worthwhile.
That didn't exactly appear to be a glowing endorsement anymore Ferbose.

From all the pics I saw it is a sweet looking piece of gear! If it sounds as good as it looks I'm in.

There was one at the recent Florida meet, though not too many impressions of it in the thread. No cable to mate it with the K1K either.
http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=184127

I'm wondering if Acoustic Sound is the only US distributor? For $400-$500 I would maybe take a chance. $750 ummm quite hesitant.
post #54 of 80
They had a unit at HE2006, but not hooked up to anything. It is heavy and well built. I think $750 is overpriced, otherwise I would buy one too, considering the fact that they can be had for 1/2 that price in Asia.
post #55 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd S
That didn't exactly appear to be a glowing endorsement anymore Ferbose.
You see, I got mine $300 used. At the time I thought they would sell for at most $500 in the US market.
Now they are asking for $750. It is all about value/price ratio.
$750 is already approaching the price of some very good headphone amps near $1k range. I would like to see it priced around $650.
As an ordinary headphone amp, HA-1A has the weakness of high noise floor with high-sensitivity cans. This is an inevitable trade-off because its output level is high enough to drive K1000 and efficient speakers. For a K1000 amp, it is actually very good, on the same lvel as Grace m902 or RSA Raptor. HA-1A has four main functions: drive high-impedance headphones, drive K1000, drive speakers and pre-amp. If you use at least two of these functions, then $750 could be worth it.

If you really like its looks or its small footprint or don't want exposed tubes, then HA-1A should be right for you even if it is only used as a headphone amp .
post #56 of 80
Looking at the pictures from AccousticSounds, on the back of HA-1A there is a selector of impedance. The lowest one is 6-32Ohms. I was just wondering, is this a new feature that can possibly solve noise floor problem on low imp. phones, or it was always there? Also, its power output for speakers is only 2.2Wx2, how sensitive the speakers have to be to drive them well?

Anybody know the difference between the Chinese/Asian and the U.S. version? Yahoo.jp has it in stock for ~$460, so Pricejapan can probably sell it too.
post #57 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gevorg
Looking at the pictures from AccousticSounds, on the back of HA-1A there is a selector of impedance. The lowest one is 6-32Ohms. I was just wondering, is this a new feature that can possibly solve noise floor problem on low imp. phones, or it was always there? Also, its power output for speakers is only 2.2Wx2, how sensitive the speakers have to be to drive them well?

Anybody know the difference between the Chinese/Asian and the U.S. version? Yahoo.jp has it in stock for ~$460, so Pricejapan can probably sell it too.
The lower the impedance selector, the lower the output voltage and the lower the noise. Still, this does not solve the problem with low impedance phones. Maybe som extremely low-noise tubes can solve the problem, though I already tried several different tubes at each position.

It depends on how loud you want. The speaker should be 90 dB efficient to be used in a small-room. But 87 dB speaker is probably OK for near-field listening.

I can't find any info on the difference between different versions for different markets. I tend to believe there are only two versions: domestic and export.
post #58 of 80
Thanks Ferbose. I think i am going to hold out. I really don't NEED another headphone amp at all, just have kind of a hankering to try a tube amp, but so far I haven't pulled the trigger on anything, since the better ones seem pretty pricey. I'd like to get this cheaper, so I may wait. Thanks again.
post #59 of 80
Thread Starter 
I picked the June issue of Stereophile.
Cayin HA-1A is reviewed by Sam Tellig.
The unit of the price is $749, sold by Acoustic SOunds and imported by VAS Audio.
He gave it a glowing review, based on HD600 and RS-1.
I wish Stereophile had photographed the front view of the amp, because it really is gorgeous looking.

However, unike me, Sam Tellig did not mention any noise-floor problem with RS-1 (same sensitivity as my SR225). Maybe noise level varies from unit to unit, and mine happens to have higher noise floor. Maybe new productions of the amp has been upgraded to lower the noise. If Cayin HA-1A can maintain a near-inaudible noise floor when driving RS-1, then indeed it can be considered a good deal at $750.
post #60 of 80
I'm glad the Cayin is getting some exposure, but too bad it was reviewed by Sam Tellig. Most audiophiles have stopped taking Sam seriously for quite some now...
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